Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spanking: Necessary Correction or Child Abuse?

This is why I always recommend
Creative, swift and terrible action
So that children
Take their parents seriously
And learn "the lesson" permanently.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

If this little one suddenly pulls away and runs off in this dangerous location, should he spank her, hit her in such a "swift and terrible" way that she takes him seriously, and never forgets?

Or maybe he should catch her, take her some place private and spank her one or two times when he is calm and collected?

Or perhaps spanking isn't an answer at all?

Yesterday 84% of listeners that called in on WJAC TV's poll said they approve of spanking children. Spanking was not defined. Not the procedure, timing or purpose.

Well, I don't approve of spanking or any other form of Corporal Punishment at any time for any reason. I no longer believe in deliberately inflicting pain on those who can't fight back or do anything to protect themselves. Cowards, bullies, torturers and sadists do that. Ignorant, undereducated, untrained people do that to little children, even infants, in the name of discipline because they don't know any better, because they haven't learned any better, because they lack alternatives.

I believe there are more humane, effective and practical ways to teach, train and discipline a child. I believe those who take care of children have an obligation to learn how. Civilized adults don't hit other adults. Why should so many believe they should hit little children?

The idea that only some 16% disapprove of spanking sent me searching for whether the divide is actually so lopsided. Unfortunately, it is. One study finds that 94% of U.S. parents spank their kids by the time the youngsters are 4 years old. As I always do, I researched all sides of the issue from parenting, legal, religious, medical, physiological, psychological, scientific, philosophical and so forth. I read both sides in comments on blogs, forums, and in response to newspaper articles. I remain consciously biased in favor of no corporal punishment.

I accept that if you believe otherwise then it makes sense to you that big people hitting little people teaches them something constructive, and does no harm. Among other things you also believe that a distinction can " be made between abusive hitting and nonabusive spanking." And you further believe that spanking is a " planned action, not a reaction," that it is a "deliberate procedure," a "forewarned consequence for designated problem behaviors," is "administered in private to avoid public humiliation or embarassment," consists of only "one or two spanks administered to the buttocks," and "should leave only transient redness of the skin" and "never cause a physical injury." You further believe the spanking should be "followed by embracing the child and calmly reviewing the offense and the desired behavior in an effort to reestablish a warm relationship."

I believe you believe these or similar reasons for your stance on spanking. What I don't believe is that you believe you or those you know apply "spanking" in this calm, methodical, premeditated manner. I question the redness and the amount of pain inflicted to cause hard must you hit on bare skin by your bare hand? How much harder must you hit through clothing?

Are you spanking with objects? 25% admit to using an object when disciplining children. Do you wait until you are calm, then pick up your object of choice and cold-bloodedly hit a defenseless child? Some times advice is given to make the child bring the object to you to increase the effectiveness. Do you use a hair brush? A belt? A spoon? A Switch?

Or do you buy one of the products recommended and sold for the purpose? Carefully sized and sold for "spanking" infants, toddlers, older children. I wonder if they come with satisfaction guaranteed?

For other information: (Warning: Searching "spanking" may bring unanticipated results.)

Spare the Rod?
Spare the Rod? New Research Challenges Spanking Critics (pro spanking)
Spare the Rod
Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child Explained
Snopes: Comments on Spare the Rod
Answers: Punishment

Spanking Can Bring Problems Later

Wikipedia: Spanking

Smacking? Right or Wrong (children answers pro and con)

Children's Views

Listen Up! Children Talk: About Smacking

Spanking (Pro-spanking)

State by State Spanking Laws

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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