Spanking: A Child’s Perspective

Young Girl and FlowerWe were on vacation, walking along the pier, and I’m not quite sure how we landed on the topic but there we were; my 6 year old daughter and I, hand in hand, talking about spanking. She may have seen a mother swat a toddler’s bottom. I’m not sure. She didn’t say. But she asked…

Why would a grown up hit a child?

What do you mean? I asked.

I mean, like when you were little and teachers gave spanks on the bottom (a story we had told her long ago).

I don’t really know honey. It was the honest truth.

That’s really sad, she finally said. Then asked, or more like, proclaimed:

It doesn’t make sense. Why would grown-ups try to teach kids how not to be naughty by doing something even naughtier to them?

I honestly don’t know and you’re right, it doesn’t make sense. Still walking hand and hand with the sound of the waves crashing on land, I marveled at both the simplicity and wisdom of her observation. My husband, who had been listening and walking nearby, offered:

Well, perhaps they think that by spanking, kids will be afraid to misbehave next time.

This time, her face scrunched up at the thought of that. I don’t get it. Why would parents want their kids to be afraid of them?

I don’t know, hon. I really don’t.

And at that, we continued our walk down the pier, and I realized there really is no good reason or answer as to why parents spank. To me, the reasons not to spank are as simple, succinct, and compelling as my daughter had so acutely verbalized.

Sometimes, all we need is a child’s perspective to see the world a little more clearly.


For more information on reasons not to spank and positive parenting alternatives, please read:
Why Positive Parenting?
Disciplining Your Child AAP
Should You Spank Your Child?
Spanking is Hitting Afterall


2 Responses to Spanking: A Child’s Perspective
  1. Kim
    September 24, 2014 | 8:22 pm

    She is right, it doesn’t make sense but we do it because we don’t know what else to do. Before I had kids I promised myself that I would NEVER spank. I even went to great lengths to try to convince my husband that it didn’t work, wasn’t necessary and wasn’t right. And guess what…try as I might I get so worked up sometimes that I can’t think of anything else to do. I’m not saying that it is right. In fact I feel so guilty that I beat myself up inside every time that I do it. I’ve read so many parenting books that my husband made me swear not to read another one for at least a year because they were making me crazy. Every single one contradicts the one I read before.

    So I guess my answer is that we do it because we don’t know what else to do and we feel out of control of the situation. I love my girls so much but every day it’s a struggle to know what is best when it comes to discipline, nutrition, education, health care, etc. Everywhere you turn someone will tell you that you are doing it wrong. We’re all just trying to do the best that we can. In the end what matters most is that we apologize, tell them that we love them and let them see that we are not perfect and we are learning too.

  2. To Spank or Not to Spank
    December 17, 2015 | 4:08 am

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