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When To Spank
By: Dan Hodac


Growing up in a strict Vietnamese household, I was always spanked as a child and even into my early teen years. Thinking back, it was weird that I never resented or hated my parents for spanking me. This is mostly because of how my parents conducted each session of spankings. Unlike many other households, my parents used the traditional Vietnamese ways of disciplining a child. Whenever I was spanked, it would always be a formal "event" almost. They would make me lie down on the floor (in the carpet of course) and have me lie there until they were not as angry anymore from whatever transgression I had committed. After that, they would come to me and tell me what I had done wrong (with a calm and focused mind) and then spank me (It was always either on the hand or butt never anywhere else). They made sure that I knew exactly why I was spanked. I was never "grounded" and that was probably because my parents had never heard of "grounding" their kids. After recieving my punishment I was free to go, only after I apologized, of course.

This manner of disciplining me was very interesting, now that I look back on it, because they somehow did it a way that made me know that they still loved me and cared for me even as they are spanking me. As I got older and learned more about the different methods that other households have spanked their kids, this became more apparent. As said in the report When to Spank.doc by L Rosellini to the US News & World report, there is a right time to spank and a wrong way to spank. Beating a child senseless with a belt when the parent is in a deep state of anger is most likely the wrong way to discipline one's child, as seen in the picture below. Obviously, these kinds of senseless beatings will psychologically damage the child in the future.

When spanking, I believe that there are three things that are very important if you want the spanking to serve its purpose to the fullest.

1) Anger should not be the motivating force (or be involved at all) for spanking one's child. That would be venting one's anger, not disciplining.

2) The child must know why he/she is being spanked. This is another reason why parents should not spank their children when they are angry. The wrongdoings as well as the reasons as to why their actions are frowned upon must be clearly explained.

3) Make sure that the child knows that he/she is still loved. It is very easy to alienate children through senseless beatings/spankings.


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I really liked this blog! I had not thought about the psychological basis behind spanking kids. As a kid, probably not as a teenager, my Dad would spank me. Looking at the three important things that you listed, I think we followed them all. However, I might add a number 4 where it needs to be serious. It definitely became a joke with me and my dad, which took the discipline component away.

I was never spanked, and I don't plan on spanking my kids. I think that it can show the kids that violence is an ok way to punish someone, which I disagree with!

I was never spanked, and I don't plan on spanking my kids. I think that it can show the kids that violence is an ok way to punish someone, which I disagree with!

Great post! I liked that at the end you mentioned the three key ideas to basically conclude your post. It helps to bring all your ideas together.

Wow this was a great post! I really agree with your final three things. Just because you spank your child does not mean you don't love your child, in fact I would argue that in most cases you spank your child because you love your child. You want your child to be the best they can be and the only way that can be accomplished is by teaching them right from wrong.

I think this post was very interesting. I think that spanking is a way of discipline that can be used- but as you stated within those borders. I was spanked as a child but I don't think it impacted the way I thought my parents loved me- it was just a tool they used to punish me. I think that I turned out okay after that but I probably would not spank my children.

Great post! I grew up with parents who spanked occasionally and didn't see the good results. I hated when my parents spanked me. I think spanking and any physical punishment is bad and I will never spank my children.

I still think spanking is not the best way to teach children. Sometimes it will even have a contradictory effect. In my opinion, the best way of teaching children is to let children know why what they did is wrong and punish them to let them remember what should do and what should not do. Punishment is just a method to let children remember their mistake.

I must say that your experiences are the most acceptable form of this type of punishment. Being a child that was spanked as well I wish I had the communication with my experiences that you did. I would have probably learned better and there was a sense of fear from the wrath of my parents taking the form of I do't want tot he the thing that makes them not love me. I think there is a lesson hear for all disciplinary actions that calling attention to the reason of the punishment, even if it is just grounding or a time out.

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This page contains a single entry by hodac001 published on April 22, 2012 11:34 PM.

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