Instigator / Pro

Parents in America Should Generally Spank their Children Less than they do now

Debating

Waiting for contender's argument

The round will be automatically forfeited in:
00:00:00:00
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Health
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
4,000
Contender / Con
Description
This is a debate on spanking, I will be arguing that parents should generally spank their children less than they do now. My opponent will argue that parents should generally spank their children more than they do now, or keep the amount of spanking the same. The BoP will be shared for this debate to keep things as simple as possible. Also, this is not a debate about legality, but if spanking is a good way to punish children. Keep in mind we will be talking generally, so just because 1 person benefited from being spanked or not being spanked doesn’t prove either of us correct.
Here are the definitions, they must be agreed on to keep things simple.
Spank-”slap with one's open hand or a flat object, especially on the buttocks as a punishment.”
Generally-”in general terms; without regard to particulars or exceptions.”
RULES.
-No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
-Source your claims(I don't mind how, comments, the text of the debate, I just need a link to use).
-No religious arguments, I don't hate any religion, but it isn't the discussion I'm looking for.
This next bit will just be a recommendation because this is ultimately unenforceable, but please try not to play weird semantical games, I want an honest debate.
Round 1
Published:
Parents in America Should Generally Spank their Children Less than they do now

I am against spanking, you’re less skeptical I see, so let’s have a thought provoking and interesting discussion on this hot button issue. Best of luck to you in these coming rounds. 


How Much do American Parents Spank Their Children?

Spanking appears to be widespread in the United states of America. Polls suggest that 67 percent of parents have spanked their children(even though it doesn't look at frequency). In my honest opinion, this is far too high of a number.[SOURCE] 


Impact on the Children

There is a broad agreement amongst academics that spanking is a net negative on children. So much so that the American Psychological Association states that the research on spanking generally suggests that spanking causes 

The APA further suggests that this treatment of children can lead to parents escalating the punishment after seeing their punishment fail to generate successful results. This is from research conducted by Elizabeth Gershoff, PhD.
This may explain why spanked children are 7 times more likely to be severely assaulted by their parents. A severe assault would be a forceful punch or kick. This could also explain why spanked children are 2.3 times more likely to receive an injury requiring medical attention.[SOURCE]

Gershoff further examined decades of research on spanking and its effect on children. The study calls for parents to stop physically harming their children to punish them, while also calling for physical punishment being banned in the education system. Gershoff’s work has been supported by dozens of credible organizations, so it is certainly valuable and examines a massive amount of data.[SOURCE]

Spanked children are also more likely to spank their children, so by having parents spank their children, you will encourage this negative parental behaviour to be passed on to the next generation.[SOURCE]
 
The APA does indeed recognize that some academics like Robert Larzelere are much less skeptical of spanking, but they are a minority, so, their research loses persuasiveness because the majority of the evidence disagrees with them. Also, Larzelere agrees that parents should reduce their use of physical violence, so even he agrees with me.[SOURCE]

Spanked children have also been shown to have lower IQs than children who aren’t spanked, they also demonstrate higher stress levels, and were also more likely to abuse substances like alcohol.[SOURCE]
“These findings have held up even when other common risk factors for these behaviours—such as poverty, ethnic background, and whether a child is temperamentally aggressive—are taken into account.”[SOURCE]

Canadian Medical Association Journal stated that “no study has found physical punishment to have a long-term positive effect, and most studies have found negative effects.” This further supports that there is a broad agreement that spanking children is harmful to children. “The mounting evidence linking negative long-term outcomes to physical punishment has contributed to a global shift in perceptions of the practice. In Canada, more than 400 organizations have endorsed the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.” So again, despite parents spanking their children, academics generally agree that spanking is a net negative on a child's upbringing.[SOURCE]

Moreover, Roseville Cardiology stated that “In countries that have a complete ban on corporal punishment (spanking and slapping), the rates of physical fighting among teens are as much as 69 percent lower than in countries without such a ban.”[SOURCE]


Conclusion

I think it is clear that spanking is ineffective at producing good and valuable children. Children who were spanked are also more likely to spank their children, which passes the problem onto the next generation.



Published:
I. Parents in America Should Generally Spank their Children Less than they do now

Ia. I shall be arguing against the reduction of spanking in the United States Of America for this debate. I should probably tell you that I’m 12 years of age, and that as much as I want for the motion to be implemented, I shall stick to my position as the Contender. I wish the best of luck to you too, sir.

Ib. I would like to first propose a round format:

R1 - Arguments
R2 - Rebuttals
R3 - Defence and conclusion

As such, refer to my second round for my rebuttals.

Ic. For my headings, I will follow that of my opponent. However, I shall add extra headings for any other paragraphs that I see fit to add in my argument.

II. How Much do American Parents Spank Their Children?

IIa. Spanking does seem to be a well-utilised efficient disciplinary method that is commonly used in the United States Of America. 87%, and not, as my opponent stated, 67%, of children who participated in the study have been spanked at least once. [1] However, what my opponent fails to mention, because it supposedly compromises his position, is that three quarters of the children are only spanked “sometimes”, in other words, rarely. Only a quarter of the children that participated in the study were spanked on a somewhat regular basis [2], but it fails to mention the exact reasons, and as such, it can be assumed safely that their parents are not madmen, and that the fault was mostly on the children’s part or the children’s part only.

IIb. However, just because of the fact that it is commonly utilised, it does not justify reducing the amount and effectiveness of disciplinary action on children.

III. Impact on the Children

IIIa. It provides children with no incentive to behave well. Spanking only makes a child upset and doesn't teach young children anything, except that domestic violence is alright, as children are heavily influenced by their parents’ actions. [3] Children who are too young to understand an explanation of why their behaviour is wrong are equally unlikely to be able to relate a smack to their supposed crime. There are more effective disciplinary techniques. In Germany, where the law on spanking was modified in 2000 [4], spanking has declined and there has been a reported rise in disciplinary methods like television bans and reduced pocket money. A quote:
Corporal punishment of children was banned in Germany in 2000. "On an international level, Germany lies somewhere in the middle," [Oliver] Steinbach says. [5]
A ban on smacking would provide a clear legal basis for the promotion of similar positive, non-violent forms of discipline, which reduce family stress and promote polite children.

IIIb. A little smack is okay in the right context. Spanking is only harmful to children when it is outside the context of a stable, loving and communicative home. But in such "bad homes", a laissez faire attitude also leads to long term psychological problems from feelings of being ignored, the lack of social skills from parental interaction and a lack of firm boundaries for acceptable behaviour. Bad parenting is the dominant problem now, not spanking. Within the context of a caring and loving home, spanking of children can allow boundaries to be set without ongoing battles between parents and children that are harmful to their relationship. Spanking is a short, sharp shock and it gives clarity to the rules, which is actually a source of great security for children. [6] 

I conclude my argument.

Notes and Sources 


[2] That is, only about 21.75% of children who participated in the study.



Round 2
Published:


Parents in America Should Generally Spank their Children Less than they do now

I am pleased to see a passionate and worthy response from Con, I hope to learn a lot in these coming rounds.


How Much do American Parents Spank Their Children?

“87%, and not, as my opponent stated, 67%, of children who participated in the study have been spanked at least once.”

This is not accurate, I said 67% of parents admitted to spanking their children. There is no mention of an 87% figure anywhere, I think Con made a typo and meant 86%. I thought source 2 had something about this, but source 2 just links back to this debate.

“In a 2013 Harris poll, 86% of the respondents said they’d been spanked—almost a quarter admitting that sometimes the punishment was “too violent.”

Is this what Con was referring to?

“However, what my opponent fails to mention, because it supposedly compromises his position, is that three quarters of the children are only spanked “sometimes”, in other words, rarely. Only a quarter of the children that participated in the study were spanked on a somewhat regular basis”

Where is this mentioned? The poll does say that … 

“And it’s also likely that you think spanking is an acceptable method of discipline for children. More than 8 in 10 of those question in the Harris poll said they thought it was appropriate at least “sometimes.”

Is this what is being referred to?

“it fails to mention the exact reasons, and as such, it can be assumed safely that their parents are not madmen, and that the fault was mostly on the children’s part”

Spanking does make parents more likely to be madmen though, spanked children are “2.3 times more likely to suffer an injury requiring medical attention.”[SOURCE]
Spanking often also escalates over time as well.[SOURCE]

Impact on the Children

First of all, my opponent designated a good deal of his post to arguing against spanking. 

“A ban on smacking would provide a clear legal basis for the promotion of similar positive, non-violent forms of discipline, which reduce family stress and promote polite children.”

This is a good example of this behaviour. I am confused, how can you argue for the abolition of spanking but against the reduction of it? If I ban spanking, I also reduce it.

My opponent does say some things that I can respond to though.

Spanking is a short, sharp shock and it gives clarity to the rules, which is actually a source of great security for children. [6]

Source 6  is an Australian government website called RaisingChildren.net. It does not endorse spanking anywhere in the article linked to me. As a matter of fact, that same organisation wrote a separate article outlining guidelines for discipline. It stated that… 

“Physical punishment – for example, smacking – doesn’t teach children how to behave. When parents use physical punishment, children are more likely to have challenging behaviour, anxiety or depression. There’s also a risk that smacking might hurt your child.”

So the organization my opponent pointed to agrees with me, not him.

“Spanking is only harmful to children when it is outside the context of a stable, loving and communicative home.”

The research seems to disagree. Spanking increases stress and lowers a child's IQ even when adjusting for external factors, including poverty.[SOURCE]

“Bad parenting is the dominant problem now, not spanking.”

Spanking generally is bad parenting, that is what the data I presented suggests

“a laissez faire attitude also leads to long term psychological problems from feelings of being ignored, the lack of social skills from parental interaction and a lack of firm boundaries for acceptable behaviour.”

This debate is not about laissez faire parenting, that style may not be useful, but some pieces from reputable websites state that hands off parenting provides children with “grit,” and some research has shown that grit is more important than even intelligence. So even this lacklustre method is similar to, or better than spanking.[SOURCE]

Published:
I. Parents in America Should Generally Spank their Children Less than they do now

Ia. I thank my opponent for his response. However, for a clarification on my first round, refer to the comments tab.

II. How Much do American Parents Spank Their Children?

IIa. 
Spanking appears to be widespread in the United states of America. Polls suggest that 67 percent of parents have spanked their children(even though it doesn't look at frequency). In my honest opinion, this is far too high of a number.[SOURCE] 
Spanking is widespread in the US, but as I've said, it does not justify slackening punishments on children. However, even this number has a high probability of being incorrect, as to source his claim, my opponent has only provided an inaccurate site for reference. My opponent has not reliably sourced his claim as the website conducting the poll presents two different numbers of children who have been spanked and adults who spank. The former stands at 67%, but the latter is 86%. [1] This inconsistency could only have two explanations: First, the number in each group is different, which makes the test results inaccurate. Second, the website has altered the number to support it's purpose, which makes it even more unreliable. Thus, that makes my opponent's source totally irrelevant. 

III. Impact on the Children

IIIa. 
There is a broad agreement amongst academics that spanking is a net negative on children. So much so that the American Psychological Association states that the research on spanking generally suggests that spanking causes 
However, according to my opponent's own source: 
"“A child doesn’t get spanked and then run out and rob a store,” she [2]says. “There are indirect changes in how the child thinks about things and feels about things.”"

This supports the fact that spanking is effective, and has a positive impact on children.

IIIb. 
The APA does indeed recognize that some academics like Robert Larzelere are much less skeptical of spanking, but they are a minority, so, their research loses persuasiveness because the majority of the evidence disagrees with them. Also, Larzelere agrees that parents should reduce their use of physical violence, so even he agrees with me.[SOURCE]
Their research loses persuasiveness only because most people ignore what is best for their children, and reducing use of physical violence is only when it is absolutely unnecessary.

IIIc.
Spanked children have also been shown to have lower IQs than children who aren’t spanked, they also demonstrate higher stress levels, and were also more likely to abuse substances like alcohol.[SOURCE]
“These findings have held up even when other common risk factors for these behaviours—such as poverty, ethnic background, and whether a child is temperamentally aggressive—are taken into account.”[SOURCE]
IQ is not affected by spanking [3], this is just yet another altered coincidence that the researchers want you to believe to support their claims. The quotation is just the alteration to make their purpose stronger.

IIId. 
Moreover, Roseville Cardiology stated that “In countries that have a complete ban on corporal punishment (spanking and slapping), the rates of physical fighting among teens are as much as 69 percent lower than in countries without such a ban.”[SOURCE]
Well, my opponent has failed to explain the rising phenomenon of outlaw motorcycle gangs in Germany, which proves this statement wrong.

IV. Conclusion

Spanking does, in fact, have long-term positive effects, and has a positive impact on children unless used excessively, as most believe.

IV. Notes And Sources
[1] Both are from my opponent's own source, though from different sections.
[2] Elizabeth Gershoff, PhD
Round 3
Published:
Parents in America Should Generally Spank their Children Less than they do now

I would love to thank my opponent for his response, I thank you for making me think and research this topic further. I will close off with this defence and brief summary. 

To Voters

Me and my opponent have clashed on sources, voters, please check our sources and quotes when issues arise.

How Much do American Parents Spank Their Children?

“However, even this number has a high probability of being incorrect, as to source his claim, my opponent has only provided an inaccurate site for reference.”

Harris is a well known reputable source.

“The former stands at 67%, but the latter is 86%. [1] This inconsistency could only have two explanations: First, the number in each group is different, which makes the test results inaccurate. Second, the website has altered the number to support it's purpose, which makes it even more unreliable. Thus, that makes my opponent's source totally irrelevant.”

The 67% and the 86% come from separate questions. 

“This inconsistency could only have two explanations: First, the number in each group is different, which makes the test results inaccurate. Second, the website has altered the number to support it's purpose, which makes it even more unreliable. Thus, that makes my opponent's source totally irrelevant. “

This quote is addressed in the summary.

Impact on Children

“However, according to my opponent's own source: “

"“A child doesn’t get spanked and then run out and rob a store,” she [2]says. “There are indirect changes in how the child thinks about things and feels about things.”"

My opponent has made a mistake, the APA was pointing out how “the negative effects of physical punishment may not become apparent for some time.” This came right before my opponents quote, and remember Gershoff and the APA disagree with my opponent on the issue of spanking.[SOURCE]

“This supports the fact that spanking is effective, and has a positive impact on children.”

Your claim about robbery is taken out of context though. The data does not support this. 

“IQ is not affected by spanking [3

Source 3 says nothing about spanking, it is just a list of ways to boost your IQ. I pointed to research that says spanking lowers a child's IQ when accounting for external factors, I have not heard a valid rebuttal.

“this is just yet another altered coincidence that the researchers want you to believe to support their claims.”

They accounted for external factors, so it's most likely not a coincidence.

“my opponent has failed to explain the rising phenomenon of outlaw motorcycle gangs in Germany, which proves this statement wrong.”

What? Spanking has been tied to negative outcomes, this falls in line with this study on spanking bans.

Summary

My opponent has pointed me to organizations that disagree with him.

My opponent has given me sources which never talk about spanking. {1}  {2} 

My opponent gave a quote but if you read the whole paragraph you see it disagrees with him.

“The negative effects of physical punishment may not become apparent for some time, Gershoff says. “A child doesn’t get spanked and then run out and rob a store,” she says. “There are indirect changes in how the child thinks about things and feels about things.””[SOURCE]

This implies that negative effects come but take time to settle in. So, despite spanking making people more aggressive as I said in round 1, they won't go mad that instant, but it is clear, spanking harms children.

I have given a slew of evidence that disagrees with Con.

Academics have reached an agreement on spanking, “no study has found physical punishment to have a long-term positive effect, and most studies have found negative effects.”[SOURCE] 

Good debating DreadNought.

Not published yet
Added:
--> @Trent0405
I feel awful the occasional time that happens. I've delayed bans, and even decreased their length to avoid that.
#27
Added:
--> @Ragnar
That's good. Thanks for sorting this out without a forfeit being forced.
Instigator
#26
Added:
--> @Trent0405
You opponent should be back in a few days, with about a week to submit his final round.
#25
Added:
--> @Ragnar
It’s next month. And by the way, my parents do allow me to use this site.
Contender
#24
Added:
--> @Dreadnought
How soon is your birthday? As you probably know, 13 is the minimum age to use this kind of site without parental consent.
#23
Added:
--> @Trent0405
Upon re-reading my argument, there seems to be an implication that spanking is ineffective in heading III. Let me just clarify that:
What I meant to get across was that the dominant problem here is that the parenting quality is deteriorating rapidly, and that bad parenting was the issue, not disciplinary ineffectiveness. So now, what I meant to suggest was that because of this bad parenting, parents are looking, incorrectly, at spanking as the only way to discipline their children. However, what I’m trying to say is that there are other less painful ways to punish children, and which gives them an incentive, as well as parents freedom of choice in disciplining their children. However, this doesn’t mean reducing the severity of each, because that will make them increasingly ineffective, and depriving the children of an incentive. My main point was that parents should leave the amount of spanking as it is, but not use it very violently and regularly, as most parents are now not doing.
Contender
#22
Added:
--> @Ragnar
No, that was not a rhetorical device. I’m really twelve.
Contender
#21
Added:
--> @Dreadnought
"I should probably tell you that I’m 12 years of age,"
Was that serious, or a just rhetorical device?
#20
Added:
--> @Trent0405
Ok.
#19
Added:
--> @VonKlempter
That's fair, I'll alter that.
Instigator
#18
Added:
--> @Trent0405
"My opponent will argue that parents should generally spank their children more than they do now." But arguing against less spanking does not equate to arguing for more spanking. The Contender should be able to argue for keeping the amount of spanking constant.
#17
Added:
wait nvm i thought i was arguing for the other side lol
#16
Added:
--> @Trent0405
I might take this.
#15
Added:
a Bump for any competitors.
Instigator
#14
Added:
Not sure if this is what you are going for, but it seems the topic of this debate is about the frequency of spanking and not the effectiveness of it. If you are saying it should be done less, you are still saying it should be done. This would be conceding that it is an effective parenting tool. I think it would be hard to measure how effective the overall amount of spanking in general is since each child is different. Some children need more discipline while some need more compassion.
#13
No votes yet