Is Spanking "Child Abuse"?

Ray Jefferson


Spanking in History

Spanking in the News

Spanking Leads to Success in Business

Bible: "Buffet the Body"

This annoying question has caused way too much confusion from all sides of the argument. Let's lay out the issues first:

Opponents say spanking:

  • Encourages violence in the recipient

  • Awakens sexual feelings

  • "Disempowers" the child

Proponents say spanking:

  • Develops self-control and self-discipline in the recipient

  • Prevents criminal behavior. Child delinquency is more prevalent by far in juveniles who do not receive corporal punishment

  • Is not strictly a "child" issue, as it is also used as "Domestic Discipline" between married couples

Spanking of children need not become a matter of "abuse"; usually just "going through the motions" affects the child enough to refrain from breaking the rules thereafter. Especially in young children, just the fear of displeasure from their parents startles them, so following through with a superficial spanking along with some terse words has a strong effect.

On the issue of "sexual" feelings being elicited from corporal punishment, that argument seems like a desperate attempt to embarrass the "pro-spanking" crowd into silence. The fact is, ANY tactile activity can be perceived as "sexual" to an adult - IF they have sex on their minds to begin with! A child is not getting sexually aroused when pain is inflicted on him. But perhaps an "anti-spank" adult who is reading about it IS! There's a bit of "projecting" going on there, no doubt.

Spanking between married couples is a variable that ranges from punishment at one end of the scale, to pain-pleasure at the other. This in no way makes spanking categorically "sexual" any more than going to bed is in itself sexual. For adults in a sexual state of mind, "going to bed" has a clearly sexual meaning. Could someone be accused of arousing sexual feelings in their child because they give them a bed to sleep in? The absurdity is clear once the arguments against spanking are dissected in the light of logic.

"Then how can the same action be 'sexual' at one time and 'punitive' at another?"

The difference is:

  • The state of mind of both the giver and receiver of the punishment

  • The communication going on between both parties preceding and during the punishment:

    a. Chastising and corrective in the case of punishment

    b. Playful and amorous in the case of marital foreplay

Any behavior can be perceived as a punishment by one person and as a reward by another. It all has to do with one's state of mind. This should be clear to any thinking adult, and those who have argued against this time-tested form of discipline are doing so for personal reasons, not logical ones. They may be politically motivated: trying to pass laws that take away the rights of parents to discipline their kids. Some people get a charge out of controlling people by creating laws that violate nature and common sense - we must be wary of these twisted characters.

An important reason for the necessity of corporal punishment is  to make the child cope with the fact that life is fundamentally harsh. It does the child no favors to let him fold up and tremble when harsh situations in life greet him in the real world. The absence of physical pain in one's growing-up experience leaves one without an anchor to reality. The artificial softness of a non-spanking upbringing results in a twisted image of reality, a warped idea of how the world really is. Without physical pain occurring as a consequence of, let's say, excessive idleness, a child can cultivate the belief that things will work out alright if he only waits around long enough. He has no spur to urgency, no ambition to "strike while the iron is hot" when a decision has to be made by him as an adult. Why? Because he's eternally afraid that by jumping on a decision NOW, he'll miss something better tomorrow -- only there will never be enough tomorrows for such a person, because that sense of "doubt" will be a permanent part of his thinking.

It is for this reason that so-called "mental illness" has been diagnosed in such a large percentage of children and teenagers as corporal punishment has declined. There's an uncertainty and softness that arises when there are no clear lines of "can" and "can't" that are enforced respectively by "reward" and "pain". This produces a spaciness that will eternally seek-out a barrier that will stop it, because without barriers we are all insecure and fearful. It is a fundamental part of human nature, and the fact that our culture neglects this directly results in these artificially created "mental illnesses" in children, and carry them into their adulthood.

Spanking Within Adult Relationships

Domestic Discipline is a lifestyle practiced by mutually-consenting spouses, both as sexual foreplay and as genuine discipline. The reasons for this are that generally some people find the ordinary marital and workaday life to be too bland to provide any real sense of meaning. The rod of correction provides a sense that your actions affect the one you love, and that there are consequences for disappointing them. The physical pain, it is well known, produces endorphins which naturally soothe the savage breast. And the experience of that pain is something that one carries in their memory as they go about the bland and depressing affairs of the outside world.

Spanking in History

Historically speaking most punishments, whether in judicial, domestic or educational settings were corporal in basis. The practice is generally held to differ from torture in that it is applied for disciplinary reasons and is therefore intended to be limited, rather than intended to totally destroy the will of the victim.

In early history, corporal punishment was certainly present in classical civilisations, being used in Greece, Rome, Egypt and Israel, for both judicial and educational discipline. Methods varied, though scourging and beating with sticks were both common. Some states gained a reputation for using such punishments cruelly; Sparta, in particular, used frequent and heavy punishment as part of a disciplinary regime designed to build willpower and bodily strength. Although the Spartan example was unusual, corporal punishment was possibly the most common type of minor punishment.

Corporal punishment was continued into Medieval Europe. This was encouraged by the medieval church's attitude towards the human body, with flagellation being a common means of encouraging self-discipline. This had an influence on corporal punishment in schools as educational establishments were closely attached to the church.

From the sixteenth century onwards, new trends were seen in corporal punishment. Judicial punishments were increasingly made into public spectacles, with the heavy public beatings of criminals intended as a deterrent to others. Meanwhile, more people began to complain of the arbitrary manner in which children were punished. Probably the most influential was the English philosopher John Locke, whose "Some Thoughts Concerning Education" explicitly criticised the manner in which corporal punishment was used in education.

In the modern world corporal punishment remains a common way of disciplining children. Most legal systems defend the rights of the parent to discipline their child however they see fit, distinguishing between reasonable punishment and abuse.

Reasons Behind its Use

PROPONENTS OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT argue that it is a quick and effective method and less cruel than long-term incarceration; some even want corporal punishment to replace fines for such minor offences as graffiti.

The purported advantages of this approach include:

  • easier reintegration in society (wounds heal quickly, and prison often ruins a whole family's life),

  • greater deterrence rates, less recidivism, and fewer costs to society.

Supporters of corporal punishment also use arguments about maintaining authority, such as those found in the bible, or state that it is a "traditional means to maintain traditional values".

Strangely, many opponents of coproral punishment accept the ultimate physical punishment: the death penalty, which is retained by many nations who have abolished other forms of C.P.

Proponents of the corporal punishment of children, while viewing excessive physical punishment as child abuse, argue that properly administered corporal punishment is the most effective discipline for unruly children, and even a form of reassuring control for some young adolescents. Polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that corporal punishment is sometimes necessary.

Methods of Implemtation

Corporal punishment can be directed at a number of different areas of the body, depending on a number of factors: The humiliation and pain of a particular punishment have always been primary concerns, but convenience and custom are also factors.

  • Most commonly, corporal punishment is directed at the buttocks. The English term "spanking" refers to punishment on the buttocks, though only with the open hand. This part of the body is often chosen because it is painful, but not harmful.

  • The back is commonly targeted in military and judicial punishments, particularly popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, damage to both spine and kidneys is possible and such punishment is rarely used in the modern world.

  • Although the face and particularly the cheeks may be struck in domestic punishment, formal punishments avoid the head because of the serious injuries that can ensue. In some countries, domestic and school punishments aimed at the head are considered to be assaults.

  • The hands are a common target in school discipline, though rarely targeted in other forms of corporal punishment. Since serious injury can be caused by striking the hand, the implements used and the numbers of blows must be strictly controlled.

  • In Western Asia corporal punishment was directed against the feet in the falaka. Although this was mostly used on criminals, a version was in use in schools in the region.

Info Source:

Spanking in the News

(Unfortunately, the following is a "gag" article (from "Weekly World Report" [of "Bat Boy" fame]), but I'm keeping it here until I can find a real one to replace it with! Besides, the basic premise is undoubtedly true. - rj)


No butts about it, say college kids...

LUCERNE, Switzerland - A whack on the fanny boosts your brain's ability to store and recall information - and can help college students ace exams, a fascinating new study shows.

Experts at the Lucerne Institute of Psychological Research have found that your brains may indeed be connected with your behind.

A study of 150 college student volunteers found that following some swats on their seats their ability to remember facts increased an average of 38 percent!

Students who were barely passing at the time they agreed to submit to the spankings raised their grade point averages dramatically after repeated blows to their buns.

"We found the adrenalin rates increased significantly during the spankings," says psychologist Dr. Crispin Heinz.

"And the resulting endorphins used to minimize the pain combined with the adrenalin to effectively open up previously underutilized neural pathways - turning them into IQ hyperlinks!"

"I can't get enough smack-eroos, especially during finals," says coed Heidi Lorenz. "I couldn't sit down to take my tests, but it was worth it. Spanking saved my scholarship!"

The study was undertaken to examine why student test scores have fallen in recent years. A correlation was found between the banning of corporal punishment - such as paddling - and the lowered scores.

With the results in, a movement has begun to stop sparing the rod and students seem willing to submit if it means higher grades.

In addition, "Spanking IQ Parlours" have opened throughout Europe where men and women of all ages are lining up to have their bottoms buffeted with hands, paddles and canes.

"I have more clients than I can handle," reports professional fanny smacker Hermann Von Stroheim. "I usually ask them to bring lists of important facts or items they have trouble remembering. Then I recite it to them as I firmly toast their tush into a rosy glow.

"Believe me, they have a hard time forgetting!"

Spanking Got Us Where We Are Today, Say Businessmen


Oct. 10, 2006


One of the few things that America's top business executives have in common is that they were almost all regularly spanked when they misbehaved as children.

And they now agree that it taught them important lessons, essential on the road to success.

"I'm disciplined, detailed and organised," said David Haffner, Chief Executive Officer of Leggett & Platt, one of the largest manufacturing companies in the US.

Mr Haffner, 54, said: "I received the belt when I deserved it, which was about six times a year. The discipline influence remains for a lifetime. It was a major contributor to my success."

A new study published this week by sociologist Eve Tahmincioglu, "Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Top" reports that most company leaders had tough disciplinarians as parents.

Richard Parsons, Chief Executive Officer of Time Warner, said that he was often spanked with a stick or "switch" cut from a tree in the back garden and that it was primarily for misbehaving in school.

Fran Keeth, Executive Vice President of Shell Chemicals, said that she was hit with a stick from the family's peach tree.

All of the bosses asked by Mrs Tahmincioglu said that they were hit by their parents as children and that it did them good.

She said: "It taught them to respect authority. They feared their parents but loved them as well. Their parents would follow through with a spanking when the children misbehaved. Today there is no follow-through."

Women spanked at same rate as men

Women executives said they were spanked at about the same rate as the men.

Nick Turner, 33, the chief financial officer of executive recruiter Kaye-Bassman International, said: "You knew that if you didn't cut the grass right away or chop wood or feed horses, you were going to get a spanking.

"Corporal punishment helped with my success. I needed to learn self-discipline and to focus on a goal. I certainly wouldn't have done that if I had grown up with Mary Poppins.

"I'd say that 90 percent or more executives got spankings and these are people who have turned out to be stable, focused, and competitive guys."

In its own study on business executives and spanking, USA Today newspaper reported yesterday: "The debate over whether Chief Executive Officers are born or made remains unresolved, but there is one thing they overwhelmingly have in common.

"As children, they were paddled, belted, switched or swatted."

The newspaper interviewed 20 CEOs and while none said they were abused, neither were they spared.

Joseph Moglia, 55, CEO of the giant Internet company Ameritrade said: "Tough love is better than soft love. You need positive reinforcement backed up by consequences. You appreciate good-weather days when you get rain."


John D. Rockefeller experienced the customary discipline of the late 1800's. Elisa [his mother], to subdue the wild streak in the children, would draw out a birch switch, strap them to the apple tree, and "lay on a Macduff," as she called it. When in doubt, John Sr. would recall years later, she erred on the side of severity. Once, while in the process of a beating, it became doubtful that any transgression had been committed. "Never mind," she decided, "we have started in on this whipping, and it will do for the next time."

Ref.: Titan: the Life of John D. Rockefeller, Chernow. p22

Buffet The Body

Bible References to Physical Discipline

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother (Proverbs 29:15).

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

Spanking (corporal punishment) is a biblical tool (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14 and 29:15).

1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJV) But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Paul does not want to be found unworthy and, thus, disqualified for the prize. He has in view his rewards for service to Christ. To buffet the body is an expression that originally meant to beat around the eyes with the fist until the eyes swell up and turn black and blue. Paul is saying that he beats his body black and blue and makes it his slave in order to bring it into subjection.

"2000 stories & accounts about corporal punishment" (Pro & Con) -