Spanking doesn’t work for ADHD kids, do this instead!

Some kids got hit with belts

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For parents who know spanking doesn’t work

Spanking was a common form of discipline used by many parents. If you’re a part of the baby boomer or Generation X clan, chances are your backside saw an adult’s hand, belt, or paddle. No one then and even now saw it as child abuse.

But times have changed.

Still spanking your kids?
Spanking is just as outdated as black and white TV

Perhaps you heard about the 13 children who were malnourished and abused by their caregiver. Or read the story about the San Antonio woman who chained her children to the backyard while she went to Vegas. Maybe you’re a Generation X or Millennial Mom who suffered from abuse.

Even in my house, we find ourselves at odds on how to handle our six-year-old with ADHD. Parenting him is a challenge. My husband and I agree to disagree on a lot of things to help him but one thing we do agree on is spanking.


Spanking doesn’t work

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to debate or criticize you if you spank your kids. I’m just saying it doesn’t work for us. I’m also not saying that we don’t spank him either.

I’m saying we’re at a point where we use it less and less because it’s ineffective and leaves us feeling like failures. 

I turned out just fine

Does spanking help
Spanking helped me become this

Yes, my mom spanked me and I’m not damaged either. However, my father never spanked me. You could argue that I was a daddy’s girl and I got away with murder, but I say differently.

I adored my father. He died when I was nine. The one time I thought he was going to spank me almost made me have a nervous breakdown. 

My parents divorced by the time I was five. I spent summer vacations with my dad in Mississippi. When I was 9, I came home after dark after running all over Sardis, a little town in with a population less than 1,000, with the neighborhood kids.

Back then we told time by the sun. Say it with me 70s babies, be back before the sun goes down. Or be in the house when the street lights come on. Either way, I missed both.

Knowing I couldn’t lie my way out of it, I went and stood in front of my dad, bracing myself for those dreaded words “Go get me a switch.”

Much to my surprise, he said nothing. I, on the other hand, was sweating in my Underoos. That day I learned something important: what he was thinking was way more important than what I thought he was going to do to me for being late.

That’s straight gangsta!

Of all the things we wish our parents could leave us when they’re gone, their generation had something money can’t buy. They had a “way” about work, life, and parenting. Cooler than Kenny Rogers, they knew when to hold them and knew when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to run.

As my son gets older, I know one day he will be taller and stronger. He’s already faster. I don’t like my parenting style and I’m reading, studying, and researching different methods.


Spanking doesn't make strong families
Create a spank free environment

One day he’s going to grow up. I want him to use his mind to self-regulate, respect others’ boundaries and learn how to create his own. I want to set him up for success.

I know you desire the same and that’s why I want to share this journey with you. I read some great books and tools I’m using to be a better parent. If you’re frustrated with your son or daughter who has ADHD, ODD, and other behavior disabilities, maybe these tools will help you.

Tools You Can Use instead of Spanking

  • Don’t hit
  • Choose a corner
  • Accept this is who they are
  • Be your child’s biggest cheerleader
  • Patience is a virtue
  • Dump the guilt
  • Create a game plan
  • Love hard and often

Don’t hit

I know the first thing you may want to do is swat them on the behind, but I want you to be a better parent. Remember kids pay a lot more attention to what you do that what you say. If you have to, fold your arms until the feeling passes; I’d rather have you look judgemental than to stand in front of a judge explaining bruises is a fit of anger.

Choose a corner

Until you’re calm, you and your child need to separate. The Latin term is no moleste which means don’t bother each other. Send him/her to their rooms and you go to yours. It could be your balcony, your closet, or the garage, but you both need a time out before you discuss the issue.

Accept your child for who he is

I know easier said than done. Especially when everyone’s else kid is fine. The truth the more you hide or deny that this is a lifelong journey,  you’ll never accept his ADHD as part of his DNA. With the right guidance, possibly medication, and positive outlets for her astounding energy, your child can thrive.

Be your child’s biggest cheerleader

Someone once said the difference between love and infatuation is when you’re still there after the honeymoon phase is over. Remember when your baby smeared poop all over the wall? Were you angry? Yes. Did you sell him on the black market? No; that’s still your baby, this isn’t any different, just poop in a different diaper.

Patience is a virtue

Get into zen before spanking
Patience before spanking

Two words. Exercise patience. That is all.

Dump the guilt

Don’t ever feel bad because things aren’t’ perfect or if you lost your cool when you got to the car. You’re human. Forgive yourself.

Create a game plan

You can’t plan for every outburst, but you can reduce the number of meltdowns. I found this handy chart on the Autism website. I’m discovering a lot tools on that website can be used for kids with ADHD too and they work well.

Love Hard and Often

No one is going to love your kids more than you. Above everything else, they must know you love them no matter what. Toni Morrison, the acclaimed author of The Bluest Eye, once said in an interview on Oprah, when your children enter the room, ditch the critical eye. 

Your eyes must light up like a Christmas tree when you see them. Remember they have natural BS detectors (my words not Toni’s.) They know when you’re being judgy. 



Finally, I highly recommend these books that helped me navigate this ADHD homeschool journey I take with my son. I know it wouldn’t be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.


What about you? Do you have any advice for frustrated parents? Perhaps you have a Jedi mind trick to get your child to behave. Please comment and share this post. I’d love to hear it.

Behavior Plan Flowcharts & Tools

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4 thoughts on “Spanking doesn’t work for ADHD kids, do this instead!

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