Parents spanking their children has been a rather tempestuous discussion for quite some time. It has parents divided as some believe a hiding can resolve bad behavior whereas others believe that there are better ways to do so. The debate holds ground as there is a fine line between spanking and physical abuse – something that many social workers can vouch for.
Kelly Clarkson has sparked outrage after stating that she’s ‘not above spanking’ her own children
Kelly Clarkson shot to fame in 2002 when appearing on American Idol. With over 28 million albums and 54 million singles sold worldwide, she boasts some pretty impressive musical stats. She was also the first artist in history to top each of Billboard’s pop, adult contemporary, adult pop, country, and dance charts.
The ‘Since u been gone’ singer made a comment in 2018 that rocked many fans and followers. But not in a good way. Her daughter River Rose was 3 at the time and her son Remington was 1. The singer claimed that she wasn’t against spanking under certain circumstances. Former talent manager and husband Brandon Blactone, father of both children divorced Kelly Clarkson in 2021. They split citing ‘irreconcilable differences’.
When interviewed, Kelly Clarkson was pretty candid about her parenting style
I’m not above a spanking, which people aren’t necessarily into. I don’t mean hitting her hard. I just mean a spanking.” Said the 40-year-old singer in an Atlanta Radio Station interview. She also mentions how her parenting style stems from her own upbringing, claiming that she ‘did fine in life’. Not everyone seems to agree.
“My parents spanked me, and I did fine in life, and I feel fine about it, and I do that as well. That’s a tricky thing, when you’re out in public because then people are like, they think that’s wrong or something, but I find nothing wrong with a spanking.” She said.
When discussing how she handled at the time 3-year-old River Rose when it came to discipline, she added: “I warn her. I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m going to spank you on your bottom if you don’t stop right now, this is ridiculous’, and honestly it’s really helped. She doesn’t do that kind of stuff as often.”
Twitter fans were outraged and were quick to respond
One follower said that they could not imagine doing the same thing to their own child. “I used to love Kelly Clarkson but I read a while back that she talked publicly about spanking her one-year-old and three-year-old, and now as a parent of an almost eight-month-old…I just cannot imagine,” she wrote.
“I mean, I can’t imagine spanking in general, but a one-year-old? Are you kidding me?” Another person wrote: “Kelly Clarkson should’ve been canceled when she proudly admitted that she spanks her kids. I for one deleted all her music from my library when she said that because spanking is child abuse.”
Others stood behind Kelly Clarkson, defending her decision
Some fans defended her parenting style, stating that it was her decision. Others validated her method. “All I can say is I stole candy when I was a kid, got spanked and then never did it again.” A second said: “There’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a way of giving discipline to kids in my culture.”
Read: Study Finds That Spanking Kids Actually Worsens Their Behavior
What do specialists say about discipline?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) condemned the spanking of children, stating that there were better, more civilized ways to deal with behavioral issues. It read: “Corporal punishment – or the use of spanking as a disciplinary tool – increases aggression in young children in the long run and is ineffective in teaching a child responsibility and self-control.”
“In fact, new evidence suggests that it may cause harm to the child by affecting normal brain development. Other methods that teach children right from wrong are safer and more effective.” The statement also addressed the harm associated with verbal punishment such as humiliation or shaming, stating that these methods could have a long-standing effect on children and their development.
While parents are often finding themselves frustrated and desperate, one needs to see the world from both perspectives. When children frequently misbehave and parents feel like they’re at the end of their rope, you may find them saying things like “Nothing else seems to work.” Is it fair to judge them so harshly?
Without consistency and an actual discipline strategy, many parents are just lost. It’s times like these that we should be reaching out to help and suggest better alternatives. There is after all enough research out there to prove other methods more effective. Many of these parents actually later on regret ever spanking their children in the first place, fearing a breakdown of their parent-child relationship.
What alternatives are there?
Logical consequences sound a lot more reasonable. If your child for example draws all over a wall, have them help you wash the wall. This teaches them to respect property. It also relays the most important message – actions have consequences. Misbehavior, more stringent ones. It also helps to praise children when they do good.
For instance, when you catch your child doing something good such as taking out their own bin’strash or picking up their own toys, that should be a moment of praise. Children tend to perform to parents’ expectations to establishing a sense of pride in a child from an early age can only magnify good behavior. What are your thoughts?
- “Kelly Clarkson: ‘I find nothing wrong with a spanking’.” ABC News. Catherine Thorbecke. January 10, 2018
- “Is Spanking Children an Effective Consequence?” Very Well Family. Amy Morin. September 20, 2022