37 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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Different argument....

..You say spanking is wrong but your evidence is a CAT scan of a brain that wasn't spanked, it was "spanked, yelled at, highly punished, or highly neglected child".
You are making the same mistake the liberals make by calling everything "abuse" when there are obviously very different levels of punishment, some of which are obviously not meant to teach, rather to abuse.
"Spanking", doesn't automatically mean abuse and it isn't always correlated to yelling, neglecting, highly punishing.

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

Alright, but SPANKING is on that list

Perhaps it did not scientifically isolate or control only spanking, but this is not a lab experiment, these are people

But your argument fails IN DEFENSE of ALL of those parenting behaviors; yelling, spanking, neglect, punishment, harsh responses...

You could just as easily defend the position of a mother that chronically yells at kids as main parenting technique.

I never used the word "abuse."

But IF YOU KNOW that these parenting behaviors AFFECT the child's brain, and CHOOSING DIFFERENT PARENTING BEHAVIORS will DEFINITELY affect your child's brain IN A POSITIVE WAY...

Then you can decide how the ethics play out...

Which type of parenting behaviors ARE REALLY beneficial in the long term and best serving to your child?

tasmlab's picture

I'd be interested to see a cross-tab of this poll

I'd be interested to see a cross-tab/break-down of this poll.

Spankers vs. non-spankers who also:
- Prefer a limited government vs. no government
- Seek dominion under God vs. non-beleivers

Basically those that desire some brand of paternal authority vs. those that desire none in either their political or ethical world views.

I'm just a stranger on the internet making guesses, but I would bet their might be a correlation.

Currently consuming: Gatto: "Underground history of education..", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

The only authority...

....I logically support is the natural authority of a parent over it's offspring. Libertarianism isn't natural in any species but as humans evolve, we find that it is beneficial. A libertarian relationship between parent and child is not only not natural, but not even practical. As my child gets older, if I've done my job well, then my child can handle more and more liberty. However, to say I should treat my one year old, or even five or ten year old, the same way I should treat a random adult (giving them the same liberty) is not natural and completely impractical.
I don't accept any authority of a divine being because I don't believe in one.
I loosely accept the authority of government because I'm outnumbered by billions of people who have forced me to accept it.
I 100% accept that man would not exist without a parent's authority and moral justification for force over its child.

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

It ain't that simple...

"Basically those that desire some brand of paternal authority vs. those that desire none in either their political or ethical world views."

I understand the parental authority God has given ME and my WIFE over our children, yet I have no desire to have "paternal authority" over me by government.

Truth is, if you understand God's natural law, written on the tablet of a man's heart, regardless of his "religion", you understand that God created us to be free of tyranny. Don't confuse tyranny with parental stewardship...there is a difference.

Here's a monumental teaching on what the Bible has to say about natural law, something that's not taught in most churches today, but is critically fundamental to understanding our fight for liberty.

Restore the Foundations - "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

Agree and Disagree

Definitely agree with you on the parenting authority.

But don't agree with the "natural law" comment. The Bible never talks about "natural law" in the sense that libertarians understand it to be. Yes, in Romans Paul did talk about people have no excuse from know God because of the nature. But in the Bible God never calls us to rise up against human tyranny.

ALL authority under the heavens and earth are from God. Without God's consent, no authority would be in place. Even Satan's authority over the earth is under the authority and confine of God, and it is tolerated for the moment until His purpose is done.

God doesn't need us to rise up against human tyranny. He's concerned about setting us free from the tyranny of sin, the spiritual tyranny of the devil. That's the root cause of all the issues we have today. God wants to resolve that at the root.

tasmlab's picture

To clarify, do you submit to God's authority

To clarify, do you (or Christians, in general) submit to God's authority over you or your soul? That's what I was referring to (perhaps awkwardly).

Particularly in regards to His ability to reward or punish someone for their behavior, with some people thinking he can punish with the eternal pain of hellfire.

(Apologies, I haven't watched the video you posted prior to writing this).

Currently consuming: Gatto: "Underground history of education..", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

Short answer: Yes

A true Christian submits totally to the will of God through Christ. His life should be lead by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. His life is not his own, but Christ's. He does not have his own will, he surrenders his will to God, he aligns his will to Christ's will. Christians willing submits to God in love, as a bondsman, a slave of love. He is someone that is conquered by the uncomprehendable and immeasurable love of God. He does not live for himself anymore, but live for Christ. In face, it is no long he that lives, but Christ lives in him. This is the point of true Christianity, Christ in us, the hope of glory!

In terms of punishment and reward: there is a general judgement coming for everyone that is not a true believer of Christ. They will be judged because they rejected Christ. For believers, there will be a separate judgement, in which we will be judged according to our works in Christ and rewards will be given out.

God doesn't punish with Hellfire

Hell was specifically created for Lucifer and his followers. Bible believing Christians understand that our world (because of the Fall) is fundamentally cursed and is slated for destruction (and replacement with something much better!). We human beings are descended from the fallen Adam, so we're lumped in with that curse.

But God SO LOVED the world that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him (not whosoever has perfect behavior) shall not perish, but have everlasting life!

God doesn't actively smite as He did in the Old Testament - He's much more of a natural consequences type of disciplinarian. The consequences of your bad behavior will catch up with you without God having to put His thumb on you. He will usually have special people waiting to help you out, however and lead you back to Him.

By the way, I've been known to spank my kids, but only when the natural consequences aren't getting through to them. It's more of a humiliation thing than a hurt thing. It's something that rarely happens, never past age eight, but it makes them have that healthy fear and respect of our God-given parental authority.

We live in a carrot and stick

We live in a carrot and stick world. I believe humans can get out the superficial loop thru our children. Teaching them that the only legitimate use of force against another human is defensive. That the best source of motivation is intrinsic and NOT extrinsic. When we use punishment and rewards (carrots and sticks) we train ourselves and others to be motivated by superficial and extrinsic means. Lets look at the adults around us, the cars people drive, the schools selected, the jobs sought, etc. How much of these selections are made because we have been trained to respond to extrinsic factors. A carrot in front of the nose or stick to the back of the head reinforces these shallow impulses. Generally, children and especially adolescents are far more capable than we give them credit for. Generally we, everyone on this board and near everyone on this planet were not trained how to think rather what to think. We have been indoctrinated by authoritarians; the state, violent religionists and parents. When we start fostering reason and intrinsic motivation the world will change beyond our comprehension.


Punishment of any kind is counter-productive.

Ĵīɣȩ Ɖåđşŏń

"Fully half the quotations found on the internet are either mis-attributed, or outright fabrications." - Abraham Lincoln

Nature punishes.....

....those who don't have the skills to survive. You remember the grasshopper and the ants? The grasshopper was "punished" by the winter for not working to prepare during the summer.
People who don't prepare for life by learning skills, hard work, etc. get punished by life by having lower paying jobs, fewer opportunities, worse relationships, etc.
A parent has to defend its child from nature because a child can't prepare by itself. In doing so however, you run the risk of teaching a child that there are no consequences (punishments) for not working, or not preparing. If your parent works to feed you and you seemingly get this food for free, why work? You only learn about how to prepare for life if you parent controls the consequences and teaches you. Some lessons can be learned naturally, but others have to be taught by a parent who is strong and wise enough to simulate natures punishment in a controlled environment. This way, when a child is old enough, they've learned these lessons and are capable of surviving as a free adult.

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

You could arbitrarily punish

Or you could teach life skills to your children. Making up your own consequences does not help anyone deal with life's consequences.


So you let your three year old go out in a blizzard without a coat because you want nature to teach him right?
Probably not. If he insists on going outside without a coat, you make up your own consequences to make sure he learns that he needs to wear a coat.
I think your allegiance to libertarianism is blinding you to the reality of your parenting techniques.

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


I suspect restriction from play-doh is less effective in a child's development of risk assessment than 30 seconds in a blizzard without a coat.

After the 30 second exposure, the child quickly recognizes the necessity of a coat.

Restriction from Play-doh or (insert made up unrelated consequences here) because it is cold outside & the child does not understand to what extent the cold can be undesirable may also effect the current understanding of the parent/child emotional relationship.

However, if I live in a densely populated community, I would restrict the play-doh. I assess the risk of allowing the opportunity for a child to learn important concepts rationally is not worth the risk of an irrational neighbor facilitating the theft of a human being I am nurturing.


I guess you don't have kids and were never a kid....

...I played in the cold without proper gear all the time. I went to school without a coat in the snow because I didn't think my coat was "cool". Kids will play outside and not realize how cold they really are because they are busy playing. Older kids will make stupid clothing decisions based of fashion rather than health.
To assume that kids will just naturally make the right decision for natural reasons is to completely misunderstand children.

I'm not saying you take their toy because they didn't put on their jacket, however my point is that you provide a consequence when they refuse to put on their jacket and it is not usually "just let them go outside". Your consequence might be that you don't let them go outside, or you "force" them to put on the jacket. Either way, you don't treat them with the liberty of a person who has the right to harm themselves through bad decisions. A lot of you are trying to win this debate by claiming that you treat your child like libertarians, but if you are honest with yourselves, you know you don't. You use force to make them do what you think is right for them.
Your assumption that they will see the natural benefit of the jacket is utopian at best, completely false at worst.

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

Guesses & assumptions

I responded to a tort about a 3 yr old child & not an adolescent. A 3yr old does not understand what is "cool". A 3 yr old derives valuable information & conditioning from experiences of the basic rules of nature. An adolescent is more inclined to explore the basic rules & variables within his social context. Therefore, the situation should dictate the actions of the custodial parent.

My posts are not an attempt to "win" a debate. My agenda is to garner valuable opinions to integrate within my own belief structure while sharing my own beliefs in case someone practices techniques that they find less desirable than mine. Nothing more, nothing less.

I look forward to learning more from your belief structure.

Admitting, It would be less time consuming & more productive for me if less of your words appear in the context of an attempt to "win a debate against libertarians" as the members of this site are a "mixed bag" and many do not subscribe to labels in belief that labels only serve as a unit of division to prevent societal growth.

I will share a personal experience:

At the age of 9 or so I had a hideous coat given to me for Christmas. It was a coat from a thrift store & I was very embarrassed to wear it to school. I had already made it through December without a coat & so I reasoned that I could hide it under a tree at my bus stop & just not wear a coat. I was miserably cold at school & I had been pulled aside for questioning from CPS.

After the meeting with CPS, I chose to wear the coat for the purposes of being warm & to prevent my parents from getting in trouble. I suspect that had I garnered a more thorough understanding the necessity of having a coat during the winter, it would have likely prevented much stress on my parents behalf & I would have been more apt to enjoy my public educational experiences at that time.

How could that behavior have been prevented? I am not certain. I currently suspect that if I had valued the necessity of being warm moreso than what my peers thought about me, I would not have stashed my coat at the end of the driveway.

I also suspect that had my parents displayed a better understanding of a child's need for a coat, they may have been able to provide me with one prior to the onset of winter. Had I the opportunity to wear that coat at a time when it was less cold, I believe that I would have been less likely to not wear it when the temperatures had decreased dramatically.

I also believe that at an early age all animals learn about the natural laws of survival more effectively than arbitrary societal systems of divisions & judgements of others.

Therefore, I personally would like my son to value the need for warmth and comfort over what his friends might think about the color, or design of his coat. I feel that a 30 second exposure of a child to cold weather can be a valuable exercise for a child's understanding as they experience a natural fundamental of their own central nervous system.

As a parent, I strive to ensure that my son has a coat that will prevent him from the irrational ambiguities of a society ill from glamor. I view his NFL Starter jacket as nothing more than societal fodder & would prefer to provide him with winterized equipment with a more functional approach... Such as a battery operated Milwaukee heated jacket with gloves that would permit greater range of motion and decrease the likelihood of cold-related, & reduced range of motion related injuries. But hey, his friends like the Pittsburgh Steelers & not the functionality of Milwaukee Tool brand.

If this is a game you are playing I rekon' a 'scoreboard' may be necessary:

1) I have a child
2) I was once a child
3) I am not a 'Libertarian'
4) I am not trying to win a debate

Please feel free to assign your own point-based value system ;)

Spanking is the epitome of a non-aggressive act.

"Child, whom I have the right to evict: you must cease the the violation you are committing by the time I finish my warning period of counting to five, or else I will punish your behavior with a spanking."

Spanking is not aggression if it is a pre-stated punishment for a prohibited act. Traditional spanking includes a count-to-five, which should serve effectively as a warning. Most importantly, it must be consistent and not used as an idle threat.

Treat children as adults. Let's say you lived in a house with a roommate, and you're trying to do something in the privacy of your room, but your roommate keeps trying to barge in. You would order your roommate to stop, then warn your roommate of your response, then respond. Whether your response is calling 911 (which can be pretty violent!) or throwing your fists, you're justified in your action.

Children aren't different from other people. Children don't want to grow up to be like older children. They want to grow up to be like adults. You see it all the time when they want to help with cooking, or they want to go to work with you and do what you do, despite being only 3 years old. Don't treat them differently, or you do a disservice to them.

As my mother said of her five children, "I generally only had to spank one time. Now they know I'm truthful, so I never have to count past two." Additionally she would say, "I'm very strict. Oh, I don't have very many rules, but the rules I have are clear and easy to understand, and I enforce them the same every time."

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

Mother of 6 grown children

here, so I thought I could add my two cents. I spanked my children, although I followed a strict pattern to doing this. Spankings were only for direct defiant disobedience. Remember, that young children do not have reasoning skills, and cannot control themselves. I would never spank for things like spilling their milk, or doing stupid things, just defiance. Spankings were always done in private, to not embarrass the child, never yelled at the child which is very disrespectful, and never done with my hand. I used a piece of reed, thin for young children, and told them first why they were getting it, and after the spanking, asked them to apologize, which they usually did, and then hugged them and told them I forgave them, and of course I never brought it up again. This teaches them that there are consequences to their actions, and also it teaches them that they have a clean slate, because they are forgiven, which teaches them about Jesus, which of course is important to our faith. I never spanked in anger, as this would not help, and might make it turn into abuse. I think that if someone has a problem with anger, they should not spank, but find another way to discipline. I had one child, who when he was defiant, would actually go get the reed, and hand it to me. Once I said, you get a time out, and he begged me to spank him instead. Of course we used other methods of discipline also, for the things that were not outright defiance. For instance, if the child refused to remember to shut the door on cold days, we would have him shut it gently 20 times, to help him remember how to do it. Or if he/she complained every time it was their turn to do the dishes, we would give them another day to their schedule. My children didn't need spankings very long, as they learned the thing they were to learn. Some needed more than others. One child only had 3 spankings total.
These 6 children grew up without major issues, do not have any problem with their parents spanking them, and are raising their own children now, and are good parents (yes, they spank with love, too). They are all libertarians I may add, think for themselves and do question authority. They all work hard to make a living, and work hard to raise their families. (between them they have 21 children, all gorgeous of course :)
For us, spanking was done in love, because we want our children to have a life out of prison, and not have to learn life the hard way.
When I look at the mistakes that I have made over the years with my children, it was never that I spanked them, but it was spoiling them, by letting them have everything they wanted (which I didn't do much) but I notice others who have given their children everything they wanted, and didn't discipline them, are the ones who now as adults are irresponsible, and unhappy. The other thing that I did, was not let go a bit more when they were teenagers (which is the time that they should learn by consequence).

Spanking and embarrassment

It's interesting that you spanked in private. We were spanked in the same place where we did the bad thing we were warned not to do, whether it's the grocery store, dinner table, or in front of kids in the playground.

In Singapore, which is ranked #2 in the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, the practice of caning is sometimes done in public and sometimes in private, with the public caning viewed as the most deterrent and also the most shocking to onlookers. For the record, I would be against our government using caning against us, because the government is evil and violent and cannot be trusted.

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

I would prefer public flogging

simply put its ugly and it would make people think twice about some of the laws on the book.
Its a lot faster than putting someone in jail for months or years at a time. Simply put with flogging they dont loose jobs or family.
when someone is legitimately guilty of something they have a painful reminder not to do it again.

Spankings are less cruel than time outs

Not beatings, spankings. Always know they understand why before, always talk and hug after. Quick, effective. Started at 2, can't really remember giving any after 6. Three well loved, respectful, and well balanced kids. Love me more than life and know I love them.

Calling a beating by a different name

Does not change the reality of what you're doing. And hugging someone after assaulting them does not change the moral context of the original assault.

Two or three swats on the butt

do not a beating make.

It is however, the definition of assault

If not, go ahead and do that with someone you have a disagreement with at the grocery store. It's not like you would be beating them. I'm sure they would thank you later for the correction.

And enough with the 'light tapping', 'swats', 'just a few smacks' rhetoric. Does the pro spanking section here have definable limits that are considered 'reasonable'? What is the limit on strikes? How hard should they be? Where is the magical line between lovingly violent correction and beatings or child abuse?

Definition of theft and kidnapping.

Is it then "theft" when you punish your child by taking way his toy? Is it kidnapping, or false imprisonment when you put them in "timeout", or ground them?

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

Essentially, yes

Behavior modification through authoritarianism only prepares the child for obedience to arbitrary authority, i.e. the state. There are other ways to raise children:


Up to the parents?

This is probably the most idiotic statement if you think about it. Becoming a parent is the easiest thing in the entire universe. It's so easy anyone can do it.

It's way harder to get a job as a janitor(no offense to janitors, it's a cool job) than to become a parent. Zero skill or knowledge of the world or the role is needed.

Being a parent doesn't give you immunity from your own stupidity, lack of education or the stress it brings. Making babies is a choice we can control.

The poor child however, does not choose it's parents.

If you're not equipped with the tools to treat the poor kid that didn't choose to end up in your care by its own will, with care, and without having to physically -educate- it. Then all the shame is on you.

Controversial. Yes. True? That too.

Interesting take that I

Interesting take that I largely agree with. But I have said it differently to my children and to nieces and nephews of child rearing age. Parenting is the hardest test in the human existence. That is anyone can procreate, but being a parent is generally thought to be more involved and have a mentoring capacity.

Reason is always the best way to learn

if you use carrot and stick motivations for children they won't develop as much intellectually IMHO.

That being said, it should be up to the parents.

Tu ne cede malis.

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