Smack In The Middle:
Spanking Is Lazy Parenting
About 15 years ago, I was talking to my students—a group of 8th graders—and the conversation turned to spanking. They regaled me with stories about some extreme “whoopin’” a parent had given them. One girl said that she had never been spanked. Everybody was incredulous, including me. Her classmates couldn’t believe it and concluded that she must get away with murder.
I watched this girl for weeks, convinced that she would be a problem child because her parents weren’t spanking her. Turns out, she was one of the gentlest and kindest kids I’ve ever met. She was whip-smart and later graduated at the top of her high school class. I met her parents several times and they were equally charming.
On the other hand, another student, who had the wildest spanking stories, was hands-down one of the worst behaved students I’ve ever had in 10 years of teaching. Once, the dean paddled this student (corporal punishment in schools is legal in Indiana) and then his mother arrived 30 minutes later with her belt and whipped her son again in the bathroom. He was contrite and compliant for a few days, but within a week, he was back at the same antics that got him in trouble in the first place.
I was intrigued. Every school year thereafter, I had two or three kids out of 120 or so who said they rarely or never received spankings. Without fail, those two or three kids were always pleasant, well-behaved, and diligent students who made As and Bs. I didn’t have children at that time, but I started thinking, maybe it is possible to raise kids without hitting them.
In no particular order, these are my opinions on spanking and the major reasons my husband and I have chosen not to do it.