Home > Kids > Behavior and Discipline > Discipline Strategies > Punishment > Does Spanking Prepare Kids for the Real World?
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Does Spanking Prepare Kids for the Real World?

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Crime has increased since our society began to look down on those parents who spank their kids. Children now seem to think that they can do whatever they want. They don't respect authority in the home or at school. I think we are doing more harm than good by not using this form of discipline.

I don't agree that spanking teaches children to fear their mistakes because they cause pain and shame. Don't mistakes still cause us pain and shame as adults? Shouldn't spanking be used to let the child know right from wrong, and prepare kids for life in the real world?

A: Neither children nor adults should be made to suffer shame for the everyday mistakes that we make in life. We certainly shouldn't be hit for them. I believe that a child needs a sense of shame and regret for certain wrongdoings and acts of unkindness; this is part of a child's healthy sense of moral and character development. But spanking doesn't prepare a child for the "pain" he will endure as an adult when he makes mistakes. It teaches him that grownups, even his parents, can hit him whenever they want to if he displeases them or makes mistakes.

There is no body of research that I am aware of that corroborates your statement that crime has increased as a result of parents condemning spanking as a productive method of discipline. In fact, many states still allow teachers to administer corporal punishment. All solid research available loudly proclaims that we are a nation of spankers and have been for some time. We should show children right from wrong by forming loving, respectful relationships with them, not through fear and control. Discipline comes through teaching and encouraging words, not through rewards and punishments.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.