To Spank, Or Not To Spank

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The plethora of parenting magazines published shows that bringing up one's child in the very best way is a topic of interest among Americans, which makes sense because to most people, the most important thing in their lives is probably their children.
So what is the best way to do it? Diana Baumrind offers 4 different approaches, and (like most things in psychology) the answer varies (her research only applies to middle-class, Caucasian families.) The first style is permissive, or the your-parents-are-sooo-nice style. Little discipline and lots of affection are what characterize permissive parents. Authoritarian is the opposite, or the his-parents-are-so-strict style. This is characterized by little affection, punishment when kids misbehave, and little opportunity for children to play. Authoritative (which produced "the best social and emotional adjustment and the lowest levels of behavior problems") is a combination of the two styles. The parents support their child, but also set firm boundaries.
There are two limitations to assuming authoritative is best. The first is that we can't be sure that the parenting style is the exact cause of children's mental state. There could be certain genetic factors in the children that influence the parenting style instead of the style influencing the children. For example, fussy infants often lead to more parental punishment. Different cultures also often have different parenting styles that work better. The Authoritarian method often produces better outcome in collectivist cultures such as China than in individualist culture like our own.spank.jpg

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I was brought up strictly in a home where my parents did not spank us. My two older brothers and I were not perfect by any stretch of the mind and our parents took other approaches like grounding us and punishing us instead of spanking us. I think that since my parents were that way I will end up being like that with my children.

Spanking has been a common punishment for younger children for a long time so it can't just be linked to an authoritarian parenting style. Many authoritative families see this kind of punishment as acceptable as long as it doesn't inflict emotional or extreme physical pain; it is limited to the bottom area of the child.

I agree that a sort of hybrid parenting style (combination of permissive and authoritarian) is necessary in raising children. As for me and my siblings, none of us were spanked when being brought up. However, we were not given everything we wanted or free to do what we pleased all the time either. If too much of a permissive style is present, children may grow up assuming they can do as they please when presented with new and differing rules from teachers for example. On the flip side, if too much of an authoritarian style is used, children many times grow up and rebel against their parents, leading to many problems such as drug and alcohol abuse. Varying parenting styles may be appropriate in different households. Parents need to recognize what will work best and then implement a certain reasonable and effective style.

It is interesting to hear how unique everyone's parents' parenting styles are and how they continue to influence behavior today. I know people who were raised in a very authoritarian-style home and who were raised in a very permissive-style home. I feel as though the differences between those people, today, are great. They seem to influence decisions, reward-motivation, and self control.

I thought it was interesting to read about what people thought of the different ways of parenting. However I also think it is important to realize that every child is going to respond to punishment/parenting styles in different way. Another aspect that needs to be taken into account is in seperated families when children recieve different types of parenting from the two differnt parents.
I also think that more types of possible bias should be addressed in Diana Baumrind's study, I would be interested if you could post a link to more information about it

I think that this is exactly how children should be raised. It is sort of a hybred style support the children but at the same time be strict and set boundaries. Do you think that how a child acts is due in part to nature or is it completely nurture? Do parents have total control over how their chidlren act?

When I was a child my parents spanked me only on my worst behavior-such as locking my babysitter in our playhouse-but my parents deliberately applauded me in times of good deed or good behavior as well. I think this style is particularly important when raising a well balanced child. Being a permissive type parent in my opinion is not a great way to raise a child because they usually end up seeing you as a friend, and they will grow up assuming they can get away with anything. However, I also think that there is a degree of Authoritarian that a parent should go to before it can also lead children down an intolerant path. For example if the parent never discussed their pride and honor in their child, but only paid attention to them in times of misbehavior. This may lead a child to misbehave more in order to gain his parents attention. Of course, as you said, all people are different and certain styles of parenting match with each specific individual-no two styles are exactly alike.

When I was a child my parents spanked me only on my worst behavior-such as locking my babysitter in our playhouse-but my parents deliberately applauded me in times of good deed or good behavior as well. I think this style is particularly important when raising a well balanced child. Being a permissive type parent in my opinion is not a great way to raise a child because they usually end up seeing you as a friend, and they will grow up assuming they can get away with anything. However, I also think that there is a degree of Authoritarian that a parent should go to before it can also lead children down an intolerant path. For example if the parent never discussed their pride and honor in their child, but only paid attention to them in times of misbehavior. This may lead a child to misbehave more in order to gain his parents attention. Of course, as you said, all people are different and certain styles of parenting match with each specific individual-no two styles are exactly alike.

I agree that authoritative which is the combination of permissive and authoritarian is the best way to raise a child. I believe that when the parents are too nice to their children and allows their children do whatever they want, children are more likely to lack self-discipline and may be self-involved and demanding. When the parents are too strict to their children, the children are likely to have lower self-esteem and show more aggressive behavior outside the home (learned from their parents). So balancing the two parenting style would be the best way to raise children.

I know that one of the kids that I frequently babysit was spanked and right after that developed a habit of hitting others. I found that interesting that by showing this behavior, even as punishment, the he picked it up as a behavior..

I have to disagree with the last comment posted by conro094. I think that children might pick up this type of behavior only if they don't have trust on their parents. when kids are sure about their parents loving them no matter what, they would not take "spanking" personally, which means that they are punished for what they have done, not who they are. but when kids are still building the trust on their parents, spanking would not be the best way.

I don't think spanking is necessarily a bad thing. I think it should only be used in extreme situations, but every once in a while children need to be reminded that what they are doing is not ok, and if your last resort is spanking i think it's perfectly acceptable. I think a huge problem in society today is that people want to be the cool parent and be their child's best friend, which leaves them with no authority over their child. Its something that would maintain that authority if push came to shove.

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