Should I spank my child because I was spanked?

Toddler in white holding blue bottle
Should I spank my child because I was spanked? | Honeycomb Moms | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM | My son, Donovan, grabs a bottle and goes to town during a photo-shoot.

So the American Academy of Pediatrics strengthened its stance against spanking children last month.

More specifically, the organization concluded that spanking, yelling at and shaming children are simply ineffective discipline strategies in the long run.

I get that. We all know that one demon child. No matter how many spankings he got, he still terrorized the neighborhood without pause.

Any expert worth her salt will say instead of focusing on discipline, a better approach to behavior intervention is to first establish the desired behaviors by rewarding and acknowledging them.

I get that too. I tend to repeat actions because I’ve been rewarded or praised in some way not because I’ve been scolded for doing the opposite.

Here’s where I have to sign off in the anti-spanking conversation:

  • when spanking and shaming children are considered equally deplorable,

  • when all spankings are considered abuse, and

  • when people with unruly kids recommend against spankings.

The last point is obvious. If your kids don’t know how to act, let’s focus on that, not on judging other parenting strategies.

The other two points may need a bit more explanation depending on your background.

Both my parents are black, and both of them are educators.

We called spankings woopings, and I don’t think I’ve gotten more than five of them my whole life.

That’s because my mom and her village never relied on spankings as teaching tools.

I got spanked because I willfully and blatantly defied something I was told.

I mouthed off or had a water fight outside with my cousin when my mom told me very clearly not to leave the house.

Spankings were physical reminders that I was not going to disrespect the people who loved and raised me.

My mom was never that mother who came up to the school to spank me in front of all my friends or the one who threw whatever was lying around at me. She wasn’t cruel or abusive.

None of my village was. In fact, the main reason I don’t want to spank my son is because the people who spanked me never seemed completely sold on the concept themselves.

Some of them just didn’t know of a better way, and others were riddled with guilt after the fact.

I remember one spanking in particular.

I cursed at my great grandma, who watched me each week while my mom and dad worked.

I remember saying something like this to my cousin:

“I bet I can say the F word to granny.”

Welp, I was right. I said it, and she kindly gathered a small switch and got me together as a result.

The spanking was hardly memorable, but it’s hard to forget the look in my granny’s eyes after she spanked me. I didn’t know what it was until she sat me down and explained.

I couldn’t tell, but she admitted that she spanked me out of anger.

The look in her eyes was guilt.

She apologized and gave me a lollipop.

I would love to say that at that moment I knew I would never spank my children, but the truth of the matter is the spanking itself didn’t have much of an effect on me at all. I just remember my granny was hurt because she hurt me.

It’s only now that I have a son that I know how devastating that must have felt. I don’t want to feel that, and I don’t want to have to hurt my child to teach him.

 Should I spank my child because I was spanked? | Honeycomb Moms | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM

Should I spank my child because I was spanked? | Honeycomb Moms | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM | Learn discipline strategies to replace spankings now that they’re illegal. Spankings don’t work for all kids anyway.

29 thoughts on “Should I spank my child because I was spanked?”

  1. I personally don’t spank. I wasn’t spanked either though. I was grounded if I was in trouble, and I do the same with my kids.

  2. My heart still hurts reading this…I can’t imagine using hands for anything other than love now that I’m a grandmother…

  3. I dont have kids but i see my sister struggling. And sometimes all she wasnt to do is spank but doesnt as she know its not right. I am going to share these tips with her.

  4. There are more appropriate ways to bring discipline to children rather than spanking. It really is something to consider seriously when bringing up children.

  5. I was spanked, but maybe once or twice. I am just not a fan of spanking, and I don’t spank my kids… sometimes though i get that i just want to spank feeling but i walk away and take a moment

  6. I was that child that got spanked all of the time. I wasn’t really a bad kid, but I was loud and had a difficult time listening. Now, I realize that it was because I probably had ADHD. My son who’s been diagnosed with it behaves the same way I did. It’s easy to misunderstand his humor and playtime as naughtiness because of the way his voice is pitched and he speaks with excitement. It took me while to realize just that. I did spank him when he was younger, but when I learned differently, I stopped. Now, if my kids get spanked, it’s when they do something dangerous or openly defying us, but it’s rare. Sometimes, different actions require different strategies of parenting.

  7. I don’t think that spanking a child from time to time is something wrong. However, we need to take into consideration what has caused our child’s bad behaviour. Nothing should be overused and as long as talk is enough we don’t need to spank kids. 🙂

  8. I don’t think violence is ever the answer, even if that means a little spanking. Children should be explained when they do something wrong, why it was wrong, not spanked…

  9. These are some really great points. I know that we try our best to do other methods before resulting to spanking because honestly I really do think it hurts the parent too.

  10. Great topic, I don’t have any children, but when I do in the future I don’t think I’ll be spanking them. I do think there are better alternatives. Great discussion!


  11. It’s a hot button issue, but it’s a personal choice that people have no right to intrude on other’s lives about. NO ONE likes unwanted and uninvited parenting advice.

  12. Wow, such a tricky topic. I do not have kids myself yet and I know there are so many different ways of disciplining your children. This is such a discussion that needs to be had either way people go with disciplining their children.

  13.  I think it’s still your discretion if you would. Because if not, your kids won’t fear you. Fearing in a good way that leads to respect.

  14. Many people are just too afraid to do it. It is actually part of discipline and keeping your children stay in a good path. I guess my opinion is just in a case to case basis.

  15. I spanked my child and spanking doesnt mean beating. I dont spank first but after I do there is always a discussion on why. My neighbor didnt believe in spanking and looked down at me and now her 14 year old daughter is whooping her ass.

  16. I think for todays generation, spanking or hurting would not work. It’s now a matter of talking and being friends with the kids. But still it depends on the parents way of disciplining their children.

  17. I was spanked as a child and I don’t feel like I suffered from it. Our son knows a spanking is a looming punishment possibility, but we can usually talk him through most behavior situations.

  18. Honestly, this is a great question. I think an even better one is, is spanking an appropriate but also productive parenting tactic? Then again we live in an age where spanking is believed to be bad.

  19. I grew up getting whooping/spankings. They didn’t ruin me, and I didn’t get them for everything. It was the you have gone too far and you know better type of thing. My mom is from the country so I had switches more than anything. There is no one size fits all when it comes to discipline. One of my kids got spankings and one has not. They are two different people with two different personalities.

  20. Whenbi was growing upbi was spanked. With my child I’ve learned that it doesn’t work. I don’t like spanking my kid. But to each their own.

  21. Like you, I was only spanked when I "willfully and blantanly defied." Even then, my mother would often resort to punishments and time outs (time outs meaning facing the wall for what seemed to be an inhuman amount of time) before the spanking. I feel like, as with many things in society, we are so ready to correct the ills that we swing so hard to the other side, not realizing that we’re creating more, or the same, problems. Overall, I believe in knowing your child, and respecting them and their personhood. I also believe in mental hazing as a technique. But hey, I’m not a parent yet. 🙂

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