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Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Parenting Tips, The Quest Project | 0 comments

To Spank or Not to Spank? A Parent’s Guide on Spanking


Spanking- One of the more controversial parenting topics. Recently I had a twitter follower ask for my “view” on spanking.  What a great topic! I know many have passionate views on spanking- on both sides of the fence. Quite a few other parents wonder “What is right? Should I spank or not spank?”

Teaching A Toddler Right from Wrong

I hear this often, “There’s no owner’s manual to refer to when you have a child!”  Many times we’re left to our instincts or purely by doing “it” the way our parents did.  Many times that is appropriate.  But what happens when you didn’t have a good role model to follow and you want to be a better parent?

When a small child (toddler) is developing they have no sense of right and wrong.  They don’t know that a flame is hot or that cars can hurt.  They don’t know that strangers can be dangerous and dogs can bite.  As a parent, it’s crucial you instill right and wrong, good and bad, safe and dangerous.

My Belief on Spanking

The best way to share my belief on spanking is to share a few examples.

  • If a small child reaches out to touch a hot flame and you say “No-no, don’t touch that, it will burn” and the child looks at you and smiles and proceeds to stick his finger toward the flame.   This is a time I do support a swat on the butt to make sure you have the child’s immediate attention repeating “I said no-no, don’t touch that, it will burn;” if you don’t get his immediate attention, he gets burned and that’s worse.
  • You have your toddler by the hand and you’re about to cross a busy street, he is pulling and tugging trying to break away.  You swat his behind and say “No-no, you do not ever do that” to get his immediate attention and send the serious message of potential harm; you want him to fear being hit by a car.

My rule of thumb on spanking is this: If a swat on the butt keeps your toddler safe and/or alive and it was the only means by which you could get his immediate attention then you aren’t hitting to be hitting, you’re getting his immediate attention to keep something worse from happening.

Spanking: A Touchy Subject

I grew up with an abusive father and I do not condone hitting and spanking as punishment.  I do support keeping a child safe.  In the scenarios above that may mean getting his immediate attention which will ultimately save his life.

I welcome your comments and questions on my Facebook page. I know there are many views on this subject, I would love to hear yours! 


Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor, PhD in education and counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. He is author of "Generation of Men: How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men" and “Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success." Dr. Clay has seen over 2000 boys since 2000 and facilitated over 300 The Quest Project groups. Boys attend a 10-week "boys to men program" where they and their parents will learn the tools needed to get through these turbulent teen years. Dr. Clay is a member of the Steering Committee for The Coalition to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men.
Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor

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