hbm2007's picture


I'm getting ready to have my first child, and I'm worried about me and my husband's different views of discipline. He believes spanking can be effective if used every once in a while. I'm completely against it! What should we do? Does anyone else discipline their kids with methods other than spanking?

elisar's picture

I have teenagers and I never spanked them - although I came close fairly often - still do, sometimes!!!:) My best discipline technique was timeouts. I used them when needed - not too often. But I found that they were a good time to give me and my kid some space to cool down and then move on. And, then we could talk about what was going on - although when they were little it was hard to discuss some of the issues. I also like to use logical consequences and have them make up the consequences. Sort of like this - I would say, "You hit your sister. What do you think should happen to you?" A few times their own punishments were so severe that I had to tone them down! I guess I think that kids are basically good - and that has always helped my discipline strategies.

zealous4kids's picture

I have a borderline opinion about spanking.  There will come a time when your child is a baby about 18 months to 24...depending on the temperment of the child ...you may have to swat him/her  on the bottom if lets say they run out into the middle of the street more than once and cannot understand that it is unacceptable w/out a little swat on the bottom.  This is not an oldschool spanking!! Just a little tap to get the attention at your independent little one.  Once they master the art of speaking a time out will do just fine.  As long as you are consistant and discipline with out emotion things will go great.  Just make sure to never discipline out of anger.  It's so hard to be a parent!!!   Nobody can tell you just what to do, hopefully my suggestions help.

zoe's picture

Hi zealous4kids, I agree with everything you have said. It seems a middle of the road answer to me and it is how I do things in my home. Spanking my child is not something I like doing but it is seen for their own safety and good. I would say - spanking with anger or negative emotion is wrong and unfair to the child. When they are little I also use timeout, distraction, providing two of something - depending on the situation.   I may spank my child if they are between the ages of 18months and 3 years. As they mature I am able to talk and reason with them more. The temperament of my child affects how I might handle things differently also. I try to keep the rules at a minimum and consistent while they are very young and gradually step it up as they mature and become more capable. Rules must be fair and consistent.  It would be interesting to hear other parents comments. 

BobMeadows's picture

Spanking, what’s the point? This is not a shallow question. Ask you husband what he is trying to accomplish by spanking, and if he believes a punishment should ‘fit the crime’? I was tempted to agree with spanking a child putting themselves in danger and all, but after some thought I see the following: first, a sub-four year old simply does not have the smarts to connect the impending auto accident with their actions; second, a spanking often only serves to make the parent feel as though they are doing something about a danger they should have seen and avoided; and, third, physical punishment often creates a temporary effectiveness along with a thin patina of positive learning. Then again, consider if the worst happens: your child runs into the street and is killed, who are you going to spank?


My young son did once run into the street, I yelled, but he just kept running, and a car was coming. Luckily he entered the street and hit the car rather than the car hitting him: he bounced off the side just behind the front wheel. The result was a small bruise on his arm and a lesson learned. He never ran into the street again. The interesting thing was that I did not even consider spanking him, however, at that time, if he simply ran into the street, I would have. I am now convinced it would have served no purpose beyond him learning not to run in the street when I was around. The point of being a parent is to ensure your children cultivate the behaviors, decision making abilities, and attitudes (values) to behave well by themselves.

What a child tends to learn from being spanked for some action  - other than it’s ok for the big and powerful to hit the small and weak – is to avoid getting caught by not doing it when the big people are around.

Spanking does teach some negative things: it is ok for the big to hit the small, avoid getting caught unless that’s the only way to get attention, and to avoid responsibility…lie. What it does not teach is to tell the truth, trust in others, and alternative correct actions.


There are so many positive alternatives to spanking, a well informed parent should have no reason to raise their hand to their child. Then again, it is very hard to teach someone something they think they already know, even when they can Google "spanking and punishment" and learn the truth.


Good luck with your baby!

ScrapPunk's picture

When I was pregnant I had read something that said "never spank your child when you're angry." I laughed it off because, no DECENT parent would just hit their kid- let's spank them while we're having fun! I thought about that saying everytime he pulled himself up and then decided to clear the table as I told him no! They are born with this insane sense of, lets see what kind of reaction I get when....... fill in the blank. Your job as a parent is to keep them safe- You can't prevent ALL accidents, but you can prevent the major ones... such as bouncing off cars (too close for comfort, for me) or their ability to go for the little plastic plugs in the light sockets when you grab dinner from the oven. You won't be able to fully say no to spanking, or any other form of discipline without knowing your childs personality.

My son is a head strong four year old going on forty- his problem is he is calculated- he was born with an independent nature- hated babyfood and wanted a regular spoon at almost six months, running around full speed at 7 and a half months- it is hard to say what your child will respond to. Someone suggested I clap at him, because no, noo! nooo!! NO! didn't work LOL Clapping only scared him and then made him cry, so for Joey- it quickly became, me walking over to him getting on his level and saying- "Excuse me? what are you doing?" and he'd pull back, and then I'd tell him no- and he understood it that way because I had finally gotten his attention. We honestly thought he had a hearing problem until you could whisper what he wanted in the next room and he'd come running. They are smart cookies, and you are there to protect them from the things you know are life threatening in a way that your individual child will respond to. 

Spanking a child for pulling things off of a shelf, spilling something, breaking something- is completely uncalled for- accidents happen. They learn from accidents just as you do, they honestly just don't know they aren't suppose to do it. I don't agree that children can't put road and car accident together yet they can put spanking with it's ok for a bigger person to hit on someone smaller- they only learn that if that is how you treat them. Spanking- not a beating, can work if your child is constantly running towards the road and you've brought them back 10 times only to do it again the minute you turn your back.

It really is something that depends on your childs ability to learn and how they react to certain situations. You may never have to really yell no, only time will tell :)

So, for your first six months, worry more about how to squeeze a little more you time in and less about how you and your husband disagree on discipline- the more you two connect after the baby, the easier it will be to make decisions on how your child should be disciplined :D

Best of luck- and congrats on your first :)

johnmurphy's picture

For Bob Mathews

Just read your reply to spanking. It’s great to find someone with their head in the right place. Well balanced advice from someone who is willing to look at life and learn from it. Next time you are out and about take time to observe children with their parents. There are quiet a few that that behave like one or other parent. Sometimes you would wonder which is the child.

curry130's picture

Hey there!
Spanking is always an issue with new parents.  There are alternatives to this such as when your child is young to simply remove your child from the tempation.  Children are exploring and do not always understand what they are doing wrong and needs some guidance.  When your child is young remove your child and use words such as "ouch" and try some distractions.
I hope all goes well.

Debi79Camaro's picture

What this discussion should come down to is defining spanking.  I am against abuse, against violent spanking, against straps/paddles, etc.  But, a firmly placed GENTLE swat will deter the behavior when all other methods have failed.  I did receive such swats when I was younger, have thanked my parents since.  I've seen other kids I grew up with whose parents let them run wild and that's exactly what they are now.  Everyone needs to know that there is a reaction for every action.  If the negative behavior continues, and other methods of discipline have failed, it's time for a swat.

BobMeadows's picture


I am sure you are a great parent, but , when the 'swat' fails to work, do you get out the big guns?

If the point is to teach your children how to respond in life, consider this: they may not remember what you say, but they seem to always remember what you do. You are their role model. I keep thinking about seeing a mother  smack her oldest son because he smacked his younger brother..... wonder where he learned that?

The last resort is not hitting, it is parenting with your childs future behaviors in mind. I admit a swat does work, but, so does spanking with a belt, or a slap in the face. It works to stop a behavior...for the moment. If that is your only goal, swat away. But, if you are interested in helping your child nuture behaviors for the long term, there are other methods, better methods, to acomplish your goals.

DaMoKi Bob

Debi79Camaro's picture

There is no "template" that will fit every family/situation.  A nephew was raised with "time outs" and he was always out of control.  As a young adult now he's been in quite a bit of trouble.  I, and my siblings, were raised with the occasional, but necessary, swat.  NONE of us grew up only remembering what was done, not said.  NO ONE is saying a "spanking with a belt, or a slap in the face"....that's jumping from A-Z.  Ever wonder why so many children are on the various behavior altering medications for ADD/ADHD?  Is it that children have changed?  OR, is it that methods of discipline have changed?  When children get into the school setting, acceptable behavior at home is no longer acceptable.....they find it difficult to not get their way, do what they want to do when they want to do it, etc.  So, in comes the medication.  A friend works at a local grade school, she said the child NOT on medication has become the exception now.  And, NO BIG GUN has ever been used.  It's a gentle swat, removal from the situation to a quiet area of the room.  No adult/parent with common sense would ever act out of anger.