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In light of Adrian Peterson’s child abuse arrest the question that is at the tip of everyone’s tongue is does physical punishment hurt or help a child’s development?

Several athletes have spoken out on the matter. From the NFL to the NBA, there is a division of opinion. Let some former players tell it — a good whipping is like a family heirloom handed down from generation to generation. Former NBA player Greg Anthony said on CNN, “I was spanked and I turned out OK.”

In response to former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason’s criticism of Peterson, Charles Barkly stated, “I’m from the South. I understand Boomer’s rage and anger … but he’s a white guy, and I’m a Black guy. I don’t know where he’s from; I’m from the South. Whipping—we do that all the time.”

Conversely, Cris Carter, the Hall of Fame wide receiver and ESPN analyst, believes his mother did the best she could, but was wrong for some of the things she taught him. “You can’t beat a kid to make them do what they won’t do,” Carter said.

While spankings are part of the Black culture, study shows it can also have an adverse effect on children. Harsh corporal punishment, the term coined by researchers, was defined as at least one spanking a month for more than three years, frequently done with objects such as a belt or paddle. It was determined, “ Exposing children to harsh HCP may have detrimental effects on trajectories of brain development.” HCP is correlated to depression, aggression and addictive behavior, researchers said in a study that was published in 2009.

Adrian Peterson’s mother also weighed in on the conversation. Bonita Jackson defended her son by admitting she and Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, were “big disciplinarians.They not only used their hands, but also switches and belts to occasionally spank all six of her children.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle Jackson said, “I don’t care what anybody says, most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant to sometimes. But we were only trying to prepare them for the real world. When you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse, it’s about love. You want to make them understand that they did wrong.”

Adrian Peterson, like many parents, may have possibly taken it too far, but do I believe spankings are sometimes necessary? Yes.

I turned out great, like many of my family members and friends. However, physical punishment should never leave injuries or wounds on a child, especially a toddler, but it’s far too easy to cross that line.

What is your take Clutchettes? Have you been spanked? Did it help or hurt your development?


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  • MimiLuvs

    Depends on your child, in my opinion.

    Personal anecdote: With my brother and me, my mother had attempted to spank us as we grew up. When we were babies, a case of a few swats worked wonders. But, when we were school-age children, it didn’t work. We were defiant and stubborn. We also learned that the pain from the spankings were temporary. Once we learned that, the “fear” was gone.

    For us, we were complacent, when it came to the times of discipline. We were like, “All right, let’s get this over and done with”. And the spankings had become ineffective. My brother continued to do his offenses and I continued to do mine. My brother continued to skip school or get into fights with his classmates. I continued to perform “lab experiments” on the house’s appliances, the neighbors’ properties and on trees that lined the block.

    I’m sure that there are parents out there, who has similar experiences with their kids.

  • Sherman N. Glasco, Sr.

    It is better the switch while they are young than the night stick or the gun when they are older.

  • ALM

    I think the question of harmful vs. helpful is too broad and makes the issue too simplistic. The key is the SEVERITY of the punishment.

    If your spanking consists of a three year old getting two swats with your hand to his or her hand, then most people wouldn’t consider that harsh at all.

    The key is that any time you see welts, bruises, bumps, blood, or broken skin, you have gone WAY too far.

    It may be best for parents to set a guideline for the amount of punishment based on the possible offense way before the child ever does anything, i.e. Promising up front to yourself that you will not cross certain lines, etc., because it seems as if a lot of these folks are just going wild with rage. Once you are already angry about something, you may end up going way past the point of spanking.

    Also, you shouldn’t spank a child for EACH and EVERY little thing. I have witnessed women in supermarkets curse their toddlers out and spank them for doing nothing more than breathing and looking around.

    Make sure you are punishing your child for his or her actual offense, and make sure that you are NOT punishing them because of your jerk boss, hateful coworker, or other problems in life.

    That being said, I think that spanking (not abuse) can teach some children that there are limits, and the world is not going to allow you to run around and do anything you want to. On the other hand, spanking does not work for every child. I grew up with people who were spanked. Spanking showed some the errors of their ways, and others seemed to become more enraged as time went on.

    If you are spanking your child or children each week, then you probably need to re-evaluate something.

  • Primmest Plum

    I grew up in a household that supported spanking, but I can count on one hand how many times I was spanked growing up. I was a fairly agreeable child for the most part. That was because I saw no reason to “act up” after a while.

    It really depends on the child. I’m not vehemently against spanking but I don’t think it hold be the go-to method of discipline–reason should be. I understand that the words “toddler” and “reason” are not synonymous in the least but it starts early. It will take many tries and tons of patience but children learn and most likely apply it to everyday life.

    I’d rather have a world of people brought up with stern reason than blind violence.

    Also, I notice that nowadays, spanking seems to be more of a release of the parents stress, annoyance and rage on the child rather than actual discipline.

  • ALex

    If you hit someone, they should hit you back. If a man raises a hand to a woman to “discipline her we’re upset. But raise a hand to a child? acceptable. Children are not property. IF I see someone hit a child I will hit them.