In a new interview with New York radio station 98.9 The Buzz, Kelly Clarkson said that she’s “not above spanking” her 3-year-old daughter River. Unsurprisingly, Clarkson’s comments quickly sparked debate on social media, with some people criticizing her actions and others defending her for using this form of discipline.
“My parents spanked me, and I did fine in life, and I feel fine about it, and I do that as well,” Clarkson told The Buzz.
Although there’s certainly no doubt Clarkson “did fine in life,” it’s worth noting that studies have shown that’s not the case for every child whose parents spank them. A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that children who are spanked in their childhood may be more likely to be perpetrators of partner violence when they enter their teen and adult years.
In a statement on its website, the American Academy of Pediatrics also advises against spanking and other forms of physical punishment. “[Spanking] only teaches aggressive behavior, and becomes ineffective if used often. Instead, use appropriate time outs for young children. Discipline older children by temporarily removing favorite privileges,” the organization suggests.
Clarkson is fully aware that her stance on spanking is controversial, and she noted that this doesn’t stop her from doing it in public spaces, such as the zoo. “So that’s a tricky thing when you’re out in public, ’cause then people are like, you know, they think that’s wrong or something, but I find nothing wrong with a spanking,” she said.
Although we can’t say we agree with Clarkson’s discipline method of choice, at least she’s being honest about it. Plus, her statement has started important conversations about child behavior and discipline (including options that don’t include physical punishment). Hopefully, the overall conversation — and the recent research findings — will make parents think twice before they resort to any form of violence toward their kids.