The spanking debate is one that always sends sparks flying on Circle of Moms, and it was no different when member Gloria S. asked whether there are ever "circumstances when spanking a child over age five is warranted.” Do moms who spank generally decide to stop when their kids reach a certain age?
Some Circle of Moms members who spank insist that spanking remains necessary during the grade school years — for certain types of children. Michelle R., a mom of four who spanks all of her kids, including her 11-year-old, explains: "Every child is different, so if you know that you can go to your child and verbally reprimand them and it is effective, then you don't need to spank that child. . . . My oldest son still gets a spanking because I know that is the ONLY way that I can get through to him when he has disobeyed. . . .You must do what you know is best for your children. I was spanked as a child and it worked back then and it still works today.”
Still, many Circle of Moms members, including Sandra S., believe very strongly that children should never be spanked, no matter their ages or the circumstances. Here are the reasons why Sandra and others believe spanking is an inappropriate form of discipline for kids once they hit the grade school years. (For another perspective, read Why I Spanked.)
1. Spanking is hitting
Many Circle of Moms members believe spanking is wrong in the same way that it is wrong for adults to hit each other. “Let’s call a spade a spade,” says Teal R. “Hitting a child is wrong. As wrong as if your husband hit you, or you hit an animal. Discipline means to teach, not to hit. Spanking is an emotional minefield. It's cruel, mean, unkind, spiteful, violent and never, ever necessary. . . .Why would I trust someone who is supposed to love and keep me safe if they hit me? I have never respected anyone who hits another person.”
2. Spankings humiliate older kids
Though numerous Circle of Moms members feel that a gentle spank on the bottom can be effective for younger children, when children get older, spanking can be especially humiliating and have a lasting impact on self esteem. Kimberly B. explains: "Spankings were only effective for me when my children were very young and these were spankings to prevent them from harming themselves or others. After that point it was all about punishments or rewards, because as they get older, the message we are sending children is that we are hitting them." Rebecca J. agrees: "I think that spanking should stop when your child hits puberty," she says.
Many Circle of Moms members who do spank avoid doing it in public — for kids of any age — for this reason. As Melissa T. explains, "No one likes to be humiliated. I don't judge people who do spank their children, as long as they don't do it in public or in front of other people, because then you are humiliating and belittling your child. . . some people could consider that emotional abuse."
3. Spanking instills unnecessary fear
Many Circle of Moms members maintain spanking is too harsh of a punishment and provokes unnecessary fear in children — fear that can backfire. “As a child and youth counselor and mother, I would recommend some other alternatives to spanking,” says Kalloosit D. “Spanking is just a glorified [and] physical method of instilling fear in the child.” Other Circle of Moms members, including Teal R. and Kathy S., who were both spanked as children, say it permanently damaged their relationships with their parents. Teal shares that her parents' insistence on spankings cost them her "respect, love and trust;" Kathy that she "lost respect" for hers.
4. Spanking teaches that violence is okay
Many Circle of Moms members, including Katherine C., believe that spanking demonstrates a lack of emotional control on the part of the parents. “It's just a form of corporal punishment showing power. A child is supposed to learn from you. What do they learn from this? Violence. I'll admit I have gotten angry and done it, but then cried because I felt so terrible. Hurting does not teach or guide. It just shows a lack of emotional control. It makes you feel terrible.”
5. There are more effective ways to discipline
Many moms say spanking is often a reactive, poorly thought out punishment, and that there are other, more effective ways to discipline older kids, such as grounding or removal of privileges. As Circle of Moms members Betty J. says, “Time outs work fine for me. They take a little more time but it's worth it when it means teaching your children right from wrong. When I do the time outs I just sit her in a designated area and give her time to calm down."
And Kathy S. explains it this way: “I really believe that spanking is the easy way out. Proper discipline (teaching, guiding) is hard. It’s hard, but so worth it. I get so tired of the argument that if you don't spank them you'll lose your authority and they'll run wild . . . My three kids were never hit. They are now beautiful, gentle, well-balanced young women."
What do you do to discipline an older child effectively and without spanking?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.