Spanking in the Spotlight

The topic of spanking is one to spark a lot of discussion as there are many people that feel strongly on both sides of the argument for and against spanking.  Professionally and personally I do not advocate for, practice, or teach parents to spank their children as a means of discipline. Research has consistently shown that there are negative behavioral effects associated with spanking children. There are many non-aggressive means of managing a child’s behavior that are very effective. One that many parents’ are familiar with is Time-Out. This topic can generate a whole other discussion, but overall, when applied correctly, it is very effective in managing behavior. Another means of behavior management is contingency management or setting up behavior charts to motivate positive behavior. I encourage parents’ to fully research parenting strategies and consult with a professional on their specific child as every child does not respond to the same means of behavior management.

DrRyan Yellowbrick Expert Commented on January 12, 2016.
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thank you for this write up on this topic. As a  parent of two young children we also do not and would spank; and yes our kids are pretty well behaved.

I do wonder from your professional knowledge is there any research out there regarding what type of personality tends to use spanking as a parent. I wonder this, considering the fact that the person in this article is a presidential candidate. I wonder if it is possible to gleam from this how someone may handle other issues, such as diplomacy..etc


I can speak a little to the research.  People who spank do it more frequently for many more reasons than they are aware of. Remote recording studies find that people turn to hitting and slapping in anger and irritation much more often than they report. Spanking puts people at risk to harshly or abusively discipline their children without being fully aware of what they are doing. The risk factors for using spanking include growing up in a house/ community that relied on spanking, lacking alternatives, believing and being taught that this is the right approach, and lacking knowledge or support for alternatives.

I hope that everyone uses yellow to change the culture.

Kelly M. Champion PhD ABPP

on June 25, 2016.

Dr. Champion,
Thank you for your knowledge and perspective on this important topic. I too hope that is used to educate parents on appropriate and effective behavior management strategies as there are a number out there.

Dr. Ryan

on June 27, 2016.
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Thanks for your response. In the interest of time and wanting to respond to the question you asked regarding personality types and parenting styles I am attaching a link that cites research that speaks to different parenting styles and what those parenting styles expect of their children (and others at times)

link to article

would love to hear your thoughts

DrRyan Yellowbrick Expert Commented on January 12, 2016.
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Thanks for the link. Interesting read. I would put spanking in the authoritarian category. I would assume these parents handle other interactions in the same way; high demands with little democratic interest. Interesting for a politican !!

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I enjoyed reading the article that you linked in your comment– thanks for the link. It was very informational.

NaturalHealth Yellowbrick Expert Commented on January 14, 2016.
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Happy you all enjoyed the link!  Enjoy your Thursday!

DrRyan Yellowbrick Expert Commented on January 14, 2016.
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When I got married, my wife and I decided on the non-spanking option opting, as many have, to go the Time Out route. I was raised on spanking, and feel I am a well adjusted adult. Thus, I see the pros and cons of each. I see the spanking route as the hot oven approach to parenting.  Eventually, they would learn not to touch it from the pain inflicted, both physically and emotionally. While Time Out is Psychological chess. It forces, when done correctly, both the parent and child to evaluate what has happened and map the next steps.

It truly breaks down to long versus short game. The immediacy of spanking shortens the learning curve, but also quickens the thought process of learning how to get away with it. As my experiment in parenting is still burgeoning, my kids are now 8 and 10, I feel that they get the concept of time management differently, as now instead of sitting in the corner for minutes, we now can use more complex consequences.

At the end of the day it is still a choice that BOTH parents should make together.

WSMuhammad Yellowbrick Expert Commented on June 10, 2016.

Thanks for you response. Behavior management is definitely a two parent decision as consistency in issuing consequences is key to effective behavior management and learning.

on June 10, 2016.
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You have done a nice job of laying out the negative outcomes.  Of course, the thing that children learn first is to fear their parent. The lesson that the parent intended is too often lost. Intentional discipline works but it is a lot of work.  Hitting kids makes them comply in front of you until they learn other reasons.

Kelly M. Champion PhD ABPP

DrChampion Yellowbrick Expert Commented on June 25, 2016.
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