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Please Stop Saying, “That Kid Just Needs His A** Beat”

I completely believe and understand that children are often a product of their environments. I know that there are children who have terrible behaviors because those behaviors have either been encouraged, modeled, or allowed in their homes.

HOWEVER… Do you know how many children are a product of their environment AND their biology? How many kids exhibit behaviors they’ve literally been exposed to because nature can overpower nurture sometimes?

I think if you knew, you’d be less hesitant to judge other parents.

The kids you see whining over a toy in Walmart and stomping their feet… they really might not be a brat who’s used to manipulating their mom into getting whatever they want.

Maybe that kid is:

– A child with O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), which is a brain disorder than has nothing to do with how their parents raise them.
– A child who has ADHD and hasn’t gotten their medicine today because life has been crazy.
– A child who either hasn’t been diagnosed with anything yet.
– A child who needs an increase in medication dosage because they’ve grown since last year.
– A completely typical kid who needs nap because they’re going through a growth spurt and they’re acting way out of character.
– A kid who hasn’t had lunch yet because their mom has a million errands to run and now they’re hangry.

Or maybe that mom is:

– A mom who just worked an overnight shift and is now too sleepy to really care about whether or not her kid wants a candy bar.
– Choosing to ignore her child’s whining because they know their kid is really only after attention (which you’re giving them by staring).
– Doing her freaking best and doesn’t need your input unless she is physically or verbally abusing her child (in which case, CPS is only a phone call away).

The options are literally endless, but in none of those situations would the problem be solved by “beating the kid’s a**.” It wouldn’t make the kid’s ODD go away. It wouldn’t solve get the medication into the ADHD kid’s system. It wouldn’t make the kid more rested. It wouldn’t give the mom more energy or less stress.

It literally wouldn’t solve anything for her or her child.

Not to mention, study after study after study has shown that the benefits of spanking do not outweigh the negative side effects. But that’s a whole other topic, which isn’t easily discussed with people who are determined to keep doing what their parents did.

My point is that, YES, you can scare children into behaving in a certain way. You can spank them when they’re tired and teach them that if they lose control of their emotions again, they’ll get another spanking.

You can spank the kids with ODD or ADHD or Autism or whatever else, and teach them that the wiring of their brain is wrong, and that it’s their fault.

You can spank and you can spank and you can spank… but it will never, ever solve the root problem. It doesn’t TEACH anything.

Spanking kids (or even yelling at them) doesn’t show them how to do better next time. It doesn’t give them coping skills. It doesn’t show them how to use their manners. It doesn’t teach them how to communicate with other people in non-violent ways.

When you see that parent in the grocery store struggling to get their child to behave, please don’t assume that a solid butt-beating would solve all their problems. Better yet, don’t make any assumptions about them at all, unless that assumption is that they’re human.

The only thing you need to think about or do for that parent is ask if they need help putting their groceries onto the conveyor belt, tell them their hair looks nice, and move the heck on.

Please Stop Saying, “That Kid Just Needs His A** Beat”

W. R. Cummings

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APA Reference
Cummings, W. (2019). Please Stop Saying, “That Kid Just Needs His A** Beat”. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 18, 2019, from


Last updated: 5 May 2019
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