I’ve spanked my daughter. I wrote about it earlier this year. It was just once, and under very specific circumstances – she was putting herself and her baby brother in danger and she needed to be stopped, quickly – circumstances that don’t excuse the spanking but do, I think, explain it. I didn’t spank out of anger. I didn’t spank as a matter of habit or consistent practice. I spanked because nothing else was working in a given moment and circumstances demanded that I do something. I’m not proud of it. I hope that it never happens again. I fully intend that it never happen again.
A report was recently released that suggests that spanking might be a good thing, that kids who are spanked might be better off, might turn out better, than kids who are not spanked. This, I think, is troubling. Not because I think that spanking and spankers are in all circumstances evil and terrible – my own parents were spankers – but because I think that although spanking is not always or necessarily abusive, it tilts too obviously and too dangerously in that direction and anything that encourages the practice just might, you know, grease the slope.