Spanking or no spanking? What side of the fence are you on?


How to discipline a child is one of the biggest parental debates out there. For some parents “time out” works just fine. For others, spanking seems like the only way to get a clear message across to their child. Which method works best on the child though?

Here are the statistics

In a study conducted at Tulane University children’s short-term response to spanking may make them act out more in the long run. Of the nearly 2,500 youngsters in the study, those who were spanked more frequently at age 3 were much more likely to be aggressive by age 5.

The research, by Calvin College psychology professor Marjorie Gunnoe, found that kids smacked before age 6 grew up to be more successful.

 Child development research claims that using corporal punishment to discipline children leads to poorer developmental outcomes.

As 5-year-olds, the children who had been spanked were more likely than the nonspanked to be defiant, demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, become frustrated easily, have temper tantrums and lash out physically against other people or animals.

“Children who are spanked occasionally are not thought to be significantly impacted later on, but those who are spanked regularly are more likely to have behavior problems that may escalate into antisocial behavior.” (

The statistics show that spanking a child is a temporary fix and will not solve a child’s behavioral problems long term. However, let’s not fool ourselves. Even though the statistics do say so, sometimes a quick spanking in the moment may be what the child needs. For instance, if your child was about to touch a hot stove you might give them a tap on the butt right there and then and say “no!”.  If they ran out into the street you might give them a few slaps on the butt to let them know that running into the street is dangerous. Sometimes associating pain and a dangerous situation is the best way a parent can tell a child not to do something. Especially if the child is too young to grasp why running into the middle of the road is dangerous just by telling them.

What do you think? When do you think is an appropriate time to spank your child and do you think it works all the time?