Spanking - FamilyEducation
04/19/2007 at 12:09 PM

I'm getting ready to have my first child, and I'm worried about me and my husband's different views of discipline. He believes spanking can be effective if used every once in a while. I'm completely against it! What should we do? Does anyone else discipline their kids with methods other than spanking?

I am not a person who will spank their kids often, if at all, but I think when they do something dangerous they should get spanked. For example, when I was very small I liked to run into the street. I only did it twice though, because both times I got spanked. It teaches them at a small age to be afraid of certain things that they should be afraid of at that age. Later, they'll keep this in them and it'll serve to keep them cautious in such situations. It's better they get scared from a tap on the butt (which, by the way probably was all diaper and the sound scared me more then anything) then the smash of a car!

For non dangerous situations, I wouldn't spank.


I have teenagers and I never spanked them - although I came close fairly often - still do, sometimes!!!:) My best discipline technique was timeouts. I used them when needed - not too often. But I found that they were a good time to give me and my kid some space to cool down and then move on. And, then we could talk about what was going on - although when they were little it was hard to discuss some of the issues. I also like to use logical consequences and have them make up the consequences. Sort of like this - I would say, "You hit your sister. What do you think should happen to you?" A few times their own punishments were so severe that I had to tone them down! I guess I think that kids are basically good - and that has always helped my discipline strategies. Elisar

I have a borderline opinion about spanking.  There will come a time when your child is a baby about 18 months to 24...depending on the temperment of the child may have to swat him/her  on the bottom if lets say they run out into the middle of the street more than once and cannot understand that it is unacceptable w/out a little swat on the bottom.  This is not an oldschool spanking!! Just a little tap to get the attention at your independent little one.  Once they master the art of speaking a time out will do just fine.  As long as you are consistant and discipline with out emotion things will go great.  Just make sure to never discipline out of anger.  It's so hard to be a parent!!!   Nobody can tell you just what to do, hopefully my suggestions help.


Hi zealous4kids, I agree with everything you have said. It seems a middle of the road answer to me and it is how I do things in my home. Spanking my child is not something I like doing but it is seen for their own safety and good. I would say - spanking with anger or negative emotion is wrong and unfair to the child. When they are little I also use timeout, distraction, providing two of something - depending on the situation.   I may spank my child if they are between the ages of 18months and 3 years. As they mature I am able to talk and reason with them more. The temperament of my child affects how I might handle things differently also. I try to keep the rules at a minimum and consistent while they are very young and gradually step it up as they mature and become more capable. Rules must be fair and consistent.  It would be interesting to hear other parents comments. 


Spanking, what’s the point? This is not a shallow question. Ask you husband what he is trying to accomplish by spanking, and if he believes a punishment should ‘fit the crime’? I was tempted to agree with spanking a child putting themselves in danger and all, but after some thought I see the following: first, a sub-four year old simply does not have the smarts to connect the impending auto accident with their actions; second, a spanking often only serves to make the parent feel as though they are doing something about a danger they should have seen and avoided; and, third, physical punishment often creates a temporary effectiveness along with a thin patina of positive learning. Then again, consider if the worst happens: your child runs into the street and is killed, who are you going to spank?


My young son did once run into the street, I yelled, but he just kept running, and a car was coming. Luckily he entered the street and hit the car rather than the car hitting him: he bounced off the side just behind the front wheel. The result was a small bruise on his arm and a lesson learned. He never ran into the street again. The interesting thing was that I did not even consider spanking him, however, at that time, if he simply ran into the street, I would have. I am now convinced it would have served no purpose beyond him learning not to run in the street when I was around. The point of being a parent is to ensure your children cultivate the behaviors, decision making abilities, and attitudes (values) to behave well by themselves.

What a child tends to learn from being spanked for some action  - other than it’s ok for the big and powerful to hit the small and weak – is to avoid getting caught by not doing it when the big people are around.

Spanking does teach some negative things: it is ok for the big to hit the small, avoid getting caught unless that’s the only way to get attention, and to avoid responsibility…lie. What it does not teach is to tell the truth, trust in others, and alternative correct actions.


There are so many positive alternatives to spanking, a well informed parent should have no reason to raise their hand to their child. Then again, it is very hard to teach someone something they think they already know, even when they can Google "spanking and punishment" and learn the truth.


Good luck with your baby!


When I was pregnant I had read something that said "never spank your child when you're angry." I laughed it off because, no DECENT parent would just hit their kid- let's spank them while we're having fun! I thought about that saying everytime he pulled himself up and then decided to clear the table as I told him no! They are born with this insane sense of, lets see what kind of reaction I get when....... fill in the blank. Your job as a parent is to keep them safe- You can't prevent ALL accidents, but you can prevent the major ones... such as bouncing off cars (too close for comfort, for me) or their ability to go for the little plastic plugs in the light sockets when you grab dinner from the oven. You won't be able to fully say no to spanking, or any other form of discipline without knowing your childs personality.

My son is a head strong four year old going on forty- his problem is he is calculated- he was born with an independent nature- hated babyfood and wanted a regular spoon at almost six months, running around full speed at 7 and a half months- it is hard to say what your child will respond to. Someone suggested I clap at him, because no, noo! nooo!! NO! didn't work LOL Clapping only scared him and then made him cry, so for Joey- it quickly became, me walking over to him getting on his level and saying- "Excuse me? what are you doing?" and he'd pull back, and then I'd tell him no- and he understood it that way because I had finally gotten his attention. We honestly thought he had a hearing problem until you could whisper what he wanted in the next room and he'd come running. They are smart cookies, and you are there to protect them from the things you know are life threatening in a way that your individual child will respond to. 

Spanking a child for pulling things off of a shelf, spilling something, breaking something- is completely uncalled for- accidents happen. They learn from accidents just as you do, they honestly just don't know they aren't suppose to do it. I don't agree that children can't put road and car accident together yet they can put spanking with it's ok for a bigger person to hit on someone smaller- they only learn that if that is how you treat them. Spanking- not a beating, can work if your child is constantly running towards the road and you've brought them back 10 times only to do it again the minute you turn your back.

It really is something that depends on your childs ability to learn and how they react to certain situations. You may never have to really yell no, only time will tell :)

So, for your first six months, worry more about how to squeeze a little more you time in and less about how you and your husband disagree on discipline- the more you two connect after the baby, the easier it will be to make decisions on how your child should be disciplined :D

Best of luck- and congrats on your first :)


For Bob Mathews

Just read your reply to spanking. It’s great to find someone with their head in the right place. Well balanced advice from someone who is willing to look at life and learn from it. Next time you are out and about take time to observe children with their parents. There are quiet a few that that behave like one or other parent. Sometimes you would wonder which is the child.


Hey there!
Spanking is always an issue with new parents.  There are alternatives to this such as when your child is young to simply remove your child from the tempation.  Children are exploring and do not always understand what they are doing wrong and needs some guidance.  When your child is young remove your child and use words such as "ouch" and try some distractions.
I hope all goes well.


What this discussion should come down to is defining spanking.  I am against abuse, against violent spanking, against straps/paddles, etc.  But, a firmly placed GENTLE swat will deter the behavior when all other methods have failed.  I did receive such swats when I was younger, have thanked my parents since.  I've seen other kids I grew up with whose parents let them run wild and that's exactly what they are now.  Everyone needs to know that there is a reaction for every action.  If the negative behavior continues, and other methods of discipline have failed, it's time for a swat.



I am sure you are a great parent, but , when the 'swat' fails to work, do you get out the big guns?

If the point is to teach your children how to respond in life, consider this: they may not remember what you say, but they seem to always remember what you do. You are their role model. I keep thinking about seeing a mother  smack her oldest son because he smacked his younger brother..... wonder where he learned that?

The last resort is not hitting, it is parenting with your childs future behaviors in mind. I admit a swat does work, but, so does spanking with a belt, or a slap in the face. It works to stop a behavior...for the moment. If that is your only goal, swat away. But, if you are interested in helping your child nuture behaviors for the long term, there are other methods, better methods, to acomplish your goals.

DaMoKi Bob


There is no "template" that will fit every family/situation.  A nephew was raised with "time outs" and he was always out of control.  As a young adult now he's been in quite a bit of trouble.  I, and my siblings, were raised with the occasional, but necessary, swat.  NONE of us grew up only remembering what was done, not said.  NO ONE is saying a "spanking with a belt, or a slap in the face"....that's jumping from A-Z.  Ever wonder why so many children are on the various behavior altering medications for ADD/ADHD?  Is it that children have changed?  OR, is it that methods of discipline have changed?  When children get into the school setting, acceptable behavior at home is no longer acceptable.....they find it difficult to not get their way, do what they want to do when they want to do it, etc.  So, in comes the medication.  A friend works at a local grade school, she said the child NOT on medication has become the exception now.  And, NO BIG GUN has ever been used.  It's a gentle swat, removal from the situation to a quiet area of the room.  No adult/parent with common sense would ever act out of anger.


Hi ScrapPunk,

You made some really good points, especially in your last paragraph, and the one about accidents. But, I would like to clarify my comments.

Your comparison of car/ouch and big/little hitting doesn't seem to match. Running into the street should not happen that often, and if it does, the parent should be spanked for not taking additional steps to physically remove or restrict the kids from the street (it would depend on the age: big difference between 2 years and 9 years old). Spanking kids as a normal and therefore not infrequent response to error and failure to obey will over time increase the child’s view of physical punishment as an Ok and possibly preferred means of problem solving: they see you solving them that way, and you are their role model. On the other hand, if running into the street is not met with a bad ending (accident and injury) it will probably be seen as a safer activity over time by the child because we humans tend to believe if it hasn't happened so far, it won't. So, they are in fact quite different and cannot be juxtaposed in the manner you said was not believable: one cannot be dependent on the other for validity. The key in this is "over time".

If you are going to spank, try to do it on the first failure after the warning. Remember, what you allow you teach. If you wait until the 3rd or goodness, the 10th failure, you teach the smart cookies (your words) they have that same number of tries before you punish them. When the application of physical punishment is predictable, so is the number of failures.

I liked your comment about parental purpose: being there to protect them from “life threatening” stuff. I believe that falls into the exception category. If a tree is falling where my child is standing, I will hit him with an open field full body tackle to save his life, and dare anyone to criticize my action. If, on the other hand,  after telling him to move, he remains standing where I think a tree will fall… soon, I think a tackle would be extreme, and so would spanking him. He would not connect the spanking with the danger of being crushed. He would see that he was spanked (hurt) for not obeying a larger person.

There is no single, all encompassing, approach to parenting a child into adulthood… we all know that, don’t we? My comments are meant to reflect general application, not specific example (often used as a point maker for something out of the norm). Most of us know of an old person who has smoked since they were a preteen, and now, at 95yrs are still smoking and going strong. But, that is an exception (most smokers don’t make it to 95) and should not be used to justify altering the general reality.

Finally: how do you within reason selectively prevent major accidents? I know you can "child-proof" your home and yard, but accidents, which are generally not predictable, will still occur with little or no warning. Yet, in your post you stated, "You can't prevent ALL accidents, but you can prevent the major ones... such as bouncing off cars..." Short of duct taping them to a tree... how??

Thanks for your comments, and keep your son out of the street.

DaMoKi Bob


how soon can you do the time out punishment?  My 16 month old son just won't listen to me when I tell him to not play with something that could potentially hurt him.  I have tried the spanking, distracting, etc.  Nothing seems to work, my mom suggested time outs and the only way I can think to do this is to put him in his crib.  Does this work?


A TON of time-outs did not work for a nephew of mine, his behavior continues to be a problem.   And, as I've been told by a CHILD BEHAVIOR SPECIALIST regarding my grandchildren, children as young as your son do not have the ability to reason.  What does he do around your mom? 



Which posting are you responding to with your 8/15/7 5:08pm comment? You did not put a name on it.

DaMoKi Bob



Hey, Debi got this one right, sort of. “Time outs” have little to no effect on this age. A child under 2 years old is probably not in the pre-logic phase mentally; they are more likely in the "out of sight out of mind" stage. They simply don’t put the cause and effect of punishment together well, and you can use that to your advantage. The attention span can be very short, and physical punishment per se will not work like you might think, especially, spanking, shaking, or even a 'gentle swat'. The only result will be to distract the child for a moment, and potentially make it cry. Later, if the object is still there, and they will probably still go for it.

 If you child proof your home or a section of your home so only reasonably safe 'stuff' is available, you have solved the problem. In the event you don't, or you are in a location where that is impossible, you will simply have to be more diligent regarding supervision and remove the dangerous object from him (take it away and replace it with something safe), or remove him from the dangerous object (move him to a safer area like a crib or whatever).

The problem in this age group is a "good activity" is what they are doing at the moment, and like. If you give them an alternative activity "good" for both of you, well, everything turns out ok, right?

A warning: after a while (3-5yrs) a “good activity” seems to morph into what they are doing at the moment, like doing... and can get away with. Then, you can try the time outs and the like... good luck!

DaMoKi Bob


Obviously, your husband was spanked as a child and thus the reason he wants to continue this vicious cycle.  Don't let him.  Protect your innocent baby.


"Spanking is the least effective way to discipline."

- American Academy of Pediatrics


Any form of corporal punishment or 'spanking' is a violent attack upon another human being's integrity. The effect remains with the victim forever and becomes an unforgiving part of his or hier personality--a massive frustration resulting in a hostility which will seek expression in later life in violent acts towards others. The sooner we understand that love and gentleness are the only kinds of called-far behavior towards children, the better. The child, especially, learns to become the kind of human being that he or she has experienced. This should be fully understood by all caregivers.


Being spanked is an emotional event. Adults often remember with crystal clarity times they were paddled or spanked as children. Many adults look back on corporal punishment in childhood with great anger and sadness. Sometimes people say, “I was spanked as a child, and I deserved it”. It is hard for us to believe that people who loved us would intentionally hurt us. We feel the need to excuse that hurt.


They are not little robots who we need to control their every move.  They are people, they just haven't been around as long as we have.  So they may touch something they shouldn't... instead of a swat/tap/pop ... how about a "honey, don't touch that" ... It worked for us.  Why is it okay to hit little kids, yet we would never dream of hitting our adult friends?  It doesn't make any sense.  We talk with our friends, shouldn't our children receive the same respect? 

It's drilled into our heads to honor our parents... what about honoring our children?


My sisters and I were raised being punished physically, although I don't practice this form of discipline with my own kids.  Whilst Dad ceased spanking me aged 14, my unmarried sisters still receive the occasional walloping on the bare bottom and the eldest is 24!  I think Dad sees their welfare as his responsibility until they are married.


While it is true that spanking in itself does not teach anything, pain is something that the mind does pay attention to.  I do not rule out spanking as an attention-getting device in cases of physical danger or destruction of property.  It is one possible strategy.  However, I do rule out spanking as a way of dealing with your own fear, anger, frustration.  Spanking and emotion do not go together.  If you are going to spank a child, spank before you get angry. 

And, if your purpose is to use pain as an attention-getting device, do this experiment.  Thump your own forehead, utilizing your thumb to provide resistance, then release your middle finger.  It is enough  to get your attention.  Of course, aim for to upper margin of the forehead, you don't want to hit an eye.  It's not as emotionally cathartic as a full-fledged, drag the kid across your lap, wallop the tar out of him, spanking.  But, it's not about you, is it?

No-one in my family can remember getting hit, spanked, or even thumped in the last 6 or 7 years.  My grown-up kids, when asked about it, say they hated getting thumped.  They have all different philosophies about physical punishment. 

How do you feel about whacking somebody in the sternum, maybe breaking some ribs?  Sounds barbaric, doesn't it?  What if the somebody is in cardiac arrest?  It all depends on the circumstances, doesn't it. 


I don't think that spanking is good all the time. Once or twice when thier kids are ok. But when they get older, start taking thier toys away if they do things bad like hitting you. Then when they get even older, ground them. It worked on my kids, and they turned out fine.


I have ADHD and I was spanked on the legs when I was a child. My parents believed that spanking was a last resort. They would warn me first, then send me to the corner for time out and if I strike again, then comes the spanking.  My parents never spanked my brother because he never did anything wrong. I have two boys, one ADHD which I spanked once in his lifetime but I used more meaningful method and my other son which is ADD, was never spanked. So it all depends on the child's character. I am all for time out, removing favorite toys or activities for a few minutes.



We are our children's first and most important role models, and they learn so much from us. That is why spanking is so wrong. Spanking our children just teaches them that the way to deal with a problem is to use violence, and where is the borderline between a spanking and child abuse. A very thin line there. If a slap doesn't work, what then. Slap harder? We need to teach them about compromise and negotiation, problem solving and just plain respect for each other. We don't show that by violence. I know it can be hard to explain things to a small child, but at that age and stage, distraction is probably the best way to deal with unwanted behaviour. Take them away from what they are doing wrong and give them something else to do. A simple 'no thank you' said in a no nonsense voice will get their attention. 


Spanking, in the true sense is not abusing or lashing out at your child. Some children don't need a spanking, some do. Spanking should be a last resort or when the offense has happened repeatedly.

Spanking is only to correct a behavior not to take out your anger or annoyance on your child.You NEVER spank a child while you are angry. You might be angry about what he did.  If so, give yourself a time-out to cool down and then with children 3+:

1. calmly get on his level. Tell him what the offense is and that it's not allowed.

2. Spank him with total control of your motions. The "swat" is only on the bottom. Never other places on the body.

3. Allow him to cry and reflect and then ask him to come to you when he's ready. At that time, ask him to tell you what he did wrong and admit it.

 4. Give him affection and let him know that all is well and that you love him but not what he did. 

5. Shortly after look for opportunities to praise him.

 6. Do not bring it up again.

If you would like more information please email me at:



Every parent is different and every child is different, so there is no one sure-fire solution.  But in my opinion, most kids will be better behaved if they at least think there is a possibility they might be spanked if they misbehave.


I am a retired child psychiatrist who worked with adopted and foster kids and their families. for over 40 years. The biggest problem they all had was the drefences they had established when they unconsciously realized they had been abandoned earlier. Those same psychological defences come to play when the child is abused or neglected. The child does not trust that a nurturing adult will respond to his cries so he turns to himself for comfort. This "survivor" defence" allows the individual to manipulate and control whenever needed. He lacks empathy because he is too focused on his own feelings.        Spanking causes many problems for both the child and the spanking parent so it should be vigorously condemned in almost all conditions. . It can be seen as the  equivalent of torture for some children. But we have to offer parents a more effective and less troubled discipline so that they can protect and teach their young, their archetypal role.   In my website, you can learn about the One Minute Scolding, a simple but sophisticated discipline that is proven effective in almost all children.

"Time-outs" as a discipline has some serious negatives from my perswpectives. It is often successful when other efforts failed but it cannot provide the most important aspect of disicpline. Time-outs do not, in themselves, reinforce the positive side of discipline, bonding. In fact, time-outs could generate anger, sadness, and despair. How does the child understand these feelings? He associates those "bad" feelings with the distancing parent.His mother is now viewed as "bad". Time-out is abandonment, the most primeval of all fears. The child in "time-out" has been abandoned by an angry mama or dad and one aspect of his psyche is enaged in controlling that fear. I doubt very musch that the child in "time-out" is thinking about his mistake he just made. Anger is the most common feeling and i is focu=sed on the parent. However, it does give mom a few minutes of peace and quiet, but at a price.

The issue that I am most concerned about is the epidemic of childhood psychiatric disorders that is now sweeping America. Why is there such a rapid rise in the incidence of autistic spectrum disorder? What are we going to do with the epidemic of childhood obesity, a disorder many categorize as another childhood psychiatric disorder. The epidemic is pretty widespread and I don't hear of anyone talking about it. What do you all think? I would like to continue this discussion with whoever wants to join us. Gerald E Nelson




I have never liked time out, though I couldn't articulate why.  I think spanking should fit the abortion slogan, safe, effective and rare.  My own slogan is "If you are going to spank, spank before you get mad."  Spanking after you are calmed down is ineffective, spanking while you are mad makes it both ineffective and unsafe. 

  The technique I developed for Zach (age 2), a day-care client, was that I would contain him on my lap.  I want to make sure this is clear, I did not grasp him or crush him or any of that, just scoop him onto my lap and we would sit for a very short while, a "time out" with warmth and attention.  He couldn't play with anything and I didn't say much.  I would describe his misbehavior.  Tell him we don't do that.  Then I'd turn him loose. At first sometimes he would try it again, just to see if I was paying attention, or serious.  Pretty soon, it was very effective. 

  Childhood psychiatric disorders and obesity?  I wonder about maternal bonding and paternal activity.  I wonder if having a traditional catch-playing dad and eat-your-vegetables mom have an effect on both of these phenomenon.  I have seen a couple of moms who single-handedly try to fill both of these roles.  With varying degrees of success. 

  In my own experience, I have 2 obese children (of six) and the obese ones, during their pregnancies, I was very depressed myself.  Another of my children has had serious psychiatric problems, (no food or obesity issues) and that is the one that was in non-parental care throughout infancy, toddlerhood, and pre-school.  These are all children in an intact nuclear family.  No magic, I guess.


Who is to set the borderline between spanking and child abuse? 


I am 14 when I was younger if I said a bad word, I ended up sucking on the soap bar. If I did do something really bad or dangerous I would get a spanking. I was never spanked more than my age. It worked, I rarely did those things again. My cousins ages 14, 12?, 9, and 7, were always in the house where the worst that they got was corner time. They are all wild monsters. My mom doesn't let them come to our house. The thing is that they behave fine at my Grandma's house where they are disciplined. It all depends on the situation, but if parents don't give clear boundaries, and stick to them, you end up having to call supernanny.


 Out of the mouths of babes... excellent post Sailing.



Did you hear the thing on NPR this morning about self-regulation and the drop in children's ability to self-regulate? They attribute this decrease to manufactured toys and to activities that are directed by adults--at least I think that is what I understood. I was wondering if self-regulation is linked to autistic spectrum disorder or to ADD/ ADHD?

I have children and I spank them whenever it is needed. I don't do it for every little thing though. Only when they do something like lying or cheating or stealing, so it is not too often. My oldest boy is ten, and the last time he got a spanking was last month for lying about studying and than failing the test. I plan on stopping spanking the two boys until they are twelve.

I've just started spanking my son, but not for everything. It really is effective once in a while. You two should decide something in the middle. Use whatever method you prefer for small things, and spank for more serious things.

You both should just sit down and talk about why you think your actions are right and why he thinks his actions are right and come to a mutual understanding of each other.

We actually use a specific method called 1-2-3 Magic. There is a book and website that describes the approach in deal. Basically, each time your son/daughter starts misbehaving you start counting them. For the first offense, you say "That's 1." It's a quick way of warning them. If you get to 3, they go straight to timeout. If they're 2 years old, they get 2 minutes, 3 years old, 3 minutes, and so on. Some offenses, like hitting, are an immediate "3" and a timeout. This approach has been very effective for us, especially if used consistently. We still spank occasionally, but it is a last resort in our discipline tool arsenal. I've found a really good debate about the pros and cons of spanking at Experts from both sides weigh in and give their feedback about spanking. Hope you find a method that works well for your family!

I agree w/ you glopsey.

Plain Talk About Spanking The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children These can be read online and list some very good reasons not to hit.

i have 5 kids and i never spank i just take things away ,i would not want some one to smack me so why would i smack my child my children are well behaved and know right from wrong they understand something else i do is talk with them and find out why and then together we talk about how we can change what we did wrong ,it is kinda funny because now my youngest comes to me if i mess up and asks me "mom why did you do that and how can we work to make it right "

Great post! Good for you! It is difficult to put into practice but has great rewards. My children and the children I nanny do the same thing as your youngest, which is wonderful and shows the hard work is so worth the effort!!

is your hasband happy that his having a 1 child Thankyou,Cindy3

There is a really quick read that a lot of professionals use in helping people understand why hitting isn't the way to go, and why its worth learning how to discipline instead. Maybe he could look over it- Plain Talk About Spanking by Jordan Riak

In this era of parenting, people generally try not to spank. It is just not something the culture agrees upon as being acceptable. Why do it? I cannot believe that spanking is the one and only way to discipline a child. I have only occasionally spanked mine, out of frustration. Their dad doesn't spank them. They somehow are quite well behaved. If they do something wrong, I just look at them til they realize their mistake. We all make mistakes, especially kids. They make them ALL the time, and sometimes they even do it on purpose! Funny people.:) best of luck, Amy

He is only 16 months old! A baby! Put him in a crib(playpen?) or a safe place if he is playing with things that he shouldn't. Or better simply take them away. This is not to punish but to keep him safe. The thing he will learn, however, intrinsically, is that his safety is important to you, and he is worthy of being cared for and protected until he is able to do so for himself(and beyond). I'm not surprised time outs don't work, or spankings. Forget them. Also, what is he playing with? I don't recall that there were too many things lying around my house that were potentially dangerous to a one-year old that I hadn't already put on a high shelf or a closet.

NEVER strike your children. You'd just be teaching them that violence is a legitimate way to solve problems. Bad parents are worse than no parents. Case in point: Ronnie Paris Sr. He murdered his own son. Want children to enjoy reading? Simple solution - buy them an adventure game or RPG. Sport will only make them miserable, especially if they have no natural talent for it. Force children to do something they hate, and they will consider it work. They will want compensation (and more importantly, they will DESERVE it). It will also make them feel like they're being punished for no reason. Corporal punishment can hurt children emotionally as well as physically. This is amplified if they are not given a reason other than "I said so." Furthermore, NEVER break a promise and use the "I didn't lie! I just changed my mind!" excuse.