What Spanking Really Teaches

by Darlene Barriere - Webmaster
(Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada)

<center>[ADOPTED from August 2007 issue Barriere Bits E-zine]</center>

[ADOPTED from August 2007 issue Barriere Bits E-zine]

The vast majority believe it is their right to spank their child as a form of discipline. Some quote the Bible, arguing that it is their parental duty to spank when their child misbehaves.

All too often, parents interchange the word spanking with discipline, believing that without spanking, there is no discipline. This just isn't so. The term "discipline" should not be confused with physical punishment. Discipline is about teaching a child right and wrong and imposing appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviour. Discipline is about teaching the child how to get along in the world.

Many would argue that a spanking is a consequence. But I have to ask, is it an appropriate consequence?

Child psychologists agree that spanking has extremely negative long-term consequences that far outweigh any short-term gains. While a parent may well stop a child from doing whatever was done wrong a second time, the harmful effects are numerous.
    What children really learn from being spanked:

  • They learn that violence is an acceptable way to handle situations.

  • They learn that the people charged with protecting them can and will hurt them.

  • They learn that love = pain.

  • They learn fear.

  • They learn to lie to avoid painful punishment.

  • They learn what it's like to be humiliated.

  • They learn anger and hostility, resentment and hatred.

  • They learn size is might.

  • They learn that they are "bad".
When parents spank, the child believes he or she is bad rather than understanding that it's the behaviour that was bad.

The Abuse and Discipline page on this site offers a comparison between abuse and discipline, and what it is that parents are trying to achieve in each case.

There are countries in the world who have outlawed spanking, but most countries leave it to the parents to make the decision. The more we can educate parents on effective, non-violent methods of discipline, the healthier our future generations will be.

Email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses AND website/blog URLs in visitor comments are strictly prohibited.

Comments for What Spanking Really Teaches

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Jul 23, 2008
Lessons learned
by: Anonymous

I learned EVERY lesson listed here well............but the one that lasted the longest..............."They learn anger and hostility, resentment and hatred." It took me decades to get over this one. Thank you for going against the grain and posting this. More people need to understand what this kind of discipline really does teach.

Jul 28, 2008
Lessons Learned
by: Mark

***Comments moved to article page on this site***

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jul 28, 2008
To Mark:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I found your comments too valuable to keep in this thread, Mark, where they would be viewed by perhaps only a few of my visitors. I've now placed your comments on a separate child abuse article. You'll find it at the following URL: Lessons Learned From Spankings: An Issue of Child Abuse, along with my own comments.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Oct 21, 2008
I just want to comment on this bullet list here
by: atembeli

***Comment removed as inappropriate by Darlene Barriere - Webmaster***

Note from Darlene: Atembeli, I will not permit anyone to post comments that promote a violent approach to disciplining children. Your comments do not belong on a site that has been created and maintained by a violence and abuse prevention educator, by someone who is offering alternatives. Your position is among the masses; therefore there are a multitude of other sites that would welcome your thoughts, but this is not one of them. I'm sure you can understand my position on this.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Mar 13, 2009
Clarity a great help
by: Maurice

Darlene, yes most beneficial for me, A learning that will be most helpful. I agrree fully with your observation and comment. Most grateful to you.

May 06, 2009
Who benefits
by: Mark

The only ones who benefit from a spanking is the parents. They get to release their anger and frustration by beating their child in a socially acceptable way. They also get the satisfaction of believing that they have taught the child a lesson because during the spanking the child has probably promised to be good or stop what ever behavior precipitated the spanking. This is an illusion because I remember saying almost anything to get the pain to end.

Sep 09, 2009
against the violence!
by: Carys

I dont understant why parents feel the need to spank their children, when a person is angry at child they forget the size differences between them, anyway no child is neciseraly bad, it's just their behaviour is wrong! You can just as easily explain to the child what you dont like about their behaviour, and if you respect your childs wishes then more often than not your child will respect your wishes.

Sep 10, 2009
by: Mark

You are right about parents forgetting about the size differences between them and the child. One the most terrifying things I remember is having this huge (to me) person yelling at me and promising to beat my bare bottom good and hard. I would stand there half naked and trembling, knowing that they could do whatever they wanted to me and I was powerless to stop them. Discipline should teach children how to behave and improve their behavior not cause them to fear their parents.

Sep 12, 2009
My experiance.
by: Carys

I am sorry for what happened to you. My father beat me constantly as a child, he would use anything he could, he would do it to my brothers too.

Apr 20, 2010
Lessons learned from spanking
by: kaye

AS a child, i've been beaten by my father and sometimes by my mother as their form of discipline and "love" everytime i committed mistakes (going home late, chores undone,etc.). i experienced all kinds of whipping which was becoming scarier and humiliating as i was getting older (till 12 years old). the end effect? true i got scared to commit mistakes, never reasoned out, did all the things they wanted me to accomplish. but deep inside, i was boiling out of hatred and rebellion. i never felt being loved. i can't wait to get away from them and have my independence. in my teenage years, i always envy the closeness my friends have with their parents and family. growing up, i wished i had the security, love, confidence and peace of mind they felt. growing up, i always felt inferiority. i developed the habit of always worrying especially on pleasing everybody. as a result, i often ended up getting bullied and exploited. at the moment at 30 years old, i finished my education, got a job and got married. with the help of my husband, i'm still struggling and working out on my insecurities. with my parents, i tried to get close to them,but there was always awkwardness.but im glad to see they're improving, never resorting to violence as a form of discipline with my younger siblings. as a conclusion, based on my experiences, i will never do the same mistakes my parents did to me. i will always let my kids feel all the love and support that i didn't quite felt from my own parents, and discipline them without resorting to spanking. i understand my parents love me and spanking was the only method they knew back then and perhaps experienced as kids too, so i dont blame them that much. but now, lessons were learned.

Mar 12, 2012
True all of it
by: Anonymous

It's weird, I remember the spankings, but not what I did wrong. My parents weren't bad people, but to them spanking was an ok option. Because if I smiled and continued playing an hour or two after a spanking, they just assumed it did not hurt me psychologically. It did however. I did not learn how to be a good person or tell wrong from right, because I was never bad on purpose. I just forgot and the reminders (spankings) did not teach me to think twice. I only learned how to lie myself out of trouble and I got very mixed messages of my parents love. I started to feel weird about people touching me. Even if it was suppose to be a supportive pat on the back I felt as if i was going to be beaten and reflexes kicked in. When I got older I finally explained to my parents how much the spankings hurt me and damaged my self esteem. They listen and after that conversation they never hit me again. That's the thing too. So many parents say spanking is not hitting, but what's the difference? It's a brutal way of hitting.

However my parents got to understand what they did wrong and I started to build up my damaged self image and I started to want to behave. Everything changed to the better.

Jul 09, 2012
From One who Knows
by: Anonymous

I'm in my 50's. I grew up in a time when spanking and yelling at children was "accepted". I have a college degree - yet have never made a career, have never been able to hold onto a job long. I've had trouble making and keeping friends. I suffer from depression and anxiety for which I am being treated by a professional. My siblings also have college degrees and are unemployed. They, too, have similar problems. My memories of childhood, although there are some good ones, are of feeling bad about myself, feeling isolated from the rest of humanity for the most part, and never feeling quite "good enough" for anything or anybody. I am married, managed to raise two sons without yelling and spanking, and they have many friends, are employed, and one owns several businesses. However, I did marry a man who has "control" issues for which it took a long time, plus marital counseling, to overcome. After reading all of the above, you tell me if spanking and yelling at your child is the right way to raise them.

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