Kelly Clarkson Admits That She Is ‘Not Above’ Spanking Her Kids When They’re Out Of Line

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Kelly Clarkson has one very controversial go-to method of disciplining her kids.

The 37-year-old singer has always been open and honest about her life as a mom to her two kids, 5-year-old River Rose and 3-year-old Remy.

In the past, Kelly revealed that River Rose has quite the headstrong personality.

“She will run a company one day because there’s no way she’s gonna work for anyone,” Kelly told People. “She does not heed advice very well. She’s just very ballsy, which is awesome.”

As you can imagine, parenting River Rose can probably get a bit tricky. So sometimes Kelly resorts to spanking her.

“I don’t mean like hitting her hard, I just mean a spanking,” Kelly told Radio.com in 2018.

Kelly knows very well that not everyone agrees with her on this practice. But she says she sees “nothing wrong” with it, in part because it was normal when she was growing up.

“I’m from the South, y’all, so we get spankings,” she said.

Kelly Clarkson and her husband, Brandon Blakstock, have two children together: River Rose and Remy. Kelly is also a stepmom to Brandon’s two children, Seth and Savannah, from a previous marriage.

Last year, Kelly revealed that she has one rather controversial parenting method. She is pro spanking when it comes to her youngest two kids, and she doesn’t see anything wrong with it.

The singer opened up about her perspective on the practice during an interview for Radio.com.

“I’m not above a spanking, which people aren’t necessarily into,” Kelly said.

Kelly clarified:

“I don’t mean hitting her hard. I just mean a spanking,” she said.

She defended her choices by explaining that her parents spanked her when she was growing up, and she turned out great.

“My parents spanked me, I did fine in life, and I feel fine about it.”

Some of the difference is also cultural, Kelly explained.

“I’m from the South, y’all, so we get spankings. My mom would call the principal if I ever ended up in the principal’s office and give permission for her to spank me … I’m a well-rounded individual with a lot of character, so I think it’s fine.”

Kelly added that she doesn’t over-use spanking as a discipline method. She warns her children before spanking them, and, often, the threat alone is enough to get them to behave.

“I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m gonna spank you on your bottom if you don’t stop right now. Like, this is ridiculous,” she said.

She also admitted that she feels self-conscious when she has to discipline her kids in public. She’s a public figure who draws a lot of attention, and she knows very well that many people don’t agree with spanking. It’s an extremely controversial issue.

“So that’s a tricky thing when you’re out in public, ’cause then people are like, you know, they think that’s wrong or something, but I find nothing wrong with a spanking,” Kelly said.

She’s certainly not the only parent to feel this way about spanking. The practice has been common in the US for a long time.

But it is increasingly taboo to spank, slap, or smack your children, regardless of the circumstances.

As many pro-spanking people point out, there is definitely a difference between a smack on the bottom and physical abuse. One key difference is that spanking takes place when caregivers aren’t uncontrollably angry; it is limited, controlled, and not emotionally driven.

With that said, though, even “just” spanking your kids is no longer recommended by most child development experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the practice, and there is a large body of research showing the potential harmful effects.

Spanking has been linked to mental health issues, and it can make kids aggressive later on.

There’s also the fact that there’s not a solid line that separates spanking from abuse. Studies show that mild spanking is a risk factor for more severe spankings later on, and abusive parents spank their kids at higher rates than non-abusive parents.

Also, no studies have shown any positive outcomes of spanking. Even though many adults, like Kelly, live through the practice and turn out just fine, there’s no evidence that spanking helped them along the way.

But there’s a reason that so many parents continue to spank their kids: because it seems to work.

And yes, disciplining kids is HARD, especially toddlers. Kelly has previously admitted to feeling “a lot of mom guilt” over not being able to be everything for her children at all times, and as a working mom, she probably wants to do whatever works for her kids (and what worked for her parents).

It’s ultimately up to every parent to weigh the consequences of spanking or not spanking their kids.

But there are other alternatives that child development experts recommend, like giving time-outs or doling out consequences such as extra chores.