The Controversy Behind Child Spanking Essay

The Controversy Behind Child Spanking Essay

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The Controversy Behind Child Spanking

     Spanking a child is a controversial issue. On one side of the debate are people who believe spanking is a necessary component of parenting. On the contrary are people who think spanking a child is destructive. Somewhere in the middle are people who believe spanking is legitimate only when used correctly. Part of the reason for the debate is that some parents and experts define spanking differently. To some, spanking means slapping a child on the rear-end, while others believe it is a form of corporal punishment that does not cause injury. By showing how each perspective of spanking supports their claim and defining spanking, one will be able to form an opinion.

     In order to conclude an argument, it is first necessary to define any vague or ambiguous terms. Spanking is an unclear term in need of explanation. To some spanking means to slap a child on the buttocks, while others believe it is a mild form of corporal punishment which does not cause harm to the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines spanking as ?one or two flat-handed swats on a child?s wrist or rear end? (Rosellini 52). The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary also agrees with the AAP when defining spanking as ?[to] strike with an open hand.? Spanking does not infer a sustained whipping from Dads belt, but a mild form of corporal punishment that does not cause injury.

     Spanking is alive and well today despite the antispanking prohibition. In a poll sponsored by Working Mother and the Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida, 7,225 adults and 2,599 kids were surveyed (Hickey 48). When asked ?When should parents spank their children,? 51 percent replied ?When they think it?s necessary,? 30 percent said ?Only in extreme circumstances,? and only ten percent answered ?Never?(Hickey 48). Twelve percent of young adults, ages 18 to 34, which responded to the poll, said spanking should not occur; in comparison with the seven percent of both the 35-49 and 50-64 age groups which responded ?Never? (Hickey 48). The poll asked ?Which of these is (or was) most often used in your family to control children?s behavior?? As the prevalent choice, 37 percent responded ?Taking away privileges,? 23 percent said ?spanking,? 18 percent replied ?reasoning with the child,? four percent said ?bribes? and three percent answered ?ass...

... middle of paper ...

...imate act of communication, not a savage form of child abuse.

The question of whether to spank or not has been the most controversial child-rearing issue of the past three decades. Though no end in sight, after analyzing my research of the extremes of spanking, I conclude in the gray area. John Rosemond proved the most logical approach to spanking. He has studied both sides of the issues and points out the inconsistencies of each side. Rosemond supports his point of view with grounds of disagreement and agreement and fills gaps the gap of the gray area connecting the opposing sides.


Hickey, Mary C.. To Spank Or Not To Spank. Working-Mother. v. 14 Jan. ?91, p. 48-9.

Nelson, Gerald E., Lewak Richard W.. Who?s the Boss?: Love, Authority, and     Parenting. Boston: Shambhala Publications, INC.

Ramsberg, Dawn. The Debate Over Spanking. ERIC Digest. Mar. ?97.

Rosellini, Lynn. When To Spank. U.S. News and World Report. v. 124 no14 Apr. 13      ?98, p. 52-3+.

Rosemond, John. To Spank or Not to Spank. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1994.

Socolar, Rebecca. Survey Says Some Mothers Still Believe That Spanking Is Good      Discipline, Jet. 30 Jan, ?95.

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