[Warning: If you believe routine corporal punishment is a form of "discipline" and an effective parenting tool, or you are easily offended by critical opinions of that method, this might not be the article for you. If this applies, please proceed to the first article that more comfortably aligns with your beliefs. Now we will continue with your regularly scheduled programming.]

I am an extremely vocal opponent of corporal punishment as a casual form of discipline. Not because I particularly care about what happens in the households of others, but because there has been such extensive research proving myriad negative effects on the evolving psyches of children when their parents hit them, that I cannot, in good conscience, buy into the propaganda that “it’s good for them.”

Yes, hit. Not “spank.” Hit, and for the purpose of this article, we’re going to call a spade a spade.

When the results of a recent study hit the Internet revealing that hitting children as a form of discipline – no matter how rarely it may occur — increases their chances of developing mental illness, I posted it on my Facebook page without any commentary.

I did this for two reasons:

1.) I wanted to see how quickly the conversation completely jumped the tracks, with advocates of hitting children as a form of discipline weighing in with how “they turned out alright.”

2.) I was genuinely curious to read the reactions of others to a study that didn’t judge the parents, but showed undeniably, negative long-term effects on the children.

I was not disappointed at all with the answers to question #1; nor was I surprised that question #2 was avoided with as much skill as Snoop Dogg trying to sneak through airport security with a bag of weed.

The very first comment was a zinger:

I was spanked & slapped…I’ve never been in any legal trouble, I’m educated, generous, kind — a model citizen. I will do the same when I’m a mother.

This statement was problematic for me because mental illness in no way suggests that a person is not a “model citizen.” Nor could I understand why anyone in sound mind and body would actually plan to slap their future children.

The next statement was no less generic, but even more troubling:

So when children get out of line [or are] disrespectful, talk back to you, stay out all times of the night, what do you do then? Send them to their room? You as the parent(s) can do it. “Discipline” them or let society do it.

The purposeful ignorance of believing that discipline and hitting are synonymous never ceases to amaze me. Discipline actually takes a brain, while hitting takes nothing but a belt, switch, or a hand, and I find it reprehensible for anyone to condone the striking of a child in anger. The “divine purpose” of “spare the rod” is nothing but religious doctrine, which, as one of my friends so brilliantly pointed out, comes from the same book of parables and fables that contains the “true story” of God ordering she-bears to viciously eat 42 children alive for calling Elisha bald-head.

As I previously reported for NewsOne when discussing the Pastor Creflo Dollar case, there have been a plethora of studies done to show the long- standing emotional and psychological effects of corporal punishment, including the following study conducted by psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, PhD, of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University:

“While conducting the meta-analysis, which included 62 years of collected data, Gershoff looked for associations between parental use of corporal punishment and 11 child behaviors and experiences, including several in childhood (immediate compliance, moral internalization, quality of relationship with parent, and physical abuse from that parent), three in both childhood and adulthood (mental health, aggression, and criminal or antisocial behavior), and one in adulthood alone (abuse of own children or spouse).

“Gershoff found “strong associations” between corporal punishment and all eleven child behaviors and experiences. Ten of the associations were negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior. The single desirable association was between corporal punishment and increased immediate compliance on the part of the child.”

I have honestly never seen a study that found corporal punishment to have long-term positive effects. Not one. I’ve heard anecdotes, but no formal studies. Corporal punishment, e.g., physical abuse, was never used in my home and I have never disrespected my father. I was disciplined, yes, but never hit. And contrary to popular opinion, I truly believe we need more parents who subscribe to that philosophy instead of the opposite.

I have been waiting, patiently, for someone to give me one reason — other than the immediate gratification of getting a child to stop in that moment and “police won’t beat them” — that proves hitting children as a form of discipline is effective. What lesson is learned other than fear and submission to authority — when in their presence? I have heard horror stories from parents with children that they “have to” lay out with belts to get them to listen, and then lay them out again when they don’t listen again. Of course, as parents, we have to do what’s best for our children and there is no universally accepted blueprint, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. All that I want is for people, specifically in the black community, to consider that hitting children might not be all we’ve been been trained to believe that it is.

Yes, trained.

When we were on plantations in the antebellum South, and massa wanted us to behave, what did he do?

He whipped us.

When we attempted to read and think for ourselves, what did he do?

He whipped us.

When we tried to run away and assert our autonomy, and massa’s overseer caught us, what did he do?

He whipped us.

When massa said we were being “disrespectful,” what did he do?

He whipped us.

To keep us in line, working hard and obedient, he whipped us, and that is the exact same thing that we do to our children. I find it no small coincidence that in the Deep South, the place that most condones corporal punishment as a form of discipline, black people are statistically less educated, have less money, less property, and are discriminated against in the judicial system to astronomical levels.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t seem like the rod is working out too well.

Let’s be clear: Child abuse and corporal punishment are two different things. One is criminal; I simply disagree with the other based on research and anecdotal evidence that I’ve seen for myself. Teaching a child at a young age when verbal communication does not work about life threatening things, e.g., electrical sockets, hot water, cars, etc., could be considered a necessity. Hitting a child because a legitimate form of discipline has not even been attempted is lazy.

I understand that many children of this generation seem to be out of control, but I’m honestly baffled by how many of us have to come to the conclusion that it’s from a lack of hitting. With corporal punishment currently occurring primarily in homes battling the intersection of race and class, and the vast majority of people in the black community still believing strongly that it’s effective, I would be hard pressed to pinpoint lack of hitting children as the reason why young people seem to be more disrespectful.

More like lack of parenting, period.

Some children are allowed to run wild doing whatever the hell they want to do, but parents don’t get upset until they feel disrespected. Then they want to whip them. I cannot understand the logic found in allowing a child to witness abuse in the home, then when that same child gets into trouble at school, they are, again, whipped for being aggressive. It is my opinion that many of our children are victims to over-exposure, unhealthy families, and lack of discipline – which again, is not synonymous with hitting.

My hope is that with the overwhelming evidence against corporal punishment, more parents will at the very least consider alternative forms of punishment. I want us to begin to trust ourselves as parents and not rely on a belt to raise our children. More importantly, I want us to look at the root of corporal punishment, then examine where, how, and when has it been beneficial. If at the end of the day, parents still choose to whip, spank, and slap their children to safety and success, at least they’ve put in due diligence and weighed other options before deciding what’s best for their children, instead of assuming what’s most effective because of generations of “spare the rod.”

Think. It’s not illegal yet.



Sources of Interest:

  • Ms. Information

    You lost me with your disrespect of the bible. I happen to oppose slapping and beating children. I beleive that most times it is unecessary but I don’t have to disrespect anyone’s belief system to say so. There are atheists, Muslims, Christians, Hindi and Buddists who beat their children and have for thousands of years. Don’t make this a Christian issue or a slave issue or a Black issue.

  • Ravi

    “overwhelming evidence”

    you might be taken to slight exaggeration. The study you posted doesn’t suggest what you are claiming. There is a difference between “harsh physical punishment” being associated with a 2 to 7 percent increase in the occurrence of mental disorders, and “hitting children as a form of discipline – no matter how rarely it may occur — increases their chances of developing mental illness”

    This sort of longitudinal study is limited in making claims to the probability of certain outcomes. Reading the discussion section of the study shows that these limitations are acknowledged by the researchers. This study doesn’t determine what other factors, such as SES or substance abuse, might account for SLIGHT, increase in the prevalence of certain disorders associated with HARSH physical punishment.

    This remains a controversial issue and the studies remain far from conclusive.

    Also, appealing to one section of the Bible, doesn’t discredit another section. If that were the case, then should we also disregard the part where it says not to have sex with our parents? “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” has nothing to do with a story on Elisha that you took out of context, just as it has nothing to do with incest. The Bible is a collection of books and each item needs to be evaluated on its own merits, not the perceived lack of merits of a completely different book.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    Great article. This is not just a Christian or Black issue, but because the majority of Blacks profess to Christianity in this country, it’s important to discuss the Bible in matters of child discipline. Scriptures such as “For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him” (Leviticus 20:9) do not deserve any sort of respect.

    Many of the people who swear every word of the Bible is true and righteous hit their children and feel they have divine justification to do so. We should reject bad advice, no matter where it comes from.

  • Jess

    I was spanked infrequently as a child, usually in life threatening situations like darting out into the street. I never felt disrespected because my parents explained the “why” of the situation. I occasionally give my 2 yr old little spankings for the same reason. When she ran away from me outside, I needed her to understand the first time not to do it again. But as she gets closer to 3, spankings hardly seem necessary because talking to her, remaining consistent, and time out seems to be effective enough for now. I just can’t imagine what she could possibly do that would make me wnt to hit her with a belt.

    On other matters, why do people always get offended when someone challenges passages of the Bible. Are you saying you condone she bears eating 42 children alive? People want to ignore those types of scriptures and then get mad when others point them out.

  • mus

    Agree with the above comment. the article disrespects the holy book.To me the quoted scripture means be firm as a rod not neccessary beat the child. I do agree that beatings is not the same as discipline and it is used wrongly in alot of cases. I dont hav children so not sure how i feel about beats for my own children, i really think it depends on the child and situation. I hav seen good children be really out of line that theyneeded a slap not a talking to or other kind of punishment. I think it is important to take research about rearing children with abit of salt, you dont bring up your child on experiments. Look around you know when a child is respectful, just misbehaving, or just rude and delinquent

  • Honest

    Well put Ms. Information!

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    “Teaching a child at a young age when verbal communication does not work about life threatening things, e.g., electrical sockets, hot water, cars, etc., is a necessity”

    So it sounds like you are condoning physical punishment in these instances? Which I don’t understand, because the whole rest of the article seems to be saying that you don’t agree with it in any circumstance. Like you said you were never hit, I am going to assume that means even when you attempted to run out into the street. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being against it under any circumstance, and making exceptions seems to dilute the argument somewhat.

    And if “immediate compliance” is a result that does in fact come from spanking–well, that is the number one outcome most parents that hit their children are looking for!

    My son will be 2 next month, and he has never been hit as a form of discipline. And my husband and I have no plans to ever incorporate hitting into our parenting repertoire. Let me tell you, it is difficult to remain calm when he is biting, throwing things, and breaking the h and y keys on my laptop. But I know the alternative is a more angry and aggressive toddler–and and a couple keys on a laptop are not worth that to me.

    I think it comes down to the fact that people need to stop seeing their children as property or as an extension of them as parents. They need to start seeing them as what they are: completely separate human beings that deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Of course, as parents we have to teach them how to respect others. But the best way to do that is by leading by example.

  • Honest


    Your points are valid and I respect your perspective. However, there are many people who don’t interpret the scripture you cited as literal. There are many faith followers who interpret these scriptures metaphorically.

    For example:

    “For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death…”

    When we act against our parents or disrespect them, our decisions can have have a negative impact on our life. Disrespecting your parents is a sin and the wages of all sin is death. Granted, this is my viewpoint, but I don’t think this means your parents should kill you or have the right to fatally harm you.

    There are many people who falsely interpret the bible and many other religious doctrines and laws. Overall, I think people need to truly understand and examine what they’re reading.

  • Mia

    I agree that physical punishment shouldnt be the first line of discipline. I dont agree it should NEVER be used. As far as the Bible is concerned it states that (and I’m paraphrasing) The wisdom of God is foolishness to the world or unsaved so spiritual things have to be discerned spiritually.

  • http://gravatar.com/educatedmusings360 educatedmusings360

    You hit the nail on the head on this one…repost. I love how people pick and choose Bible verses to support their facts. (I’m a person who believes much of it is allegory, verbally passed down parables, and not explicitly written by its authors to be the sole guide book for all humanity, but I also believe that we can learn from the text.) But if we’re gonna pick and choose, lets look at Eph. 6:4, “Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath lest they be discouraged.” That’s what all this beating does. How many three year olds do you see who rarely smile? How many of our people walk around mean mugging…looking angry. They have been provoked to wrath and are discouraged about life and go through the world with a defensive defeatist mindset. Please stop, folks. Please.

  • Ariel

    People have the right to feel offended when someone misinterprets the bible or misconstrues/manipulates/ scriptures to convice others of their view point.

    Perhaps the author should me more thorough and include other doctrines that endorse corporal punishment rather than just the bible. There are many other faiths and laws that support the idea of hitting or spanking.

    I’m not saying I condone that form of punishment, but be fair and objective in your reporting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/naturalisme natural.is.me

    I’m really digging that girl’s hair in the photo. So cute.

    Basically black people are following an ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’ form of parenting when it comes to beating/spanking their kids. If they are introduced to something new and see where it could work then little by little changes can be made. my mother took a parenting class when she had me and was amazed that they taught speaking to your child instead of hitting them. she stopped beating me and raised her three kids based on what she learned. she said if she hadn’t taken that class she would have probably beat us the way she had be beaten when she was a kid.

  • Immapray4u

    I agree. Once the writer called the Bible a book of parables and fables I immediately stopped reading. Attacking people’s beliefs is no way to get your point across honey.

  • http://gravatar.com/basketball45iluvyou ME

    While I can agree with some of your points, perhaps you should get your facts straight before attempting to use incorrect information to bolster your points. In the deep South there are more elected officials, property and business owners that are black than anywhere else in the U.S. A brief google search on any government or statistical website will confirm this.

  • Marketgirl305

    You might want to read the study beyond the abstract. The study suggested harsh physical punishment beyond spanking is linked to mental illness. You can find the link to the journal article within this article http://www.periscopepost.com/2012/07/spanking-does-not-lead-to-mental-illness-in-fact-it-can-be-effective-when-you-follow-the-rules/?nomobile

  • http://gravatar.com/educatedmusings360 educatedmusings360

    But they don’t have ANY power! http://video.pbs.org/video/2188796999

  • Real Perspective

    The Anti-Christian tones in this article sucks the validity out of this article. Makes it appear biased. I expect more from a site that claims to promote equality.

    I need more balanced argument.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    I was a bit disconcerted and surprised by your reference of the Bible as a “book of parables and fables that contains the “true story” of God ordering she-bears to viciously eat 42 children alive for calling Elisha bald-head.” You could have made your point without the unnecessary “inflammatory” religious jabs at Christians.

    While I can understand your frustrations with us who choose spanking as the preferred method of discipline, the research conducted was not convincing enough for me, as a future parent to consider other disciplining options. Why? If the research holds any water, it means that in Africa and in the Diaspora, there are a lot of people with undiagnosed mental health issues, because corporal punishment is followed to the latter over there. Although I do not have the mental health statistics, I’d wager to say that mental health problems do not stem from cp, but rather, a poor health infrastructure, poverty, and a lack of education.

    Your use of slavery references in correlation to spanking in the black community was at best sensationalist. It only served to reinforce your negative opinions about spanking. I am not buying it one bit. Spanking children is not exclusive to the black community.
    Other cultures too, spank their children, and also have cases of abuse.

    Your focus on the horror stories/cases has really tainted your views of spanking as being anything but negative without any positive aspects stemming from it. Spanking is a great disciplinary method if done right. Most parents love their children dearly and are not spanking to harm but correct behavior.Disciplining was never intended to be soothing. Uh uh!!

    NB://I’m open to other ways of disciplining kids but I’d be damned if all I’m left with is time outs-those drive me up the wall. What the hell is a time out face the wall?! I call BS on that one.

    Great read by the way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/felicityrankinsrhode Felicity Rhode

    Thank you for this!

  • my_reply

    That’s why in the South we don’t call the spankings, we call them “whippings” pronounced like whoopin. I do think that there are better ways to punish children. I got whippings when I was younger too, but they were infrequent. I think many black parents don’t know about alternative ways of punishing children because they aren’t reading any literature on it and how to do it and the success of it. I don’t think I will be spanking my children, but I don’t see anything wrong with using a switch one or two times on those legs or popping a hand.

  • Dawn

    I’m literally dying from all the comments above suggesting what the author should’ve done differently. It’s an opinion piece people, not a NY Times hard news article where Kristen isn’t supposed to share her side of the story and be objective.

    - Real Perspective: You need a more balanced argument? It’s her opinion, and a very well thought-out one. Not every person’s opinion is going to be in line with yours.

    As for her bible comments, I agree. There a passages in it that support incest, slavery, and several other disturbing ideologies, but Christians intentionally ignore these versus question their beliefs in these fables. Very interesting to me how many commenters can somehow justify every single verse.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee


    I really appreciate your respectful response, as these kinds of discussions can get very nasty.

    However, I have a problem with the notion that this passage shouldn’t be taken literally. Many believers take original sin, resurrection, and eternal punishment literally. Christianity couldn’t survive without a literal interpretation of these things.

    How is it that we can interpret the heinous passages as metaphorical and all others as literal? There many more scriptures that most moral people–if they’re being honest with themselves–would balk at. If you believe the Bible is true and “all scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16-17), you can’t have it both ways.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    I agree. There is some truly nasty stuff in the Bible that nobody seems to care about!

  • http://gravatar.com/educatedmusings360 educatedmusings360

    *like :)

  • Denise

    It is a slave issue. No one else beats their children the way descendants of slaves do. I live in the South Bronx and I see West African women with their children all the time. Not once have I seen them yell, curse, or scream at their children. They don’t hit them, at least not in public. And their children are vastly more well-mannered than Black American children. Not to mention they leave our children in the dust academically. What’s the difference between them and us…our slave mentality. That’s comparative proof that we cling to our methods of discipline because that’s what we’ve always done as opposed to them being more effective.

  • NOitAll

    Ummmm. Those Bible stories that you grew up with, they were meant to teach you a lesson. That’s what parables are, stories that teach you a lesson.

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  • http://www.theaaridan.tumblr.com TheMuseintheMirror

    Thank you Ms. Info! That was extremely disrespectful (and inaccurate) to the Holy Bible. I don’t even like the tone of this article at all.

  • TJH

    Well said, Dawn.

    Who cares if her opinion is that the bible is full of fables? People who believe in the bible have completely missed the point of the article, which is about hitting children as a form of discipline. Her point, I believe, in saying the bible is a book of fables is not to discredit the Christian faith or to somehow dishonor the Good Book. The point is to say that people who use certain biblical scriptures to justify why they should hit their children also seem to blatantly ignore other scriptures (often within the same story or parable) that suggests other forms of harm against adults.

    People are getting so incredibly offended because the author chooses not to defend the use of the bible as an instruction guide on physically disciplining a child. But, yet the same people offer up very little logic as to why we shouldn’t stone adulterers to death. It’s this lack of logic and failure to effectively communicate that has left many black children on the receiving end of physical attack from a frustrated parent. The old excuses of, that’s how I was raised, or I turned out fine being spanked, are not actually logical nor are they proof that the spankings are beneficial.

    The question is why do people who insist on spanking refuse to at least consider the research that says it’s not healthy? Why do people consistently rely on one scripture from the bible, or rely solely on their upbringing to determine whether spankings are an appropriate form of discipline? Once upon a time it wasn’t required to wear a seat belt or have a kid in a car seat. Many people that grew up in the 60′s or 70′s were probably driven around as kids in their parent’s laps or jumping around the backseat. Obviously, you’re here today and you weren’t harmed by this course of actions. But, does that mean you’re going to forgo a car seat and a seat belt? Or, have you likely given in to basic research that says kids are safer in rear-facing car seats, strapped in a seat belt in the back seat? Take time to read, black people. Stop being so sensitive.

  • http://www.theaaridan.tumblr.com theMuseintheMirror

    First of all, this article is all over the place…with hatred and biased claims. It seems as though We black people tend to be our own worst enemies…and we are seriously, seriously falling apart slowly. It kills me to say that, but its the truth. We just seem angry all the time. We rather give the world all this talk instead of doing anything about it. We rather say that our black children have mental issues because of getting their butts “whooped”. We rather blasphemy the God-inspired Holy Bible and take it out of context. In this world that we are living in today, we rather get rid of the sprituality, wisdom and knowledge that our African ancestors had and substitute it with the “White America” way. We are so sick and tired of being second class citizens…of having a “double-consciousness” that we would believe/do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that some study says about us. With all that said…

    I used to hate getting my butt whooped.

    But you know what? I learned from my mistakes when I was whooped by my parents. I believe that there is a way in which you “whoop” a child – you hit them with a belt on their butt (back in my mama’s days they had to “pick a switch”) – and you whoop them with love, not anger. I believe that if you whoop or spank a child out of anger then yeah that is abuse. I think there was only once when I was seriously whooped out of anger and that was from my step father. My mother always talked to me about why I was getting whooped and she always said, “you know I’m doing it out of love” – Now that always hurt the most, because I knew that my mother loved me and she didn’t like what I was doing. That was love to me. That was “Proverbs 13:24″. I stopped getting whoopings from her once I got to old for them…around 12 years old.

    When I have children (I’m trying to get my education on in college right now!), I am probably going to whoop them if they are acting up. This is because I know what worked with me growing up and I know for darn sure I’m not going to “ground” them.

    I think we are steadily going backwards in the black comunity instead of going forwards. Especially if we are going to start defaming the Bible. Really though? You have that much against Christianity that you are not even willing to study the Bible?

  • Ravi

    People aren’t getting upset because she isn’t defending the Bible, they are getting upset because of non-sensical attempts to discredit the entire Bible. There is no logical connection between using one Bible verse as a source of instruction and wisdom and needing to defend a completely different scripture found in a different book of the Bible. The Bible doesn’t actually even say spare the rod spoil the child. The only similar verse is found in Proverbs. Proverbs has nothing to do with Elisha, nor does the story of Elisha offer any sort of bad instructions or ideology. If this silly “logic” were to be extended, then no part of the Bible would be able to be relied upon. How could we say that the Bible commandment not to murder is valid given God ordered babies devoured by bears? The only way to invalidate a piece of wisdom or instructions on how to live one’s life is on its own merits (or lack thereof). Believing in any given piece of scripture, in no way necessitates the defense of another piece of scripture written in a different book by a different author. Now I could easily defend any piece of scripture by simply stating that our understanding of whatever is written is fundamentally flawed given our finite understanding and fallibility; but that’s not necessitated by logic.

    The much better question is why do people misread studies to try to justify their own narrow outlook? or why is it necessary to defecate on someone else’s perspective or beliefs to validate your own? There is nothing in existence that conclusively proves that corporal punishment causally produces ill effects and has no redeeming use or qualities. Many of you are making conclusions that go far beyond the scope of the actual research. My problem with the author is not that I disagree, it’s that she is making bad arguments rooted in anti-religion bias and a poor grasp of the literature.

  • Kam

    With an 80% out of wedlock rate, high crime rate, and general dysfunction in the Black community it seems like author is not the only one that’s treating the Holy Book like a book of parables and fables.

  • kaya

    Of course this article is an opinion but I like the rest of you has a right to an opinion to say this article is so full of hate is actually a little hilarious. Just as this author anticipated the responds to her post of Facebook i also anticipated too, seeing a bible bash with the one quote of the “sparing the road” passage And the uneducated fools who believes these “fairytales” blame for the many mental issues of black people, because they are the onlyyyyyy one who “beat” their kids the way they do. Its like a one track record -people complain that those who chooses spanking as a form of discipline refuses too accept other alternatives -while that’s complete bs coming from those who simply just can’t fathom why anyone would actually hit their child, because “they” are more open minded and understand, thankfully through years of thorough research of extreme cases of abuse, how damaging hitting kids are- then of course you, spew hate and a complete disillusion of why someone insist on such a “slavery” punishment because they have to be uneducated people like those from the south.

    tell me how can one change their views for the better, if you honestly believe you are right, if you attack something that’s part of them? If they believe spanking is good calling “them” southern, uneducated ignorant Christians prrrobbbabbbly won’t help with changing their mind since their believe system is attack, which is part of them, their nostalgic (in most cases) childhood religion, or their personal religion is attack, their intelligence is attack all which help shape who they are.

    The question is why do black people who insist spanking is wrong love to verbally attack all of these assumptions of those who spank?
    also a lil side note there is a difference between attacking a religious group doctrine, and asking a question about its doctrines. there are Christians who have no issues, if it’s in there scope of knowledge, answer questions you may have. But mocking the doctrine and simply reduce it to nothing but a “nice however a misleading book” however and turn around and say “stop being so sensitive Christians”
    is very intolerant close-minded attitude.

    Yall need to stop being so sensitive, if you honestly want to steer people towards non spanking, even though you’re not going to convince everyone perhaps you should not be so judgmental and SO condescending.

  • The Comment.

    That sure is a pretty photo of the little girl w/her hair loose against that orange wall. I really don’t see images of little girls anymore.

  • Libby


  • TJH

    People remain stuck on [the perceived disrespect/discredit/hatred/ for] the bible. Let it go. I firmly believe in the bible, and the fact that it’s given little credence in this article is irrelevant to me. What is relevant to me is the issue about spankings.
    I’ve read a lot comments of people defending the bible. Folks, the bible doesn’t need defending. It’s held up quite well for more than a couple millennia. There’s been attacks on the authors unorganized thoughts and the lack of conclusive scientific evidence (which oddly is never going to be the case since there are eleventy-million reasons why people turn out the way they do). But people are insistent upon going back to her use of the scriptures as the basis of her opinion.

    Why do people (mostly in the black community) who spank their kids refuse to listen to evidence that’s says it’s unhealthy?

    Not a single answer that even relates to the question, and it’s a debate that can and should happen without it turning into a religious debate.
    There are lots of studies that show that when parents spank their children it is less to discipline and more out of frustration. That is a real issue. Is anyone considering the psychological damage a minor feels when her parent physically strikes her with a hand or object? Can anyone articulate a reason why a parent cannot use some other form of punishment and/or communication to display dissatisfaction with a child’s behavior? I believe hitting the hand of a 1 year old that is about to do something inherently dangerous (run in the street, touch a stove) is more than acceptable. A 1 year old doesn’t undertand English, and it is therefore impossible to effectively communicate the dangers. However, it really only takes 1 or 2 times for a 1 year old to be hit, (and by hit I mean a quick strike on the hand or other part of the body that is not meant to harm the child but scare him) before that child ceases the behavior completely. In that scenario spanking works!

    But parents who are striking 9, 10, or 15 year olds, for things like, talking back, getting bad grades, not cleaning their room/other chores, or generally having a bad attitude, are usually hitting kids out of anger. The even bigger problem is that the behavior is not fixed in the long run and it just causes a child to be angry (see: DMX). And no, I DO NOT believe every hit child will turn out like DMX, that is a somewhat extreme case. This is what those studies are addressing, and people who spank their children all too often use the same excuses (either the bible, or I was raised that way). But it has been shown scientifically, and even anecdotally that unwanted behaviors rarely if ever cease after 1 or 2 times, once the child is spanked. How many 14 or 15 year olds never again have an attitude or talk back because once when they were 9 they go hit for talking back? Spankings don’t fix behaviors. Spankings release frustration. You want to hit something take it up at the gym.

    Whaling on your kids does not make them better people. In the course of growing up children allow emotions, hormones, peer pressure, lack of impulse control or just poor decision making to let them make bad choices. Spankings don’t address any of these things, and are not the reason people have turned out “just fine.” Growing up, maturing, accepting consequences (not related to physical harm) and being socialized–those are the reasons people turn out as good citizens.

    My great grandfather ate pork sausage and eggs every morning for breakfast. His wife deep fried everything in the refrigerator in Crisco. They both lived to be 90. But after much research on the topic, I have determined I will not under any circumstances deep fry food in Crisco. Moral of the story: We have to stop living in the ways of our grandparents.

  • Ravi

    I think you should have written this article. You do a much better job of articulating a cohesive argument. But on to your question.

    “Why do people (mostly in the black community) who spank their kids refuse to listen to evidence that’s says it’s unhealthy?”

    I think the first point of contention is that there is compelling evidence that suggests spanking is somehow unhealthy. Similarly, the jury is still out when it comes to eggs and sausage every morning (less so on the deep fried foods). Whether or not spanking is done out of frustration or discipline remains a moot point in a discussion on whether spanking is wrong per se. The author is arguing that spanking is always wrong, so the rationale doesn’t really come into play in the current discussion.

    So given that the parents that spank their kids likely don’t believe the “evidence” that they are being presented with, they simply disregard it. They continue to spank their children because it does work. You have conceded as much when it comes to 1 year olds, yet you have not shown why this would not be the case when it comes to children that can speak. The effectiveness of negative punishment is hard to argue against and is probably not the real issue. The real issue is: is spanking causing enough damage to outweigh the utility of its use in behavior modification. Given that you do advocate some sort of corporal punishment when it comes to very young children it becomes less a conversation of whether or not to spank, but of degree. What age should we stop spanking? how harshly should we spank? should we use just our hand or are belts ok? At what point does the harm increase to eclipse the utility of corporal punishment? These are the real questions that should be addressed.

  • Black China Doll

    Whippings or Spankings are not as prevalent today as they were yester year. Which, I believe is indicitive of the unruly behavior of children today. Some children may require, where as some do not. Growing up, I was spanked for talking back and disrepecting my teachers-after being forwarned and punished. Had I not received those spankings today, lord knows where I would be (probably being spanked by the law). Frankly, I find those adults whose parents spared the rod tend to be the most disrespectful towards their parents. I will never forget when my freshman roommate’s mother called to see why I had not chosen to room with her daughter for the following year. Once I explained her rude behavior, she said “I should have gotten in her ass a long time ago, but I took alternative routes and now look at her. I am sorry.” My mother did not play and because of her dicipline method I am completely fine. If spankings cause mental illness, then entire populations around the world are stricken. I believe this study to be false and skewed towards their theory.

    I have a cousin who’s 5 year old son spits on teachers. Both parents spare the rod and tries to reason with him. Some children tune out parents. He’s not afraid of reprocussions from his mother or father. Again, some children don’t require such discipline, where as others do.

    There needs to be a study on children who assult or murder their parents, whether or not the parent spared the rod. People develop mental ilness from being instutionalized as well. Why not do a study on that?

    By no means am I condoning child abuse. When the rod has been taken away, the child feels they have more “heart” to test authority.

    By the way, “West Africans” maime children and hunt Albinos, don’t compare Black Americans to them. Remember, acts of violence is how my people ended up here in the the first place. You probably do not see public dicplining because either they don’t have papers and fear deportation if caught or instill fear of the Juju man.

    My children are to not embarrass me in public or they will be embarrassed.

  • Honest

    @ Ravi

    Bravo Ravi. I think your comment is one of the best responses I’ve read in this discussion so far. Thank you for taking the time to craft a sensible response.

    Your last line pretty much sums up my thoughts. Thank you!

    “Many of you are making conclusions that go far beyond the scope of the actual research. My problem with the author is not that I disagree, it’s that she is making bad arguments rooted in anti-religion bias and a poor grasp of the literature.”

  • NOitAll

    Here’s another interesting study on the subject: Childhood abuse linked to adult obesity in black women, study says.

    And yes, I consider being hit with a shoe by your own father while you’re curled into a ball on the floor abuse.

  • Morgan

    Please educate her!

  • Morgan

    I feel that your entire argument has no merit. First and foremost Christianity is NOT the only religion that practices spankings as a way to discipline their children. How do you simutaneously make this a race thing and a religious thing as well? Black people aren’t the only Christians in the world…the large majority of Caucasions practice Christianity as well, but do not spank their children as much as black people do, but have the same religious beliefs…so your point makes no sense. And Denise…just because you don’t publicly see these West African women spanking their children does not mean they don’t do it at home. Do you follow them home and peep through their windows too? If you did, I might believe your argument, but since you aren’t with them 24/7 it has not credibility. I’ve seen plenty of African women spank their kids. And I’ve seen some who dont.
    Slave masters whipping their slaves half to death and a mother spanking her child is not comparable in the slightest. I’ve had my fair share of spankings in my life and there are no permanent scars left on my body and my parents never drew blood while I was being spanked…maybe you should do your research on the permanent scars and welts photographed on the backs of slaves before you try to compare the two.
    Your analysis trying to relate the economic and educational state of African-Americans in the south and spanking their children is so ridiculous, I’ve never seen such horrible analysis in my life! There are several other factors (starting with the poor educational system in the south) which contribute to the less than “wealthy” lifestyles. You basically contradicted yourself in your writing when you stated, “discrimination in the judicial system”…which has nothing to do with black parents spanking their children, but has EVERYTHING to do with the obviously lingering racist mentality of southern whites.
    Who says that parents that do use “spanking” as a disciplinary method ONLY use that? My parents were smart enough to conjur creative disciplinary actions, but when the belt or hand was needed, they surely did not forget how to use them. Spanking is something that parents can use in collaboration with other disciplinary actions. Does that make those parents stupid or have a “lack of parenting skills. Period” as you so eloquently put it? This whole article is nonsense if you ask me because not once did you tie the study that you used to your analysis. The entire time you just rant with no verifiable facts to bolster your argument about how you think spanking is bad. I hope journalism isn’t your field of choice…and I would know, I am one.
    I strategically decided not to address your attack on the Bible because Ravi already commented on how ignorant it sounds when people discussing the Bible do so out of context. It’s such a complex piece of history, so it’s understandable why many people (like yourself) shy away from it and do not want to take the time needed to understand it in its entirety.
    What you also don’t take into account in this “article” is that every child is different, thus every child needs different disciplinary action taken against them. My aunt was never spanked as a child. Not once. But her mother said she never needed to be. However, this same aunt just recently had a child (my cousin) and unlike her, she does need to be spanked. That is normal. My mother did not need to spank me as much as she needs to spank my little sister…every child has a different personality and behavior pattern, which is something I’m sure this so called study of yours that you continously reference did not take into account. It was a nice try though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/malachi.moore.5 Malachi Moore

    Try reading the entire bible in context, and you will find that the issues of slavery, incest, and whatever else is usually not at all what most deniers try to make them out to be. And that’s with a straightforward reading of scripture. There’s no need to make any excuses for scripture once you’ve studied them versus cutting and pasting excerpts.

  • http://gravatar.com/libpatriot libpatriot

    We never see the following communities spanking their children:


    Ask yourselves why?

  • http://gravatar.com/libpatriot libpatriot

    Why is it impossible to talk to your children? My parents talked my ear off. I was told from the time I was a 5 year old , NEVER EMBARRASS the family. I never did. It was always a conversation and nothing more.

  • Ms. Information

    Have you seen how Arabs beat their children? I lived in Japan for a year and they did it also…some of ya’ll need to get out of your corner of the world and stop reading Vibe Magazine…get a National Geographic or something.

  • TJH

    Thank you.

    I make a distinction between 1 year olds and older children because of a couple of reasons:
    1. 1 year olds (whom I will loosely refer to as toddlers) don’t speak english, cannot fully appreciate consequences, and don’t have the capacity to truly know right from wrong or to realize harmful behavior. So, when a toddler approaches a dangerous situation it’s not helpful to communicate, “No, little Tommy don’t touch that!”
    I said that hitting a toddler to strike fear is understandable. I don’t believe that is the only way. Toddlers are easily frightened by loud noises. The problem is that when it comes to the safety of a baby or toddler you have to act immediately. I would not presume a parent is not striking a toddler who is about to touch a hot stove out of frustration, but simply out of safety.

    2. An older child–a school-aged child, speaks and communicates effectively and generally can understand that certain behaviors are undesirable and have consequences. Children can often articulate that they knew what they were doing was wrong, and even that they knew they would be punished. But, like I stated children often lack impulse control, and I think parents get frustrated at a child who knows right from wrong and chooses wrong–but spanking doesn’t correct the decisions made based on a child’s underdeveloped brain.

    So it’s not that I necessarily advocate for corporal punishment of babies but not older kids, but I do think that as children age the ways in which they are punished have to change accordingly.

    I don’t agree with [the author's point] that spanking is always wrong, but I rarely ever think it’s appropriate. I do however, in my own independent position, believe that when it is done out of frustration, and due to anger and simply because that’s the only way a parent knows how to discipline, that it is ultimately less effective. Typically, parents that discipline based on the latter reasons, even when presented with evidence that shows that there are other ways of disciplining children, fall back on the two excuses the author describes.

    I also strongly agree that, if as a parent, you are choosing to spank a child, then the questions you presented are very important. Using a hand v. a Belt. It seems irrelevant if your only point is to ‘beat your kids’ as so many people are fond of saying. But if you truly believe that corporal punishment is the most effective tool in modifying behavior then you should also make an effort to determine the standards for which that form of punishment will be used. How long should the spanking last? Where should a kid be hit (part of the body as well as publicly versus privately)? Failure to consider these questions, in my mind, present the overarching problem with corporal punishment, which is that parents who use it, do it simply because hitting is easy and requires no thought–it’s usually done inconsistently, rashly, harshly, and in the heat of the moment (kind of like a school yard fight).

    I think the evidence for whether spanking is unhealthy is just as strong (or weak) as the evidence that spanking produces healthy, well-adjusted adults. I think the reason why parents don’t listen to the ‘evidence’ is because nobody wants to be told how to raise their kids. Nobody wants some social scientist telling them that the way they were raised is likely to lead to their kid being a psychopath. So, we say things like, I was spanked and I’m fine, as if that automatically discredits those who are not fine. Like I stated, there’s lots of reasons people turn out the way they do, good or bad. Spanking is likely not the cause either way. I have always been interested to hear reasons why people choose to spank their kids, other than “because my parents spanked me and I turned out okay.” That is to say I’ve never heard any good reasons for spankings. I’ve heard reasons against it–perhaps not 100% convincing, because they broadly correlate spanking with all kinds of mental defects.

    I’m always up for a healthy debate. But as soon as people say things like, because that’s how I was raised or for the bible tells me so the discussion is over. I think using religion is a cop out on both side of the argument. You’ll never get anywhere using it. You are unlikely to steer anyone away from deeply held religious beliefs by attacking those beliefs. And I understand why people attack the way this article was written. But, I think no matter where you stand on the issue you should always be open to information.

  • steve

    BULLS%$, all races beat their children. this has nothing to do with slavery, pick a nation from latin america, to asia, to india to africa and all believe in corporal punishment. you might have made sense if you said its about poverty more than slavery

  • steve

    so is the bible to blame for indians, muslims even buddist chinese who beat their children.

  • http://livefromthematrix.wordpress.com TAE

    Ms. Savali, I totally agree with you that this is a slavery issue.
    Above everything else, even the religous aspects, this is a slavery issue , post traumatic slavery syndrome is very real. We were indoctrinated to understand physical force as a means of extracting obedience. Open and shut case. This was not the case in ancient african societies, we understood that children needed to be trained, that they do indeed develop understanding at an early age, and it is not necessary to physically shock or intimidate them to train them. Children are not puppies but if you can train a puppy without the use of physical force you can surely train a child without it. For hundreds of years this behavior was sewn onto us, into us. Trying to detach certain people from the methods of discipline they have been raised with is just the same as skinning someone or ripping out an internal organ. It’s almost like major surgery, and major surgery must be done with care and precision. I’m afraid there is not enough care or precision in the world to undue what has been done to the minds and souls of many. There will always be black folk who will refuse to believe anything other than what they were taught. To do so would be to all but demolish the foundation of thier sense of security and identity. Whatever the case, thank you for being brave enough to speak your piece.

  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali

    First, I would like to thank you all for reading. Your feedback is truly appreciated.

    There’s really not that much to add, so I’ll be as brief as possible:

    1.) There is nothing that I can do, nor that I choose to do, about some taking offense to my biblical reference. There is no out of context, no misappropriation, no lies or half-truths in my statement. If there were, I would humbly apologize because I believe everyone has the right to walk in whatever faith they choose and above else, I believe in freedom of choice.

    Fact: The Bible has several instances of murder and violence condoned by God — the referenced verse is no different. I consider the Bible to be parables and fables. Anyone who believes and accepts the instances of divine violence as literal truth, then I would question how, in good conscience, do you follow that religion. That is not disrespect, that is my truth. Islam is not mentioned because I’m using religion in the American slave narrative. Islam was not used to keep Africans enslaved in America — Christianity was.

    2.) if anyone can bring one long-term, positive effect of corporal punishment to the table, I would love to hear it. I’ve been begging to hear it and no one seems to have one. I would love to have that conversation; I’m looking for that conversation. Until then, my question remains: Why do people, specifically Black people, ignore evidence that corporal punishment does not work?

    To the reader who asked do I believe in hitting children in cases of immediate, potentially fatal emergencies, i.e. electric sockets, crossing streets, etc. I don’t believe in hitting children, period, which is why I have never hit my sons. My point was simply that before verbal understanding and interaction has been established, which of course is an extremely early age, if a child is in immediate danger of causing irreversible harm or death and you have to hit their wet hand away from a socket, or grab them before they walk into a street, then that might be a necessity for some parents. In raising our children, we have socket covers and they are no where near the street, but I respect parents who may believe that it’s best to train them to know what not to touch or where not to go, instead of always keeping them protected from it.

    As I said, there is no blueprint and I don’t profess to know it all, this is my opinion…and I stand by it.

    Again, thank you all for reading,


  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali


    I’m only going to address two inaccurate points in your statement, the rest is your opinion and you have a right to that — just as I do. I stated my views on Christianity in a separate comment:

    1.) My point about discrimination in the South — where I was born and raised — is that the popular statement that ‘whipping” children to keep them out of trouble with police is clearly fallacious. Jails are full of Black and Brown men. Whipping them is not keeping them out of jail. Whipping them is not stopping police from killing them. Whipping them is not stopping police from brutalizing them.

    Racism is very real, inequality is very real, whipping children in hopes that it will be their pathway to success and safety in a world that continues to find ways to discriminate against them, is an extremely narrow view and does not even begin to address the issues.

    2.) You fail to mention that I also said there is no blueprint and each parent has to do what they feel is best for their children. It sounds like your aunt didn’t simply rely on corporal punishment out of tradition — and that is all I hope that parents would do. Think about what really works for their child. If at the end of the day, I don’t agree with you, well, it’s really not my business is it?

    I referenced one study and linked to several more. The research is out there. If you choose to believe that it’s not because it does not align with your beliefs, well, that is your right also. It is also the very stance that I’m addressing in this article.

    Thanks for reading,


  • Janubie

    In social research we should be less concerned with the magnitude of effects shown than with the significance. Longitudinal research does provide probabalistic evidence and we read it as such all of the time. Also, the author was implying there were other studies.

  • Janubie

    Lol hilarious!

  • Ravi

    I meant positive punishment :)

  • Jae Bee

    @ NoitALL: True, but the story the author of this post chose to feature (i.e. Elisha and the bears) was not, in fact, a parable.

  • Ravi

    I understood why you made the distinction where you did. My point is that where to make the distinction is just a matter of opinion and somewhat arbitrary. Are you sure whether you use a hand or a belt is irrelevant? Would you use your hand on a 1 year old or a belt? How about an extension cord? I think what you use goes to the core of acceptability. That can often be the line between abuse and punishment.

    People are using anecdotal evidence when it comes to the efficacy of spanking along with well accepted ideas about punishment in general. There is a fair amount of consensus that punishment in general works to condition responses. Even with adults. Given corporal punishment is a form of punishment, there would need to be some pretty substantial evidence that somehow punishment becomes ineffective when it becomes physical. The ideas of juxtaposing something unpleasant circumstances with undesired behaviors would seem to hold regardless of whether the unpleasant circumstances involve spanking or a time out. What reason would anyone have to believe that punishment works in conditioning responses, except when it involves spanking? Especially when they can cite plenty of examples of when it has done the job at eliminating the undesired behavior. When I was a young child, I used to throw crab apples at passing cars. My mother caught me doing so once and she whooped my butt. I never did that again. If spanking did not work, then how can this be? This is very strong anecdotal evidence.

  • Jae Bee

    @ Dawn, you’re literally “dying” because of some of the comments?! Somehow I doubt that!

    It’s one thing to not believe in something that others do, it’s an entirely different thing to be insulting and disrespectful in regard to your disbelief. I’m sure there are many things this author believes in that others would find silly and foolish, and I’m sure she’d be just as insulted if people condescendingly made reference to her foolishness in believing in such things.

  • Ravi

    1) there is always something you can do about disrespecting others — don’t say offensive things that disrespect the beliefs or religion of others. there is a big difference between not sharing someone’s belief respectfully and stating that you can’t see how someone can believe what they do in good conscience. The latter is flat out disrespectful. Saying that it is your “truth” does not make it any less so. Even if you “truth” (opinion) were some sort of immutable fact, it would still be disrespectful.

    The verses you cited can’t be used to discredit an entirely different portion of the Bible. It is not a fact that God condones murder according to the Bible, that would be your opinion. Murder is not the same thing as killing. It is not a fact that Christianity was used to keep Africans enslaved in America, that would be your opinion. Claiming to be a Christian and doing things in the name of Christ does not constitute Christianity. Christianity is a philosophy rooted in the teachings of Christ. What was done to the Africans was very much at odds with the teachings of Christ. While i’m not claiming there is no validity to your OPINION, this pretense that your views are fact is simply not defensible.

    2) corporal punishment is punishment. look to the research of classical conditioning if you need some of the effects associated with it. But you asked for one long term effect — not repeating the undesired behavior that elicited the punishment. As with most classical conditioning, it’s about conditioning behavior. Most of the people defending corporal punishment can remember engaging in specific actions that resulted in spanking, then subsequently not repeating those actions. That sort of anecdotal evidence combined with common knowledge concerning the effects of classical conditioning are more than enough evidence to warrant the cynicism most parents have towards the inconclusive evidence you are presenting.

    So not only do I have an answer, but this is the second time I’ve answered why parents ignore the evidence on corporal punishment. I’m starting to think it was a rhetorical question.

    It would be one thing if you were to argue that the possible maladies associated with corporal punishment were too much of a risk to warrant their use over other less risky forms of punishment, but in trying to use studies beyond their scope and assaulting religious beliefs, you have created a less than persuasive argument.

    But that’s just my opinion

  • http://www.facebook.com/KARIMAHOLLOWAY Karima Brownsugar Holloway

    Whatever worked for my mother worked for her who am I to judge the one who carried & birthed me? Everything she did was done with love & care. I respect her ways of disciplin, thats one thing instill in me humbless and respect-thats a given!!

    ….As for myself I would opt for a different method however Im a firm believer alot of parents say this that & the fifth tell actual parenthood comes into place….I will say “do what works for you”. The b childs/adult behavior will shows sooner or later….Our deameanor is a reflection of our parent’s discipline and <3.

  • BeautifulBlackMind

    I do take it literally, but not for this day and time. The bible is very clear on rules under the old covenant and rules under the new covenant. That is why when a women who was going to be stoned for adultery Jesus came to defend her by saying “he who is without sin caste the first stone.” So as a Christian I recognize that stoning your children does not pertain to today but is a part of the Jewish law.

  • BeautifulBlackMind

    This here is why children and teens today are acting out so bad. There is a clear difference between abuse and a spanking, and I do feel that spanking is a final resort. But I know of too many people who could used a good spanking. Esecially caucasian. Not to mention what the white community counts as respecting their parents and what the Black community does is differing more and more.

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  • BeautifulBlackMind

    +1 Ravi,

    I was feeling her until “Fact: The Bible has several instances of murder and violence condoned by God” It’s like okay, I’m real sick of people feeling they can disrespect Christian beliefs and yet condemn Christians who do the same thing. You wouldn’t like it if someone said “oh I respect your decision to be an agnostic, but how you can be a rational being and have morals and live a good life doing as one is truly beyond my understanding.” That’s a disrespect right after saying that you respect.

  • http://gravatar.com/chrislrob Chris L. Robinson

    Good article! SMH at the number of people that think that what’s wrong in the black community is that we are not violent ENOUGH! If daddy can *whip* me and he LOVES me–what am I denied against a man that I hate?

    Also laughing at the idea that the Elisha story is taken out of context–it is exactly the same IN context–God had a bear come out of the forest and murder a bunch of children for the heinous act of taunting his bald-headed prophet.

    What amount of context can fix that?

    And we wonder why people that gloss over stories like that think beating black children like slaves isn’t *really* abuse? Well, when your God loves you but will set you on fire forever if you don’t get right, is a little “whipping” really all that bad?

  • http://gravatar.com/chrislrob Chris L. Robinson

    “Not to mention what the white community counts as respecting their parents and what the Black community does is differing more and more.”

    Far too many people think that “RESPECT” from your children is what matters most. It’s a power play–you’re going to respect me or ELSE. Or else I’m going to do to you what I want to do to other people that don’t respect me but can’t because they can fight back.

  • QueenZamundaMD

    I think we have to be careful how we interpret this study. It’s a retrospective observation study meaning they look back on children/adolescents with mental disorders and assess whether or not they may have been spanked/physically punished. With these studies you can NOT assess causation. Often times these kids were prone to have a mental disorder because of their genetic make up and perhaps physical punishment may have exacerabated the situation but it definitely was not going to start something that was going to happen. That’s why certain individuals will comment that they were spanked/slapped and turned out okay (never prone to mental disorder).. An ideal study would be a randomized control study where u randomize kids from an early age to getting spanked and not getting spanked and assess their outcomes after some time. This study will by the way NEVER be approved by any IRB or the American Academy of Pediatrics but its the only type of study that can truly prove a link. All in all, parents should raise and discipline their kid according to what works for the kid, some respond to spanking some respond to time out, some respond to sit downs. No STUDY is going to show u how to parent.

  • http://gravatar.com/chrislrob Chris L. Robinson

    So, in context, the slavery isn’t slavery and the incest isn’t incest. Got it. So, in context, when Lot–after that whole Sodom and Gomorrah brouhaha–gets drunk and is raped by his daughters, it isn’t really incest? It isn’t really rape? Because a straightforward reading says that it really is. And biblical scholars agree. And they’ve read the whole bible. In context.

  • http://twitter.com/Echidiime @echidiime (@Echidiime)

    You obviously don’t have too many West African friends. They stay beating their children at home and in their schools. Yelling and cursing at children In public is not an African American thing – it’s an idiot thing.

    And yes I agree, being disrespectful of other religions won’t win others to your side.

    Jewish scholars have for centuries stated that while you shouldn’t spare the rod, you use use something that is the equivalent of a shoelace (basically foregoing corporal punishment). Elsewhere in the Bible it states that fathers should not frustrate their children. If research shows that through corporal punishment you are frustrating children to the point of mental illness, you should forego it.
    I personally was beaten as a child and for those things I was beaten for, I primarily learned fear of those who were bigger than I was. My brothers once they got bigger than my parents found no reason to respect them or rather fear them so did not see the benefit of that either. My youngest sibling who grew up with my parents when they retired the “switch,” remains very respectful of them and compared to my other siblings is the closest to them.
    I personally do not plan on using corporal punishment and will not allow others to beat my children. However, the fear I have is that I may find myself in moment of weakness

  • E.M.S.

    For me there is a fine line between disciplining children with spanking and full on hitting them, causing severe emotional and physical damage. I grew up in a house where I was spanked if I misbehaved, and I don’t resent or fear my parents because of it. We have a very close and healthy relationship, so I disagree that every form of spanking will have negative effects on children.

    I am however, against physical abuse of children and trying to hide it under the label of discipline. There’s a difference between the two.

    I also think it’s a little dramatic to compare spanking children with slave masters beating slaves (especially when black families are not the only ones who do it). I notice very often on this site black folks turn issues into something deeply racial and blow it out of proportion, I think that’s uncalled for. (I’m black by the way).

    Certainly someone will come along, read my comment, and go off. Be warned now, I won’t respond, just sharing my two cents. My intent is not to get into a debate with another commenter.

  • Ravi

    I said limited in making claims of the probability of certain outcomes. The limitations of this study are actually discussed in the study. To read this type of study as determining future probabilities would be a mistake regardless of how often you did it. Doing it all the time doesn’t make it right. I’ve never accused researchers of being good at statistics, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are some that make such mistakes.

    The magnitude of effects is of utmost concern. Statistical significance must be used with effect size.

    I never said she didn’t imply other studies. I’ve read the literature and the evidence is far from overwhelming. This remains a controversial subject of much debate. This isn’t like global climate change. The jury is still out.

  • Xyzzy

    There may be more of them, but is it a higher percentage of the Black population than the rest of the country — and are they from all socioeconomic levels or primarily from suburban upper-middle-class families (which are far less prone to hitting kids)?

  • Xyzzy

    You said most of what was going through my head reading the comments.

    One quibble, though: kids *do* understand the basics of the language used in their home by one year old. They won’t understand explanations, but they definitely do grasp words like “yes”, “no”, “don’t”, “hot”, “bottle” etc. by that age. The problem is that it takes a good while longer for them to develop impulse control, understanding/knowledge of context (like it being OK to run ahead of their parent in the back yard, but not in the front yard), to reliably know exactly what they’re being told “no”/”don’t” about, or (most importantly) cause-and-effect.

    My one other thought is that folks here should stop to consider that *if* spanking (let alone beating) was needed or useful, most of the “problem” kids would be in ‘nice’ suburbs & the anti-spank countries, while the well-behaved obedient ones would be where spanking is dominant like in inner cities. I’m not saying that spanking causes the problems, to be clear — just that not-spanking isn’t causing any, and that if beating was a really great form of discipline/prevention then the pro-spanking places would have the lowest rate of severe problems among kids rather than the highest, if you see what I mean.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not totally anti-spanking — I’ve had more than a few moments where “if it takes a child to raise a village, I should get to give that person’s brat a serious smack or three” goes through my head while out shopping. Difference is, I know and admit it’s from frustration/anger — I’m not fooling myself into thinking it’d be truly for the kid’s own good.

  • YouFancyhuh?

    With the evolution of time, we as people learn to improve upon the ins and outs of our lives. This includes the way we go about chastising our children. What our past generations thought were ok, we are giving a side eye to. I’m in South Korea where corporeal punishment was outlawed last year. Do you think it is stopping my co-teachers? Just this past Thursday, my co-teacher lined the students up and punched them in the head for doing poorly on an exam. Currently, SK has the highest rate of suicide in the world. I say all this to say, it’s not just a “Black Thang”. Like the author, I grew up in the South, and yes most southerners hold on to old habits, but my parents never spanked/whipped/beat me out of anger. There’s a time and a place for everything. When I was told “you goin get yours.”, I got mine.

  • http://gravatar.com/cor3na cor3na

    ^^^^^^ that >>> well said!

    and Ms. Information… do you have any children? I think its different when you have to turn your theories into actions. Also spanking a child because it is a clear consequence of their actions and making sure that that child understands that is much different than hitting a child just because you don’t like something they did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.stevens.3760 Brandon Stevens

    There’s no study needed to conclude that obesity in black women is due to a diet of fattening foods & lack of excercise. We need to stop offering excuses for things that our caused by our own lifestyle behavior.

  • Sarah

    LIES. I was born in Nigeria, and lived there half of my life before moving to America. I got beat ALL the time growing up, and I genuinely do not know ONE Nigerian parent that hasn’t beaten their children. And yes, I’ve been beaten in public before (in the grocery store), but that embarassment taught me not to act out in public, so I never did it again. I do think that we are, in fact, more behaved than Black Americans, and I believe it’s because of how regularly we get beat. Being disrespectful to our parents isn’t even an option, because we probably won’t survive the beating to tell the story!

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

    I see people are deflecting again. Instead of reading the article then critically thinking about it in its entirety, people focused on one part that didn’t mesh entirely with their beliefs and went to town. Because the author was aware that this was going to happen, she put up a disclaimer before the article yet people read anyways and continued to post comments about how offended they were. This isn’t about being offended because someone “disrespected” your belief system, this is about the children and the effects of bad parenting techniques. If your parents Creflo Dollar-ed you and you turned out fine then that’s GREAT!! Really it is truly fantastic however you are the exception, not the norm. Continue to ignore the evidence as it lays right in front of you….some people really should not procreate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicole.buckle Nicole Ohenewa Buckle

    Corporal punishment is not simply a legacy of slavery. My father is West, African (Ghanian) and he was raised under corporal punishment. He went to boarding school in London where they also exacted corporal punishment on students. Corporal punishment used to be used in schools (as well as prayer mind you) and it seems to me that the children of today are a lot less disciplined respectful and mindful of authority in general compared to our parents who all got whipped. Different children have different issues and not all children need to be spanked but to say no child needs to be spanked is a sign of naivete’

  • rhea

    For all the folks who don’t condone spanking:

    Have you thought that people in our community just DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO? If everyone in your family was spanked and everyone you know was spanked, then what resources do you have for raising your children. We have all seen that out-of-control kid in the store; no one wants that to be their kid. Raising children is a one-bit gig. If you mess the child up, you don’t get a do-over. For most parents in our community, that means spanking your kid because that’s all you know that works. If you don’t like it, why don’t you start educating the parents so that they will know that there are alternatives. Don’t just talk about it and judge people.

  • MsW3nd!

    Although I understand the position of the article I think it lacks balance. I also think that many parents who choose to discipline their children by spanking do as well. This is a very heavily debated topic in Western culture. Many other cultures don’t think twice about spanking they just do. It’s hard to pin point this one behavior and say that it is the “root” of our societal wrongs. Or to even say that we as a people are reverting to perpetuate an ugly systematic event that has caused years of disadvantage… lets not.
    Balance is the key to everything. I have children. When we spank them it is only after they have been told why. My husband and I have a motto. We say, “Discipline is not an event but a lifestyle”. I so agree with the fact that many parents only choose to correct their children when they feel disrespected( the event) but don’t mandate regulations that will equip their children for success (the lifestyle). Spanking anyone of our 5 children only comes after other perimeters are unsuccessful. And I can say with assurance that this is the behavior represented by those in my circles (Black and White).

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.p180 Lyric Prince

    Ms Information = Misinformation

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    Of course it’s not to blame. I’m talking about Christians.

    @BeautifulBlackMind: If you’re admitting that you believe it was perfectly acceptable at one point in history to kill a child for disrespecting you, then I’m done.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    How is a person disrespecting Christian beliefs when they’re quoting DIRECTLY from the Bible? God clearly mandates the murder of innocent people. Yeah, there’s all this nice stuff about loving your neighbor, but there is also a lot of disgusting stuff in the Bible, and that is a FACT, no matter how you feel about it. Many people who think the Bible is “the good book” clearly haven’t read it.

  • Nikki

    I am agnostic and I would say in return that morals and values were not created by the bible. If you read various philosophical text, like Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, morals are discussed at length. In fact much of the Christian faith and theology has been influenced by the works of Aristotle (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mental-imagery/aristotle-influence.html). You don’t need religion to have guidance on moral and ethics. There are plenty of places to find that and the individual self can determine what is right and good as well…its called consciousness.

  • goldenboy62

    I would honestly like to know the break down of races and cultures in these studies. I honestly belief that in America at least, part of the break down in the family and in children’s behavioral problems in society started when black parents started to adopt child rearing systems of the mainstream culture. If studies have proven that black and white children tend to have different learning modes, is it not possible that different disciplinary modes might be effective as well. Not saying that that is necessarily corporal punishment, but that the methods whites use don’t necessarily work either (time out, etc). European culture seems to believe (and a whole lot of people are quick to jump on the bandwagon) that everything that works for them from diet to government works the same for everybody. That is not the case.

  • Q

    Hitting a child shows them that violence is an acceptable reaction to strong emotion. Hitting shows that the parent cannot control his or her anger and/or frustration. It says “I am angry, embarrased, and fed up with you, so I will hit you beause it will help ME feel better.”

    Let’s talk about the real point of discussion of this article: Slave masters kept slaves in line with threats and violence. How are we any different when we hit our kids to keep them in line?

  • goldenboy62

    Total agreement. There is no, “one solution fits all approach”. There are children you can reason with, but there are also those that you can’t, and simply have to establish an alpha relationship with. Even children when they socialize realize this. Why adults can’t with all their studies is beyond me.

  • goldenboy62

    I live in a country where war seems to be the acceptable reaction to countries that have a different ideology than you. It is what it is. We like to pretend that we live in some idyllic bubble, but your children are getting cross-messages every where you turn. The real unspoken point of this discussion is that the respect and civility of a generation (probably several) of black children has broken down. That did not happen because of parental spanking, because each generation has resorted to corporal punishment less and less, but those that do make a great scape goat.

  • Q

    So by that logic, we should hit kids more?

  • dmommy

    I completely disagree with the author. Prior to having children, I said I would not spank them but when my toddler started hitting and biting, nothing stopped him but receiving a pop on his hand. I have never beat my children but I have spanked them. Spanking should never be done in anger and there have been times when I waited until the following day; I sat my child down and I discussed the issue and told them the consequences of their actions. We live in a society where the consequence of one’s actions could be death, so, are you saying that spanking is too harsh of a consequence for one’s actions?

  • Ceasar

    Hmmm…I wrestled with whether or not to reply to this because I’m so tired of seeing the same false logic/misapplied logic applied by the opponents of corporal punishment, yet here goes!

    Children, say those between the ages of 3 and 12, are creatures of habit, zeal and nerves. They relentlessly count on and do what FEELS GOOD TO THEM at the moment. I emphasize that phrase because it’s the reason why corporal punishment is one of many effective parenting tools that should be deployed when raising a child. An effective “a$$ whoppin’” not only deters that feel good behavior for the moment but it also effectively delivers a message many of our young children have missed out on in their rearing…a healthy dose of fear and respect of your parents!

    Many of the ills brought on by our youth today is because they do not have a healthy respect/fear of their parents or authority. They do what they want because it feels good to them at the moment, without regard for consequence, without regard for responsibility and without regard for the family’s name or honor. They’re worried that their boys or girls will shun them because they don’t do as the clique does or they depserately want to fit in the group and make poor decisions. Well, in my day, and I’m only 39, after several well placed butt kickings, you measured that feel good opportunity against a butt whooping you knew was coming for doing it and 9 times out of 10 you backed off…regardless of your clique or the other peer pressure attitudes of the time. You thought to yourself, “man, if my mom or dad finds out about this, they’re going to kill me!!” and you did something kids don’t do today…exercised self-discipline!!! I repeat…SELF DISCIPLINE!!!

    What people miss about corporal punishment is that why it temporarily stops the unwanted behavior of the moment, it also induces the concept of self regulation to a childs thought processes when they’re older to control themselves because they have been ingrained with the idea that critical punishment awaits bad behavior, whether its delivered by mom and dad, aunts or uncles, the law, or unfortunately, the code of the street (and way too many are learning that lesson in the street and parents are asking themselves ‘why me ?’ at their child’s funeral!!!)

    As parents, we read these anti-corporal punishment stats and studies and allow yourselves to feel guilty…and damn it you shouldn’t!!! People sometimes forget you are a parent 1st…friend second…and confidant last! You are teaching your child to be a productive member of a greater society, for which society will collectively punish or ostracize if you and they fail to exercise restraint and good decision making.

    Now, the way to give a good whooping is not just to rely on the hand, belt or paddle…you must deliver that verbal message of love after the moment has passed so your child realizes you spanked that a$$ because they deserved it and you delivered it because you do love them and care for them and don’t want to see them go the way of some of their friends who will not make it to adulthood or be effective, contributing adults if they do make it. No, corporal punishment is NOT UNIVERSAL!!! Not all children will need a spanking…I have 5 and 2 of them need it and the others I can deliver the same message with stern intent without ever having to lay a hand, but I will not fail to live up to my responsibilities as a father to any of them for failing to be a father/parent first and friend later!

  • Carrie Pena

    Powerful article to those with an intelligent mind! Hitting is NOT the answer. I have never hit my children,and I am always complimented on their behavior. I talk to them and explain the differences, and CONSEQUENCES for doing things right and wrong. Chidren need to understand how to think with consequence. If they are more aware of them(Ex: if you hit someone else, you can go to jail) What have you…if you just talk to your children about being a good citizen, they will listen, you would be surprised as a parent what kids actually take in! The truth is parents think kids are kids…that they cannot comprehend logic and that they can only compute “kid” things. The truth REALLY is that kids are sponges and parents do not understand LOGIC. Take some time to talk with your kids and change the world. It is a combination of all things bad, both parents having to work, spending less time with their kids and when they do have time, they still not spending it with their kids….do that and learn about life and pass it down, talk with your kids as if they are intelligent…I promise they are! Spanking your kids is a temporary fix and it causes long time consequesnces.

  • Carrrie

    Your response is immature..this is clearly not about religion. Get off it, it people like you that are causing these conflicting issue within humanity. This is TITLED ” Why black people….” This is a report due to BLACK ON BLACK CRIME!! You clearly are not understanding

  • So Real

    @Nina Renee

    I don’t think that BeautifulBlackMind is saying she thinks it’s “perfectly acceptable at one point in history to kill a child.” I think she’s saying that was the law of the land (the way of the people) at that time. Some of the things that are referenced in the bible are cultural rather than spiritual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.E.Weir Anthony Edgar Weir

    I agree. There are so many responses here that get stuck on telling the author that she is being disrespectful of the Christian religion. Religion has such a strong hold that it stops many of us from thinking.

  • Jenn

    It’s actually been fairly well documented over the passed thirty years that negative childhood experiences (violence, sexual abuse, parents with substance problems, food scarcity, ect) have a correlation to chronic morbid obesity in adults. We’re not talking about just being fat. These studies refer to food addiction and the correlation holds for pretty much all U.S. demographic subgroups.

  • Pingback: Commentary: To Spank or To Not Spank? That is the Question « ART.CULTURE.MUSIC.LOVE

  • Honest

    I’m so sick of this discussion. The writer has the right to write her opinion. We have the right to disagree or agree. It’s not the end of the world.

    Some people are going to spank their kids. Some are not. Guess what? Those who choose to spank their kids have the right to do so as it’s not against the law (as long as it’s not abuse.)

    Back to the question at hand: Why do people, specifically Black people, ignore evidence that corporal punishment does not work?

    Because it’s something that’s occurred for generations, and there are many people who don’t believe they have personally experienced any negative consequences from spanking. For many people, personal experience trumps research.

    The truth is, we’re all wired differently. Spanking may be more detrimental to some children while not having as much impact on others.

    As a parent, you need to assess what’s right for your child as an individual. Spanking deterred me from some bad behavior but so did heart-to-heart conversations with my parents. Sometimes a spanking worked better in some situations rather than others.

    Parenting isn’t just about discipline, it’s about teaching and guiding your babies to be decent, caring, responsible citizens of the world.

    It’s not fair to bash people who choose spanking as an option, nor is it fair to ridicule those who choose not to.

  • Ravi

    Well for starters she never actually quoted the bible. She attempted to discredit a bible verse mentioning another unrelated part. I’ve already shown that this was a logical misstep.

    once again, murder is not killing. Whether a killing is murder is largely a matter of perspective. Innocent is also a matter of perspective.

    Whether or not the bible is a good book is also a matter of perspective. I have read the bible several times and I still believe it to be the good book. Your opinion nor your inability to distinguish between fact and opinion doesn’t change that.

  • Ravi

    best response yet

  • moody tuesday

    Thank you for your opinion.

    I think in order to fully appreciate your point of view, you must make clearer distinctions between hitting, spanking, etc. It also would’ve been prudent to cite a source other than the Bible if you were to berate it as a resource.

    I think the reasons people physically discipline there children are as varied as the people themselves. To take a one size all approach to the who or why oversimplifies the matter and as an ethnic group in America, this routinely occurs to our extreme dissatisfaction. Why then do we choose to continue to perpetrate the offense.

    When we are able to look upon another in love and not in judgment, we won’t find the need to look down or diminish the viewpoint of another.

    Maybe a story about how you were spanked and found a more open and loving situation with your own children when you choose not to physically discipline your children. Then citing the facts on long term effects would support your reasoning. Offensive language is not thought-provoking to all. Would you not want someone to be respectful of you and your beliefs when suggesting that your manner of dealing with a situation is ineffective?

    Ultimately, I disagree with your reasoning. Directing your child away from a potentially dangerous situation in the form of a pop on the hand is a form of non verbal communication. As a child develops, verbal cues become sufficient but talking to a child of a certain age is ineffective. Your statistics fail to give enough evidence to come up with an informed decision which is a shame because this is dialogue with which both sides could benefit.

  • Withallmylove

    I am so glad to see this article. Growing up I was hit here and there as discipline if my parents did not like the behavior I displayed. While in the grocery store if I ever saw a child having a tantrum I would mumble under my breath “See, you know their parents need to beat them.” However my views have changed drastically! This change occurred when I became a teacher. Since teachers are required to manage their classroom without placing their hand on their students I had to find a new way to discipline. As a teacher one of my greatest accomplishments is that I was able to control my classroom so effectively that I was being sent the “difficult” students so that they may be reformed. I never hit nor yelled at my students and had a wonderful year. Did the year start out great? Hell No! However I knew old habits were hard to break. If someone hit you every time you did something they did not like the world would be chaos. The lady at the grocery store would slap your face when you took the last loaf of bread, the man at the movies would kick you in your back when you opened you loud bag of gummy worms, you would be living in constant fear. Why put so much energy into hurting our children when they do something wrong, but we hardly celebrate their successes. Im not saying you need to let your children take advantage of you but children just want to know that you see them. If you only see them when they do something wrong they will never learn what behavior you expect of them. any attention is good attention to a child. So when/how do you give them attention? By praise for the good, or abuse of the bad?

  • http://notarapper.com notarapper

    she has to show directly address Christianity, if not people will say “the bible says it, and that settles it”. that’s the same weak argument used for homophobia, slavery, women and second class citizens etc.

  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali


    Since my degree is in psychology, and I’ve conducted extensive professional research in the field, there was really no point in explaining classical conditioning. Though your perspective is duly noted and I appreciate your efforts to answer my question, it is tangential to this particular conversation.

    Corporal punishment as punishment is not what is being addressed. I agree 100% that it is. I am speaking of corporal punishment as a casual form of discipline – which I state in the very first sentence of this article. There is a clear distinction between punishment and discipline. If your goal is to raise children like Pavlov’s dog, then, by all means, do so. That is simply not my preference. Nor do I believe it to be in the best interest of society to breed trained black men who jump at the mere sight of a belt or perceived authority figure.

    My opinion.

    Your point about classical conditioning is addressed in the article when I discuss the potential efficacy of corporal punishment in imminently harmful or fatal situations — before verbal interaction is able to be established.

    2.) Fact: God condoned murder in the Bible.

    Fact: “Spare the rod” comes directly from the Bible.

    Fact: Slaveowners used their version of the Bible/Christianity (of which I’m sure you know there are many) to justify slavery and subdue Africans.

    I’m not really sure why you’re attempting to deny these points, nor why you’re speaking of portions of the Bible as if I made a distinction as to where the violence occurred.

    [Sidenote: Christianity is just as rooted in Judaism as the teachings of Joshua, which mirrors several philosophies around the world.]

    I have no interest in discussing the merits — or lack thereof — of the Christianity. It is only mentioned in this narrative in the context of many Black parents use its rules as a generic blueprint for how to raise their children.

    As I stated in the article, and again in a previous comment, if parents are researching and deciding that slapping and whipping their children is what’s best for them, then that is their business. The issue, for me, arises when people are relying on generational methods of punishment — used on slaves, supported by an interpretation of Christianity — to raise their children, without any thought given to an alternative, and despite extensive research that proves it has long-term negative effects.

    Again, if you would like to share at least one, long-term positive effect of corporal punishment (For reiterated clarity: as a form of casual discipline), I would sincerely love to hear it. I would love to be able to include that information in future discussions.

  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali

    Thank you so much for this response, @Tae. I appreciate it. I agree with your points 100%.

    I think what many are failing to see is that I’m not telling parents what to do or not do. I’m simply hoping that they read, research and decide for themselves, not because “Grandma hit me with a belt and look at me, I turned out alright.”

    And for the love of all that’s sacred, I hope many of us can move beyond equating hitting children with discipline.

    In the studies that I link to, poverty and corporal punishment are linked to aggression among other negative effects. Whether one agrees or disagrees with my opinion is irrelevant, I would hope they research for themselves. It is clear that corporal punishment is a class issue as well as race issue. If we could move beyond the conversation that “children are out of control because they aren’t getting whipped enough,” and look at the root of unhealthy families and poverty, I think we can really see some progression in our communities.

    Again, thank you so much for reading.


  • Dot

    You immediately stopped reading and scrolled right down to the comments.

  • QueenZamundaMD

    What??? “West Africans maime children and hunt Albinos”? Really? A massive generalization of over 200 million people. Well I was born in Nigeria and still have my arms and legs. Must have been literally 1 in 200 million.

  • Renee918

    What’s backwards is our glamorizing of having kids out of wedlock, and our glorification of rap music that promotes misogyny and violence.

    Black people do need to discover more ways to discipline other that whoopings. Maybe black people will stop walking around like their mad at the world!

  • Ms. Information

    LOL, that was ingenius how you took the obvious and made it, well, obvious. LOLLLL

  • Ms. Information

    That was not my argument….I think that BEATING and SPANKING a hand are two different things…you don’t have to have children to have common sense.

  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali

    @Moody Tuesday:

    Thank you for reading and your feedback. To your points:

    “Directing your child away from a potentially dangerous situation in the form of a pop on the hand is a form of non verbal communication. As a child develops, verbal cues become sufficient but talking to a child of a certain age is ineffective.”

    I make this point in the article.

    “Maybe a story about how you were spanked and found a more open and loving situation with your own children when you choose not to physically discipline your children. Then citing the facts on long term effects would support your reasoning.”

    I was not hit, which I do mention. I do not hit my children, which I mentioned in a follow-up comment.

    “I think in order to fully appreciate your point of view, you must make clearer distinctions between hitting, spanking, etc. It also would’ve been prudent to cite a source other than the Bible if you were to berate it as a resource.”

    I quote one source, in addition, I provide links to several more discussing long term effects. The Bible is but one small part of this discussion. Hitting is spanking.

    Thanks again for reading.


  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali

    Thank you for this. The “context” argument misses by a mile. First it’s an insult to say that the Bible is not literal, then it’s an insult because it’s taken literally? Makes no sense.

    The original title included “Mommy Hits Me Because She Loves Me.”

    I also discuss the “Daddy” angle in an opinion piece about Creflo Dollar. If little girls are raised to believe that a man whips her because he loves her, then when Tim, and Bobby, and Mike do the same thing, how is she to understand that she deserves better?

    I really appreciate this comment.


  • http://www.facebook.com/powpow.bangbang Shane Ayers

    Kirsten, I think you’re wrong. Here’s why! =)

    Saying that classic conditioning is tangential to this discussion is being dismissive of the mountains of anecdotal evidence (individuals who have vivid memories of specific lessons they were taught and which were sealed into their memories using pain, which as you know is far more effective at creating memories than positive stimulation) that are relevant to the discussion, as is comparing someone who has been conditioned using corporal punishment to pavlov’s dogs. Discipline, by definition, involves enforcement to ensure that instructions are carried out, often in the form of punishment. To suggest that the two are not interconnected is intellectually dishonest, ma’am. Suggesting that people that have undergone punishment-enforced discipline constitute nothing more than salivating pavlovian dogs waiting for dinner, is ridiculous. While we’re making ridiculous claims, let us assert that raising children absent the idea of any true hierarchy (of which the threat of violence, direct or indirect, is the most compelling hierarchal force) fair better in a society which is built on precisely that principle. You work or you get fired, cutting off your supply of money and your ability to sustain yourself and, if uninterrupted, leading to death by starvation or exposure. Listen to the police or you’ll be apprehended and placed into a facility where you face a high probability of violence from your peers and, if do not acknowledge their authority, the guards, or get shot on the street for resisting where you stand. Same goes for virtually every ruling body in existence. You get in line under the person with the biggest gun (even if you only appear as such to act subversively) or you end up under the tank treads and that’s a fact.

    As for your biblical issues, murder is a legal concept. Ravi was correct in disputing your use of the word. God condones killing is what you meant. Also, he’s correct that reducing the scope of your argument (especially in america) to one race and one religious spectrum lends an air of absurdity to it when we examine how many cultures and ethnic groups perform the same acts with no underlying “slave mentality” motivation (which I personally think is some bs for you to bring up.. but that’s just my opinion). Yes, I get it, it was a catch-all for religious individuals. Well, you caught them all and now you’ve started a flame war. Better that you expand the scope of your argument and look less silly to intellectuals and less blasphemous to laymen. Oh… and just because a text can be used to justify an action, it does not mean that when correctly interpreted that text supports it. I’m going to assume you’ve read enough of the bible to know that it also outlines rules and regulations for the handling of slaves and that it’s quite humane in that regard. If not, I implore you to do more research on things you are so very vocal about.

    Also, for all of your discussion of why this particular administration of punishment backed discipline is ineffective, you have not referenced any supperior methods. Talk to your kids? I think lots of people are talking to their children. Got anything else?

    You’re being a little intellectually dishonest there again. You’re asking for one positive long term effect of this particular method of discipline. You’ve stated the potential negative outcomes of this method. Everything else present are the long term effects of it. You’re trying to present the case as though it’s a dichotomy between spanking and superior methods and that isn’t the case. It is a gradient of effectiveness and whether you believe spanking is low or not, that still affords it some measure of effectiveness. People saying they got spanked and they turned out alright, anecdotal though it may be, IS proof that it can have long term positive effects as well as any (as of right now entirely disputed) negative effects. Fear is certainly a positive result. Fear is a powerful motivator and reasonably speaking, it’s healthy to have it. Being truly fearless is bad for your health, colloquially speaking.The question which you are attempting to pose is not really the question at hand. The question is not whether they would have been “better” human beings if they had not been spanked, but whether the results of the spanking turned out a reasonably fine human being. Frankly, the evidence is not strong enough, nor placed in any sort of convincing context (what sort of world are you personally trying to create or foist on others that would require humans to act in the manner you’re describing sans spanking) to be an appropriate premise for conclusion you’re protecting as though it is the only possible answer to the dilemma of raising children.

    Ravi, I applaud your defense of a counter point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/powpow.bangbang Shane Ayers

    In addition to my lengthy comment rebutting you, I’m also going to remind you that taking the bible out of context is more than just a literary issue. The context of the bible also deals with certain inherent assumptions that apparently no agnostic or atheist is capable of acknowledging. First things first, making any sort of statements of a moral character about what a deity would or would not condone is foolish. It is no more appropriate for you to try and rationalize, or judge on the basis of your limited intellect, experience and exposure, what a being who is omnipotent and omniscient does in a moral or even in an intellectual context than it would be for a child to try and judge you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t because it’s blasphemy. I’m saying you shouldn’t because in that context you are likely to not only reach but to become fixated on points which are irrational or amoral to you but only because you’re ignorant. The person you are today is more ignorant of the way the world works than the person you’ll be next week, next month and next year for that matter. All humanity is on a lifetime journey of education and jumping to snap judgement about what is right and what is wrong and what makes sense and what doesn’t, even up until the moment of death, is a trivial pursuit. And that conclusion doesn’t come from theism. That conclusion comes from zen buddhism, as well as classic schools of thought (socratic skepticism being one of them).

    Secondly, you’re jumping to conclusions about the nature of such a deity (which the assumption of it’s existence in your argument automatically must lead to taking the other parts of the belief system relating to him just as seriously in order to comment on it) but skipping one of the premises the entire belief system of christianity hinges on which is the fact that this life, this mortal coil, this level of existence, and everything you go through in it is irrelevant, save how it impacts you as a human being and how you adhere to the will of God. In the context of a life lived only to reach an afterlife, populated by entities created and extinguished on the will of God. None of what you’re discussing regarding your grievances have any validity when you put God, as the head deity of christianity, in the proper context of a biblical understanding of the universe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/powpow.bangbang Shane Ayers

    Correlation = causation now?

  • PhD

    The difference between causation and correlation is that causation is abnout precedence, correlation is not. That means there is an alternative explanation – children with mental illness present behaviors that parents deem necessary to physically punished. Most doctors are loathe to diagnose young children. Nothing in your “evidence” proves the harmfulness in spanking-most notably because these studies are not randomized, furthermore, to my knowlege, the studies do not differentiate between severity of physical punishment, which would be subjective anyway. Where are your stats on blacks using corporal punishment? Oh, and I should mention that a study published a few weeks BEFORE this study found that adults who received spankings up until the age of 6 were happier than those who did not. Prior to commenting on research, prhaps you should take a class to understand terminology. I’m not trying to be snotty, but you’ve shown a haughty disposition by presenting your opinion as being more important because it is based on your limited understanding of research.

  • whatisdis


  • http://www.facebook.com/lotusengineer Kelley Smith

    Agreed, corporal punishment is strongly encourage by a host of religion. Christianity is a fuzzy teddy bear when compared to Islam. We all know this. The stolidness of Asia is religious in nature. This aloofness in India is yet another result of religion.

    The reason so many want a change in the way spanking is viewed is a direct result of scientific and medical research. The result is children who are extremely creative and intelligent are not spanked. This is point of the research. So, if you want to have brilliant children who are creative and smart as all. Do not, I repeat, do not hit after they are 4 years old.

  • Casy

    Actually ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ is not in the bible It comes from a 17th century poem by Samuel Butler called Hudibras.

    “What medicine else can cure the fits
    Of lovers when they lose their wits?
    Love is a boy by poets styled
    Then spare the rod and spoil the child.

    However I seem to recall a verse found somewhere in Proverbs that probably inspired that familiar spare the rod spoil the child phrase
    ‘He that spareth his rod heath his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes’.

    All that said, I once was indoctrinated by religion before he age of enlightenment. I agree with the author and I think this is a well written article. Black people beat their kids because they have been trained to do it by white man’s religious socialization. The same thing the white man did to black folks as slave and during Jim Crow years, they turn right around and do to their own kids. It’s stupid.

    As for religion and the Bible. Yup it is a fairy tale, myths, just like Greek mythology. In fact as another commenter said, Greek philosophy predates the Bible. The sooner black folks free their mind from the shackles of religious indoctrination based on white men, the better off they will be.

    Conclusion: Religion and everything associated with it, all those Abrahamic Religions do nothing but keep people submissive, docile, and controlled. That is why religion was created in the first place;; to control the masses. Seneca the younger a roman philosopher who lived nearly 100 BC is often credited with saying:” Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful”

    And there is NO positive long term effect to hitting one’s kids. NONE! What is funny is all this hypocritical talk about disrespecting the bible. Pluuueeze, folks talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, I would bet everyone talking about disrespecting their bible probably broke plenty of those 12 commandments repeatedly, the main one being, ‘thou shalt not commit adultery.’

    People screw around, lie, steal, cheat, and do all kinds of things disrespectful and against their biblical teachings. But yet have the nerve to criticize this author for her opinions about that fairy tale book the bible. Obviously they don’t believe the bible either, because their lives show otherwise.

    Great article!!!! You nailed it. The psychological affects of slavery continues to this day. Which is why compared to other race/cultures we hardly have any intrepid American black folks who go forth in this world and make a mark. Religion has taught blacks as a race to be fearful, submissive, and docile. Historically religion was used to condone so many negative things about black folks in America. I really wonder why anyone believes that crap. What I’ve seen is that any oppressed group of people regardless of culture/race most likely have been indoctrinated by some kind of religion. Psychological chains are much more powerful than the strongest titanium chain ever made to hold someone in bondage. Free your mind folks, and the rest will follow!

  • Casy

    Kirsten you can talk until you are blue in the face. The bottom line is this and it is a sad truth. The majority of black folks are religious which means a lot of them by into hitting on their kids as an effective form of parenting. It isn’t. But what this shows is that black folks have normalized abuse. I can see how this would happen because of slavery and black people being abused so much on a daily basis, they stop seeing it as a bad thiing. I forget what it is called in psychology when he oppressed relates and takes on the behavior of his/her oppressor.
    I think your article was well on point.

    Bottom line: There is no long term benefit to hitting kids. It is not for their own good. If a parent is hitting their kids, this shows ineffective parenting/communication skills. If teachers can train and learn how to effectively run their classroom of 20+kids without resorting to hitting them, why can’ parents take parenting classes, read books and learn effective parenting skills? From the moment a baby is born, that’s when they learn and that’s when parents should start teaching them.

    The problem lies with the parents, not the kids. Too many folks are having babies, and not trained on how to be effective parents. These are learned behaviors. Just because one can have a kid doesn’t automatically mean they will be effective parents.

  • jmf

    and yet, West Indians, who spank their children, are also running circles around Black American kids. Please explain your flawed logic?

  • Evonne

    Why is he being allowed near the laptop and throwing things and biting people? If your 2year old came near my laptop, I would have a problem with him, but mostly you for allowing him to think that that is ok.

  • QueenZamundaMD

    This is the reason why I get annoyed when the media presents scientific information to the public…no one actually reads the actual study or understands the research design but they run with it and sensationalize something with no critical eye.

  • jmf

    Sounds to me like you’ve been hanging around too many white folks, many of whose children I see kicking and punching their parents in the streets. Why? Because mommy is too scared to give little Timmy some good ‘ol fashioned licks. I would be happy to oblige.

    I am a first generation American, and both sides of my family are from the West Indies. I still have cousins living in the islands, and I remember one day when I was down there with my cousin and some of her friends, and we were reminiscing about some of the spankings we used to get, and what we got them for. She quipped, “Licks days was good days”

    Now, none of us was abused, just every once in a while when we were acting up, we would catch a spanking. It didn’t damage us, we weren’t excessively beaten, and you know what? You can bet with all those spankings we remember, whatever caused them was never done again.

    This is not to say spanking is the be-all, end-all of discipline. Some kids, like one of my cousins who was born here in the States responded way better to time-outs. (Also, my mom couldn’t spank her because she bruised too easily, but that’s neither here nor there. Point is, time-outs worked for her.)

    Spanking may not work for all kids, but it sure works for a lot. It’s up to the parents to guage this, AND to PROPERLY administer corporal punishment. This also means that there is an age where spanking MUST stop. I’d say 8 or 9 years old is pretty good cutoff point, you can use other, more powerful ways to discipline your kids, like taking away privileges, which become more precious as they get older.

    Still, this hippie dippie white liberal notion of spaking as abuse and having a “negative” impact is so ridiculous to me, especially when i find that white kids are always the most disrespectful to their parents. They’re the ones that could use a good hiding. Every time I went to the bakery near my school on the Upper East Side and watched those kids drop down to the floor, kicking and screaming because they couldn’t have a cupcake, all I could think of is my childhood self NEVER behaving like that. I was brought up correctly, spankings and all.

    Some black people ignore the negative research on spanking because it is invalid in many situations, and a lot of times, spanking does work. Worked for me! Worked for everyone in my family! and it will work for my kids!

  • http://www.facebook.com/powpow.bangbang Shane Ayers

    You accuse others of slaving under indoctrination and being hypnotized but here you are comparing blacks to other races (which is both irrelevant and based on the false premises that 1, they don’t beat their kids and 2, their success is derived from not being spanked) and stating that we hardly have any intrepid people in our diaspora. I’d love to see the data on that, also accounting the prison industrial complex and the disparity between population size.

  • ChildPsychologist37

    Can we be realistic about the contribution of peer-reviewed literature to a controversial subject? Academics who spend their lives researching and publishing do so with great care and with significant effort to honestly contribute a small piece of information to a larger puzzle. All studies have limitations due to any number of confounding factors including population, instrumentation, and statistical analyses. There will always be studies that find the opposite to be true–which is why research is never complete, why people continue to research complicated issues over and over with new populations, different instruments, and varied statistics. This one article and the others cited by the author are not (and were never intended to be) the ultimate final word on the issue, but selected as professional academic samples of contributions to an overall body of research. The author may have been a smidge dismissive of the effect religious literature can have for some individuals, but that hardly negates her entire argument. She makes an interesting point, and she has significant research to support her thinking, so what’s wrong with a little introspection and wondering about why we do the things we do as parents, where our patterns and beliefs come from, and how this issue may be more about the broader cultural, social, environmental, and economic issues that shape our relationships with our children? Just a thought.

  • t

    let me just say that as a mother of two, I have smacked a hand when needed. Sometimes it’s what get’s the job done at the time…one’s patience does wear thin after a repeated correction of unacceptable behaviour… a serious conversation is had soon after about the reason for the smack on the hand and that problem was fixed. Slapping, spanking or hitting is unacceptable.. but I think as educated parents we all know the difference.. hopefully …
    I no longer have to use any form of physical discipline as the problems were fixed really on in their lives ( and they are 14 and 10) and my 2 wonderful kids are constantly being spoken to about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour..

  • http://www.physics4thecool.com Reggie Goodwin

    @ Casy: not doubting your reference at all regarding 17th century poem by Samuel Butler. And, you’re right: the Bible does not say verbatim: “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I found this in Proverbs 23:13 – 14: “Do not withhold correction from a child, For [if] you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.” I do agree: we learned negative behaviors from slavery, and effective parenting skills must be re-learned going forward. Question: how would you have organized a band of people whose language and culture had been decimated by centuries of willful neglect? You might organize around a common cause: building a church, as my ancestors did in South Carolina. Your atheism is intellectual, and a reach for approval from the dominate culture. Good luck with that.

  • traceparkdesign

    I guess our own personal experiences show that spankings do accomplish the desired results of “not doing it again.” But as with anything, this is not the only result. And that’s what I think the whole spanking argument is about. Yes, the kid “stops” the wrong thing that he’s doing, but MAY also learn that (1) placing hands on one another is how we get them to do what we want, (2) kids are to be slapped then talked to, and in that order only, and it may not include the “talking to” part sometimes, (3) fear, instead of respect … and a number of other things I havent researched, but have just experienced.

    To be honest, I was beat as a child. But its not something I want to continue with my own children, or children in my care. I loved and respected my mom, but I feared her more. And thats what “whoopings” did. They made me fear her, THEN love and respect her. And I honestly dont think thats the ideal parent-child dynamic. I don’t think that FEAR=RESPECT. And thats what I personally think beatings aim to do, to make children respect their parents, when in actuality kids end up fearing their parents first, then respecting them.

    Also people have to understand, which I’m sure everyone here understands, social research is based on samples of populations. Its never 100%. There are limitations. There are exceptions to the rules or to the results. So when people say “i turned out fine” the honest truth is you are (a) the exception to the rule OR (b) not actually fine and are plagued with a bigger issue which you yourself may be unaware of, OR a number of other things, which again I havent researched, but have just experienced.

    I’m no social scientist. But arguments like these make sociology as intriguing as any other topic in the headlines.

  • Andrew B.

    I grew up in West Africa, and trust me: every kid got physically punished. Every. Single. One.

  • http://www.sarahdjarnie.com Sarah

    @ Denise… This so laughable….My dad is from Ghana My mom is Sierra Leone… and trust we got a beating if we acted up. Africans beat their kids my step dad had a cane according to size to beat his kids if the acted up. The difference is African kids we know if we acted up out in public, we are GOING TO GET IT when we get home.

  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali

    So, you assume that my understanding is limited because my opinion based on research and anecdotal evidence does not align with whatever it is that you feel it should?

    Thank you for that unsolicited opinion on the quality of my education and psychology degree and experience.

    Now, would you like to answer the question of why people ignore the negative research on corporal punishment? No? Not today?

    Yes, the study I quoted speaks to the severity of punishment and the study you’re referencing was published in 2010 — not a few weeks before this study. In addition, I address in the article that corporal punishment at an early age in heightened situations may be warranted, so I fail to see the point of bringing that study in as if it contradicts anything that I’ve stated.

    As for correlation and causation, I also fail to see where I’ve used either term for you to come to the conclusion that I don’t understand the difference or need a course in terminology.

    I’m presenting my opinion because I have a right to. And yours has been duly noted.

  • http://gravatar.com/kirstenwestsavali Kirsten West Savali


    Thank you very much . I appreciate you receiving this article — and my opinion — in the way that it was intended.


  • Owo9ja

    I agree. Besides the law is most states support corporeal punishment. I guess that’s idiotic black people again

  • Casy

    “Academics who spend their lives researching and publishing do so with great care and with significant effort to honestly contribute a small piece of information to a larger puzzle. ”

    Sadly, the majority of black folks are not academics, thus they do not comprehend the scope, processes,research, analysis and everything that goes into researching an idea. Most black folks rely on what someone else tells them. Which is why they still beat on their kids. They were ‘told it was the way to go, their parents did it’ so they go with that. Most don’t research, or even read to learn more for themselves. They are too busy watching TV all the time. This is why most balk at an article that goes against what they have been brainwashed to do. Sadly we have too many non academic black followers. What the author has written is a truth that is based on overwhelming evidence

    It is sad to see that so many blacks are so brainwashed by religion, still locked down by slavery mentality,that they can’t get it.

  • Casy

    I think your article is on point and I am a strong advocate against punitive punishments (corporal) in the name of ‘raising your kids’. I’ve mentored many abused black kids who have been placed in foster care for various reasons. The most obvious reason is physical and sexual abuse. Men should not be hitting on girls.. period. And what these folks don’t realize is that the psychological repercussions of a child that has been hit during their formative years manifests itself in many ways later in life. Just as that article has said.

    But the sad truth is that in the black community, we have normalized abusive behavior, which is why people scoff at your article. They equate hitting a child as ‘loving a child’. It’s too sad. There are plenty of women/wives who endure non physical abuse from their partners all of the time, whether it is verbal/emotional/psychological abuse. They don’t recognize it.

    You are giving these folks a truth they don’t want to accept because then it would upset their paradigm. As economist John Galbraith once said, “faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof”— which is why the majority of responders to your article disagree with what you wrote.

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer

  • Casy

    “Far too many people think that “RESPECT” from your children is what matters most. It’s a power play–you’re going to respect me or ELSE. Or else I’m going to do to you what I want to do to other people that don’t respect me but can’t because they can fight back.”

    Well said, and this type of thinking is straight up Jim Crowism and slavery’. Black folks had to be subservient look down, speak to whites in a certain tone, adopt a certain demeanor when interacting with white folks. It was called living behind the veil of Jim Crow racism. For blacks living then it was a form of survival that they have internalized and now they pass that kind of thinking right to their kids and how they interact with them.
    I’ve seen it too many times,
    Black kids do not have a voice, they cannot express any emotion. they are supposed to be quiet docile, do what they are told, or else they are being disrespectful! Wow..

  • Deanna Jones

    You make an excellent point. I do not think the writer was attacking religion. what people nee to understand is that people routinly uses the bible to ustify their wrong doings.. The slavery in America was build around te belief that balck people were curse because of their dark skin and that it was white people religios calling to control us and direct us. Another point I would make is that millions of people suffer from different forms of metal illness while fuctioning society

  • Casy

    “Well, when your God loves you but will set you on fire forever if you don’t get right, is a little “whipping” really all that bad?”

    Fear is a great motivator because it gives those in power control over others. When religion was created by ‘man’ it’s aim was to control people. It had nothing to do with spirituality or any of that, which is why I left that mess alone.

  • motheroftwo

    This is a great debate…but at the end of the day people are gonna do what they want to do and what they believe works best for their children.
    I must say that I am totally offended by the multiple statements in the article and in the comments that suggest that parents who choose spanking as a form of discipline lack communication and/or parenting skills! I understand that MANY MANY parents do not use spanking effectively and it borderlines on abuse. But there is a way to use spanking as a clear form of discipline that is effective and fulfills the purpose of punishment–which is to teach someone right from wrong.
    I have two boys–6 and 2. The six year old is not my biological son but a relative’s child. I took custody of him when he was 2 because he was placed in foster care, before I had kids of my own. When he first came to live with me, I exhausted myself using every form of discipline and behavior management I knew, but this child was straight up out of control. I taught in Southeast DC for years, I have my Masters degree in education, and have facilitated numerous workshops on classroom management in an inner city setting. It is my strength. If I could get 25 kids from Southeast DC to not only behave appropriately but also LEARN, then I could definitely get a 2 year old to turn around, right? No. Not at all. I did all sorts of research and tried dozens and dozens of different methods to get this child to behave and be respectful. Nothing worked. Then someone gave me the book “The Strong-willed Child” by Dobson. Changed my life. I started using his guidelines for using spanking to discipline and it worked. My life was a living hell and being run by a 2 year old, but once I started using spanking–never out of anger, never with my hand, and always with an explanation and discussion–I felt I could breathe again.
    So I am saying this to say that all the studies in the world could not tell me that spanking was not the right choice for me. I only had to spank him for a short time, now I cant remember the last time I had to spank him. Other methods of discipline are more effective now because he has REVERANCE for me, which is something we all should have for our parents. I have not had to use spanking with my biological son yet, who is two now himself, but I will use it if I need to. Spanking has, and always will be, a last resort in my home, and as my kids get older I will be using it less and less.
    What bugs me most about these articles and people who condone spanking is that they NEVER offer up any real alternatives other than “talk to your kids.” Time-outs, sticker-charts–that didnt work for me. Talking didnt work. And what these people wont admit is that the fact of the matter is that not ALL forms of disciple work for ALL kids. Talking it out with YOUR kid might work for you and Im happy for you, but that didnt work for me. So leave me alone and stop telling me that my choice is wrong. I dont abuse my kids, I love them. I think that ineffectively teaching them the difference between right and wrong, just because I dont want them to feel any pain, is more harmful than a swat on the butt. And I am an intelligent Black woman, who does not choose to IGNORE these studies just because they go against what I believe. I made a choice in my parenting and that needs to be respected.

  • ROAR

    So you taught your child not to hit, by hitting them. Yeah, that makes sense, NOT!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/msirismg Iris M. Gross (@msirismg)

    Wow, these folk have certainly proven the author right. I personally believe Christianity – as it is practiced by those who twist the words of the text, is certainly a huge part of the problem. The other is the need to not look bad in the eyes of some of the parent’s peers. They want to be able to “show off” how well behaved their kids are so that they can look good themselves. Finally, I don’t believe children are really valued as people. I believe they are seen as possessions, rather than gifts from God. I think that some believe that as a possession, people say to themselves, “if I want to pick it up and slam it against the wall, then I can because it’s MINE.” Notice I did say “it”, because you pretty much have to dehumanize someone to want that much power over them.

    True story: My mother’s cousin was a foster parent, who taught her 4 yr old charge never to touch the telephone or leave the house without her permission, not even to go in the back yard and play. When she did not show up for church, my cousin broke into her bedroom window to find her dead, and her little foster son patiently waiting nearby. Mom’s cousin had been dead for two days – and it had been that long since the little child had eaten. All sorts of things are wrong with that situation. He had a grasp that something was wrong – he told everyone “she won’t get up” – but the fact that he wouldn’t just walk out of the house in that time or play with the speed dial on the phone to get help is troubling for me. No, I would want my kids to challenge me. It that challenge is unwarranted, I certainly can say so. I don’t have such a need for power. I want the kids I come in contact with to have the skills to stand up for themselves. I believe you have to see children as adults-in-training from the get-go. Physical violence is a cop-out.

    For those who feel another way is worth it and who want to put in the hard work to break the cycle, there is a way: http://www.facebook.com/PositiveParentingSolutions. Nobody should ever equate being smacked with love.

  • BabyLover

    How does hitting “teach right from wrong”? Is it OK for a husband to beat his wife when she does something he doesn’t like? Or a boss to hit his employee? If an adult was hit by another adult, he would call the police. Just because children have smaller bodies and less power doesn’t make it OK to hit them.

    It’s not OK for children to be disrespected by yelling at them, demeaning them or physically punishing them. Spanking has been outlawed in 24 countries. I agree that children should be respectful and have discipline, but hitting them is not equal to disciplining them.

    I am blessed with a beautiful toddler who I tried for 6 years to conceive, and I would never, ever, purposely hit her. She does stress me out sometimes, but I need to look at why she is acting out. Is she tired? Is she hungry? Is she teething? I am sure she isn’t purposely trying to bother me. Parenting can be very hard at times, but show your child respect, and he will learn respect from you and respect others in return.

  • BeautifulBlackMind

    @ So Real

    Exactly what I was saying

    @ Nina Renee

    at one point in time this was an acceptable practice for the Jewish community. You don’t have to like it or agree with it but know that had you been born in that context you would feel the same. Back then in the old testament times this was the thing to do to handle that situation. However we were born in a different context.
    Whatever the case you really can’t criticize a practice of a time period and a culture that you are in no way a part of. If that’s the case you have to criticize every single religion, culture, country of a past time period because they did not think or do the same.

  • BeautifulBlackMind

    Seriously, people stop blaming this on slavery. I blame a lot of things on slavery, but the fact we spank our kids… do you know how many people and cultures use spanking? You don’t? Okay look that up first.

  • zainab

    “Why? If the research holds any water, it means that in Africa and in the Diaspora, there are a lot of people with undiagnosed mental health issues”

    There are.

    Yes extreme poverty and lack of adequate healthcare also lead to mental health issues. But did you ever stop to ask yourself why sub Saharan Africa is lagging the rest of the world in key development indicators if spanking is so great. Yes other people also spank their children, we are not playing moral relativism, others engaging in similar behavior does not justify yours.
    I find it odd you are relishing in the idea of spanking your future children.

  • Ravi

    1) Having a degree in psychology doesn’t make pointless the introduction of classical conditioning into the discussion. I never suggested that discipline and punishment were the same thing. As Shane explained, discipline involves punishment. Moreover, your usage of the term “disciplined” in this sentence:

    “Corporal punishment, e.g., physical abuse, was never used in my home and I have never disrespected my father. I was disciplined, yes, but never hit.”

    suggests that punishment of some sort was involved with the discipline and that you were attempting to make a distinction between corporal punishment and non-physical punishment. Regardless, my point is that the effectiveness of corporal punishment is no more in doubt than the effectiveness of punishment in general. So unless you are suggesting that your parents never used any form of punishment when disciplining you, then my point remains valid and not refuted. In order to make a compelling argument, you would need to show that either all punishment is ineffective or that corporal punishment is inherently less effective than non-physical punishment. You have yet to make such an argument.

    Classical conditioning is a part of an effective strategy for raising and disciplining children, but I never suggested that it was all that would be involved. Prior to development of moral reasoning, classical conditioning is likely the most effective tactic in behavior modification. Last time I checked, Pavlov methods were quite effective on the dog. They are effective in conditioning responses and inducing desired behaviors. Preventing undesired behaviors is one of the goals of raising children, not just dogs. It’s not just about imminent harmful situations.

    Regardless of your semantic missteps, you are still wrong given that behavior modification is a part of good discipline (even if it can be poorly argued that punishment is not). We can simply deduce that corporal punishment is effective as a form of discipline because it is effective in behavior modification, which in turn is a positive effect within the context of your narrowly defined “discipline”.

    2) Cite the book, chapter, and verse where “murder is condoned.” Next, go read Exodus 20:13. Murder is not killing.

    funny thing about quotes, it needs to be verbatim. “Spare the rod” appears nowhere in the Bible. the actual verse is “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” The verse is actually about discipline.

    Slave owners perverted their loose INTERPRETATION of the Bible to justify their evil. You stated Christianity was used to keep Africans enslaved. This is simply not true. Christianity is not the interpretations of those that claim to be followers of Christ yet act contrary to the most central concepts taught by Christ.

    I’m not attempting to deny those points as much as I’m arguing that they are your opinion. These are opinion based things. They are rooted in your perspective and interpretation.

    The reason why I spoke of where the instances of violence occurred is because it nullifies your use in attempting to discredit an entirely different portion of the Bible. Granted, that’s dicta, given God never actually condoned murder nor were stories of violence in any way suggesting that this was sound policy for the way people should live their life. But even if all that wasn’t the case, you can’t appeal to a portion of another book to discredit a given verse. That’s simply logically unsound. That would be the logical equivalent of criticizing someone using the Bible to say incest is wrong, because Job was tortured.

    sidenote: the old testament is considered fulfilled within the context of Christianity. We are no longer under the law, we are sub gratia. Christianity is rooted in Judaism but we are not bound to the old testament as Jews are.

    You did discuss the merits of Christianity when you made comments like “how, in good conscience, do you follow that religion.”

    Corporal punishment was used on far more than slaves and spanking hardly resembles being beaten with whips. The parents that are spanking their children usually aren’t advocating for extreme forms of abuse. Given that no research exists that make a compelling case for or against the use of corporal punishment in raising a child, then you really shouldn’t have an issue with parents not basing their methods on useless research. You seem to think we are taking as an axiom that your claims have been proven. Please cite relevant studies that prove what you claim. As I mentioned before, the above cited study doesn’t even claim to prove what you are claiming.

    And again, one long-term positive effect of corporal punishment as a form of casual discipline (because that’s the only positive effect that corporal punishment could possibly have?) is as a tool for behavior modification. child exhibits undesired behavior, insert classical conditioning, no more behavior. Question answered.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Continue finding it odd….I am going to spank within reason! Case closed.

  • Ravi

    “All studies have limitations due to any number of confounding factors including population, instrumentation, and statistical analyses. There will always be studies that find the opposite to be true–which is why research is never complete, why people continue to research complicated issues over and over with new populations, different instruments, and varied statistics.”

    This is exactly my point. The literature, especially in soft sciences, is rarely the final word. That’s why the authors assertions of “proof” of her claims is all the more perplexing. Statements like:
    “there has been such extensive research proving myriad negative effects on the evolving psyches of children when their parents hit them”
    are the problem. Especially considering the effect size and the failure to distinguish between types of corporal punishment. Is it possible that spanking would have had a different effect than the other forms of corporal punishment it was linked with? What about gradation of spanking (all spanking is not equal)? Was there distinctions made between use of belts and hands? Could the negative effects be a result of the harshness of punishment as opposed to the physical nature? In order to be evidence of the authors claims of per se negative effect of spanking, these questions would have needed to be addressed.

    Had she attempted to simply present a much less absolute argument as opposed unsubstantiated assertions of proof and unignorable evidence, the critique would be much less.

  • Pingback: Are blacks ignoring proof that spanking has a negative impact?

  • Me

    This string is surely the reason I salivate over this site. I love the debates that ensue in the comments section.

    I’ll say, I’m anti-spanking/corporal punishment/physical punishment, but I wouldn’t dictate how another parent raises their child unless I see very evident signs of abuse or irreparable damage, which in itself is a fine line in my opinion. I, for one, plan to never hit my child–so much so that my family is very aware that hitting my future kids will never be in their right as part of the community I want helping me raise them. The ones that I believe will have difficulty adhering to that are on my list of “limited visitation rights.”

    In response to some of the debate:

    I think the argument I’ll make is less about corporal punishment making kids worse off, and more about the fact that it is absolutely possible to raise very well adjusted, upstanding children with the use of non-physical discipline, and that it seems some black parents deny this as a matter of tradition alone.

    I agree that children need to learn how to deal with fear because parents won’t be the only people, and discipline won’t be the only things, they fear in life, but why, as a parent, would we choose to be the pain that they fear? Kids can learn that certain adults are the authority without being hit. Moreover, I think a lot of the examples some people like to use of kids acting out in public, or disrespecting their parents, etc. are less an indication of the need for corporal punishment, and more an indication of the need for stern (still non-physical) parenting while the child is very young. Many parents fail to establish their authority in a clear-cut undeniable fashion early in the child’s development, and that lack of distinguishment snowballs into the out of control older kids they become, believing there are never any consequences to their actions based on their experiences.

    Likewise (in response to Shane’s comment “the threat of violence, direct or indirect, is the most compelling hierarchal force”), I don’t believe kids should learn that violence sits at the top of any hierarchy. My fear is that believing so would create a generation of bullies and cowards. It takes strong individuals to stand up against people who attempt to use violence to force an outcome in their favor. So, I wouldn’t want my kids to think that just because someone can hurt you physically, it should trump what you’re thinking, or how you feel, or whether something is right or wrong. Keep yourself safe, yes, but bow down to the threat of violence, not so much/not in every situation.

    I won’t comment on all the biblical references because I’m sure the author knew she was making controversial statements when she wrote them, and I’m not asking for any evidence of longterm benefits of corporal punishment because it wouldn’t sway my choice anyway. I just hope that parents of all races are actively choosing non-physical discipline much more often than they choose physical discipline. And if it’s possible to parent without any corporal punishment whatsoever, I’d hope parents opt for that over spanking for the sake of “it was done to me and I turned out ok.”

  • Nicky McCatty

    Perfectly said, Denise. Beat the kids, so Massa won’t have no reason to.

  • William S.

    Wow, so much I want to say.. I guess Ill start with how I totally agree with N. McCatty’s comment!! Secondly, my sisters and brother and I were the only ones in our Washington DC neighborhood who were spanked, beaten, hit, whatever you want to call it.. OF COURSE as a child, I was TOTALLY against it, until I returned home from the Marines and learned that just about EVERY single kid that we envied as children (because they lived in “spank free”homes) had grown up to become drug addicts, criminals, young parents of several children or worse, had been killed.. Also, having started dating my first caucasian woman, i see how ineffective “time outs” and “go to your rooms” are. The author seems to give these “researches” so much backing, but MY personal research and experience clearly shows that spanking IS an effective form of discipline. ALL animals (yes, humans are animals too!) learn from PAIN! You touch a hot stove, you never do it again. You step on a bee, you start wearing shoes whenever youre outside.. We must FEAR our parents as well as love and respect them! If you want a corporal punishment research project, check how many serial killers werent spanked.. I can almost GUARANTEE that Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, the Menendez brothers along with a good many more, had NEVER had a hand laid on them. Lastly, am I the only one thats noticed the increase of these bad, out of control children since the big “anti child abuse” campaign of the mid 80s?? Thats NOT a coincidence!

  • Thank you and good night

    Well, I found this to be a very interesting read. I don’t know why everyone is getting all mad because the writer said the “spare the rod” is a religious doctrine. Not everybody believes in God, the bible or religion – so get over it. Give the respect you are demanding.

    Why fixate on this off the cuff remark rather than engage in the wider debate: is beating our children doing more harm than good?

    I genuinely worry for our community sometimes. All we seem to care about sometimes is God, church and food. What has God done for this community? The Israelites got their promised land. What did we get? 400 years of slavery and a “black” president. All the while African Americans, African countries, and black people in Europe are still disproportionately represented in unemployment figures, prison numbers, low achievement in education etc etc

    Get your head out the bible, your hard earned money out of the pastor’s pocket and do something meaningful and tangible for your family and community instead of waiting for a saviour that will never come.

    Thank you and good night.

  • mortal

    “By the way, “West Africans” maime children and hunt Albinos, don’t compare Black Americans to them. Remember, acts of violence is how my people ended up here in the the first place. You probably do not see public dicplining because either they don’t have papers and fear deportation if caught or instill fear of the Juju man.”

    Your whole comment became void due to that level of stupidity – like WOW.

  • mortal

    Sad story- yeah sometimes it really does read to me that alot of black people, who are more likely to have origins in poverty and the lack of power associated with low economic status look for any way possible to display some sort of power and control, including making their relationship with their child one big power-trip. I am definitely not saying all but some definitely – filming beating your child and then making them upload it onto facebook – like really!

  • dc


  • Honest

    Just because people spank their children doesn’t mean they are brainwashed by religion or locked down by slave mentality. Plenty of nonreligous folks and those of other cultures, who have no history of slavery, spank their kids. It’s amazing to me that some people on this forum fail to realize that some people spank their children because they feel it is an appropriate disciplinary action. And, if they choose to spank their kids, that doesn’t make them any less educated or loving. It’s their damn choice to do what they want as parents. Just because people don’t agree with your perspective doesn’t make them less intelligent.

    Grow up, and realize everybody doesn’t have to agree with you.

  • Honest

    Seriously? That has nothing to do with this argument. That’s only a small portion of the author’s argument.

    Just because people choose to believe in God and follow Christainity doesn’t make them “less than.”

    So many of you on here are insulting people who follow God. It’s despicable, and it’s not because of your lack of faith. You have every right to believe what you want. It’s just sad that you are so ignorant to believe every Christian is the same and you are constantly belittling and and insulting others as if that helps to get your point across.

    Don’t you know how to make an argument or share your perspective without bashing other people’s beliefs?

  • Naomi

    Because you aren’t looking? Only reason I can think of, because it happens. :D

    Take this from someone who lives in Asia, and grew up in the UK.

  • Ravi

    Your reasoning extended:

    Is it OK for a husband to ground his wife when she does something he doesn’t like? Or a boss to require his permission for his employees to receive medical treatment. If an adult were put in time out by another adult, they would call the police.

    Children aren’t adults and their treatment shouldn’t be the same. If we had to use adult discipline on children, would we have to dock their pay instead of sending them to their room? The differences between adults and children are not limited to physical size and power. Their are huge developmental differences that your assertions seem to be ignoring. Legally they aren’t the same either. Children don’t have near the same rights to property, privacy, or even bodily autonomy.

    And why is spanking your child inherently less respectful than non-physical forms of punishment? If the measure is whether an adult would be disrespected, nearly every form of behavior correction or punishment could be deemed disrespectful.

  • Turquoise

    This discussion is AMAZING!

    You’re all right and you are all wrong. That’s life. It’s a matter of preference.

  • casy

    “So leave me alone and stop telling me that my choice is wrong.”

    Why are you so defensive and taking this so personally? If you believe what you did is right for your kid, why are you in this forum defending your choice? Nobody forced you to read this article. You chose to do it. We are a bunch of strangers whom you would never meet. Your response seems like this struck a nerve and your long defense of it seems as if you are trying to ‘convince yourself’ that you did the right thing by hitting your child to get them to behave.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    He messed up my laptop because we (unwisely) left him briefly unattended. He bites my husband and I and throws things because he’s not yet 2, and I am pretty sure that falls under the “pretty normal behavior” category for people that have only been living in society for 23 months.

  • casy

    Excellent!!!! Standing up and applauding your response. So many gems in your response. The most significant take away is ‘kids are adults in training”. If more parents would keep that in mind, and think about how they would like to be treated by their fellow adults, I think we would see parents exhibit more effective parenting skills with their kids. A lot of black parents ARE caught up in that slave mentality which is fueled by religion. They want their kids to be ‘seen and not heard’. Which means basically they want a trained anamatronic stepford wife kind of kid. What I’ve seen is lazy parents are the ones who whip their kids the most.
    Parenting starts from the moment that child is born. I’ve seen effective parenting skills in place. Parents need to ask themselves, what is the goal of getting their kids from childhood to adult and raising a kid who is brave, has a mind and can think for themselves and can voice their opinions. Most black parents think kids aren’t supposed to have an opinion. AS you rightfully said. They see these kids as an ‘it’ Not a person with their own mind and thoughts. It’s so sad. Great response.

  • casy

    “And why is spanking your child inherently less respectful than non-physical forms of punishment? If the measure is whether an adult would be disrespected, nearly every form of behavior correction or punishment could be deemed disrespectful.”

    To quote another commenter on this thread
    “Far too many people think that “RESPECT” from your children is what matters most. It’s a power play–you’re going to respect me or ELSE. Or else I’m going to do to you what I want to do to other people that don’t respect me but can’t because they can fight back.” Chris L. Robinson

    I have to wonder is this the overall goal of black parenting? That whole ‘respect’ thing? Yup sounds like some slave master Jim Crowism to me’. Where black people had to adopt a certain demeanor in order to survive being black. Living behind the veil of Jim Crow laws. ‘Respect me or else!

    Discipline comes from the Latin word “disciplinare” which means to teach. (So if you’re hitting your kid, you’re teaching them (with your actions to do to others just what you’re doing to them which is ‘hit in order to get their way).

    Now the word discipline is often only associated with punishment but actually much more than that.
    Effective discipline:
    1) occurs in a positive, supportive, loving parent-child relationship
    2) uses positive reinforcement to promote desired behaviors (proactive)
    3) uses punishment (when necessary) to decrease or eliminate undesired or ineffective behaviors (reactive). Time out and alternatives to physical punishment are preferred

  • casy

    “Get your head out the bible, your hard earned money out of the pastor’s pocket and do something meaningful and tangible for your family and community instead of waiting for a saviour that will never come. ”

    APPLAUSE!!! You would think black folks would get a clue after all of this time that there is no such thing. I mean for them to be so religious, they are the most repressed group of people on earth. That’s clue enough to get their head out of that fairy tale book of false promises.

  • casy

    “Sounds to me like you’ve been hanging around too many white folks, many of whose children I see kicking and punching their parents in the streets. Why? Because mommy is too scared to give little Timmy some good ‘ol fashioned licks. I would be happy to oblige.”

    Pluueeeze! Spare me the ‘all white kids are bad because they don’t get hit by their parents. If hitting kids worked so well, why are so many black men sitting in prison behind bars? I’m sure their parents went upside their heads since most black parents tend to agree to physically hit their kids as a way to ‘teach them’. I see plenty of black kids, teenagers hanging out in the streets, low riding (I don’t see the white kids doing that). I see plenty of black teenagers doing a lot of inappropriate things. So did they not get ‘hit enough’? Bottom line hitting your kids, teaches them ‘to hit others to get their way, just like their parents hit them.
    Kids do act out, a kid throwing a tantrum is what a kid does. Toddlers lack the cognitive development of an adult to talk about what is wrong with them so they act out.

    Parents need to know why they are acting out. Is the kid, tired, hungry, hurting etc… I see so many black parents dragging their kids out shopping during lunch time and then smack their kids when the restless kid is tired of being cooped up in that stroller for 2 hours. Shoot I’d act out too. You don’t seriously expect a 2 year old to say.
    Listen here MOmmy. I’m hungry and tired and I want to go home and play with my toys and go to sleep. And if that kid had the audacity to say that to a parent, they’d probably smack them in the mouth for ‘talking back’. Hitting your kids, is poor lazy parenting skills.

  • casy


  • casy


  • mrskrissytramel

    Love this comment “The problem lies with the parents, not the kids. Too many folks are having babies, and not trained on how to be effective parents. These are learned behaviors. Just because one can have a kid doesn’t automatically mean they will be effective parents.”

    Also I would like to see a survey of black men/women in prison that were spanked/beaten as a child. Since everyone seem to believe that spanking kids will keep them out of jail or keep them from having bad behavior(Fighting, having kids OOW, drugs,ect)

    My mother was able to raise me without spanking me but also she made me afraid to make her mad. She was a single mother of two kids and able to take my brother and I out in public and us not acting out at all. She taught us how to behave without hitting us at all.

    My brother is not or ever been in jail,no drugs (weed included), still a virgin so no kids and I also never been to jail have one child ,married to a sailor and get to travel the world with my husband and my son. I guess by all counts you can say we turned out “fine” without my mother having to spank us.

    I guess everyone is different but I believe if my mother would of spanked us for every little thing that made her mad or frustrated my brother and I would of took different paths in life.

  • mrskrissytramel

    @ Casey. Exactly.

  • mrskrissytramel

    @ Casy

  • Janubie

    All I am saying is that these specific critiques are true of many studies in social science and are difficult to circumvent due to the subject matter. What would you suggest they do otherwise? Follow a nationally representative sample of children who were spanked and not spanked? Easier said than done. Calling the methodology a “mistake” ignores the reality of the difficulty of studying such a subject.

  • Janubie

    Great Posts TJH! Well put. Reiterating what should have been the central point of the argument: if the evidence is inconclusive, why stand behind the behavior as if we KNOW it is tried and true. Where’s the precaution?

  • http://twitter.com/MaxineShawEsq Maxine Shaw (@MaxineShawEsq)

    I agree with so many people here when they say your Christian bashing pretty much renders your entire column obsolete, and I’m pretty firmly in the anti-spank category (working in elementary education will do that to you). There wasn’t even any need for it. You just saw a need to be inflammatory and went for it. Very lazy of you.

    The bottom line is this: the more education a household has, the less likely the parents are to hit their kids. Does anybody here really think the Obamas are beating their kids with belts and switches?

  • http://twitter.com/MaxineShawEsq Maxine Shaw (@MaxineShawEsq)

    EXXXXXACTLY. I’ve always wanted to scream when black parents go on and on about “respect.” Get over yourselves. Your kid isn’t even thinking about you that damn hard.

  • K

    GREAT article. A few parenting/discipline links that may be helpful to folks: Effective Black Parent Training and the Chicago Parent Program Training (I am an MSW student trained in the Chicago Parent Program, and totally believe in effectiveness of age-appropriate communication and discipline that does not involve hitting or other forms of violence).

  • Medusa

    Erm… I am a West African woman in West Africa who grew up with a West African mother. THey yell, scream, and hit us all right.

  • Ravi


    Considering I was just responding to the previous post’s assertion that spanking was disrespectful, your reply to my quote really doesn’t apply. I never said respect matters at all. I was simply challenging the assertion that spanking was somehow inherently disrespectful.

    Actually, I don’t think respect is the most important thing. My words don’t remotely suggest otherwise. Your reference to Jim Crow is equally misplaced.

    Did you think the latin root of a word dictates is meaning as opposed to it’s current definition?

    dis·ci·pline   [dis-uh-plin] Show IPA noun, verb, dis·ci·plined, dis·ci·plin·ing.
    training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
    activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
    punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
    the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
    behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

    But let’s say discipline didn’t have multiple, actual definitions and simply meant to teach. Considering that any form of punishment would associate a negative experience with undesired behavior, the child would be taught not to engage in said behavior. If punishment only meant that the subject was learning to do that punishment to get their way, then that would apply to every punishment — not just physical punishment. If you put your kid in time out, are they just learning to put people in time out to get their way? physical punishment teaches the same thing as any other type of punishment.

    The three things you listed below constitute what is called a straw-man argument. I agree concerning a positive, loving relationship. I also agree that positive reinforcement is more effective and that punishment should be limited in use. There is nothing about spanking that would prevent it from being a part of your version of discipline. spanking can be used with all three of the things you listed just as easily as time out. You would actually need to come up with an argument as to why time out is somehow preferable. I am arguing that any manner of using time out could achieve the same result using spanking.

    BTW, are you sure the latin root isn’t this:


  • Ravi

    Well that wasn’t all you said. You also said we should be less concerned with the magnitude of effects. If your point was only that my criticism could be made of most studies, then it would have hardly been worth writing considering that I agree with that assertion. I never suggested that this criticism couldn’t be levied at much of the existing research and I’m certainly not suggesting that something needs to be done differently. My graduate background is in social sciences.

    Where exactly did I call the methodology a mistake? I think you aren’t reading what I wrote carefully. I think it would be helpful to quote a little more than a single word so that you don’t lose the context and mischaracterize what I actually said. I said the mistake was in the reading of the study, not in the study itself. The study doesn’t even pretend to be what it is being used as in this article. The article doesn’t claim to be proof that spanking is bad per se as this article claims. The mistake was the over-extension of conclusions from the study, not the methodology of the study. I am arguing that the study can’t be used to prove that spanking results in a higher probability of mental illness. It doesn’t even isolate spanking and it certainly has too small an effect size for such claims of proving spanking is bad per se.

    The only ones that seem to be ignoring the reality of the difficulty in studying such a subject are those that proclaim proof or certainty after such a study. My understanding that proof and certainty are not so easily achieved show that I’m the one that is appreciating how difficult studying this stuff is.

  • Honest

    Hey Casy,

    See comment above. Get a clue.

  • Peace and Afro Grease

    As someone who grew up in a home where the “solution” to any time my siblings and I got in some sort of trouble at school (failed a test, late too many times to class, got in a schoolyard fight with a bully) was being hit violently with a belt, paddle or something else with my father’s very strong, angry hand, I have to say that I agree with the author and her article wholeheartedly. None of us can talk to our father or mother now (her for defending his actions) and we are all emotionally scarred. I feel like my childhood was stolen from me. I’m very sure many people grew up in far worse households, but that was what happened to us, and it was depressing feeling so unsafe and scared in our own home. When I think of possibly becoming a mother one day, I cannot imagine hitting my own child. That’s not love. That’s lazy, cowardly and selfish. That’s it.

  • Mighty Mike

    Yeah! Anyway, I think you all need to cop my new album… in stores soon. It’s called “Smackin’ These Hos”!

  • bdsista

    please don’t be offended, but if your child bit me, I instinctively would pop him in the mouth and tell him no. I do the same thing with dogs and cats and I don’t tolerate it. I don’t care if its normal, its inappropriate and if nothing else, the child will learn whom he can and cannot bite because biting me hurts back and yes I would explain that to him, but children need to learn prosocial behavior early.

  • Revelation(Unveiling)

    So, I’m going to type this comment in a way that’s more accessible to a variety of people. Not just college grads(no offense to anyone. I can see the degrees in some of these comments, which actually makes me proud. However, it may be hard for some to grasp xD).

    The biggest problem with this article is perspectives. It seems to me as if the article and the following comments from the author(and comments in response to comments) are more geared toward people that(I Believe) abuse thier children. Hitting a child for every or almost everything they do that you don’t agree with is, in my opinion, abuse. Hitting a child for doing childish things like being loud when playing is abuse. There are many examples I can give which are very prevalent in the black community that most of us view as “normal”, but they’re not. These things are what I picture the author is picturing, contrary to what she says.

    A big one that really bothers me is when a child is hit(or any form of punishment really) because they are doing something YOU do. Do as I say and not as I do only works on a limited amount of kids. Generally, kids are going to imitate behaviors. That’s just how humans work. If you don’t want your child doing something you do, don’t do it or ATLEAST care enough to not do it around them.

    The research here is as expected, inconclusive at best. The main study referenced(mental illness one) can actually be used for both sides of this debate. While they have linked(as best as a study of this nature can) “harsh physical punishment”(very subjective language btw) or spankings with a SLIGHT(none of the numbers were even at a 10% increase, which is why I say slight) increased chance of mental illness. They also found this, and I qoute “But the researchers also found what they described as “a surprising finding”: that as an adult’s reported education and income levels increased, so did his or her likelihood of having experienced harsh physical punishment as a child.” Also known as “the ass kickings worked”.

    I don’t feel that warrented punishment(physical or not) is a problem in our(black) community or any other for that matter. Abuse and neglect are the problems. A lot of parents just aren’t as invested in parenting as they should be and it shows. The ones that don’t give their child any form of punishment and the ones that give too much are the biggest problems I see.

    The second biggest problem, in ALL communities is the inconsistent nature of a lot of people. Not only are alot of parents inconsistent with punishing period, in a multiple child setting they aren’t consistent with punishing each child. If 1 gets caught smoking and another gets caught smoking, their punishment should be the same. If not, you stand a great chance at causing the favortism syndrome that I’ve seen destroy far more families than spankings.

    More to the point, I hate blanket statements. I won’t say hitting a child is never needed nor will I say giving them a smack, slap, spanking etc for every little thing is needed. I will say that getting to know your child and getting to know your options is the best thing to do. Trying one option just because it worked for you and the people you know is rather asinine in my opinion. I will agree with the author on that point.

    On a personal note, I hope none of you ever have a child like I was, but worse lol. I now fully realize just how odd a child I was. I did what I wanted regardless of the consequences. In fact, I’d often weigh the satisfaction I’d get from the act, against the dissatisfaction I’d feel from a spanking or grounding.Unlike alot of kids, it wasn’t that I hoped or expected not to be caught at some point, I just didn’t care lol. Most times I went with the satisfaction I’d feel from the act because spankings didn’t bother me. I had somehow learned to block out most of that pain. Groundings didn’t work because I actually enjoyed reading as a child. So no matter what my mom took from me, I knew she wouldn’t take my books and that’s all I needed to be fine with a grounding lol.

  • minna k.

    I have issues when an adult literate person has such an”unshakable” faith in anything. The reaction to completely shut off once someone with something very important to say, challenges their belief system is willful ignorance. I find this very common within the “christian” community, and it needs to be challenged. The welfare, mental health, and safety of real existing children and their parents, in my opinion are more important to examine in the here and now. Grow up, and let’s deal with the subject at hand.

  • The Messenger

    Beating a child might very well effect their self-esteem, but Spanking a child will not! (We all know the difference between a BEATING and a SPANKING), so please don’t try to distract from my point! This SYSTEM would loves for us to let our children run wild with no disclipline so that later on….that same SYSTEM will be able to control them in many ways! Mainly, by locking them up and using them for free labor! So pay attention to who actually benefits from these “so called” studies! I’ve lived many places and have never met anyone who’s been questioned for these studies! So who are they studying?

    Also, many people get “Self Esteem” and Self Confidence confused! These kids tend to be very cocky with their disrespect, which is a display of Self Confidence! They are confident that they can say or do whatever they want, with little or no consequences! One or two generations ago, when we got our spanked for being Disrespectful…..we learned to tone down the cockiness! That made our Self Esteem better, because we quickly realized that we were going to have to respect SOMEBODY! That’s why most of us went back and THANKED our parents, and are able to tell wonderful stories of our childhood!

    Self Esteem comes from Respect!

  • PatriceB

    I have a problem with people trusting “research”. Any company, scientist, individual, corporation can put out a study and all one has to do is read an article about the study (mind you, it’s not even the actual document that outlines the research) for them to try to encourage others to “drink the Kool-Aid”. “Research says it, so that must mean it’s true” (whoever “research” is…). First of all we can’t even prove that the sample of people they interviewed (or followed) in this study were in healthy households with caring parents who did everything else right. We don’t know if these people’s mental illnesses/problems were caused by, or can be connected to, other hidden factors (family history of mental illness, sexual abuse, injury, etc. the list goes on). There may be several other variables at play in a person’s life, other than the fact that they were spanked, that would account for mental problems or issues. Also, lets get on the issue of the idea that Black people have a problem spanking their children. Just about all cultures spank children. Point, blank, period. Christians, non-Christians, all colors and races spank their kids. It has nothing to do with slavery Ma’am….

    Also, let’s say you are an athiest. I’m not, but I will speak from that view point for a second. Most mammals (including apes which many athiests believe we were derived from) physically correct thier young. Dogs and cats will swipe thier puppies and kittens or nip them the moment they “get out of line”. If you have never seen it before, watch it; it’s actually pretty funny…. Chimps will even bite or give a sharp “touch” to thier babies when they get too rowdy.

    So having said all this, yes I wholeheartedly believe in spanking children as a punishment when other means of punishment have stopped working. I also think that if a child is spanked, there also needs to be correction of the bad behavior and consistency. That is where most “spankers” lack in thier use of this style of punishment. People spank but don’t teach what the right thing to do is. People will spank, but then let the kid go right back to play. Wrong. Consistency and rewarding your child for the good things they do are key. That’s all…off my soapbox

    BTW, I am studying to be a mental health professional and have studied Research methods and psychological research for the past 4 years. Not saying I’m an expert, but take from that what you will.

  • Stacey

    Thank you so much for this post! Finally someone else recognizes the negative consequences of corporeal punishment (and other forms of punishment) Research indicates that punishment is not an effective way to change behavior. Rewarding positive behavior is much more useful. Unfortunately, it is easier ( read lazier) to simply force submission than to teach children. After all, we would be forced to recognize the ridiculousness of the things our society does. Parenting is really hard work because it involves taking actively paying attention to when our children do right and reward them and teach them to keep an open mind and look at the world for what it is. For people who keep quoting the bible and proverbs 13:24, do you think Jesus would lay his hand on a child or would he take the time to teach the child that his behavior is unacceptable. I have lost friends because of this, but I am eternally happy that I don’t have friends who force compliance on any human being.

  • Eliza J.

    Very interesting article and comments. As I read the comments one thing struck me and I wanted to comment on the issue that white people don’t know how to discipline their children. I am biracial: white mother and black father. Growing up; my father would whip me as a form of punishment when I got in trouble (usually talking or sleeping in class). I was about 5 and would get a note safety pinned to my back pretty frequently. The whippings didn’t actually help to curtail the problem which, when I was finally asked why I kept talking or sleeping in class, I was able to say that I was bored. My parents taught me a lot of things early…the alphabet, writing, reading, etc., so when the other kids were learning these things, I already knew them. My dad’s primary method of punishment was whipping which eventually wasn’t effective. I will say I never felt abused, I just didn’t understand it. When my parents got divorced, I lived primarily with my mom…her methods were taking away something I liked, putting me on punishment, etc. I remember asking her couldn’t I just get a whooping…it was over much quicker than punishment! She said no and I’ll tell you I only got put on punishment 1-2 times before I stopped acting out. Every single one of my white cousins is successful…lawyers, doctors, masters degrees, married, etc. Not one has ever had any trouble with the law and not one of them were ever hit by their parents. Almost all of my black cousins were raised in the south under the same teachings as my father and I can’t say the same for their successes. Yes, their are other factors at play other than being hit or not hit; I just wanted to point out from someone who has personally seen both sides that just because someone is white doesn’t mean their parenting style is ineffective and that we should all be open to trying different approaches not just being tethered to something because it’s how we were raised and we think we turned out alright.

  • Dee

    I’m 100% with you. I read a lot of child development books and studies. Hitting teaches them to hit others. I can’t understand the value in spanking my little baby when I can instead model the behaviors I want to see. She’s only 16 months and people wanted us to start spanking her at 7 months because she had a tantrum. Tantrums are a normal part of a young child losing control. There are many ways to show them better ways to handle themselves. Adults have tantrums and get into fights all of the time. I bet they were spanked, beaten, hit, etc.

    We have to teach our kids how to control anger, frustration and agression, but how can you do that if you’re doing the same thing?

  • Taylor

    I spanked by nephew in the store yesterday and I don’t feel bad about. I have doing against spanking. You do not have to hit children every time they do something bad. Growing up we were not spanked every time we did a bad thing, but it did happen. We’re happy people. One cannot even compare it to slavery. They’re nothing alike. Slavery is not and never was just a black thing and people from all backgrounds have spanked their children. There are many people who were never spanked and still turned out bad, but this time the blame is put on films, music and video games, right? No one can claim they know the perfect way to parenting because there is none.

  • sharay

    eh. I’ll just say this.Bible and all that aside, to me, spanking and all of that signals that the parents can’t parent effectively. Yes I believe it goes back to slave time too. And I don’t think you can teach someone to respect themselves when you hit them. So when they get older and a boyfriend gets outta line, SUBCONSCIOUSLY they might feel like being hit is no big deal. ” If I did what he wanted me to do, then he wouldn’t have hit me”. Now I love my parents and all but I definitely think they did me a disservice by hitting me as a child.For instance, my mother was very unstable when i was growing up and lost er temper at the slightest thing. I now realize this was more her problem than mine but…anywho, one time she got mad at me on her way to school cause i asked her something and she got up and started hitting me and shaking the mess outta me. Her boyfriend had to get her off of me. Another time I left my tooth brush at a friend’s house after a sleepover. My father open hand slapped me clear across the room.i WENT FLYING!You can’t tell me that a grown man should ever hit a child with that much force. That wasn’t called for, especially for the offense(see, as the parent he should have made sure all that stuff was in order, you know, being the adult). Looking back, I have no doubt that he did that because he and my mother were having problems and he needed to get some aggression out. I also remember other times where he would clear just mess up the room whopping me, and my stepmother too(which is a different story). And at the end of the day, it didn’t really accomplish anything besides creating a hostile environment that made it so I didn’t want to go home, and I ran into the arms of another, abusive little boyfriend who didn’t treat me right. But since I was not used to being treated write in the first place, it was just business as usual. I think spanking works more with little children who can’t communicate and comprehend. Once they get to an age where they can communicate more I think it’s better to not used hitting as a first resort. We need to talk more as a people and talk more to our children.

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    that actually sounds more like abuse than spanking. Spanking isn’t always so extreme and doesn’t have to result with a child taking flight across the room.

  • bella

    that is normal child development behavior for a toddler..they are at a stage where they are trying to express certain emotions with a limited source of words or none at all… so most of the time they are throwing things or having a tantrum to get something they want or just out of curiosity

  • eeee

    @ Ravi:

    “If this silly “logic” were to be extended, then no part of the Bible would be able to be relied upon.”

    I, for one, am okay with that.

    “How could we say that the Bible commandment not to murder is valid given God ordered babies devoured by bears?”

    I think you mean “invalid,” and there’s actually no contradiction there. Murder is condoned by most if not all societies, including those who do not follow the Christian faith. That’s because murder is a violation not of religious taboos, but of societal taboos – in order to have a successful civilization, certain behaviors (including killing each other) have to be stamped out.

    Religion does not imbue its followers with saintly behavior: Rather, it restates certain basic “rules of civilization” and imposes other guidelines to set its followers apart from others. You can’t tell someone’s Jewish by the fact that they don’t go around murdering people – but sometimes you can tell by their hairstyles or dietary choices. You can’t decide that a person is Christian because they don’t have sex with their own children, but sometimes you can tell by the jewelry they wear or what they do on Sundays.

    And, to take it even further: I have been told, OFTEN, by coworkers and casual acquaintances that I’m “a perfect example of a good Christian,” because I don’t lie, gossip, or behave unkindly towards others. A co-worker once asked if I would be interested in speaking to her women’s group about “being a true Christian” and “witnessing without words.” She showered me fulsomely with praise about my “Christianity” before I was able to get a word in to tell her I’m an atheist. Funny that she hasn’t so much as made eye contact with me since then…

    Murder is taboo NOT because it says so in the Bible, but because it’s part of the social contract, those basic precepts that are honored by most civilizations in the world regardless of their religion or lack thereof. A person can consider parts of the Bible and its injunctions nonsense [bears eating children, no mixing of fibers in clothing, a woman must marry her dead husband's brother (or must NOT, depending on which book you read), etc] without considering its reiterations of the social construct (no murder, incest, theft, etc) invalid.

  • Taylor

    Oh, God. An adult abusing another adult is not the same thing. Masters beating slaves are not the same thing. Child abuse is not the same thing. Spanking does not make someone a bad parent. I don’t have kids and I don’t want them, but if I did, spanking would happen, but first it would depend on what type of child I’m dealing with.

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  • http://melinareviews.wordpress.com AnansiDaughter

    For me an issue of why I have a hard time dealing with this issue is not because I don’t think their are problems with spanking/hitting, etc, but because I do not want to call my parents abusive for the few times they did it. As I said on another post about spanking, I do understand why it is wrong and even my mother admits that she wish she knew other ways to parent other than her own Jamaican way of doing things. However, she was still a good parent. She took care of me, she talked to me and spanking was never the go to method for either of my parents.

    I just feel like my parents never got the best education to really learn and understand these things because they weren’t a part of their culture and they never really had to discipline me or my brother very often. The idea of calling my parents lazy, or bad parents is just something that makes me uncomfortable. Not because I think they are perfect, but because I do not think that spanking ever defined who they were as parents. I have issues with my parents, but none of them come from spanking.

    Sorry if that was all over the place.

  • casy

    “please don’t be offended, but if your child bit me, I instinctively would pop him in the mouth and tell him no. I do the same thing with dogs and cats and I don’t tolerate it. ”

    A child and you, have the ability to think and reason. ‘When you hit a child for biting you, all you are doing is ‘getting revenge back on the child’ for ‘hurting you. Aren’t you the adult? The child doesn’t know better’ but you do. Can’t you teach a child no, without hitting them? What is the purpose of popping them in the mouth, other than to ‘hurt them back’. You’re bigger, stronger, so you are being a bully. All you’re teaching the child is that someone bigger and stronger can hit me and I can do nothing about it because I’m smaller and weaker. You may ‘think you are teaching social behavior, but you are not. What you are really teaching is bullying behavior. If you were really concerned about ‘teaching’ no biting, you would do that without ‘negative reinforcement/ ‘The hitting. How can you teach inappropriate behavior (biting) by doing something else inappropriate ‘hitting someone in the mouth’. That makes your action just as bad as the biting. Wow..seriously? You don’t know any better more positive way to teach a kid not to bite? A baby/toddler could be teething and you a grown person would pop them in the mouth? I hope you don’t have any kids and are kept away from other kids. You are a child abuser.

  • casy

    “Beating a child might very well effect their self-esteem, but Spanking a child will not! (We all know the difference between a BEATING and a SPANKING), so please don’t try to distract from my point!”

    Explain the difference please. Spankings and beatings are in the ‘hands’ of the beholder and there is no one blanket meaning. For some, anytime they use their hand, on a bottom instead of a belt, switch… that’s a spanking because a ‘hand’ supposedly cannot cause damage right? WRONG! Why would one consider using a method that can be considered abusive in the first place when there are so many other options available ot use as effective parenting tools? Are parents to lazy to explore other options so just fall back on the ‘hitting’ a child to teach them because it’s all they know? Why do parents think the more they ‘hit their child (because spanking is hitting) the better off that child will be? If that were the case, why are the jails filled with juveniles and older inmates who were hit as kids in the name of so called discipline? If ‘hitting kids worked so well, why are so many of them who were hit become adults and turn to crime? Or so many of them who are still kids, teenagers, and do inappropriate things? How can hitting a child foster healthy self esteem? You say ‘self esteem comes from ‘respect’. yes it does for the person who is on the receiving end of the respect being shown. That parent. Parents hit kids in order to ‘get respect shown to them… (the parents), not for the kid to have a healthy self esteem.

  • casy

    “I have a problem with people trusting “research”.“Research says it, so that must mean it’s true” (whoever “research” is…). “…Most mammals (including apes which many athiests believe we were derived from) physically correct thier young. Dogs and cats will swipe thier puppies and kittens or nip them the moment they “get out of line”. If you have never seen it before, watch it; it’s actually pretty funny…. Chimps will even bite or give a sharp “touch” to thier babies when they get too rowdy. ”

    Yeah trusting ‘research’ is so bad isn’t it? I mean after all, many medical/social/economical/inventions that we enjoy in life has been based on ‘research’. Too many to name. But if it wasn’t for ‘research’ we’d be s much worse off than we are now. You seem to have a problem trusting in research that you disagree with and in this case since you support hitting your kids in the name of ‘teaching them’ you are against any research that shows this is a negative way to raise your kids. Why? Because you don’t want to be thought of as deliberately doing anything harmful to your kids so instead of realizing that according to ‘research’ there is a strong chance that you are, you rather get busy being in denial.’

    Research has shown many, many important factors in the development of kids. I’m sure you agree with those findings because they don’t go against your principles. Such as ‘research shows that children who eat a well balanced diet do better in school, or ‘research shows, that children who get at least 7 hours of sleep do better in school, or ‘research shows’ that children who eat breakfast show better focus in school, or that ‘research’ shows that children who watch less TV do better in school… You see how ‘research works? And I’m sure for every ‘research that show’s every one of these outcomes there is other research that ‘can show examples of a different outcome. But you don’t dispute that research.

    And as for comparing humans to other animals, this is laughable and shows how little you understand brain development. Humans contain a cerebral cortex, that area of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning. The gray matter. Humans have evolved into having the largest gray matter of any mammal. This means that humans have the ability to think and reason in higher order. They don’t have to work off mere instincts alone. Most animals are instinctual because they simply lack the ability to think and reason due to not having the ‘gray matter’ that humans have. Which is why their communication is less advanced than ours.

    Sadly many humans don’t utilize their gray matter enough and certainly not to the level it is capable of being used. Resorting to hitting your kids and behaving like a mother dog/cat/ape. as your examples, shows that you are behaving instinctively as though you lack higher order thinking and reasoning and communicative skills when in fact you have these abilities. A dog/cat/ape cannot help itself. you can… what’s your excuse?

  • casy

    “There are many people who were never spanked and still turned out bad”

    There are many people who were spanked and turned out bad. The jails are filled with them.

  • casy

    “I do not want to call my parents abusive for the few times they did it.”
    It is hard to criticize our parents. We tend to put them on a pedestal. After all, they gave us life. But at the end of the day, parents are human just like every one else. Many of them were young immature parents who gave birth and didn’t know the first thing about effective parenting. In the black culture especially, we have parents who hit first and maybe ‘talk later’ and a lot of them didn’t do that. However denying abuse, just because it makes us feel ‘uncomfortable to criticize the ‘abuser’ no matter who the abuser was, does not make it go away. In the black community we continually refuse to call a ‘spade a spade’ So much abuse runs rampant and unchecked in our community because we cover it up. (This especially includes sexual abuse’

    Most black parents hit their kids and yes, most black parents whether they admit it to themselves are not, are abusing their kids when they do this. You don’t have to ‘hit’ your kids in order to raise them.

  • Casy

    “I have a problem with people trusting “research”.

    Yes you do especially when it goes against ‘your personal principle beliefs which is condoning hitting a child as a form of teaching them’. I’m sure you don’t have a problem trusting ‘research’ that you agree with.

    “Most mammals (including apes which many athiests believe we were derived from) physically correct thier young. Dogs and cats will swipe thier puppies and kittens or nip them the moment they “get out of line”

    Comparing human beings to dogs/cats/apes is ridiculous. Humans have the highest developed cerebrum cortex of all mammals. (The gray matter). This gives them the ability to use higher level thinking and reasoning skills on a level that other animals simply do not have. These animals rely more on ‘instinctive behavior’. Parents should have sense enough not to behave as a mother dog/cat or ape because they have the ability to be much more developed than that.

  • Sy

    This whole theory is bogus. The majority of people reading this article are of the baby boomer generation. All in all, we turned out fine, If these so called “experts” are to be believed…. where is the proof? You can’t name one category that today’s youth have improved upon. I can’t say that it’s their fault though, because the reasons are many, and complex. With the destruction of the family, and the extensions there of (aunts/uncles, neighbors and seniors) there is no one left to raise the child beyond the immediate family. What’s left are music and media sources that operate and instruct counter to our core values. Mothers (way too young) without loving, experienced people there to guide them, get their information from people who don’t have have their best interest at heart. Who would possibly believe that baby formula or bottled baby food was healthier for their child? ….yet they do it everyday…. saying that they read about it in some magazine or heard it on TV. Trusting all this fake information, is like a momma rabbit taking advice from a wolf, on how to raise her babies.

  • CD

    The author is not judging. However, no amount of education is going to change the mind of those who believe, “I got beat and I turned out fine.”

  • CD

    I totally agree with you. My mother was a bully and my father was a coward because he knew it and failed to intervene. As he said to me “well, that’s your mama.” She was no “mama” she was a rageful bully towards me. Psychologically, I am damaged and have been in therapy for many years to heal the damaged she caused. What really irks me is that she doesn’t pay any $$$ for my healing, of course, that’s the debt I pay to stay sane.

  • CD

    How do you explain the baby boomers who are in prisons for violent crimes. Many of these individuals come from homes where they were beaten as children for the sake of discipline. What is the problem with being open to other points of view? How do you discern “fake information”? By reading your response, anything counter to your beliefs is fake.

  • Sausage Fingers

    sorry, did not intend to press report button, caught it when I scrolled the phone page

  • Ryan

    As one commenter already stated, spanking/whoopings are a form of lazy parenting. Disciplining a child without physical punishment actually takes a brain. It requires patience, communication, controlling your emotions (anger, disappointment, frustration) and reasoning skills. What skills does a spanking require? A quick temper, attitude, and a heavy hand.

    Moreover, physical punishment, whose ultimate goal is to instill fear and control, limits adolescents/children ability to reason and question adult authority. Too many black children have grown up in households afraid to talk back to adults, to negotiate limits, to persuasively debate, and to assert themselves. How do you think this translates in the classroom? During college, I was always astounded at how “privileged” white children questioned professors’ and administration authority. However, professors and staff took great pride in these students. These students were raised to interact with adults, to be slightly rebellious, be strategic in their demands, and assert themselves. They weren’t fearful of their parents or adults.

    Physical punishment also, I believe, contribute to school violence. Black parents hit or threaten their children with violence. Yet, we tell them not to fight or hit at school. How do children’s brains process such mixed messages? Parents, you’ve got to model the positive behaviors you want your child to exhibit. If you hit, they’ll hit someone too. If you try to modify their behavior with threats of violence, they will threaten to beat up others too.

    Let’s aim higher folks.

    *There’s an excellent essay on the topic of teenage rebellion in the book Nurture Shock.

  • http://www.theycallmeOboi.com Olatunji Oboi Reed

    Peace Kristen,

    Congrats on a very good article and we certainly agree on the merits. This is a position I’ve held for quite sometime. Here’s a comment I posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago…
    “…lets take this “violence starts at home” theme a step further. many things cause children to act out violently. as you described, broken homes and homes with no true love are contributing factors. also, violence in our culture (games, tv, music, movies, youtube, news, peer pressure, etc) all contribute to a personal (sometimes unconscious) acceptance of violence as a necessary part of life in resolving conflict – even when that conflict can easily be resolved peacefully. and here is the kicker… parents use of corporal punishment also contributes to violence in our community. spankings, beatings, whoopings, and whatever else you want to call it, instills in children at a very early age that physical & violent pain is normal, necessary and a legitimate way to correct a problem. children grow up accepting this pain that is forced upon them by the ones they love the most (parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, older siblings, etc). they grow to find value in it and believe it is critically necessary in their family and in our community. they go on to inflict pain on others – those they love and those they dont love. this is a radical perspective, given the widespread use and acceptance of corporal punishment in the black community. its like a thing… “a black parent will whoop dat azz if you clown”. the historical reality is that this behavior is a holdover from slavery. our people endured violence so egregious that it is unimaginable and unspeakable. some of us fought to the death against this violence and necessarily, appropriately used violence in return. and some of us accepted it as their immutable will to survive the harshest of conditions forced a psychological shift in our people and for generations to come. this psychological shift was an evolution of our acceptance of familial violence (corporal punishment) and interpersonal violence (in some relationships) as normal and even necessary. i am advocating that we stop perpetuating violence on our children, especially at such young ages. however, i am not suggesting that our children don’t need discipline, order, respect, etc… indeed, the opposite is true, our community needs more of that, not less. we must find creative ways to instill these qualities in our children and work harder to achieve this reality. corporal punishment is too easy a fix, often with disastrous results. lets work harder to give our children wholesome values that will inspire how they think and carry them through life!”

  • Carole

    I did spank my children when they were young. Thats something i must live with. But, by the time they reached 10, thus was no longer an option and much drastic measures were needed. I had to out think them. Kids are smart and once they become teens you should have instilled good morals, values and beliefs in them so they can make good descisions on their own. You should not wait until a kid is 15 – 18 to let them know what is expected of them. Demostrate by example is necessary at tis point. Lessons have been taught and they know what to do now.

  • More than 2 dimensions

    Interesting how hitting or “spanking” as I continue to call it has the connotation of anger, a quick temper, and overall irrationality. Don’t get me wrong, I understand this article and the harmful effects produced by irrational abuse of a child. However, in my house, spanking was a punishment, just like getting grounded or having certain privileges taken away. In fact, my parents made it a point to never hit their children while they were upset; it was administered later as a punishment and not an expression of their anger and frustration. We, as in my siblings and I, were always informed of exactly what would happen if we did things we were not supposed to do. I’m not a supporter of abuse, but I feel like some of this research has targeted extreme cases and hasn’t taken the time to understand some of the nuances and connotation behind the structured punishment of “spanking,” which has a point rather than the irrationality and anger of “hitting.”

  • Allen Powell
  • Allen Powell
  • CandieB

    Spare the rod has nothing to do with beating the snot out of your kids. A rod is a symbol of discipline, not abuse. People take that verse to literally.

  • https://plus.google.com/116434219495802809348 clip11

    No one disrespected the Bible. She simply pointed out what was in it. If you don’t like what it contains, well thats another story.

  • https://plus.google.com/116434219495802809348 clip11

    No, that was a literal statement. Nothing metaphorical about it.

  • drompo

    I don’t see how this study proves anything. All it showed was that there’s a correlation between physical punishment as a child and mental illness as an adult. This doesn’t prove that physical punishment caused it. For example, couldn’t it be true that those who grow up to have mental disorders could also be more poorly behaved (on average) as children, and would therefore be more likely to get physical punishment? Also, if we’re going to simply divide the world into “physically punished” and “not physically punished”, then we are going to obviously be including cases of extreme physical abuse in with the “physically punished”. It does not make sense to judge the entirety of corporal punishment by such a simplistic analysis.

    There is data that implies the exact opposite of what you’re saying. African Americans are far less likely to experience depression or to commit suicide, and yet the rates of corporal punishment in the African American community are highest.

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