To Spank or Not to Spank

This is a loaded topic, and possibly one I should be steering clear of. People tend to feel very strongly about their views, and it’s easy to offend someone unintentionally. But as it’s come up in the comment section of my blog recently, I thought I’d address the subject.

First off, let me state that the kind of spanking I write about, the kind of spanking I fantasize about, is purely of the adult variety. Meaning even if there is age-play involved (one person pretending to be a child or being treated like one), it’s understood to be between two (or more) consenting adults.

I understand that people have fantasies based on being punished when they were children, and sometimes they discuss/write about those experiences. I have read (and enjoyed) series which were about boys or girls who were disciplined by an adult figure in their lives, and as long as it was clear the interest was purely parental (i.e., not sexual), then I have no problem with that. I also realize other people write sexual stories about younger-than-adult individuals being disciplined — I am not going to pass judgment on them but I personally don’t have any interest in those types of stories or fantasies.

Regarding the subject of disciplining children, whether one’s own or in a classroom situation, I feel the issue is not at all black and white. I always feel impatient when I read people posting things like “they should bring back paddling in schools” or “if more parents spanked their children there would be less problems with youth today.” It even bugs me when I read posts on how Lindsay Lohan would be straightened out if someone just took her over their knee, etc. While I totally understand the frustration and the desire to dissipate that frustration with a good walloping, the fact is that IT WOULDN’T WORK.

I don’t mean it wouldn’t work because “violence is never the answer.” I don’t necessarily feel “spanking in any form is harmful violence.” It totally depends on the context and the individuals involved. (And btw, when I say “spanking” I am referring to an open-handed swat, on the buttocks or thigh, which is very limited in intensity and done more to gain attention and reinforce a strong statement. I’m not talking about whaling on someone with a belt.) Do I believe you can raise a happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved child without ever spanking her? Definitely. Do I believe you can also raise a happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved child if you have to give her a pop on the rear once or twice? Yes, I do.

I happen to believe the key to raising a happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved child doesn’t depend on whether you spank her or not. It depends on providing a host factors, and discipline is only one of them. Furthermore, “discipline” doesn’t always mean spanking or yelling or even time out. Consistency and limits are more important than how harsh a punishment is applied. Paying attention to a child’s needs (and this is NOT the same as making your life revolve around your child, which I believe is harmful) is vital. Studies have shown even negative attention is better than no attention at all in regards to a child’s self-esteem. But positive attention is obviously the best, and people shouldn’t have children if they’re not prepared to spend the time necessary to raise them right.

Setting a good example is more important than endless rules and lecturing. The best way to teach a child to respect others is to show her respect in how you treat her, and demonstrate respect in how you treat others. I had a friend say to me once, “I never respect elders automatically…they have to EARN my respect.” Well, I don’t agree with this either. I believe that every human being should be accorded respect automatically, unless they demonstrate they don’t deserve it. And I come from a culture that accords respect to elders, because they usually have gained wisdom simply by the fact of being on this earth longer.

I’m not saying everyone who is older is wiser — of course there are idiots in every age group. And if someone treats you badly, regardless of their age, you should try to avoid them. But the simple act of living takes fortitude and courage from all of us, and since we never know what other people are going through or have gone through, we should respect their experience…unless we’re shown otherwise.

Giving your child love and support and reinforcing her sense of self-worth is extremely important. But so is teaching her manners and patience and how to deal with setbacks. We’re not doing our children any favors by giving in to them because we want to be liked, or to be their friends. If we truly love them, we will do everything in our power to make sure they grow up to be independent and self-reliant and able to deal with the tough times. If we truly love them, we will make sure they grow into likeable people, rather than spoiled brats, because life is a lot harder when everyone hates you.

We need to be stern when necessary, loving whenever possible, and dependable. Kids want and need limits — even when they rebel they need to know you will be consistent and firm. They need to know their actions have consequences — both positive and negative. Because that’s the way the world works, and the sooner we teach them that the more successful they will be in negotiating it.

If you love your children you will teach them to appreciate all they have to be grateful for, big and small things, because it will make their lives that much richer. You will teach them to laugh, because the whole reason for us to be here is to have joy in our existence. And you will teach them to have compassion, because that is the way to evolve into our highest selves.

You can raise a successful adult with or without spanking. But you can’t raise one if you don’t provide a safe, consistent, loving environment. The bottom line (pun not intended)? For the most part, I think spanking works best between adults who enjoy it. But if you are going to discuss spanking children, then there’s a whole lotta other stuff that should come up in the dialog first.

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55 Responses to To Spank or Not to Spank

  1. disneydyke says:

    You know what? I agree with a lot of this post. I don’t agree with a few things but I agree with your main point. I would say parents need to be parents, simple as that.
    Also, to me discipline to me means guidance and teaching and I think setting boundaries is a way to allow kids some freedom. Kid-freedom. I have this image in my head when I think about boundaries: it’s like fencing a garden so they can play safely inside. Because you are provinding boundaries, they may enjoy some freedom.
    I also remember The catcher in the rye. I read long ago and I need to reread it (this time in english).
    The most beautiful thing in that book (I feel) is how the protagonist wants to protect kids when they are playing, catch them so they don’t fall.
    It’s especially touching because he is a “rebellious” teenager. But those lines about that’s what he wants to be in this life are a fricking tear-jerker every single time.
    This post was touching, Alyx. Thanks for writing it.

    • Alyx says:

      That’s a good point, DD: boundaries allow for freedom. Too many people overlook that. And I agree that’s another very good reason for boundaries. 🙂

    • disneydyke says:

      Darn, maybe too touching, but that’s me being silly. Also, I think people can turn into succesful adults despite adults as well. Or despite some things and thanks to others…

      Neither nature or nurture is destiny.

  2. Mil says:

    I’m not a parent and I’m unsure of my opinion. I do have a slight problem with any judgment towards parents on either side.

    I would love to think I would never have to spank my children, but I come from a family of many children, and I’m aware of how practical spanking can be in controlling chaos. I just think some parents are stretched to their limit… they may not have the time to think about how a spanking is going to affect/damage their child long term… perhaps they don’t have the luxury of thinking about anything long term. They just need an immediate fix to whatever is happening right now so they can get on with what’s next. I don’t like it, but I understand and can sympathise with both children and parents. Perhaps these are the parents that shouldn’t breed (goodness knows my folks should have stopped after a few – had they not heard of contraception for crying out loud). There is that Maslow’s Hierarchy? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs) I know it’s just a theory, and probably outdated too, but it kind of illustrates my ideas on this. I think some of us are occupied down the bottom there.

    • Alyx says:

      That was an interesting link, Mil, thank you. I totally agree that providing the basic needs is vital, but satisfying those upper tiers is important too. That’s part of what I was trying to say in my post — there are so many important factors to consider in raising children…more important really than handing out a swat.

      And for the record, while I know the level of frustration can be overwhelming in parenting, I don’t agree with spanking while angry. That’s not the right mindset for discipline of any kind.

  3. Bahama girl says:

    Alyx , your post have some good points. I too come from a large family, here in the islands ( I live in the Bahamas ) it was common place when I was a child to get a spanking , in my case whoopin. I am 13 of 14 children and it’s safe to say that my lilttle sister and I were never denied anything. I just was bad man , ain know how my mother dealt with me because I know I couldn’t . When I had my first son………. O my lord I didn’t know I could love someone that much in my life. All I wanted to do us to keep him safe and shower him with all the love I had to give . Like I stated I come from a big family and not everyone like u said in your post have the same views on discipline , I got a lot of bad advice and a spanked my eldest about three times and to this day ( he’s 19 ) I still regret that. My sons are my heart and soul and I still don’t get how I got so lucky because I was a total nightmare for my mother. Look ,all I’m sayin is if you think spanking your child works for you then do that. Still can’t believe that I’m some bodies MOM ! Never saw that one comin 🙂

    • Alyx says:

      You sound like a good mom, Bahama Girl. Maybe it’s the naughtiest ones that know best what to avoid? 😉 I personally wouldn’t hand out the kind of whoopin you’re talking about either. But it did make you determined not to use the switch, eh?

  4. Amy says:

    This topic reminds me of the movie Tree of Life. One of the major themes in the movie is nature vs. nurture.
    The movie is SUPER artsy. It does have a plotline, though. Basically, the movie is about the creation of the planet. At the beginning of the movie, there are a lot of explosions and glaciers and things, obviously representing nature and its violent powers. After awhile, the movie breaks into the story of a Catholic 1950s family. The father of the family (played by Brad Pitt) represents nature. He is really tough on his kids. He spanks them and even beats them. The mother of the family represents nurture. She wishes her husband wouldn’t be so violent.

    Tree of Life has the most beautiful cinematography that I have ever seen.

    • Alyx says:

      That does look like a beautifully-shot film, Amy. I think all parents are flawed, just because all human beings are flawed. The best we can do is be a little more evolved than the last generation, to try to make life better to those that follow. I believe most parents try to do that, but everyone has different ideas of how best to do that. The Brad Pitt character obviously thought he’d be benefitting his children by making them as tough as possible. Other parents think giving their kids every material advantage is the best way. I don’t agree with either — the former creates fearful/callous individuals, the latter doesn’t allow the kids to learn the value of earning something for yourself. It’s a damn tough job.

  5. Ash says:

    This was great Alyx! 😀 Obviously with me growing up in Norway, I feel I can never agree with spanking kids… not even a swat. When reading about this debate on Norwegian forums, there will be a few (very few in fact) that will say that a swat or even a spanking is okay if you do it when the child has done something really bad, and A LOT of people who are totally against it and believe that there are better ways no matter what. I was raised in a country where it is a crime to hit a child, and so naturally I cannot see the the point in doing so. I remember living in England and I saw a mom give a little toddler a swat just because she was running around a little in the store, and I knew that it was not my place to say anything, but I felt bad for that kid. She was so young, and she probably didn’t even understand. Her mom certainly did not explain, she just popped her butt. I understand that having kids is hard believe me I do, after watching after my niece, even if only for a day, I am exhausted. So kudos to all parents! I can’t believe mine had 4! And Bahama girl’s mom had 14! I didn’t even know that was possible. OWWW!!!

    What I really liked though, was that you mentioned that kids want boundaries, and that we should give them attention. Now… my parents never hit me, and I like to think I am a good person. Even if I am a little naughty sometimes, I do care about people, animals and this planet. Yes, I am one of those who recycle… people should try it sometimes. Just throwing in a comment that grownups who don’t should be spanked!!!! Teach your kids too! Anyways what was I saying? Oh yeah… I was not hit, but I was very overlooked as a child, and I was never punished for anything. I remember one time me and a friend did something bad, and even though we didn’t mean to be bad, I think we should have gotten in trouble. Well she did get into trouble with her parents, and I did not. My mother didn’t even mention it and pretended like it never happened, and I felt really bad.At the time I didn’t want her to punish me, but I feel we should at least have talked about it. Over the years stuff happened in my family I am not going to talk about, but the result was that I became more distant from my parents, and I don’t feel like talking to them about things. I know they love me, but I don’t feel supported emotionally. I don’t want to tell my mom about my problems and let her be there for me, and that is a shame, because I know that if I had kids I would be there for them and let them come to me with anything. I’m not having any, but if I did, I would.

    I am not blaming my parents for everything that is wrong with me, but I know that I should have gotten more attention, and yes, more limits. I stopped doing my homework around the age of 12, because that is when I realized no one would notice anyway. I never got help with them, and no one checked them. I got through school with okay grades, and I don’t think I am dumb, but I know that I could have done so much better if someone taught me to care about those things. I just thought homework was a stupid, pointless thing, grownups wanted you to do just because. Thank the Goddess I developed a crush on my English teacher in Elementary school and discovered I was actually good at it. I did everything for a sticker in my book. 😀 I wish my French and Spanish teachers were that awesome, but no… I have to find the motivation in myself. *pout*

    • Ash says:

      Aarghh… now I hate my post. It just goes on and on… and it’s not very good. *Hides in shame*

    • Alyx says:

      I think that was a great post, Ash! It was informative and very well expressed. I think a law like you have in Norway is a good thing. Because while I do believe you can spank without damaging a child, I don’t believe most parents do it properly. (*g* I know it’s arrogant of me to say so since I don’t have children, but I’m going to say it anyway.)

      In addition, like I said in my post and like you confirmed, giving your child the necessary attention and appreciation and boundaries is far more important. At least you know if you have kids not to let them grow up without any limits. 🙂

  6. Some very good points here, and your post was well written, Alyx. I have to say that spanking isn’t and should not be abuse, and also that other forms of enforcing discipline do work. Like you, my own interest is between consenting adults and I have no problem with age play at all.

    • Alyx says:

      Thanks Lynne/Often123. I was not condoning abuse of any kind, and I totally agree that discipline between consenting adults of what we should be concerning ourselves with.

  7. Ana says:

    You’re a brave woman to tackle this subject, Alyx. Most spankos feels the need to loudly decry any spanking of children, ever, to make a clear distinction between what they do and what happens to real-life children. I was just asked on my blog if my relationship with D had any echoes of a mother-daughter relationship, and I said no. With adults it is very different, even if you do have some nurturing/maternal qualities as someone who spanks/disciplines. Adult ttwd is *always* consensual and therefore by definition can’t replicate the nonconsensual dynamics of a parent-child spanking. It may be fun as an adult to play around with those dynamics, but it’s not the same. (And shouldn’t be, in my opinion.)

    Also, the stories that you write do tend to have a maternal quality, loving and nurturing. Just not of children. 🙂

    • Alyx says:

      Well, I do respect the views of those who refuse to spank. But as I don’t feel spanking (when used properly and rarely) is necessarily abuse, and especially when compared with all the other ways parents neglect their children, I wanted to address the topic.

      Yes, most of my stories do tend to have a maternal quality, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that appeals to people. So many of us long for that ideal authority figure — someone to nurture us and warm our bottoms when needed. All within a completely negotiated relationship, of course. 🙂

  8. sparrow says:

    When considering nature, I cannot help but notice how instinctual it is for animals to cuff their young for being overly rambunctious, doing something dangerous, or something annoying that disrespects the code of the pack or the parent’s status as their alpha that must be heeded. It seems spanking one’s wayward progeny is ‘natural’.
    I can’t help but be reminded of the reaction of a parent to a child’s running into the street or walking off in a mall, to be snatched back in the nick of time or found safely wandering in the toy store. The insanely distraught parent’s first reaction is to grab the child in a hug. The second reaction is quite often a smack on the kids butt and the words ‘Don’t you ever do that again!’ I think that kid knows instantly that they have just scared the peanuts out of mom’s M&M’s, are deeply loved, and have just done something bad enough to be punished. The ‘law’ has no business intruding into that scenario.
    I don’t think a spanking to get a child’s attention, and assert the parent’s alpha authority, is something criminal. As long as it is of short duration, administered with the hand, and followed by a calm discussion on why whatever the child did was wrong. It is especially effective prior to the age of six when reason is as useful to use with the child as it is to be used on the family puppy who keeps crapping in your slippers. Smacking the carpet with a rolled up newspaper and saying ‘bad girl’ isn’t going to be too effective with the kid either. I object to the use of any implements to be used on a child, because they have no purpose in my mind other than to inflict greater pain. That is the kind of abuse that is the ‘business of the law’. The most important part of a spanking should be the clear assurance to the child that they are forgiven, trusted to not repeat the bad behavior, and that they are loved.
    I don’t think that having been spanked or not having been spanked as a child is all that relevant to why we are drawn to TTWD. Disregarding the erotic factor, I am more inclined to believe that is more likely the result of having been neglected by parents who abdicated their responsibilities, or parents who were too distracted to give all the attention that was wanted, or parents who maybe were addicted to some substance, or thing- (like power/money/work/etc,) or who were mentally unstable and victims themselves of some dysfunctional family dynamic. I think as adults, when we are gripped by fear, or insecurity, or hormone storms, or a boss we want to kick in the nads, or are faced with disconcerting choices, there is no question that the stress can be relieved with a spanking. What kind of spanking is a personal preference that can range from a partner who uses reason and an occasional smack on the rear outside of the bedroom to DD to BDSM and beyond. When talking about adults, its ‘different strokes for different folks’, literally.
    Screaming outbursts, cursing, name calling and violent behavior directed at a child are incredibly abusive and can do far more harm than a hand-smack to the bottom. Those parents need some serious intervention from a psychiatrist or Child Protective Services. I think that children in dysfunctional environments either emulate that bad parent or distance themselves from the parent and seek what they need from others. Lucky is the kid who finds a nurturing teacher, coach, or friend’s mom or dad to give them guidance and approval. Unlucky is the kid who falls under the influence of a predator. I believe that children who are raised in either benign or abusive neglect fall into two categories: The Because Of category who continue to listen to the distorted messages they received, and the In Spite Of category, whose tape has been edited and corrected by positive influences that the child was lucky enough to stumble across.

    The child of such an environment as these is not destined to live their life listening to the tape with all those corrupt messages. I think Disney Dyke is dead on when she says neither nature nor nurture is destiny.
    I fully believe in Self Actualization as defined by Abraham Maslow and Karen Horney. Even if we come from the most twisted family dynamic one can imagine, we are none of us destined to become the kind of people our parents were, nor are we destined to see ourselves forever as they recorded our tapes. Those tapes can be edited.

    • disneydyke says:

      Darn, sparrow, I agree with a lot of what you say. Still not in favor of any smacking, but I think if I’m shaken by this post and the responses is because… Well, I’m coming to believe some stuff can be worse than a smack.

      I need to believe neither nature nor nurture is destiny.

      Then again, some of us are what we are both because of and spite of… I really think it’s good I didn’t get spanked as a kid (well, it actually happened two or three times, only once by my mother). I was already really afraid of most adults.

      I think that’s why I got to ramble in response to Kayla in the other post. I know Kayla was joking around about making kids scared again. I know it.

      But I really think lots of kids are already scared. I don’t think fear is good.

      Respect (both ways) is.

      Here went a rambling that got me all shaken again. Which gets me to this…

      Neither nature nor nurture is destiny, but they play an important role and freedom is sometimes about acknowledging that role and play our cards accordingly.

      Also, I’m partly what I am thanks to how I was raised and in spite of how I was raised.

    • Alyx says:

      Needless to say I agree with a lot of what you say, Sparrow. And the swift swat on the rear (single, with hand) you describe is pretty much what I had in mind when I talk about spanking children. I know none of us condone violence against human beings….it’s just a matter of how we define violence. We both agree on the fact that there are far worse things you can do when raising a child than a smack on the rear.

      Agree too about being in charge of one’s own destiny. We are strongly influenced by our environment, and sometimes moving beyond it is a life-long battle. But it definitely can be done.

  9. Bahama girl says:

    Boy , sparrow that was deep. DD u wasn’t ramblin too much babes 🙂 I think a lot of people are going to trip out in a minute over this post. The purpose of this site is like a tikki hut to a mansion when discussing dd and bdsm to spanking of a child. The two can never meet. You’re right sparrow in some cases spanking works , and there is a thin line between spanking and abuse. Be truthful people there are times that you get so angry and the next thing you know you lash out without thinking , and my brother with children Job ( homeboy from the bible) will have a hard time at times. We test each other everyday in different ways , but children test u every minute ( I should know I was one of them, my poor ma ) look a lot of people believe if you don’t have a child u can’t have an opinion , like the term my mother always used…… If you want to know me come live with me. I for one never wanted to have children , because of how wicked I was ( karma is a bitch ) , but I was lucky to have two boys that made me find patience I didn’t know I had. I say again , I don’t think spanking a child is wrong , if that’s how you want to discpline your child, then who am I to say different . Just know how far go and never punish in anger, it never ends well for no one.
    DD , and u thought u was ramblin 🙂

    • disneydyke says:

      I think we all get to have an opinion on account on all of us having been children. 🙂

      I’m sure you wren’t that terrible, BahamaGirl. A handful maybe, but I happen to think some of the most naughtiest or most rebellious kids grow up to be the happiest and sanest adults.

      And darn, I need to say it again: that picture is so fricking cute I can’t almost believe it. 🙂

      P.S. I feel lighter after some soul-searching prompted by this post. Sparrow, I’m team Self-Actualization too. And I will probably get you a FanClub once and for all.

    • Alyx says:

      I agree that children will test you every minute. I can tell that and I don’t even have to have kids! *g* But there isn’t much one should do in anger anyway — it rarely comes out well. And patience is mandatory when dealing with kids. I can see why it’s best to ban spanking altogether — lots of people don’t know when they’re crossing the line.

  10. Loki Renard says:

    Don’t have kids and won’t have kids. That disclaimer aside, I strongly disagree with hitting children in any form. Why? Because it’s unsporting for starters. If you’re going to hit someone, hit someone who can turn around and hit you back – or in the case of TTWD, who can consent to it. Don’t hit someone who depends on you for sustenance, shelter and love, someone you spawned out of the ether because you thought it might be fun to have a kid. There’s just something sickening and gross about the idea of laying hands on something smaller and weaker than oneself. Doubly so when that smaller and weaker thing only exists because you made it exist.

    Parents control every aspect of a kid’s life. They control what toys they have, what food they eat, where and when they sleep / play / etc. If you can’t engineer any of that into a behavioral solution without resorting to the type of treatment a poop flinging primate might hand out, then you’re really not trying IMO.

    • disneydyke says:

      Actually most primates never hit their own spring. Well at least i know bonobos dont. There is a video about a bonobo mother taking away a pair of scissors from her kid. She didnt snatch them away and she didnt swat.

      But i know, not your point.

    • Ash says:

      Yeah!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I tried… but I always try no be really nice.
      Not that you are not nice, Loki. You are super! 😀 I am just afraid of people yelling at me for having a strong opinion. *sigh*

      • disneydyke says:

        Well, I saw Loki’s comment and thought: how does one get a level in Lokiness? Felt silly admitting to this but now we are two… Which really speaks volumes of my cowardice.
        I’m a coward, that’s the truth. For someone so opposed to hitting in any form, I just witnessed a woman slapping his kid in the arm and didn’t say a darn thing (stared at her though, but that’s probably worse for the kid). Granted, I’m really sleepy today and when I saw that I was actually kind of numb… Still…

        I wish I would be less of a freaking chatterbox and more about meaningful action.

    • Alyx says:

      As usual very neatly expressed, Loki. 🙂 And opposing spanking seems pretty black and white — one can say “hitting is bad” and it’s hard to disagree with that statement.

      However I know a lot of troubled people, and in almost none of the cases is their damage the result of being spanked as a child. Some of the angriest people I know were not spanked, and yet the damage done to them by their upbringing can’t be denied. So that tells me things are not that black and white, and that there are other factors which are important to address.

      Unfortunately it’s not as easy to rail against ignoring one’s child, or wanting to be their friend (and therefore leaving them without boundaries and careening like a car without brakes), or giving them everything they ask for without making them work for anything (thereby creating someone who is never satisfied, and rarely appreciative), or criticizing them constantly (thereby undermining their self-esteem). Or a dozen other things I could mention which result in surprisingly damaged adults.

      So I get what you are saying…but I feel there is actually a way to discipline without turning into an out-of-control monster. Or even a poop-flinging primate. *g*

  11. disneydyke says:

    With all my rambling I forgot something. I oppose to spanking not because of the consequences it might have on the future adult. I believe some stuff is not right even if it ends up being harmless or even if it works.

    Yes, children need to grow up into adults but in the meantime, they are people too.

    • disneydyke says:

      Not that you, Alyx, think they are not people. Actually I think there’s a bigger debate which is: children are a special kind of people and they can’t obviously have some rights: right to vote or drive or drink.
      Even people like me who oppose spanking think it’s within a parent’s right to force a child to get a shot or to secure a toddler in her carseat even if she doesn’t like it.
      But that’s different than punishing a child by hitting her. Of course I get the difference between a smack and walloping on someone with a belt.
      But there are people who are in favor of more serious spanking, so where do you draw the line? A smack? Two?
      The brits have something like: as long as it doesn’t cause bruises…
      I think it’s best to say: no hitting of any kind.
      (That doesn’t mean I think the parent smacking her errant kid in the mall should be sent to jail. I just think she should realize she needs to pay closer attention to her kid and acknowledge: hey, I got scared and I hit you, I’m sorry. Well, of course I would say that, huh?)
      But back to my point. I believe childrens’ bodies are theirs. It’s sometimes absolutely necesary to violate their personal boundaries and make them take meds or make them go through a hurtful though necessary medical procedure.
      And even in those cases I believe it should be done in the gentlest way.
      However, I don’t think it’s necesary to smack to teach a lesson.
      Speaking of which, I think one of the most important lessons is: hey, Timmy, your body is yours.

      Too rambley again. But I feel I had gotten sucked into another debate and forgotten about an important point.

      • Alyx says:

        I think it’s a good point that children’s bodies are their own, Disneydyke. I feel very strongly about that too. I guess where we disagree is whether a smack would fall under the unpleasant-things-like-shots-and-carseats category. We are responsible for helping our children grow up safe and happy, even if it means some sacrifices and doing unpleasant things. But I agree it’s almost impossible to tell people where to draw the line. Heck, you can’t tell people anything about raising their kids, no matter how bad a job they’re doing!

  12. Kayla says:

    Okay here is a snippet of a much longer ramble I’ve left in Mr. Word. *g*

    Poop flinging primates huh? I know we like to think of ourselves as better than animals because of our intelligence but I would like you to think about which species rapes, murders, tortures, mutilates and annihilates its own kind? I have to say that I am team Alyx and Sparrow on this one. As always ladies, I admire your ability to express yourselves.

    Well I do believe in spanking a child. It is only ONE part of discipline though. When words and actions are not enough sometimes you need something a little sterner for them to get the point that what they are doing is dangerous to themselves. As parents we have the responsibility to protect our children and to teach them right from wrong. We also have to love them and sometimes that love comes in the form of a swat.

    I’ll just leave it at that

    • Kayla says:

      P.S. I miss you Loki. 🙂

    • Alyx says:

      (Glad to see you’re using Word for spell-check, Kayla. *bg*)

      I think non-human animals (since we’re animals too) generally have better instincts when it comes to a lot of things, including raising their young. Which I think is part of your point, and Sparrow’s too. Of course there are always exceptions, and even other animals rely on what they are taught by their own parents.

      But is an interesting debate, so thanks for your input. 🙂

  13. quietgirl says:

    Alyx, you did a beautiful job of expressing your views and showing a fair degree of respect to people on both sides of this argument, which is impressive on its own.
    I understand completely what you mean by saying that providing effective boundaries is far more important than the severity of a punishment, and also have to agree with the assessment that the ultimate goal for a parent is to raise a child to become a good adult. I have seen so many kids who have no rules or guidance and do act like spoiled brats, and I have concerns that their parents have set them up to not be liked by others, which will make life harder than it should be.
    I myself was spanked as a child and will never argue that I was abused, but there are plenty of times when I feel that explaining proper behavior or talking with me after the spanking would have been helpful too.
    As an adult, the few times I have received serious spankings, I was always given the chance to discuss my behavior, and was always assured that the top cared for me and was only punishing me out of concern for my safety (I was spanked for texting while driving, and for losing too much weight, which was considered not taking care of myself), and I always knew that if she felt that it was not helpful, I would not have been spanked. More importantly, I could always count on the top to forgive me after the spanking and let me know I was still cared for.
    I think that the main point of any form of discipline or rules should be care and concern for the well-being of who it is being done for.
    My compliments on how thoughtfully you addressed this whole subject.

  14. quietgirl says:

    Also, good for you for making a point not to judge anyone else for their point of view, which is easy to do at times. Good job!

    • Alyx says:

      Thanks, Quietgirl. I, too, was spanked as a child, but fortunately not abused in any way. I think I might turned out the same (whether that’s good or bad I’ll leave for others to decide *bg*) whether my parents spanked me or not. Because (and this was my whole point) the things they provided which shaped me in a positive way had nothing to do with spanking. And if those things weren’t there, I (and my many siblings) wouldn’t be the generally well-adjusted bunch we are today.

      So did they damage us by spanking? No, I don’t think so. However your point about spanking without explanation is a good one. I think the discussion part is actually more important, and especially the “after care” you mention. We all need to feel forgiven and not have mistakes hanging over us.

      • quietgirl says:

        I agree with you completely that the discussion part is probably more important than anything. A large part of making any discipline effective would seem to be some explanation or understanding of the circumstances, and the ability for both parties to know what is going through the head of the other. I realize that it can be far easier to have a reasonable conversation with an adult, but even with a child, I believe discussing why behavior is wrong and will earn punishment is critical.
        As I have said, I feel that the discussion and explanation was something dealt with much better when I have been spanked as an adult, but that has left me wishing I had that aspect sooner.
        The after care is equally important. In addition to making us feel forgiven, it can serve to remind us that the spanking was done out of care, and that while there may be fear of being spanked, the disciplinarian themself should not be feared.
        I am in agreement that spanking can be an effective punishment, but there has to be the effort to do it in such a way that emotional well being is the major priority.

  15. Katherine says:

    I grew up with both grounding and spanking. I was only punished after repeat offenses, usually hugging fixed the problem. No punishment was ever given in anger, both of my parents made sure of that. I was usually grounded for not focusing on my responsibilities like blowing off chores to hang with friends. I was only grounded when I needed to reestablish boundaries and good habits. Spanking: It was only done by my mother, never my father (i’m a girl), and only when I did something that was considered disrespectful to myself or my parents (that did not include arguing with them, I could always speak my mind freely), and only after I was scolded so that I wanted to be forgiven. This only came about after years of me disobeying them, and spanking only really came about once I hit twelve. I don’t have kids so I can only speculate. However, I would like to do as my parents did: only use spanking as a last resort. The only time even a hairbrush was used on me was the last time I got spanked. I was eighteen, and shouted at my mother to F off. It was either that or pack up and move out.

  16. Katherine says:

    I also NEVER felt scared of my parents, only punishment. It didn’t really click in my brain that I was being punished because my actions were wrong or harmful until I was about thirteen.

    • Alyx says:

      I think grounding can be an effective punishment as well, Katherine. And your point about never being punished in anger is vital, I feel. Also what you mention about your mother being the one to spank, as you are female. That’s a good point too. Whenever I read about older children being punished that way by an opposite-sex parent, or being punished in front of siblings, I feel very uncomfortable. The descriptions are usually written as a sort of “spanky porn” (and often by men), but I believe it does happen in RL too, and I don’t agree with that.

      • Katherine says:

        Unfortunately, it does. My friend’s little sister was misbehaving, and instead of her mother punishing her in her room, she was punished in front of me. I didn’t mention it to my friend , however, it made me feel very uncomfortable. Grounding did work sometimes for me, but it usually left me feeling unforgiven, or like my parents wanted me out of their hair so it was cut short. Spanking always helped me get over the issue quickly, and I think my parents felt the same. My siblings were most often grounded, but I was sort of a problem child when I got older.

  17. SP says:

    Late to the party. Great essay Alyx, very balanced view and nicely presented, as usual. 🙂
    But this line “there are idiots in every age group” made me laugh – so very true! By the same token, there are brats in every age group AND every profession too, methinks. Yes? *vbg*

    • Alyx says:

      Ah, good point, SP. There are certainly brats in every age group, and I’m sure every profession too. I’m willing to bet certain professions may have more than their share, however. *cough* You definitely represent yours well. 😀

  18. Gingerwolf says:

    From 2-18 and maybe even longer if I continue to live with my parents, if I did something dangerous to my or another’s mental or physical being I got a trip to mom to get the belt (no protecting garments) and yeah it was embarrassing and pain full but it was because I knew I’d done something wrong. I see kids now and I think some need a good reminder that you respect your elders for the fact that they know more and have seen more. I dont think you have to spank your kid but with some kids it just helps get the point acrost.

    • Alyx says:

      Welcome, Gingerwolf. 🙂 I think 2 years old is a much too young for heavy physical punishment, and I would only use a belt for consensual punishment myself. *g* But thanks for contributing your view.

      • Gingerwolf says:

        Yeah at two it was like 2-3 light swats and a 10 min corner time after about 6 it was much longer and harder and the corner time ranged from 30 min to an hour. I don’t think I’ll ever want the belt it’s been awhile since I last got it. I guess I’m doing something right haha. 🙂

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