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Should parents spank their children?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/6/2018 Category: People
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 874 times Debate No: 118473
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
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Parents should not spank children, For the following reasons:

Violence against others is morally wrong, And spanking is a form of violence directed at the most innocent and vulnerable of people.

Spanking is also ineffective and has negative side effects. Counterintuitively, Longitudinal research shows that children who are spanked regularly are likely to misbehave more in the future than children who are not spanked. This is thought to be because spanking erodes the trust a child has for their parent and their desire to please the parent, Models aggressive solutions to problems, And causes negative emotions such as fear, Anger and hurt which motivate misbehavior.

The APA has provided a position statement recommending that parents not spank their children.


First of all, Let us define the scope of "violence" introduced in your argument. If I was not misunderstood, In the way that you introduced the term "violence", Slapping your friends in the back is also considered violence. I don't think it is very fitting to use violence in this context because normally violence is associated with killing people and causing extreme, Sadistic pains, Which I hardly believe is what parents do when they spank their children.

Whilst I believe that spanking children should be allowed, I do believe that it should be used within a certain boundary. I think that a light spank on their butts occasionally should be used by every parents. Whilst it is often overlooked, We humans are still animals, And we respond extremely well to pain. A well used spank effectively communicate to the children that what they are doing is wrong, Even at a young age. When the children grow up, They associate the wrongful act with pain, Which is very effective at stopping them to attempt it again.

For example, Lets say that a children (aged 5) think it is okay to pull a cat's tail. At that age, The children's communication skills are not yet developed and they cannot understand why it is morally wrong to cause pain to animals. If the parents just kindly stops the child in the act and tell them it is wrong, Then the child will most likely do it again because they did not realise the consequences behind that act, Which means that there are no incentive to not pull that cat's tail. However, If a parents administer a light spank on the children, They might cry for a bit. But after they threw their fit, They then associate that pain with pulling a cat's tail. When they decide to do that again, They immediately think of the pain of spanking and it is more than enough to stop them in their tracks.

So, To sum up, I believe that pain is a very effective tool to teach younger children the wrongs from the rights, When they cannot understand the logical explanation. Again, I must reiterate that spanking should be used within a boundary and shouldn't be abused or overused.
Debate Round No. 1


I am defining violence as causing non-consensual pain to another person. There is a big difference between between a friendly slap on the back, Which probably doesn't even hurt and which (assuming you have decent friends) won't happen unless they've got reason to believe you're OK with it, And spanking a child, Which is not wanted by the child and is intended to cause pain.

I don't think spanking is effective for young children at all. Firstly, Children learn how to behave more by imitating adults as from direct consequences, And in the case of spanking, The imitation lesson and the desired consequence lesson are diametrically opposed.

As a child, I personally witnessed a parent spanking a child for hitting another child, While saying "we do not hit". The child responded by hitting the parent. This is what spanking teaches - that hitting people who displease you is an appropriate response, Especially if you are bigger and stronger than them.

In addition, Spanking not only leads the child to associate a misbehavior with pain - they also associate their parent with pain. As a child, I obeyed my parents most of the time because I trusted that they were good people who cared about me and had good reasons for telling me things. A child who is spanked is less likely to believe that about their parents, Because they think of their parents as people who deliberately hurt them.

Regarding your example:

Firstly, You are greatly underestimating the ability of most five year olds to respond to reason. I have absolutely explained rules like that to five year olds and had them understand. Ages 4-5 is the age range when most children's favorite word seems to be 'why', And they respond very well to being told why. Barring any sort of language or cognitive delays, They are absolutely capable of being told that what they are doing hurts the cat, And if they hurt the cat, The cat might avoid them or hurt them in self-defense.

In addition, Psych research shows that even as young as 12 months, Most children have a sense that hurting others is wrong, And by age 4 they have the language skills to verbalize that moral instinct. However, This instinct may be overridden by lived experience, Such as adults modeling that they think hurting children is OK.

Speaking of which, In many cases where a child is being mean to a cat, It may not be necessary for the adult to intervene at all. Most cats are quite capable of clawing a child just enough to be let go and then escaping out of reach, At which point the only response needed is to comfort the child and explain to them why the cat clawed them and what they could do differently in the future. (I feel that violence in self-defense is morally permissible, Incidentally. ) If the cat can't defend themselves, I would intervene by grabbing and restraining the child so the cat can escape. Hitting the child to make them let go makes no sense when prying their fingers open would be less painful and more effective.

After a bit of time, Once the cat seems to have calmed down a little, I would go to the cat and try to convince them to give the child another chance through nonverbal cues, Meanwhile both modeling and describing how to treat a cat nicely. In general, I like to, Immediately after I've had to punish a child, Put them back in the situation while I support them to do better. I do the same with my dog - when I was teaching her to sit and wait for a treat, She lunged for the treat and I pulled it away and spoke in a disapproving tone to her, Which made her realize she'd done wrong. And then I told her to sit and stay again and this time she waited for my signal to eat the treat. (I would never deliberately hurt a dog, Either, And immediately apologize and comfort her if I hurt her accidentally. I do hit her in play, Though, Because she likes it. )

For a preverbal child doing things that they shouldn't do for reasons they don't understand, The most effective response is to simply prevent them from doing those things. Childproofing and supervision allow you to prevent a lot of potentially dangerous misbehavior, And distraction and physical prevention (grabbing them and moving them away from the thing) stops them from a lot of things.

The idea that someone is hurting you to teach you not to do something is actually a fairly complex concept, And as such I think spanking is even less effective for the very young children.

In addition, The most critical period for parent-child attachment starts around 9-12 months, The same age that most kids start being able to misbehave a lot, And spanking a child in that critical period is especially likely to damage them. The lessons people learn in toddlerhood about how close relationships work are likely to shape their experiences throughout a lifetime, Affecting their friendships, Romantic relationships and parenting style, As well as influencing their mental health in a variety of ways.

If a child is spanked, Especially when they don't already know that they're doing something wrong, They learn that someone you love and trust might unpredictability hurt you. And that lesson makes it difficult to trust anyone.

Lastly, Children learn best when they are at an optimal level of arousal - not drowsy or bored, But not overwhelmed or panicked either. Spanking, For many children, Is so overwhelming that it makes them too upset to think, And therefore not able to learn as effectively. I know many adults who have reported remembering situations where they got spanked but can't remember what they did to 'earn' it. If a child is so overwhelmed by the spanking that they can't even remember what they did, How are they supposed to remember not to do it again?

Incidentally, This optimal arousal thing is one of the big advantages of time out. Often kids misbehave because they're overloaded already, And so a punishment that reduces their arousal level, Like taking them out of an exciting situation into a boring one, Simultaneously provides a negative consequence and helps them get in the right mental state to process what they did wrong. In contrast, Spanking is so intense that it can easily send a child from bored or drowsy to overloaded - never mind what it does to a kid who's already overloaded to begin with.


GlackBhost forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Ettina forfeited this round.


GlackBhost forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
hey burner are you the fat fvck in the pic?
Posted by LiberalBurner 3 years ago
Yes, Especially if the kid says their homo or some other garbage
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
From google
Negative Impact of Corporal Punishment
"direct physical harm.
"negative impacts on mental and physical health.
"poor moral internalisation and increased antisocial behaviour.
"increased aggression in children.
"increased violent and criminal behaviour in adults.
"damaged education.
"damaged family relationships.
"increased acceptance and use of other forms of violence.
Posted by GlackBhost 3 years ago
Not every children (in fact, Most younger children) does not have a good sense of reasoning and logic, Which means that to convince a five year old using logic and reasoning is most likely going to fail. However, Pain is a universally recognised symbol which every single person on the planet recognises, Regardless of age. So I think that when dealing with young children that has not developed logical and reasoning skills, Pain is normally the best answer.

In order to combat the issue of trust, Most parents normally console their children after they spanked them and then explain why they were spanked.
Posted by GlackBhost 3 years ago
Regardless of whether it is in some religions, I believe that we should use spanking within boundaries and shouldn't spank children just for the fun of it. We should only use spanking when the children have made a severe enough mistake that could potentially cause huge consequences if repeated, Or a mistake that the parents feel like a stern lecture is not suffice in order to keep the child from doing it again.

For example, We shouldn't spank children when they accidentally drop something, Because it is not on purpose. However, We should potentially spank them if they knock something down on purpose.
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
It has sanctioned by the Christian god as moral, Kind of like hatred for gays. There is a passage in their book that says it is ok to beat your child with a rod, If you really love them you will do it. So as long as you believe, Then it is a moral and just punishment.
Posted by Ettina 3 years ago
Parents don't have to choose between no discipline at all and spanking. There is a third option. The most effective form of discipline, According to psychological research, Involves reasoning with the child and providing logical and consistent consequences. Plus, Forming a strong emotional bond makes the child want to please the parent, Which makes discipline considerably easier.

So, For example, Take a kid who has tantrums in stores because they want something the parent can't afford. Rather than a) spanking, Or b) buying the thing so they shut up, Which are both bad options, Effective parenting might look like:

First, Before entering the store, Explaining: "You're probably going to see lots of things you want in the store, But I can't afford to buy a lot of toys and candies, Because we also need to buy healthy food, Toothpaste, Etc. So, I want you to pick out only one thing that you want me to buy, And if I tell you we're not getting something, I don't want you to cry or yell or throw things. If you start crying or yelling or throwing things, Then we'll have to leave the store until you have calmed down enough to go back in, And you won't get to pick out anything to buy. " And then hold them to those terms, No matter how much they misbehave.

In addition, Building a strong bond is done by honoring the child's feelings ("I know, It's really frustrating when you see something you want and we can't get it for you" instead of "shut up, You should be grateful you're not one of those starving kids in Africa") and showing that you like them as a person (even if you don't always like what they're doing) and are interested in what they think and feel. A big part of this is paying attention to their cues - cheering them on when they're trying something they find hard, Getting excited with them when they're happy about something, And comforting them when they feel upset. This teaches the child to trust that you want the best for them.
Posted by Block19 3 years ago
This is a difficult topic to discuss, Because while it is possible to more or less measure the affect physically disciplining a child has on their development, It is nearly impossible to measure what results develop in children who are not physically disciplined. There are two ends of this spectrum which are equally problematic. On one hand, A child who is severally disciplined tends to rationalize the act as being necessary, And that violence is the correct response for negative behavior. On the other hand, Children who are not properly reprimanded for their negative behavior or actions tend to develop a belief that they can do whatever they want, Absent consequences.
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