Family Issues

No Child's Left Behind


Good for the circulation, guaranteed to raise a smile: Spanking.

As any good flagellator knows, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. So at a time when celebrities can threaten to have you arrested for yelling at your kids, here is (very unscientific) evidence that spanking is poised for a comeback: released results of its discipline survey earlier this week. Of the more than 1,300 moms surveyed, 81 percent were spanked as kids and 49 percent admitted to hitting their own children…

Only one parent who responded to my query wasn't surprised by the numbers. "The number is about what I would guess," says Katherine, a San Francisco parent. "I think that more parents would like to NOT spank, and I think that in moments of frustration, anger or fear many go to how they were disciplined. What they 'plan' to do goes out the window and they just respond with what they know."

I believe even corporal punishment supporters will agree that the situation described by Katherine is the classic definition of how not to hit children. But it raises the question of stated preference vs. revealed preference. When you combine that 50 percent-minus-one showing for people who say they spank and the now widely distributed stigmatizing of corporal punishment, it's probable that a substantial majority of parents hit, whether they admit it or not.

Supporting this opinion is the wide discrepancy between the 81 percent who recall being spanked as kids and the 49 percent who remember spanking their own kids. Statisticians may have other ways to account for this improbable-seeming decline, but I would suggest reporting bias. Who is more likely to remember a spanking: The parent whose mind is already full of public concerns, household management, and other adult crap; or the kid who gets whacked?

And finally, there are the Baby Center comment threads ("I agree with the first lady who spanks her children, children now a day are getting nastier and more disrespectful towards authorities and it starts from US!"), and the site's reader poll, which reveals that 69 percent of readers who were spanked have gone on to spank, while even a hefty 48 percent of those who were not spanked have become out of the closet spankers.

Back in the 1990s (you should have seen the Atlantic Ocean back then!), there was a very short-lived knockoff site called Since then I've been trying to get Webster to recognize "spanq" as the better and more Quranic spelling. If you agree, spanq it forward.

Courtesy of the Twitter feed of Becky Chandler, post-modern neo-feminist libertarian cyberpunk.

NEXT: Speaking Government-Funded Truth to Government-Funded Power

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  1. I believe even corporal punishment supporters will agree that the situation described by Katherine is the classic definition of how not to hit children.

    I agree, sitting here in my quite office while typing. However, I was once on an airplane which was stuck on the tarmac for three hours during which my 2 year old napped, awaking upon lift off. After an hour I would have thrown him out of the plane if the fricking windows opened! Not rational, but parenting is a primal uuge, not logically reasoned out.

  2. Anyone who doesn’t tow the lion will get spanqed.

  3. ? Beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat with a baseball bat
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, uh-oh. ?

  4. Not being xenophobic or anything, but foreign children are the worst.

    It seems that whenever I turn around to see what little snot is screaming, it’s always a foreign kid.

    American kids scream bloody murder and throw tantrums too, but the parents at least seem concerned or embarrassed about the amount of noise their kids are making and try some discipline versus letting them scream and run all over the place.

    My personal experience…might not be true at all.

    1. Depends on the foreign kid. My experience is that German parents actually make their kids behave.

      1. My roommate was on a plane flying back from Turkey, and some Turkish kid in the seat in front of her turned around and threw a pudding cup on her. It got all over the place. The mother was sitting right beside the kid and turned around and looked at her and didn’t do a thing.

        I spent a month in Turkey with one of my professors. The prof brought his kid along. That kid is the biggest brat I’ve ever met.

        Asian parents seem to be either very disciplinarian or they just let their kids run wild. Happens a lot in the grocery store.

        1. Asian parents have the same issue some Italian and Mexican parents do, first son syndrome. The oldest son of an Asian family is a prince and are almost always insufferable little bastards.

      2. One of the best things about Europe is the lack of loud brats. English speaking countries always seem to have lots of annoying children in supermarkets etc.

      3. German children are amazing. Dogs, too. People will take their dog, sans leash, through the city and the dog obediently follows. They’ll go to the grocery store and just let the dog chill out front while they shop. It’s unbelievable.

        1. The Germans know how to run a country.

          1. Except when they bloody well don’t.

          2. The problem is that they also know how to run everybody else’s country.

        2. It’s so cute the way German pets lift their right forelegs to salute their masters.

    2. My experience is just the opposite. In the trendy part of Chicago, where the latte drinking, pea coat-clad, Child Utility Vehicle driving crowd congregates, children are almost unbearable, any poor behavior being met with some kind of neo-psycho-babble meant to influence the kid without damaging their oh-so-fragile self esteem.

      Contrariwise, in the less affluent, often hispanic neighborhoods kids seem well behaved and actually heed their parents. They even call aging hippies like me ‘Sir.’ Oddly enough, they also often play outside unsupervised (gasp!), something I’ve never seen in Lincoln Park or Andersonville.

      But to echo James, hey, this is just my experience.

      1. I’m with Big Cat Kahuna. The worst-behaved kids I run into seem to be from well-to-do White neighborhoods. The little kids I run into in the ghetto are better-behaved and more polite. A while back I was working on a film shoot, and a neighborhood kid was hanging around. He was being a bit of a typical 6-year-old – asking a lot of questions, wanting to be in the film – but he also shook my hand and said, “My name is Miguel. It’s nice to meet you. God bless you”! I don’t see that too often in my neighborhood. When I mentioned the difference to some local folks, they said, “Here, everybody looks out for each others’ kids. And kids know they get smacked if they misbehave!”

        1. Funny that.

          I’m far from being the best parent in the world and I’ll cop to my share of encouraging misbehavior, but my wife has made sure that we have applied the most confusing and inconsistent discipline possible to our kids. And they show it.

          If I hear “The Great Santini” applied to my parenting choices one more fucking time….I’m betting she never even saw the damned movie.

          Yes, I’m blaming the guilty liberal wife for our kids’ behavioral problems.

          1. I listen and skeptically agree to my wife’s “no-hitting” philosophy…but when she gets so pissed that she starts yelling at me and them and she leaves the room in disgust…then those brats know it’s game over…even if it is only for a little while.

            Sadly, my kids are so stubborn and lacking of respect for authority that if a kid doesn’t tremble in fear for life and limb at some point then we are f’d.

  5. Unless your kid has emotional issues or is just not very intelligent, you don’t have to beat them all the time, just once. My dad maybe hit me once in my entire life. But, I always knew he would knock the hell out of me if I pushed it to far. The threat of violence was good enough. Not good enough to keep me from doing stupid things that all kids do. But good enough to get me to act like something besides an animal in public and act with some respect to the people around me.

    I was on a plane a year or two ago with all these Amish kids. Those kids behaved better than any other brat I had ever seen. I remarked this fact to my sister in law who responded “that is because those kids are beaten.” And I thought about it and said, you know those kids looked a lot better adjusted and happier than the kids who run around screaming and acting like animals because they know no other way to act. Maybe those kids parents are doing their kids a favor by beating them.” My do-gooder grade school teacher sisterinlaw was not amused.

    1. What the hell were Amish kids doing on a plane? Did the tail of the plane have one of those big reflectors on it?

      Also were the kids freaked out when the plane broke the speed of horse?

      1. They were Mininite. My mistake. They were all dressed in simple clothes and the girls had head covers.

        1. Mininite? Christ, you may as well have called them Mooninites.

          There’s this very easily used feature of modern web browsers. They check spelling while you type. While they can’t catch abused synonyms, at least they can alert you to 75% of your cringeworthy posts.

          1. Christ, you may as well have called them Mooninites.

            And we’ll spank you with moon rocks!

        2. They were Mininite. My mistake. They were all dressed in simple clothes

          On Saturday nights I wear a simple mini too.

          So no-one takes me for an anarchite. Or, heaven forefend, an anchorite.

    2. I swatted my daughter (the lippy one) on the butt one time but had the good fortune of doing it in front of my sons. Message sent. Dad’ll kill ya.

      After that all it took was the “Ray” (glare).

    3. The threat of a good beating made me and my siblings very well behaved. My Child Psychologist Sister went the “time out”, no hitting, route and her kids were hellions.

      Neighbors of mine never hit and their son is the worst monster EVAR! I am not an advocate of hitting so much, as John rightly points out, as having the credible threat handy.

  6. Spanking would be much less common if children listened to their mommies.

    1. True story…except for that poor “Child Called It”.

  7. Yelling at congress is not working.

    In 2010, voters will apply the time-out.

    If that doesn’t work, I’m afraid it’s on the spanqing.

    1. *on to

      Time out for me!

  8. Spanking a child and beating a child are not the same things, no matter what hippie family counselor types say. A couple of swats on the butt do not equal getting thrashed with a belt, say, or smacked in the face.

    1. True. People used to really beat the shit out of their kids. And that is not productive or justified.

    2. Well, it depends on how hard you smack their faces. My wife has a strict “no biting” policy for the kids. They get warnings, but sooner or later, around age three, each of them has been slapped.

      But her slap is so light that it hardly makes a sound. It’s not the pain it causes, but the surprise “She ACTUALLY hit me…. *sob*” that gets the message through.

  9. I was spanked as a child, and I turned out fine!

    1. Same for me.

      1. And me, as well.

  10. If people would just watch Ceaser Milan, their kids would turn out fine. I mean it worked for Cartman’s mom. It should work for anyone.

    1. Coincidentally (or not?):…..og.html?em

      What a bunch of asshole yuppies.

  11. There’s a huge difference between a few quick swats to a kid throwing a fit in a Wal-Mart and beating a kid with a belt until he’s black and blue down to the back of his knees. The people who collapse the two do it for self-serving ends and probably have horrible little shithead kids.

    And stop bringing little kids to nice restaurants. I’d to eat my $60 steak frites without a mucusy 2-year-old vomiting two tables over. (Valentine’s Day ’07)

    1. What you mean there is a problem with bringing a two year old three hours past his bedtime to a place that he doesn’t understand with a ton of stimulation and nothing for him to do? You mean that can turn out badly? I am shocked.

      How brain dead parents are amaze me. Fuck, I would scream and throw a fit to if you kept me up late and strapped me into a high chair in a place with nothing to do and where I got in trouble everytime I moved.

    2. and beating a kid with a belt until he’s black and blue down to the back of his knees

      Dammit! You reminded me of the only reason I wrote this post: So I could forget to make the joke, “This country ain’t blue and red; it’s black and blue!”

      Esprit d’escalier, je crache ? toi!

      1. Oh yeah, well the jerk store called, and they ran out of you!

    3. That’s why I like going to restaurants that serve alcohol – besides the drinking part.

      Family restaurants attract children, who are usually poorly behaved, and snotty.

  12. Daddy drinks because you cry.

    No spanking involved!

      1. Oh, what a great skit (I didn’t even have to watch it to remember).

        “How many girls called you today, son? None? Well, how many called you yesterday? Let me guess… none? You know what none plus none equals? FAG! Yup, none times any other number always equals… FAG! Think about that, you little mathematician!”

  13. Here’s some food for thought.
    It empiricallly provable that people learn better when they are punished for the results of their actions rather than for their intentions.

    Possibly, this is because theory of mind is a relatively late evolutionary development, and you need it to understand that someone is punishing your bad intentions, rather than their results.

    Young children (

  14. Crap … young children (below age 5) don’t have a well-developed theory of mind, and therefore probably won’t learn from the same strategies you would use to teach an adult.

    So it’s entirely possible that there are legitimate cognitive reasons why direct physical punishment makes mroe sense than time-outs and talking-tos.

  15. I tried the corporal punishment route. The first time my 2-year old (at the time) slapped me back, I realized what a hypocrite I was by using violence for discipline and then telling her she couldn’t ever hit someone.

    Corporal punishment ended that day.

    1. You don’t let your two year old drink and stay up late either, does that make you a hypocrite? Maybe your two year old is more interested in what she can get away with and what the consiquences of her actions are than if you are a hypocrite.

      1. There are things classified as “Adults Only”. Is violence really “Adults Only”?

        Anyhow, discipline in our house involves taking away things that the child likes. Lost privileges include story time, TV time, computer time, radio time, etc. Whatever seems like something where the loss will trigger an awareness of being in trouble.

        1. I would say violence is pretty much adults only. And further, it is not the violence that matters, it is the threat of violence.

          If it actually works, you are lucky. Because your approach seems to be common these days. And kids are generally insuffable compared to days when parents were unafraid to resort to violence.

          1. I know what John means here, but I have to just provide a little anecdotal evidence on the other side:

            My 3 year old goes to public nursery school in Vermont in a program that is half “normal” kids, half “special needs” kids. And the kids range in age in the class from 3-6, because of the range of abilities present.

            Now, I remember going to preschool and kindergarten in the 70’s, and even by that age kids were absolute monsters who beat each other up, singled kids out for abuse and ostracism, etc. Basically the entire Columbine recipe was already in place by first grade, back then. And as far as I can tell, there is none of that among these kids. To each other, they are literally the nicest kids I’ve ever seen, and nicer and kinder than I could have imagined. If I had gone to nursery school with handicapped kids I would have treated them like crap, even at age four. NO WAY would this arrangement have worked in the 70’s.

            So the only conclusion I can draw is that all the crazy hippie parents around here who use hippie parenting methods actually are succeeding at producing kids who don’t turn school into Lord of the Flies starting from the first day of nursery school. I don’t know what else it could be.

            1. Maybe. Or maybe they are a little meaner to each other in private than they are when you are around. Also, maybe there is something to genes. If they are all products of peace loving hippies, maybe they are just not that genetically agressive.

            2. Wait till these kids get into the “real” world. They’ll be eaten alive by the other kids at school/work.

              I’ve already taught my kids that bullies understand one thing, and that’s that you show them that you aren’t afraid of them. If you *have* to hit them back, so be it, but call their bluff first.

              1. I would agree with this, but only up to a point.

                No one actually has to deal with bullies after they leave high school. So if these crunchy Vermont kids stay in the same class until high school, after that they’re golden.

                “Kids need to learn about socializing in school, including how to deal with bullies!” Um, no they don’t. I have never come close to having to deal with a “bully” in my entire adult life. Not in the same sense as in school. In the “real world”, we have police / attorneys / managers / etc. When I walked into a high school cafeteria, I’d be asking myself, “Hmmm…where should I sit to make sure someone has my back?” I have never, ever, ever thought that when walking into McDonald’s. The “bully” lesson it’s supposedly so important to learn actually has no function in adult life.

                1. Bullies come in all forms throughout adult life. The sooner kids learn to deal with conflict and resolution, the better. Shielding them from that does them a disservice from later in life.

                  But yeah, the hitting back part only works when you’re a kid.

                2. I’d disagree. I think relying on police/attorneys/managers/etc to fight your battles for you is the biggest disease this society has.

                  It’s only one step away from “I want the government to provide me with healthcare”

                  1. Also, if some guy tries to beat the shit out of me to get to my wallet, I’m not going to just sit there and let my face get punched in thinking “Oh, jokes on you! My attorney will get you later!”

                    1. And just to clarify what I mean: there is no “social lesson” to learn about dealing with bullies in school because the only way such a lesson could exist is if my personal autonomy is negotiable and something that was worked out in a social context. It’s not. It’s absolutely non-negotiable, so there’s nothing to talk about and no social interaction for me to learn how to have.

                      If someone came up to me while I was waiting to eat in a restaurant and demanded that I give them my “dinner money” or they would beat me up, the appropriate responses to this would be either:

                      1. Immediate and direct violence, or
                      2. Summoning the police, or
                      3. Summoning the restaurant management, and demanding that they take care of the situation or face litigation.

                      See? No lesson to learn. I never have to deal with the bully at all, except as a criminal problem to be dealt with.

                      In school, you’re supposed to learn how to deal with the bully without maiming them with a weapon, or bringing in the police, by somehow talking to them or joining up with a social group that will intimidate them into leaving you alone. And there’s absolutely no analogue for those skills in the adult world, and no need to possess them.

                    2. In school, you’re supposed to learn how to deal with the bully without maiming them with a weapon, or bringing in the police, by somehow talking to them or joining up with a social group that will intimidate them into leaving you alone. And there’s absolutely no analogue for those skills in the adult world, and no need to possess them.

                      Actually, that’s probably not bad training for prison except for the not maining part.

                    3. And just to clarify what I mean: there is no “social lesson” to learn about dealing with bullies in school because the only way such a lesson could exist is if my personal autonomy is negotiable and something that was worked out in a social context. It’s not. It’s absolutely non-negotiable, so there’s nothing to talk about and no social interaction for me to learn how to have.

                      This is splitting hairs.

                      Either you learned that you had self-autonomy to begin with, and that people who are a threat to that exist and are real, or you didn’t. This knowledge doesn’t spring from the ether. You learned what it is and how to deal with it somewhere in your life, unless your life has been and continues to be conflict-free.

                  2. That would be because you’re an idiot, James.

                    The two are absolutely not related.

                    “I will call the police if you steal my property or try to mug me” is not one step away from “I want the government to pay for my healthcare” and anyone who thinks it is does not really belong on a libertarian board.


                    1. Fluffy,

                      Someone got their panties in a bunch.

                      I said that relying on the police, attorneys, [insert whatever institution you want] to fight your battles for you is one step away. Using the police, attorneys, the system to punish certain actions is totally acceptable. The problem is that it takes a good deal of time.

                      You admitted yourself that “Immediate and direct violence” is an appropriate course of action. Police can’t be everywhere. What happens when they’re too far away to do you any good? If someone has the intention to kill you or cause some significant bodily harm, you can’t say “Could you wait a minute while I call for help?”

                      I would say the social lesson of dealing with bullies is that you learn to stick up for yourself. In certain situations, your not going to have your parents, teachers, police, attorneys, the rules of society, etc supporting you, so you have to stand on your own two feet.

                      I certainly agree that bullying is wrong, but everyone is confronted on something at some point in their lives and they have to decide whether or not to succumb to physical, or any other means, intimidation. To say that there’s no lesson to be learned is naive.

                3. It does. You jut have to recognize the bullies, who to make it have become more subtle and devious, but no less effective for it. How many of us have had coworkers who get what they want through subtle intimidation.

                  The bullies who don’t learn how to be more subtle end up as cheap hoods or move into my neighborhood and drink beer on their porch and try to intimidate the neighborhood kids.

                4. Fluffy,
                  I agree with most of your analysis but the important lessons we learned about bully’s in school will all pay off when we are in prison or the FEMA camps.

                5. …outside of prison.

                6. Fluffy, you must always hang out in ritzy areas if you are never watching your back.

                7. “No one actually has to deal with bullies after they leave high school.”

                  You’re right. That’s exactly why there are no such things as rape, mugging, violent crime, bar fights, abusive husbands, …

                  Yep, you have police, attorneys, etc. They work the same way as the teacher does in school. They won’t do anything until *after* you’ve been victimized, and only if you have a witness or the guilty party admits to it.

                  That’s why I’ve taught my daughter, if someone hits you, tell the teacher. If someone hits you again, HIT ‘EM BACK. HARD.

                  At her mother’s family Christmas party one year, she asked her uncle to please let her go because she didn’t like him holding her in place. He didn’t. I calmly asked him to please respect that she asked nicely, because that’s how we were teaching her to not hit people. Apparently I was the asshole here, because I got told off. That’s when I decided to reinforce that, if asking nicely doesn’t work *immediately*, punch. My little girl will *always* have my support in her right to say to anyone, for any (or no) reason, “get your hands off my body.” I will always condone and support anything she does to someone who doesn’t listen when she says that.

                  Teaching her this now helps me believe she’ll remember and understand it later when that boy at the party gets a little too pushy, or the guy she went on a date with tries to push in through her apartment door instead of just dropping her off.

            3. How do those kids behave with their parents?

        2. Are you vegetarian? No? Bring home some live fowl sometime, slaughter it in the kitchen and cook it for dinner. You won’t break your hypocritic oath since you won’t be hitting her, yet she’ll gain a clear, indelible understanding of what you’re capable of.

          1. I quite like that idea, but it doesn’t work. My grandfather used to bring a live pig home to his sons and they’d all together slaughter and gut the damned thing. It was considered killing to fill one’s belly, not some crafty suggestion of the parent’s ability to kill.

    2. I don’t have a problem with double-standards at all.

      I’m the parent and the adult. I get to do things that my kids don’t because they are too young to do or handle. I also send my kids to their rooms when they act like petulant shits and take away computer and TV privileges as well.

      They have to go to school and do assigned chores around the house. They have enforced bedtimes. There are rules in the house which they wil abide by or suffer consequences.

      I also drink alcohol and drive a car, neither of which they can do yet.

      My kids can’t tell me to do any of these things or enforce any of these rules upon me and somehow that double-standard seems normal.

      I’m not an ogre though. They can try to show me that I’m wrong or persuade me to loosen the rules for good behavior.

      1. You sound like a reasonable parent.

    3. I wouldn’t consider spanqing violence. I would consider it a way of expressing parental displeasure with a child’s actions.

      Children don’t always pick up on their parents’ feelings, and often times don’t care – kids tend to be selfish at times.

      Physical discipline is a way of making them care. They may not care that you’re disappointed in them, but you’ll sure get their attention if their butt stinks for a few minutes.

      1. stings* that’s an odd typo

        1. It’s practically an instance of RC’z Law.

    4. Did you deserve to be slapped? If not, then I don’t think there’s anything hypocritical about slapping your kid (when she deserves it), and objecting when she slaps you.

      If, OTOH, you abuse your authority and slap her when she doesn’t deserve it, then yeah, you’re probably a hypocrite.

  16. I have found that time-outs and stern verbal disapproval work just fine for toddlers and preschoolers – but only if they’re applied with 100% absolute consistency. If the kid gets away with the proscribed behavior even once, all of the time-outs are instantly forgotten. So using the hippie method of parenting only works if…you aren’t a hippie, but are obsessive-compulsive and have the soul of the world’s best project manager, and never relent on a project plan for even a second, ever.

    The funny thing is that I support spankings more for older kids than for younger kids. When I was eight or nine, I don’t see how I could have been kept in line with any discipline short of violence and the threat of violence. I laughed in the face of lesser punishments.

    1. “The funny thing is that I support spankings more for older kids than for younger kids. When I was eight or nine, I don’t see how I could have been kept in line with any discipline short of violence and the threat of violence. I laughed in the face of lesser punishments.”

      That is a good point. When you are four or five you are still intimidated by your parents. When you get older not so much. That is the reason I think boys raised by single mothers do so poorly. Ultimately, they hit about 12 and they know there is nothing their mother can do to hurt them. Boys with fathers know their dad could beat the shit out of them if he chose to. And with many adolescent boys, that is the only threat that means anything.

      1. That’s basically the message of some research on elephant society a few years back. Turns out that young bull elephants were tipping over rhinos and killing them for fun. But that only happened in herds with no older bulls. Where there were older bulls, they would rough the young bulls up when they tried things like that and the young ones learned in a hurry not to misbehave. But with no father-figure sorts around, they’d quickly get really nasty to other elephants and rhinos.

    2. I outlasted my parents in the “You’ll set there until you eat that broccoli” game when I was about 7. It became a hollow threat that they soon abandoned.

      In retrospect, it was kind of sweet how shocked they were to have a elaborately stubborn child. And ironic considering they are also some of the most stubborn people on the planet.

      1. Right. Exactly.

        The problem with the other punishments is that they only work if the kid doesn’t decide he’s willing to give up whatever you’re trying to take from him in order to win the confrontation.

        If you were the sort of kid who was later going to read Atlas Shrugged and think, “Burn stuff down instead of let it get stolen? Sounds like a plan!” your parents were just not going to get anywhere by threatening to not let you watch TV.

        1. Actually, my parents were very foolish in that respect. I adored TV and they would only let me watch one hour a night. If they had let me watch more, they could have had some leverage over me.

          I was a fairly good kid. Most of the time I got in trouble was for shitty grades in math. Which I made sure to never learn, even now.

          I managed to get out of both high school and undergrad in a state college without taking a single Algebra class.

      2. That’s the real problem…a tendency to cave. Thus, you have to:

        1) Not create unrealistic punishments (you can’t watch TV for 6 months!).
        2) Never waver.

        As John said regarding corporal punishment, you want to create an environment where the threat of discipline is enough to have the kids toe the line. And that requires being hard and firm on occasion so that there’s no sense of having an ability to avoid punishment.

        In my view, this can be done without corporal punishment.

        1. It is essentially warfare with the littel bastards. Winning a war involves breaking the enemy’s will to fight and belief he can win. It is the same principle here. As long as the child thinks he can win and get what he wants, he won’t give in. Only when he realizes that resistence is hopeless will he comply. No amount of explaining or whinning on the parent’s part will change that.

          1. John, how many children have you raised? I’m just curious if you are talking out of actual experience or are you just talking out of your ass.

      3. I have a better gambit then the old “sit there until you clean your plate.”

        Eat it or go hungry tonight. Your choice.

        1. My other half had a hard time with that. “Oh my, we’ll starve her!”

          BS – Hungry kids will eat eventually. Here’s your options. Eat or don’t. I don’t really care.

    3. Really? Because by the time my kids were 8 or 9, they no longer needed spankings to behave.

  17. The inability to properly beat child is just one of the many reasons I don’t have one.

  18. I don’t hit my kid, but as soon as he gets enough motor control to make a fist on purpose, shit is on. I can see he’s itchin’ to throw down. He has his shirt off.

    1. Don’t bring the photos to Wal-mart.

  19. I am torn on this issue. Obviously, beating a child is off limits. But spanking or a little corporal punishment seeeeems to be a-ok.

    Humans are mammals and we usually get in trouble when we think otherwise. If a pup starts behaving like a bitch, the alpha male wolf bites the fucker. Not a “I’m-going-to-eat-you” bit, but certainly a painful nip to get it back in line.

    I guess that’s how I view spanking. But then again I’m a moron who doesn’t have children.

    1. *Not a “I’m-going-to-eat-you” bite.

    2. I used to swear I’d never spank my kids, that I was better than that.

      Then I had some of those little sociopaths, and learned quickly that they needed civilizing.

      That being said, my own parents carried spanking WAAAY too far. A single swat should suffice to get their undivided attention.

    3. Interestingly enough, our dog used the same technique on our kid when the latter tried playing a little too rough with her. She just nipped him like he was one of her puppies. He cried a lot, but there was no damage done, and he treated the dog more gently in the future.

      1. There’s the solution: Let your dog raise your kids.

  20. The wife and I were eating somewhere, I guess about ten years by now. We were in a booth and in the booth behind her were two mommies drinking a lunch and bitching about their husbands. A little girl, maybe 3, kept peeking over the booth at me. I was ignoring her, trying not to encourage. At one point, before our food got there, the little girl pops up with a steak knife and tries to stab my wife in the top of her head. I got her to duck in time. The kid giggled and dropped the knife and it clattered to the floor. She got up and gave those women the glaring of a lifetime while telling them off. They moved us to another table. The two mommies glared at us the rest of the meal.

    1. Some people simply don’t care if their kids behave poorly. Or they just have an odd definition of poor behavior. I would have dropped the hammer on my daughter the first time she peeked over the top of the booth. But too many people are willing to “let kids be kids”, which is utter BS.

      1. No need to drop the hammer on that. That’s fairly harmless. It’s the anti-social behavior in public that will earn them the hammer.

        1. My personal preference. Respect the boundaries of others. Peeking over and bothering someone else while they’re eating is disrespectful.

          We have very rigid standards, and work hard to enforce them constantly. So far, it’s worked great. But we’re only four years into this.

          1. Understandable. That’s just not a big one in my book. Pick your battles.

    2. Nowadays the parents need to be spanked more than the kids.

  21. I don’t have kids, so I dunno. I sure have wanted to beat other people’s kids, though.

  22. Kids need boundaries. They need to know that, for example, pounding nails into the formerly nice kitchen table has consequences.

    Time outs and taking away privileges and whatnot are fine, but sometimes those get ignored, and a swift swat on the okole reconcentrates their attention.

    None of my kids has gotten swatted in years. If they are totally dissing me, I start the countdown “THREE … TWO … ONE …” that used to precede the swat, and they know I mean business, and they quit doing whatever the hell it was they were doing wrong.

    In fact, I don’t even have to get past THREE any more. They know daddy will enforce it, so I never have to.

    1. I can just show three fingers. I don’t even have to speak.

      But again, for me, 1 wasn’t followed by a swat. It was followed by a rescinding of desired privileges.

      1. If you can make that work, good on ya. That didn’t always work for my kids when they were younger, but they’ve got one of their parent’s stubbornness.

  23. I have little to add here, other than more anecdotes.

    I was raised by a Marine. Rules were clear, consequences for violating the same were inevitable, up to and including a solid spanking. I think I got spanked no more than half a dozen times.

    The key lesson to spanking is that actions have consequences, and that acting like a shithead to get attention may just get you attention you don’t like at all. Both valuable life lessons better learned early than late.

    So put me down as pro-spanking.

  24. I’d smack a toddler who endangers himself(only occasion I can remmeber being spanked).Run out between parked cars into the street and live? Smack!Smack!
    Run to pet the pitbull?
    Smack! Smack!
    I don’t have children but assume this form of discipline is done out of fear.
    There is such a thing as spanking children for their own good.Hot stoves and electrical cords exact their own punishments though.

    1. I’ve certainly used pain to teach those lessons. It certainly wasn’t out of fear. Fear causes me to forget punishment and hold my kids. But maybe I’m just weird.

  25. I’ve seen a two year old (not mine) grin from ear to ear about being sent to time out. He didn’t care at all, and seemed to revel in having pushed hard enough to get in trouble.

    Pretty much everywhere I went, when my kids were near the toddler stage, people commented on how well behaved they were. I never thought they were all that well behaved, but in comparison to most they certainly were. I believe very strongly that each kid is different, but that attempting to correct all bad behavior without spanking, for most kids, turns out to be inadequate.

    The biggest question though is consistency. Without consistency, children learn to manipulate parents surprisingly quickly.

    No matter what, it’s a fluid situation that is going to be different based on an enormous amount of variables.

    To any soon to be parents, good luck. All three of my kids are vastly different, and require completely different strategies.

  26. I hate children, and do my damnedest not to associate with them, or to frequent places where I might encounter them.

    Carry on.

    1. Seconded, P Brooks. Although I’m beginning to suspect the FSM disapproves of such deviant, non-child-wanting behavior and punishes me by seating me in front of a kicker/cryer/hair-puller on airplanes.

  27. Statsitics correction:
    The difference between the 89% and 48% is likely not all reportigng error.

    If a child has 2 parents, one may spank abnd the other not. Thne 100% of the chilred are spanked but only 50% of parents spanked their children.

    1. I mean 81% and 49%…point remains valid.

  28. Last month, the NYT ran an article on how shouting is the new spanking.

    My dad spanked us maybe once or twice, but yelled all the time. I hated the yelling so much more, and I think it was much less effective. You learn to tune it out, which erodes respect.

    1. Yelling is usually associated with idle threats. Parents who yell all of the time have pretty much shot their wad. After the kid gets used to it, they are free to ignor them.

      1. Nope. I yell, when I civilly and not-yellingly request that they do some thing (or stop doing it). After the 3rd or 4th “wait,” inaminute,” one second,” I up the amps for the full effect. I *will* go to 11.

        It usually gets their attention and the job done.

  29. Also, this:

    As any good flagellator knows

    makes me think Tim has a paddle or two in his goodie drawer. NTTAWWT

  30. So far, for smallface (the internet pseudonym I have chosen for the three-and-a-half year old), I have found that taking something away works best. He really likes that Thomas train set.

    I don’t understand the impulse to strike a child.

    1. You never ran into me as a child.

      1. People still have a strong impulse to strike hmm.

          1. Mom is still one of them. She follows the, “You have to sleep sometime.” mantra.

    2. Neither do I. I’ve never been angry enough to want to hit my kids. Yet I’ve spanked each of them. I imagine that makes no sense to you at all.

    3. If you can raise a kid without having to spank them, more power to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. It all depends on the kid.

      But, I reject outright the theory that fear shouldn’t a parental tool. It is a very effective tool and goes hand-in-hand with respect, as long as you *always* treat you kids fairly.

      They pick up on everything.

      1. Discipline via privilege deprivation is all about fear, as it sets up the circumstance where future behavior is influenced by the (feared) potential of lost privileges.

        Anyone not practicing consequentialism in their parenting is likely doomed.

    4. that type of thing worked for my 6 year old but my 4 year old would laugh and volunteer to throw all his toys in the trash and take them to the dump then proceed to do the thing you didn’t like.

      1. D-a-a-a-a-yum. You’re fucked, dude. He is going to ride you to the bitter end.

        Good luck.

  31. There are several reasons that if I have kids I will adopt. One of them is I don’t know how my mother put up with me. My younger brother had it easy. By the time I got done growing up my parents had seen just about everything there could be and all he had to do was not get arrested and he was a golden.

  32. Funny spanking story, that would have an entirely different ending today, that occurred about 1973/1974. I was 4 or 5, my sister is 5.5 years older than me and her friend from up the street was 1 or 2 years older than her. I was being the annoying little brother and my sister’s friend slapped me. I ran off crying with a big hand print across my face.

    My Dad spanked my sister (for letting it happen) AND her friend. She ran off home crying. Phone rings, its her Mom (her parents were divorced, so she had a single Mom). She tells my Dad that any time she needs another spanking, go right ahead.

    1. If I had kids, if I knew the other parent really well (I mean if we were practically alter egos)then I wouldn’t have a problem with this.

      If anyone I don’t know, or didn’t approve of ever laid a hand on one of my kids (hypothetical children are the best), it’d be grounds for some real physical violence.

      That’s why I’m not sure if spanking in schools is necessary. The mere threat of parents getting involved should be enough to keep children in line.

    2. Excellent. My hat’s off to your dad, but yeah, he’d get hauled away today for that.

    3. I would have spanked the girls mom.

    4. Alas, my father would have thrown in a good spank on me as well for having been the cause. And I, as the “annoying little brother”, would have deserved it too.

      1. I was an exceptional annoying little brother. As the only male child, I was frequently seen as the instigator. It wasn’t always true, but I certainly had a knack for annoying the hell out of my older sisters.


  34. All my mom had to do was loudly open the kitchen drawer that had the wooden spoon in it. If we were farther away and didn’t hear it, she’d yell, “I’m getting the wooden spoon!” That would shut us right the hell up.

    I can recall only one, maybe two instances in which she actually swatted us with it. And even then, it was one quick, sharp smack on the butt cheek. But damn, that stings like hell. After that, all it takes is the threat of the wooden spoon.

  35. I can’t believe it 119 comments and no one mentioned Chase & Sanborn.

    1. Well, I would have liked to have seen the ad in question, but I gave up after wading through 3 pages of that guy’s site.

      Cool stuff, but c’mon, don’t be a douchebag just to get traffic to all of your pages. A direct link to the subject is the courteous thing to do.

  36. alhues makes a good comment about kids requiring different strategies. I have a very spirited 4 yo – the polar opposite of what I was. My dad’s intimidation and physical punishment were just way too much so I’m trying not to “be him”. So far what we’ve done with the girl is “natural consequences” (don’t eat, be hungry; don’t wear a sweater, be cold), and in a few cases “the hold.” That’s kind of new hippie parent thing that when done right is pretty damn effective. The point is to force the child into immobility in order to make them calm down – so usually most used when said child has escalated out of control. The calmer you remain while the child screams it out the quicker it is over and the sooner you will actually be able to have a conversation with the child again. You have to be physically strong too or they’ll rip your eyeballs out. So far so good. Positive stuff works pretty well with her too – we use the marble jar for good behavior, with a special reward for filling it up (yeah, she negotiates). We think (maybe in error) that she’s a pretty good kid and doesn’t irritate others in public. I respect people’s decision to spanq if that’s what it really is, but so far we’ve committed not to. Get back to me in a year and see how it’s going!

  37. Nine years ago, a Canadian school principal was busted for possessing child pornography. Specifically, he collected pictures of children being spanked. Turns out he’d also spanked a number of students during his career.

    In 2002, the FBI broke up a nationwide child-spanking pornography ring. A few of its members even made films using their own kids, who could be heard tearfully pleading their innocence.

    Now, it’s not really news that spanking can take on sexual overtones, as anyone who’s seen “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” can tell you. If you doubt it, just type “spanking” into a search engine and see what kind of results you get. And since there are people out there who are sexually drawn to children, it figures that some would enjoy spanking them.

    Tragically for many victims, though, society has mostly failed to recognize the potential for sexual abuse in the practice of spanking children or even young adults. Perpetrators often deflect suspicion simply by playing the discipline card.

    It’s high time we woke up to this problem. You can learn more at and

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