Personal Journal

How to Spank Your Kids the Right Way

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad. – Proverbs 29:17

I’m by no means a perfect person, or a perfect parent, but there is one thing that I am happy to say about my household: I have peace in my house and my heart is glad.

My kids are pleasant for the most part. We have lots of fun together. They aren’t afraid of me. They are fun-loving, carefree toddlers, just like all toddlers should be. They ask a lot of questions, they like to get into stuff, they make a mess, they pee in their pants, but they’re great kids. I love ’em.

I don’t ever yell at my kids. Ever. But they seem to mind pretty good. Just today I was able to get my two year old to eat all her vegetables without lifting my voice at all. How, you ask? I spank my kids.

I don’t like to spank my kids. I really don’t. I avoid it as much as possible, but I’ve found that it is the only effective way to really teach your children properly. I like rewards much better. Today I told my two year old that if she ate all her vegetables that I would give her a popsicle afterwards. Sometimes that works. Today it didn’t. She didn’t care about the popsicle enough to want to eat her vegetables. It’s important to me that she eats her vegetables, so I added the punishment: “Katee, if you don’t eat your vegetables, I’m going to give you a spanking, but if you do, I’m going to give you a popsicle”

WHAT?? I can see the jaws dropping now and the heads shaking. But here’s the thing: it worked. She ate every last bite. Then I gave her a popsicle – and she was glad to have it! I was happy, she was happy. She even gave me a proud high-five after eating the last bite of veggies.

You might be wondering, “would he have really spanked her for not eating them?” Yes I would. I have before.

But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have forced her to eat them. You can’t really force anyone to do anything. You can only hope to persuade them. As a parent, I know that Katee needs to eat her vegetables, so I want to be very persuasive.

Some people may think this is harsh, but I think its much less harsh than what I see in households all the time: yelling and screaming constantly, parents emotionally trashing their kids to try to get them to do what they want them to do. I think that is abusive. Spanking your kids properly is not abusive.

A few months ago I asked Halle to pick up her toys. She wouldn’t. I told her that if she didn’t, I would give her a spanking. I calmly told her I was going to count to three and if she didn’t get started she was getting a spanking. Three came and she wasn’t moving. I picked her up and carried her over to the couch. She screamed bloody murder. She begged and pleaded not to get spanked, she said she was sorry, but I know that if you want your kids to respect you, then your threats need to be meaningful. I pulled the back of her pants down just enough to expose her buttocks. I took a wooden spoon and spanked her, and I made sure it hurt. One or two licks is all I do, sometimes three. I explained to her why she needed to listen to me and then I held her as lovingly as possible until she stopped crying (I won’t let them go to their mother until they calm down). After about 10 minutes she was calmed down enough, and I let her go to her mother. As toddlers, I usually don’t make them do whatever I spanked them for after I spank them. I don’t feel like it’s a worth having to spank them again if they don’t do it. The point is that I give them a choice, and now they know (or are reminded) that choosing a spanking is not the best choice.

I’ve never had to spank Halle again regarding picking up her toys. As a matter of fact, I spank my children very rarely. Once or twice a month is all I ever spank them. It was more in the beginning when we first started spanking them, but once they learned how it works it was a lot less. Today I ask Halle to pick up her toys and she does it. Sometimes she cries while she’s doing it, but she does it. And it’s amazing how happy she is with herself after she does!

So am I doing this just to have a calm household? No, not just for me, but for them. The incredible skill that spankings teach them will be a skill that we be invaluable in their future. It’s called self-discipline.

When Halle picks up toys, crying while she does it, she’s exercising self-discipline. She is learning that, in life, you have to do things you don’t want to do sometimes. She picks up her toys now because she doesn’t want the pain of a spanking; but that same exercise of self-discipline will come in handy when she needs to study for a test, so she won’t face the pain of failing, or manage her money, so she won’t face the pain of being broke. The uses of this great skill are endless.

“But,” someone might say, “spankings don’t work for my child.” Well, take your bible then, and throw it out the window. Seriously.

God says that it works. Maybe you just aren’t working it right.

I think the majority of the time, people who say spankings don’t work either don’t spank hard enough, or don’t continue in it – they give up after a few times.

I remember as a kid, I was terrified of my dad’s spankings, but with my mom, I would just pretend to cry when she spanked me so she wouldn’t get my dad. Her spankings didn’t hurt. Spankings need to hurt.

Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart. – Proverbs 20:30 (see also Heb 12:11)

You don’t have to beat the tar out of your kid to make it hurt. It just has to sting. That’s why I never recommend using your hand. Your hand is a blunt object that probably has some padding on it. You’ll have to really hit your kid hard to make it hurt. But if you use a wooden spoon or small stick, a little whack will sting bad, but do no damage. Try it on yourself. It’ll sting, but nothing more.

The second thing is that you must continue in it. Be serious if you threaten a spanking. If you don’t go through with your threats your children will easily and quickly pick up on it. It may take a little bit for it to start working. Use wisdom. Pray about it. Ask God for help.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on this. My kids are still toddlers. All I know is that this is what the bible clearly teaches – and it works for me so far.

I work around a lot of teenagers. Self-discipline is severely lacking in many of them. Is it because spankings have become so taboo? I think it might have something to do with it. I can’t tell for sure. But I sure can tell which teens have been properly raised up with the paddle. They tend to be the most pleasant, the most respectful, and the most diligent. I want my kids to be that way. I’m sure you do, too.

[For more on this subject, see my previous blog entitled “You shall beat your child with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.”]


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  1. The Bible also endorses stoning one’s children to death. I hope you don’t read the whole thing so uncritically. That said, I wish more of today’s parents disciplined their children…Most don’t, and the results aren’t pretty.


    1. With all due respect ma’am, the bible does not endorse such a thing. The only thing that is close to this idea is the command under a temporary jewish penal system to stone a GROWN son (an adult) who is continually rebellious after many repeated warnings, and this only after he is brought before the authorities. The book of proverbs (the book i have quoted in my blog) is not a part of that Jewish penal system, but a book of transcendent wisdom that we would do well to heed.


  2. My 3.5 year old son is driving my insane. His daycare claims that he is the most well-behaved kid in the group. But at home, it is quite the opposite. According to his pediatrician this is normal, and I tend to agree. Better this than the other way around.

    The problem I’m having though is the level of open disobedience he has. I have no problem spanking him. But it doesn’t work. Nothing works. Timeouts are a joke and spanking is almost as useless. I could spank him once everyday of the week and he still won’t respect my authority.

    Bed time is the worst. With enough warning of the encroaching bed time, he won’t fight the starting of the process, which is great. We have a routine and we stick to it every night. When he’s finally in bed and I’m ready to leave the room, the pr


    1. Didn’t finish…

      Problem happens when I leave the room. I tell him every night – when I shut this door I don’t want any yelling or banging or screaming. If I have to cone back in here it will be to spank you.

      Inevitably he rebels right away so I go in and spank him and leave. 5 minutes later he yells and bangs on his bed so I go in and spank him again. This is usually the end of it for the night. But this is a nightly occurrence. Frankly, the spanking is not working. I spank him every night for the same reason. I’m about to call it quits and just sound proof his room so I don’t hear him openly defying my rule. Obviously I know that’s not the answer, but I’m seriously at my wits end here.



      1. Hey Jeremy, thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m going to throw a few suggestions at you, but since I don’t know your whole situation, some may or may not apply.

        1- make sure you are spending plenty of quality time playing with him and loving him. If not, you will provoke him to anger.

        2- Make sure your spankings are meaningful. Don’t use your hand; use a wooden spoon or small wooden rod. Test it on yourself and make sure it stings bad, but doesn’t cause harm. I often see parents throw their hands up when it comes to spanking, and often the case is that the spanking isn’t causing pain – remember, you need blows that hurt.

        3- I would recommend not spanking him for screaming in bed. Just let him scream until he falls asleep. It’s hard for kids to control their emotions that young. Instead, put your headphones in and just ignore it (or use a noise maker). If he gets out of bed, tell him that next time that if he gets out of bed, that you will spank him. After a while he’ll realize that screaming doesn’t work and he will not do it for as long, until he doesn’t do it at all.

        Spankings DO work. The bible says they do, and God doesn’t lie. If it’s not working for you then you aren’t working it right. Change up your tactics, pray for wisdom, be patient, and do everything out of love. Your son needs to respect your authority. His well-being as a person depends on it.


  3. You might be wondering, “would he have really spanked her for not eating them?” Yes I would. I have before.

    “But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have forced her to eat them. You can’t really force anyone to do anything. You can only hope to persuade them. As a parent, I know that Katee needs to eat her vegetables, so I want to be very persuasive.”

    Is that not the same as force her to eat? Is either get a painfully spanking or eating. For a child or a adult a pure force to eat. Sometimes I also get something I can not eat or dislike as a adult. Spanking for not eating can also have bad long term signs later. If I get something on my plate and one say “you either eat this or you get a very painfully spanking!” what would you choose?

    Is it not strange that parents can inflict pain on purpose on children but you would not do it on your pets or your wife.

    Have you heard of Beth Fenimore? A open letter to Mr. Dobson. Her father spanked her in the name of God. She got a severe spanking. If she cried too long after a spanking then she got a new spanking for it. The list goes on. You can read that open letter by your self.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ronnie, there are ditches on both sides of the road. I do not doubt that Ms. Fenimore was abused. I do not abuse my kids. I personally know people that are glad their parents spanked them when they were kids. I’m glad my parents spanked me. There is a difference between abuse and proper spanking.


    2. It is the same as forcing. You are correct. It’s highly manipulative, as well. Most children will choose sweets over a spanking/physical pain. There is no real skill in this ‘tactic’. It’s like driving a beater, instead of the lexus, that you are worthy of. I grew gardens when my children were young. We tended that garden and ate daily during the summer- those raw vegis. I role modeled. I never used pain to force feed healthy eating habits. I grew it, showed it and made it available, while keeping junk food to a minimum. Our children followed behind us and copied us. We paid no special attention, nor did we bribe or reward like the training of a beast or lab rat. It became clear over time what vegis they didn’t like and we respected that. They had enough likes, that each and every vegi placed in front of them was not needed in order to be healthy. We never turned food into a disobedient crisis. Much of the ‘spanking’ advice on this page is a rather hysterical reaction. It’s fear based. It takes little skill as well. Anyone can use pain and intimidation to control other beings. Sad thing, is it’s sad, that some believe it’s what God wants. It might be what the parent wants and their church, but it’s not God. Not God at all. It’s man. Sick man.


      1. Judy, you speak very certainly about what you think God wants, but you provide no scripture. I don’t care what I think, I just want to know what God thinks about the subject. God seems to think spanking is what’s best for a child as He has chosen to reveal to us through the scriptures. I’m going to go with what God thinks.

        And by the way, why do you feel the need to attack my person? You don’t know me, nor my family. How can you say that I’m a sick man? You should only judge a tree by its fruits.


      2. The rod is something a shepherd used to guide his sheep, not to beat or hit them with it. I see a little 2 year old just a wee older than a BABY and just cringe at the thought that someone could hit them “hard” because they won’t pick up their toys or eat their vegetables. You do have to discipline your children but spanking is the easy way out and it doesn’t work in the long term. Kids just start hiding things from their parents so they won’t get hurt by them. You say you have a loving, happy family. I’m sure you do until out comes the spoon and the kids know Daddy or Mommy is going to hurt me now. Not such a happy, loving dad or mom in my opinion.


      3. Hi Lori, spanking is most definitely not the easy way out. I do not like to spank my kids. I do it because it’s right. The bible specifically tells us that the rod is for beating (Pro 23:13-14). When I say ‘hard’ I am being relative, as I explain in the blog. Hard for a two year old would not be very hard in reality, just enough to sting. The reason I said ‘hard’ was because I’ve seen so many parents with kids out of control who spank with a limp-wristed pat. That’s not going to do.
        And spanking most assuredly works in the long run. I’ve interviewed many adults who have been spanked by loving parents as children. I have yet to find one who isn’t glad that they did.


  4. Bravo. If you spank right you won’t need to do it. We spank with a belt (not too hard) with their clothes and underwear/diaper off. 1 to 2 swats per year of age, enough to make them really cry, and they don’t misbehave again.


  5. Doesn’t your daughter fight with you hold her pants/underwear so you can’t pull them down? ? Doesn’t she cover with her hands so u can’t give her anymore spanks?? The reason why I ask is cause I know a 7yr old who fights holds the waist band of his pants/underwear so his mom can’t get them down and he covers with his hands. Plus he fights till he is on his stomach laying on the floor. Is this typical just asking? ?


    1. Yes, it’s typical. I tell my daughter that she can move her hands or she’ll get an extra swat. This usually works for me. Of course, I’m much stronger than my daughters, so I can usually hold their hands away if I need to. My wife has a much harder time. (Kids are strong!) In the case you are speaking of, this woman might need to solicit extra help from other caring adults.


      1. You are the man to teach her about standing up for herself in a healthy way. That man, that lays that foundation. Yet, you violate her sense of being and self, from the get go.

        You try and change her, to fit your needs and beliefs. Delusional respect, on your part.

        You are much stronger than your daughter. You’re a man and grown. How un-mighty of you, in the end.

        ” I tell my daughter that she can move her hands or she’ll get an extra swat”.

        What you’re really telling your daughter, is that she needs to stop listening to her God given ability and built in need to protect her body. Her body, not your body. Her body. God’s body- not your body.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. If your kid is fighting you pulling his or her pants and underwear down, there is a simple fix. Take all of their clothes completely off and spank them naked. It’s a lot easier with no clothes in the way, they don’t get their feet all tangled up and they can’t try to pull their pants back up. It also hurts more and is more embarassing when they’re naked, and it will make them think twice about resisting a spanking again.


  6. Hal,

    Thanks for your great post. Our 4 year old is out of control and I feel that implementing spankings the right way is direly needed. I feel confident after reading your post and this one from Focus on the Family: However, there are other interpretations of Proverbs proclaimed by those also claiming to be Christian, who discourage spankings and cite issues with biblical linguistics, translation and interpretation:

    Unfortunately, it’s a long read. Are you familiar with these counter arguments? I need help discerning the truth. I feel like spankings administered with a Christian attitude and love is the right approach. Would love to get your feedback. Thank You!


    1. Hey Jason! I’ll take the time to read that post, but even without reading it I can tell you that I know a lot of people who are adults who are perfectly fine and grateful that their parents spanked them. Certainly there are abuses, and that’s a problem. But as long as you are doing it out of love and self control, then you are fine.

      I just did a poll in my youth group (I’m a youth pastor), and asked how many of them were spanked as children. All of them raised their hand. Then I asked how many of them were emotionally scarred because of it. None of them raised their hand. Then a high school senior raised his hand and said, “I was spanked as a child and because of it I now suffer with this psychological disorder called “Respect for others!”


  7. Good grief. You don’t have to hurt your children to make them behave. You are a bully and you can quote the Bible all you want. I can’t believe you would inflict pain on your children. I never laid a hand on my child and she grew to be valedictorian of her class and graduated summa cum laude in college. She has never been in trouble in her life. Stop hurting your children. So do you hit your wife when she misbehaves? Of course not. Then why would you hit your children?


    1. Lori –

      I think it’s important to realize that all kids are unique and as such, there cannot be a singular all encompassing approach to disciplining all children.

      Your experiences with raising your daughter cannot possibly be the same experiences I have had with either of my two children. So for you to take only your experiences and make a general rule for the masses, is not realistic.

      Conversely, anyone who assumes that a literal translation of an antient text (the Bible) is qualified as a modern day parenting handbook – needs to seek guidance in the area of critical thinking.

      Again, one size does not fit all. I have diligently tried spanking my 4 year old son and have come to the conclusion that it does not work with him. I don’t doubt that spanking works with some children. It just simply doesn’t work with all children. This is why I stress the need for critical thinking. If your bible tells you only to spank, what are you to do if your child is one that needs a different aporoach?

      Use your brain parents.


      1. I totally respect your opinion and also totally disagree. You are a very young man (Hal) and I think some people tend to think if you don’t spank your kids you are not disciplining them. There are many forms of discipline. I think when you inflict pain on your kids (as you say you hit them “hard”) you teach them that violence and aggression is the way of the world as they grow. Taking away privileges works just as well and you don’t have to physically inflict pain on anyone. It takes more time to actually talk to them and take away something they really like than to go for the spanking. A little swat on the butt is one this but hitting your kids on their bare butts (hard) is mean spirited and in my opinion a type of bullying. If you don’t do what I say I’m going to hurt you…..That is wrong in my humble and much older opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Lori. ‘Hard’ is a relative term. Maybe I should change it in my blog, but if you read on in my blog I explain what I mean by ‘hard.’ The reason I wrote ‘hard’ is because I see many parents spank their kids with a limp wristed pat, and they wonder why their kids don’t listen to them. When I say ‘hard’ I mean hard in the sense that it causes a sting that is meaningful. I explained that in my blog. I certainly do not condone child abuse.


    2. Hi Lori. I don’t know your circumstance, but I can see that you may be inclined to using name calling and shame to forward your positions. I hope those were not your methods of discipline. Harsh words cause a much more permanent wound than a small swat on the buttocks.
      But even so, all children are different. My wife was only spanked one time in her life (by her parents, not me!). She seemed to have ability to listen a lot more than her sisters, who needed spankings more regularly. Your one child may have been an exceptional child, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that most children need firmer boundaries. My oldest daughter very rarely needs a spanking. My younger daughter is a different story.
      As far as the Bible goes, it is my steady rock in a world that is blown back and forth by every wind. God’s word has proven to me to be a beacon of infinite wisdom, as it has for millions of others.


  8. Thank you, Hal , for your original post and all the follow-ups. Most enlightening and appreciated.
    I was spanked as a child as was my sister and all my close friends and their siblings, It worked.
    I spanked my kids. It worked.
    My one child who, so far, has kids spanks her kids. It works.
    I knew I was loved, my kids know they were/are loved. My Grands sure as heck know they are loved.
    I work in a school. Its almost easy to tell which kids are/were spanked. Those are the kids who listen, the majority of the time. Those are the kids who do as they are instructed, the majority of the time. Those are the kids who privately find you and apologize to you for their poor behavior earlier in the day.
    Again, THANK YOU!


      1. Almost everyone I knew growing up was spanked. Also, almost everyone I knew growing up would never hit their kids. There are so many other options. Inflicting pain on a 2 year old is wrong in my opinion. Kids are capable of learning without hurting them. There are so many jobs that require discipline such as the military and the commanding officers don’t hit their troops. You said previously that your wife wasn’t spanked as a kid. I don’t understand why she would allow her children to be spanked. Did she turn out so horribly because she wasn’t spanked? My daughter got straight A’s and graduate summa cum laude from college after never being spanked. I think it’s time to learn to use other means of discipline. We need to learn and grow as people.


  9. I’m glad the Bible is your rock. I never called my daughter names. But I did give her all the love and time she needed. The Bible is a guide in my humble opinion and I don’t think you can take everything in it literally. It has been translated many times and books have been removed. I think that kids who are spanked are really good at hiding things they have done wrong. Those that know they won’t be hit are more likely to be honest and speak freely with their parents. I don’t think you should take “spare the rod, spoil the child” literally. I think you can interpret it as “spare the discipline, spoil the child.” I think so many people think the only discipline is physically hurting children. I totally disagree. I don’t believe in hitting anything, children, animals or other adults. It’s just wrong.


    1. If you do any digging at all you can find research that shows that spanking doesn’t work and in fact causes harm.

      Even if you think your (spanked) kids turned out “fine”, you will never know what baggage you actually gave them that they will carry the rest of their lives.

      Here’s a good read on the American Psychologist Association website:


      1. I agree with you, Jeremy S. I wish other people would take a serious look at what they are doing to their children.


  10. Spankings do work. They kept me in check. I work for a Fortune 500 company in the IT department. All my co workers have degrees, sizeable incomes and they all were spanked with belts. Most of the kids I grew up with were not spanked and were hellions. They are now struggling in life or in jail

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not really a debatable issue.

      Every single developed country’s Psychological Associations have run studies that show the negative side effects of corporal punishment. That doesn’t mean that spanking didn’t keep you or some of your colleagues in line. It does mean though that it wasn’t necessary and according to scientific fact – you were harmed.

      So, the literal interpretation of a Bible passage is once again standing in direct defiance of contemporary knowledge and as a result holding back societal advancement.

      Similarly, most of the world’s Christians accept that a literal Biblical interpretation of a 7 day creation is undeniably false. It’s really only a small percentage of Christians living mostly in the US that choose to believe literal translations – in open defiance of logic and reason.


      1. There’s a pretty even 50/50 split among people when it comes to spankings. Each side is going to cite their own definitive and undeniable sources. If spanking were truly as inhumane as some people belive it to be — there certainly wouldn’t be nearly as many people attesting to the effectiveness of spankings when performed correctly as described by Hal. I was spanked as a child and THANK my parents for using it as a tool to correct and teach. I spank my children in the same way. It simply works.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anne, I wish you could meet my family and I. I think if you met us you wouldnt judge us so harahly. We all love each other very much. My girls are daddy’s girls and we have lots of fun together. Spankings have been going on in loving families forever, and just because some people abuse it doesnt mean that it doesnt have its proper place.


      1. If you would have been able to meet my family when I was younger, you would have preceded us as a loving family as well. And yes we still are but I can recall all the times my dad spanked me and as much as I love him, I will never ever forget that. It left a big crack in our relationship, which sadly is not fixable with love or hugs. I know you are intending to leave a lasting effect on your girls, just be aware it might last a little longer than just their childhood and teenager years.


      2. Anne, I can’t speak for your situation, but I’ve had many people tell me just the opposite – that they are glad their parents spanked them. Maybe your dad went too far, I don’t know. I do hope you’ll forgive him, though, and not let that hinder your future relationship with him. God Bless


      3. Hal, I am sure you spank your kids not to hurt them but you think it is to teach them from right and wrong. I’m also sure that you do not want to hurt them and don’t abuse them. I do think that a lot of parents use spanking as a way to take out their frustrations on their children. I have seen a lot of kids spanked in my life time and the majority of those spankings were out of control and abusive. I don’t see anything wrong with a swat on the behind but there is fine line between that and abuse. It is not necessary to use a spoon, a hairbrush, a belt to get your point across. Spanking is not the only form of discipline. We can’t take everything in the Bible literally can we? Are women unclean when they are menstruating? Should a man be able to beat his wife, etc? Times have changed and use the Bible as a guide. I think “spare the rod, spoil the child” can be interpreted as , “spare the discipline and spoil the child.” The are just so many other non violent ways to teach a child right from wrong. Spanking is an easy way out. It’s much harder to take away a privilege and stick to your guns.


  11. The point isn’t that dpanking doesn’t work. It clearly works in stopping and deterring.

    The point is that it isn’t necessary.

    Research has clearly shown that other, non-violent techniques are just as, if not more effective, and don’t include the negative side effects that come with spankings.

    Again, to be clear, here is what the research is showing:

    1. Spankings work.
    2. At the same time, spankings can cause unwanted mental and emotional side effects. But yes they still work.
    3. Other disciplinary techniques also work just as well. And these other methods do NOT cause the same negative side effects.

    Not sure why this is difficult to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The reason I wrote this blog is because I’ve encountered many children and families in my line of work. I don’t care to spank my kids, I’d rather not do it. However, real life experience has shown me that other methods are not effective. I see good, loving families ALL THE TIME who have out-of-control children because they are afraid spanking will warp their child’s personality, and they’re afraid of being judged.


  12. The things you’ve seen are not inline with what researchers have found, plain and simple.

    This is precisely why scientist’s and researcher’s jobs are so vital. They provide us with insight outside of our own relatively small pool of experiences.

    I think what’s going on right now is that parents in our society are in an awkward transitional state with regards to their disciplinary techniques. We are leaving a stage in which the only disciplinary tool parents were taught to use was spanking. And now that we know that spanking is linked to emotional and mental harm, we need to help parents learn how to use the alternative methods that we know are just as effective and that don’t cause harm.

    So yes, you have undoubtedly seen a lot of families with out of control kids.

    The answer though isn’t to ignore the research and revert back to the dark ages. The answer is to embrace knowledge and and embrace positive change. We need to be educating parents on effective non-violent techniques. They do work when administered correctly. Just as you would argue that spanking has to be done right, the same goes for all forms of discipline.


      1. Jason,

        I have a 5 year old boy and an 18mo old girl. I don’t take this topic lightly. And no I’m not confused about dpanking versus beating.

        I was raised in a baptist church, my parents spanked me and my sister, as did nearly every other patent in our church with their own kids. I understand the “right” way to spank.

        With my son, it didn’t work. I tried for a long time. Tried and tried and tried.

        Now, I’m not anti-spank because it didn’t work for my son. I understand it works for lots of kids. The point is, even with non-beating spanking, the research has shown emotional and psychological damage. On top of that, there ARE other methods that work.

        In all seriousness, watch a TV show called Super Nanny. Sounds stupid, but there are a lot of effective techniques that do not involve violence. You may consider it semantics, but spanking is violent. No way around that one bud. Even if done according to Hal’s description. I wouldn’t call it severe, but hitting is a violent act.


    1. Also, there seems to be some confusion between spanking vs beating. Hal’s blog post is NOT about beating. It is about spanking the right way. You refer to spanking as “corporal punishment”. I just want to make sure you aren’t talking about beating. Here’s an example of “scholarly research” that includes a picture of someone who was beaten. The image caption is the ONLY place the word “beat” is used. The word “spank[ing]” or “corporal punishment” is cited 24 times throughout the remaining report. This suggests that the researchers either a) don’t understand the difference, or b) would like to lead readers into thinking that corporal punishment, spankings, and beatings are all synonymous, which they are not. Link here:


  13. I agree with Jeremy. Spanking is not the only form of discipline. People just don’t seem to get that. Just because you don’t physically inflict pain on your children it does not mean you do not discipline them. Every time I was spanked as a kid (which was not often) I told myself I would never hit my kids and I have not. It really is not necessary. You have to pick your battles and remember that children are NOT little soldiers. If your child doesn’t eat her vegetables then how about no dessert or no TV of no to something she likes instead of hitting. Society learns all the time about a multitude of things and we have to learn that spanking is not necessary. You do know that spanking your children is illegal in Sweden right? They have a very low crime rate.


  14. The Bible also says not to eat pigs, the earth is flat, and condones selling children into slavery. If spanking works, that’s fine, but to tell people who don’t spank that they should because of the Bible is pitiful


    1. The Bible actually says the earth is round (Isa 40:22), eating pigs isnt really good for you anyway, and no where does it condone the selling of children. The bible is the most amazing book I’ve ever read, and following it works in every area of your life.


      1. Exodus 21:7 says a daughter sold into slavery is not to go free as a man would. I’d say if it gives orders on what happens after children are sold into slavery, it pretty much condones it.

        Also, one of the main reasons people are leaving religion is the Bible provides little answers on how to deal with modern day problems. It seems rather awkward that the word of god would also have books dedicated to talking how to properly sacrifice animals and plant crops.

        Also, I think a loving god would find a more loving way to deal with kids making fun of a bald man than having 2 bears brutally kill them the way it says in 2nd Kings.


      2. Hey brother — I admire your sincerity. You’ve got some great questions and I wondered the meaning of those passages right along with you. I assure you that with some Googling, you can get some direction on what appear to be plain issues of discrimination and brutality. I think our (mine included) lack of knowledge/understanding of the culture and context of the time often stand in the way of our true understanding of a passage. In fact, some Bibles include a sort of companion study text to provide some of the historal and cultural references to aid you. But if not satisfied, you can always turn to online sources — SO DON’T GIVE UP! Also, what “modern day problems” are you referring to that the Bible not answer? It’s actaully pretty facinating that the bible contains so many DIFFERENT kinds of books written by different authors. I agree that some of the old testament seems…well…OLD! 🙂 Basically, the old testament is about God’s old covenant, which required following lots of rules to “attone” for one’s sin, which was basically a non-stop operation. The new testament is about God’s new covenant — meaning all of those old rules no longer need apply with the greatest sacrifice of God’s own son. The old testament is also full of phrophecies — many of which were fulfilled by Jesus in the new testament and still others that Jesus will fulfill when he returns again.


      3. Such a massively convoluted story one must accept to allow for a literal translation of the bible. Pretty hilarious that one would need google to understand god’s intentions.

        I’ll just go ahead and unsubscribe from these blog updates since no one is willing to address the simple fact that studies have shown a connection between a biblically condoned practice and emotional and mental harm (spanking) – simply to protect the concept of a literal translation.

        It’s like a crazy game of whack-a-mole trying to explain away all the contradictions.

        Bye now!


  15. Of course the Katee”-belle” is going to chose the popsicle over a beating, who wouldn’t !? But you didn’t teach her anything, you just blackmailed her. “Cletus” Chafee, you need to get your redneck ignorant ass in school and learn how to discipline your offspring without corporal punishment. It’s not your fault for thinking this way. Really. Your writing this kind trash because you don’t know any better or have been brainwashed by the local religious authority. Read a few books on parenting or developmental psychology and you will see that the way a young mind works is not the same as the way an adult mind works. You won’t burn in hell for it…


  16. Couple questions: When you exercise discipline do you take the child to their room, etc? How important is privacy in the spanking? Also, how do you handle misbehavior in a store, church, etc?


    1. Hi David, for some reason many kids seem to like watching other kids be spanked (kind of demented, I know; shows the fallen nature of the flesh). That being the case, I always take them to another room, but usually just the next room over, whatever that happens to be. I do want my other kids to know what is happening.

      As far as in public, that’s a little harder. Unfortunately we live in a society where people think you are a child abuser if you spank your kids (and may even report you as one!). Kids can be overdramatic, and so spanking them in a store might cause a huge scene. I’ve threatened my kids that I would take them to the car and give them a spanking. Fortunately, I’ve only had to do that once. I was at church. But if I was shopping or something, I probably would be reluctant. Someone passing by could get the wrong idea. It would probably be best to take them home before giving them a spanking.

      Those are my thoughts.


  17. Hal, doing some research I have come across instances where counting is discouraged and it is suggested the spanking be given if the child doesn’t obey after 1st instruction. Also curious of your thoughts on giving a spanking after one child hits or hurts another? Also the wait until your dad gets home until correction or a follow up spanking by dad?


  18. First of all, I would like to say there is a huge difference between abuse and spanking. However, my stance is both are morally wrong. Really the number one reason I am agnaist spanking is because I believe violence is not the answer, and all throughout the Bible there are anti violence verses. So spanking, actually why are we even calling it spanking? It is hitting/striking a child so my don’t we say hitting or striking? Maybe is it because hitting sounds worse and you tell your children not to hit, so to avoid sounding like a hypocrite we call it spanking? Interesting. (Also I am not trying to be offensive by using the word hypocrite. My intent is not to judge you and other spankers based on one thing you do. God shall be the only one to judge us.) Anyway, so if your going to spank your daughter for not eating her vegetables I would assume if she ever ( and I am in no way suggesting your daughter would do this) started to hit you, I would assume you would spank her. I mean, if you only spank her to “persuade” her and only spank her when you want her to do things then there is a whole nother issue. ( It even seems as though you are trying to avoid her calling out the hypocrisy of spanking.) So let’s use the word hitting since that’s what it really is. For the vegetable incident you probably said something along the line “if you don’t eat your vegetables I am going to hit (spank) you.” Let’s recap, how do you deal with the situation? Loss of privileges? No. Natural Punishment? No. Violence? Yes. So if she started hitting you you might say something like; ” If you don’t stop HITTING I’m going to HIT (spank, but really hit) YOU. See my point it does seem pretty hypocritical. Now, you may not hit her if she hit for that exact reason, but then why can you hit her other times? You are teaching her that hitting is a Christian thing to do and a way to resolve problems. Now maybe since you were spanked and taught that (whether you realize it or not that’s probably a factor in why you spank or at least considered to spank) you think violence is a fine way to resolve conflict, but this second part of my writing is going to attempt to prove its not.

    So in the beginning I talked about violence being a sin and a not a way to resolve conflict I’m now going to use the Bible to back that up. Alrighty so say your sharing a hotel room with a friend and they refuse to clean up their space, so you get out a wooden spoon and hit them. I’m sure God would consider that a sin. Although I have no scripture to back that up to why that event specifically is a sin, the Bible is in general anti violence. So therfore if you did that you would pray to God and ask for forgiveness. But I’m sure you don’t ask for forgiveness when you spank your daughters. Because if you did I’m sure you would be trying to stop spanking them instead of writing an article endorsing spanking. Ahah! Then you say but the Bible endorses spanking so it is right! Okay so when you mentioned the Bible verses that endorse spanking I was shocked and a little disappointed in myself that I never say them so I looked them up. And I was deeply inspired by reading them, they were actually quite insightful. But I was a little confused at some of the terminology so I did some research. I was actually very confused about what the word rod meant it seemed very vague actually, but what I found made those verses even more insightful. You see, I was a bit misconeded at first because the whole reason it seems the Bible endorses spanking is because we think rod means an instrument used for spanking children, however that is really no the case. The Bible verses are about disciplining your children not spanking them. You see shepherds carried rods which were used to guide sheep on the right path. The verses were urging us to discipline our children by guiding them on the right path. Now you have to remember a lot of these verses cam from the book of Proverbs and Proverbs is kind of like poetry so using the work rod it was giving a visual image and back then no one was opposed to pysical discipline which is violence and the Bible is anti violence, but pro discipline. So is the Bible essentially saying not to be violent, but discipline. Therefore it would make sense if we disciplined in a non violet way. But how do we do that? That is what my third and final part is about.

    Ok so we yes spanking probably works a lot faster and you probably have to discipline less often, but it is sinning. So what can we do? I am a huge believer in positive reinforcement, but sometimes that doesn’t work. If a child is out of control then a timeout is called for but there is also: loss of privileges, natural consequences, and logical consequences.
    So my stance is violence is wrong hence hitting is wrong no matter what you call it.


    1. Hi Nina, thanks for your polite and thoughtful response.

      I have no desire to spank, beat, hit, or strike (whatever you want to call it) any of my children. I do, however, want to raise my children to be wise decision makers, and that’s why I spank my children.

      Spanking and hitting are different because of the reason they are done (and the way they are done), just as imprisonment and kidnapping are different. When a person is put in prison, they are snatched from their homes and put in a cage. Why don’t we call it kidnapping?

      I don’t spank my kids for pleasure, or because I get angry, or because they took my candy bar. I spank them when they have done something wrong (and not every time they do wrong, but only when it is warranted.)

      Are you saying it’s always wrong to hit? If some man tries to kidnap your child, would you be angry if she hit him? Would you not hit him because it is ‘violence’? Hitting is not always wrong, sometimes it is morally acceptable (and necessary).

      Spanking is hitting, yes. The bible uses the word ‘beat.’ You may be able to change the meaning of the word ‘rod,’ but the word ‘beat’ is pretty clear in its biblical meaning. An honest assessment of the text will reveal that the clear meaning is to strike with a rod.

      But why do people have a problem with that? Clearly it’s for two reasons. One, because there are people who take it way to far and abuse their kids, and two, because it is culturally unacceptable to spank in this present society.

      Spanking has been used properly for a long time in this country. Some of the most happy and successful people I know are so glad their parents spanked them. Why? Because it helped turn them into the self-disciplined people that they are today. They wouldn’t go back and change it if they could.


    2. Thank you , Nina for your very insightful and correct response to “hitting/spanking” whatever people like to call it. It is a violent act and there are other ways to teach our children.


  19. Okay, so I actually re-thought my response and I guess I can not say it will never be okay to hit. If you were in a stituation you had to push (or hit) someone for defense then it would not be wrong. So that part of my response was wrong. I even looked through some scripture, and some people in the Bible had to do some violent things. Also, I again looked at verses endorsing pysical punishment and I was very surprised! The Bible did indeed use the word beat and that pretty unarguably means hit. Plus it makes perfect sense that (especially in Proverbs) it would use the word beat because they are generally speaking about discipline and in Bible times that was what discipline was. So my conclusion was the Bible is urging us to discipline and Proverbs is using at what that time was a symbol of discipline to illustrate that. So the verse that says a child should be disciplined and not left to themselves. And a child is clearly left to themself during a time-out. With that verse in mind I also realized isolating your kids as a punishment is wrong, and the only time a time out is okay is when they are out of control and need to calm down. In that case it would be them sitting quietly and really having so real reflection on how they were acting. But if your child is disobeying you then you should discipline, which illustrated in the Bible is physical. However, the reason I disagree with spanking is because the Bible is (in modern words) saying time outs are wrong in cases of disobedience and straight out discipline is better. Yes it’s example of discipline is spanking because that’s how it was at the time. So I believe the Bible is not saying physical discipline is better than non physical discipline, but rather discipline is better than isolation the example of beating is again used so people in Bible times could relate because that was when it was wrote. So then which is right pysical or non pysical discipline and why?

    My stance is non physical. Not because the reason stated in my previous response that they are never cases were violence is tolerable, but because of the hypocrisy surrounding it. (I am only going to use the words hypocritical and hypocrisy in my attempt not to judge or offend anyone. So please anyone reading this or responding to this whether you agree with my stance or not please do not call anyone who spanks a hypocrite because we are by no means at all God and we cannot judge others or think of them by one thing they do. I also apologize for saying that if sounds like spankers sound like hypocrites. From this point on I will only use the words hypocritical and hypocrisy, please do the same.) Anyway, like I mentioned in my earlier response if your going to spank someone for not eating there vegetables it would only make sense that you would spank them for hitting each other. What if your two children are playing together and one hits another on the buttocks with a spoon because after the asked the other one nicely to pick up there share of the mess and they didn’t? Would you spank the one who hit for overstepping their balance and hitting because that would be extremely hypocritical because spanking is doing the same thing except you are the parent and you are stronger? Or would you commend them? I also don’t see how spanking is called for if your daughter refuses to pick up her toys. Because one, you do not even make her do it after she gets spanked. So you are giving her a choice either get spanked or clean up her toys. Now the reason you spank your children is to prepare them for the real world, but in the real world if they were in debt with their house they would lose there house and still have to pay. Also, why do you have to spank her to teach her a lesson? Why can’t she not play with another toy until she picks those ones up? Maybe that would be forcing her to pick them up, but aren’t you either forcing her to pick them up or forcing her to get a spanking? The only time where violence would be okay is if they were really hurting someone (physically) which in an environment where hitting is not a way of solving issues that would very likely never happen, and you had to hit her to avoid people getting hurt then I can see that as acceptable, but to “persuade” her. It just doesn’t make sense. It seems like yes you are “persuading” her not to do it again but there are non physical ways to do that. Plus at the same time you may be persuading her to use violence as a way of resolving conflicts (even if that doesn’t start until they are adults. Also, if she is pysically abused by someone else by taking spanking to extremes then she may not realize it’s abuse because she has been disciplined in a similar just lesser way at home. In addition some studies (although I am not a scientist and did not conduct these studies to know if all variables were taken into account so if these are incorrect by you standards please do not accuse me of skewing the data or providing false information) have shown negative effect on SOME children in SOME cases so there are some things to consider. However I am not going to make a big deal of the studies because I do not know if they are true or not because I’m not a scientist plus I think at least half of them were probably very bias because how do you determine if a child turned out the way they did because of the way they were disciplined?

    Lastly, I would like to end by mentioning what the Golden Rule is. The Golden Rule is; treat others as you would like to be treated. It is not; treat others as you have been treated or treat others the way they have treated you.


  20. Not sure if anyone is still responding to these comments or not, if so I have a question for Hal or the others that agree in spanking. I have a 3 year old girl who is kinda wise beyond her years. Yet the most trouble I have is with her tantrums. Everytime she can’t have a toy at the store, has to get off the ipad, needs to get her shoes on, get out of the bath, all turn into tantrums. I usually make her sit in time out until she can calm down. Sometimes after she’s put in time out her fits get worse, I usually warn her if she doesn’t calm down soon she’ll be spanked. Then I follow through with her speaking. Should I be waiting as long as it takes her to calm down before I spank her or do it in the midst of the tantrum and explain after she’s calm that’s she’s getting spanked for continuing her fit?


    1. Hi Liz, I’m not a big fan of timeouts. I want my kids to connect wrong behavior with pain (because that is reality). One or two swats with a wooden spoon will sting and she’ll get the picture real quick. My kids drop tantrums real quick once I mention the wooden spoon.


  21. I will add I’m open to other suggestions on handling her, but don’t need to hear about not spanking her. People always day to issue a consequence also, but when I say I’ll take a certain toy away, she will ask me to take the toy away I mentioned and give me a bunch of other ones to take away too!


  22. I work at a Behavioral Hospital with children and adolescents and I can definately tell who was disciplined growing up. A lot of the teenagers are rude and disrespectful to their parents. I tell them that I have a two year old daughter and she will never grow up speaking to me that way because I will discipline her. I tell them that I spank my daughter. Many of the kids are quick to tell me that spanking is abuse. And I am quick to tell them that I do not believe that. A lot of kids act the way that they do because they manipulate their parents into thinking that spanking is abuse. That excuse will never work in my household. However, I also believe that discipline has to start at an early age. You cannot try to spank a thirteen year old for the first time and expect that to work. The same goes for a five or six year old. I was spanked as a young child. I would much rather discipline my child now than to see her grow up and get into trouble with the law later. My daughter is very smart and I know that she is aware of the difference between right and wrong. I am raising her to be a respectful young lady, not an unruly teenager. So I will continue to rely on spanking as a form of discipline dispite the opinions of others. They are not raising my child, I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz, you are quite welcome. My wife and I started this approach (spoon spankings) with our 2 & 3 year old children. It has made a great difference in their behaviors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thank you, I was afraid I was starting to young when we started around 2 1/2, but because she was so smart for her age and knew what she was doing, my husband and I agreed she needed punished accordingly.


  23. Hi Hal – our 3yo daughter is very stubborn. We’ve had a lot of success giving her spankings with a ping pong paddle in her underwear. Lately it doesn’t seem to have the same effect. Do you think it’s ok to take off her underwear and spank her bare bottom with the paddle? Or is that too harsh for a 3yo? I was spanked that way and I remember it made a bigger impression on me when I was naked.


    1. The problem with a ping pong paddle is that it is both light and it resists air a lot, so you’ll end up having to use more physical force which can be dangerous.

      You honestly really don’t need anymore than the bare hand, but a wood spoon or a hair brush is better than a ping ping paddle because you only need to really just snap your wrist.

      I usually prefer the bare bottom over on the underwear because you also don’t need to use as much force and when the behind is red you know you can stop.


    2. I think you should take of your 3yo’s underwear and spank her naked. But I don’t like using a paddle or your hand – to much danger of bruising. Best to use a belt or a light strap and don’t swing too hard. You should be able to giver 10-20 swats with the belt and only cause redness. She should be naked so you can judge when to stop.


    3. Well we did it – the ping pong paddle wasn’t getting the job done, so she got her last spanking naked, and we used a belt. She got very scared when we took her panties off and the was quite surprised at how much more the belt hurt on her bare bottom. She’s been an angel ever since. We’ve told she can expect a bare naked whipping with the belt from now on.


  24. Whenever I have children, I feel the sane way. Explain to your children that you’re not going to hurt them but the pain is a little to get them to behave or to teach them a valuable lesson. I will will normally do 2-5 for the minimum and 6-10 for the maximum depending on what they did to get a spanking. Something a child does something wrong that they might need a whipping up 20. I am the type of parent that will give then rewards for good behavior and give them alternative discipline consequences for bad behavior before I give a spannking such as an extra chore or two, take a privilege away, have them be placed parental watch or have a well trusted adult excort he/she for a month, etc. There are alternatives to spankings or paddlings as well. I don’t believe in irritating or abusing my children but bringing them up in the discipline and admonition of Jehovah at Especians 6:4. I have heard that many parents have irritated their children and were abusive for is wrong.


  25. This is an amazing article. Thank you for sharing this information. I must say that though there are many relevant comments here, I’m amazed at how many people feel the need to voice their irrelevant opinions here. I really wish I had that much time to waste in my life lol.
    I have a follow up question to the article: At what age do you recommend we start spanking. And also how should we discipline children before that age?
    Thank you again. If you could take the time to reply to my email I’d be double grateful!
    Many blessings^^


    1. Hi, thanks for the kind words. I would say you should start spanking as soon as you know that they can relate what they did with the spanking. My youngest son is 19 mo; I don’t spank him on the rear end yet, but I do wack his hand if he reaches for the knobs on our gas stove, or for the electrical outlets. You really don’t want to spank kids for doing something they don’t know is wrong. Spankings should be for when a child knows better but does wrong anyway. The exception would be if they do something dangerous. Hope that helps.


  26. I realize this is from forever ago, but it’s a message I desperately needed today. My four year old got the very first spanking of her life today. She got her age across her bottom with a ruler because she would not come inside when I told her too, repeatedly. Her obedience had been terrible for quite some time, and I finally admitted what I’ve known all along. God is right, not the doctors, and she needed her bottom spanked… desperately. That you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the great feedback, Molly. Even though this post is old, it gets bunches of hits every day. Seems like it is a topic that everyone is dealing with. And you are right, God’s wisdom will always stand, despite what the ‘wisdom’ of the day may say. God bless!


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