Kelly Clarkson Says She's 'Not Above Spanking' Her Kids & Defend Herself From Critics By Explaining She's 'From The South'

Her comments caused a heated debate but she feels like spanking didn't ruin her childhood so why would it impact her kids?

Kelly Clarkson with her kids, Remy and River DFree / Shutterstock & Instagram

A January 2018 interview with Kelly Clarkson has resurfaced, leading many fans to question her parenting style.

Clarkson, 41, has two children with her ex-husband Brandon Blackstock, an 8-year-old daughter named River Rose Blackstock and a 7-year-old son named Remington Alexander Blackstock.

The former American Idol star gave a radio interview to 98.9 The Buzz in which she attempted to justify her chosen form of disciplining her kids — spanking.


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Kelly Clarkson said she’s ‘not above a spanking,’ which sparked concern among fans about her parenting techniques. 

In the interview, Clarkson claimed, "I'm not above a spanking, which people aren't necessarily into. I don't mean hitting her hard. I just mean a spanking. But 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."

She doubled down on the claims in April 2018 telling People, "Our 1-year-old can't talk yet," before adding, "There's certain things [where you have to be] like 'don't do that," she said while demonstrating a slap on the hand.


Clarkson used her own upbringing in Fort Worth, Texas as justification for why she spanks her children.

In her original interview in April 2018, she defended her decision to spank her kids, justifying it by explaining, “I'm from the South, ya'll, so we get spankings.” She continued her explanation, saying, "My mom would call the principal if I ever ended up in the principal's office and give permission for her to spank me. And then I'd get spanked at home as well. I'm a well-rounded individual with a lot of character, so I think it's fine." 

By reading between the lines of her statement, the message Clarkson is sending is, “I was hit as a child, so I’m hitting my children, too. But I’m fine, and they will also be fine.”

Yet it seems that Clarkson fails to realize her actions uphold an outdated form of punishment, which functions as a form of passing down generational trauma to her kids in real time. 


A statement published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in December 2018, one month prior to Clarkson’s interview, took a strong stance against using corporal punishment with children. 

RELATED: I Watched A Mother Hit Her Child And I Did Nothing

The AAP declared that “Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term. With new evidence, researchers link corporal punishment to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes for children.”

The article explained that “effective disciplinary strategies, appropriate to a child’s age and development, teach the child to regulate his or her own behavior; keep him or her from harm; enhance his or her cognitive, socioemotional, and executive functioning skills; and reinforce the behavioral patterns taught by the child’s parents and caregivers.”


In simpler language, the AAP made the claim that parents who spank their children are modeling the idea that it’s acceptable to be physically violent. While Clarkson maintained she didn’t advocate for hitting her kids “hard,” she still showed them that it’s okay to hit, in general. 

As one parent on TikTok explains, there are other ways to discipline children, ones that don’t rely on authoritative parenting or fear-based punishment. In her TikTok bio, KJ describes herself as a “cycle breaker” who’s “sharing [her] gentle parenting and healing journey.”

KJ posted a video titled “How Generational Trauma Works,” in which she highlights how parents can react to their children in ways that break the cycle of violence they might have been raised with.  



There are so many parents doing the hard work of undoing generational trauma, which requires them to assess the ways they were raised and actively choose alternate methods. It’s certainly not easy, but it is worthwhile and healing for parents, as well. 


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.