I commented on the above blog the other day. Its ironic that after having just spanked my 9 year old for being disruptive and disrespectful in music class, I clicked on it and thus my thoughts began to churn.
Let me preface the following by clarifying my position. All children do not respond the same to certain forms discipline. Spankings are not my first response to an issue. I make a stern personal effort to explore other options with my daughter before spanking. I believe in the learning process for children. Ultimately they need to be taught.
A few months ago I started thinking about the affects of spanking at the hands of a out-of-control parent. I thought about how damaging it can be to a child. I thought about myself and how I consider myself a fighter and how thats likely because Im not stranger to pain. I thought about how maybe…just maybe my having been spanked as a child made me tougher and less fearful of the world around me and how this attitude could be detrimental if I failed to be a balance person. The thoughts kept coming. I thought about my child and how meek and passive she is. I thought about her personality and how I want her to be well-rounded. I thought about how I raise her and could I be doing a better job. Those thought ended with my promising myself that I would see how much more effective I can be with other measures outside of spanking. Not because I fear what people think of me or my child but because I want to teach her more and use pain as a deterrent less
Before I became a parent I was a GO for corporal punishment. Why? Because I was and still am (but not as much as before I became a parent and received a new set of emotions and attitudes ) influenced by the way my parents raised me. As parents ourselves, we inadvertently parent the way we were parented. Along the way we begin to develop our own standards but largely, our roots start with our parents.
I was spanked. I cant recall a time in which I felt as though my parents didn’t love me or that they were punishing me unjustly or abusively. Of course it hurt. Thats the point.Pain as a deterrent. Even as an adult looking back I don’t feel negatively affected by it. Which by the way, further illustrates why I have few qualms about it today…at least temporarily.
Times have changed drastically since the 1970s and 1980s. Our parents didnt have to combat the same type of issues and pressures that we have today as parents. On that same vein, our children arent the children that we were. We grew up in a different and more innocent era. Basically the parent v. child positioning has changed and I cannot say this change is for the better. These changes shape us and determine how we will respond to disciplining our kids. Im sure that we all can agree regardless of age or nationality that children as well as adults need discipline and structure in their lives. For some of us this involves spanking, whoppings, corporal punishment etc.
Lets BLine back to the changes that have occurred between the generations and how those changes affect the growing trend of parents that refuse to incorporate spanking in their parenting process and those that do.
Facebook didnt exist 18-30 years ago. There was no TMZ, YouTube, Reddit, etc. There were no mass outlets to report your family’s shortcomings. Our parents didnt have the nuisance of raising us on center stage and we werent growing up under the watchful eye of the internet, cell phone cameras, and overzelous neighbors.
Today nearly everything we do is exposed. We live in a READY JUDGE society.
When our children are unruly, violent, low performing, disruptive, disrespectful and dare I say it, imperfect…we want to, we need to, and must correct them before we are JUDGED.
Lets be honest, outside opinions influence what we do on the inside. Those of us that care what our peers think of us do not want them to formulate negative opinions of us. In this case, we don’t want people talking badly about us and our children so we do our best to make sure they behave and give a positive impression of us and our families. If/when they dont, we have to do something. We have to correct them. This translates into spankings for some parents. Time outs for others, deprivation of privileged, etc.
Parents spank for many reasons but if we put the pieces on a table…order them properly, they are all cause and effect.
Bad children attract negative perceptions, negative perceptions are unwanted…this leads to damage control…control the children that are causing the negative perception. control entails corporal punishment (optional).
Unfortunately…too many people have leaped completely over the line that divides corporal punishment and physical abuse. Children are being severely beaten and some are just being slowly murdered by the hands of their parents. Discipline is a process not a one swipe resolution. And when parents dont know what discipline is, dont know how to administer it.
Its not surprising that many people have began to look at themselves in the mirror and decide that corporal punishment has no place in their home. No loving and well-meaning parent wants to look into the mirror and see themselves as a chronic abuser. And sometimes this is the misinterpreted view that we have of ourselves because corporal punishment has developed a stigma.
This stigma can be attributed to both abusive parents, media sensationalism, and the invasion of privacy by outsiders. What is viewed as excessive by one person can be viewed as slight by another. Who gets to make the determination? Here is where the friction starts.
This is what has parents on the side of “I dont know what I can and cant do to discipline my child so I’ll do nothing” and others on the side of “Im going to report anyone who is disciplining their child in a way that I deem excessive.”
Its a CATCH 22 perhaps.
As a parent you’re damned if you do discipline your kids (and that way is disagreed upon by the masses) and you’re damned if you dont discipline your child because without discipline (and structure…children, like most things, will fall apart and run a muck.)
Whats a parent to do? Where is the happy medium here?
Do parents yield to the judgement and not discipline their kids the way they see fit?
Does corporal punishment need to be outlawed?
Does law enforcement need to provide better support and assistance with problem children if they are going to interfere with parents rights?
Your thoughts and opinions are welcomed.