to spank or not to spank?

have you seen the recent study that suggests that spanking leads to mental illness? it’s no wonder i’m crazy.

as you would expect, i have a strong opinion on this issue and i am proud to announce that i have expert validation.  dr. david safir, a california-based pediatrician, father of five and grandfather of five, is considered an expert in the field of child rearing.  he says he was spanked as a child, spanked his own children when necessary and believes that corporal punishment can be an effective tool for parents.

in a recent article on, dr. safir asserts that  children need to learn discipline to function in society.  and if a spanking or a firm squeeze to the arm or neck is needed at times to teach this lesson, so be it.

most experts in the child health care community disagree with safir. vehemently.  they say that spanking is abuse, and that hitting children sends the wrong message, teaching them that hitting is okay.

safir says, “Two-year-olds think it’s OK to hit anyway, that’s instinctual.

instead, he thinks it teaches them to stop whatever behavior led to the spanking, and that that’s a parent’s job.

Here’s the problem: During my career, every 10 years, I see the level of contempt for authority increase,” safir said, attributing children’s attitudes to what he describes as a child-centered culture that puts children in charge instead of parents.

If children don’t learn that society has rules of conduct and consequences for bad behavior, they grow up into a culture in which they’re often useless. They can’t work, they can’t get a job, they have no respect for people above them. Of all the crimes that children commit, contempt for authority is the biggest one. It leads to nothing but trouble in a child’s life.

i suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.  after all, god did say to noah, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” (genesis 8:21)

every inclination is evil…every one?  from childhood?

the fact is that we have seen a generation of parents who’ve been brainwashed into thinking that firm discipline will hurt their children.  in fact, the opposite is true. scripture promises (and empirical evidence shows) that parents who are willing to make firm, consistent discipline a priority are highly esteemed by their children.

look, i’m a parent and i admit that consistent, loving discipline is exceedingly difficult. sometimes the right thing doesn’t feel right.

that doesn’t mean it’s not right.





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