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10 Reasons not to spank your kid like Adrian Peterson

This has been a terrible week for the NFL. First the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, and now child abuse charges against Adrian Peterson. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on charges of reckless or negligent injury to his 4-year-old son for spanking him with a switch.

Understandably, this issue has brought up public outrage on both sides of the argument. Many old-school parents believe it is perfectly fine to discipline a child with an object like a spoon or switch. Other parents, like myself, find it cruel to even think of beating a child with a branch off a tree as a form of discipline. Peterson’s “whooping” left cuts and bruises on his young son’s back, buttocks, ankles and legs.

My heart goes out to Peterson’s young son, who was a victim of violence veiled as punishment. However, I am glad a public figure was charged in this case, so it can open up the spanking conversation. Evidenced by this Reddit thread, spanking is bound to bring up a lively debate.

Plenty of Reddit users argue that spanking is fine when used purposefully and for the right reasons. “The thing is, children are little dumb animals that need a parental figure in their life to lead them in the right direction so they can become big smart animals. Spanking isn’t meant to make the child feel pain, it’s meant as a quick and precise way to enforce consequences.”

I stand firmly on the other side of the debate. I am anti-spanking in any circumstance. Here are 10 great reasons from Reddit to think twice about spanking your kids:

1. It is illegal in other countries

“In Denmark where I am from hitting/spanking children in any form is forbidden by law (as it is in the rest of the Scandinavian countries). If someone expressed the views reflected in this thread in a public debate it would promote a public outcry. I was brought up without my parents ever laying a hand on me. I was still able to show respect to adults, understand boundaries and have a generally normal behaviour. The same goes for my friends and classmates.”

2. It promotes violence

“Have never, and will never, spank my kids. I was spanked as a kid and it was no big deal, but to me, spanking gives the impression that it is ok to solve problems with violence.”

3. It can be traumatizing

“I was punished up until I was 9. Parents used a switch rather than spanking. I was traumatized by it and the fear of disappointing my parents that I had a nervous breakdown in class after receiving my first F.”

4. It is hypocritical

“That’s an incredibly contradictory message. The kid’s punishment for causing someone physical pain is receiving physical pain themselves.”

5. It is ineffective at best

“Also spanked, also turned out fine, but most research I’ve seen suggests spanking is at best ineffective.”

6. It does not teach a lesson

“Even if a child learns to avoid being spanked, how is a child of 4 or so to understand entirely why he is being spanked? S/he can’t, s/he is acting entirely out of fear only, learning to avoid punishment without reason.”

7. You wouldn’t hit an adult

“I don’t think it’s right that just because they did something ‘wrong’ they literally get hit for it. Can you imagine doing this to an adult?”

8. You wouldn’t hit your dog

“I am baffled that it seems more socially acceptable to spank your child than, say, hit your dog (although I suppose you could spank your dog with a rolled-up newspaper or something?).”

9. It is not the best way to discipline

“I have four kids and I have never spanked any of them. They are naughty sometimes but nothing they have ever done has made me ever think hitting them is the best way to handle the situation.”

10. It is a failure of parenting

“I think spanking is a failure of parenting. It only teaches that it’s fine to stop talking and resort to violence. Why would anyone want to teach that?”

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