Don’t Spank Your Kid Just Because Your Parents Spanked You

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shutterstock_195558152There’s something that rubs me the wrong way about parents who do something “just because their parents did.” I’ve heard this a hundred times, and I’ve been guilty of it myself. But I believe that part of being a loving, open-minded parent is to question everything that you do and determine whether or not it will benefit your specific child, even if it has been passed down from previous generations.

This is your parenting game, not anyone else’s. That is why it is almost physically painful for me to hear people justify their decision to spank for precisely this reason: “My parents spanked me, and I turned out fine.”

I was this close to making the same decision for my family, until I questioned the practice and realized that I don’t support spanking in any way, shape, or form. My husband and I were both raised in religious homes, and for this reason, we were both spanked often as kids. The whole “spare the rod” mentality made spanking an unquestionable part of the Christian parenting practice. In our households, you spanked kids when they acted up. That’s just what you did.

But there are many things that my parents did that I don’t plan on doing. Spanking is one of them. I don’t necessarily hold spanking against my mother or feel that I was physically abused, but I don’t see any reason to repeat the practice with my kids. I can think of literally dozens of other ways to deal with an issue than to get physical with my child, even if it is a quick spank intended to “get their attention.” Nope.

When this topic was brought up on Reddit, many parents who questioned the practice of spanking passed down from their forefathers had great perspective on the issue:

It doesn’t really work. If you’re spanking a toddler or a preschooler, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a kid that hits other kids. Now, hitting is developmentally normal for the short ones, but if you’ve been hitting the kid too, you’ve got no ground to stand on when you say, “Hey! No Hitting!” Good luck there. I reserved “hitting” for REALLY extreme emergencies, like a child reaching for a pan of boiling water.

I absolutely abhor spanking in any form. I think it is cruel and lazy. It teaches a child to fear the people who are supposed to protect them, and teaches that hitting someone smaller than you is acceptable. The argument I hear most often in defense of hitting children is “Well, I was spanked, and I turned out fine!” That is absolute nonsense – you think that hitting your kid is okay, so in my opinion, no, you did not turn out fine. It astounds me how people equate the results of spanking children with teaching respect. IMO, it’s more about breaking the child’s will and humiliating them into acting how the adult wants them to.

When I worked in a prison, it shocked me at first that no one had guns or other weapons. It was explained to me like very simply, and a light bulb went off after i thought for 30 seconds: “When you carry a weapon in a prison, you’ve just brought a weapon into a prison.” When you start using physical violence in your family, you’ve just introduced physical violence into your family.

Thank you, brilliant posters of Reddit. Cruel and lazy? Check. Unnecessary physical violence? Check. Instilling fear in a young child? Check, check, check. Parents, I know that we all mean well and are trying to do the best for our kids, but please take a minute to question this practice of spanking. Don’t continue to spank your kid just because your parents spanked you.

(Image: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock)