​What Really Happens When You Spank Your Kids

mother with toddler crying on couchIn the ongoing debates over the best parenting strategies, spanking always manages to come up. And moms on both sides of the issue never fail to get super-heated. Research has intervened to give their say this week. For a new study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, researchers analyzed real-time audio recordings of parents interacting with their children and concluded not only that parents are spanking for "trivial misdeeds," but 73 percent of the time, kids end up misbehaving again within 10 minutes. Wow.

That said, if spanking is SO ineffective, it hardly seems like it pays for even its biggest proponent to do it! Really, the findings only serve to echo what opponents of spanking say: It's a bogus, unnecessary way to discipline.

The study also found that parents seem to be ashamed of how often they're doing it. There was a major discrepancy between the times parents self-reported that they spanked their child in previous studies versus the number of times suggested by this study ...

Granted, we're talking about all different parents, situations, timeframes, etc. Lots of variables at play, and it may not be fair to compare old research with new. Still, who would be surprised if parents really are lying about just how many times they're spanking their kids? It's not exactly something anyone wants to own up to doing, let alone doing frequently

So no one wants to own up to spanking, and it fails. Seems like a no-brainer that we should be steering clear of it as a way to discipline. Especially when there are so many other, less controversial and more effective means of getting your point across.

Do you believe spanking is more effective than this study portrays it to be, or do you think it's spot-on?

Image via © Science Photo Library/Corbis

tantrums, discipline, toddler health, behavior


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Snapp... SnappleQueen


Conditional spanking has been shown to be effective. But conditional spanking is a very specific method and most parents who spank don't follow it, meaning their method of physical punishment is ineffective and should be stopped. If you're going to spank, then you must follow the rules of conditional spanking or you are doing more harm than good. 

 "Conditional spanking is nonabusive, used when a child responds defiantly to milder disciplinary tactics such as time out (based on research on 2- to 6-year-olds). “Nonabusive” is defined as about 2 open-hand swats to the buttocks when a parent is not angrily out of control. Conditional spanking teaches a child to cooperate with the milder disciplinary tactic, thereby making spanking less necessary in the future."


kayba... kaybayblee3

I warn my kids a few times before I go to spanking. They usually will just take heed with that and stop, but yeah sometimes I do need to give them a quick swat. They stop doing what they're doing and I RARELY ever have to come to the problem again. I was raise like that and have no issues from it, nor do my friends and family who have been raised the same.

Bruic... Bruickson

Spanking is a last resort in my household. My daughter is at the age (4) now where loss of privileges or toys work better than any other form of punishment. I don't have an issue with spanking and have seen that it is an effective form of discipline for MY daughter when all else fails. Thankfully it rarely gets to that point. My parents did the same with me and rarely spanked. I can tell you that whatever bad behavior I was doing stopped immediately. I knew if I got a spanking they weren't fooling around. I think that parents need to do whatever works beat for THEIR child. Not all children respond the same to certain forms of discipline.

Senia... Seniahmom

If used for anything and everything it would be ineffective as would any punishment. Kids are inherently curious which leads them to "misbehave." I have to follow the link yet but I'll be interested to see when and how often spanking was utilized, were there any other consequences used and what qualified as misbehaving.

Sarah... SarahHall58

My mom spanked me twice and that's all I needed. I deserved it. She had other alternative measures than spanking. I'm not sure how we can teach children not to hit when they're being hit. Haven't figured that out yet. My dad was a "do as I say not as I do parent" I lead by example

Krista Tower

I never have a never will spank my child. I was never spanked and I turned out just fine.

Casey Lynae Kingman

I've never spanked for silly reasons. Things like I told you five times not to do it or you will get spanked, or when they do something I know they know they shouldn't have done, such as swear, steal or hit another kid. I am expecting my first child but I have plenty of nieces and nephews and they are always on the best behavior with auntie. I use rewarding just as much as punishment tho, kids need to know and understand both sides. If you behave and do good you earn more and have more fun, if you do bad you lose things (such as dessert) and you don't get to have as much fun. Of corse kids will misbehave if the only time they get any attention (even when it is negitive attention like timeout, yelling, spanking) is when they are naughty enough to get you to stop what your doing and pay attention to them. Positive reinforcement is just as important if not more important then negitive reinforcement. Spanking can be a very effective tool when used properly you have to reward to and you always go to spanking as a worse punishment not your go to punishment.

nonmember avatar Sharon Chavez

I Am a mother of 2 and expecting my 3rd. And I am a firm believer of spanking. I usually warn my kids three times, then if they r still misbehaving then they get a whooping. I don't believe you should spank out of anger. If I am angry I take the time to calm down first. I see so many parents that are against discipline they let their kids be outrageous. We are here to raise the next generation and kids now days are so disrespectful and think they can get away with murder. Their has been more violence and bullying now days because these kids have parents that let them walk all over them for fear of " damaging their delicate minds". If I had tried to talk back I knew I was gonna get it. I will not allow my kids to grow up to be despicable human beings. Things are different for every child, but it annoys me that people allow kids to run rampant saying they will be kids. Yes but there is a time and place for everything. So yes spanking is very effective in moderation.

Lane-... Lane-Moja

We reserve spanking to communicate the danger of an action our son is being warned against. Stove, outlets, running toward the street etc. Then he will associate those actions with danger and pain. One firm spank to the bum is enough. With an explination, that he needs to listen, he can get hurt, that we love him and don't want him hurt, so he needs to listen. Always then hugs and kisses.

As his language has developed, spanking has become less neccessary.

pippi311 pippi311

My kids get time outs first and if that doesn't curb the behavior, or like in a couple instances where my oldest is feeling extra defiant and refuses to even go to time out, then I will count to 5 and warn that a spanking is coming if he still wants to continue with the bad behavior. So I have had to spank a few times. I don't necessarily like it, but it usually stops the behavior. And just like with time outs, we have a discussion after where I explain why he was spanked so he understands to not behave like that again. Then I remind him how much I love him.

It works for our family and I know I am not abusing him so I really don't give a crap what anyone else thinks.

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