AskDefine | Define smacking

Dictionary Definition

smacking n : the act of smacking something; a blow delivered with an open hand [syn: smack, slap]

User Contributed Dictionary




Extensive Definition

Spanking is the use of force to discipline.


What and how


Spanking, by today's definition, consists of striking the buttocks, usually as a physical punishment, with an open hand.
In the United States and Canada, all discipline applied to the posterior is usually known as spanking or whupping. In Great Britain and many Commonwealth countries, smacking or whacking is used as the general term; with spanking usually referring to bare-handed discipline (as opposed to implement-specific forms of spanking such as paddling, caning, birching and slippering).
There are many alternative terms, often linked with an implement (such as belting, caning, whipping), but also sometimes used more generally (such as thrashing, whacking, or whupping) or using terms for a stroke (usually in the plural), such as blow, swat (hence swatting), lick (hence licking) and less common ones including onomatopoeias such as "pop". Terms such as hiding or tanning can also be used.
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  • Sometimes there is another specific term for a spanking on the seat of the trousers, as the Dutch pak voor de broek ('swats on the pants').
  • Similarly there can be analogous words for spankers, as the Dutch bilslager ('buttock beater') and the French (Frère) Fesseur ('(brother) spanker'), both referring to a cleric, especially in the Jesuit order, specifically charged with the professional administration of spankings on the (typically bared) buttocks of naughty pupils in reputedly strict Catholic schools; in Paris's St. Lazaire prison the rod was administered on the bare buttocks of criminals by a member of the Lazarist order referred to as the Père fouettard ('whipping father') as allegedly happened to the writer Beaumarchais.

Scope of punitive use

The two subsections group the various spanking spheres for convenience: the 'domestic' model spanks in a paternalistic mentality, intending to (re)educate the spankees, often 'for their own good', and more informally, which often includes the use of conveniently available objects made for another purpose, such as a hairbrush, belt, pointer (rod), Physical punishment yardstick, wooden spoon, spatula, or other various household objects. Meanwhile, the 'judicial' model essentially aims to enforce the social code, be it the (formal or customary) law or a substitute order, 'for the common good' (raison d'état, social cohesion, public safety and morality...), usually with a traditional, often even formally imposed implement.

Domestic model

Spankings are administered in particular to children by their educators, i.e. mostly (biological, step-, adoptive- or foster-) parent or guardian and school -, orphanage etc. staff. Race and gender have a significant influence on child spanking. Black children and male children are more likely to be hit at home and school, and spanking of boys tends to be more frequent than spanking of girls. Many countries in Europe, as well as New Zealand, have outlawed the domestic spanking of children. In 2007 the Australian government spent 2.5 million dollars on a campaign to persuade Australian parents not to spank their children. The legal status of parental discipline in the US is determined on a state level, and is increasingly in flux, with some states, such as California, considering outright bans (these moves have so far failed), and others detailing guidelines within which spanking remains legal.
Spankings were however also, especially in the past, administered to other persons considered as legal (and/or moral) minors (sometimes illegally still treated as such), including;
  • Wives and Servants (especially domestics; British judge Sir Francis Buller was famously accused of advocating such punishments)
  • Often copied from domestic discipline, as in fraternities and sororities (originally living units where seniors and/or staff wielded the paddle rather like parents at home), and sports and other teams (though now usually only as 'play' in hazing and rarely as actual coercive sanction) and other initiation context, as with recruits (in military, police and some other professions).
  • Informal spankings in the domestic context can also occur in an institutional environment, parallel to the more formal punishments, when administered by the victim's peers.

Judicial model

In many cultures and legal systems it was common to administer judicial and prison beatings on the buttocks (convicts by definition are at the mercy of the authorities ; even today severe punishments, even the dreaded judicial 'Singapore' cane, are awarded to enforce internal prison rules in various countries).
For obvious practical reasons adults are rarely spanked over knee or lap, rather bending or bound over some object, or construction or standing or hanging (as usual for punishment above the waist) against a wall or whipping post.
The parallel with child discipline may be part of the deliberate use of public humiliation as punishment. Hence, the condemned is often bared, completely or partly to expose the buttocks, or only covered for modesty, with little protection against the instrument; this is still usual under sharia in many countries. While even the back is sometimes left clad for an Islamic whipping, as in Saudi Arabia, in (ethnically mainly Chinese) Singapore and (Muslim) Malaysia the target is always the bare buttocks.
  • Often the strong arm of the law — mainly (para)military and police, charged with the physical execution of corporal punishment — and some similarly hierarchical organisations, has particularly strict internal discipline, usually enforced internally (as by court-martial, or in 'minor' cases simply by the superior officer), which in many traditions entailed punishing the culprit's (often bared) tail-end;
    • especially navies, where order must be maintained in confined spaces at all cost, are renowned for stern discipline, and some measure of it not unknown in merchant naval traditions either, but usually only 'boys' (including midshipmen, though) were spanked, adult sailors rather had their back and/or shoulders lashed;
    • in general the treatment of boys under arms has at least a measure of the paternalistic 'educational' discipline, often meaning they are more likely to have the bare bottom punished;
    • when martial law is imposed (formally or de facto), at home (as in Pakistan under former president General Zia ul Haq or under military occupation, such harsh practice is often extended to the civilian population (more difficult to control and/or less respected) as well, even limiting normal process of law; while regular corps discipline is generally conducted within quarters or correctional facility, to 'whip' the masses into obedience public administration is often preferred for maximized deterrence; yet in some cases the accusations of 'war crime'-type punishment are somewhat hollow because the occupied country often already used similar physical coercion, e.g. Korea publicly caning the criminal's bare behind over a bench before and during the Japanese rule
  • Judicial corporal punishment is still used in some post-colonial, non-Islamic countries, including caning or even the cat o' nine tails in certain Commonwealth nations.
  • Traditional justice such as in tribal chief's courts not infrequently includes spanking, sometimes even carried out by the regular police force.
  • Even where corporal punishment is illegal, or very restricted, it rather often is a common weapon for so-called vigilante justice, sometimes tolerated or even legally legitimated by the authorities (as in various parts of Africa, e.g. Botswana), sometimes practiced by rebels (as in Nepal), often remarkably popular with the general public or a large section where official 'modern' western-style justice seems unable to stem crime, as in South Africa.
  • The Empress Theodora is reported to have spanked a courtier :
  • Finally, there are cases of 'summary justice' which do not fit the vigilante logic, but still intend to enforce a social order by improvised corporal punishment, such as some Bolivian bus drivers using a belt on strike-breaking colleagues on the streets, or “In French pit villages the wives of striking miners confronted scabs and humiliated them by removing their trousers and spanking them.” -Lynn Abrams, The Making of Modern Woman (New York: Pearson Education Limited, 2002), 203.

Spanking In Schools

In some schools, spanking is allowed as a means of disciplining students. Such schools often allow elementary students (ages 6–11), intermediate students (ages 10–13), and high school students (ages14 –18) to be so disciplined.
School corporal punishment is banned in most of the western world, including every country in Europe, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand. Conversely, some advanced countries in Asia still use it, including Singapore and South Korea.. Corporal punishment was made illegal in all state schools in the United Kingdom in 1986 and this ban was extended to include independent schools in 1996.
School corporal punishment is common in Africa and India. It is also still permitted in 20 U.S. states. Of these, Ohio and Louisiana require schools to honor parental requests not to use corporal punishment. Schools or school districts usually specify the circumstances under which spankings may be administered and which personnel may administer them. In New Jersey and Iowa, all corporal punishment, including spanking, is prohibited in all schools, public and private. In some other states it is banned in public schools but permitted in private ones. World Corporal Punishment Research has compiled "Regulations of individual schools or school districts" throughout the United States, state by state, and internationally, "with external links to present-day school handbooks" that specify the circumstances and personnel who are authorized to administer spankings.
In the U.S., the degree to which spanking is used in schools in states which still allow it varies by state. For example, Ohio still permits spanking in school, but approximately 97% of the school districts in the state ban the practice, and all major cities either ban it or do not use it. In Alabama, however, only two districts in the entire state, Montgomery and Birmingham, ban the practice.
Nine states give teachers protection from liability arising from the use of spanking, even if parents requested the school not use corporal punishment, and sometimes even if injury occurs. They are: Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Indiana.
Of the U.S. states permitting spanking in schools, Texas administers the most, with approximately 170,000 per year. While it is banned in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, Houston still permits school spanking, as do many rural school districts.
Mississippi has the highest proportionate rate, with approximately 11% of the student body subjected to corporal punishment in any given school year.
Ohio is a "fence-sitter" state. Spanking is still legal in Ohio schools, but the law is written to sometimes be confused with a ban. The state law, Ohio Revised Code 3319.41, states that corporal punishment is banned unless school districts establish clear guidelines for a corporal punishment policy, and honor all requests of parents who do not wish their children subjected to corporal punishment. Approximately 97% of public school districts in Ohio ban spanking and corporal punishment anyway, which has been cited by some pro-spanking advocates as eliminating the need for legislation against school spanking in Ohio.
Twenty-eight US states have banned spanking in public schools. They are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Rhode Island, the "honorary 29th" state, does not legally ban spanking in schools, but every school district in the state has banned it since at least 1976.
Spanking was banned in all public schools in Australia during the 1980's and in Canada as of 2004. However some states or provinces in both countries allow some form of corporal punsihment in private schools Evidence suggests that in the United States, black students are more likely to be hit than white students, and male students more likely than female students, for the same infractions. Corporal punishment of male students also tends to be more severe. In some places, this sexual discrimination has the force of law. For instance, in Queensland, Australia, school corporal punishment of girls was banned in 1934 but corporal punishment of boys in private schools is still legal in 2007. Likewise, caning in Singapore schools is strictly confined to boys.
Through the 1970s, paddling in public U.S. high schools was primarily administered to boys. Since that time, some public high schools that use paddling have converted to a "voluntary" system in which all students, regardless of gender, may choose paddling or some alternative punishment like detention. (Parents are also often given the option of opting out of corporal punishment by informing the school that their child may not choose a paddling.) Under this approach, students choose between a pre-determined number of swats or the alternative punishment. For example, a student with a third tardy may choose a 3-swat paddling or 3 hours of Saturday detention.
Nevertheless, the paddling of boys remains considerably more common than that of girls.


Administrators and school authorities often describe spanking as a last resort, for use only after other methods of discipline have proved unsuccessful. Even then, students are often allowed to choose an alternative punishment if they so wish. In some cases, however, spankings are mandated, and no alternative is provided. Spankings in American schools are usually delivered with a paddle, with a predetermined number of swats (often three to five) to the students' clothed buttocks. Spankings are usually given in private.


In its most common use as a means of domestic corporal discipline, spanking usually refers to a child lying, stomach down, across the spanker's lap, with the parent or teacher bringing their open hand down upon the child's posterior. Other ways to administer spanking are with the child laid on a flat surface and held legs-up, by the ankles, and spanked with an open hand, or with the child bent over a piece of furniture, or standing and touching its toes.
Spanking advocates argue that the buttocks are the safest place to administer corporal punishment since injury is unlikely.
Spankings are delivered over clothing, over the undergarments, or upon the bare buttocks depending on the amount of pain or humiliation intended; the degree of embarrassment is often deemed to be increased by witnesses, such as the household, the class, or even a school assembly.
Most educators in modern Western societies consider avoidable humiliation inappropriate. In the past, however, the humiliation of exposing the buttocks has sometimes been regarded as a legitimate part of the punishment, as the main purpose of spanking is to cause a psychological deterring effect through painful bodily degradation.
Most public high schools in the southern and southwestern U.S. require the student to assume a partly bending position, with his hands placed against a wall or on a desk or chair. This position provides support should the student tend to fall forward with the impact of a swat, as well as ensuring that he does not attempt to reach back and cover or shield his buttocks with his hands during the paddling, which could be inadvertently struck as a result.


Spanking — like corporal punishment in general — is a hotly debated social issue in many countries. Questions exist as to whether children should be spanked (see the sections below), whether it is an effective method of discipline (and if so how it is best done, see above), and whether or at what point it constitutes child abuse. Most of these points apply more generally to most or all forms of physical punishment.

Arguments for spanking

Those who accept spanking often frame the issue as a matter of effective discipline, stating that young children respond most effectively to sensations, like pain. They also hold that when used solely for disciplinary purposes and not done out of anger but in moderation, there is little evidence that moderate spanking is harmful. Further, many believe that discipline problems among children have recently increased, and partially attribute the increase to the decline of both parental authority and the use of spanking. Proponents of spanking also argue that moderate spanking is simple and effective, especially compared to non-spanking disciplines proposed by both academic psychologists and parents which may rely upon what they consider complicated or unrealistic methods that are often not implemented successfully.

Psychological Conditioning

Another argument used by proponents of spanking is that proper and effective spankings cause only temporary pain and no damage. It has been argued that when parents and children are engaged in a prolonged struggle for authority, the anger and bitterness that results can cause an emotional estrangement that far outweighs any possible negative effects from moderate spankings, while a sound spanking would "clear the air." Some advocates for spanking assume a behaviorist psychology, and argue that as spanking is a form of operant conditioning, the child associates a certain behaviour with the physical pain and/or humiliation caused by spanking. Since a child's learning process may be less complex than that of an adult, they claim that children are more likely to be influenced by such a conditioning.
Some attacks on spanking appear to suggest that parents spank their children in order to gratify base urges, such as the will to dominate a weaker person (the “behaviorist” language of the preceding paragraph might seem to lend some weight to this charge, but few parents would justify spanking on behaviorist grounds). While recognizing that spanking is sometimes abused in this way (such abuses are not limited to punishments involving physical force), responsible advocates of spanking have generally maintained that its proper use is as an instrument in the child's moral education: the physical evil of pain serves as a concrete analogue, readily perceivable by the child, of the moral evil of wrongdoing. On this view there are occasions when spanking is not just a right but a duty, stemming from the general duty to educate one's child in moral good and evil. Those who see spanking in this light naturally view attempts to criminalize it as an attempt to penalize parents for doing their job. (It should also be mentioned that pro-spankers do not in general advocate a "one-size-fits-all" policy; they acknowledge that even for the same offense different punishments may justly be meted out to different children, depending on their degree of moral perception or their degree of sensitivity to pain. However, they hold that, except in very unusual cases, parents -- or representatives that they personally designate -- are the only legitimate authorities on how to allot punishment or reward to their children.) Further pro-spanking arguments, from a medical point of view, may be found in "Spare the Rod? New Research Challenges Spanking Critics" by Den A. Trumbull, M.D. and S. DuBose Ravenel, M.D.

Judaeo-Christian Arguments

Jewish advocates of spanking often refer to Bible verses mentioning "the rod", and assert that spanking is therefore an acceptable punishment from a Jewish moral or religious point of view. Some attribute the quotation "spare the rod and spoil the child" to the Bible; in fact, it comes from a bawdy poem entitled "Hudibras" by Samuel Butler. The Bible verse itself reads, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24 (NIV)". A later verse also advises, "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." Proverbs 23:13-14 (NIV). It is important to remember, however, that many non-Jewish cultures have historically affirmed parents' right to use a reasonable degree of physical force in disciplining their children. In many of these cultures, any attempt by the rulers to curb parents' perceived rights in this area would have been seen as one the worst possible forms of tyranny.

Sociological Debate

There is a widespread and deep skepticism among pro-spankers of all the arguments against spanking, and a general feeling that the practice of spanking recalcitrant children, and comparable forms of corporal punishment, have proven their worth over a period of many centuries, and across many different cultures. They believe that the current Western fashion against spanking is an arbitrary and improper application of egalitarian principles to what they claim is an inherently unequal social relationship. A few of their replies to some of the more common anti-spanking arguments will now be briefly summarized. To the common claim that spanking teaches children to resolve conflicts by physical force, some pro-spankers reply by distinguishing two senses of the claim. The claim is true, they say, if it means that appropriate spanking teaches children that parents have the right to resolve certain conflicts, resulting from a child’s disobedience, by a measured use of physical force. But (they ask) how is this supposed to convince us that all spanking is wrong? Unless (they say) spanking has already been shown to be immoral, the fact that spanking teaches children that they too, when parents, will have the right to spank their own children (not for the sake of revenge, but as a means of moral education), is scarcely a decisive objection against it. On the other hand, pro-spankers say, the claim might be taken to mean that spanking teaches children to use physical violence as a means of revenge. But this, they insist, is simply false, if taken to apply to all spanking. When appropriately administered (and when calmly discussed with the child, afterward), spanking, they say, is understood by the child to be a just punishment for disobedience, not a means of revenge (indeed, according to pro-spankers, most children who receive an appropriate spanking would subsequently laugh at, or else resent, the charge that their father or mother had acted out of vindictiveness). Pro-spankers do not find any respectable and demonstrably unbiased studies to support the currently fashionable charge that spanking, however administered, tends to produce violent, vindictive adults. To a pro-spanker a claim such as "the number one predictor of violent behavior is whether someone comes from a home where violence is practiced, including a home where children are subjected to physical punishment", is simply preaching to the converted: by putting spanking in the same category with child abuse and other violent behavior, the anti-spanker who makes such a claim is already assuming what he claims to prove: namely that spanking is the moral equivalent of child abuse. And thus (the pro-spanker argues) such claims prove nothing. What the anti-speaker ought to produce, according to the pro-spanker, is evidence that even spanking that is administered non-vindictively, as a just and proportionate punishment for disobedience, is a "predictor" of violent behavior. According to pro-spankers, anti-spankers have so far failed to produced such evidence. The reason being, according to pro-spakers, that there is none.
Pro-spankers take a similar line with claims such as this: "most violent criminals were spanked as children, and many cases of bullying at school have been linked to abuse cases". That most violent criminals and bullies were spanked does not tell us much, the pro-spankers say, unless it is also known that most virtuous people were not spanked: supposing that as children Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Martin Luther King all received some spankings, what conclusion is one supposed to draw from the fact that Charles Manson, David ("Son of Sam") Berkowitz and Ted ("Unabomber") Kaczynski did too? At most, they say, one might be tempted to conclude that spanking is not a very reliable tool for instilling moral values. But, pro-spankers argue, even this conclusion would be misleading, since for all we know the "spankings" administered to Manson, etc., were in fact beatings administered out of revenge or anger, rather than the measured infliction of punishment intended to reinforce a moral lesson. It is only the latter sort of spanking that pro-spankers advocate. And, they insist, there is no evidence at all that spanking of that kind leads to violent crime or bullying. On the contrary, they argue, the gravest threat to respect for human life and limb is ignorance of the ugliness of grave moral disvalue, and (they say) for many children the only cure for this ignorance is spanking, or comparable punishment, used not vindictively but as an instrument of moral education.
But to this some anti-spankers would object that even if the "right sort" of spanking has all the benefits that pro-spankers think it does, the wrong sort of spanking is nonetheless a grave evil that can only be eliminated by outlawing all spanking, "right" as well as wrong. We ought not, they would say, allow a grave evil (child-beating), even for the sake of a great good (the benefit that many children allegedly derive from the "right sort" of spanking). In reply a pro-spanker who endorses the principle of double effect could reply that simply allowing an evil is not always immoral; before the anti-spanker's objection can carry the day the policy of permitting spanking must first be shown to fail the double-effect test: i.e. it must be shown either that (a) the policy is intrinsically evil (like the Nazis' "Final Solution"), or (b) the policy's bad consequences are directly intended, or less-bad consequences would result from some other attempt to secure the policy's good consequences, or (c) the policy's good consequences are the direct effect of its bad consequences, not of the policy itself, or (d) the policy's good consequences do not outweigh the bad. The only way to prove (a) is to prove that all spanking is evil, which (if we accept the pro-spanker's foregoing replies to the anti-spanker's arguments), has not yet been established. Nor (the pro-spanker would argue) does the policy of permitting spanking obviously satisfy conditions (b) or (c). As for condition (d), pro-spankers would argue that the many good effects of permitting parental spanking (aiding perhaps millions of children to perceive the disvalue of misconduct, thereby promoting their happiness and well-being, in addition to that of parents, neighbors, their own future children, co-workers, etc.), are not obviously outweighed by the foreseeable bad consequences. So the pro-spanker doesn't seem rationally obliged to accept the anti-spanker's objection.
In reply to the charge that spanking violates an implicit promise never to harm the child, some pro-spankers retort that the verb “harm”, as used here, is ambiguous: it may be taken to mean either “inflict physical pain on” or “inflict serious or lasting injury on”. Now, pro-spankers say, only someone who was already convinced on other grounds that spanking is immoral would agree that parenthood implies a promise never to inflict pain. On about implicit promises supposed to convince us that all spanking is immoral?
The allegation by a few anti-spankers that parental spanking on the buttocks is a kind of sexual perversion, or that it “interferes with a child’s normal sexual ... development” strikes some pro-spankers as a specimen of hysteria comparable to the Salem witch trials. If being spanked were a cause of sexual dysfunction, they say, this would surely have come to light long ago (especially since spanking —- and other, more severe forms of corporal punishment —-are less prevalent today than they once were). Such a causal connection, they add, is unsupported by any body of respectable scientific research. Even if such a link were ever established, pro-spankers say, this would impugn only one particular form of corporal punishment, not corporeal punishment per se. And it is the latter that is the anti-spankers' real target.
In answer to anti-spankers' claim that spanking has been proven psychologically harmful by science (as represented by the pronouncements of medical and psychological associations, and of certain United Nations agencies), some pro-spankers attempt to discredit the alleged scientific evidence, as follows. According to these pro-spankers, Western or Westernizing psychologists and physicians share the fondness felt by most self-described progressives for a pair of beliefs, characteristic of nineteenth-century European and North American romanticism, that gained a new lease-on-life in Western universities in the 1960s and 70s: (a) young children are able by reason to distinguish right from wrong, and will naturally choose to do what they perceive as right and (b) punishment of free choices (except perhaps of free choices to punish or harm others) is intrinsically unjust (as evidence for the prevalence of these beliefs in American schools of education, pro-spankers can cite pieces such as William Kirkpatrick's Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong, chapter 5). According to pro-spankers, this pair of beliefs, still dominant in the social sciences and in certain fields of medicine, biases most psychologists and physicians against punishment as such, and especially against corporal punishment (normally perceived as the harshest sort of punishment); this bias, in turn, governs their interpretation, or indeed the construction, of data regarding the benefits and detriments of corporal punishment (for evidence of the role played by philosophical bias in the acceptance or rejection of scientific theories, and even in the construction of "empirical data", pro-spankers are able to cite a plethora of historical and philosophical studies inspired by Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). As a result, they charge, to argue against spanking by appealing to the studies and recommendations of psychologists and physicians, without first showing that their research and inferences were not unduly influenced by the above-mentioned biases, is to commit the logical fallacy of “question-begging“ or petitio principii: claiming to prove a disputed claim by means of a premise that is at least as controversial as the claim in dispute.
Some pro-spankers see the anti-spanking movement as part of a (to them, alarming) tendency among a sizeable number of Western elites and professionals to conflate authority, including its exercise in just punishment, with the arbitrary or vindictive use of power (the nineteenth-century Romantic provenance of this "Promethean" view, and its revival in the 1960s, were noted in the last paragraph). Such a confusion, they argue, not only implicitly denigrates the God of the Bible (who is portrayed as not only merciful, but also as justly punishing -- sometimes corporally -- the wrongdoer), it also undermines the distinction between legitimate government and tyranny (a distinction that, these pro-spankers say, ought to be especially important to liberals, in view of their vaunted enmity to political and economic oppression).
Neither the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) nor the American Psychological Association (APA) has come out fully against the practice. In 1998 the former issued a statement that said, in part, "Spanking is only effective when used in selective, infrequent situations." An APA statement permits similar wiggle room: "There is difference of opinion within the psychology community about spanking. But there is general concern that if and when spanking might lead to more severe forms of corporal punishment, parents should avoid [it]."

Selected pro-spanking individuals

These persons are either involved with pro-spanking organizations, and/or have admitted to being for to spanking either in print or in an interview.
James Dobson - Founder of "Focus on the Family" and frequent spanking advocate. John Rosemond (b. 1947) author, newspaper columnist, 1975 candidate for mayor of Columbus, Ohio Kenneth Connor (activist) - not to be confused with the late actor of the same name. Former president of the Family Research Council. Generated controversy in 2003 when a letter to the editor of USA Today opposing the ban of school corporal punishment in Pennsylvania was printed, calling anyone who is anti-spanking a zealot who is ruining America. This letter infuriated many anti-spankers, but in the end, Pennsylvania banned school corporal punishment in 2004. Crystal Bernard (b. 1961) - Actress, best known for role in Wings (TV series). Has spoken in defense of spanking in talk show interviews, and has admitted she believes in spanking.

Child's right to self-defense

The issue of a child's right to self-defense has long been debated. Spanking in public and private institutions might be regarded as grounds for assault charges and therefore identification of a victim and perpetrator.

Arguments against spanking

Anti-spanking advocates argue chiefly that spanking is abusive, that it is ineffective, and that it teaches children that physical violence is an acceptable way to deal with other people. They point to the fact that scientific research has failed to back up any of the claims in favor of spanking while research has consistently shown that the number one predictor of violent behavior is whether someone comes from a home where violence is practiced, including a home where children are subjected to physical punishment. (Actually, in the Dunedin Study those who were merely smacked had "similar or even slightly better outcomes" than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.) Some believe that spanking contributes to physical abuse in cases of domestic violence, bullying at school and physical abuse on siblings. Most violent criminals were spanked as children and many cases of bullying at school have been linked to physical abuse cases. Spanking is also criticized for being a violation Spanking has been associated with higher rates of physical aggression, more substance abuse, and increased risk of crime and violence when used with older children and adolescents."
The American Psychological Association opposes the use of corporal punishment in schools, juvenile facilities, child care nurseries, and all other institutions, public or private, where children are cared for or educated (Conger, 1975). They state that corporal punishment is violent, unnecessary, may lower self-esteem, is likely to train children to use physical violence, and is liable to instill hostility and rage without reducing the undesired behavior.
The Canadian Pediatrics Society policy on spanking states "The Psychosocial Paediatrics Committee of the Canadian Paediatric Society has carefully reviewed the available research in the controversial area of disciplinary spanking (7-15)... The research that is available supports the position that spanking and other forms of physical punishment are associated with negative child outcomes. The Canadian Paediatric Society, therefore, recommends that physicians strongly discourage disciplinary spanking and all other forms of physical punishment"
England's Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Psychiatrists have called for a complete ban on all corporal punishment, stating "We believe it is both wrong and impracticable to seek to define acceptable forms of corporal punishment of children. Such an exercise is unjust. Hitting children is a lesson in bad behaviour." and that "it is never appropriate to hit or beat children"
The Australian Psychological Society holds that physical punishment of children should not be used as it has very limited capacity to deter unwanted behavior, does not teach alternative desirable behavior, often promotes further undersirable behaviors such as defiance and attachment to "delinquent" peer groups, encourages an acceptance of aggression and violence as acceptable responses to conflicts and problems
UNESCO states "During the Commission on Human Rights, UNESCO launched a new report entitled "Eliminating Corporal Punishment - The Way Forward to Constructive Child Discipline". The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has consistently recommended States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to prohibit corporal punishment and other forms of violence against children in institutions, in schools, and in the homes...To discipline or punish through physical harm is clearly a violation of the most basic of human rights. Research on corporal punishment has found it to be counterproductive and relatively ineffective, as well as dangerous and harmful to physical, psychological and social well being. While many States have developed child protection laws and systems violence still continues to be inflicted upon children".
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommends that States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to prohibit corporal punishment in institutions, in schools, and in the home. However, it should be noted that the Convention itself does not mention the words "corporal punishment" or any similar phrase.
Even without sexual motives on the part of the punisher, some maintain that spanking can interfere with a child’s normal sexual and psychological development. Because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, slapping them can trigger powerful and involuntary sensations of sexual stimulation. This can happen even in very young children, and even in spite of great, clearly upsetting pain.
Dr. Teresa Whitehurst said "The literature is replete with accounts of rape victims who never came forward to name their accuser or even to admit they'd been violated because they were so ashamed at their bodies' involuntary response to touch, thinking that this would suggest they enjoyed the assault. Nerve endings can and do function without our conscious consent. The pendulum is beginning to turn against spanking and paddling as science amasses more and more evidence regarding the sexual role played by the buttocks, and the ways in which any touch -- with a hand or with a paddle -- can create unwelcome but unavoidable arousal." Dr. Teresa Whitehurst, member of ChristCentered Christians for Nonviolent Parenting (CCNP); clinical psychologist; author of How Would Jesus Raise a Child? (Baker Books, 2003), Project Zero, Harvard's premier research institution.
Dr. Whitehurst also made an interesting observation in a letter to a school district: Typing "spanking" into an unfiltered internet search engine will yield results related to pornography rather than parenting.
Opponents also hold that spanking is ineffective and that other forms of discipline are more successful at teaching a child to behave properly. Also, unlike taking away a child's favorite toy, spanking is permanent and cannot be reversed if it is determined that it was not actually warranted. Spanking may lead, it is argued, to psychological damage and even possible PTS syndrome-related effects due to prolonged fear, feelings of mistrust, being un-loved and love-shyness, alike with bullying at school or other forms of abuse.
The fact that a parent (or other caregiver) is allowed to inflict physical and emotional pain on a child, whereas the same act performed upon another adult would be tantamount to assault, also brings into question the appropriateness of this form of physical punishment.
Opponents also claim that spanking teaches children that violence is an appropriate way to treat one who offends. Some believe that spanking, like clear-cut forms of physical abuse, may perpetuate a "cycle of violence" which contributes to violent behavior in the child as an adult. Children learn by example, and those subjected to the deliberate infliction of physical pain "to teach them a lesson" will, the argument goes, learn that this is an appropriate way to treat others who have wronged them.
It is also argued that there is a significant risk in regards to the trust of a parent. If children feel that they are being threatened by this form of chastisement, it is likely that they may have difficulty believing that the parents are there to protect them because of the claim "I would never hurt you" has been violated. This may impair their ability to follow their parents or do what they advise and to listen to them.
When "Biblical" pro-spanking advocates use the "he who spares the rod hates his son" quote from Proverbs 13:24 to support their position, some anti-spankers try to turn the tables by noting that Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, to whom the book of Proverbs is traditionally attributed, grew up to be such a despised ruler that he split his nation in two. But since the traditional attribution of Proverbs to Solomon has been disputed by some biblical scholars, this may be thought a dubious line of argument. A better objection to the use of Proverbs 13:24 to support spanking might be that the Old Testament, from which the book of Proverbs comes, contains many instructions that we today have no moral obligation to follow, such as that a child of unmarried parents may not enter a place of worship (Deuteronomy 23:2), that a menstruating woman must sacrifice two turtles or pigeons to cleanse herself (Leviticus 15: 19-29), and that the parents of a gluttonous and drunkard child, who repeatedly rebels against them, should denounce the child to the men of the city, who should then execute the child by stoning (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Such verses are considered instructions, but most Jews would not advocate the stoning to death of drunkard children or adulterers. On the other hand, this view ignores the fact that the verses which mention "the rod" are from the book of Proverbs, historically interpreted as advice, not law. However, the passages from Deuteronomy and Leviticus are part of the Torah, the Jewish system of law, which Christians reckon obsolete due to Christ's fulfillment of the law. In addition, the use of "rod" in the verses in Proverbs refer to an object, usually a shepherd's staff, a weapon, or a stout club. Therefore, the verses in Proverbs do not advocate hitting a child with an open hand or a small paddle

High Profile Individuals in The United States against Corporal Punishment of Children

These persons are either involved with anti-spanking organizations, and/or have admitted to being opposed to spanking either in print or in an interview.
Jordan Riak (b. 1937) - Founder of Parents and Teachers against Violence in Education Marilu Henner (b. 1952) actress, occasional parenting book author Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) - According to a news interview with his late daughter, Dr. King never spanked any of his children and did not believe in it. Jeff Charles - Retired teacher, author of "Southern Education" and founder of David Daniel and Blythe Daniel - Co-Founders, We The Children Foundation and Robert Fathman, Ph.D. - Clinical Psychologist, Co-Founder of EPOCH-USA and President of the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools Ruth Beaglehole - Founder and Executive Director, Center for Non-Violent Education and Parenting Penelope Leach - British author of parenting books. Alice Miller - PhD in philosophy, psychology and sociology, as well as a researcher on childhood, is the author of 13 books, translated into thirty languages. Dr. Phil McGraw - American television personality, psychologist, author

Organizations Against Corporal Punishment of Children - By Country

Canada The Repeal 43 Committee ( ) is made up of Canadian organizations opposed to corporal punishment of children and who take the position that Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada which is the section allowing corporal punishment be repealed. Members organizations of the Repeal 43 Committee are: Abbotsford Community Services, B.C. Adoption Reform Coalition of Ontario, Ottawa (1994) Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre, Scarborough, Ontario Alliance for Children and Youth of Waterloo Region, Ontario Amnesty International Canada, Ottawa Amnistie internationale, section canadienne francophone, Montréal Andrew Fleck Child Care Services, Ottawa Association des centres jeunesse du Quebec, Montréal Association des médecins en protection de l’enfance du Québec Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, Toronto Atlantic Therapy and Assessment Centre, Bedford, Nova Scotia Attachment Parenting Canada, CalgaryBayfield Treatment Centres, Consecon, Ontario B. C. Council for the Family, VancouverB. C. Institute on Family Violence, Vancouver B. C. Pediatric Society, Vancouver (1994) Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Toronto Beth Hoen and Associates, Toronto Big Sisters Association of Ontario, Toronto Big Sisters of Peel, Brampton, Ontario Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, Aurora, Ontario BOOST Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention, Toronto (formerly Toronto Child Abuse Centre) Boundary Women's Coalition, Grand Forks, B.C. Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Toronto Burnaby Family Life Institute, B.C. CAMH Centre for Prevention Science, London, Ontario Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ottawa Canadian Association for Community Living, Toronto Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs, Ottawa Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Ottawa Canadian Association of Social Workers, Ottawa Canadian Child Care Federation, Ottawa Canadian Children’s Rights Council, Toronto Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, Ottawa Canadian Council of Provincial Child and Youth Advocates, Toronto Canadian Council for Reform Judaism, Toronto Canadian Council on Social Development, Ottawa Canadian Federation of University Women, Ottawa Canadian Forum for Crime Prevention, Ottawa Canadian Foster Family Association, Langley, B.C. Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law, Toronto Canadian Institute of Child Health, Ottawa Canadian Male Survivors of Child Abuse, Edmonton Canadian Nurses Association, OttawaCanadian Physiotherapy Association, Ottawa Canadian Psychological Association, Ottawa Canadian Public Health Association, OttawaCanadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Midland, ON Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto Catholic Family Services of Saskatoon Catholic Social Services of Edmonton Centre for Spanish-Speaking Peoples, Toronto Centres des services communautaires de Vanier, Ontario Certification Council of Early Childhood Educators of Nova Scotia, Halifax Child Abuse Prevention Council of London & Middlesex, Ontario Child and Youth Advocate, Province of NFLD and Labrador, St. John’s Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa Child Care Resource and Referral Program, Victoria, B. C. Child Development Institute, Toronto Child Welfare League of Canada, OttawaChildren's Aid Society of London & Middlesex, Ontario Children’s Aid Foundation, Toronto Children’s Aid Society of Owen Sound and County of Grey, Ontario Children's Aid Society of Peel, Brampton, Ontario Children's Aid Society of TorontoChildren's Aid Society Teens, Ottawa (1995) Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa Children’s Mental Health Ontario, TorontoChildren's Rights Centre, University College of Cape Breton, Sydney, N.S. Clinique de pédiatrie sociojuridique de l’hôpital Ste-Justine, Montréal City View Centre for Child and Family Services of Ottawa City of North Vancouver (1997)City of York Child & Family Centre, Ontario Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, Ottawa College-Montrose Children’s Place, Toronto Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Vancouver Comité hospitalier de protection de l’enfance du CHUL, Laval, Quebec Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, Montréal Community Care Facilities Licensing Program, Victoria, B.C. (1995) Community Living TorontoCommunity Safety and Crime Prevention Council Waterloo Region, ON Community Social Services Component, BCGEU, Burnaby, B.C. Defence for Children International Canada (Anglophone), Burlington, ON Developmental Disabilities Association of Vancouver/Richmond, B.C Direction de santé publique, ASSS de Montréal Direction de santé public de Montréal-Centre
Earlscourt Child and Family Centre, Toronto (1994) Early Childhood Educators of B. C. Vancouver Educating for Peace, OttawaEnd Violence Against Children, Kingston, Ontario (1995) EPOCH B.C., Vancouver (1994) Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina Family and Children's Services of Brockville, Ontario Family and Children's Services, Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario Family Service Canada, Ottawa Family Service Ontario, Toronto Family Service Association of Toronto Family Services of Greater Vancouver Family Services of the North Shore, Vancouver Family Service Saskatoon Family Service Thames Valley, Ontario Federation of Child and Family Services of B.C., Victoria First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, Vancouver First Nations Child &Family Caring Society of Canada, Ottawa Hospital for Sick Children, SCAN Program, Toronto Humanist Association of Canada, Ottawa Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Toronto (1995) Infant Mental Health Promotion, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto IWK Health Centre, Department of Pediatrics, Halifax Janeway Child Health Centre, St. John's, Newfoundland Janice Berger & Associates, Newmarket, Ontario Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto Jewish Child and Family Service, Winnipeg John Howard Society of Sudbury, OntarioKids Help Phone/Kids Help Line, Toronto Kinark Child and Family Services, Markham, Ontario Kingston Interval House, Kingston, Ontario Langley Family Services, Langley, B.C. Macaulay Child Development Centre, Toronto Manitoba Child Care Association, Winnipeg Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services, Whitehorse, YT (formerly Yukon Family Services Association) Maple Ridge Family Education Centre, Maple Ridge, B.C. McMaster Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy and Assessment Program, Hamilton National Associations Active in Criminal Justice, Ottawa National Council of Women of Canada, Ottawa National Youth in Care Network, Ottawa New Brunswick Association of Social Workers, Fredericton New Brunswick Ombudsman and Child and Youth Advocate, Fredericton Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association, St. John’s North Toronto Counselling Services,Thornhill, Ontario Northern Child & Family Clinic, Prince George, B.C. NorWest Community Health Centres, Armstrong, Longlac & Ogden, Ontario Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, Province of Alberta, Edmonton Ontario Assn. of Child and Youth Counsellors, Harrowsmith, Ontario Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, TorontoOntario Association of Children's and Youth Institutions (ONTCHILD), Toronto Ontario Association of Family Resource Programs, Toronto Ontario Association of Social Workers, Ottawa Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse/Best Start Resource Centre, Toronto Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Toronto Ontario Public Health Association, Toronto Ottawa Community Committee on Child Abuse Ottawa Family Services Parenting Education Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Parents and Children Together Association of Calgary Parent Resource Centre, Ottawa Parenting Today Productions Inc., Toronto P.A.V.E. Parents Against Violence Everywhere, Cumberland, B.C. Peel Children’s Aid Society, Mississauga, Ontario Peel Committee Against Women Assault, Mississauga, Ontario Peel Committee on Sexual Assault, Mississauga, Ontario Peel Family Education Centre, Brampton, Ontario P.E.I Victim Services, Charlottowne Professional Parenting Canada, Calgary Provincial Advisory Committee on Child Abuse, Winnipeg Regional Municipality of Peel, Ontario Region D Foster Parent Assn. Langley, B. C. (1997) Repeal 43 Committee, Toronto Representative for Children and Youth, Province of B. C. Victoria ROCK – Reach Out Centre for Kids, Burlington, Ontario (formerly Halton Child & Youth Services) Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers, Regina Saskatchewan Children’s Advocate Office, Saskatoon Save the Children Canada, Toronto Simcoe County Community Action Program for Children, Ontario SMARKRISK, Toronto Social Action Cttee, Unitarian Congregation of South Peel, Mississauga, Ontario Society for Children and Youth of B.C., Vancouver South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre South-East Ottawa for a Healthy Community Sparrow Lake Alliance, Steering Committee, Toronto SPIRAL HOME Survivors Power in Reciprocal Arts Learning, Toronto Stay Focused, Parent Education Group, Calgary Sudbury & District Health Unit, Ontario Teen Sexual Assault Prevention Network, Toronto (1995) Thames Valley Children’s Centre, London, Ontario Toronto City Council (1997) Toronto Public Health Toronto Safe City Committee UNICEF Canada, TorontoUniversity of B.C., Department of Pediatrics, Vancouver United Church of CanadaUnited Nations Association in Canada, Kootney Region, Castlegar, B.C. V.O.I.C.E., Toronto Voices for Children, Toronto Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre West Kootney Diversity Education Group, Selkirk. B.C. Whole Family Attachment Parenting Assn., Calgary WMCA Canada, TorontoYMCA of Greater Toronto Yorktown Family Service, TorontoWinnipeg Children’s Hospital, Child Protection Centre Whole Family Attachment Parenting Association, Calgary Women & Law Caucus, Law Faculty, University of Toronto (1995) Yorktown Family Services, Toronto

Alternatives to spanking

Opponents of spanking state that there are numerous methods of non-violent child discipline which they think are at least as effective as spanking, and without the negative side-effects that they attribute to spanking.

Minimal use of spanking

Despite the intensity of the controversy over spanking, positions between the two extremes are also common. Indeed, it may be that most people do not support either of the extreme views discussed above. Many parents believe that spanking is not inherently abusive and can sometimes be an effective form of discipline, but also believe that it should usually be avoided. Some, for instance, use spanking only when a child does something dangerous and it is critical that an immediate, lasting impression must be made. Others point out that individual differences in temperament have a great effect on the way children respond to discipline, and criticize both extreme positions on spanking as taking a "one size fits all" approach. They argue that spanking may be the most effective form of discipline for some children, but that it should only be used on those particular children who respond well to spanking and do not respond to alternative methods of discipline. Studies show that the nuerochemical effects of spanking are analogous to the effect produced by taking mild stimulants such as Ritalin or methylphenidate; thus individual temperament and brain chemical balance are key factors in an individual's response to receiving or witnessing a spanking.

Legal situation

School corporal punishment is banned in most western nations. All of Europe (including the United Kingdom) and New Zealand have banned school corporal punishment. In Australia and Canada, corporal punishment in state schools is banned, while it is partially or completely banned in private schools, in some states. In the United States, 29 states ban corporal punishment in schools. In the remaining states, it is up to each school district to determine whether corporal punishment will be used, in what situations will it be applied, and the manner in which it is given. In a few cases, school officials have lost their jobs for spanking students. There is some disagreement about how much paddling occurs in U.S. schools. Some estimates place the number of paddlings at approximately 350,000 a year, while the National Association of School Psychologists places the number at 1.5 million cases a year. Evidence suggests that in the United States, race and gender play a large role in school corporal punishment, with black students being more likely to be struck than white students, and male students being more likely to be struck than female students, for the same infractions. Corporal punishment of male students also tends to be more severe. In some places, this sexual discrimination has the force of law. For instance, in Queensland, Australia, school corporal punishment of girls was banned in 1934 but corporal punishment of boys in private schools is still legal in 2007.
In the United Kingdom, the striking of children by teachers was made illegal in state schools in 1986 and extended to all schools in 1996 An amendment to the Children Act 2004 to ban striking of children by parents was defeated by 424 votes to 75 in the House of Commons; however, an amendment to ban parents from striking their children hard enough to leave a mark was accepted by 284 votes to 208, and came into force in January 2005 In January 2006, the UK’s four child commissioners called for a full ban on striking of children, even by parents, but this has been rejected by the government.
Spanking of children within families is illegal in some countries (for example, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, South Africa and New Zealand).
On May 16 2007, New Zealand passed the Child Discipline Bill which scrapped Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961, which had previously allowed parents to use "reasonable force" in correcting their children. Child welfare groups expressed concern about the wide judicial discretion seemingly given even to cases of 'discipline' that involved physical implements. It had previously outlawed corporal punishment within its educational institutions in 1989. However, the new law orders police not to prosecute "inconsequential" offences.
Similar initiatives in the U.S. have repeatedly failed. Parental rights groups have formed since the 1990s to prevent spanking from being criminalized. Critics of these organisations ask why these organisations assert a parental "right" to corporal punishment without acknowledging equivalent parental responsibilities. Some critics also state that children's rights should come first, and parental rights should come second. Advocates of parents' right to spank their children reply that (a) to assert a parental right to responsible use of corporal punishment is itself to acknowledge parental responsibility, namely, the parental responsibility to correct children by reasonable use of physical force, and (b) it is not "putting parents' rights ahead of children's rights" to assert that children have a right to parental guidance and correction, including correction by spanking. Groups in the United States seeking a ban on spanking are Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education and EPOCH-USA Groups opposed to such a ban include Family Integrity, and The Family Defense Network of Ohio The various forms of allowable spanking vary from state to state, but most states generally allow spanking as a form of discipline. The Supreme Court of Canada has, as of 2004, upheld a law which allows spankings by parents, caregivers, and teachers, but has restricted the law to only apply to children ages two to twelve. However, Canada now bans spanking children younger than 24 months or older than 12 years, and bans the use of any implements (belts, paddles, etc.).
United Nations human rights standards discourage all corporal punishment, including spanking. But the assumptions and motives behind the UN's position have been questioned In particular, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child does not itself mention corporal punishment.
In November 2007, lawmakers in Massachusetts are proposing legislation banning parents from spanking their children, even in the home.

Non-punitive and voluntary spankings

Spanking exists in spheres of life distinct from punishment. Note the issue of legal consent which may or may not represent a defence to criminal liability for any injuries caused during the spanking. Apart from the erotic and from fraternity/sorority type initiations, which have their origin in educational (domestic or boot camp) types of discipline, these include:

Folkloristic spanking traditions

In Latvia there is a tradition of hard spanking on Palm Sunday (called Pussy willow Sunday) morning. The spanker sneaks into the potential spankee's bedroom and wakes him or her up. the whipping is done with pussy willow branches or (rarely) birch. This ritual spanking is often applied to the bare buttocks. Usually young men catch girls or young women and order them to bend over for spanking. Spanking on the bare bottom was optional, but in some areas completely naked whipping with pussy willow branches has been done too. Sometimes spanking is done in early morning with aspen tree birch, while people are sleeping naked or in nightgown.

Religious customs

On the first day of the lunar Chinese new year holidays, a week-long 'Spring Festival', the most important festival for Chinese people all over the world, thousands of Chinese visit the Taoist Dong Lung Gong temple in Tungkang to go through the century-old ritual to get rid of bad luck, men by receiving spankings and women by being whipped (as in the Ancient Roman -unisex- Lupercalia); the number of strokes to being administered (always lightly) by the temple staff is decided in either case by the god Wang Ye and by burning incense and tossing two pieces of wood, after which all go home happily, believing their luck will improve. One prime example of a pagan Czech Easter celebration is the "pomlazka". Farmers used to believe that a strong whipping after the winter period guaranteed health, prosperity, and most importantly a good harvest. It is only the women who are given a good spanking on bare posteriors with whips made of willow twigs, decorated with colourful ribbons. It is mainly younger boys who go from door to door, hoping to thrash a few girls on their naked buttocks to get some eggs in return, while singing traditional Easter carols. After strong spankings, boys come and throw girls in a stream, or put girls' heads under a water pipe to be sure to give a good shower.

Birthday spanking

There is a custom in certain circles to administer spankings to the buttocks of the birthday celebrant. Customarily, the person receives the number of smacks corresponding to his or her age, plus "one to grow on", often harder than the rest, and sometimes a "pinch to grow an inch". A possible origin of this tradition is the smack often given to newborn infants intended to help them start breathing.

Adult spanking

Adult spanking is a highly contentious form of discipline spanking that is frequently mis-categorized and misunderstood. The controversy stems from a multitude of sources. First, there are those that prefer to consider spanking in this form as something that can only occur between a parent and a child. This opinion is backed up by the APA who includes parent - child relationship as part of the definition. Second, there are few recognized legitimate scientific studies that have been conducted on the subject. The leading source of funding for such research is an organization that earns its revenue through the promotion of entertainment spanking services leading skeptics to question the legitimacy of the work Third, the lack of credible licensed practitioners often leads to individual claims of group membership through self-diagnosis, affirmation from others who have made similar claims and a variety of alternative therapists. A study by McNulty and Wardle suggests that attempts to seek help through typical support channels may lead individuals to seek comfort through unconventional means.
Adult spanking differs from traditional parent-child spanking in that the act is between two consenting adults. Adults engage in the activity for several different reasons. The most common is simply playful spanking amongst people engaging in other intimate activities. There are two groups of people whose use of spanking is discipline related. The first group incorporates spanking as part of their overall belief system in how a husband and wife should interrelate (see domestic discipline).
The second group considers spanking to be an essential component of their recovery and/or development. These individuals subscribe to the notion that they require some form of retraining or reparenting to be able to function as adults. They claim that the act of spanking is a necessary mechanism for modifying the behavior of the adapted child ego state of the adult being spanked. The idea is extracted from Alexander’s claim that a corrective emotional experience was required to allow patients to repair traumatic influence of previous experiences. They claim is not without merit as preliminary studies into this class of adult spanking indicate that participants have suffered from some form of childhood abuse. However, there is evidence to suggest that these individuals are in fact “stuck” in the earlier stages of recovery and lack the appropriate support to move on.

As a sexual act

Spanking is a part of sexual foreplay for some adults, often as a lighthearted playful activity. There is a genre of pornography that incorporates spanking as a sexual fetish.

Recreational context

Playful enactment

Child's play often imitates real life, especially featuring part of daily life, even the most unpleasant.
Thus it has been recorded by a captain in the Royal Navy that boys on board often enacted the beatings they were subjected to in reality, both the 'day to day' caning and the truly painful and humiliating public administration of a flogging with the boy's pussy (lighter version of the cat o' nine tails) taking turns in the actual position on deck, sometimes including the lowering of the trousers (but using a cane for lack of a cat)


smacking in Czech: Spanking
smacking in Danish: Spanking
smacking in German: Spanking
smacking in Spanish: Azote
smacking in French: Fessée
smacking in Italian: Sculacciata
smacking in Latvian: Pēriens
smacking in Dutch: Billenkoek
smacking in Japanese: 尻叩き
smacking in Yiddish: פראק
smacking in Chinese: 摑打屁股

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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