Let’s Talk About Spanking, with Stacie LeBlanc

Season 2Episode 9May 7, 2020

About 75% of physical abuse starts as physical discipline gone awry, and spanking is ineffective and harmful to kids, yet many child abuse professionals still avoid raising the issue with parents.

Research shows that about 75% of physical abuse starts as physical discipline gone terribly awry. We have years of data showing spanking is ineffective—and in fact, harmful to kids. But often the topic is treated as a third rail by many child abuse professionals: avoided and ignored.

We spoke to Stacie LeBlanc, CEO of The UP Institute and a champion of no-hit zones. Why is it so difficult for child abuse professionals to discuss spanking with parents? How do we get past the culture wars on this topic? And how can we open a respectful conversation that moves beyond “Well, I turned out fine”? How can no-hit zones help?

This episode was recorded over Zoom, and there are some minor sound quality issues.

Topics in this episode:

  • Concerns for kids during the pandemic (1:17)
  • Connection between spanking and physical abuse (2:53)
  • The research (4:15)
  • Poyvictimization and adverse childhood experiences (6:03)
  • A common problem that’s hard to talk about (8:05)
  • Handling parents’ objections (13:17)
  • A respectful approach (21:00)
  • Banning spanking, changing social norms (2:48)
  • How to start a no-hit zone (26:23)
  • Our next episode (34:06)


Stacie LeBlanc, CEO of The UP Institute

No Hit Zone Toolkit

The No Hit Zone concept was created in 2005 by Dr. Lolita McDavid at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio

Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph.D.

Painless Parenting

National No Hit Zone Committee

Stop Spanking

U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children has a list of organizations with policy statements on this topic

American Academy of Pediatrics, put out a policy statement in November 2018

Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children has a map of global progress on the issue

Transcript to come.