Question: What are your thoughts on spanking children as a form of discipline? I am currently doing a paper about this issue and would appreciate your input.
Answer: I oppose hitting children as a form of discipline. I also oppose hitting as an expression of anger, as a method of domination, or for any other purpose. Imagine a child hitting his younger sister, and then being hit as a punishment. Either it is alright for larger, stronger people to hit smaller ones — or it is not alright. We seem to want it both ways. Parents can hit children, but children cannot hit children, and of course, kids are not allowed to hit parents.
We are beings with astounding intellectual ability, and there are so many other methods for communication. Striking a child is a communication, to be sure, but it ultimately teaches that more powerful beings can do what they want, and less powerful beings cannot resist. These are precisely the lessons we’d then want to un-teach as children grow up and enter a free society. I would ask advocates, ‘‘If hitting is an effective and harmless teaching method, why does this society stop using it when citizens become adults and break the rules?’’ Because it is oppressive and breeds resentment, anger, and ultimately more problems in the long run.