Does Sparing the Rod Really Spoil the Child?

Does Sparing the Rod Really Spoil the Child?

I distinctly remember going over to babysit my neighbors kid as a young teen. I knew from my interactions with his mom, that he got a lot of spankings. During one such baby sitting session, I remember the kid fiddling with a lamp that would probably shatter if he didn't stop playing with it, so after 2 warnings, I stood up and raised my voice at him to get him to stop, and the kid literally backed up into a corner and cowered in fear like a scared dog. I remember being so taken aback by the look of absolute terror in the kids eyes at the thought I was going to beat him. Instead, I took him by the hand and led him away from the lamp and had a conversation about what he was doing wrong and why it was unsafe, and that was it. Re-directed him to something else, and we moved on with our day, no belts necessary.

Does Sparing the Rod Really Spoil the Child?

I've never understood why it's okay to beat a child that is a third of the size of their adult counterpart. All this kid knew from his interactions with his mom, was fear, but that didn't stop his bad behavior. He wasn't now a model child who never did anything wrong or stopped getting in trouble. To hear people speak about spankings like it's the holy grail of discipline is odd, because if it worked so incredibly well, why would you have to keep doing it over and over again? It also is a walking contradiction to what parents tell their children about how one shouldn't hit someone else if they are fighting over a toy or they shouldn't punch someone if they skip the line, but yet, the child's own parent is an absolute hypocrite by beating their own children as a means to a solution to a problem. I mean explain to me how a parent can be called in by a teacher to discuss a child hitting another child, and then that parent takes the kid home and tells him how wrong he was for doing then hitting him?!?

Does Sparing the Rod Really Spoil the Child?

When a parent says, beating a child is the only way, clearly it isn't. You want to institute discipline and set boundaries for your children where they know, once they cross a certain line, enough is enough, but that doesn't mean pull out a shoe, or a switch, or the hand to beat them down. My mother in particular had "the look." From across the room, if she sensed we were doing wrong, she would shoot "the look," and my brother and I knew, if we kept doing what we were doing, we'd be without tv, without video games or any other fun thing, without dessert, without social activity or anything until we understood very clearly that you don't mess with the look.

My mom didn't get that power from beating us down. She got it from constant discipline, teaching us about respect, and from consistent follow through---if she said we were going to be grounded and/or have stuff taken away, it happened, and it suckkkkeedddd! A beating lasts a few minutes, but not being able to go to your best friends birthday party that all your friends talked about afterwards for weeks...a tragedy.

Does Sparing the Rod Really Spoil the Child?

I think parents who believe in beatings as the only true way to get their kids to comply, should really ask themselves, why is it that they, in all their adult age and wisdom, can't seem to figure out how to discipline their own 6 year old child without resorting to violence? This also pertains to any aspect of dealing with other people---if you can't figure out another solution other than beating someone to a pulp or physically putting your hands on them, why is that? People who do this end up in jail. We don't allow other adults to beat or spank children, men to beat women (and it should also be women to beat men), bosses to "discipline" bad employees, and on and on, and yet, somehow, in some people's worlds, it's okay that they should be able to do it to small children. Something is wrong with that picture.


Most Helpful Guy

  • "I think parents who believe in beatings as the only true way to get their kids to comply, should really ask themselves, why is it that they, in all their adult age and wisdom, can't seem to figure out how to discipline their own 6 year old child without resorting to violence? "

    This I 100% agree with, but your overall conclusion I disagree with. There are parents that fuck up by choosing spanking as the punishment of choice, rather than a choice. And some parents fuck up by how they go about doing it. But it's also true that there are many cases where a child who has never been spanked is more likely to act out and be defiant of authority (whom they should be listening to) than those who have been spanked.

    Spanking is a form of discipline that should never been done while you're angry and should only be used for outright defiance. It's also a form of discipline that a kid grows out of as an appropriate form of punishment. Spanking shouldn't be the first choice, but if you have a kid that you told to do something important that you need them to do and it is vital that your child listen to you in the longterm and they outright say no. That is the time where spanking should be considered, because grounding doesn't work for that.

    The only time I was ever spanked for anything other than outright defiance to my parents was when I was super young and running into the street. They pulled me aside and expressed to be verbally 3 times how I can't run into the street, because of cars coming and if i'm not careful I'll get hit by a car. Me as a little kid I would get all excited from playing and forget, then run into the street again. My dad ended up giving me a spanking for it, because he needed me to remember and respond when it came down to it. I never ran in the street after that, because I had the emotional connection to that action.

    Obviously it's a case by case basis on the situation. That's why I say spanking should never be the exclusively form of punishment, but sometimes it really is the best options. Too many parents just fuck it up and that's the bigger issue. Poor parenting decisions.


Most Helpful Girl

  • some parents just don't know any other way to help the child learn from what the child is doing that is wrong.
    It's not as easy as it seems, and it can be frustrating.
    I don't think beating works, and it is an act of violence. I barely use it, and only have hit my kids a handful of times (my older one more than my younger one) but I found it was wrong and it was out of anger and rage more than it was out of trying to teach him a lesson. I have toned it down and barely done it. I was beaten as a kid and if I do beat my kids, it is out of my childhood anger that I was beaten.
    I have read numerous books on how to raise kids, including my current book "have a new kid by friday" and the problem I have with raising kids is this: CHARACTER and BEHAVIOR is CAUGHT not TAUGHT. I caught it from my parents who were mentally, physically and psychologically abusive and I don't know how to unlearn it. It's not as easy as it seems for some, especially for me.


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What Guys Said 46


    Thanks for sharing.

    Our parents and grandparents accepted many things that we no longer find acceptable today. It is possible to accept that they were doing what they believed to be right at the time while simultaneously choosing not to do or believe those things.

    Parents are physically bigger and stronger than children. They also know more than children and, because their brains are fully developed, they are capable of greater self-control. When a parent tries to get children to behave better by hitting them, that parent is telling them that hitting people who are smaller and weaker than you is an acceptable way of getting what you want from them. Why should it surprise that parent when their children beat up smaller children at school, or grow up to be wife beaters?

    We haven't the patience to deal with what our kids may be dishing out. Once you begin hitting the child who is pushing your buttons, you will experience enormous relief. And that pleasant relief can drive you to hit even more, even harder. Hitting children turns them into angry, resentful adults with psychological and emotional problems.

    They are also more likely to suffer mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems, and less likely to empathize with others or internalize norms of moral behavior.

    So do yourself a favor: Use your fully-developed adult brain to figure out clever, non-abusive ways of getting your children to do what you want them to do.

    • I think the same.

    • @itwasmelaniasfault

      That's Good. We all should think for our future generation. 😊

    • What the actual fuk? I got my ass spanked when I step out of line many times. I never once beat a kid smaller than me. If anything I knew how to take a beating by bullies. And mental health problems were caused by yet again bullies! Kids are the worst, kids are the reason why all of this happens. Spanking should be accepted, beatings , brusings should not obviously. Your ass is meaty it can take a little spanking.

  • I don't think sparing the rod will spoil the child.

    I'm a new parent and this has come across my mind many times. As a kid, I received smacks with a thin bamboo stick as a disciplinary measure. I don't consider it a "beating" that abusive parents inflict on their kids. These smacks hurt, but they were skin deep and aside from a small red welt, left no bruising or severe injury.

    However. the purpose of discipline is to teach the child the difference between right and wrong, and what they should and should not do. While smacking a child to instill fear is one way to do it, you are teaching them to be afraid of beatings rather than teaching them right from wrong.

    The child's response will be "if I steal this and get caught, I'm going to get beaten". That's not what I want my child to think.

    I want my child to think, "if I steal this, it is wrong and hurtful to someone else, so I should not do it".

    For this reason, I will likely take an alternative means of teaching the lesson. How? I have not figured that out yet. She is less than 1 year old so I have time.

  • A lot of it is context. Are they being insolent smartasses, or are they compelled by curiosity and unable to listen to basic instruction without understanding why it matters?

    Think back to your own childhood. Some things, you simply felt entitled to understand. Other times, you were being a smartass, and you knew it.

    The parental approach should reflect the context of the child's acting up.

    You don't administer Chinese penicillin to treat a mosquito bite. Even for its intended purpose, that stuff is a good way to kill someone, as the pharmacists in small villages don't always know what they're doing. (A Chinese friend of mine told me about her own experience with this.)

    Likewise, approaches of discipline have to address what is actually needed: context, or consequence.

    Children need to know that adults are there to give them perspective. They are not there to be used. They are not there to be feared and despaired over as inescapable boogeymen either.

    If a child is so afraid of dropping their glass of milk that they go thirsty rather than pour it, then there is something wrong with the parenting style.

  • I don't believe in child abuse. But I don't believe in disrespectful kids either. Kids these days are out of control and has no repsct for their elders. A lot of kids are ending up in jail for trying to be grown. I cannot speak for these bad kids today. I once saw a teenage boy call an elderly woman a bitch and spit on her. His mother did not punish him because she doesn't believe in abuse. He knew that. His mom tried "talking it out" but he literally said to her, "Fuck you, bitch!" and struck her. She could have struck him back. But despite how strongly she was against "child abuse" she left it alone which made him even more disrespectful. One day he was walking alone and three boys approached him. They were the elderly woman's grandsons. They beat him to death. The moral of the story, from personal experience, is that as a child growing up in the 1960s and 1970s my moms butt whippings kept me out of jail and the morgue. But that's just me. I grew up with the term "Respect your elders, go to school, and stay out of trouble or get your butt whipped." The results? I am a highly-educated black man with no criminal record. Better to get your disrespectful butt whipped by mom than get it taken in jail. But that's just me. I can't tell none of you how to raise your kids. I come from a strict upbringing and it turned me into a respectful gentleman. If my mom wasn't strict I would probably be in jail or dead. But that's just me.

  • My mom taught me to respect her, even being on her own. (I was raised by a single mother and no father) I never cried or embarrassed her in stores, restaurants, or public places, I knew better, she wouldn't take that crap from us (my sister as well). Not once did she ever hit us or beat us in any form. It can be done; I and many others are proof of this. That's a fact. My opinion? Hitting is just a quick, lazy way to try and discipline children (and animals for that matter).

    I agree with the author. How can you really teach your kids to not hit people when you're hitting them? Kids pay attention to that kind of thing. It's like when I was growing up and my mom and most of the adults that I and my friends were around smoked cigarettes. They always told us not to smoke and that it's bad, but proceeded to light up themselves. Sure, I don't smoke now and never would again, but guess what? Just about all of my friends and I began smoking in high school, most of them still do even. To us, as dumb kids, adults smoke. I guess the whole "do as I say, not as I do" thing is a load of crap. "lead by example" is a better motto to follow, especially around children.

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What Girls Said 27

  • Okay, a lot of people misunderstand what this phrase means and even what 'smacking' means. I've worked in childcare of some kind for almost 20 years and I can tell you smacking is (pretty much) internationally agreed on is:
    * A flat, open palmed hand connecting once or twice that is NOT hard enough to leave a mark or injury (open skin or otherwise) of any kind. Acceptable locations are hand, buttocks or fingers.

    Also the exact phrasing of "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is a verse from the Bible misquoted and taken out of context. The full context is talking about the willingness to *correct* your child. Now I'm not sure about you but correcting sounds a lot different than smacking to me. That's not to say I *don't* believe in it but my youngest brother is a great example for this situation. He was the youngest of five & has always had a happy sense of mischief about him. Whenever he did something wrong, he has 5 or so people around him to tell him off & it normally took only a few seconds for him to change his behaviour. So when he was really bad was really the only times he was ever smacked. Afterwards one or both of my parents would always talk to us about what we did wrong, there's always consequences for that & that they still love us. My little brother was rarely smacked & real correction, involves far more than just 'the rod'

    Having seen, probably thousands, of different children in many different moods and situations I can unequivocally tell you the children that don't have enforced boundaries or limitations are nearly always the most anti-social, the most demanding of attention & the least sympathetic children in the room. The parents often have professionals or workers talking to them about their childs behaviour & a common response I get from parents that don't correct their children or enforce (good) boundaries is that the whole concept is overwhelming so they avoid discipline as often as possible or "oh they're just a bad kid". That one breaks my heart. It's outstanding to see the changes in these kids once they're given direction & boundaries. I always advocate that there's many ways to correct a child most of which don't include smacking but it all hinges on educating yourself, being aware of what the child is like, learning to manage your own emotions & always offer explanation & reassurance.

  • I don't agree with beating (and most of the time it isn't) but I was spanked as a child and because of it I am a much better person today, I was quite the rebellious child and I'd usually get a warning or two before getting spanked, and trust me by the time I was old enough to get spanked I knew what I was and wasn't allowed to do. After the first couple spankings I would listen after a warning, but every once in a while I wouldn't listen to my parents and I'd gets spanked. I was never afraid of my parents, I'd be sent to my room after getting spanked and after about 5-8 minutes my parents would come in a talk to me, they weren't angry with me and I was never angry at them, after all I did get a warning before getting spanked.
    As I got older and they couldn't spank me anymore they started grounding me, as someone who has gotten both spanked and grounded I would much rather get spanked then grounded!! Spanking the "pain" lasts for 5 minutes if that (it was more the embarrassment of getting spanked) but when you are grounded you miss out on a great day. I think grounding your kid is way worse.

  • There is a difference between spanking and beating. Beating is when you abuse a child to the point where they are bruised and injured past the punishment. This includes punching, kicking, and possibly even whipping the child. That is something CPS needs to be contacted for.

    A spanking is a sharp impact from the hand to the bottom (traditionally) that stings the child, but if used with the correct amount of force, will not impair the child. As someone familiar with spanking, if you do spank for an excessive amount of time, bruising does happen.

    I was spanked by my dad. Every time I did something considered disrespectful and wrong, I would get a spanking. There was a time or two I got the ever legendary belt. I recall my dad telling me he hates doing it. But I can't remember ever being impaired as a child. Normally you get spanked, you cry and you move on to next activity.
    I am not traumatized. I was never afraid of anyone or have a strange fear of men. I don't feel like I was violated or abused. And to be perfectly honest, my dad stopped spanking me at 6 or 7, because by then I understood you don't talk back, snatch away, or say mean things.
    Also, I would like to say, I don't care if you are a mother with 8 kids and five of them are lawyers and doctors. You should not preach how other people should discipline their children. I think as long as the parent understands their force and where the line for spanking discipline is, that is important.

  • I grew up getting spanked and in no way, shape or form am i disturbed or hate my parents. I was a very mischievous kid and asked for it most times. There's no problem in disciplining your children. Child abuse is something way different and people need to stop confusing these words and throwing them around so loosely. I will discipline my kids if necessary sometimes sending them to the room just doesn't work.

  • i totally agree! i see people yelling and slapping their kids all the time, but they dont even tell their children why, when they could just sit down and talk to them about it, because despite what people say, it actually does work, plus the people who say that are the ones who think theyre so much smarter than everyone for hitting a baby, that they won't even try or be bothered to talk to their kids

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