The Black State of Beating Children

In the spirit of Steve’s post on tough love, I wanted to know what you think about beating your current or future children.

Yesterday, my sister sent me an email praising older Black mothers who were very strict and used a no-nonsense approach to raising their children. The email ended by thanking our Black mothers for setting us on the straight path while simultaneously challenging current younger Black mothers to learn from their elders as it relates to child rearing. And that got me thinking about the Black State of the butt whoopin’.

And just so we are clear, by butt whoopin’, I mean using a belt that will primarily be used on the buttocks but sometimes you might catch some thigh. Moreover, I am not talking about open handed slaps or beating kids upside their head. There is a difference between child abuse and corporal punishment.

Now I don’t have any statistics on how many Black parents beat their children and I think it would be difficult to find reliable statistics because you would probably end up with over or under reporting. And are you asking the parents or the child? Won’t the child be afraid of “telling” on his parents and won’t parents try to make it look like they are the best parents in the world?

In any event, I think Black people need to get back to beating. And I won’t say that beating is any less popular now, I just believe that as an aggregate, we forgot the purpose for beating their children. “Spare the rod, save the child,” is what I heard growing up and I think it is true as it ever was. But now I sense that Black parents are beating their kids trying to work out the anger or frustration in their own lives. Moreover, there are no rules, and if they are, they are enforced to varying degrees depending on how Mommy or Daddy “feels” that day. And kids are so conniving because they pick up on contradictions real fast and will play you like a fiddle. And parents need to realize that the innocent phase of childhood is getting shorter and shorter so it might be better to get out of the mindset that you won’t use corporal punishment until a certain time and nip things in the bud before it gets out of control.

All kids?
Now do all kids need to be beat? Of course not, because every child is different and therefore requires different needs. But I hate when the people who don’t believe in corporal punishment try to paint me as an aggressive person who will take pleasure in beating my children. Beating your kids is not fun and I will probably be crying myself if I have to do it. So I don’t have a pre-determined goal to beat my children, but if I see they understand the rules of my household and persist to disobey, please believe the belt will be in full effect.

What about fathers and daughters?
I had a conversation about a year ago that involved the issues surrounding father beating their daughters and the ramifications that may cause for the daughter. I started out the conversation stating that I would beat my son and my daughter. And I went on to say that don’t want my beautiful daughter to think that because she is cute, she can’t be disciplined. But the woman I was talking to pointed out that she would prefer that fathers beat their sons and mothers beat their daughters. And her logic was that fathers who beat their daughters may cause them to think it is ok for a man to put their hands on them. I was on the fence at first but I think she made a valid point so that is something I want to hear your feedback on. Should fathers beat their daughters? And what about single fathers raising girls?

I could go on and on about this because parenting is one of the most sacred acts of the human experience. And sometimes parenting requires punishment for hard-headed kids. Unfortunately, I have seen Black parents use corporal punishment for the better and for the worse. And for that reason, we need to get in each other’s business like we used to do back in the day. I was raised by almost everyone on my block and my mother was raising four kids by herself but the checks and balances of the “block” made her life easier because if she couldn’t come home at a decent time, I would eat dinner across the street. I say all that to say that the way you raise your kids is my business and vice versa. Not everyone will do the same thing and I understand that but it takes a lot more than a village with all of the madness of this world. Love your kids and as it says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Stay up fam,



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24 responses to “The Black State of Beating Children”

  1. Steve says :

    I totally agree with you. I think the spirit in which you discipline is just as important. Explain and correct the child. My fam always told me that it was better that they chastised me than someone in the streets or the police. Children need that gentle restraint, but talk to them. Therefore it was an educational experience. Also, they never disciplined us when they were angry. I think we need to get back to the days of having “home training”, so that society will not have to paly the role of parents for us.

  2. D. Betts says :

    I am also a fan of beating, spanking, whatever you want to call it. As long as it serves a purpose and there is an explanation of the purpose than I am all for it. In an ideal world beating a child is intended to spark an epiphany. You want the kid to be shocked into thinking “hey, maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore”

  3. Anonymous says :

    i believe in spanking but with a purpose. i believe the word beating is very harsh it sounds as if you are going to commit child abuse but your overall statement was very inspirational

  4. T. B. says :

    Just Playing The Devil’s Advocate

    I concur; it is all in the delivery. However, I think that it is important to remember where the practice of beating stems from, especially with in the black community. Now, it may be difficult for some of you to mesh with, but bear with me. Flogging, beating, and whipping are practices that hark back to slavery. As you know blacks were charged with beating other blacks to keep them in line. This tradition has persisted into modern time, and is so ingrained in our culture that we support it with little or no question. To me this is unacceptable. When my aunt, nana, or mother popped me with the extensions cord or did the superwoman shoe toss ten feet across a room (you know bout that one) it was not in love it was in anger. All I’m saying is that in this new day there should be a new way.

  5. Brandon Q. says :

    What’s up T.B.

    At first I put up a general response to your post until it was brought to my attention that you cited slavery as the source for Black parents beating their children. I should point out that people of ALL RACES have been whipping their children way way before slavery. So to say that whipping harks back to slavery is simply not true.

    Moreover, comparing the whipping of slaves and Black parents disciplining their children are two different situations that cannot be compared directly. When Black slaves were flogged, it was not done from a position of love. We were viewed as property!!! That is significantly different from Black parents beating their children and like Steve pointed out, many Black parents beat their kids because they don’t want them to get beat by the cops or the streets.

    And I understand that you were beat with extension cords and that is unfortunate. But were they trying to kill you? Do you think you turned out better for it? My point is that your experience is similar to many Black folks coming of age today. But do know that it could be alot worse. You could have been snatched up from your mother and sold away like a piece of meat. And if that description is too much, your family could have never disciplined you at all and just let you raise yourself. There is no new way T.B. Like I said in my post, beating kids is not something that many parents take pleasure in. And most parents, if given the choice, would prefer to have children that always followed the rules and didn’t require beatings.

    So before you cite slavery as the source of Black people beating their children, read the Bible. (Proverbs 23:13-14, 13:24, 22:15, 20:30)

  6. t.HYPE says :

    (Courtesy of Rupa. Posted on Sepia Munity.)

    February, 1989. Some Midwestern highway. Vehicle carrying boisterous kids and 2 weary parents.
    Dad loses patience and makes good on his threat to pull over and administer corporal punishment.
    15 minutes later. Back on the road. Sulky silence. Then the oldest child defiantly chortles, “I was wearing my snow pants!! I didn’t feel anything!! HA!”

    Ha Ha Ha!!! You know those parents were TICKED off.

    I agree people should apply the rod to their childrens’ backsides but they need to be clear and consistent about it. If you’re clear and consistent, most kids will fall into line before they hit school age.

  7. Anonymous says :

    Good response Brandon.
    I just think that yes, while many parents don’t take pleasure in beating their children that sometimes it is necessary. I will say that as a parent I have tried the “time out”, the write 50 to 100 times that the same behavior will not be repeated. I’ve tried the “new age parenting” techniques. Not to mention the sit the child down and explain to them what they did wrong and why they shouldn’t do it again. WHATEVER! None of that crap worked on my child what works for me is the pop/spanking here or removal of the hottest item they have there. That’s about it. So, T.B. I don’t know if you have children or not, and I’m guessing that by your response you don’t but do me this favor please revisit this site once you do and re-read your ridiculous response. Some people really try to be parents with so much so called wisdom, before they are actually parents . That’s what blows me.

  8. Anonymous says :

    I used to get beat every time I did something wrong. Even though I was a bad kid, I knew everytime I’d do something, I’d get whipped. My parents would whip me in front of my brothers to embarrass me, not to mention the pain. Now that I look back, they did it for the better. They would vary the punishment depending on what I did. If I did something small, I’d only get a few lashes. If I did something big (like when I stole something from the school bookstore), they’d tie me to a tree wearing nothing on the backside and give me 50 or more lashes. That was the last time I did that.

  9. haviland smith says :


    In Winter Springs, Florida, Kevin Randy Legendre, 31, was arrested for beating his seven-year-old son for getting bad grades. He’s been charged with cruelty toward a child.

    The “disciplinary action” left large, swollen welts all over the child’s body.

    Legendre has joint custody of his son along with his ex-wife. After spending time with his father, the child went home to his mom. He told her and police that his dad beat him because of a bad grade in school. He also said his dad pushed him into a table and beat him with a belt.

  10. haviland smith says :

    Hypothetical question: Wouldn’t most people react with shock if a 250-pound husband were to “beat” his wife with an extension cord? Then why is it not also shocking (or even more shocking) that a 250 pound man would “beat” a 6,7 or 8 year old who weighs no more than 50 pounds — and with a weapon, no less? Do you ever think about the physics of beating — the force that a huge, angry adult brings to bear on a child when wielding a weapon? Are the minor infractions of childhood so dire that someone has to literally commit assault and battery to correct a child’s behavior?
    And what are the rules for beating? A lot of people make them up as they go along. Some kids (see above) get beaten for a bad grade. Does attacking the child with a weapon make him or her a better learner? One mother I saw in an airport slapped her son so hard on the side of his head that she left her hand print. I was in tears. The little boy, about 4, was so traumatized, he sat on the floor with his hands over his eyes, crying softly. His infraction? Eating a jelly bean off the floor.
    The mother’s stupid comment: “He ain’t never gonna eat nothin’ off the floor again.”
    Yeah, lady, and he just might grow up to hate your guts.
    Beating teaches children that problems are to be solved with violence. There’s enough violence and meanness directed toward black people as it is. Why bring it into your home? Beating is not nurturing. It sends a very confusing message to children. All other forms of violence against humans are viewed as barbaric and shocking. But, hey, child beating? You get all kinds of idiots trying justify it as tough love. Message to the clueless: violence is NOT a form of affection.

  11. Donna says :

    NO, NO, NO! I am a Black British woman and was beaten by my Jamaican mother for ridiculous reasons. I was afraid of her, therefore, I did not intentionally misbehave to receive the beatings. At the age of 41 I am pathetically shy for my age and a ‘people pleaser.’ She ruined my potential. Although intelligent, I always seem to sabotage any success that comes my way because she always used to refer to me as a ‘lazy child’ whenever I wet the bed. She failed to realise that the bed-wetting was due to the stress of what I was going through. And yes, I used to get beaten for wetting the bed, so you can imagine hte fear I used to feel when I realised the sheets were soaking in the morning. I have put up with critcism and abuse throughout my childhood and as a result, I’m struggling with life, for example, getting in with people. Ironically, my brother, who was born 10 years after me, also wet the bed on a regular basis, but he did not endure the abuse that I had put up with. As far as my mother was concerned, my brother could do no wrong and I was referred to as the black sheep.

  12. unknown says :

    Are you people serious like really im a kid and whenever my mother beats me its cuz i deserve it plus I HATE VIOLENCE im 12 and i understand why my mother does it so please be quiet!(by the way im a nice kid not rude i get good grades and my mother is the beat mother it the world!)

  13. Gretchen LeGendre says :

    RE: haviland smith on August 25th, 2008 10:12 pm—To all of you who think it’s okay, I am the mother of Kevin LeGendre’s child. YOU have NO idea how it feels to pick your child up from daycare on a friday to tell you how much his back hurts and he thinks he’s bleeding because it hurts so bad mommy!! I then received a call from Kevin who proceeded to tell me that he will be beating his ass again whe he got home on monday because he was bad in school. When I brought my son to my home and lifted up his shirt and really looked at him I threw up and cried…it was disgusting, you have no idea how it feels to have your child show up in your arms beaten like this…..It is almost a year later, CBC of Seminole is more interested in closing out cases that the welfair of a child. My x husband had to do a total of 2 count them 2??? parenting and anger management classes and got one year of probation and got our son back full time!!! WTF!!!!! He is sick, fucking sick!!!

  14. Gretchen LeGendre says :

    why is it that people beg beaten women to get away from their significant other like their boyfriends or husbands but damn if a child is beating by their parent, they only have to take a few classes and they get them back, imagine that…I hate the USA!!!

  15. silentthriller says :

    I don’t have children. I doubt I ever will. On the outside chance that I do have children, I’m not beating them. Here’s why. I believe it’s a much better punishment for them to find out what happens to them in the real world and not just the controlled environment parents make for them. I’m not saying that I won’t be stern or let them run amok. I’m not going coddle them and shelter them from all the world’s negatives. What I’m saying is life will reveal itself to anybody living in it. They are going to sink or swim accordingly.

  16. Caia Anca says :

    OH my god i am so shocked by how you people can even think of beating kids . It is not a fair battle they do not have power to defend themselfs . Sometimes a reaction like a spanking can be normal but you should not repeat it let it be a reaction a verry rare one . All of you who are beating your kids remember that the kids would never forgive you for that . I was beaten as a kid and verry often i have 6 other sisters , the result of beating us was that we dont want to have contact with our parents now that we are all grown ups . So the ones who wanna end up lonely and far from there kids sure beat them up you will pay for it later . Wake up all and be more open minded i been abused too i dont wanna repeat the history and abuse my own kids . Think about it there must be thousands of ways to punish your kids like taking away there favorite things not beying able to go play anything else but beating . I think that should be enough to teach them a lesson and they would not repeat the mistake again becouse they know you are in control . Beating them doesnt make you be in control it makes you weak and a bad example REMEMBER that .

  17. David Salako says :

    Truly and to some extent, beating a child corrects him but not without instilling fear, cruelty, insecurity, hatred and the likes in him. Parents who beat their children do so because they were probably squeezed mercilessly during their childhood. My physics teacher once molested me through beating simply because I couldn’t spell ‘Sophistication’ correctly. After I’d receive the beating, he wrote the correct spelling of the word for the class. Since then I realized my mistake. How did I know this word? Was it by the beating or simply because the teacher later wrote it? The answer is just because he wrote it for us. “Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will depart from it” How many of us are in the habit of sitting up our children to teach them the good ways of life? Is it not until they err that we start to flog them?
    I think we should stop using beating as a method of training a child; instead they should be talked to with love. In correction through other punishment and we must be sincere with the motive behind all these things. Let us stop transferring this habit of molestations from one generation to the other.

  18. Jonathan says :

    Damn, this is ignorant.

    I’m so tired of the justification our community and our national culture (not just blacks, but the U.S. in general) gives to spanking. Why is it that corporal punishment is not “sometimes” acceptable if done “right” against your wife, or your co-workers? You can’t just “butt-whoop” your wife as “discipline” (unless of course it’s a consensual sex game) or your co-worker (ditto).

    Do you know why? Because people aren’t for hitting. Why not? Well, it’s wrong to impose your will on people through physical force. It harms them physically, emotionally, and psychologically. And you shouldn’t treat people in a way that you want to be treated. And a particular person being to noisy, doesn’t waive the validity of this rule.

    And don’t give me “The Bible says to spank”, because that recommendation came from King David in the Old Testament. And what a great child-rearer he turned out to be! His son ended up being such a cruel and vile dictator he had to leave the country to not be executed by his own people. Is that the kind of “foolishness” the “rod ” is supposed to have driven “far from him”?

    Also, spanking doesn’t really work. If it did, you wouldn’t have to keep doing it.

    Let me also let you in on an inside secret. If you hit your kids and continue doing it, there might come a day when they hit you back
    and when it happens, they just might be big enough to hurt. My Dad decided one day he could hit my brother who was 17, and on the wrestling team. And my brother knocked him on his ass, and rightfully so. Getting your ass kicked is a foreseeable consequence to starting a fight. If you don’t like being hit, think that maybe you shouldn’t hit someone else.

    Because that’s all it is. Hitting another person. Not “butt-whooping”, “hide-tanning”, “spanking” or (my personal favorite) “beating but not abuse”. it’s just hitting another human being. A human being who’s much smaller than you. That makes you a bully. And adult bullies deserve one thing — prosecution

    That’s it.

  19. Ray W. says :

    Good Day to all and a special Good Day to you Brandon.

    I want to start off by saying that America today is nothing like it was for Parrents back in the 80’s and before. Parrenting has been scrutenised so bad and turned into a political issue, which it never should have been.
    I am an African american man or a Black mann, if you will, and have a son of my own who is going on 7 years old. I treat my son the same way my father treated me when I was growing up and the same way he was treated and so on and so on, and that is, to my son I am his probabaly his best friend but he also knows that I am his dad and that there is a time for play and a time to be real. He also knows that when he looses focus of the line seperating the 2 their are consequences for those actions and in my house it usually involves a good old fashion butt woopin. I am a firm believer, from experience that a good spanking makes you think about what you are doing or about to do before you do it. Now ya spanking can cause your child to fear you but a little respectful fear is good because if you do not have that then their is nothing stoping kids from acting up and doing some thing that they have no business doing.

    As far as having a daughter, I do not have one but I think that as a dad we should not have to spank our daughters, not because they are our daughters and they are supposed to be cute and potentially get away with it but I do think that the mother should be the one to do the butt woopin. Now if there is not a mother around then by all means the father has to step up to ensure that his daughter has the same respect for him as any other of his children do/would have. I do believe that just putting them over his knee is all that he should be doing, again, assuming that there is no female influence in her life.

  20. jack says :

    You people are dumb. Beating your kids is not right. Honestly, if you feel that beating your kids will set them on the right path then you are a complete idiot. Kids will learn aggression from it, not love and obedience. No wonder people around the world think Blacks are a violent race.

  21. Desiree Jones says :

    I use to get whipping as a child my folks were christian we respected old people i have two kids 3 and ll my ll year old pull knives on a boy he got into a fight with so i took the t.v. away no game, no play outside he is suspended from school for 45 days should his punishment last that long?

  22. Desiree Jones says :

    i believe in whippings even though I did’nt whoop my son. I don’t want him to be in jail for making wrong choices comments would be helpful.

  23. Stone Your Sons says :

    I was a very well-behaved child without any beatings. My dad spanked me once. I have no idea what for. He found it to be such an unpleasant experience that he never did it again. His parents beat him pretty bad when he was a kid, and I think he had some PTSD from it.

    Timeout deterred my bad behavior pretty well, as far as I remember. I hated sitting around, not being able to do the things I wanted to do. At other times, toys were taken away.

    I think “whooping” a child is dangerous because it is very easy for a person to lose control. And these stories of extension cords and shoes are just ridiculously beyond the pale. That’s child abuse. You do not need a WEAPON to punish your child – you’re way bigger than they are. I don’t think it’s acceptable to use a belt, either.

    I’m not someone who has been in all situations – I was never a disobedient child and when I’m at the supermarket, the only thing I see is a parent hitting a kid. I never see what the kid did, of course, but all too often it seems like what the kid is doing is simply embarrassing the parent in front of a lot of people. It’s a power struggle, and the parent plays the game.

    From what I’ve seen of all my cousins, in my more conservative extended family, they are all unruly, rebellious, bad kids. And they all get beat. One of my cousins lived in a religious household. If he didn’t do his chores, they took switches, which are these little sharp blades of grass, and whipped his skinny little ankles. I saw the scars many times. And as he aged, he got so sick of his family he wanted to run away, and did, for a little while anyway.

    I gather that I was well-behaved because I never had a strong authority to rebel against. There was no power struggle dynamic in my family. I see the family across the street, and they’re a bunch of idiots. They’re always shouting, swearing, chasing each other around. Maybe it is that their kids are just stupid little brats, or maybe it’s because the kids are just acting like the parents.

    And let’s not talk about “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. It’s in the Bible, the same book that tells the father of an unruly son to take him to the edge of town, with the other townsfolk and pelt him with rocks until he dies. How’s that for discipline? You’re damn right he’ll never do that again!

    Another thing to think about is elder abuse. You know what happens to parents who take it too far in their golden years? Their kids stick ’em in a home, or “take care” of them the way they were taken care of as kids. It happens much more often than people are aware.

    I think I hit my little brother once or twice as a kid, and I felt bad about it. But my neighbor and best friend, who got spankings and was grounded on a regular basis, fought with his brother and picked on him constantly. I’m not sure if he was just a bad kid by birth or whether he was worse because he got punishments so much. Either way, I don’t think it really helped anything. It never deterred him from mischief the next time.

  24. Stone Your Sons says :

    I’d like to add that if you want a kid who is going to be a blind follower and won’t actually understand the difference between right and wrong, spanking is the way to go. When you spank a child, you fail to teach him why his action was wrong. He understands that his action was wrong because the parents said it was and because it will get him a spanking. But the action, say, hitting a sibling, is not wrong because it will get him in trouble. It’s not wrong because some authority says “thou shalt not hit”. It’s wrong because it hurts the sibling and infringes upon their rights, and because he wouldn’t want to be hit.

    Another important thing is to praise the child when he is good. Some parents, I’m sure, are all stick and no carrot. If the child only ever sees punishments from the parents, he’ll not care about pleasing them so much as not getting caught. You want your child to actually enjoy seeing you happy and proud of them. Some children actually get to the point where they enjoy causing trouble for the parent just to get the reaction. This is probably because the parents’ reaction is so over-the-top that it’s funny. Maybe control has something to do with it. The child learns he can cause his parents to behave a certain way by pushing the right buttons.

    I’ve also noticed my nephew is very well-behaved (he’s just turning four and never had a “terrible two’s”). His parents never strike him in any way. He tends to only get ornery and have tantrums when he is sleepy, and then it’s nap time. They always remain calm when talking to him and never shout. This keeps the situation from escalating. He knows “please” and “thank you” very well and is generally polite. However, it might be that he was by nature a well-behaved kid.

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