Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the eighth in a 12 part series:
Argument #7: Spanking is violence
Spanking, as recommended by most primary care physicians, is not violence by definition (“exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse”).
Parents who properly spank do not injure or abuse their child.
The use of this term “violence” in the spanking debate only serves to deepen the confusion.
Why do anti-spanking authors repeatedly fail to distinguish between abusive violence and mild spanking?
The distinction is so fundamental and obvious that its omission suggests that these authors use such terminology for its propaganda value, not to clarify issues.
 McCormick, Kenelm F., M.D., “Attitudes of Primary Care Physicians toward Corporal Punishment” Journal of the American Medical Association 267 (1992): 3161-3165.
 Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster Inc., 1987); p. 1316.
Here’s the entire series:
- Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.
- Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.
- Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.
- Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.
- Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.
- Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
- Argument #7: Spanking is violence.
- Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.
- Argument #9: Adults who were spanked as children are at risk for using violence as a means of resolving conflicts as adults.
- Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.
- Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:
- Is Spanking Associated with Child Abuse?
- The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 7 – Discipline
- Spanking a Child – Is it Good or Bad?
By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.