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Researchers Say Black Parents Spank Their Kids The Most and It Is Damaging

By Staff Blogger

If you are a parent it is more likely than not that you have spanked your child at one point or another in their lifetime. Spanking used to be a very widely accepted form of punishment. Now there are studies upon studies that state that spankings or any other kind of physical punishment is harmful to your child mentally. A new study from the University of Texas at Austin conducted by corporal punishment researcher Elizabeth Gershoff shows that out of all groups of people, African Americans are more likely to use spanking as a form of punishment than any other group.

When 20,000 kindergarten students and their parents were evaluated for the study it was found that 89% of black parents spanked their children as a form of punishment. This was more than any other race. Hispanic parents came in second at 80%, white parents at 79%, and Asian parents last with 73%. Even though they were able to find these results, the answer as to why black families chose physical punishment was a little more complex.

There are theories from some people that black parents grew up being beaten as a form of punishment so they believe that is the way they are supposed to raise their children. Others believe that it is because they are afraid that they are going against their religion. Some say that it is the oppression and violence of slavery being carried down through generations. While none of these is a scientific explanation they are all interesting theories.

The one thing that is certain is that there are numerous studies that show how damaging physical punishment can be. Researchers are baffled that parents still use spankings as a normal form of punishment. There have been studies that have shown that children who grew up in a home where they were spanked were more likely to develop depression and anxiety when they were older. They also had a higher risk of becoming a violent person themselves. They have spent all of their lives thinking that violence is the way to solve a problem so that is all they know.

In Harlem there is a program called Baby College for new parents. It was started in 2001 and since then there have been 3,600 graduates. These new parents learn all about what their children need as they are growing as well as the risks of using spankings to punish children.

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67 thoughts on “Researchers Say Black Parents Spank Their Kids The Most and It Is Damaging

  1. Omerede Kashka

    Where is the rest of the story? Where are the numbers to show the damages? What are the different levels of spanking and the effect each have on the children? Where are the numbers that compared the spanking with the non-spanking and the successes and failures of each?

    • ICan't

      @Omerede Kashka Thank you so much. This (mis)information is thrown out here for people to latch onto, believe, and use to judge, just like a rumor. Even if the random figures they included were true, the finding should be that a majority of American parents (regardless of race) view spanking as an acceptable form of discipline. Then, we should take how to deal with the “damages” from there. Start by providing more information about “Baby College”, like where it’s located, and the cost of the program.

  2. Timothy Stewart

    Spanking a child is one thing, beating a pre-teen or young adult is abusive and ineffective. This mentality has been passed down from slavery and as a race of people, we need to learn how to use the most effective method of discipline, LOVE.

    • Regina

      What are you doing to prevent our young men and women from entering a life of crime and prison?

      Put up or shut up.

      Keep that kumbaya B.S. to yourself.

  3. Toni

    Interesting Subject. I spank my children when they were young and I am sorry about some of the spankings that I had given them. I was spanked and I became a spanker. I look at children now and when I see them getting a spanking or scolding they appear to be embarrassed. I do feel it can cause their self esteem to lower and so, there is another way of discipline and I think it should be something parents should work on.

    I have two great girls and both are professionals that appear to be okay despite the spankings that they received. If I had to do it over again I would use another form instead of the spankings. I lectured quite a bit as well.

    • Brad

      If I had $10. for every time I got a spanking I would be rich today. Turn out to be a good citizen and raise a son who receive the same thing. He is a deacon in his church now. During that time frame the jail house was empty and ppl had respect for each other.

    • Regina

      So what? Who cares about embarrassing a child when he/she misbehaves. It is called punishment for a reason.

      Yes, I got whooped with a switch and yet I still learned from those whoopings as well. Being a parent is #1, trying to be your children’s best friend is not effective parenting.

  4. STurner

    The article is incomplete. It uses spanking and beating interchangeably. They are two different things. I was a beat as a child, I spanked my children and grands. You have to assess the situation; because every situation does not require a physical reprimand. You can use other forms of punishment. I will add this those of us that did get spanked surely did not misbehave because we knew the consequences of our actions. Now days children don’t have consequences and lack reaped for their parent because they know there is nothing they can do because the law is on their side.

  5. ignorance will kill us

    How is it damaging? Each child is different.
    Spare the rod spoil the child
    Mine turned out fine. 3 black males
    2 in college and working
    1 still in high school preparing for college.

    You have to teach them so they wont end up in prison.

    • polymathk

      You’re saying they turned out fine, but I offer you this anecdote:

      My husband and I are on our late twenties, and we both came from households where beatings /spankings were the primary discipline method. He is a successful working professional, and I am a college student finishing my BA in accounting. We have one child, a nice home. On paper we’re the Huxtables in their early years. But beneath the surface we both suffer emotional scarring that e both believe exist because we grew up in homes where sprains were status quo. He hates his mother, even though e support her financially. He sometimes has trouble trusting me, and withdraws from me of I become irritated or upset with him. The effects are subtle, but as a parent I always recommend taking a step back and evaluating yourself. Spanking really isn’t the way. It’s humiliating for children and it really does cultivate anxiety and emotional hardship.

  6. Ityou

    White people don’t take a belt to their kids but like they should. The biggest influence on negative happenings are from white kids and black kids want to do what they do.

  7. jhavon

    spanking is just fine for children and teenagers. I know thousands of people who were disciplined this way growing up and they are fine. I see what happens when you do not discipline your child…like constantly talking back, disrespecting everyone around them… mass shootings across this Continent because they were never disciplined while growing up( yes time out is not a form of discipline. this is not a hockey game). Put the fear of wrong doing in them and they will not stray from this path. I allways told my boys that I will tell you only once not to do something and the second time it’s your ass… worked out fine…my oldest is married and in the military, and I have a teenager in high school doing just fine.

  8. douglass

    You don’t need numbers or a study to determine whether or not “spanking” is harmful. Children raised with the fear of physical retribution from the persons that they trust most in their lives are damaged goods. Physical aggression diminishes them in the caregivers eyes and in their self-perception. These children learn to expect blows and will become physical abusers themselves. Spanking, beating, hitting, popping your child only helps the spanker, the beater, the hitter and the popper…because there is always the spanker that takes it to far and they become the killer…

  9. BigMO

    Blacks’ violent temperament…is well documented. Thank god that black males do not cohabitate with the vast majority of the black children.

    Blacks living the way of the white man…it has been a failure on so many fronts. The black family unit is just ONE of the many failures of this forced integration system.

    Blacks MUST have a homeland in America!

  10. MARK

    Research this, my parents were spanked, and had seven children that they had to spank one or more times, and their children had children they spanked one or more times. I said that to say this all of us turned out well, and more than that I deserved the spankings I got and each one was a lesson in doing the right thing. Some children you can talk into doing things right, and others like myself needed the rod to sink those lessons in. Research needs to give the whole story and not just a sliver of the information they gathered.

  11. Kre8tiveSoul

    I remember when spankings were administered in school and yes, I was spanked when I was a child and I thank my mom for it because it taught me respect and discipline. I agree with the Bible “spare the rod, spoil the child”. We have too many parents who try to be friends with their children and while I dont feel that you should spank your child for every little issue, I don’t believe in this psycho..dr spock…time out generation…We have more children committing adult crimes…..more children who lack respect and a healthy sense of fear of authority. Statistically speaking black parents always are in the media as spanking their children…but lets get real…Propaganda wants us to believe that we are the abusers meanwhile white parents stats are just as high when it comes to spankings…or should I say abuse..,,..Propaganda also wants us not to discipline our children correctly so that our children can be disciplined by them in the Dept of Corrections…,discipline and abuse are opposites..discipline requires temperance and love…,I love my boys and I will continue to do what God has permitted to do as an authority to them. My oldest is now a U.S. Marine and my teen is an honor student who is not a disciplinary problem in school….Stop the Propaganda!!!!!…Raise and love your children the way God commanded and it will not fail!

  12. jboogie

    Discipline is needed, and this garbage talking about what was passed down from slavery is BULL. Regardless what the so call political correctness is advocating, there’s not a higher positive outcome on our lives, than the action of a spanking. If we as parents don’t do what’s important on raising our children, please believe society got a place from. And, more importantly that’s the goal, and I pray that being good parents, we continue to become better people, and teach our children the Godly way of living. The black family is under attack, and it’s a sad thing that we have to be continuously questioned about our motivation and will regarding our existence. No cultural family is any different on our mental and physical functions, we all are human beings, we are the definition of humanity. And, for us being a black culture, we need to stop allowing these other cultures to have a more mental purpose to living on earth than we do. We all are or will die like any other species on earth, so why keep giving someone else, more purpose to living on earth then yourself. Wake up!

  13. ignorance will kill us

    Beat ass if needed. It may save their lives…..

    How many advocating no spanking have children?
    Better yet have teenagers?

    Thats what I thought. The slavery debate is moot because this is a biblical principle going back thousands of years.
    If you want to become enlightened by white society….go back to your roots an read Proverbs by Solomon.

  14. Dr. Roosevelt "Clutch" Northern, Jr., Ed.D.

    CHURCH! To not discipline an offspring-early is neglectful and benignly abusive. [Proverbs 3:5,6; 19:18,27; 23:12-14; 13:24]. Man has neglected to follow GOD’s Instructions in too many proactive areas; including [1Corinthians 11:3 and Titus 2]. When does a PPL of Color began to accept the inept and ineffective tactics of rearing our children as says the research of the oppressors? When do You see a properly disciplined child act up in the store or anywhere else in public? Father Malcolm (X) Little said it best,”You lay down with dogs You get fleas.” What works and regardless of why it is that corporal punishment sets the standard of extreem discipline measures. Body of CHRIST I did spank because I wantd to correct my children before the jail got them. I never had to go to a school discpline office for any of my now four grown high performing offspring. Another causation in a hands-off attitude is a disconnect in providing a brain stimili of remembrance on what and why is unacceptable behavior. In closing, a friend of a friend’s child whio is rearing a child in Texas found it amusing when a two(2) year old boy told his birth mother:”Sit Your $5 behind down before I make change?” Now, where is this little Jitt headed? Who’s neglect or abuse indoctrinated this “tot” to verbally abuse his own mother? His father of about twenty-five almost got a spanking from me. What? GOD said it-I did it! Amen!

  15. j

    Of course the Bible will tell you to spank your child. This is the SAME book that told slaves to obey their slave masters! SMDH

  16. A. G.

    I disagree! I was spanked, my husband was spanked and we spanked our kids! They have their degrees, work every day, enjoy life and being with family, I suggest these researchers check the White kids for they are the ones killing their family, mother, daddy, sister, brother, wives, granny, granddaddy and their husbands, as well as going into schools killing their friends, teachers, etc., and for them it is across the board, rich and poor kids, I suggest you researchers start all over and check your own kids! The problem with research is, it is all about numbers and you can put anything down that makes you look good to whomever is paying for the research!

  17. warren

    Look at these kids today. They are totally out of control. They do what they want when they want and that is the problem with our society today. Growing up during my time everyone got spanked that misbehaved and we are the generation- and the generations before us that have never been on drugs, finished school, and college, respected elders and it did not matter who the elders were. We were not allow to talk back to our parents or do anything that we were not allowed to do. As soon as the government stepped in, the world of our children changed for the worse. We are not allowed to raise our own kids in a matter that we were raised or we go to jail. This is the very reason why kids today are not respectful, on drugs, hang in the streets, steel, kill, raping other kids,you name it. It is the governments fault and these kids sit in jail while the government try to figure out what to do with them. The government is raising our kids and look at what a mess it is. After all the government should feed, clothe and send them to school since they want to take control. But their control is being locked up and they are made into worst kids than before they were locked up. The government need to mind their own business and let parents raise their own kids. It’s nothing wrong with spanking. Everyone I know, everyone back doing my time survived and are good people. This article talking about it causes depression and anxiety and causes violence in a way to solve problems. That’s damn lie.

    • Regina

      Continue saying and believe it when your Suzy or Johnny get in with the wrong crowd and end up in jail, pregnant or dead.

    • Regina

      I see someone got a whuppin’ for not doing what he/she was told to do and paid the price.

      You turned out fine. Are you a ex-con? A current or former addict? If not, what is your problem?

  18. Objective Analysis

    There is a difference between “spanking” and “child abuse.” Using discipline with spanking to help train a child to not do something is biblical and permissive. The key is to not do it in anger. Also, the spanking is not suppose to leave a “permanent mark.” There are ages of what is appropriate spanking and discipline. Read up on it to know (or ask some legal assistance) so you wont’ get in trouble.

  19. Brandon

    Spare the rod, spoil the child. Also this article is pointless. I was expecting to see a significant differential in percentages across races. It also doesn’t mention how it is damaging (probably because it’s not damaging and does more good than bad.)

  20. Penelope

    I don’t believe in spanking or beating. My dad was never spanked. He was disciplined by his father who talked to him when he did something wrong or something that could hurt him. My dad was the most forthright, honest, hardworking, church-going, loving man that I know. When I did something wrong, my father would talk to me and he would ask me questions while i had to some how search for answers that would not get me further into trouble. I can say this having to answer for your stupidity is much more torturous than being given a spanking.
    Children are sponges, if they have done something wrong they need to be made aware of the behavior. Unfortunately, too often I see black children being personally chastised when it is the behavior that needs to be corrected.
    The one discipline tool that really helps that I do in my workshops or classroom is praise the child when they exhibit positive behavior. That reinforcement of positive praise really helps the child understand the difference between right and wrong as well as increase the child’s self esteem.

  21. Kam S.

    BULL…….This is some Pablum puking drivel, and usually the ones putting this B.S. out were probably some bratty as*ed knucklehead who didn’t like being spanked. My behind got it, and the few times I did, I DESERVED EVERY ONE OF THEM. And guess what, after that third one, I did what I should have done in the beginning, heed the warning, don’t do stupid crap you know damn well is wrong. Me, my Brothers, Cousins all turned out fine, and in light otheyf what is going on today with a lot of these kids being undisciplined and plain out of control we are glad for the upbrining we had. I have four Sons, and from the get go I let them know, I am NOT your friend, I am your parent, what my rules are, and the consequences. The three oldest each got ONE spanking in their life, and it WAS warranted, and after that ONE spanking, I never had a lick of troublefrom them. When my oldest was about 13, he told his then 2 younger brothers all they had to do is do waht Pops tells you because he’s cool. They didn’t listen. They are all grown men, and they appreciate what I imparted to them to make them the responsible young men that they have become.And they laugh about that ONE butt whuppin’ they got, because they know they messed up and deserved it. As long as you are not just beating up on a child for no good reason, and the spanking is warranted, do what you have to do. If you don’t, the Legal and Penal System will, and that is no life to have.

  22. teddybarexxx

    Wow this debate reminds me of when i was in college and its the same views back then and its no different now. People listen there are children you can just simply talk fear into them and they wont do wrong but there are children you gonna have to put a belt to their butts to put that fear into them . Me personally i believe in spanking however i believe it should start as early as a child start to crawl. Yes i said it crawling stages of the child. As soon as your child starts crawling they are at their most inquisitive stages they get into everything! Popping their little hands and explaining to them simultaneously that they shouldnt do those things work! There is also one other element people over look as well and thats the constant praise you should give when they do something right! This starts the right wrong mindset of a child. When me and wife first had our oldest daughter we bumped heads on this matter a lot because her thought process was she just a baby she dont know what she’s doing after i explained to her this isnt abuse and to trust me that when she turns 3, 4, 5 etc etc you’re going to notice a different between her behavior than the ones that dont. Let me tell you shewill stand behind this method whole heartedly now our daughter is 8 and i can count on 3 fingers no one finger the times i had to spank her and thats because we established spanking at an early age as well as praising her for the good she did at an early age. There has to be a balance.

  23. Black Man

    I do not have children but I was my mother’s child/son. Spanking is one thing but getting beatings is nothing but abuse regardless of how you look at it. If you have to communicate or teach a lesson through any violent action, it’s ignorant. Meaning, if you have to resort to beating a child or teenager, you are ignorant. I used to get beaten by my mother as a teenager. This was her default method of teaching a lesson or whatever. I remember getting beaten for things like not wanting to go to church or be a Christian, coming home late from the library or having a difference of opinion on things….things that do not merit beatings. To this day I remember every strike. I hate my mother. I do not speak with her. I don’t wish anything bad on her but I do not wish anything good either. I’ll never forgive her for the trauma she caused. I’ll never forgive her for her ignorance. I am now in my thirties and can remember the abuse as if it just happened. I am familiar with the notion of spare the rod, spoil the child. This is a Christian thing that may sound good but it is not good because beating any child and/or embarrassing a child is traumatic. The beating from my mother stopped when I fought back. I took the belt from her and told her that it will not be happening again….it has not since. I thought it ended there but she then chose verbal abuse. Ignorance is a horrible thing.

  24. Jeffrey Brown

    As a substitute teacher, I have noticed that it takes harsher discipline to get black kids to do what they are supposed to do

  25. DAVID

    Spankings WORK !!!!!!! but only when accompanied by a discussion of why it happened. I spanked my kids and then asked them, “Do you know why?”. Then I had them explain to me, in their own words, what brought it about. When coupled with a rational reasoning that the child can understand you get results. Spanking without the requisite follow up interaction with the child is useless. They need to understand ACTIONS HAVE REPERCUSSIONS! !!!!

  26. Firm but Good DAD

    I don’t understand how intelligent civilized people can think that spanking/beating a child is a good form a discipline. We have got to be smarter and more patient. We have to be willing to change our way of thinking. I got many spankings as a child and I hated it, I mean HATED it!!! Many times I was spanked for things my siblings did. Yes, I turned out okay, but I vowed to myself that I would not subject my children to those same practices. I have four children, 2 young adults who went to college on academic scholarships and are both soon to finish Masters Degrees, and 2 still at home who are straight A students in gifted/advanced placement classes. I do not spank my children because I have learned that there are other ways to discipline children. It simply takes a little patience, creativity and a lot of LOVE. This all starts before they can walk not when their going shopping for their own clothes at the mall, Lol! I refuse to let my children out smart me for I am their protector, provider and teacher. I can remember my father saying “this is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you” before a spanking and I get it, I does hurt when you pose pain to someone you Love, but where does it say that you must impose physical pain to discipline in the name of LOVE. I teach my children that ,Yes your feelings/emotions may be hurt in the name of LOVE, but it is insane to think that you must experience Physical pain when expressing or experiencing LOVE. This is why I Talk to, put on Punishment, Take things away, and make my Children earn their privileges, along with many other forms of discipline I use. My family is NOT perfect and a lot of friends and family find my parenting techniques odd, but it works for me and the results are evident in my children. People, you can discipline your children without spanking them…

  27. O austin

    I spanked(not beat) my children one time, and that set at tone of authority and respect where by no more spankings were required.

  28. Arneader

    When it came to discipline my child I put myself in his place. Second and three chances. That’s what I would want from God. I spanked on the fourth chance.

  29. Kashta "The Kushite"

    Interesting. So I guess if Black parents stopped spanking their children, then violence in our communities will come to a halt or at least dramatically decrease right? Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Some of the most violent and murderous adults have never been spanked, so the correlation they try to make between the two seems flawed. I think abusing children is absolutely wrong, but I think some people assume that all spanking is abuse. I think spanking should be used sparingly and as a last resort. All discipline methods do not work for every child, you have to find out what works best for your child.

  30. Devon

    Lotta good all that azz whoopin did the blk community is a mess and yall ole azzes passed all that slave whoopin sheit to your grown kid to pass on to their kids good job! Guess yall wasnt smart enuff to raise kids without beatin on em.

    • Regina

      No idiot, it is called integration with the enemy and listening to his way of life.

      There is a old saying that goes like this.

      “A BLACK WOMAN HAVE AND A WHITE MAN WILL RAISE”. Our young children are being raised by the white man in prison.

      So shut up.

  31. George

    First let me tell some of those so called parents out there in boom boom land what God words says about this and the word is chastisement and every child needs chastisement every now and then. To correct, and to keep them out of trouble, now, you don’t do this when you are angry and always let the child knows why you’re doing this. For discipline is love and this is one of the reasons why we have so many of our young children running around with no discipline, no respect and the law will eat them alive.

  32. George

    All you parents out there that believe that you can raise a child without chastisement you’re just kidding yourself. If that child knows that he will not be spanked he will play you every time, so, be truthful.

  33. louis daye

    No surprise here, this might explain why not too much positives has been done with our people. One by one these old wicked should fall off into a bottom less pit.

  34. SB

    As a brother well versed in religious beliefs AND science, I can plainly see that this “Research” is a JOKE, for several reasons:

    1. Even non-religious folks know that spanking is not designed to happen in a vacuum… a decent parent teaches their child right from wrong 1st, then warns their child, then spanks the children. This is part of a holistic strategy for raising children.

    2. The creators of this false research never truly reveal the data samples, type of mathematics, and so-called scientific process by which they come to their conclusions.

    3. They assume that a “once size fits all” model of child rearing exist, and that what works for 1 child works for all…yet they never do ANY “research” to test such obviously wrong assumptions, because if they did, they’d loose all their credibility before the general public.

    4. They PRETEND not to know the difference between abuse of a child and discipline of a child and therefore, won’t reveal the “research” to highlight this difference. As a result, when their misleading “research” reveals children who “get hit” by their parents and still misbehave, they PURPOSELY use the OMISSION of the facts to confuse the general public and give the appearance that they’ve proved their point…when they have not.

    5. They purposely ignore those who were “spanked” within the confines of being loved and disciplined by their parents, since those who love their children won’t abuse them, and will generally spank their children within self-imposed spiritual and moral guidelines.

    We must recognize the aims and objects of this research, with has no real basis in telling the whole truth, but in lying by omission, as follows:

    It is a direct attack against what remains of the Black family! Whether Black folks like it or not, many segments of society…both in and out of the U.S. has declared WAR on Black/African folks. In regards to Black parenting, these enemy combatants are clever enough to disguise their arguments in Black face…by getting weak-minded Black spokes persons to go along with their arguments at worst, and getting Black folks who worship White-owned-and-controlled “progressive” and/or “liberal” ideology at best.

    Now these folks want to prevent us from raising our own children! These same hypocrites are not likely to help us when our sons and daughters are carted off in record numbers to juvenile and prison facilities…and then they will publicly condemn us for not raising our children!

    Don’t believe me??!? Well, White supremacist commenters are already saying this about the parents of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, regardless of the facts. Now imagine giving them a REAL excuse to lock up your son or your daughter.

    So in summary, we must not only publicly challenge these false researchers and publicly state what their intentions are. We must expose them and declare them to be enemies of Black/African people…even those in “Black face”.

    Finally, we must legally protect and promote our rights to raise our children up to be spiritually and morally good citizens…with a sense of responsibility and loyalty to the Black/African community, “by any means necessary” . We cannot allow these demonic “researchers” to get legal upper hand in the courts. If they do…then they’ve added another legal component to their war against the Black family.


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