Do you, or will you spank your children? Why or why not? And more interestingly, do you judge other parents who have an opinion that's different than yours?
The child conduct clinic has released findings that in the US, 63 percent of parents physically discipline their 1-to 2-year-olds, and 85 percent of adolescents have been physically punished by their parents.
On the other hand, in 2001 the UN launched the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, with a target of 2009 for achieving that goal.
For me, working with kids in foster care, I think it's important to first define what I mean by "spanking". When I'm talking spanking, I mean with an open hand, to a clothed bottom. In the State of Oregon, spanking isn't illegal--unless it leaves any sort of mark. Then, it becomes child abuse.
Now that that's clear, personally, I think it depends. It depends on the child, for one--Justin says that he remembers singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to his parents once before getting a spanking. I think it's pretty clear in that circumstance that spanking wasn't going to be the most effective form of discipline for him.
However, there are times when I think that spanking may be the logical and natural consequence for behavior--specifically when that behavior could cause physical harm to themselves or another (i.e. swinging a bat near another child). I'm not sure that I would use spanking as just a general method of conduct correction (i.e. "stop screaming or I'll give you a spanking"). For some reason, in my opinion, spanking would probably only be effective from about ages 3-8. I don't believe in spanking teens or infants. I think at that point, there are just other forms of discipline that are more effective.
Honestly, spanking probably won't ever be my first choice in terms of discipline. I feel like through work, I've learned some great alternatives to spanking for even the most defiant children. But I'm not sure that spanking is ever anyone's first choice.
That said, because I guess I have kind of a middle-of-the-road approach to spanking, I don't have a lot of judgment towards parents either way. I actually think that I'm probably more judgmental towards parents who don't tend to discipline their children at all--yes, discipline is mostly about teaching, but sometimes, it also requires a consequence (whether that's a spanking or a timeout, or being grounded)...which doesn't always seem to happen. The only time that I DO get really worked up over spanking is when I see parents spank a child under 1, or when they're using a belt or other object to spank, and spanking hard enough to leave marks.
So again, what do you think? Do you/will you spank your child? Why or why not?