Spanking an 18 month old - is this abuse?


My daughter just informed me that my stbx has been spanking our 18-month old. Is this considered abuse?


I believe it would depend on the totality of the circumstances, spanking per se is not abuse.


What about spanking a 5 year old child with a wooden spoon on their bare bottom? Is this considered abusive? My kids just advised me that my ex-wife is now doing the above. Please advise. Thanks.


Again, it would depend on the totality of the circumstances.


What kind of circumstances? Like does it matter what the kid did?


It would depend on the severity of the punishment, level of injury, ect. If you are truly concerned you should contact the department of social services.


Child buttock-battering for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because this is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak,

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson,

by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research on “spanking”.

Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

American Academy of Pediatrics,
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
Center For Effective Discipline,
PsycHealth Ltd Behavioral Health Professionals,
Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 26 countries, child buttock-battering is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


I would have to strongly disagree with the last poster. I don’t condone abuse, but swatting a child on the rear to get their attention or as punishment is showing the child that they have crossed a boundary. Children who are reasoned with instead of punished if they intentionally do something they have been told not to do end up walking all over the parents. They learn that they can talk their way out of paying consequences instead of taking ownership and responsibility for their actions.
There are a lot of people out there who were spanked as a child and are better people for it. Myself included. I thank God that my parents believed in this punishment and I respect them for it. I knew if I did something wrong, I would be punished. End of story. No discussions, no “how do you feel about this” or “your misbehavior makes me look bad” guilt trips. I was punished and it was over with. I either learned not to ever do whatever it was again or was punished the next time. Most of my spankings as a child were for lying. By the time I was 9-10 I didn’t lie to my parents and to this day I just do not do it, at least intentionally.
I had a friend who had Social Services called on him for spanking his 9 year old son for intentionally not doing his homework and talking back. He was warned this would be the punishment for these actions. There were no bruises; his pride was all that was hurt. The Social worker told the father that he was within his rights to discipline his child in this manner. You "rule in your house, not the child.

That being said, parents that spank for no reason, without warning, without consistant behavioral rules are going to end up with a confused and angry child.
IMHO, the reason that TV shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because the parents do not want to learn to be good parents. They want someone to tell them what to do. You see a 5 year old pitching a fit in a store or a restaurant and the mother pleading with them, bribing them to calm down. The whole time they are disrupting everyone else’s shopping or meal. I do not know what “Supernanny” or “Dr. Phil” would say in that situation but my opinion is that if you are not going to teach your child how to behave in public then they should not be allowed to be in public. That is YOUR job as a parent not someone else’s job. Your teaching them to be responsible, productive members of society. Sometimes using your “inside voice” and reasoning is just not enough to get that done.