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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Are you kidding me, man?

YOU ARE THE ADULT IN THIS SITUATION. TAKE SOME FRIGG'N RESPONSIBILITY. Working for your own child 'against your will'? Did you fuck a woman? Did you open your legs as a woman? Who is responsible for CHOOSING TO HAVE A CHILD? When you had a child, did you not understand that you are committing to taking care of their needs and keeping them alive? You talk of 'entitled' children, but keep complaining about 'servitude' and not getting compensated for keeping your own goddamn kids alive?

You know what makes a huge difference between you and animals when it comes to child rearing? Animals don't have birth control. Animals don't consciously understand that sex equals babies. So no, spitting out a kid does not morally give you dictatorial powers over a dependent (and innocent, by the way) child.

Calm down there trigger.

Use your intellectual thinking brain and stop jumping to emotional sensationalism. I love my kids, I chose to have them. I raise them with pride, compassion, and as much effort as I can. Yes we chose to have them, and yes that means we have a responsibility towards them. Nobody has claimed otherwise. What I've claimed is that naturally, I have more responsibility towards them when they are younger which also means I have more control over them. As they get older, smarter, stronger, and more able, I have less responsibility towards them, and logically less control over them.
To say that they come out of the womb with the rights of an adult, the rights not to be controlled by me, is just ridiculous.
Now, next time you try to defend your position, don't get all pissed off and distort mine.

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

there was a time...

There was a time when a relationship to your child was also one of investment & not servitude. Unfortunately, it seems that the value has been drained from human capital & it is more profitable to just not have children.

Sad times I suppose.

Nice terms.

The liberals call it "investment" too, when they tax you to pay for social programs you didn't want. I don't care what the term is called, the point is that you aren't free to "let your child be". You have to work for them. You should want to as well, but whether you want to or not, you have to. You should want to help out your fellow man as well, but you don't have to because you are not enslaved to them (at least you shouldn't be).
The point isn't that its a bad thing that you have to serve your child. The point is that your relationship to them isn't one of mutual voluntary agreement. It is one where you have to work for them, and you often times have to control them.

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


There are many times that you must control them. This thread is an exciting exploration as to the methods that may derive the most valuable results. Hopefully the value is measured in the quality of child development.

Spanked children end up murdering. So do unspanked children.

Likewise, spanked children end up doing great things and so do unspanked children. Obviously, there must be much more to the equation.

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

Mind you

This isn't an argument FOR spanking, but rather a counter to the utopian argument many of you are making that you shouldn't spank simply because the non-aggression principle.
"Force" is used on kids from the moment you "force" your newborn to wear his first diaper. Accept it, then you will be able to think of a better argument for why you shouldn't spank your kids.

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

Not a parent yet but...

will be in April. We plan on spanking. My wife and I both got spanked as children. We turned out alright (would we know if we weren't?). I'm the oldest of 3 and I can remember my siblings being spanked. There's a line you have to pay attention to to not take it too far. Pay attention to how the child responds. Children should fear being spanked, but they shouldn't be IN fear of it. It's just another tool, there are right ways and wrong ways to use any tool.

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

So what is this undefinable line?

All this talk about 'measured' spanking and not 'taking it too far'. But none of you have any idea what too far is, do you? As long as someone else out there goes farther, your violence isn't so bad, right?

Yes, I have an idea of what

Yes, I have an idea of what too far is. As I think most decent parents do. But it's important to remember punishment should suit the deed, but it must also suit the child. In a since, you are right. It is an "undefinable line". However, just because I am unable to define the line to an exactitude you approve of, does not mean there is not one.

It really seems like you are trying to make a gray area black and white to prove your point. Sure, violence is violence, but there are variations in not only it's severity, but also it's effects. Actually, I agree, as long as someone else out there takes it FURTHER than I do, the violence I commit isn't SO bad. Of course a greater act of violence would belittle mine. However, that doesn't mean the violence I committed wasn't bad.

If you're trying to imply that spanking is wrong because all violence is bad, you're wrong. Agree to disagree?

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

tasmlab's picture

Well pain, fear and humiliation at least set the bottom boundary

Well pain, fear and humiliation at least set the bottom boundary. That's the minimum.

With a baseline like that, the border of "taking it too far" must be pretty nuanced.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

please read:

I posted earlier my opinion of the defining line between spanking & violence at these 2 posts. I value an opinion if you have the the time...



I like to call it "swatting".

I like to call it "swatting". I would get a swat on the but from time to time.

I'm sure you do

Its uncomfortable to call things by their real names. That's why we use euphemisms to cover up doing things that are wrong. Instead of theft, we'll call it taxation. Enhanced interrogation for torture, national security for empire...sound familiar?

Well, I can say that it was

Well, I can say that it was not beatings. I'm not certain if the spankings actually hurt me. I think it more or less stunned me.

Thats ridiculous

Swatting sounds a lot worse than spanking. I got "swats" and I always though,"Gee, it would be nice if these were only spanks."
I understand what you are saying about softening the terminology, but thats not what he's doing in calling them swats. To anyone who got swats, I'm sure the term is much harsher to them than the term spanking.

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

Some people are referring to

a noisy pat on a toddler's backside with "swat". Some people use the term to refer to one hit, often in the context of the count for the type of paddling "sentence" given to teenagers in a school setting. No one who's talking about corporal punishment of teenagers is talking about anything minor, but the term is also used in areas where there's no such thing as corporal punishment of teenagers in schools and it does refer to something minor then.

Defend Liberty!

These were pretty uneventful

These were pretty uneventful "swats". I hardly remember them.

Problem Is..

I am 62 yrs. old now, and as a kid I was given some probably deserved "spankings". Often with a hand to the butt a few times, few times with a peach switch, few times with the belt. I also got the "paddle" once in 8th grade from my Jr. High Principle.
Did it tramatize me or change my path into life and adulthead? Not at all. Was just how it was then and expected if you did something wrong. It certainly made you think twice as a kid, and probably helped avoid some wrongdoing. But kids are kids and you seem to get yourself into trouble no matter what.

I have two grown children now, well balanced and successful. During their early years, they often got a "swat" on the butt when deserved or needed. But, I always recognized that the "swat" or "swats" were tempered by how angry I was over the situation. That is the BIG problem with parents "spanking" their children, how much anger are you dealing out to the child in their spanking punishment. A "swat" can easily turn into a harder "spank", which can easily turn into a "blow", which can easily turn into an uncontrolled use of parental strength unchecked. Therein lies the problem. The anger of the parent at the time of the spanking, and people who shouldn't even have kids based on their personal issues that can lead to the abuse of their children.

Thoughtout nature, animals correct their offspring. Usually it is a "cuffing", vocal reprimand, or other means specific to the species. But it is almost always in check and rarely harms the offspring. This is nature in check. With humans we are not always in check with our offspring.

Overall, I personally don't have a problem with a "swat" on the butt sometimes. A strong voice is fine, but yelling doesn't solve anything and is usually indicative of rising anger. "Spanking" to me is getting on the angry side and can lead to further loss of control as one's anger builds or cannot be held in check.

So, I guess one needs to really know themselves and their anger level when dealing with your kids. Unfortunately, how do you police the parents who have issues with themselves that they take out on their kids? I don't support a Government ban on parental discipline of the children, which would lead to children being taught in school to report their parents if they spanked them. Really a tough deal for parents who are responsible about how they raise and discipline their children.

Anger can definitely be an issue

I think the best way to discipline the children is when you are not angry. Also, what is consider an "offense" that should be disciplined? It can vary from family to family. But for example a child that spilled milk accidentally shouldn't be spanked IMO, but a child that spilled milk on purpose in throwing a tantrum definitely needs to be "checked" with appropriate physical punishment.

However, every child and every family is different, so we can only uphold the principle that parents should correct and discipline their children. And if you are Christians, I would say follow the principles taught in the Bible and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in how to discipline your children.

Spanking is just wrong

I am not trying to be a softy liberal. I got spanked. Me and my wife spanked my son. We did punishments.

But after listening to Stefan Molyneux for a while, myself, my wife, my son, and all of my direct family members agree that spanking is a violation of non-aggression, and so it is wrong, and other creative alternatives are best.


Molyneux has also explained "The Bomb In The Brain" that shows that a spanked, yelled at, highly punished, or highly neglected child, will have DIFFERENT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT than a healthy child!

So you end up making "a wild animal" that avoids negative outcomes in a fearful way, Molyneux calls it "fight or flight response."

But if INSTEAD of yelling, spanking, or any harsh reaction when a child doesn't please...

Learn TO NEGOTIATE with the child, and explain to the child what they are feeling, and what you are feeling, teach them to empathize with your feelings, and negotiate terms that make both of you happy.

So: 3 year old kid doesn't want to brush teeth, but kid likes having a story read before bed. You negotiate that you like reading stories to him before bed, but only if he brushes.

Perhaps he goes without stories for a one night. But he will brush based on his own preferences to earn something. If he doesn't brush on tues, tell him on tues night, no stories...


This type of solution to parenting IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT and much more creative, and yields much smarter kids that have empathy and can make decisions based on logic.

But teaching the kid to "hide when he's being bad..." Due to fear of spanking or harsh reactions, will effectively break your role as a virtuous teacher.

You then become the tyrannical dictator.

Yes you have good intentions, but your 2 year old did not learn how to critically think through behavioral decisions... he learned to watch out for the spanking, watch out for the yelling, try not to get in trouble...

THINKER vs FIGHTER mentality.

Thank you

"So you end up making "a wild animal" that avoids negative outcomes in a fearful way,"

This statement is truer than most I have read recently.

I am the wild animal.

A few objections

1. Parents do not discipline children so children will please them. That is the wrong goal or motive to discipline the children. Parents discipline children for their benefit and because it is the right thing to do.

2. Feelings has nothing to do with morality. Feelings has nothing to do with right or wrong. Just like your feeling has nothing to do with the laws of physics. You can feel like flying, but if you jumped off a building your feeling will not negate the law of gravity (and its consequence).

3. Right and wrong is absolute. Morality is absolute and timeless. There is no negotiations involved in teaching morality.

4. Positive reinforcement of certain behaviors is one method of discipline. However, negative consequences are necessary in disciplining your children as well. Because 1) negative consequences are real in the world. 2)children's mental faculty and will are not mature(developed) enough to make the right decisions. 3) physical pain is a direct and simple consequences children can understand, such as physical pain alerts us that something is wrong.

Conclusion: Discipline using physical punishment is necessary for the well being of the child and by extension the well being of our society. And of course, physical punishment can be abused by parents, just like physical abuse of children happens. But that does not negate the usefulness and purpose of physical punishment.

Entitlement mentality.

This "negotiate with your three year old" mentality is why we have the entitlement culture we have today. Too many parents have allowed their children to feel an unnatural sense of entitlement. Kids grow up thinking that the parents are their slaves. They see that the parents work so hard to feed them, dress them, buy them toys, entertain and educate them, but then the kids also get to bargain with the parents when it comes to household rules.
Kids literally feel like they own the parents and that they are entitled to have the parents work for them.
You HAVE TO work for your child's benefit. It is natural. Kids can't fend for themselves. However because they are not fully functioning humans, and because you have to work for them without them paying you, you have a natural right to rule over them. You don't have to negotiate with them.
To do so only furthers their sense of entitlement. It is that entitlement they take with them in their adult years, not the "learning to be violent" because they were spanked.

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

I tend to agree with you on this...

In my gut, and as a public high math teacher; I agree and cannot stand the child's entitled "you owe me" attitude towards the parents and the world in general. So I actually feel in agreeance with you on this.

But THE BENEFITS of parenting behaviors that groom the child with great skills for their life are in question.

Sure we can claim a philosophy that: "Hey kid, I work my butt off to feed you and give the family what it needs. So if I need to end up swatting you a few times, big deal..."

And I can sympathize with that position.

But if you instead ask yourself: "If I instead focus on building a healthy relationship and successful questioning with the child that actually results in learning, where the child ends up being smarter and more competent, and also un-coherced, will the child be better off as a grown up?"

Often parents say they are entitled to aggress..

Parents are entitled to protect their own persons and properties.

A child can learn over the years that, I will protect their properties and person. I will make mistakes and admit them.

The child will test my patience with nonsense, deceptions and selfish insolence. I sure did ;-'

It is natural for their existence to be troubled by fear, uncertainty or doubt.

The MSM batters us with fear, uncertainty and doubt everyday. Consumption is sold as heavenly relief.

How will they know how to shine the light that exposes the glamour of evil?

Presumed entitlement breeds contempt. Those offering contemplative alternatives have my respect.

"What were you thinking?" says the parent.

"What are you thinking?" thinks the child.

I hope my thinking is trustworthy.

Free includes debt-free!

Mind you...

...I'm not saying that a parents service to the kid is the reason spanking is okay. I'm simply trying to get the utopian wing of the liberty movement to see that the free market principles which fit our usual topics simply don't work when talking about your own children.
I can talk about voluntary contracts all day when we are discussing minimum wage or something, but that is because I am talking about the interactions between two fully functioning free adults. Your kids are not fully functioning free adults.
My 1 year old has neither the intellectual nor physical capabilities to be given the same rights in life that I have. It is just a matter of nature. If babies had the rights we all argue that adults should have, then our species would not exist.
I agree with many great arguments against spanking, but I just don't buy all this libertarian non-aggression stuff. They are kids. To treat them like equals is just plain illogical.

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

So if a child negotiates to get their needs and desires met

That means they are entitled? So anyone engages in free trade is just entitled then. Just bunch of entitled, spoiled brats getting what they want through peaceful negotiation?

Why would you object to a child negotiating over personal needs and desires anyway?

A child doesnt' negotiate to get fed.

You feed the child whether the negotiation worked or not. A child doesn't negotiate to live in your house. You provide that for them regardless of their amazing negotiation skills.
You provide for a child the things that adults are expected to provide for themselves, regardless of their value to society.
Your child doesn't provide enough value to anyone through labor or property to negotiate for the things it needs to live. You provide those things for it. I'd say all "pro-lifers" would say a child is entitled to those things even though it cannot work for them by itself. I'd agree that a child is entitled to those things. However, because it is entitled to those things, and you as the parent are required to provide them, there must be a system in place which educated the child to the fact that when they are an adult, they are no longer entitled to those things without working for them, as they are when they are young.

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