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.Hillary’s story is an American story. Do you remember her?  She posted a video of her father, a Texas Family Judge, beating her with a belt.  Hillary is not alone.  One in three Americans report being physically abused in the home as children.  30% of parents spank their children with a belt or other implement.  Where do you draw the line?



Can spanking really cause brain damage?

An interview with Dr. Martin Teicher, Neuroscientist, Researcher on Early Abuse & Neglect and the Effects on Brain Development.



OK, I understand that spanking is risky, but what do I do instead?

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other one


another one

Please support our work in sharing the risks of spanking and promoting positive parenting!


Mission Statement

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing violence by educating the public on negative effects of spanking and to promoting scientifically accepted, developmentally appropriate positive discipline.

A Rampant Problem that Affects Most Children

•    30% of American parents begin spanking when their child is under a year old

•    50% of all toddlers are spanked three or more times a week

•    Over 90% of all toddlers are spanked at least once

Is Spanking really a GATEWAY to Criminal Child Abuse?

•    Over 88 million Americans are physically abused as children

•    Parents who believe in spanking are 4 – 7 times more likely to abuse their children

•    Most physical child abuse begins with physical punishment  

World Health Organization Lists the Following

"Stop Corporal Punishment" (Spanking) is one of the six recommendations to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Stop Corporal Punishment (Spanking) is one of six recommendations to prevent child abuse and neglect.



Rainbird Foundation
As an organization committed to the end of child abuse, we agree with the researchers who say that abolishing spanking from every state in the union is essential to ending child abuse. That our society still questions whether spanking is a form of violence is an absurd act of denial that contributes to the violence that children endure in this country. We think that your documentary is an elegant, efficient way to deal with this controversial subject. We wish you and your colleagues great success, and we will continue to find ways to support you and your film project.
Thank you for the work you are doing,
Hanna Roth, Founder,The Rainbird Foundation
Dr. Vincent J. Felitti, MD, Co-Principle Researcher ACE Study, Kaiser and CDC
“While spanking or hitting relieves parental tension and sometimes immediately changes behavior, it does so by creating anxiety and fear. Creating anxiety and fear damages trust, attachment, and warmth between parent and child – a huge and unrecognized price that is charged to the future. Depicting these ideas subtly in a TV serial drama would help many people understand what doing better looks like.
I feel lucky because of spending several summers working on a farm as a kid. I was then, and still am, impressed by how well the animals treated their offspring. The cows never gored the calves, the pigs never harmed the piglets, the sheep never harmed the lambs, and the horses never kicked or bit the colts. They stuck with each other and they all grew up right. It was quite memorable.”
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The Alliance to End the Hitting of Children
“Our mission  is to end all hitting of children at school and at home using educational. As such Robbyn Peters Bennett’s film project is such a fit for us that we have contributed financially to it . Robbyn is extremely energetic and ambitious about using film to address the myth that spanking is not any big deal. She is determined to show the link between spanking and permanently damaging physical and emotional abuse. This is crucial and foundational work in changing the culture that still believes in disciplining children through the obsolete methods  of fear and violence.

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116 Responses to

  1. Nadine Block says:

    Robbyn, This is a wonderful documentary trailer. You have demonstrated in the trailer that you can tell a story extremely well and have available the expertise to put it into film in an exciting way. Best of luck to you in your important work! Nadine Block, Founder of the Center for Effective Discipline

  2. Chris says:

    I think a good dose of rationality is needed here.

    1. Just because your parents raised you a certain way and you didn’t turn out to be a serial killer doesn’t mean they were perfect parents and that families shouldn’t improve.

    2. Parents do not need to be demonized, they need educated, by more than pictures of a carnival, sad music, and stories on the extreme fringe. Too much negativity and hype wins zealots, not societies.

    I think most parents want the best for their children. My wife and I are trying for a family right now, and I’ve noticed most of my peers who are also young parents reading up on the latest safety and child development information. Many parents put a great deal of their lives into their children, right down to their choice in homes being based on where the best school districts are (just as one example).

    The real answer to spanking isn’t to make it illegal, but to help parents be more effective. No parent wants a child who is disrespectful or unruly. In fact I think many folks who believe in spanking genuinely feel that they are doing good by spanking. Those parents don’t need punished (the irony is amazing) they need re-educated. Children don’t need less discipline, they need the right discipline.

    The best advocate for healthy families and violence free childhood, is simply successful parents with healthy, disciplined, and in-control children.

    The real question is, do we know how to let people think for themselves? Or are we going to continue to “argue” and “manipulate” people with exaggerations and emotional displays that are void of information useful to parents?

    Thank you for addressing such an important issue. I hope this organization can proceed with thoughtfulness and a genuine interest in changing our parenting culture.

  3. Anonymous says:

    my parents never struck me a blow. This business of hitting children seems to me a human fault. We go to war and slaughter each other. What kind of beast are we at all. We should teach them by example. We naked apes should at least be as decent as our hair covered cousins. We have the gift of talk’ Do not pretend that the word spank is not abuse. Idiot fools think they should beat children. The fools, the fools , the fools.

  4. Serinitee says:

    I spanked my son today. I decided before he was even conceived that I didn’t want to spank my children. I was spanked as a child, and though the spankings then didn’t scar me, I can’t really say they were beneficial. Spankings did, however, escalate into abuse by the time I was an adolescent. Such punishment didn’t have to break or bruise my skin to damage my heart and my spirit. My parental relationship is still mending because of the emotional trauma I endured. I made the conscious decision to do my best not to get into the habit of spanking my child, but by the time he was 18 months I was already tapping his hand. Pregnant with my second, exhausted and at a loss, I resorted to getting his attention in that manner, and felt and continue to feel like such a failure.

    It isn’t always so simple to avoid spanking a child. Oversimplifying such a loaded cultural behavior by demanding that it be against the law for a parent to spank a child is dangerous. Once we hand our parental decisions over to the government, we open up a can of worms. First the borage of immunizations, then discipline techniques, then who is allowed to have children, how many a person is allowed to have etc…Keep the focus on people educating people and giving alternative options, not governmental regulation. We can’t even handle the amount of prisoners we have now.

  5. Gavin Bartlett says:

    Serinitee, this is a crucial point that you highlight. Just remember that we are products of the parental styles and total acculturation to which we have been subjected. I believe that the process starts from the moment we are conceived. Most of us are ignorant of this fact and define ourselves in terms of parental values and the values which define the particular culture into which we have the fortune or misfortune to have been born. We are generally the product of all authority figures uner whose influence we grow up – parents, older siblings, peers, religious and secular teachers, our bosses and the various authorities – acculturated not to be our own authentic and unique selves, yet orking and living with others in harmony and mutually beneficial cooperation. You are one of the few that has had the sense or inspiration to open your mind and are questioning those mostly invalid and false assumptions about who and what we are and what we are supposed to be.

    We learn the communication skills of tone of voice, facial expression and body language long before we learn the language of the spoken or written words. All small children are real experts at these techniques and can read us like a book, so it is very much about being aware of our own mental states and the quality of our mental energy when dealing with small children, indeed if we want to create a better world we need to apply that all our interpersonal interactions. Focus on getting yourself into a mental state of love, joy, peace, patience, tolerance, benevolence, fearlessness, open-mindedness (humility, the willingness to listen and learn) and balance between your material and spiritual selves and you will be amazed at how your child, and indeed other people will respond to that positive energy. Our parental battle is as much one with how we were parented and how we parent our own off-spring. In this sense, virtually the whole world needs the therapy of sound, sincere and empathic human relations.

    Some schools of psychology teach us that our emotions are not what define us, but our emotional-thinking, our state of mind when we are thinking. In this they postulate that our emotions are nothing more than early warning systems. For example, when we feel fear it doesn’t follow that we are threatened, but merely that we feel threatened and need to examine our environment to rationally establlsh whether or not there is a real and present threat, and if so to deal rationally with the threat, as best we can, failing which all that we have to deal with is the feeling of fear itself. Anger on the other hand is an early warning signal that we are about to attack someone, or something and it is a response to fear, not necessarily to a real threat. This is the rationale behind counting to ten before reacting to or in anger, of which frustration is merely a form, indeed an excuse to vent our anger. It is natural to experience feelings of anger, but unhealthy to become angry, in which case we run the risk of living in esistential fear or anger. Our acculturation teaches us otherwise and we use the same dysfunctional emotional mental states on our children to which we were subjected. It is after all the only real experience of parenting tht any of us have when we are blessed with our own children.

    It is all about ignorance, passed down from generation to the next and is what the Judeo-Christian scriptures are referring to when we read “and the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons, generation upon generation” or words to that effect. We are acculturated into visiting our ignorance on ourselves and our children, generation after generation. Some where along the line, hopefully soon more and more people will open their minds as you have and we can begin to heal the world. In the mean time I salute your open-minded courage and say to you that you are not a failure, don’t be too hard on or critical of yourself, stick to what your inner self tells you and persevere, focussing on the quality of the energy that you project to others, especially your children. They will learn by your example to focus their energy in the same healthy way, upon themselves and others. Good luck.

  6. Serinitee says:

    Gavin Bartlett, thank you so much for such sound, encouraging advice. Indeed, since my children were in the womb I practiced meditating on, and projecting warm, loving emotions towards them, and even now will pick them up, hold them close, and randomly send my love to them in that way. I imagine that those moments are protective layers that guard against the hurtful things in this world, even if sometimes those hurtful things are my undisciplined actions. I’m focusing on disciplining myself so that I can more effectively, and positively discipline my children. Though I can wish I learned this before, it really is quite fruitless to do so, isn’t it?

    • Serinitee and Gavin,

      Very insightful comments from both of you. Serinitee, I really appreciate the struggle of breaking the cycle of violence and I admire your honesty. I relate to your struggle, and I think many other mothers do as well.

      Gavin was so clear, so I don’t really have much to add in regards to how we regulate and help our children cope. I do want to say something about the idea of banning spanking in the home.

      Often, the first reaction to this idea is the fear that parents will be criminalized and punished. I think this is a reflection of what it is like to live in a extremely violent and punishing culture. We often see government involvement as punishing rather than protective or educational. Of course this is also a commentary on the way that government functions in many cases – juvenile justice is a perfect example.

      However, I do support the idea of banning spanking in the home. In my mind, the best scenario would be to legislate both a ban (civil) and a requirement to educate parents. Countries that legislated a requirement to provide education have had the greatest success, because of course banning something does not give parents support on alternatives – which is critical.

      Keep in mind that 33 countries have banned spanking in the home, so this is not a new or untried idea. Sweden had the greatest success, because they had a wonderful educational campaign. They printed the message about the ban, and alternatives on milk cartons, so families were discussing it at the breakfast table. They sent pamphlets to every family and child so that everyone knew it was not OK to hit children.

      Parents were not incarcerated for spanking. They were however required to take parenting classes, and this allowed for earlier support and intervention. The outcome over the past 30 years has been: a reduction in foster care placement, and a reduction in adolescent suicide and drug/alcohol abuse. Not only that, the approval of spanking changed radically in just one generation. There was about 65% support in 1979 and now only 3% of parents who are 30 years old or younger think spanking is OK. Sweden made it taboo to spank. Parents were not jailed. It really is amazing.

      Here is a post that evaluates this top further, with a video of Peter Newell, consultant to UNICEF who has worked on the UN Convention Rights of the Child. Please tell me what you think:

      • Serinitee says:

        While I still can’t agree that banning spanking in America is the best solution, given our history of fighting fervently for our rights and beliefs, I do appreciate your comment and I understand your reasoning. In my mind legislation is still the last resort, however. As of yet, we still haven’t utilized the media to our full advantage in educating parents about the negative effects of spanking. I’ve never seen a commercial, brochure, poster, newspaper, or magazine article about not spanking children, and in fact have read (sorefully outdated) information on how to implement spanking as discipline. The only thing that led me to seek out information on spanking was my gut instinct that I didn’t want to harm my children in such a manner, and only then did I find information about it in obscure books (an especially helpful one called Good Behavior Made Easy), online and in Internet communities.

        I also can’t help but wonder if some of the positive outcomes reported are the results of a sort of chill effect on people who are well aware that spanking is banned in their communities and are unwilling to put themselves at risk by giving an honest opinion. I don’t agree with spanking, but I understand that there is a lot more under the surface that must be dealt with in order to eradicate it from our children’s lives. Such barriers could take years to be broken down and cleared away. Single parents, stressed and overworked, families with cultural pressures from well meaning relatives, ill, malnourished people who find themselves in harried predicaments are all at risk, and the solution is not as simple as a ban and a parenting class. Even the most educated of us can fall short of our own expectations. We must learn and teach ourselves to forgive nourish, and love, over and over again. I am happy to say that I have been very successful in repairing my attitude and disciplining myself so that I can properly assist my child. In no way has it been easy to abstain from my ingrained way of disciplining, it has taken much prayer, but I know that the end result of safety, trust, security and love is the most desirable.

      • It is so true that there has been NO meaningful educational campaign to educate parents! One has to wonder why we don’t have a national campaign to help parents with children 0 – 5, considering this is the most vulnerable time in the development of the brain. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Gavin Bartlett says:

    The problem of spanking is part of a much broader issue, which is the totally unnatural acculturation to which we have all been subjected and which I believe has been going on for thousands of years. Spanking and harsh forms of punishment have become part and parcel of various cultures around the world. To make matters worse people are raised and taught that parents have ownership over their children giving rise to a ubiquitous false belief that such ownership extends into all personal relationships; the child, adolescent and adult believing that such ownership of other people is possible, which it most definitely is not. Hence we see the proliferation of failed and dysfunctional personal relationships, which in themselves then build upon the overall dysfunctional parenting in a vicious downward spiral in which people are increasingly defining themselves by means of external influences, rather than by the inwardly generated and self-validated, thoughtful creation of the self-image. This acculturated thinking extends throughout the school system and peer group interactions and is heavily promoted by the mass entertainment industries and advertizing.

    To advocate criminalization of spanking across all countries and cultures will be futile, as a successful outcome depends on the general level of education prevailing in a given society. Anonymous writes of the success exerienced in Sweden. However, here in South Africa spanking of children has been criminalized with seriously negative results. It is a totally different socio-political scenario. As a result of the negative impact of the apartheid years on education in our country and subsequent further bungling by the new regime we have a serious education crisis. Furthemore, school children were heavily politicized as part of the freedom struggle and the degree of civil disobedience in schools reached proportions never seen before anywhere in the world. The only effect that criminalization of spanking has had is in a breakdown in school discipline and consequent further deterioration in the effectiveness of education. The break down in discipline has even extended into the home. This is totally counterproductive as appropriate education is critical to making any meaningful, beneficial change in our social fabric.

    As a long-time, vehement opponent of spanking, who can honestly say never once spanked my own three children I am most definitely not arguing in favour of legitimizing or supporting the practice. I feel that we can only work towards de-legitimizing spanking in the mindsets of people, parents and would be parents. Even without corporal punishment in schools I think that the whole school education paradigm is flawed and psychologically violent toward the developing brain, as this process is now understood in terms of the latest findings of the cognitive and neuro-scientists. The problem involves the entire human perception of our parent-child, teacher-learner and leader-follower realtionships, among others. We cannot legislate how people must think, unless we advocate a return to political absolutism or fascism in any of its forms. It needs to be started and grown like an epidemic, organically from within. Like minded people need to band together, communicate with each other, disseminate valid information and engage with others on the interpersonal level and setting the example for others to see and follow. This website and the proposed documentary are the ideal vehicles to get the process started and then to expand it – relaying the message pesistently, consistently and insistently. it has been said that if a lie is repeated often enough and loud enough it becomes perceived as truth. The same applies to the truth, which can also be supported by rational, scientific validation and that most powerful and under-utilized form of thinking called common sense.

  8. Camille says:

    We tried spanking with our 4 year old (then 3) after reading a parenting book that recommended it. We didn’t spank very hard or often, just as a last resort to her misbehavior. Still, shortly after we started, she started hitting us and the dogs. She even hit a kid in the play area at the mall. Violence teaches violence, I have seen that firsthand. It doesn’t matter what you call it, spanking is the exact same thing as hitting and it’s violence. I wish we had never tried it, our daughter is still working through her feelings from it, and still has an issue with hitting others.

    • Camille, I am so sorry that the book you read recommended spanking. That is where the professional community has truly failed parents. The research is so clear that spanking is destructive and can have enduring negative outcomes, and there really is no meaningful debate in the clinical world. There is just a lack of commitment to educate and offer clear direction. One major goal of our site to provide the current research on spanking to support clinicians to offer empirically grounded, scientifically validated parenting advice – rather than giving biased and untested advice that is ultimately harmful.

      You were very observant with your daughter, which I really admire. Children are biologically wired to mirror our behavior much more than to follow verbal direction. They will do what we do, not what we say necessarily – unless the message and actions are consistent. Your daughter has the benefit of you changing your mind and learning, which is a wonderful thing!

  9. Serinitee says:

    I believe that this website is definitely taking large steps to remedy this issue and I thank you so much for your efforts.

  10. Jordan says:

    The idea of considering a controlled spanking as abuse is absurd. I personally know the “pain” of being beaten with a leather belt or having a wooden spoon broken on my back side. This forms of spanking are a level of abuse. But a controlled, “calm” spanking, with the palm of your hand, is in no way a form of abuse. It is not the proper measures for correcting a child, every time a child needs to be corrected. But at times these measure have their place. At no time a child at the age three or younger need to be physically corrected. As well as at no time when correcting a child of any age, should you be angry. But we are human and we make mistakes, that doesn’t make us bad parents.
    But now as a Delaware resident, to be told if I spank my child I am a criminal. This has gone to far.

    Issues such as aggressive parenting do not need laws that turn parents in to criminals. We need better education, more love, less fear. A law that groups good parents, that make a mistake, with violent people who harm children, is insanity.

    To those that feel spanking is abuse. How many of you carry the scares of real physical abuse? ….. If you do, I know your pain and I suffer with you. But being spanked by a loving parent is not the same as a parent that takes their frustrations out on a child.

    And NO a calm and controlled spanking is not the same as a premeditated violent crime. A premeditated crime is filled with such anger and hatred that you plan out ways to harm some one. A loving parent calmly disciplining their child is in way the same thing

    • I applaud Delaware in attempting to protect children, however, laws without education and support for parents are ineffective at best. Laws can be civil, requiring parents to take parenting courses. Nobody gets thrown in jail for violating a civil ban on smoking in a restaurant! These laws establish social norms.

      For those of us who work in the field of abuse and neglect, we see first hand the effects of social tolerance and legal exclusions for hitting children. The law in Delaware was a refinement of child abuse law, because Attorney General Biden had difficulty prosecuting serious child abuse cases. Why? Because parents were able to plead the defense of “discipline,” and then it was the duty of the prosecutor to parse out where the “fine line” exactly was. This is often a futile exercise. Delaware still has an exclusion in the law for parents to hit their children – so there is a conflict within the law.

      Why should you worry so much about a law that protects children from violence, rather than the fact that there is a law that EXCLUDES children from the same basic human right of being free from violence as every other American? Do you see the sad irony here?

      We know that 75 – 85% of all criminal physical abuse begins with the attempt of a parent to use physical punishment. Various studies show that parents who believe in spanking are 3 – 7X more likely to criminally abuse their children! If you don’t think that spanking is linked to child abuse, please watch this video of a Dr. Zolotor talking about the research.

      The idea that you would intentionally physically cause pain to your child as a way to instruct is a symptom of being brought up in a culture that normalizes violence against children. It is also a symptom of your own childhood experience of abusive discipline. Do you allow your spouse to smack you, as long as it is without anger? Of course not. Children learn best in an environment of trust and respect, and there is not an argument in the world that could convince me that hitting is respectful.

      A loving parent calmly spanking does not prevent the harm done by spanking. Dr. Gershoff’s research of 3,000 families demonstrated that maternal warmth does not prevent the negative outcomes such as increased aggression and mental health problems, associated with spanking.

      Alfie Kohn said it best, “Does spanking teach kids a lesson? By all means: It teaches them to hit people who are weaker than they are to get their way. It teaches them that love is inextricably bound up with violence. It teaches them that acts of aggression are acceptable as long as they’re called “discipline.” If we’re serious about protecting kids from violence, we have to help the adults in their lives understand how — and why — to move past corporal punishment”

      If you want to end child abuse in this country, you must condemn ALL forms of hitting (spanking) and support parents to find better alternatives. Otherwise, you are sadly contributing to the highly predictable physical assault of one in three children in this nation. We must take a stand on this human rights issue and send parents the message that violence is NEVER the answer, and spanking can never be a last resort.

      • Gavin Bartlett says:

        We live in a dysfunctional world when it comes to the basic humanities. No person in their right mind can deny this. The question is “Why is our world so dysfunctional, and becoming more so by the day?” We need to look at society and how it is structured to get to some basic answers. It is inarguable that society is built from the building blocks that are its individual members, therefore the functionality or dysfunctionality of any would be coherent social grouping is a function of the functionality or dysfunctionality of its constituent members and the functionality or dysfunctionality of the personal interactions or relationships between and amongst those members. It all starts in the cradle, if not before. This is probably the greatest paradox of human existence because society is the product of the individual, yet the individual is the product of society. We are all products of the society, the acculturation to which we have been and are subjected and the first acculturation experience that we have is that of how we were parented, which is in turn a product of how our parents were parented and acculturated, and theirs before them, and so on back in time. So, if we want to change our societies we need to do, among many other things, two primary things. We firstly need to change ourselves which requires us to gain mire knowledge and question everything that we believe. Succeeding at that will make life a little better for ourselves immediately and also for our children, but if we manage to change how we parent our children, they have a better chance of being better parents to their children than we have been to them, and so on down the line of generations to come. They way that we have been doing things for centuries has not been appropriate or beneficial to mankind, and spanking of children has become a part of that, increasingly so from one generation to the next. Secondly we need to learn the difference between our real needs and the wants and lusts to which society acculturates us in the interest of the ruling elites. Another important question is ” Do I want a better world just formyself and my child, or for all of humanity?”

        It is pretty much and established fact of cognitive neuroscience that it is absolutely impossible for any two human minds to be alike. Even conjoined twins whose lives are as alike as you could wish them to be, end up as uinque individuals on an intellectual and emotional basis. What conventional parenting and acculturation attempt to do is to over ride this fact, attempting to force square pegs into round holes and vive versa, with disastrous result for the individual and for society. Spanking is part of that process. We cannot OWN anyone, not even our own off-spring, but spanking is a part of the process of trying to do just that, and it flies in the face of nature and the laws of the universe. The neuro-cognitive scientist are discovering reactions to lack of empathy in human brain development almost on a daily basis and all non-empathic interventions create negative aspects to brain and minf development. Spanking your own, special, unique and love child is about as unempathic as it can get. We need, as parents to surmount the negatives and challenges of our own dysfunctional parenting in order for us not to inflict the same dysfunctionality on those precious gifts that life has LOANED to us, as a responsibility. We do not create our children, biologically or mentally/spirituality, we can only be protectors and mediated learning facilitators for them in the hope that our experience(s) will help them gain experience a lot less painfully than the manner in which we acquired that experience. Example is the most powerful form of teaching, for good or for bad. If our word and our actions do not accord with each other, our actions will be imitated and our words not followed. Universal love is directly contradicted by spanking in any form or in any emotional environment; because it teaches the acceptability of violence, regardless of the frame of mind in which it is administered. It is a bit like one country saying to another “You have bombed your own people, so now we will have to bomb you!”

    • anonymous says:

      A lot of them did survive traumatic situations that even you couldn’t begin to imagine. Allice Miller was a well known critic of corporal punishment and survived the Warsaw Ghetto in the 1930’s and 40’s. Yet she, unlike you, apparently did not fall for the faulty logic that you can justify the bad with the worse.

      Whether you like it or not, hitting somebody to deliberately inflict pain, in order to manipulate, coerce or control their behavior, whether they’re 3 or 30, whether it’s the face, the arm or the buttocks, and whether it’s with a belt, a clothes hanger or your hands is STILL innately abusive behavior.

      The burden of proof to defend their position is on the hitters. Not the other way around.

    Only More Mother-Infant Bonding Can Prevent Cycles of Violence
    James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
    1140-23 Savannah Road
    Lewes, DE 19958

  12. Brittany says:

    What an amazing website this is! It’s so nice to see so many people come together for a great cause. Children need our help in ending this barbaric practice. Sometimes I feel as though I’m the only one who feels this way. I live in the South where “spanking” is especially prevalent. I am constantly defending my beliefs to those who think it’s perfectly fine to just smack their kids around. I try and try to encourage others to use alternative methods. My daughter is only 2 months old but I would never even think of hitting her. I often feel alone in this fight being surrounded by so many supporters where I live. This website and everyone else involved in this fight has my complete support and I will do anything that I can to help.

    • Hi Brittany,

      You can definitely help. Probably the most important thing is to share your opinion with other mothers! That is such a powerful thing.

      The other thing is to support our documentary. Please give what you can and also share our work with others. Every little bit helps and adds up. We plan to use this film in schools, head start programs, at school board meetings (where they are debating the use of paddling students), and parenting classes.

      Please spread the word and thank you for your voice speaking out for children!

  13. Sandy says:

    I spanked both of my children as toddlers and young elementary age. We used several forms of discipline with our children while growing up. My husband and I are both educators and felt a strong form of discipline was important as our children grew to learn there are consequences in life to bad choices/decisions. Spanking was done in a loving manner when other forms of discipline were not effective (time out, removing privileges, remove a fav toy, no dessert etc). Our kids were told they were loved and reminded about the choice they made to elicit a spanking. We discussed how to make better choices in the future and then gave them one swat (never with a spoon, belt etc) bare bottom. Spankings were not a daily occurrence other forms of discipline were used first. Spankings were probably received once every 2 weeks or so ( just guessing here) for my son and probably once a month or so for my daughter, when they were younger. We now have two wonderful, confident teens who continue to amaze me with their good grades, leadership abilities,strong convictions, independence and their personal strength to continue to remain positive despite the fact that their beloved dad is now dying of a terminal disease. In hindsight, I would certainly spank my children again in the manner in which we did and advocate for it when used as another tool box in the tools of childhood discipline.

    I understand that spanking in the wrong hands can be a horrible thing in the development of a child. As a teacher I have seen many children suffer from the consequences of either NO discipline at home, or spanking handled as their only tool in the discipline tool box and done constantly for even simple offenses But to say it wrong for everyone in every situation, I can not agree with that.

    • Sandy,

      Thank you so much for your response. I am so incredibly sorry that your husband and your children’s father is dying from a terminal disease. My heart goes out to you and your family. Clearly the love you and your husband have shown is giving your children the strength they need at this time. Loving, wonderful parents sometimes spank and so I hope that you do not feel judged.

      In regards to spanking, your belief that there is a line between spanking that is OK and spanking that is harmful isn’t supported by research, even though it is a very common belief. The research, especially in the past five years is stunningly clear that maternal warmth does not mitigate the negative effects linked to spanking. See Dr. Gershoff’s recent paper on this:

      Also, I encourage you to read Dr. Murray Straus’ recent book that reviews this cultural myth in great detail from a perspective of the research titled, “The Primordial Violence.”

      The science shows us that we now know enough to say that spanking is bad for all kids. Here is an interesting essay clarifying this position:

      Ultimately, I can firmly stand on the human rights argument that no person should ever be hit, particularly children. Spanking is sanctioned violence against children and it is the human rights issue of our generation I think in time you will find yourself on the wrong side of history, and I encourage you to look very seriously at this issue from a human rights perspective. You have no right to hit your children. You clearly love them and want the best for them, but you never have a right to hit a child – especially your own.

      Thank you again for your comments and blessings to your family in this very difficult time.


      Robbyn Peters Bennett

  14. Kimberly says:

    I was spanked as a child with a belt and I turned out fine. I spank my kids with my hand but only as a last resort. Time out does not work. I believe that there is a line but its called leaving a mark that last 24 hours vs lasting longer. Also it is okay to spank before the child turns one they need to learn early.

    • Kimberly, The fact that you believe in violence as a way to teach your children shows that spanking had a pretty negative effect. It normalized the idea of hitting as teaching. I agree that time out doesn’t really work. There are other ways to educate children without aggressing them. Are you aware of the research? Check it out and tell me what you think:

      Do you think you used spanking as a last resort when you ran out of other options? What if there had been other options, would you have chosen them instead? I’m pretty certain that when mothers learn effective alternatives, they willingly give up hitting as a “choice.”

      Thank you for writing.

  15. Nate says:

    Robbyn, if you have any concern about the rules of logic, please consider these thoughts. I watched your TED talk in its entirety. In it, your premise equaled your conclusion, because you defined spanking as abuse and said that abuse was wrong. Once you defined spanking they way you want, is there any reasonable discussion to be had? No, it is a manipulative technique. Also, you gave no evidence for the for the notion that spanking was a gateway to abuse, but it is one of your main tenants. Perhaps anger, drugs, world view, evil hearts, lack of self-control (the list could go on and on) are the gateway to abuse? You illustrated your bias when you described your son as anecdotal evidence (a logical fallacy). You indicated that his trouble was from spanking, but there were obviously other issues in his life that your observation ignored. (The fact that he was used as an anecdote means that there is not control in your observational methodology.)

    • Dear Nate,
      Thank you for watching the TED talk and for your feedback. It is very challenging to address such a complex issue in less than 14 minutes. Let me respond to some of your concerns.

      I chose to tell the audience immediately that I believe we should never spank our children, because I wanted to be straightforward about my bias. Then I attempted, in a very short time I might add, to explain why I believe this. It is true that I did not reference the research that supports the conclusion that spanking is a gateway to criminal abuse, mostly due to time constraints. My central agenda was to help parents understand the mechanism by which spanking may cause dysregulation and to offer a different lens in which to respond to children with challenging behaviors. There is ample evidence that spanking is a gateway to abuse, which I did not have the luxury of time to clarify. In a sense, I asked the audience to assume this is true. Which of course, it is! Somewhere between 65 and 85% (depending upon the study) of all substantiated physical child abuse cases begin with physical punishment at the hands of the parents. Parents who believe in spanking are 4X more likely to criminally abuse their child (the definition for substantiated criminal abuse is extreme). Parents who believe in spanking with implements, i.e. belts, spoons, paddles are 9X more likely to criminally abuse their children. You may find this video where Dr. Zolotor discusses his research interesting.

      I would agree with you that anger, drugs, worldview, lack of self control clearly contribute to abuse, but I am interested in the roots of violence, not the innumerable variations that are born from it. For example, anger is neurobiologically a dysregulated and reactive state. But why are some people more prone to anger, and drugs and poor self control than others? In my view, early development has an enormous and enduring effect on self regulation, the compulsion to abuse drugs, the inability to manage affect and internals states. This is rooted in a mal-developed, or poorly developed self regulatory system upon which all other development is based. I cannot overemphasize the importance of development in the first five years of life.

      You feel that I made a logical fallacy using my son as an example and that I am biased. Obviously I am biased. I stated that at the beginning of my talk. It is perfectly legitimate to use my son as an example. Parents often feel a great deal of worry and shame when confronted with spanking, and I did not want to come across as judgmental. Rather, I wanted to share that I too have struggled personally with this topic. There usually are other contributing factors to problems with dysregulation, i.e. a difficult divorce in my son’s case. However, the science shows that spanking is correlated to a myriad of behavioral and mood problems associated with dysregulation and even brain alterations – even when these confounding factors are excluded. My son is not the perfect case study, but he is a fair and reasonable case study.

      The research I am quoting and relying upon in this talk is not based upon the anecdotal examples of my son, or Jack. These are examples intended to create clarity. The research I am relying upon is based upon a huge body of evidence, with hundreds of studies. Here is more on the research:

      Thank you so much for your feedback.

      Warmest regards,

      • Anonymous says:

        I have another theory that you could consider. I don’t think that spanking alone can cause problems, but glorification of spanking can exacerbate it. Not all people who are spanked grow up rationalizing it (such as yours truly). Even when I was a kid, I never had strong feelings against it, but when I would read about or watch a character on TV get hit or threatened with it, it would make me cringe.

        I’m glad that now that I’m grown up, my feelings against corporal punishment are stronger. Not only should it be banned, people should stop trivializing their abusive upbringings. Just because one survives being hit, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay. People should have the courage to condemn those who hurt them and call it “discipline”.

        We are not slaves to our past, We can take control of our lives, and end the cycle. No one should use a less-than-ideal childhood and stressful job as an excuse to hurt others. I’ve been hurt and bullied at home and at school, and I can never dream of hurting others. I’m one of the meekest people that I know.

        For those who do hurt others, I hope that they could seek out help for themselves instead of taking their pain out on scapegoats, but that is up to them. The only person I can control is me.

        Thanks, Ms. Bennett, for your activism. I hope I’m still alive by the time the US and other countries ban this barbaric practice.

      • Yes, I agree that the belief (or glorification as you say) that it is OK to hit children is one of the most destructive elements of spanking. It suggests that children’s basic human rights are not valid and misleads parents into disrespecting children in a myriad of ways.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, that’s something that boggles my mind, Ms. Bennett. It’s a practice that is decreasing, but an issue hardly anyone wants to talk about. What are pro-spankers afraid of if they admit that as children, they didn’t deserve to be hit? Why are even some non-spankers afraid to criticize those who hit kids?

      • For those of us who were raised in an authoritarian style, criticism and blame can equate to rejection and punishment. If you are wrong, you may be humiliated, shamed, or hurt. So the natural process of learning where we recognize we’ve made mistakes becomes a risky thing, and even frightening or anxiety provoking for many. I believe spanking is connected to the deeper problem of bullying in the family. When we speak up, are we going to get bullied?

      • Anonymous says:

        My questions were a bit rhetorical, but your answers align with another theory I have. Pro-spankers defend their harsh upbringings because they still fear their caretakers. It doesn’t make sense to fear someone (or some people) who can no longer hurt you.

  16. Anonymous Mom says:

    I am glad to have come across this website. Ending the cycle of violence is important and I would like to come up with healthier ways to discipline my children. As a mother of four, I work full-time and I don’t want when I reach my hand towards my children that they jump back or cringe fearing that I am going to hit them when they do something wrong. My husband and I were also spanked, and yes we turned out fine, but I don’t think it is ok. When we are around family members who still thinks this is an acceptable for of discipline and the children “misbehave”, we feel pressured to react or they start making comments of how I would have never gotten away with that. Thank you for showing another perspective.

  17. Mike says:

    Anyone who spanks their kids needs to man up! Why don’t they pick on someone their own size? A person who spanks wouldn’t try that on me because I would knock their teeth out!

  18. Nancy says:

    It has always been interesting to me that all of the people that I know who are against spanking are intellectual types, and all the more simple-minded people are all for it. Any time a spanking debate sparks up, everyone on the pro-hitting side of the argument seem to be simpletons who have trouble stringing a sentence together and spelling common words correctly. We grew up thinking it was normal to be hit by adults and the people of higher intellect were the only ones who questioned it when they became adults themselves. Dumber people are less likely to question what they’re told. Anyone who can stomach seeing a child crying in pain, much less being the cause of it, needs their fricken head read!

    • Mike says:

      Well said!

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess that’s true sometimes, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. There are intelligent people who support corporal punishment. An example is my older sister, who is going for her Ph.D., is a tutor, and works in a science lab. It boggles my mind how someone so smart and works in the sciences ignores scientific evidence that hitting children is harmful. I fear for my potential niece or nephew if in the next several years she still holds that opinion and has children one day.

      • I have found that all sorts of folks believe in spanking, but the common denominator is that they themselves were hit as children. I know plenty of intellectuals who think hitting children is OK, sadly. I don’t think it is an issue of intelligence as much as exposure to violence.

        As for your sister, sometime sharing the research helps. She may not agree with you to your face, but she will probably think about it and come to her own conclusions later on. Don’t underestimate your influence on her thinking!

  19. Philip Dalton says:

    Here’s a selection of posts praising this obvious child abuse:
    “I am proud of a parent in the judicial system who actually beat his child’s behind. She was not abused, He did his job. That is why teenagers today are telling their parents what to do instead of the parents doing their job. Kudos to the judge. Maybe if more parents were doing this then we would not have so many disrespectul and disfunctional teenagers.”
    “FATHER OF THE YEAR AWARD!! finally a parent who disciplines their children!! i love it. and she will thank him later”.
    ” That’s it? That looks like the standard, old-time spanking. People get worse than this daily. It is not like they punched and kicked her or hit her across the face and body or didn’t stop. They got her backside, and they only got her legs because she was still being disobiendent. She was still bringing it on herself. And she is like a grown woman disrespecting and disobeying her parents. There are just as many women and girls as there are men and boys that needed this, and wish they got this so that they didn’t end up as prostitutes, drug addicts, homeless, in jail, or dead. I bet there wouldn’t be as much outrage if this were a son though”.
    “We need more people like this. This country has gone soft and stupid. Rat on your own daddy for doing what’s right. He got to his position because of hard work. Playing too much games makes you stupid. Daddy just want her to be on his level. I’m a Tiger Dad, with 2 Harvard student in the family. I get people with PHD just to work for me and make me more money, I love this society! Don’t ever let pussies run this country, they will become “soft” and make USA a weak country”.
    “THIS AIN’T NOTHING! Do u know how much WORSE my beatings was?? I wish I could get whupped with a belt! And throughout it all, I STILL LOVE MY FOLKS! It has definitely bettered me. It’s just discipline… Think about what she did. Yeah, it was petty, but doesn’t every crime start out small?? I say stop it while u still can!!!”
    “My father gave me spanking when I was living at home. Its called discipline. So because this man gave his daughter a spanking he’s abusing her? That makes me laugh”.

    • This is so sad, because violence (hitting and spanking) against children actually increases the chance that they will have problems functioning as an adult. The research shows spanking is correlated to 1) less moral internalization, 2) more deceit, 3) more aggression, 4) greater chance of drug and alcohol abuse, and 5) more defiance. The juvenile justice system is essentially a “house of trauma” filled with children who have experienced profound early abuse and neglect.

  20. Philip Dalton says:

    As a Jehovah’s Witness I will express my opinion on this from a Biblical perspective. Proverbs 23:13: “Do not hold back discipline from a boy. If you strike him with a rod, he will not die. With the rod you should strike him, in order to save him from the grave”. However, this scripture in no way justifies such a cruel and forceful beating as what was shown in the video clip, especially not for the minor offence of dowloading illegally. Many who have commented on the clip on YouTube have tried to misuse the scriptures to justify the barbaric actions of Judge William Adams. However, in 2007 a survey found that discipline had deteriorated since corporal punishment was banned from UK schools, and that almost half of parents would like to see it re-introduced. Here is a video clip in which a young lady who has just received such punishment expresses her opinion on it:

    • There are many biblical references, particularly in the old testament, to violent acts that would not be considered literally appropriate. There are many, many god fearing Christians who do not take this text to literally mean that one should ever strike a child. Here is a site that addresses this particular issue:

      As for the young lady who chose to be assaulted rather than be suspended, she has been normalized to violence. Most children who are victimized by violence, believe it is their fault and that it is natural until they learn that some adults never hit children and some children are never hit – and these adults and children live moral and peaceful lives. This story of these children and this misguided and destructive principle is very, very sad. There is nothing moral or Christian about striking a child under any circumstance.

      • Anonymous says:

        I find it annoying when so-called Christian experts say that “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” is in the Bible. That line is actually in a satirical poem called “Hudibras”, and it was discussing sexual acts between adults, not hitting children.

        There are other violent acts that pro-spanking Christians don’t follow literately such as throwing stones at adulterers and animal sacrifice. Why take some scriptures literately, and not others?

        By the way, I’m an atheist who was raised in a Baptist family. One of the reasons my atheism strengthened was because I held resentment towards religious people who used God to justify abuse disguised as discipline. After a while, I learned that not all religious people support hitting children. (Even some atheists/non-religious people support it.) I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to being a deity-believer. (I’ve been an atheist for eight years.) But it’s a relief to know that there are religious people who don’t take the rod verse literately and are fighting to end this practice for good.

      • My own observation is that the belief system that hitting children is godly, is grounded in the experience of trans-generational violence rather than any well thought out spiritual doctrine. It is an unconscious attempt to use a religious argument to make sense of the original trauma in one’s own childhood and community. One’s idea of the nature of God is often grounded in one’s earliest experiences of authority. When authority has been punishing and cruel, it is natural to imagine God as also being punishing and cruel. I am not taking a position of religious authority here, but I do believe there is ample instruction in the New Testament to support an ethic of empathy and compassion.

    • Gavin Bartlett says:

      It may help to combat this myth by pointing out that the original etymology of the word rod was that it was used to depict a shoot or bud or a young branch, and this is the sense in which it is used spiritually. The “rod” is the teachings of the true Judeo-Christian doctrine, which are in their real essence non-violent – especially in relation to children.

      • Philip Dalton says:

        A typical example of misuse of scripture in order to literally ‘put the fear of God’ into churchgoers is the teaching that all those not worthy of an eternal reward face the prospect of eternal damnation, in which they are tortured for all eternity. Here is an extract from an article on this subject on a so-called ‘Christian’ website called Dial-a-Truth Ministries:
        “It is humanly impossible to comprehend the Bible description of Hell. Nothing on Earth can compare with it. No nightmare could produce a terror to match that of Hell. No horror movie could describe its fright. No crime scene with all its blood and gore could begin to match its horror. It will be beyond anything humanly imaginable!”
        The article then goes on to make the following description:
        “As you leave your body you realize something is happening. You hear a sound…getting louder and louder…screaming…weeping…wailing. Terror and fear beyond anything you could imagine overtakes you! ‘This can’t be happening’ you scream. Your nostrils are filling with the awful stench of burning souls. Your face ignites from the heat. Flames are now blazing from your eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth – every opening from your body, flames are roaring out. Your body is now convulsing from the horrible pain. ‘Why don’t I die?’ you scream. You begin weeping and gnashing your teeth with the millions. ‘When will this pain stop?’. But you know it will never stop…”
        The article then goes on to justify this scene of ugly carnage with the following statement:
        “But God is a God of love….Why would a GOD OF LOVE send me to Hell? Yes, God is a God of love, but God is also a holy God. A holy God demands payment for sin. Otherwise God would not and could not be holy”.
        I will put a bit more info on here sometime soon explaining what the Bible’s teachings really are regarding eternal torment after death.

  21. Philip Dalton says:

    There is one man in particular who has repeatedly posted on the YouTube clip using the ‘spare the rod & spoil the child’ argument to justify the fearful thrashing shown in it. His contention is that it was held onto for seven years and then posted merely out of spite because Hillary’s father had stopped giving her money and taken her Mercedes away. He has constantly got into heated arguments with others, including myself, and then finally given up (which was my advice to him). Recently though, he has posted again.

  22. Sharon J says:

    Thank you for doing something to end violence against children. I was a child that was raised with spanking. It was abusive. As an adult, I have gone through years of therapy to finally be able to trust people and live a productive life. I remember being afraid as a child. It seemed like I was being hit everyday. I remember I didn’t like brushing my teeth, so my father took a hanger and hit me with it. I had scars all over my body. I was scared and ashamed. To this day, I have a fear of not brushing my teeth. I become nervous if I am unable to brush it. I have social anxiety and constantly feel anxious. This is why I’m very against corporal punishment. It doesn’t do anything, but cause life long damage. I am not close with my family. We are constantly getting into heated arguments. I don’t respect my parents. My boyfriend was never hit as a child and I see how his life is so different from mine. He has a great loving relationship with his family. He trust them and know they are always there for him. Children don’t deserve to live in fear. Thank you so much for doing something to end violence.

    • You are so welcome! I’m so sorry that you were hit as a child. Hitting other people damages trust, which is something we never want to do with our children. Some people argue about this fine line, but there really isn’t one. All hitting is on a continuum of violence and disrespect.

      The anxiety you feel is damage done to your stress response. I suffered from enormous anxiety in my early twenties. There are ways to alleviate that anxiety. One of the most effective ways is to do psychotherapy. You might also try EMDR with specific triggers, like brushing teeth, because EMDR attempts to remap the association between brushing teeth and the fear of assault. Of course yoga or any other exercise you enjoy is very important as well. Also, meditation can really help.

      Here is an interview with Dr. Martin Teicher, Neuroscientist, Researcher on Early Abuse & Neglect and the Effects on Brain Development.

  23. Andrew Kerrigann says:

    I just wanted to thank you for what you’re doing. I’m only 21 years old, and I was never hit when I was younger, and grew up in Massachusetts, so never feared being hit in school. However, I recently learned that my fiancee was hit when she was younger, and it was only then that I learned that it was still legal to hit a child in the home in the entirety of the U.S. I wasn’t sure what to do and just kind of felt powerless, because one of my biggest convictions has always been equality, and I thought we as a country were passed the stage of child abuse. Even though I was never hit, and my fiancee has stated she disagreed with her parent’s methods, and they all still love each other, I still get this pit in my stomach at the mention of it, and wanted to do something. I’ve searched every where and couldn’t find anything current, and for a time was convinced everyone had given up. But then I found your site and hope was restored!
    Anyways, what I’m trying to say is, thank you for what you’re doing, and please, keep it up

    • You are so welcome Andrew! What a marvelous thing to be raised without violence. It is a testament to how natural life can feel without violence (even though for so many violence is normal). Your upbringing shows others that children can be raised peacefully! You can have a voice. Here are some ways…

      Join the US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children:

      Share our April event with parents and friends who may need more support to find alternatives. It is called the No-Spank-Challenge.

      Thank you for writing Andrew.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s nice to read that from him. It’s a breath of fresh air to read about someone who didn’t grow up in a hitting home.

        Something that I always noticed when it comes to corporal punishment is that the ones that support it come from hitting homes. I have yet heard of or met someone who grew up in a non-hitting home that supports hitting children.

      • Usually people who have been raised without hitting are appalled and in disbelief. So refreshing really! I know of very few who spanked their children who were not hit themselves, and in those cases they were emotionally abused as children and their spouse believed in hitting. Spanking is so clearly a belief system stemming from early violence that is passed on generation to generation.

      • Andrew Kerrigann says:

        Even if spanking were to by, some stretch of the imagination, work, what aggravates me the most is when parents defend spanking with “I came out fine, so spanking should be fine”. I came out fine too, and I’ve never been hit, so spanking isn’t the only solution. Why risk the negatives for what could be less violently attained positives.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, to correct myself, I have yet heard of or met someone who grew up in a stable, nurturing home that supports hurting children (or anyone for that matter) in physical and/or emotional ways.

        When one hears of a dysfunctional person who comes from a “normal” family, I can’t help but wonder if the family seemed great on the outside, but kept the abuse secret/subtle.

        This in no way excuses a person; it just explains that person’s personality. Not all people who come from less than ideal backgrounds hurt others. No one is a prisoner of a dysfunctional upbringing.

  24. Philip Dalton says:

    Well, although the video clip downloaded by Hillary is horrible to watch, in a way it’s made me feel better. It’s made me appreciate my upbringing. It’s made me realize how kind and loving my parents were to me, and what a fine job they did of bringing me up. I was never overdisciplined, my parents did the best they could. I love my mother, and I loved my father, and how happy I am to say that!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Reading your comment makes me a bit envious, but relieved that not everyone was raised with violence. A potential child would be lucky to have a parent like you.

  25. andrew says:

    I dont spank my children but I dont impose my own views on everyone else. You seem to confuse a good smack on the bottom with violence! My parents smacked me occasionally but I am not a wife beating drug abuser. And nor are ANY of my friends who were brought up the same way.

    • Wife beating is considered very taboo, not to mention illegal. I don’t imagine you would be confused about how unethical it is to hit your wife, although many, many people were just fifty years ago. Spousal abuse has dropped 64% in the past 15 years, in large part because people started to speak out against it. I am not going to “impose” my views on you, unless I believe that you are violating the basic human rights of others. In this case, “a good smack on the bottom” is clearly violence. You can call it “good” and a “smack” to water down what you are doing with euphemisms, but it is violence. And I can assure you, that is exactly the way children experience it. It certainly is the way the brain experiences it – as a threat.

      If you want to draw the line between spanking and abuse, good luck. I’ve never found agreement on this for obvious reasons. Spanking is violence. There is no line, except where you step over into denial. You have no right to hit a child. And any adult who loves children, should stand up against all hitting of children.

    • Philip Dalton says:

      Andrew, would you say that your parents smacked you out of love and not just in anger? Would you say it was because they cared about you and had your best interests at heart. Would you say it was for your own good? One of my closest friends is glad his father used a belt and slipper on him. I think he’s perfectly entitled to think that way, I don’t believe in mind control. Only robots should be mind controlled, not humans.

      • Anonymous says:

        Boy, what a disturbing remark from your friend. I’m sorry that he feels that way. Hopefully, he’ll change his mind and realize that he didn’t deserve to be treated so badly.

  26. Philip Dalton says:

    I don’t for one minute think he was as severely beaten as Hillary.

  27. Maria says:

    Hi, I’m so happy to come across your web page! You are doing such a wonderful job, changing consciousness, changing horrible tradition of violence within families. I have two little ones under 5 and a year ago saw a child abuse case with pictures. That moment changed my life. All I want is to dedicate time and effort to prevent child abuse. As many, many child murders start out as “discipline” (or at least this is the excuse used in court), it makes sense to outlaw ANY physical punishment, including restrains. Not to say that Any punishment is unconstitutional and strips a child of his basic human rights. You are doing a lot in this direction, but I was wondering – would it be a good idea to start a petition to actively change the law? Or is it not the right time for it? Or does it already exist? I don’t know what I can do to help, but plz let me know what I can do and I will!! I cannot donate, I don’t have anything right now, we are literary bit unemployed – me and my husband, but I’m a volunteer at Million march against child abuse and if I could in any way partner with you please just let me know! I’m in sacramento area, CA. Thank you for very thing you are doing!!!

  28. Philip Dalton says:

    One of my Facebook friends has made the following comment:
    “What is this country coming to a teacher has died in hospital after being stabbed in a Catholic school in leeds wtf there is no respect from the feral kids that run a mock when you were stopped and not allowed to smack your kids anymore the problems started bring back national service I say”. You’re not allowed to smack your kids in Sweden, but just think of all the parents who are doing it on a daily basis and getting away with it. Do they have a camera installed in every room of every house in the country so that every single person who gives their children ‘six of the best’ is always seen doing it? Think about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are parents/guardians who have a policy about waiting until they get home to hit children. It makes me wonder if hitting is so great, why hide it?

  29. Anonymous says:

    I’m not going to bother watching these videos. The fact that beatings are filmed and put online is downright sick and that is enough for me.

    I actually hope the minors estrange their caretakers when they grow up. Kind of reminds me of the father who shot his daughter’s laptop and bragged about it on the Web. UGH!

  30. Philip Dalton says:

    I must stress here at this point that the links I posted on here which have unfortunately been removed were not links to films of children being beaten, they were links to video responses to these films in which a person expresses how they felt about them. The one made by a Carribean woman of herself belt-whipping her daughter for posting semi-nude photos of herself online is an especially deplorable one. It shows her striking the girl quite forcefully with a belt more than sixty times. People try to justify it, as many commonly do, by saying the girl won’t do it again, but does that necessarily make it right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, thanks for clarifying that.

      It makes wonder, though, what kind of relationship the daughter and the mother had that drove the girl to do something like that to begin with. I have a great feeling that that wasn’t the first beating she received.

      • Anonymous says:

        I mean “it makes [me] wonder”.

  31. Philip Dalton says:

    Video clips like the one posted above have dispelled in my mind the myth that men are naturally more aggressive toward their children than what women are. I think people in general have a bit of a concept of “wait until your father gets home”, which is that children brought up only by their mothers are not as strictly disciplined and will therefore take advantage and just do as they please. Not that I think anyone should go to those sorts of lengths to discipline their children anyway. But, of course, children don’t like having their bottoms smacked and therefore there are times when it is for their own good. I’ve decided to butt out of this (forgive the pun on words) but I’ll leave you all with this thought. One day when I was about ten me and two other lads accidentally broke a test tube while playing under a table. We were then told to go and line up in front of a whole class while Mr. Hitchens the RE (Religious Education) teacher gave us a good telling-off. “You Dalton are an idiot”, he said to me. He then finished by whacking his pump against a desk, as a threat that it the same thing happened again we’d have to bend over in front of everyone else and take our punishment. Have I ever felt resentful about this? Never, because I know breaking other people’s property is wrong. Even if it’s accidental, it can mean you weren’t being careful enough. So I’m glad I was made an example of. And I think yes, if a child is spanked moderately they could look back at it in retrospect when they get older and see that their parents were doing it to them because they loved them and cared about them. And to be loved and cared about is to be happy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Instead of being insulted and threatened, you could’ve been given jobs to help pay off the broken test tube. That teaches one to own up to and take responsibility for mistakes better than, “Oh, I should be careful so I wouldn’t get hit.” One should do good and avoid bad for their own sakes not because someone would hurt them if they commit a wrong or do good just to avoid punishment.

  32. Philip Dalton says:

    I know I said I wouldn’t be commenting on here, but I’ve decided now there’s more food for thought. I remember when one of my Facebook friends came to school with a black eye, for which I happen to know that her own father was responsible. It’s these children who are truly being abused, the ones who are having their bottoms smacked are the happy ones. It might not be supported by research, but it is evident all the same. Consider this letter which was written by a little girl to her mum: “This is for you because we all love you. We want to show our appreciation by making a card. When we have low marks you sign our paper. When we’re bad you smack us. We may cry, but we know it’s for the best. . . . All I want to say is that I love you very, very much. Thanks for all you do for me. Love and kisses. [Signed] Michele.”
    In the early nineties there was a group of girls at a private school in England who got caught sneaking into the boys’ dorm, which was against the rules. Their headmistress phoned their parents, giving them a choice of their daughters either being expelled or being caned. After it had been agreed by the parents, and the girls themselves, that they would be caned, they each had it, on their hands as well as their bottoms. Did these girls think this was a horrible experience from which they would be emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives? Evidently, not, as the next day they presented the headmistress with some flowers and gifts to show their appreciation for being punished for wrongdoing. I know what real violence is, I’ve experienced it outside the home, I’ve been badly beaten up and punched in the face. So, I think, why should I condemn parents for using reasonable physical chastisement on their children when they are disrespectful, bully their siblings or others, steal etc. when they genuinely love that child and are trying their best to help them grow up into a good person? When the child has experienced something they didn’t like it may not be a nice memory for them but it may very well become a happy memory for them in the future.

  33. Julie Howard says:

    I believe that I have a duty as a parent to end the generational cycle of violence in my family.. I was spanked and intimidated as a child and I know it has effected me deeply. Now as a parent of a preschooler , I am against spanking . I work VERY hard every day to be creative in the ways to deal with my child when I feel justifiably angry and want to hit him. It is a very hard task but I remember everyday sad and alone I was as a little girl when I would get hurt by the ones who were there to protect me. I don’t ever want my son to experience the isolation and pain that I went through.
    Great website. Want to find out more about the tools .

    • Your sensitivity toward your son is so moving. So many of us grow up feeling isolated and don’t even realize life can feel differently than that. Many continue to live life from a perspective of feeling alone, where they can’t trust other people to care about their needs. I admire your honesty and your dedication to your son. Have you discovered the “no-spank challenge?” It is a wonderful resource for parents.

      Thank you for sharing!

      • Julie Howard says:

        I am really excited to look into all the alternatives you have on your website. I heard you on a parent call with Patti Wipfler. I found you very inspiring. I have been practicing Hand in Hand for a few years, but I still need lots of help….
        On a different note, I work with children and families in a very violent culture. I witness violent interactions frequently and feel a need to do something and not sure what.
        Maybe we can have a private e-mail conversation at your convenience?
        Thanks for your reply…

  34. Chantelle says:


    I was spanked a child, i think it should be banned.
    I fealt unloved, unwanted and hated by my family in my household as a child.
    Suffering depression since a VERY young age
    Under 10years old maybe 6/7years old
    Now have depression, anxiety, panic disorder and social anxiety.

    • Chantelle, I’m so sorry to hear about your early experiences of feeling unloved. That is so heartbreaking. At the same time, you do not believe in spanking which is an extraordinary thing, because many people think they deserved it and that they were bad. You have made a huge step in taking your side and having empathy for yourself as a child.

  35. Bill says:

    I’m so grateful for the work you are doing. I have a lifelong spanking fetish, for which I have had therapy unsuccessfully over the years (this issue has been spoken of earlier on here), even though I was spanked maybe only a couple of times. I live in England and fortunately spanking (or smacking as it is called here) is slowly going out of fashion. Many parents still use corporal punishment, but reluctantly – ‘I lost it’ ‘I wish I could find another way’ ,so I think people are open to education. I’d like there to be a law against it as, although I would not want parents to be criminalized, it would send a message. When I look at American websites, blogs etc. there seems still to be strong acceptance of spanking as’normal’, which I think is because of the inordinate influence of fundamentalist religion. The only real pro spankers these days seem to be christian fundamentalists – I think unless that is addressed perhaps by other christians then it will be difficult to get change in the US. I know that there are some anti-spanking christian groups e.g. gentle mothers, why not train a child. So I think there is hope for the future. Best wishes.

    • I wish more people could courageously speak out about spanking fetishes, because I believe it is much more common than people want to admit. The early wiring of pain with intimacy and relationship is so powerful and it doesn’t surprise me that it is difficult to treat. Trauma is so much more damaging when experienced at an early age. I do agree with you that fundamentalism promotes the abuse of children in many ways. Thankfully, there are Christians who are addressing this issue. The churches have failed to protect children, much in the same way that they have failed to address other forms of domestic violence. Here is a resource of Christians against spanking.

      Thank you so much for writing!

      • Bill says:

        Thanks Robbyn. I found the links interesting, especially the 20 reasons one, which indicates that the Bible does not support spanking and a post there does address the sexual effects, particularly from a Christian angle. I also think Tom Johnson’s leaflet, ‘The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children’, (available on the no spank website) sets out the position on the sexual aspects clearly and cogently. It should be required reading for all parents and teachers! Best wishes.

  36. theArtist says:

    Next time you say something like that, im gonna spank you. Now you have been warned and can use your free will :) how logic does it sound? Is it a good way to teach a kid how to negociate with others in society? You must have been severely abused to say rubbish like that. Sorry for you… Seek help, man!

    • anonymous says:

      I think we should relegalize spanking for adults who agree with it… But only them. Run a red light? Argue with a public official? Make a scene at a grocery store? Accidentally break something? You better get ready!

  37. theArtist says:

    You have developped what is called the stockholm syndrom. Try and do some research. Hope it will help. Good luck!

  38. Jonathon says:

    Apparently your morons on here have no children yourselves. I tell you what, when they allowed spanking in schools, the crime rate was a helluva lot lower than it is now. By not punishing your children you are giving them no boundaries. So unless you have kids, shut-up about knowing anything about parenting.

    • Jonathon,
      I wonder why you feel it so necessary to be hostile. You are welcome to state your opinion. To answer your question, I have two children, three step children and four grandchildren, and I work with children. The crime in schools wasn’t lower when we were assaulting children. There is also a correlation between schools who paddle and lower test scores. It creates and environment of fear and distrust and interferes with a child’s ability to learn. It can even damage a child’s brain.

      There is a BIG difference between establishing boundaries and hitting. In fact, hitting is a violation of personal boundaries and basic human rights.

      If you want to cultivate a child’s learning, remember the 6 “R’s” of healthy brain development.

      • Relational (safe)
      • Relevant (developmentally-matched to the individual)
      • Repetitive (patterned)
      • Rewarding (pleasurable)
      • Rhythmic (resonant with neural patterns)
      • Respectful (of the child, family, and culture)

      Here is an excellent article on how to create a emotionally safe (and therefore physically safe) classroom.

      • Anonymous says:

        Also, crime is decreasing, not growing. He should check the latest statistics and stop listening to scare-mongering news.

    • Philip Dalton says:

      Jonathon, just in case you haven’t noticed I’ve never resorted to calling others morons in order to get a point across. Doing so will only make them think you are one yourself.

  39. Sun says:

    Just wanted to ask what are the chances this will ever be outlawed in this country ? It makes me so sick to see babies/ toddlers hit SO HARD . I have three kids and would never strike them. It’s assault . I saw a toddler hit today and felt so sick and powerless and wanted to call the cops …..

    • Dear Sun,
      I think that the current system is fairly punitive and most Americans would fear that a ban would lead to a punitive response to parents that need help learning alternatives. Over time I have learned to intervene in the moment with as much love and compassion I can muster for the parent. If they feel you have an open heart, often they will respond with relief. I’ve had parents start to cry when I walked up and put my hand gently on their shoulder. Parents feel terribly judged in public. First of all, you are not powerless. Know that any aid you can offer that parent is important. Sometimes I say to parents, “This must be so hard on you. Remember, first to be kind to yourself.” Sometimes that can open the door to them talking about how also to be kind to their child. Most parents who strike their children do not feel that they are enough, and carry enormous self criticism.

      • Anonymous says:

        That may work for some people, but I never had such luck. Even when I told strangers in the past how it hurt or scared me, all I got was flak. I got the worst from my own brother, and he’s been hating me since. (Though he insists on how much he loves me after treating me like dirt moments before.) Other family members are on his side, and make me the bad guy for condemning corporal punishment. They say the only real abuse is the kind when one is black and blue. It’s so sad since I moved in with my mother when I fell on financial hard times, only to feel like I’ve been cheated when I thought she changed and regretted how she treated me as a child. But, no. She’s acted like that (according to her) because she was under stress, and it’s my fault for not understanding her. It doesn’t make sense. Why apologize if you don’t want to change? I’m saving up until I can move out. There’s so much dysfunction in my family that it’s not even funny. I don’t have any friends in town (except for my cat), and I’m surprised I lasted this long without going crazy. Loneliness, even when surrounded by others, is the worse kind. Thank you for letting me vent.

      • Sometimes, close family can be the hardest to reach. I hope for you that you find supportive friends, so that you feel strengthened by loving friendship – particularly since your family is causing you such pain right now. Take good care of yourself first, always first!

      • Sun says:

        What about pressuring the AAP? Cite studies about how it doesn’t work etc. and press them to come out with an official statement . I appreciate your expert advice, my sister and I try to figure out what the best thing to do when we see this, she just texted me a child abuse hotline to call. I agree that responding with love instead of “you stupid idiot!” Would work better but I have yet to try. My close friends I tell them- don’t do it- it doesn’t work. Colleagues I try to use humor – like wait and see the girl he brings home on prom nite to pay you back for this. My siblings are split along boy/ girl lines as to the benefit and I also go rounds with one brother. Isn’t it ironic that elderly people have special assault protections under the law but it’s open season on babies ? I also hear a lot of the – if it doesn’t leave a mark blah blah blah.
        Crazy. Oh well. At least there are a few people who realize it’s wrong .

      • Yes, more and more people are realizing that it is wrong. Including the APP which has made a formal statement against spanking. It is much harder to get them to make this a priority in terms of education.

      • Anonymous says:

        I do want to clarify that I may not have friends in the town I’m staying in, but I do have one friend in a different state, and we keep in touch by email and text. I don’t get to see her often because she is a graduate student. A friend in another state is better than nothing. Thanks for your support and activism.

  40. Alex says:

    I believe that in order for a child to develop himself or herself, it’s important as a parent to begin giving them options at an early stage. For example, a child who wants to wear a crazy outfit that any parent knows it does not match together can instead give the child the choices of selecting one between two outfits that the parent has chosen for him or her. My question is… if a child is misbehaving, and they are given the option of either behaving or getting a spank, and they do not correct the behavior and they are out-flat challenging one’s authority as the parent, why should they not get spanked? After all, it was their choice to challenge the parent, they chose the spank through their actions, and discipline will teach them that they are not the ones in authority of the parent but the parent is the one in authority. Authority is not bad… After all, we all have someone over our lives like a boss, a police officer, a government leader, and so forth. Why not teach children the importance of respecting their authority by presenting them options given to them? Either a spank or behave… which one? And that’s my input on this topic.

    • Respect cannot be taught by being disrespectful. A “spank” as you call it, is hitting. Hitting is disrespectful and it models violence and teaches nothing. Here is a link for effective alternatives.

      • Alex says:

        According to your words, you say that spanking is hitting, which “…models violence.” The definition of violence is (and I quote from google search), “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.” Any loving parent does not intend to spank with the intention of hurting, damaging, or killing their child. On the other hand, a parent who is out of their senses can hurt, damage, or kill their child. We call that child abuse, and we see this in the news almost every day and it breaks my heart when things like this happen. But should we really label a “spank” along with a beating that can “hurt, damage, or kill someone or something”?

      • Spanking is used with the intent to cause pain, i.e. hurt. That is the entire point, to cause pain in order to control behavior. Causing pain is hurt. Using euphemisms such as “spank,” “smack,” or “pop” creates emotional distance between ourselves and the person we are hitting. How dangerous that is! Spanking is hitting. Its very purpose is to cause pain, which hurts another person.

    • Sun says:

      Alex, my non expert reply – as a 40 year old mom of three – advanced degree holder – 20 years in public school teaching- middle and high; also a longtime observer of all types of punishment : it doesn’t work as well as other types of discipline. It’s been studied up one side and down the other. To respond to your authority points – good points – however the punishments in our society are not based in causing pain or humiliation. In fact they specifically prevent this. We don’t take drunk drivers and redden their bottom. You say that pain is not the desired effect of a spanking- embarrassing the child is. I know a woman who was fired from a nursing home because she swatted an elderly resident for messing a diaper . Just a smack- this lady is loving, sweet, just responded to the situation like she probably did her own children. So why the horror because the person was 90 instead of 2?
      Because the person deserves more respect because they used to know better? Doesn’t make sense to me.
      Truths are truths for everyone. If a husband doesn’t like the mouthy attitude of his mother in law he cannot slap her face- but he can and does to his daughters?
      As for learning respect for authority – the children I have experienced that are the most violent are the ones with the most violent parents – again – no expert observation but I have noticed.
      So how does society discipline? The way I do – loss of privilege , infrequent isolation – cool off period for everyone . Favorite show on tv tonight ? Gone.
      They learn just fine – and they don’t hate, resent of feel humiliated. I think they do cane people in Singapore though….

      • anonymous says:

        They should take the singapore route on adults here – but only the adults who agree with spanking, for mistakes like speeding, or behaving angrily in public. They can afford to taste their own medicine once in a while, right? :)

  41. Sonya says:

    my son is 10 years old and has been diagnosed with adhd subtype trauma and avoidance. When he was six years old, his grandmother died during his grade 1 Christmas holidays. When he returned to school he was showing adverse behaviors and the principal decided it would be best to lock him in a room on the basement for two whole hours, twice (that I know of). The school division then justified their actions and slapped together a ‘seclusion and restraint’ policy and put it on their website. With that being said, he has a horrible time at school, cannot self regulate and even with the five different medications he’s on, things arent better. He’s only in school 1 1/2 hr per day, mental health is closely involved with the school to teach brain development. He seems to be stuck in this freeze flight or fight mode. Any advice Robbyn?

    A worried mom.

    • I’m so sorry to hear what the principle did to your sweet boy. You are welcome to email me if you need some help. Do you know about My email is or call me at (503) 288-8313.

      • Sonya says:

        I will be in touch, thank you!

  42. Bill says:

    Further to my comments above about a spanking fetish, I came across this article: . The smoking analogy is useful. When I was young almost everybody smoked. Studies linking smoking with lung cancer were dismissed as correlational- and most smokers don’t get lung cancer but some non-smokers do (this is not taking into account all the other problems smoking gives rise to). Many people said ‘It didn’t do me any harm’ ‘I smoked and I’m fine’. But no one in their right mind would now recommend smoking as a good thing, and most smokers are desperately trying to stop!.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s true about smoking.

      As much as I frown on it, adults are free to choose their vices, and they are choosing to harm themselves. With spanking, that’s done to another person against their will. Why are there movements to demonize adult choices, but not much is being done to protect children who have no choice but to put up with how their adult caretakers treat them?

      • Bill says:

        I agree. It is how children are regarded in this culture. They are more vulnerable than adults but afforded less protection. There is little awareness of how children can be damaged by spanking.

      • Joel Kall says:

        I agree. Give children a voice and protect them from any form of abuse. No spanking is ok ever against children ever!

        Important to see also:

        If link not load try in 30 min or next day try many times.

        God bless all.

  43. Joel Kall says:

    What Doctor Sears says very important:

    Also vital link for all highlight this on your entire website:


    If link not load try in 30 min or next day try many times.

    God bless all.

  44. Trinity a African American says:


    • You peed out of terror. It is so obvious that spanking is violent and evokes incredible dread in children. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Yes, children should be afforded equal rights to adults to be free from violence under the law.

  45. Lao Tzu says:

    Great TEDx talk. It fascinates me how some people rationalize that spanking children is acceptable, when it would not be tolerated as an adult. Somehow calling it “discipline” makes it acceptable. Keep getting this message out there. Thanks for all you do.

  46. There are also sexual side effects of spanking children as well as adults.

    At impact on the buttocks, blood is forced by the pressure of the impact to travel through the veins and arteries into the genital areas as well as the intense pain traveling through the nerves that are connected from the buttocks to the genital areas causing involuntary arousal even in young children. This can alter their sexual development.

    I was spanked with sticks on my bare butt as a child and I started desiring spankings at age 8 just prior to my adolescence.

    Because of this, spanking is a form of sexual abuse.

  47. Ella says:

    @Rodney: Agreed. I sexualized spanking before it ever happened to me by reading a picture book in which a kid was spanked on the bare bottom. I was no older than three at the time (early reader) and I vividly remember asking my parents questions all about spanking and drawing pictures of that same scene in the book over and over and over again. So I’m sure they must have been aware there was something going on…which means a year later when my Dad heard that I had pushed my baby sister down a little playhouse slide into my mother’s waiting arms (she was safe but scared–yes, it was wrong, but I was four and didn’t know it would scare her) he screwed up his face in disbelief, then said, “I think you need a spanking.” I was wearing only a short nightshirt and no underwear. He dragged me over his lap and was looking at me and touching me just the way I’d obsessed about for a year, using *that word* to describe it. I screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and SCREAMED. I floated above my body. It felt like corrective rape.

    I was sure he knew how I felt about it, disapproved of how bizarre it was, and was punishing me not just for the slide thing but for the fetish, too. I also–and I still believe this because of the way I later remember him joking about spanking, and saw him “spanking” my mom when I randomly ran into their room one evening in a way I could absolutely tell was foreplay–think he felt the same way and was simply ashamed to make the connection in his mind between sexy spanking and kid spanking, and that was why he felt so threatened and tried to “prove” it wasn’t true by spanking me.

    The fact that I knew all this even at four is kind of amazing. But I repressed it and refused to acknowledge it, telling myself I must have imagined it all. Now, decades later, I think I was spot on. All the other things I remember corroborate his treating spanking pretty much the way he treated sex: laughing at but it in a slightly uncomfortable way, the “charged” way he would threaten us sometimes, even occasionally making “pretend” sexual comments about his kids or laughing at us when we did something innocently sexual, like “ha-ha, they’re just kids, can’t possibly feel ashamed or wounded by this.” Laughing! I remember feeling SO uncomfortable all the time around him because he just didn’t have safe boundaries around this really, really sensitive stuff. And because spanking was so charged for me, I couldn’t do anything except freeze and wait for him to calm down or go away…because the threat of being spanked was always there with him, even though it only happened that one time. My mom would smack us too, rarely, but it never created that extreme level of terror and violation. I later confronted her about the whole situation, including her hitting us, and she just shook her head in disbelief. “There is *nothing* sexual about spanking!” Right after I’d told her all this. I just…can’t. How can you not listen? How can you not hear this? I can only assume is that it’s because she was ashamed and scared, too, and didn’t want to believe it.

    • One of the most taboo subjects I can think of is the discussion of how spanking children is a form of sexual violation to the child’s body and mind. No parent wants to think they have engaged in a sexualized ritual with their children by spanking them. Just google the word “spanking” rather than “spanking children,” to witness the enduring association between violence and sexual pleasure. And in shame, we consider violent sex “normal.” Just because it is normal, doesn’t make it healthy or relationally enriching in any sense.

      • Ella says:

        No parent wants to think they have engaged in a sexualized ritual with their children by spanking them.

        Exactly. And no child wants to believe it, either. I have one friend who also eroticizes spanking but says she didn’t mind being spanked as a child. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if she went on to spank her kids, too, because that’s how she was raised and she sees nothing wrong with it despite also finding it sexy. (But she prefers *being* spanked, while I think it’s gross. I don’t know how much of a difference that makes.)

        I mainly wish I hadn’t been the one saddled with carrying this taboo around for all of my childhood. I wasn’t the one who did anything wrong, but all my life I thought I was such an evil person for having these dark, forbidden, sadistic feelings and thoughts that I now know are in no way unique to me *or* acceptable to act out in real life. And while I’m proud of having outgrown the mindset of wanting to become “the spanker” and do that to my own kids (which I totally felt as a small child, spanking dolls and stuffed animals, etc.), I wish everyone else on the planet had already arrived at the same conclusion long ago. Because now that I’m there, it’s appalling to think that I (or anyone else) could ever have believed differently.

        And in shame, we consider violent sex “normal.” Just because it is normal, doesn’t make it healthy or relationally enriching in any sense.

        I’m really not sure about this part. I’m inclined to believe that it’s ok for adults who enjoy violent sex or roleplay to go ahead and enjoy it, as long as they’re careful and no one gets hurt (and they don’t gross out or scare their kids, which can happen with any kind of sex). What bothers me is that, while this activity between consenting adults is considered kind of “sketchy” by the general public, doing the exact same thing to a child too small to consent is not only tolerated, but celebrated and applauded! It’s as if the fact that it’s a parent somehow makes it non-sexual. To it me, it made it incestuous–a million times worse. And yet no one wants to see that, so they say the people who sexualize it are the problem. Isn’t that kind of like tobacco companies saying the people who get lung cancer are the problem?

      • Ella says:

        Also, to be clear–I didn’t “outgrow” the desire to become a spanker because of what my dad did to me, at least not directly. If anything, being treated that way myself made me MORE obsessed with the idea of never being in that situation again, by fantasizing about becoming the powerful, scary one instead. It made it worse, not better. If he’d left me alone, maybe I would have outgrown it before I even knew what it was. Instead I had to go through a long process as an adult of realizing what had happened, overcoming all that childhood defensiveness and programming, and giving up the extremely sexually-compelling idea of being “the (abusive) adult.” It was not easy, and a lot of that had to do with not wanting to admit that what had happened to me was all that bad. It was.

      • Ella says:

        I forgot about the other thing my mother did when I told her about this not long ago.

        She laughed.

        Remembering that makes me want to do something extreme to prove I’m worth taking seriously, but the first thing that comes to mind would ensure I’ll never do anything worth taking seriously again.

        It’s the bystanders who laugh, who trivialize, who nod in sympathy but then don’t do anything, who can’t or won’t understand–that’s what does more damage in the long run than the violation itself. Because it makes us believe there’s no hope, no choice but to join in the culture of violence lest it swallow us whole, or else to turn a blind eye with a smile (or a snort) of denial. Or else quit, because why bother going on if it’s never going to stop hurting.

        So I’m glad there’s a place online–and I think they’re increasing in number–where this kind of story can be told and shared, not silenced or condemned or locked away where nobody who matters can see it. I’m glad people *are* doing something to end culturally syntonic violence against children. I really wish that more of us were.

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