Monday, June 5, 2023

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Editorial Contest 2023: Ending spankings and ‘whoopings’ for kids

Returning to an editorial contest The Lansing Journal started last year, we partnered with the freshman class at Unity Christian Academy. Every first-year student wrote an editorial about something they care about, and submitted them to The Lansing Journal. Publisher Melanie Jongsma and Managing Editor Josh Bootsma read the editorials and picked three winners based on criteria including: making a claim, persuasion and analysis, evidence, local impact, and language and voice. Invitations to participate were also sent to TF South English faculty, and no editorials were submitted.

By Ariana Thomas
Ariana Thomas is a first-year student at Unity Christian Academy. (Photo provided)

When some parents or authority figures hear or talk about “spanking” and “whooping,” they sometimes associate it with “effective discipline.” This behavior is not illegal in many states and countries, so some parents think spanking is healthy and acceptable.

What if that’s not exactly the case?

Researchers have found, and studies have shown, that whooping/spanking is one of the most ineffective and damaging ways to discipline. It makes way for mental health issues and teaches kids unacceptable behavior like hitting others, impulsiveness, and lying.

Spanking kids should be unlawful in America because it results in more harm than good for children.

In an article entitled “The Case Against Spanking,” journalist Brendan Smith of the American Psychological Association, says, “Many studies have shown that physical punishment — including spanking and hitting — can lead to increased aggression and mental health problems for children.”

This shows that physical punishment can be more damaging than good. It worsens issues that children of this generation already struggle with.

Parents, I know you love your children and only want effective, but strict ways of discipline, but I, as a child, have dealt with the harsh effects of spankings and know that it is unsuccessful in its purpose.

A short-term answer to a long-term problem

A mistake many parents make is believing their child is getting proper discipline because their child obeyed at the moment of the spanking. However, spanking only temporarily stops a child from doing wrong; it’s not a long-term solution.

“Hitting a child only results in fear and obedience,” says Karin Österman, a developmental psychologist researching the effects of physical punishment. “It does not enhance the child’s understanding of why a certain behavior is undesirable.”

This is a prime example of why spanking isn’t resourceful. It’s a fast way to resolve an issue, but parents must consider the potential adverse effects that spanking can have on children.

Dangers for young children

While it’s understandable that some parents with young children believe spanking is best because young children can’t understand words or boundaries, this cannot be an option. When kids are young and their brains develop, they quickly pick up on behavior, especially from authority figures, because they are taught to listen to them. When children see their guardians losing control and using aggression when frustrated, children will think that’s how problems should be solved. This could lead them to do the same when they have issues with others, or lie about their actions for fear of being hit.

Even little taps and pops can cause issues for children. What about the parents that cause physical pain to their children? Many parents who spank their children and don’t see results escalate the punishment to be harsher, and that’s a danger of it.

According to state laws, people are prohibited from physically hitting someone like a teacher, lover, best friend, or stranger. However, it’s still legal to spank children, as long as it doesn’t become “excessive.”

Community values

In Chicagoland and the south suburbs, we claim to have and want values that represent good child health, home safety, and positive parenting. Banning spanking and whooping will not only help children, but will enforce the values we work so hard to have.

Starting with our own communities, we can inspire and set examples for others which will help the success of children all over America.

In addition, a healthy alternative to spanking is showing your child good examples of how to act. Examples like patience and understanding are steps forward to the success of our future generation.


Other winners this year:

Read last year’s editorial contest winners:

The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.


  1. Well said Ariana!

    As the author of Preschool To Prison, I have to agree with you 100%. I remembered getting battered in middle school at Hess Upper Grade Center on the the Westside of Chicago with a huge paddle. The teacher Mr. Hughes put holes in the paddle so it would flow easily before coming in contact with my behind.

    Yes, on some occasions, I believed it was deserving, because of my behavior in class. I remembered refusing to bend over because the spanking was because I didn’t do my homework. I was then escorted to the assistant principal office by this huge security officer (officer Williams) who was also a Deputy Sheriff. The security officer and assistant principal beat me until I cried. All of my “F” grades became “B” grades.

    What was so ironic is that twenty-five years after the beat down, I became that security officer boss at the Sheriff’s Department 🤔. I did not retaliate, nor did I commend him, but we did have a great working relationship. I will never recommend the punishment I received to our students today.

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