A third of parents spank their babies

March 20th, 2014 by Dionna | 3 Comments
Posted in Gentle/Positive Discipline, natural parenting

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sad baby edited Nate Grigg

Many parents still believe that spanking is an effective method of discipline. They are spanking with good intentions: they truly believe it will help. We do not arm parents with enough information to properly convey that spanking harms children in the short- and long-term.

This belief is so prevalent – and parents have so little training in more beneficial parenting methods – that parents are even spanking infants.

Two separate studies of parents in the United States – the most recent a 2014 study by the University of Michigan, another reported in a 1999 issue of Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, show that approximately one in three infants are spanked by their parents.1

But here’s the good news: when parents are presented with information on how harmful spanking is, and when they are educated about alternatives, they will spank less.2

Join me in helping parents learn more effective ways of helping children. Below is a list of websites with helpful information. Let’s empower the next generation of parents and children to understand that no form of hitting is acceptable.

Please add your own helpful sites in the comments below.

Sites with Information on the Negative Effects of Spanking

Natural Child Project

Sites with Information on Spanking Alternatives

Code Name: Mama (Gentle Discipline category)
Living Peacefully with Children
Natural Parents Network (Gentle Discipline category)
Presence Parenting


Photo Credit: Nate Grigg (adapted with permission via Flickr Creative Commons)
Author’s note – of course this baby had not been spanked in this picture. I simply searched for photos on Flickr of “sad babies” and came across this cutie.

  1. Shawna J. Lee, Andrew Grogan-Kaylora, Lawrence M. Berger, Parental spanking of 1-year-old children and subsequent child protective services involvement, Child Abuse & Neglect, available online March 3, 2014;Murray A. Straus & Julie H. Stewart, Corporal Punishment by American Parents: National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity, Severity, and Duration, in Relation to Child and Family Characteristics, 2 CLINICAL CHILD & FAM. PSYCHOL. REV., 55, 57–60 (1999).
  2. Parents less likely to spank after reading briefly about its links to problems in children

3 Responses to:
"A third of parents spank their babies"

  1. I’m seriously shocked that anyone would spank a baby. They are so tiny and they clearly don’t understand their actions! This is so sad.

  2. Thank you for including Presenceparenting.com with the resources, Dionna. As a parent who did use spanking with one of my children, starting when she was a toddler, and as a parent who’s transitioned to non punitive methods I can relate to both sides of the story. Thank you for sharing helpful resources because we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have at any given time. I think what parents and kids both need is some compassion.

    Here are several sites that offer alternatives to spanking while supporting collaboration in the family… http://presenceparenting.com/links/

    Also, here are some books that may be helpful… http://presenceparenting.com/books-and-such/

  3. Tarana   sandinmytoesTK

    I read this report too, and it was really shocking. I’ve never even imagined that ‘spanking’ and ‘babies’ could be in one sentence. Spanking is a bad word as it is.

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