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Thelma Adeyemi: Why You Might Want to Quit Spanking Your Kids



These days, we are being told left right and centre that spanking is wrong. Psychologist, psychiatrists and all manner of studies are telling us that the way our parents raised us are to blame for the many, many mental issues we are currently having to deal with.

One study published on NY Times says and I quote, “A child who is spanked, slapped, grabbed or shoved as a form of punishment runs a higher risk of becoming an adult who suffers from a wide range of mental and personality disorders, even when that harsh physical punishment was occasional and when the child experienced no more extreme form of violence or abuse at the hands of a parent or caregiver.

So basically, those excuses, such as, you spank once a year, or when they reaaaallllly deserve it, should be thrown out the window. One swat on the bum will scar your kid for life. (Really though, is there any adult without some form of mental and physical disorder?)
Why I might be anti-spanking.

One reason why I might agree that spanking can be unwarranted is that sometimes, parents do not take the personality of their kid into account. For instance, growing up, I was a total rule-follower. I did exactly what I was told and I never talked back at my folks. I never told lies, stole or was disobedient. Yet, I was spanked a lot. Why? Because I was (and still am) the quintissential procrastinator. My stem mum thought I was lazy, but I soon came to realise that was not the case. See, the thing is, if she gave me an hour to do ten chores, I will do it all without complaining once. But if she says something like, “clean this bathroom today,” then leaves for work, I will wait until five minutes before she was to get back to start. So, yes, she caught me a few times and beat the living daylight out of me.

All the beating did not change that. It just drove this wedge between us (although that might just be because she was not my birth mum). I do believe that if she had set specific deadlines, that would have helped immensely. I believe that if she had helped me with my procrastinating habits with practical solutions when I was younger, I won’t have had to clock 20 before I figured out this flaw on my own and begin to take steps to dealing with it. For a long time, I accepted I was simply lazy and that did a number on me.
So, yes, in some ways, I do believe not all children need to be beaten. In fact, spanking will absolutely never work for some children. So, on that note, I am anti-spanking.

Another argument for sparing the literal rod is that it is easy to lose control. One day, I returned from work after a really bad day. I was pissed by my husband for some reason too, so I was just in no mood. I was frustrated and exhausted. The nanny left almost immediately I came back home, so it was just me and the kids that evening. An evening where all I wanted was to either punch someone or go to sleep. Then my 2-year-old started bugging me for some juice. He pestered and begged and sobbed. Finally, I got my ass off the couch and went to pour him some. I had just turned away for one second when I heard him gasp. I turned around to find the entire content of the cup on my floor. I was enraged. In that state, I stormed over to him, turned him around and gave him the hardest spank ever. My first feeling was relief. I felt relief that I was able to take out some of my frustration on someone. Then I felt ashamed. How was I different from wife-beaters who claim they did it because they had a bad day? Plus, I knew my boy and I knew that spilling that juice was an accident. He was more broken than I was about it.

It became clear to me then how easily it is to take out your pain and anger on a child. How regular spanking can lead to child abuse withour realising it. How simple it is to lose control and in a blinding rage, do serious harm to your kid. So on that note too, I say, maybe spanking is not such a good idea.

Then there are those parents that spank for things that their kid cannot control. Those that hit kids for being kids. You will not believe how many times I have seen mothers hit their toddlers for dozing off in a bus or for asking a question out turn. There are even folks who beat their kids just for crying. I have seen a mum beat her one year old who obviously cried and then she beat him again and again and again, because she needed him to stop crying. That, seriously was beyond my belief.
But that does not mean I do not think spanking has its uses.

A year ago, I visited a neighbour who had three boys. I had a writing deadline and our generator was acting up. I needed to use their light so I packed up my laptop and gadgets over to the next flat. This was actually the first time I was spending that much time with her and her kids but it turned out to be my last.
Those kids were so unruly and downright rude. They were aged between 4 and 7 but they were little terrors. Their mum kept putting them in time-outs and ‘naughty corners’ but they never stayed there for long. They will get up and go touch or break the exact thing their mum said they should stay away from. While I was there for about an hour, they smashed two glass cups on purpose, one boy punched another in the eye and another opened a bottle of water and poured the content all over his brother.

All the while, I was just watching their mum sigh at intervals. Sometimes she sent them to the naughty corner and other times she just ignored them. She said nothing when they hopped out of their corners and totally ignored their antics. At one point, I closed my eyes and imagined myself getting up, grabbing a lone belt sitting at the corner of the living room and spanking their behinds until thy kingdom come. When it looked like they were bringing their ‘crase’ towards me and my precious laptop, I kuku carry my thing and returned home. I’ll rather fast and pray until PHCN restores power than sit back and have one of them destroy what I sweat to buy.

So, as you can see, I am quite torn on the matter of spanking. I could easily just say it depends on the child but wouldn’t it cause other major issues when one child grows up being spanked and the other just gets a talking-to?
I would love to hear your views on the matter? Would/do you spank your kids? Does the fact that you were spanked/not spanked affect how you turned out? Share your views in the comments.

Photo Credit: Carlosphotos |

Thelma is a writer, part-time baker and full-time mum. Being a mother has started her out on a whole new journey and she enjoys sharing her experience, views and lessons learned. She blogs on OneNigerianMum ( You can also check out her Facebook page (OneNigerianMum) and Instagram (@africankidsrock) where she celebrates adorable African cuties. Email: [email protected]


  1. AceOfSpades

    March 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    My dad only beat me once ever.
    My mum however will read this article and find another reason to spank me and her reason would be la familia.

    On the side, no one knows the formula to raise a good kid to be honest. You just try your best and pray maybe.

  2. Arigbabu wale

    March 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I must confess that I am guilty of child spanking,though at time I felt that there’s something wrong with me for such action.i am a father of a wonderful set of twins(two girls to be precise),and also an unemployed man.sometimes I got carried away with my wrong thought in my situation and just feels like transferring my aggression to someone and my kids always felt victims of my actions.but thank God for your post I leant a lot from it.thank you for making me realised that my actions were wrong and I promise you that I’ll turn a new leaf.

  3. Ada

    March 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I was beaten mercilessly my whole life by my mum. I remember going to school with scars on my body from the beatings I got. One time, she made me take a bath just so she could beat me as soon as I was done and water was still on my body. She slapped me so many times with the back of her hand that had her wedding and engagement ring. I wasn’t an easy child I know. I was loud and stubborn, but I believe those beatings were not necessary. I think I could have gotten by on deprivation and maybe light spankings here and there. Last November, my mum hit me and slapped me over and over because “I made her angry and she hates me” and I’m 23. And I stood there. I couldn’t hit her back. I don’t even want to go into all the emotional abuse I go through with her.

    My little brother could have gotten by on NO spanking at all. He was mostly an easy going child who would only err once in a while. Still, he was beaten almost as bad as I was.

    Till this day I don’t have a bond with my mum. I’m not close to her. I don’t love her but I don’t hate her. I have so much self esteem issues because of the things she said to me and I hold it against her SO MUCH. I’m so angry, bitter, and unhappy. I don’t know how to react when she’s nice to me. I cry myself to sleep sometimes when I think of all I’ve been through with her. I know I need therapy. I need to forgive her for myself. As soon as I get the chance to, I’ll start my journey to healing.

    There’s a VERY thin line between discipline and abuse, and often times parents cross that line.

  4. Ify

    March 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I think it depends on the child. Some are naturally hyper and stubborn, some are quiet and obedient. So you just apply sense. Also, spanking makes some kids more determined to disobey you. You have to find something else to discipline them with in cases like that.

    • sankawale

      March 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      if u teach a child/ any child, that violence can be used to gain control of any situation; well dats the apparatus he will use!

    • Anon

      March 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Spanking a naturally hyper child might be wrong. If Nigerians must learn to converse with children and actually scold them and perhaps withdraw privileges like TV etc. Also, keep beating such a child and that may not even deter the child after a while. The child might have ADD or may just be looking for attention (sometimes the problem is even with you or your spouse, no offence). This might be a very intelligent child who’s maybe inquisitive or sporty eg Simon biles used to love somersaulting so her parents put her in gymnastics classes- now look. A Nigerian child would have had the talent beaten out of him. That’s why many people have a terrible approach to challenging authority which is often to their detriment, and also keep so much from their parents. No one is saying “be too lenient”, but think about all the beating Nigerian parents bestowed on their children, plus Sunday school, and look at how we turned out (no matter how many people say they turned out okay). The first thing a Nigerian child will do when they get once they get small power eg class prefect or school senior is bully and maltreat. Every corrupt politician, runs girl, charlatan pastor and online troll grew up in a “strict home”. People who can’t challenge authority, people who bully others at the slightest opportunity, men who beat and cheat on their wives and women who treat their nannies like crap

    • Mrs Pangolo

      March 28, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      I agree with you, Ify. It really depends on the child. My son can be super hyper and distracted, I’ll be calling his name over and over, almost yelling but sometimes a little twat on the bum brings his attention back! My other child will be defiant if you spank him, and he will say boldly “don’t spank me”! with one strange look in his eye like “if you try am ehn?!” but i have to remember I am the parent and I remind him to get things done or else he will get in trouble (spanking included). He understands this consequence and gets to work.
      And yes, we are all guilty of taking our anger out on children. When I was potty training my 3 y.o, I will take him to poo in the toilet but he won’t do it there, then maybe 5mins later, he goes poo-poo in his pants! I used to be so mad. I spanked the hell out of his bum like “don’t you get it, poo is for toilet not underwear”! I regret this now because I should have been a little more patient with him. He was only trying to understand how things work, and he was obviously grossed out by the nasty stickness of poo. Now he’s still 3 y.o, but he has learned to poo in the toilet properly but I still feel enormous regret and anger at myself for being that impatient with a small child.
      That pretty much sums up this whole parenting thing, we’re just swinging from the pedulum of regret and guilt.

  5. sankawale

    March 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    African Men have a chance of being cured of dis disease but as far as I kno black women have children: and look forward to the first day they get to beat them up !!!

  6. iwalewa

    March 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    SOme kids can be so naughty and there are moments when you will have to use the rod. Using the rod does not imply that the mother or father should kill the child or inflict injury on the child. Also,it depends on what works for your child. SOme kids,mere scolding will correct them while some will have to be spanked before they will take to correction. in all, do not beat your child to the extent of inflicting injury .

  7. Hey

    March 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Strive to outsmart your child.

  8. jess

    March 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    The issue of spanking kids is not a black and white issue. In some cases a good spanking works, in the other it does not. As parents we should just ask for wisdom to discern when it is required or not.

  9. to spank or not??

    March 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I am not claiming to know the answer to this matter, the bone of contention however is the rate at which the western world consumes all sorts of medication for anxiety and the likes compared to Africa, where without a doubt the majority of its populace was spanked as kids, but seemingly mentally strong to withstand life challenges. If I can reconcile this, I could potentially come close to agreeing that indeed spanking is bad.

  10. iya ibeji

    March 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    We recently moved out of Nigeria and I promised myself that I will stop spanking my kids but ehn these children can test you to your limit. I have been the one cautioning my husband but I forgot myself yesterday and spanked one and I didn’t feel bad afterwards. I hope to get better at correcting without shouting and spanking though


    March 28, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Memories of me being spanked are few but my brother was spanked everyday of the week because he was a difficult child. He has grown to be an even more difficult adult so I don’t know. Do what you feel is right according to each child and pray it turns out okay.

  12. mercy

    March 28, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Growing up, i got spanked alot by both Mum and Dad. My elder sisters got it worse, as the proverbial fore horses that should race better to lay good precedents for the horses behind. I remember Daddy’s first aid box…yeah, the little white box with the inscription of a red cross. Had all sort of first aid treatment; iodine, spirit, paracetamol. The last beating i received was when i was in SS 2, i had been crying because of my bad case of acne. My mum found me crying and asked me to go down on my knees, right before dealing me several strokes of dad’s belt. I guess she was frustrated because she couldnt help me and desperately wanted me to stop crying. Anyways, i’ m in my early twenties now. I’ v struggled with paranoia, depression, low self esteem, passive aggression, people pleasing tendensies, social phobia, nightime and daytime panic and chronic anxiety. Looking unto jesus to completely heal me. My parents werent the talking types, we never spoke about feelings much. To them, a child is well provided for if properly fed, clothed and enrolled in a good school. The little talking we did was with the koboko and belts, so i grew up bottling things up cos i felt it was wrong and childish to have any negative feeling and you should deal with it, if at all you feel it. It’ s not worth talking about at all. But hey, i’ m not in anyway saying beating children is totally bad. I mean, some children are so troublesome that there is no reasoning with them verbally. But i’ d talk more with my children, that is, if i do have them, discuss feelings with them rather than resort to canning all the time.

  13. jude arianor

    March 29, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Just try your best, they will grow one day like me and you who is reading this, it’s just a matter of time.

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