Thursday, November 29, 2007

Should We Spank Our Children

A few months ago I posted this very question on my blog. I am reposting it again amidst the recent frenzy over a proposed law that would ban the ability of parents to discipline their children with spanking.

Here are my thoughts.

When I had my first son, I can remember declaring that no one would ever lay a hand on my child. His grandparents of course thought that this was the most hillarious thing they had ever heard.

I soon realized that there comes a time when some form of physical punishment may be necessary to communicate the seriousness of a particular action.

The old folks use to say "If I don't whip him the policeman will."

Not only do I believe that spanking is necessary, it is also Biblical.

The Bible is clear when it provides us with direction about children. First of all Jesus let's us know his feelings about children in these scriptures.

"Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." (Mark 9:37);

"Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." (Mark 10:15)

These scriptures tell us that Jesus has placed high importance on children and their place in the kingdom. Therefore it is safe to say that childrens' wellbeing is of utmost importance to Him.

God later gives us guidelines to follow with regards to rearing our children. He says that we should train them up in the way that they should go so that when they are old, they will not depart from it. He further says that if we spare the rod we will spoil the child.

It is clear that He intends for us to find a balance between the two. Neither of these methods is independent of the other.

I believe that if you take the time to train your children properly, then spanking them will only need to be done sparingly. My rule of thumb was to use spanking only when the offense would result in physical harm to the children or to others.

Furthermore, extension cords, broom handles, and such go far beyond spanking. They are abusive.

The problem with the proposed law is that it will not deter an abuser. Much the same way that restraining orders and various laws that are in place for those that abuse women do not deter them from their course. This law would only limit discipline options for concerned parents.

The system is not ready for the ramifiactions of children gone wild. We have already seen some of these consequences as a result of banning spanking in schools.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

this is a sensitive subject. but yes, i do think some physical punishment is okay. i do have a problem with the old days of extension cords, branches and household objects being used a disciplinary objects. but a pop on the butt or the hands--this can be very helpful in creating boundaries with kids. but i am aware that the new age way is no hitting and that too has its benefits but then i see some of these out of control children and whew....i don't know....

i look forward to hearing other respones.


a.cassey said...

Spanking is wrong, imo. I too declared when I had my son that I would never hit him. I made that promise to him, and to myself, and I have stuck 100% to it. In addition, I took it a step further. I vowed to not yell at him in anger or "to get point across", or, if I slipped up and did-that I would swifly apologize. I have stuck to that as well. In fact, it amazes me at this point that there was a time in my life(around the age of 18-22) that I honestly believed that I to use violence and coercion against my child in order to get my way with him, or to get compliance. I am glad that I had a revelation, and that I have never had to second think the way I treat my child. Respect and empathy are the only ways in our house, and it is a two way street. My husband has also stuck to these ways full force. We are both from spanking, whopping backgrounds, and we are proud to be raising a child free from violence, coercion, and fear. As a result of using talking, reasoning, and understanding in communicating with our son(at all times) we have a child who makes it a point to understand those around him, to not be quick to anger, to appreciate people for their individuality and differences of action and opinion,etc. We would love to have quick, short way that "works" sometimes in communicating with our son. What we know to be a fact, and what we hope to relay to him through example, is that there are no short cuts in relating to loved ones. There will be differences of opinion. There will be frustrations. There will be anger. There will be sadness. But there need not be coercion, manipulation, and the induction of pain on top of these normal human emotions. Love heals these relational pains more than anything. There are no shortcuts.

outfits said...

Personally, I don't believe in spankings. When my son now 17 was growing up, I spanked him maybe 5 times in his entire life. That was because I was mad. It was more for me than him. It was to release my anger. What did he learn from it? When my mom gets mad, she hits. My daughter now 6, has never received a spanking and probably never will from me. I think it's better ways to discipline our children. I know that a lot of old school parents will quote the scripture, 'spare the rod , spoil the child' but I think a lot of Christians use this out of context. I think this proverbial rod is the rod of correction not corporal punishment.

That's my 2 cents:)

Duchessdon said...

A whack on the butt or the hand is what I do with Dasia. She is 4. Sometimes she just gets mouthy or WILD!

My daughter Diana, who is now 21, used to get what I got! Just tore all up in the ass! I used a belt with her, but I was in my 20's, and had the energy to get busy. I would pop her in the mouth when she turned 10, and then just stopped waxing her altogether.

My father used a belt on me, so I gave Diana what I thought was the right thing to do. Now that I'm older, I don't believe in an all out butt whoopin', but a pop every now and then I don't think is unjustified.

Extension cords are pure torture, iron cords, and a nice thick but skinny in the right place switch - oh Lawd...

Anonymous said...

I am still sticking to my answer Cheryl. If we merely speak to our child(ren) they will listen to our words. Words have greater power then spanking them as that is a form of abuse. Some of you might not agree, but it is, it is physical abuse. Just as if you yell at them or curse at them that is verbal abuse.

Words have greater power then abuse!!

You want your child(ren) to love you nor hate you. Some may think it is disciplining them, but in the long run, was it beneficial, did the method work or not......

This does not only happen at home, but in schools or with caregivers.. .. This is a sensitive subject and a major problem...That' s why some of them are turning towards other things....

A.Cassey said...

I would like to add that many countries have banned spanking, some decades ago. These countries have much lowers rates of violent crime than we do in our country. Here is an exerpt on the issue:

"Countries which have passed laws to ban corporal punishment as of Novermber 2007 are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ukraine[1], Uruguay and New Zealand[17]. In France, it was technically legal to practice corporal punishment in schools, but in 2000 a French court declared corporal punishment is no longer allowed under the laws of "right to correction" in schools, basically abolishing it.School corporal punishment is banned in most western nations and in industrialized nations outside the west. All of Western Europe, most of Eastern Europe, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa have banned school corporal punishment, as have many other countries.Evidence suggests that in the United States, racial and sexual discrimination play a large role in school corporal punishment, with black students being much more likely to be hit than white students, and male students being much more likely to be hit than female students, for the same infractions.[14]"

There is absolutely no "proof" that spanking children leads to a safer society. In fact, the opposite is more frequently the truth. The majority(nearly 100%) of all violent criminals were spanked. It is baffling that people honestly think that it is the children who are not spanked that cause the trouble in our society, when the proof of just the opposite is in the pudding. What I believe to be the issue is that parents who spank see children who are not spanked(when they are under 18) and they see that these children exert more independence when confronted by adults. They are not afraid to assert themselves in dealing with adults who have placed themselves in positions of authority(teachers, parents,etc). These children express their desires and needs freely and without fear, and some adults who are used to children being compliant and nonexpressive of their thoughts and feelings interpret this assertive behavior as indicative of some sort of deviance. The conclusion is clearly false, judging by the evidence of the home life of an American criminal, which usually includes all forms of punishments. So, prehaps it is true that nonspanked nonpunished children are "more difficult" for some adults who believe children should remain "in their place" to handle, but the evidence shows that when these children grow up, they are least likely to commit crimes of violence, manipulation and coercion. In deed, they are virtually 100% unlikely to particate in this way of life.

Duchessdon said...

I too can count the number of times that I spanked my children. My oldest son graduated from high school at the age of 16 and has now graduated college and owns his own home at the age of 24. My youngest son is an entrepreneur. They neither fear me or believe that violence is the way to solve problems. I never spanked them in out of anger In fact, I made sure that I had a "woosaahh" moment anytime discipline was a factor. I can also say that one of the reasons that I did not have to spank them more often is because of the fact that I took the time to train them well. As a result they have grown up to be well rounded young men that won't need the system to correct them.

a.cassey said...

Cheryl, what we fail to realize sometimes is that MOST children grow up ok-in spite of their upbringings. There are countless children who have been whopped, raped,popped, slapped, verbally acousted, or otherwise abused. This does not mean that those pains that they had to do resulted in their success(even though they may say otherwise). Many many successful people have never been spanked, or abused. So clearly, success is not owed to spanking or abusive childhoods.

Duchessdon said...

This is very true. But, I can also site cases in which children received no type of discipline and grew up with the attitude that they did not have to respect authority and in fact believed that they should not be punished for their actions.

I'm sure that there are good arguments on both sides of the coin. Just as there are cases of the abuse as well as no discipline at all.

I am glad to at least spark the debate because if we don't find some way to effectively raise our children, the current BET MTV society will.

Thank you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I do believe children need to be spanked sometimes. The word tells us to spare the rod spoil the child. And this is some of why society is out of control because of the lack of discipline and children doing whatever they want like they grown. I have two children. I did not have to spank my son much all he needed was to see the belt. But I had to do more than show my daughter the belt and she is my second child. I had to use it. I still have to pop her now and she is a teenager. But she ain't my momma. There is only one queen in my house and that's me.

There were times I used time out but if it was not effective I had to pray and ask God what was best to do for each child. Because both my children are different. And I always let them know even now that I love you. And they know I don't play but we have a good time together. And sometimes we angry with each other too. I believe we have a good relationship.

But I am very against child abuse. I think that is being cruel and some people don't know the difference. I don't believe in calling children names or cursing at them either. I don't believe anyone has a right to damage anyone's esteem. Life is tough enough and we all need to be loved.

My daughter keeps telling me she going to put me in a nursing home when I get old. I doubt it. The girl shows she loves me too much.

Anonymous said...

Like someone said in a previous post; I may have spanked my daughter five times in her entire life and that's stretching it. I may have gotten a back hand slap from my mom from time to time for my smart mouth. LOL But I wasn't beat as a child and I didn't beat mine. Sometimes a hand spanking with a young one will get their attention but I am totally against those "ayz whoppings" with belts, switches, ironing cords, shoes;etc. That's child abuse!

Author Stacey Patton has written a marvelous book; Those Mean Old Yesterdays. A victim of beatings of the worse kind by her adoptive parents, the author uses a very unique approach to why we have a pattern of unreal abuse in our beating our children. She likens it to our history of slavery and racism in this country. She also points on how in our religious zeal; we misinterpret God's Word on beating our children. In addition; she explains how such beatings actually beat down our children.... rob them of self-esteem and the ability to express themselves fostering a sense of fear NOT respect or love for their parents. I would highly recommend this book.

Check out Those Mean Old Yesterdays by Stacey Patton at: www.staceypatton. com

Anonymous said...

Anon-you stated that you pop your teenage daughter in the mouth...because you are the "queen". What message are you sending? That those in "authority", kings, "queens", masters, presidents, have the right to take away the the dignity and emotional integrity of their subordinates? This is the same thinking that the slave master had of the slave. This is the same thinking that men used to have of women. What is the difference in how we treat our children today, who are now one of the last of society's "low class" citizens?

A teenager is quite capable of articulating her own feelings. As those who are older, should we not setting the example for our children on how to behave? Do we want our children to be reactive or proactive when they encounter personal differences with others. Hitting, yelling, neck rolling, eye rolling, etc..these are negative reactions learned from those around us. Speaking with respect, dinity, and influence are proactive behaviors, also taught from those around us. A parent is a child's best teacher. If my child was "getting smart" with me, I'd wonder what I could do as a parent to change my tone, and my approach, as to not welcome the hostility from my child. We cannot change our children by hitting them, yelling at them, or even talking to them. They must be compelled to change themselves, and people only follow those whom they respect and who respect them. If we are setting a good example, and respecting our children(rather than hurting them, and using our power to further degrade them) they will naturally follow us when they are ready.

Anonymous said...

What is a "smart mouth"? I hear lots of black people say this. White people calling it "sassing" I think. Is that when a younger person says something an older person doesn't want to hear? How does this warrant hitting another person?

Anonymous said...

I say yes to spanking our children. A Parent knows best their child. We have some that adhere to verbal discipline and then we have some that need that extra hand on their bottom for the truth to sink in.
I was spanked and needed it because I was a hardhead child and my parents difinitely had to show me who was boss and I thank God Allah for them. If they had not put the hand, belt, switch, cord to my behind their is no telling where I would have ended up today.
Spare the rod you will spoil the child. Our children especially Asiatics (AA/Blacks) need a firm hand to guide them. They are born with a strong will that needs to be directed and protected. Spankings are a must and part of our culture and to take that right away from Asiatic Parents of North America (Blacks/African Americans) it a travesty.
There is a bigger picture here and it is the destruction of the family unitl our family unit. They want our children so they can put them in their prisons; Which is another form of slave labor. We're getting back to a slave country and our children are the ones that the government wants.
Prisons are big business and a form of free slave labor. We must open our eyes and see the bigger picture; the Europeans are out to get our children at any cost.
The European government knows that our children left on their own with all these rights are leading them right into their hands of (free slave labor once again). It's time for our people of this country to come together and fight this thing and do whatever it takes to get the government out of our homes, out of our bedrooms and out of the correcting and rearing of our children.
Because if we don't make a stand we will loose not one generation of children but many more future generations.
If we don't discipline our children you can rest assure that the European government in this country will.
Ruth Sadi El