Why I Choose Not to Spank My Daughter


I have not and will not strike my daughter and there is only one reason for this. That reason is relatively simple. I never would want my daughter to think that it is ever O.K. for a man to hit her. Call it biased, sexist wrong or right, this is my rationale, take it or leave it. There is a ton of evidence to suggest that I am correct. [1] “When a girl is spanked by her father or paddled by a male school teacher, she is being trained to submit,…When a school district permits teachers to paddle girls, it is setting those girls up to be victims of future male authority figures, whether it be a boyfriend, husband or employer.”

There are too many damaged adults that have grown up in abusive households and think it is a “normal” part of life. The psychological ramifications run deep especially for women who associate love with abuse. “My father hit me and he loved me dearly so it would only make sense that the man I end up with will do the same.” [3] “The problem is that in our unconscious cleverness we pick psychologically “reasonable facsimiles” of our parents and therefore we wind up with a partner who in many ways acts like our mother or father. So if our parents mistreated us as kids, we will likely pick partners capable of similar abuse. Since we still need love and approval, we still continue to try, fruitlessly, to get their love and approval just as we tried with our parents.” If that is true, my daughter will experience the opposite. I will raise my daughter to become a strong, intelligent, independent, loving women, by providing tons of positive reinforcement, hugs and kisses. This does not mean my household will be discipline free, high expectations, time outs, activities and discussion will be my tools of choice not my hands. I will also lead by example by loving my wife, her mother and showing her what a real relationship looks like. Should she find herself in the horrific instance where a man strikes her she would possess the intellectual insight not to see this as normal and separate herself immediately.

Physical abuse is a cyclical concept and it is a very hard thing to break. [2] “Physical punishment can work momentarily to stop problematic behavior because children are afraid of being hit, but it doesn’t work in the long term and can make children more aggressive…” When raising a child you should always have the end in mind. And, for me that end is my daughter entering a healthy relationship with a man that will culminate in a life-long marriage and will result in an opportunity for me to spoil my grandchildren 20 years down the road. Will there be detours to this end, yes. But the one nonnegotiable is abuse whether mental, physical or otherwise.

I grew up in a household where discipline was associated with being hit with extension cords and belts. This type of conduct is typical of a Latino household. I had to unlearn many of these types of behaviors and it was a process. What helped me was majoring in Sociology at Kean University and understanding that many times we are a product of our environment. Too often people accept this as their predetermined destiny, and I was going to do everything in my power to change that. The first step in correcting a problem is to acknowledge that a problem exists. Next, would be to correct the behaviors that cause the problem. This required a ton of self-reflection and admitting that you are bad at something is a humbling experience. In doing so I have learned that this is a continual process that only ends in the moment of your death.

My daughter is a great kid who performs exceptionally well in school. Consistency is Key. All too often parents reach for the belt as a quick fix. My wife and I work as a team and we leave very little room for error. This, along with high expectations makes for an effective experience. I equate my collaboration with my wife to strategies used by coaches. We are constantly researching parenting articles and books and we always look for new methods of discipline. As our daughter grows, we grow and our techniques evolve. We are extremely intentional and see our daughter for who she will become.

This is why I have not and will not strike my daughter.

[1] Rice, Melinda (2007) http://womensenews.org/story/health/010923/experts-say-harms-children#.VCMYeZ3D_IU

[2] Brendan L. Smith (2012)   http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx

[3] Ann Veilleux (2014) http://annveilleux.com/articles/why-women-stay-understanding-the-battered-wife/

4 thoughts on “Why I Choose Not to Spank My Daughter

  1. Great article and completely agree. I want to teach my daughter to be able to defend herself from any physical abuse, that no man has the right to hurt her emotionally or physically, and I will be setting that example, by not hitting her or my other half. If I hit my other half I’d no doubt be knocked out considering she’s a black belt, but it’s not the point, violence against others is wrong whether it’s men, women, girls or boys, and even animals. As you mentioned there are better ways to discipline your child when they do something wrong, forcing them into bad relationships before they’ve even grown up.

  2. Reblogged this on Dad duties Activated and commented:
    A wonderful blog about the reasons not to spank your child. I never planned on hitting my child to enforce discipline, as this blog mentions, there are other ways to discipline your children without spanking and hitting. Looking at the reasons (which I never even thought about) makes it even more important not to spank or hit your child, especially a girl. Forcing them into bad habits before they’ve even grown up is wrong and something to think about.

    If you think spanking or hitting your child is right, or a good way to discipline them, then that is your choice. Remember this is my opinion, (and the opinion of Dr. Jose Aviles) and not me telling you that you are wrong, or what you are doing is wrong, hitting or spanking a child is something I will not be doing.

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