No Spanking Zone!

My household is proudly a no spanking zone. You may disagree with me. You may even use spanking as a discipline strategy – although I would never condone or encourage this quick fix method. And you will never convince me that spanking is a good or smart parenting solution. I am horrified when I hear news reports of overwhelmed parents like Kate Gosselin spanking their child. A few months back a study actually revealed that children who were spanked had lower IQs than those who were not spanked. Now this month a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics reveals what many of us have long suspected – that kids who are spanked are more aggressive. Big shock! That’s thriftymomma sarcasm for umm hello?! Of course children learn to solve problems with aggression when they are shown that we adults solve problems with aggression. Children raised in abusive environments often learn to be abusive and need to be resocialized, often reparented. Children who are shown problem-solving approaches early on carry that forward into many areas of their lives. People who argue for spanking will often say children these days need to be taught respect and so forth. But spanking doesn’t lead to respect; it leads to fear and fear and respect should never be confused as the same. Children learn respect through modelling. If you show them respect and are respectful of them, they often learn this value through osmosis. When they are loved and shown too that they are worthy of love, they are more likely to grow to be respectful of themselves and others. In the 70s and 80s when I was growing up spanking was status quo really for parents, but it is also a learned discipline solution. Parents pass this on to their children. I had to fight the urge to do that as a kneejerk reaction to parenting problems when my child first bit or hit. I choose to sit and work with my children on effective solutions to our problems and that is a time-consuming process. One thing we do here and have done for many years is time in. I sit with my children to help them become regulated when they are disregulated. I occasionally ask them if they need space to get regulated on their own and they can choose to spend quiet time in their room and calm themselves down when they are able. One of our most effective tools here has always been Mommy’s Problem-solving book. I think I may have picked up on this solution when I was a new Mom reading and attending workshops at places like the Ontario Early Years Centre in London, also known as Childreach. When we have a problem we all sit down state the problem and write it in a book. For instance: There are two girls and they both want to use the same toy what should we do about it? Then the three or four of us generate solutions and each one is written down. Usually they say things like: Mom can give the toy to X. Mom can give the toy to Y. Mom can throw the toy in the garbage or Mom can rip the toy in half (they often say these ones to get a reaction from the other child) and I write it all down even when ridiculous. Mom can go buy more of this toy. I often write Mom can give the toy a time out. Once in awhile they will eventually come to this We can share it. We then read all of the solutions and eliminate them one by one together until we have a workable solution we’ve all agreed on. If we don’t, then the toy is taken out of circulation. It may sound overly simplistic but it works. Same can be done for older children and also it can be done in advance of a possible problem. For instance if Joe wants to go to a party and Mom and Dad want him home by midnight, but they know he often forgets the time and misses coming home on time. Sit down and problem solve the curfew issue ahead of time. Joe if you come home late we will be worried and we won’t know if you are safe, let’s think of how we can solve this problem. Often the teen will smartly come up with a solution like: I will call if I am going to be a bit later than I thought. The solution has to be workable for all parties. I’m certainly not saying I am a perfect parent because there isn’t such a thing – anywhere. I’m not saying this is the only way to do it either, but I know it’s something we can all agree on and I know too that this method doesn’t lower IQs and it doesn’t make my children aggressive. 

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Monkey Mae

    Great post. I am very anti-spanking, but my husband is pro-spanking. Fortunately, he has a research-oriented brain, so I think I can win him over by the time Monkey Mae gets a bit older. If not, we will have some serious problems in our house.

  • Midnite Skys

    Tell them Momma!!!!!! My house was a no-spanking zone too. I was abused growing up and told myself I will never do that to my kids. I read every book I could while pregnant with my oldest. I wasn’t going to hit. I learned re-direst and taking away privileges. I learned time outs, for myself too… yes one day I was so upset that I had to lock myself in the bathroom for I need a time out… a cool down. The little knock at the door told me that ok when you aren’t mad I will be in my room. good girl mommy… That made me cry. But it was what I would say to her… I will downstairs when you are done being mad, good girl…
    PLUS I think the most important thing I learned was kids aren’t bad to get to you or to make you mad. Because they need to learn the correct way to handle things That it is our job to teach them to be responsible adults…..
    Not to take it so personal! Think of it has a leaning opportunity!!!!!!!

  • Traci

    I like the “time in”. It is a much more proactive option and I am going to incorporate that into our discipline strategies. I appreciate that you shared your experiences.

  • TealRose

    I am … almost in tears here .. I have been finding it so hard to read some blogs recently – the parents are so harsh and demanding.

    I am a 56 yr old granny – who was spanked and … I lost my childhood. I lost my love, respect and trust in my parents. I knew they didn’t love me – they just hit me. And all these other people who believe in spanking [hitting] children just say that my parents should have ‘spanked with love’. I don’t believe that is possible – I believe it is an oxymoron. My parents loved me, they did the ‘post spanking pep talk’ – oh its over and we love you – and I never ever believed it. I felt alienated from them and they never ‘got me back’. I still feel angry, hurt, upset, resentful and never felt/feel good enough.

    All that being said – one thing really angers me. Why is it, that to hit an animal or an adult is illegal, but hitting your own child is not ?? *sigh* it makes no sense to me !!

    I never spanked my children – and there were some really hard times and I did feel the urge at times !!!

    They are now considerate and kind adults !
    Thank you … for your loving blog …

  • Paula Schuck

    I feel for every parent who comments here. Parenting is hard work. The hardest job you’ll ever have and other parents can be judgmental. Be true to your heart and remember you are setting the stage for lifelong relationship with your child.