Spanking as a Punishment Method

Raising children is arduous as parents are tasked with introducing their children to society and acceptable norms of behavior in it. Dealing with misbehavior and refusal to follow instructions is one of the most significant challenges for parents as advice on the appropriate methods of punishment continues to change. Thus, types of reprimand that were accepted as commonplace and effective several years ago are now viewed as ineffective or even abusive. This essay aims to prove that spanking should not be compared to other corporal punishments and cannot be considered abuse. Furthermore, it will be argued that spanking can benefit children because it helps introduce them to the notion of consequences for their actions.

Spanking is often considered an unacceptable punishment method for children of all ages and is viewed as abuse. Physical abuse can be defined as “intentional acts of physical force by a parent or caregivers, excluding lawful corporal punishment” (Mathews et al. 4). In the United States, spanking is legal in all states, and provisions against violence are not traditionally interpreted as prohibiting spanking (Howard). Spanking a child on the bottom with an open palm, without the use of additional objects and without leaving marks such as bruises or cuts, cannot be argued to be abuse. Thus, spanking should be separated from other corporal punishments such as slapping, hitting, pinching, and hitting with objects.

Furthermore, research on corporal punishment often does not differentiate between spanking and other methods such as hitting children with objects and even fists. In addition, such research disregards that children in families where serious corporal punishment is used, spanking excluded, often suffer other types of abuse, including psychological abuse, adding to the negative impact on the children (Pelley). However, slight spanking for the purpose of discipline in non-abusive families can be considered an effective form of punishment.

Spanking can be used to introduce children to the notion of enduring and dealing with consequences for their actions. Parents who do not use excessive force when spanking and who explain the reason for the punishment can help their children form an understanding that there are consequences for their behavior and behavior. According to Shatzman, children who understand the reason for the punishment are less likely to experience any adverse effects. However, spanking as a reprimand should not be implemented excessively to ensure that it is not utilized as a disciplinary tool for minor misdeeds. Despite claims that spanking has a negative effect on self-regulation, it can be highly efficient in teaching young children to think through their actions before acting (Anderson). Spanking can be supported by explaining why the parents chose it as a punishment and why the child’s actions were unacceptable. Thus, if used effectively, spanking can help children understand that their actions at home and outside of it have consequences they must deal with themselves.

In summary, spanking can be an effective form of punishment and discipline for children. It should not be categorized as physical abuse as it causes no bodily harm to the children, including such marks as bruises or cuts. Furthermore, it is a legally acceptable method of reprimand and cannot be viewed as abuse. Spanking is a helpful tool that can be implemented to teach children that their actions have consequences and can help them learn to think about their actions before carrying them out.

Works Cited

Anderson, Jill. “The Effect of Spanking on the Brain.” Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2021. Web.

Howard, Jacqueline. “These are the Countries Where Spanking is Illegal.” CNN, 2018. Web.

Mathews, Ben, et al. “Improving the measurement of child abuse and neglect: A systematic review and analysis of national prevalence studies.” PLOS ONE, vol. 15, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1-22.

Pelley, Virginia. “Meet The Scientists Who Haven’t Given Up on Spanking.” Fatherly, 2018. Web.

Shatzman, Celia. “Is It Okay to Spank Your Child?” – Pregnancy, Parenting and Baby Information, 2017. Web.

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"Spanking as a Punishment Method." PsychologyWriting, 18 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Spanking as a Punishment Method'. 18 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Spanking as a Punishment Method." September 18, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Spanking as a Punishment Method." September 18, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Spanking as a Punishment Method." September 18, 2023.