Reasons Some Parents Spank Their Kids

With few exceptions, parents' needs for their kids are positive, they want what's best for them. Some parents chose to spank, here are a list of reasons for this:

1.  Many they can state.  2. Many others are less conscious and may even be hidden completely. 

Stated Reasons:


1.You were spanked; you think it taught you valuable lessons. You want to do the same for your child.

You might even say you were spanked and turned out fine, in fact even better. However in classes when parents are given the exercise to draw their first childhood discipline memory, they almost always say they had something they needed to learn; then when asked if they could imagine a better way of learning, most of them could. They mention more positive means. Also "fine" is not a high achievement. Most parents are trying for higher marks.  Learning about Positive Discipline techniques teaches all kinds of good things to your child that spanking misses all together.  Discipline means teaching.


2. You think it works.

In the short term, spanking appears to work. The quick stopping of the unwanted behavior can even be reinforcing on the belief system of the parent that spanking works. Still, for true teaching right from wrong, it is by far the least effective form of discipline used by parents. It bypasses teaching any life skills, while it often encourages lying and manipulation. A child who is hit feels wrong inside, the internal shame can actually discourage good behavior since they are so bad anyway. The more he misbehaves, the more he gets spanked and the worse he feels. The cycle continues. What we want is for the child to know he did wrong, and to feel remorse, but to still believe  he is a person of great value and great potential."


3.You think you are teaching about consequences.

Not necessarily. Spanking or hitting is not a real world consequence. As adults, we do not get spanked or hit when we break the law or tell a lie. As a parent, you are not teaching your child about how the real world works. You are teaching them that hitting is okay.


4.You think creating fear in your child is a good thing.

Parents who use spanking do so to correct behavior. They like to believe that if a child fears them, this fear will be a deterrent for bad behavior because they will remember it. This ancient belief comes from treating animals this way. New brain research tells us the child remembers better than most adults. Children can figure things out, and using a more positive discipline method adds to the event the possibility of good learning examples and skills. Also, there is a negative effect of pain, since none of us likes to feel it, on encouraging lying and covering up to avoid it. The biggest loss with this is the child growing into teen years won’t have a person they can discuss things with. Many parents treasure creating the feeling in their child that they are a safe space where he or she can come for any reason, good or bad.


5. You think it is not abuse.

Spanking is not illegal in the US. But isn’t it odd that it is in many other countries, Germany for instance since 2000. Why have others done what we have not? One reason is they see that so much of serious physical abuse starts with spanking. Because it is ineffective it must escalate, and so it often tragically goes into what is illegal child abuse or even death for many children. (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported a total of 1,520 children died from abuse and neglect in 2013.) Therefore "The danger of beginning corporal punishment in the first place is that you may feel you have to bring out bigger guns: your hand becomes a fist, the switch becomes a belt, the folded newspaper becomes a wooden spoon, and now what began as seemingly innocent escalates into child abuse."


6. You think it is biblical to spank.

Many parents, mothers and fathers struggle with the conflict between their faith life telling them to hit their children and their emotional sense that it just doesn't feel right. But this happens to not be a true conflict. Here's why: current biblical scholarship examining the words of the Old Testament especially in the book of Proverbs does not find the advice to hit children or babies. The only case you can make would be young teenage years, when the child is moving toward adulthood and developing life habits. Even in that age, the advice is to pay attention to your child, his life, her friends, their studies, etc. We suspect this to be good news to these parents feeling trapped between their faith and their sensibilities. Good Biblical parents pay attention and protect their kids.

Also, the words rod and spoil do not have the same Biblical meaning as in our modern society. Rod (or sherod) in the bible refers to the shepherd's rod used to tend sheep. This rod was used as a guiding tool and a weapon to protect the sheep from predators. In other words, the shepherd was protecting them. When we think of spoiling today, we think of a child who gets everything they want. They are ungrateful and unruly. In the bible, spoil means to "go bad or rot." In short, this bible verse does not mean that in order to make your child grateful and obedient, you must hit them. It means that in order to make them grow and prosper, you must protect and guide them.For an in depth development of these themes, see our  Christians, Read Here About The Bible and Spanking.


7.You think it makes you a better parent.

You want your child to have advantages you didn't get. That might be better schooling, better parenting, better at sports, happier childhood, and you live in a culture that takes it for granted that spanking does a child good. So you also spank. However if you read the literature on this site under Parenting help, you will see that spanking avoids all the valuable teaching of life skills that Positive Discipline is able to teach. You will become persuaded that spanking is not the correct approach. But it might be hard to go that way when the culture around you hasn't done that research and is on automatic pilot in its parenting. This could include the grandparents, other family members, and friends.

Sources: 9 Reasons Why You Defend Spanking Your Kids | by Katie Proctor | Website: and Al Crowell editing and reshaping.


Hidden Reasons: These reasons, under the radar, are called our unconscious reasons. But they are usually running the show. Knowing about them helps manage our life better.

Also, it's not a matter of being a bad perso. These issues come from our childhood and, once conscious, can become something to work out.


1. If you were spanked, admitting that spanking causes damage could look like admitting that I am damaged.

We are all damaged to one degree or the other. Finding out to what extent is a powerful way to take control of our lives. It's pretty easy to defend ourselves by saying we are okay. But usually we are afraid to look at stuff we have trouble with or don't manage well. Also, when we tell people we are having an “okay day,” it usually is not something to write home about. All of us has baggage from childhood. The clash of our desires and personality with those of our parents is going to leave tracks in our lives that we will try and become more conscious of. When a parent gets some distance from defending how okay they are, it becomes easier to read the material on this site and learn other ways that become quickly and obviously more enhancing for our children. 


2. You might feel the need to defend your parents' parenting.

Loving and feeling a debt to our parents is the natural impulse humans have. Studies even show the worst abused children still protect their parents and want to stay with them. Why should it surprise us that a spanked person would not want to condemn his or her parent?  As the retired footballer, "Cris" Carter said, "I love my momma, she gave me so much, but in this she was wrong. It's the 21st century, we don't hit kids now."


3. “Misery loves company” 

You were spanked and dealt with it, now it's your child's turn to do the same. This is a variation of "misery loves company." It is the underlying cause of what we call the cycle of abuse. And it is hidden from you. Also acting it out doesn't really make you feel successful or happy. Advocating for your child to have a better childhood than you did actually raises your own happiness and self esteem. It also gives you a loving child throughout your life even if you make plenty of mistakes. You will see groups of young adults swapping stories about all the beatings, spankings, and belts in their childhoods. It's like a fraternity of, "We made it through." 


4. Your children don't reflect you and your ways. 

Your children's desires and interests are very different from yours. You worry for them. You also feel bad that you miss out on having a child who shares your interests. The stronger your need to spend time with people who are like you and agree with you, the stronger your discomfort with your child's differences can be. It becomes difficult to not see your child as "one of them." You struggle with having empathy for their ups and downs. You don't have the patience since they, "aren't doing things correctly (like your way).


5. An Easier Target 

You might be getting into frequent small or sometimes large battles with authority figures at work or with your spouse. You might even have a sense that you are always getting the short end of the stick. You want to have some authority and your child doesn't even mind you. He resists, you need to win, and you are bigger, so you use that to have authority over them by hitting or threatening to hit them. You can have authority and still respect them and yourself. Study our Positive Discipline content here.  














Our Mission

The MISSION of the Action Team to End Hitting Children is to gather many people to do small jobs for the purpose of diminishing and finally ending the hitting of children. By "htiting" we mean to include beating, spanking, slapping, shaking, popping, and any other form of physical or emotional punishment that demeans the child and creates emotional, mental, and physical harm. Our strategy is to use many people to do small amounts of work that create momentum to make a difference. 

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