38 votes

DP Opinion poll on spanking.

I was commenting back and forth with another member about whether or not spanking a child was right or wrong. That other member happens to be from Sweden where spanking was made illegal back in 1979.

To clarify I am not asking if it is OK to abuse a child, such as a right hook to the face, or putting cigarettes out on them, but an open handed swat to the butt in rare circumstances, while keeping your cool, and with a measured amount of force. It happens to be legal where I live, (which is not what I use as a judgement of right and wrong).

The other member cited the non-aggression principal at one point, which I do not think applies fully to someone that is unable to understand their own best interests. We don't let 5 year old kids cast votes, nor do we cut them loose to live on the streets. Without the use of force, many kids would not ever bathe. Adults shouldn't be subjected to a nanny state, but I think kids should be, according to their maturity level/age.

So I am curious about everyone's opinion. If your opinion is one of a parent with practical knowledge of child rearing, as opposed to a single person's theoretical knowledge, I am curious about that too. If you never spank, what are your alternative disciplinary actions? I know my son would exercise civil disobedience if I tried to put his nose in a corner, or if I tried to imprison him in his room for a timeout.

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Consider THE BEST CASE of spanking

So when you spank the kid, you take them to a private place. You are both calm, you calmly discuss why the spanking is occurring, you spank the kids with your hand or a small implement, you hug the kid and have the kid apologize and he says he will not repeat, and you remind the kid that he is now forgiven....

So like the BEST and most defend-able form of "spanking..."


And COULD YOU IMPROVE THE ENCOUNTER with the child? Could you have JUST talked to the kid in the private room and had a 3-5 minute conversation where the child understands the ethics involved?

Perhaps you could have gotten the same or better response if you ONLY HAD the child apologize?

I bet you could actually HAVE A BETTER experience and the child could benefit more if negotiation were involved.

Have you had children?

First of all, young children are not rational, so one cannot reason with them. Second, when a child does the so called "spankable offense" he did it because he wanted to. A talk will not change it, there must be some painful consequence, whether spanking, time out, or other discipline. I am a mother of 6 grown children and grandmother of 21, so I have seen quite a few children in my 59 years.

You assume this:

A talk will not change it...

You assume this. You automatically have derived the CONCLUSION that we are questioning.

Could you achieve A BETTER RESULT had you chosen a different strategy than spanking?

What is your exact objective? To quiet the kid down? To use the experience as a learning experience for the child? Or to provide the child with useful life skills for the future?

A talk will not change it...

I disagree.

Do you have kids?

Yes, I have one son, he is 16 now. He's a great kid, very well mannered.

My wife and I spanked, we regret it.


So you are against spanking and say you raise your son to be a "great kid" yet you say "My wife and I spanked, we regret it."

I think you are confused. If you regret spanking then you must regret the way your son turned out.

Regret how my son turned out?

Well honestly, MY experiences are arbitrary. But people find them interesting and people are also curious where I am coming from in terms of experience.

But just because I was honest, and shared my opinion of how my son "turned out," does not mean THAT I CORRELATE spanking and how my son turned out.

If I would have said "We spanked my son, and he is a little jerk." I don't think that would have been some form OF PROOF OR EVIDENCE for the effects of spanking.

That would be anecdotal anyway.

And if I would have said "and my son is now a jerk," would that have done something to convince you AGAINST SPANKING?

I really doubt it.


What if I would have said "my dad was a hardcore alcoholic, and he is now a polite, well-mannered guy."

Would that be SOME PROOF, in your mind, that alcoholism leads to politeness?


I used to smoke cigarettes, and I turned out okay.

That is NOT an endorsement for smoking. That DOES NOT mean that "smoking was the best thing to do at that time, and it made me who I am now. So everybody should smoke cigarettes!"

That would be idiotic. And I don't think that you would support that logic.


AND HOW can I come up with a reasonable explanation or justification of why "a smoking habit is a good thing?"


If I HAD NOT SPANKED my son, I think there is a strong possibility that my son would have turned out very much the same.

But HOW can I come up with a reasonable justification for my action of HITTING MY CHILD in the butt with my hand?

It is a violent act.

It teaches violent behavior. It teaches "might makes right." It teaches "fear the authority figure cause he can hurt you."

Those ARE HORRIBLE lessons to teach.

AND NOW, I have to un-teach them to my son. And apologize to my son. And tell him that I wish I wouldn't have done that. And tell him WHY I made that mistake. And tell my son why it IS WRONG.

Yes, I apologized to my son almost 30 years ago.

By the time they are grandparents some parents realize that they needed their children to find their own maturity.

Parents are the debtors. Did we learn as we expected of them?

Some things are non-negotiable. IMO.

Parents provide for the child's needs.

The child's wants is their own business.

If they want privileges or paying, let's negotiate.

By 16 my son was mowing our yard and most of the neighbors. Service is his thing.

What is your son's natural language?

Biblically based.

1 The beatitudes.

2 Jesus asked the women at the well for a drink.

3 Loaves and fishes after the

4 Sermon on the Mount

5 The woman was content to just touch Jesus' robe.

Free includes debt-free!

Well, actually, I was not just assuming,

as we had two children before we became Christians, and didn't believe in spanking, so I had tried lots of strategies before I started spanking. There are possibly other ways that could be better result than spanking for older children (although I didn't spank my older children), but how does one discipline a toddler who is having temper tantrums and cannot be reasoned with? My daughter, who only needed 3 spankings her whole childhood was an easy child, who could be reasoned with after she started talking, but I had 5 other children, who were very strong willed children, unlike her.

"Time makes more converts

"Time makes more converts than reason."
Tommy Paine

Libertarian rule number 1: HARM NO PERSON

Treat your children like any other person; with respect, gentleness, and intelligence.

To that annoying loud mouthed obnoxious whining child i have one comment: Ignore them until they follow the rules of politeness, respect, and patience. Let them know that what they say and do have consequences. And those consequences can be anything as long as we do not harm them nor their property.

When did common sense become a super power? –Patrick F. Holman



You can't treat your child like a libertarian.

Tell me, how do you let your 1 year old "know that what they say and do have consequences".
Now mind you, I'm not saying you spank your one year old. What I am saying is that a child is not a free, fully functioning individual, capable entering into voluntary contracts, the cornerstone of libertarianism.
Your child cannot live without you. You "rule" over it when it is young. You use force to dress it, to feed it, to keep it safe.
This diminishes as it gets older, but the younger your child is, the more helpless they are and the more justified you are in "ruling" over them.
A parent/child relationship simply is not libertarian, thus "Libertarian Rule Number 1" does not fit.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

yes for using intelligence in raising children

no for spanking them. isn't this common sense?

I'm honestly not sure how there is still a debate

If there are adults walking the earth that were not spanked as children, and there are children being raised now without spanking, then the pro-spanking argument is moot. If anyone can demonstrate that it is not necessary, then we must accept that violence inflicted on those who are spanked is arbitrary.

And no one can claim that unspanked children do not exist:


Your agrument doesn't really make any sense.

Nobody said that humans wouldn't exist if parents didn't spank their kids. The argument is "what works best".
By your logic, there are people alive who still live under communism, therefor, there is no need to live without communism because the fact that those people still exist proves that communism is the correct method.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

Actually, my logic is the opposite.

In your analogy, someone would have to be arguing that communism is necessary or society would not be able to function. However, the example of other countries that operated without communism -- generally with better results, would be proof that the violent authoritarianism of communism was not necessary, let alone beneficial.

Is there a link between eroticism and spanking?

Where is the boundary?


Free includes debt-free!


I suspect the boundary between pedophilia & methods of parental guidance are very distant from each other. Ill leave it to you to dirty your record of truths by way of a google toolbar.

I do so hope that your post is an unusual approach at humor & not a genuine lack of understanding.

If there is a connection been erotic feelings and spankings?

If there is a connection shouldn't that be considered when discipline is chosen.

I do not find to implications to be humerus, only the apparent taboo.

Back when swats were given with the "Board of Education" the swattee was told to grab their ankles. The educated often came back whimpering "the bastard got me in the balls!"

Unintended consequences?

Free includes debt-free!


I am unfamiliar with those phrases. My paddlings always seemed to hit me in the lower back & I always had to hold onto the aquarium.

Junior and High Schools before 1975.


Free includes debt-free!

mid 80's here

but that was down south.. so time was a bit rolled back. teachers still used racial slurs when darker skinned kids raised their hand to answer a question..



Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

A note on terminology


There are places in the U.S. where "smacking" means open hand across the face. There are places in England where "smacking" refers to a minor spanking with the open hand. You can see how internet conversations mixing the terms and people from these areas could create some misunderstandings.

The term "spanking" in most of the U.S. refers to everything from smacking a toddler on the rear as he toddles by to as far as you could go before you have to switch to the term "flogging". In England, the term is more restricted to the Texas end of that spectrum so you have to be careful in internet conversations not to trigger imagery of a flogging toned down for children when using the term "spanking".

Also, in some very abusive homes, the term "spanking" could refer to anything the abuser chose to call his/her beatings because extreme abusers insist on defining reality for others. I've witnessed an argument on this topic where the two involved realized later one had gone through life thinking everyone referring to "spanking" was referring to the extended beatings she miraculously survived as a child.

One last note on terminology. There are those who adamantly refuse to call spanking "hitting". I can't get my head around how it's not, but they seem to think it's those who refuse to not call it hitting who are the ones exercising cognitive dissonance.

So, when you're exchanging replies on this topic, you might want to do a quick terminology check with your jousting opponent because you may not be talking about the same thing.

Defend Liberty!

Thank you :)

As a child, my step-father called it "stomping a mud-hole in [my] ass" while I called it "A whoopin".

In retrospect, his description more astutely describes the sequence of events than mine. I've spent a lifetime attempting to define the boundaries of an arbitrary terminology.

A glossary development of sorts is excellent prior to a mental joust. It reduces circular logic and enhances progression.

+ 1

To all you trying to make this a Libertarian argument...

...it simply is not. The premise prevents your relationship from being libertarian. Most of you would argue a child has a "right to life" which means not only can you not kill it, but as a parent, you have to keep it alive. You have to work for the child without compensation (and no, love doesn't count). You don't "have to" work to feed me, or some other random person, against your will. However, nature has required that you do have to work for your child. This inherent truth of survival makes your relationship to your child one of servitude. The older they get, the less you have to serve them (and the less you need to and should have to control them).
This isn't a very libertarian system, but you know what, nature is not libertarian.
Free markets and liberty are a product of the advancement of mankind. I love it and I strive for it. I try to teach my kids so they can further it and live as freely as possible, but I also realize that they are kids, not fully functioning adults ready to be free.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

very well put. thank you.


Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

I do not view my relationship

I do not view my relationship with my children as one of servitude. As a recovered spanker, I have witnessed the the benefit of the near elimination of conflict. I have witnessed great leaps in reason by my 6 year old. It is not servitude because it is my obligation to humanity to raise peace loving, rational beings. It is the logical course of action to ensure our survival and more importantly our prosperity. Not that it is impossible that a child who has been spanked can arrive at that destination; but I believe it presents a logical inconsistency that the child will have to ferret thru in later life. Attend a meetup if one is available of unschoolers or unconditional parenting parents. You will likely be amazed at how even small children can be reasoned with. Its far easier if you start early and they never witness daycare of public school. Of coarse it is definitely not the easy path or for the impulsively irrational.

You also don't view it as a dictatorship..

....but it is. You just don't want to accept it. You don't reason with your 6 month old. You control nearly everything it does. You don't view your relationship to it as "service" because you want to call it something nicer. But you still have to care for it and serve its needs.
You want to pretend like you guys are on equal footing and that your kid is free from your "force" but you ignore that the younger your child is, the more force you use on it all the time.
I'm not saying you should punch your 18 year old.
However, many of you are so blindly libertarian you act like you don't even use force when you strap your 6 month old into a high chair to eat.
You pretend like you aren't "serving" your baby when you "have to" buy it food. Instead,you think you are voluntarily serving humanity because you are free to, and raising your kid is a nice thing to do. In reality, you are serving your child because nature (and the laws of man) require you to. You might like it and love doing it, but the fact remains, humanity doesn't exist if you don't. You have to serve that child's needs or it dies, and the species dies out. You don't have a choice. So call it what you will, but you are a servant, and in return, also a dictator. Your child is not free to choose not to obey you, and you are not free to not serve your child's needs.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

'You just don't want to accept it'

You're responding to someone that stopped hitting their kids, and has seen a dramatic and positive change. Which means that not only is it possible to not spank/hit kids when raising them, but refraining from hitting is actually beneficial. So who, exactly, is having a hard time accepting things?

Yes, Your experience is the rule.

Because your experience worked a certain way for you, then it is fact that "refraining from hitting is actually beneficial".

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).