The spanking debate has been going on for ages, with people on both sides adamantly standing one way or the other. Many different agencies have weighed in, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. While the agency discourages corporal punishment of any kind, parents have found different techniques to be successful with their individual children.
About 81% of parents polled by parents.com say that they have spanked their children at least once and 22 percent say that they do so at least once a week. Parents that advocate spanking were often spanked as children and say that the spanking as a disciplinary method teaches children to respect authority and take responsibility for their actions. In many cases, children respond quickly to spanking and stop the behavior that they were exhibiting immediately.
Parents that do not support spanking as a punishment say that it causes children to respond to problems with hostility and that it causes the children to be angry at the perceived “abuser” rather than see their behavior as problematic. Spanking detractors say that there are many other methods that can be used to discipline children, such time-outs, taking away privileges, and reasoning with children. These disciplinary methods often show similar results and don’t evoke the same hostility.
While there have been many studies on the issue and many people have weighed in with opinions one way or another, there is truly no consensus on whether spanking is better or worse than other disciplinary methods or whether it breeds hostility. Some sites have recommended that spanking only be used to reinforce milder disciplinary approaches so that spanking will not be “needed” in the future, while other sites recommend trying other disciplinary tactics, such as positive reinforcement, when mild approaches don’t work. In the end, it is all up to the parents to determine what works for their family.