Alternatives to Spanking

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 4.48.38 PMYou can download a free copy of Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting for yourself as a parent.  If you are an educator, there are also free facilitator and training manuals for you to help parents.

If you’re ready to stop spanking, yelling or using other punitive techniques with your child, if you’re struggling to discipline your children peacefully, or simply want to take your parenting journey deeper, you are in the right place!

Parenting Beyond Punishment collaborated with over 25 peaceful, gentle parenting experts to create a FREE webseries aimed to empower you with real-life tools so you can guide your children and set boundaries without being punitive.

Click here to receive all the podcasts, articles, and videos to help guide you as you learn such things as…

  1. Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 4.24.02 PMIdentifying your triggers and releasing anger

  2. Self-regulation

  3. Setting limits

Gentle parenting is a journey.  We welcome you to go along on the journey with us!




Excellent Websites

Parenting Beyond Punishment

Personal Testimonials from Mothers who Stopped Spanking

The Single-Crunch “I used to hit my children

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How do we raise our children to be non-violent in a world that is filled with violence?  An excellent essay on the connection between early trauma, problems with attachment and the origins of violence.


On-Line Consultation

  1. Collaborative Problem Solving  – Dr. Ross Greene, author of “The Explosive Child” helps parents find better ways to work with difficult, oppositional children.  Dr. Greene has a weekly blog radio show that parents can call in or email to ask parenting questions.

  2. SHEENA HILL with Parenting Works can help you with parenting questions at Parenting Works


Excellent Facebook Sites!

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 8.19.15 AMRecommended BOOKS On What To Do INSTEAD – Positive Discipline

  • Out of Control, Dr. Shefali Tsabaray

  • The Whole Brain Child, Dr. Dan Siegel

  • Parenting from the Inside Out, Dr. Dan Siegel

  • Unconditional Parenting, Dr. Alfie Kohn

  • The Explosive Child, Dr. Ross Greene

  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber & Elaine MazlishParenting with Patience

  • Healthy Baby Healthy Brain – Excellent Short Videos on Nurturing, Attachment

  • Best Start – Online Videos to that model how to intervene with little children without punishment, spanking, or rewards. Focuses on age appropriate discipline.

  • Discipline without Distress, and Parenting with Patience, Judy Arnall

  • Check out 30 other Amazing Authors!


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On-Line InChildren's Hospital Logoteractive Tutorial

Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has created a helpful, interactive, online application, “How to Deal with Your Toddler’s Aggression”  Try this program on-line.  It runs through a variety of common situations where a toddler is being oppositional and difficult and allows you to pick the answer you like best.  Then it offers research describing which result is the most effective!

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Parent Self-Regulation (Self Care)

It is so important for us to take good care of ourselves as parents! Here are some links to sites focusing on self care:

If we want to help our children when they are upset, tantrumming, or jumping off the walls, we need to keep our cool!  When our children are not cooperating, or whining, or flipping out, it is easy for us to feel the same way.  The challenge is to remain calm and connected to our children.  That is difficult when we start to feel angry.  Dr. Efron teaches us how to identify our anger style so we can let go of anger and stay connected to our kids.

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Check out Dr. Dan Siegel’s Facebook focusing on how to practice mindfulness in our lives and with our children.  Dr. Siegel is a neuroscientist who studies how we can help regulate our own brains and our children’s to reduce stress and conflict and increase mutual enjoyment between parents and children.  Dr. Dan Siegel – MINDFULNESS

The Neuro-Science of Early Childhood

This is a wonderful website that demonstrates how a child’s brain develops and how to enrich a child’s development through safe, stable, and consistent relationship between the child and caregiver.

Harvard University – On the Developing Child is an excellent resource to learn what science is teaching us about the importance of early life experience on long term health into adulthood.

CLICK HERE for the Research on SPANKING

Books About the Effects Spanking

  • PAMPHLET: Plain Talk about SPANKING – An online pamphlet challenging the cultural beliefs that reinforce spanking.
  • This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You, Nadine Block writes about the child’s perspective of spanking illustrated using the child’s drawings.
  • Asadah Kirland, author of “Beating Black Kids” writes about how to raise our skills and not our hands.
  • Why Spanking Doesn’t Work, Michael J. Marshall, PhD

Community Action Links

Why Abolish Spanking?

The European Council talks about why many European countries have banned spanking in the home.

Center for Effective Discipline is an organization aimed at helping parents find alternatives to spanking, promoting positive discipline.  This is also a great resource for learning how to change school policies to ban the hitting of children in schools.

Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment – Learn about the world-wide effort to ban all forms of violence against children, including spanking in the home.

United Nations Convention on the Child Rights of Child –  Efforts by the UN to protect children’s rights, including to be free from all forms of violence including corporal punishment.

Stop Spanking is in partnership with:

21 Responses to Alternatives to Spanking

  1. This is a valuable and important list of resources. Thank you for the beneficial work you are doing to make a needed positive impact. It is critical that all adults understand the long lasting and critical impact stressful experiences plays on the developing brain!

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  3. Margaret McCreary says:

    Sorry but you are wrong period. Corporal punishment can be very positive in child rearing. You have your opinion of course- wonder if you have children yourself-but you are just wrong and so are your reasons. I raised 8 children 5 boys and 3 girls and they are all very productive and positive citizens making great contributions toward mankind and their communities. They thank me daily for how I raised them and that they got the punishments they deserved when they went way off course.

    • Tim Utz says:

      BRAVO!! I concur totally with you, I have three kids bumpy years yes but three well adjusted adults, one in law school, one business owner, one a pharmacist, even better than dad who was in construction for 35 years.

      • How many times have I heard this one? “I was spanked and I turned out OK,” or “I spanked my kids and they turned out OK.”

        How do you measure that your children are OK? Would they be even happier if you had chosen not to hit them? What if you were to ask your children what they think of spanking, and if they plan to spank their own children? Ask them if they remember being spanked, and what it was like for them. Do they remember why, or do they just remember being hit?

      • deannie says:

        I think im with you on this ive tried timeouts for self as well as child it didnt work I tried discussion with child qbout feelings of anger and its ok to be angry but hitting is wrong didnt work 1 spank on bottom and child stopped hitting

      • Deannie, You might ask yourself, if your husband didn’t like something you did and just gave you one pop on the mouth, how would you feel? There is a much greater power differential between you and your child, than between you and your husband. Hitting is an abuse of that power. It may make your child fear being hit by you, which may result in him restraining his own aggression toward a child when you are present. But what are you really teaching him? You are teaching your child that you can only hit someone if you are bigger and there is no one around that is bigger than you that might object by hitting you. You are teaching him/her to use violence under certain situations. You have taught your child that hitting is OK, but only in certain situations when you can get away with it. If you attempted to strike your child in my presence, I would certainly intervene. You can only get away with it, if others who have equal or more power accept it. I would not accept you being violent toward your child. But I also would not intervene by striking you. I would intervene by trying to offer you support so you would feel less overwhelmed and frustrated. I would try to help you figure what your child needed or what skill he was lacking that was resulting in his aggression. I would try to support you in figuring out how to help him. That is the very thing that your child needs from you. I know it isn’t easy, but preserving the trust in your relationship is worth it!

    • Tim Utz says:

      They even love their kids, now how is that for a fine Saturday.

    • Margaret,

      Thank you for visiting our site. Many children have been spanked and grow up to be happy well functioning adults. That doesn’t mean that spanking isn’t damaging. The fact is, spanking is very risky and is significantly correlated to many problems including increased aggression, and a myriad of mental and physical health problems. This is not opinion – it is the findings from hundreds of studies. There is 93% agreement in the studies, so there is no confusion here. The only confusion is that spanking (hitting) is an accepted social norm.

      You may or may not be the best judge as to how spanking affected your children. As a mothers, we all want to believe we did right by our kids because we love them! We want to believe they are perfectly OK. But the science is clear. I have family members who have smoked their entire lives and are now in their 80s and they don’t have lung cancer – but that doesn’t mean smoking isn’t dangerous and potentially destructive!

      From a human rights perspective, there is no confusion. Spanking is hitting, and hitting another person is wrong. It is immoral. Once we can realize spanking for what it is, it becomes obvious that we should never do it. Recognizing this is hugely important, because it is a great disservice to our children and grandchildren to continue to promote spanking as a healthy was to relate to children. Violence is never the answer. It is inherently disrespectful. I think we owe it to the next generation to stop being defensive, stop defending violence, and start defending our children’s basic human rights.

      I hope you will be open minded enough to read the research and to reflect on the basic human rights of children. Fifty years ago, it was an accepted social norm for a husband to smack his wife (as long as it didn’t get out of hand!). I doubt you would be defending wife smacking today. Let’s stop defending kid smacking as well.


      Robbyn Peters Bennett

      • anonymous says:

        I know this post is a bit over a year old, but here is my perspective on it.

        The best way to deal with this is exposure. By comparing what pro-hitters consider to be morally and socially appropriate, to what others thought was acceptable in the old days or in other nations — and carefully showing where the same rationalizations / logic were used to justify behavior in the past that we now consider morally reprehensible, we can expose this behavior for what it basically is.

        The fact is, many centuries ago, there was a time where a certain society in Europe (I’ll let you guess) deemed it normal – and even essential – to sexually molest young boys as part of their development into manhood and sexuality. And today, there’s still women who are hit by their husbands in the middle east rationalize that it is essential for the stability and strength of their relationship. Many times, the women even say they “Deserved it” and it is “Essential”, or “Just a smack”.

        Not even long ago, we looked at a similar situation between spouses here in North America.

        Yes, this is apples to oranges – hitting isn’t sexual molestation, nor is it NECESSARILY religiously justified abuse, but that doesn’t change the fact that the way it is rationalized, normalized, and passed down universally from parent to child is completely parallel to the way other OBVIOUS abuses were justified in the past.

        Anyway, to wrap this up, I would really like to see a study that compares the beliefs of parents who were never hit by their own parents in any situation (not even the “Except when I ran onto the road” etc), versus those who were…

        I personally suspect that not a single person – who was NOT hit by their parents – would ever agree that it’s okay to hit kids. Ever. Period.

        To me, it is cyclical, passed down abuse just like all of the other abuses that the world used to, or still does justify.

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  11. ramendik says:

    Here is a simple situation which for me was not hypothetical – but thankfully I live in Ireland where reasonable chastisement is still a defence for parents smacking children, and long may it continue.

    The law of the land requires that a child under a certain age be restrained in a child seat with a five-point belt.

    The five-point belt requires certain cooperation from the child, namely keeping their arms within the belt as opposed to wiggling them out, making the belt effectively three-point.

    If the child is not sitting there in the correct position the state can fine and ultimately improson the parent, thus, the state can use violent punishment on the parent.

    The child refuses to comply when told all this (at age 2 these matters are not readily understandable). The state does not provide public transport for the required destinations.

    I made the child comply by smacks. But if the state also disallows the parent usage of corporal punishment. the parent is left in an impossible situation where EVERY possible action is criminalized! If I was in a country criminalizing smacking, I would have made a video of trying to reason with the child (who is too young for reasoning), and if presented with a fine, I would have used this as defense, or to countersue the state.

    I am surprised that no such lawsuit has been brought yet, or perhaps it has but I have not heard of it?

    • 46 countries to date have banned hitting children. There are other ways to help a child learn to sit in a car seat.

      • ramendik says:

        So what way would the supporters of the ban propose, if the child won’t understand reason including reference to the fact that the parent may be fined or jailed?

        I am seriously interested if anyone did try to countersue if fined for child restraint offences for that reason.

        Of course, it can also be that road police understand the impossible situation this puts parents in, and don’t enforce the law if the only violation is that the child has moved his/her arms from the correct position. Come to think of it, outside Germany (and perhaps Scandivavia?) I’d expect police to be understanding.

        Germany, however, has a spanking/smacking ban *and* a strict attitude to rules of the road. I do wonder if there was a lawsuit there already. Could not find one, though. (I can only search in English, have no German).

        In general, what the government ban says is that, until the child is old enough to understand complicated reasoning or to fear withdrawal of privilege (which is thankfully not banned – of course I am talking of real privilege, such as entertainment, not of life-sustaining things, such as food), if you can not restrain the child physically from a certain activity, you must permit the activity. It requires fully childproof homes and locks, minute supervision on the street as there can be no consequences for running off, etc etc. And while this puts a huge burden on the parent (and thus disincentivises parenthood), I still can see how this can work – except for cases when it’s also the same government that requires the parent to restrict the activity, while removing the tools for such restriction!

        Frankly such requirements have been mostly withdrawn, for example, I don’t think anyone can face problems for an unruly child making some noise in a supermarket, etc. Child restraint discipline is the only remaining requirement that I remember offhand.

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