Children can be wonderful, a great source of joy in your life. However, while their smiles are contagiously sweet, sometimes they come in swinging, kicking and screaming at the top of their lungs in a way that can overwhelm even the most easy-going parent. In fact, one study showed 90% of parents have admitted to spanking their children at least once. However, there are alternatives to spanking that you should consider since research confirms that spanking could negatively affect your child.


This has long been a topic of debate with dissenters and supporters on both sides despite the volume of research that confirms that spanking does more harm than good. The issue with spanking is that it often happens when a parent becomes overly agitated and is not thinking rationally. In fact, it is usually an indication that the parent has lost control of the situation and the impulse to spank should be a warning signal because it means the parent is responding when their judgment is clouded by frustration, fatigue or anger. 

Many psychologists, pediatricians and educators do not support spanking because of the motives that usually drive it and the possible negative effects it can have on a young child.

The Adverse Effects Of Spanking

Studies point to a correlation in children between being spanked and an increase in moodiness or mood swings. In fact, studies indicate that spanking is associated with between 2% and 7% of mental issues in children. Children who are spanked are more likely to be overly anxious, resort to alcoholism, drug addictions and exhibit maladjusted personalities.


Spanking can result in aggressive behavior due to the fact that children are very susceptible and are prone to imitate adult behavior. When children are spanked before the age of four, they simply cannot comprehend why they are being hit and they are more likely to hit their peers because they were exposed to such actions.

Contrary to certain beliefs, spanking is not necessarily a deterrent to undesirable behavior and is not as effective as some think.

Alternatives To Spanking

Time-out: An effective way of disciplining a child is insisting on a “time out“ in response to negative behavior. Eventually, the child will associate the time out - where they are forced to sit apart from all activities, toys and others - with such behavior and will try to avoid it. It is suggested that a one-year-old should be given a minute in time out, and the duration of the time-out should be directly proportionate to the age of the child.

Positive Reinforcement: Be sure to praise your children when they exhibit good behavior so that they will aim to behave accordingly to receive positive reinforcement.

Distraction: Young children are easily distracted and parents should use this to their advantage. It is a good idea to introduce something that they love whenever they are misbehaving.

Reasonable consequences: Another effective way of disciplining a child is to take away something that they cherish or find enjoyable. This is more suitable for children who are old enough to understand the concept of reward and punishment.

Take Away

Staying objective and not giving into the urge to spank is not easy. Help yourself by focusing on your health in order to prevent the fatigue and anger which may precipitate spanking. Try different nutritional supplements which may help you exercise better or allow you to focus more clearly. 

Researched and written by experts, brought to you by our team at Mommy Authority.

Apart from lecturing in her spare time, Wilma Jakes is a teacher at her local highschool in Texas. She has also volunteered in many programs for mother's with post natal depression and is now a writer at MommyAuthority, sharing her extensive knowledge in the industry.