Is spanking abusive?

The one time I spanked my daughter, I broke the cardinal spanking rule: I did it in a moment of anger because I wanted her to stop whining.

I still feel awful about this brief incident that happened almost a year ago. I barely patted her bottom, but I tear up every time I think about the way she looked at me as if to say, “Why would you do that to me?”

I don’t think spanking is the abusive act that some parents claim it to be, but I do think there need to be set rules on when and how you spank. For example, I’ve heard that you should only spank as a known, set consequence for specific actions. And most importantly, spanking should only be done when a parent is in total control and not acting out of anger.

My husband and I are trying to decide if we want spanking to be part of our discipline plan. I can see the benefits in terms of swift consequences for bad behavior. But I can also see how spanking might hurt a parent/child relationship and have ill effects on a child.

What do you think? Is spanking OK if it’s done in control and with a set discipline plan? Or is spanking never a good idea, no matter what?

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