Should You Spank Your Kids?

Recently I got into a dispute with my significant other. We seemed to clash with the views we had on spanking children. I will preempt this blog with the fact that I am an extremely sensitive and emotional person, with a mother whose profession is Early Childhood Education- I’m guessing you know which side of the argument I took. I attempted to not overreact and failed hopelessly. I just couldn’t get over it, and I knew I needed to do my research so I had facts to back me up; luckily, my mom sent me a really helpful article.


Psychology Today wrote a wonderfully clear-cut article on how spanking your kids is harmful to their health. Their evidence is backed up with over 50 years of research done by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan. After sampling over 160,000 children the results discovered that spanking your child was almost as detrimental as physical abuse; such as punching ( In the article they split the outcomes into short-term and long-term, and they explained the unfavorable effects that each brought with it. Short-term effects of spanking for discipline were noted as depression, anti-social behavior, a higher level of aggressive behavior, low self-esteem, and a poor relationship formed between the parent and the child. The long-term results displayed signs of mental illness, anti-social behavior, as well as anxiety ( The apple doesn’t seem to fall far from the tree either- adults who were spanked as children tend to spank their own kids while adults who were never spanked as a child cannot bear the idea of it.


I know that this can be a controversial topic, and since I started researching this I have been asking all my friends whether or not they were spanked when they were younger. I received an alarming amount of stories of soap in the mouth, wooden spoons on the backs of hands, leather belts, and spanking. It seems a great deal of people in my life were more familiar with physical punishment than I knew- and my friends are amazing…so who am I to judge? Everyone is raised differently with various backgrounds and parents who deal with things in their own ways.

Of course we need to be skeptical of the information we hear everyday- a lot of it is complete bogus. Like the pop-quizzes in class have been demonstrating, we need to be wary of what we read, and how/if we are going to decide to act on it! Direct causality could turn out to be reverse causality. If some of my friends were spanked when they were younger and are now fine, how much harm did the spanking do? The research shows that it is not beneficial in any way, and that although it can give you immediate obedience, it could be disastrous in the long run. And we always need to consider the correlation could be completely up to chance. Basically we need to think critically- as Andrew reminds us daily.

Although I agree with the research and my opinion is obviously biased in this blog, I also know that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. And if you are ever a parent one day you can choose how you want to raise your child. I hope you found this blog interesting and revealing- let me know your thoughts!

If you are just as interested in this topic as I am, here is another short but informative article- Aha!

3 thoughts on “Should You Spank Your Kids?

  1. Justine Arlexandra Cardone

    I think this is a very interesting and controversial topic and I’m glad that I came upon this post! When I was younger I was (apparently) always looking for trouble and got my fair share of spankings and soap in my mouth. I have no ill feelings towards my parents about it as I am older, however, I don’t agree that physical punishment should ever be an option. I think it is interesting that you found both short term and long term effects on children who were spanked. I personally don’t see any effects in myself but I could see how this could happen if children reacted differently to it than I did. I think that it is up to the parent how they want to punish and raise their own children, however I cringe when I see parents physically punish their kids, even if it’s just a spanking. I definitely do not plan on using physical punishment if I have children in the future.

  2. Jeremy Perdomo

    Since your article is about spanking, I guess I should tell you about a time when I was hit really gruesomely by mom (I am Latino, so I have a lot of examples to choose from LOL). When I was about ten, my mom was busy washing dishes, and so she asked me to do her a favor and do the laundry for her; naturally, I was confused, and so I asked her which machine in the laundry room was the washer and the dryer, and after explaining to me the difference, I went and attempted to do the wash the clothes. However, I accidentally put the dirty clothes to dry, and when my mother found out, she smacked me so hard that my nose started gushing blood! Eventually, she apologized (after I was done crying) and all went back to normal, but spanking and physical discipline was always prevalent in my household.

    Now, in regards to your article, you claim that that mental illness and anti-social behavior were definite consequences of spankings, but is such necessarily the case? In class, Andrew spoke about confounding variables and how there might be the possibility that a third variable might skew an experiment; could that not have been the case here? What if the children that were sampled in the experiment you mentioned had other issues in their lives that might have led to emotional distress and the other results you mentioned?

    I am a clear example of a child that didn’t turn out mentally-ill or crazy (at least I don’t think!), and so to back up my claims, I read an article (the link is down below) about how a study showed that teenagers that were spanked when they were younger outperformed those that were not in a number of areas such as school performance and optimism in life. Another study in the same article explained how kids that were raised in areas where parental corporal punishment was banned had higher rates of getting involved in crimes!

    There are multiple sides to any argument, especially one as controversial as spanking kids; personally, I do not see a problem with spanking a child from time to time so long as it does not exceed the line of abuse. The controversy of spanking just further proves what Andrew some of during lecture: People must be skeptical about everything in science!

  3. Abigail Roe

    I enjoyed reading your blog post and your views on this controversial topic. During my senior year in high school, I actually studied the same topic with my psychology class. In my opinion, I believe that it is unethical, and there is no benefit to spanking. The majority of my psych class agreed. However, it is all in the style of parenting and how people choose to discipline their children. I wonder if kids who are spanked when they are younger are more likely to discipline their kids the same way. I don’t think they are. I feel that if they were treated like that, they wouldn’t want to do that to their own children. They know how it feels and if it wasn’t an effective form of punishment, then why would they utilize it on their kids. You had a lot of statistics and evidence in your blog that you did your research. Well done.

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