Saturday, January 20, 2007

That's why they call it "Rearing" children...

California assemblywoman,Sally Lieber,has proposed introducing a bill which would make it a misdemeanor to spank children under the age of three.Offenders could face up to a year in jail or up to a $1,000 fine,although first offenders would likely only be required to attend parenting classes.

I'd like to try to take the emotion out of this topic for a moment,and offer my unsolicited opinion.

I just don't believe that a child three years old or less is able to make the connection between the misdeed,and the punishment.Like rubbing a puppy's nose "in it",it really only accomplishes instilling confusion and distrust in the mind of the offender.Spanking therefore,would have no legitimate value.I could very well be wrong in this assumption,not giving tiny humans the intellectual credit they deserve,but I don't think so.I do think that parents who opt for corporal punishment at this stage are doing more harm than good to the child...Having said that..

Holy crap!...Here we go again!..(notice how I've conveniently inserted emotion into the subject?)...
When,in the name of George Orwell,is the government going to get their noses out of our collective asses(no pun intended)and leave us to raise our children as we see fit?This is yet another attempt to worm their way into our private lives by playing on the sensibilities of people with legitimate concerns about child abuse.
We're talking spanking here,okay.The sure and swift retribution that comes from the deliberate act of defiance.Don't get me wrong,children are hell bent on testing their limits,it's their job,and I give them their props for that.Just like I KNOW it's the job of the parents to set those limits,and enforce them.

"Don't play in the street!"
(screw you,I'll play in the street if I feel like it)
(Er,..maybe I'll just stay in the yard today)...and not get hit by a bus..

The same people trying to hamstring our ability to discipline our children,are surely the ones that will be the most outraged when that child grows up,and figures he'll just take an Uzi to class and wipe out a few innocents because "They made me angry"..Gee, must be those damm video games...We'd better start legislating against them!

Yes,I am pro-spanking.I really think that children need to learn that certain actions,beget certain consequences.In any case,it should be the inalienable right of the parent to decide the best way to raise their offspring to have a firm sense of social responsibility.

Some of you may remember the case,a few years ago,of the American teenager in Singapore that was sentenced to be CANED for perpetrating senseless acts of vandalism.The whole world threw up their hands and protested this extreme form of punishment...Poor little thing..Singapore didn't give a particular damn,and whipped his oh-so-smart little ass out loud,right in the public square,and it was done.Their own brand of justice,duly administered..Anybody hear about this kid committing ANY sort of misbehavior since then?...No?,..neither have I.

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At 5:24 PM , Blogger CSL said...

Okay, I'll also leave emotion out of it. The research shows that children who are hit even just occassionally are more aggressive than those who are never hit by their parents. Which also makes intuitive sense, because the clear message with spanking is that the way you control others or get what you want is to use physical force. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics the American Psychological Association have taken an official stand against any use of corporal punishment. On a personal note, my boys are 13 and 10 and we have never hit them. Not once. They are polite to adults, well-behaved in school, academically successful, sociable and compassionate. I know others will disagree with me on this, but when I work with parents in my practice, I always try to help them find other means of discipline.

At 6:32 PM , Blogger Sling said...

CSL-Of course,I was counting on my readers to offer opposing views on the subject of corporal punishment.Yours,in particular,is noteworthy given your credentials and experience.
I have used spanking as a means of "enforcing" my will upon my children exactly twice.In each case,they were in immediate physical danger by virtue of having disobeyed me.I took no pleasure from,what I felt,was a necessary action.I'm happy to take pleasure from having them healthy and productive today,ages 30,25,and 13.
Do we need to legislate the manner in which parents raise their children?
There are already prohibitions against gross acts of child abuse in place,and rightfully so.I'm not convinced that spanking falls into that category.
Thank you for commenting CSL,..I value your opinion.

At 7:24 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

Knowing that you're going to get a ration for saying this out loud let me just state that a) when I was growing up there were levels of punishment, from least to worst: mom's hand, dad's hand, mom and the wooden spoon, dad and the wooden spoon, mom and the belt, dad and the belt.

We weren't "beaten". We were certainly, summarily and usually deservedly spanked.

Did I spank my own kid? No. I think she's had her butt smacked exactly twice in 12 years. Should we have smacked her more? Sometimes I think so. Although it's too late now.

I don't particularly condone spanking as a parental method, mostly because it is too often administered out of frustration or anger and that's hardly productive. Plus, as a more-or-less pacifist, telling someone to behave or I'd smack her didn't seem philosophically consistent.

But the ocassional well-placed smack on the toosh? Not such a bad idea. True story: one of the few times The Child ever got spanked? Trying to run into the street after being told 'no'. Just sayin'.

At 7:25 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

Oh. Yeah. Back to the, the frakking bastards need to stop telling us how to manage our personal lives. Thank you.

At 8:40 PM , Blogger Sling said...

lorraine-I'm no stranger to "The switch" comes,in large part,from being descended from hard headed Germans. ;)
Still,my brothers and I chose to defy authority in later life.
We paid the price,..and changed our ways...Slow learners that we were.

At 8:42 PM , Blogger apositivepessimist said...

Hmm okay perhaps a year in jail and what happens to these kids if they are from a one parent family and have no other family to look after them. Oh state care...oh yes that is so the better option to a smack on the arse.

My brother and I got my fathers police belt when we misbehaved, usually a few hours after the fact of misbehaving [tho I don‘t remember my mum ever saying “you wait til yer father comes home” heh]. I do believe the “thought” of what was to come far exceeded the actual punishment.

Funny, I never spanked my son [tho now I tell him I should have ;)] but my brother [dunno if my sister does] has and does smack his within reason. I didn’t smack not because of thinking it was “wrong”, just never had reason enough. I’m sure if I had more than the one, and they fought like my brother and I did, the smacks would have been happening.

At 9:04 PM , Blogger Sling said...

apos-It's kind of a wierd parental paradox,but in our family mom was the usual disciplinarian.Her most potent warning.."I'll send your dad in there with the belt"..never happened.

At 6:01 AM , Blogger Legal Alien said...

My two cents (adjusted for inflation):

I'm anti-spanking, mostly because my dad never spanked he. He just lectured me about wrongdoing for what seemed to be, and quite probably were, hours at a time. Often I didn't understand a word, but I always felt terrible and frequently ended up crying. (In retrospect, I wonder whether a spanking would have been less agonzing.)

Having said all that, I think the Gubmint has no business criminalizing spanking in the home. It's an unjustified intrusion into family privacy.

Is spanking good or bad, on the whole? Beats me. But I'm content to let parents decide.

At 12:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any evidence that Government policy, and thus legislation, has had any effect whatsoever on people's behaviour at street and family level (often the same thing)? There are laws against the misuse of drugs aren't there? Applying 'rules' across the board is both inefficient and, often counter-productive. It is fine for those who have a vested interest in creating and applying rules but not, by and large, for those who are the subject of rules. I have no idea whether smacking works in particular instances or not - there are many contradictory pieces of research on this very topic and Freud has much to say about the most effective (and cruel) way of creating ungovernable conscience in a child - and it's not by smacking!. I suspect that for some it works, for others it doesn't. I'm neither in favour nor against it. But hey, what do I know? I leave certainty for others. And then watch them make an unholy mess of things. And let me add this: what point is there of banning smacking in the USA and yet allowing the country to be awash with all those bloody firearms and Hollywood violence and frontier bollocks? Smacking naughty kids seems to me the least of America's problems. But it's an easy target for a politician whereas the other things are difficult to do. A decent, moral health system, for example? Not invading other countries for another example? Pft.

At 7:24 PM , Blogger CSL said...

I think Charlie makes a good point about the futility of isolating one particular act of aggression while our country continues to condone aggression in nearly every other arena. And certainly sending a parent to jail for smacking their child on the rear is absurd. Still... here's one way to think about it. My 10 year old weighs about 60 pounds and the average man weighs (I don't know what - I'll go with 180 because it makes the math easier). So I imagine myself with someone in authority, such as a boss when I worked a regualr job, who weighs 300 pounds. And I do something the company isn't pleased with. And instead of writing me up or talking to me, I get hit. Would that seem okay? No, it would be painful and humiliating. The difference is, I'd file assault charges and sue the company blind. Kids don't have that option, they are completely at our mercy. So, although I certainly understand how it happens, I think it's a better thing to find a nonviolent way.

At 8:14 PM , Blogger Citymouse said...

Okay, I spanked my kids. Actually my daughter got a crack on the butt about a month ago for talking back. It was the first time in over 7 year... so that means the last time was when she was bout 3.

I spank, I yell, I scream, but its not about me its about them... I do what it takes to get through and its not easy.

but going to jail... who is going to do all the voulnteer work when Im gone...

At 10:23 PM , Blogger barista brat said...

not having kids myself i'm not sure what i'd do if a child of mine was misbehaving.

but i sure as hell think the government has more important items on their to-do list than moniter the tushies of toddlers.

At 9:53 AM , Blogger rosemary said...

My Italian mother only had to open a certain drawer and take out her spaghetti stiring wooden spoon and I stopped what ever it was I was doing. I still have three scars on my right knuckles from getting smacked by my 6th grade nun, Sister Thadaeus with a ruler...I just stuck my tongue out at her behind her back. I only hit one of my oldest son for playing with matches for the 3rd time...obviously the first 2 warnings didn't work. So, spanking? beating? yelling? I don't know but i do know I do not want elected officials telling me how to raise a kid...I agree with charlie too....look at america's role models..priorities

At 1:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that locking them in the closet for 3 days is far more effective than spanking.

At 6:06 PM , Blogger The Wizened Wizard said...

In my very unscientific study (two children who have become very sweet, non-violent adults), the evidence favors the swat on the fanny. The idea is to hurt the pride, not the hide, so you never hit them hard enough that it hurts.

At 7:18 PM , Blogger Babs said...

I'm going to comment without reading the other comments. It looks deep in here.
First, I don't think the government should get involved in spanking of children. Second, I would rather spank a kid that continues to try sticking their finger in an electrical socket than let them learn the hard way.
Third, spanking gave me the ability to try to avoid spanking my keeping my ass glued to the wall and out of reach. This is a very important lesson to learn as we all need to know how to put our asses against walls.

At 10:40 PM , Blogger yellowdog granny said...

my sister used to kick my ass, but i only got 2 spankings in my life as a kid..once when i was 2 years old and took off all my clothes, stood in the middle of a 4 lane highway and threw rocks at the semi's going father freaked..think he spanked my out of fear..and wasn't a hard one...and my mother switched me once when i took off and didn't tell her where i was going and was gone about 7 hours and they had found a young girl my age that had been raped and the guy was still loose..she freaked when i got home..made me cut the switch too..
but i do believe in (holds fingers apart about an inch) this much child abuse..get their attention..let them know you WILL smack them..and then use the threat of it to keep them in line..

At 3:14 PM , Blogger gina said...

Okay, so great post. We all have opinions. We all agree that this is none of the government's business. When I first heard this, I yelled out loud, "are you frakkin' kidding me?"

I got spanked - maybe twice in my life cuz I was the goodie two-shoes in the family. My sibs got spanked. My kids got two or three spankings in their lives. While I agree with CSL that a 300 pound man hitting a 100 pound woman to enforce his will and punish her is horrible, that woman and man are adults and can and should be using reason. Toddlers don't reason. They act. They sometimes need that swift swat to make them realize you mean business, as in the running into the street scenario. Kids learn quickly to connect the spanking with the defiant behavior. You don't spank to injure or hurt, just to get the message through.

Growing up in an Italian family, spankings were not uncommon, but we were good kids so they weren't a regular event. We had levels too - the smack on the bottom, the belt on the bottom by Mom, Dad with the strap. The worst? Mom's slap across the face when I was a smart-assed teen.

I think a lot more violent, aggressive, sociopathic behavior results from verbal and emotional abuse some parents dole out in lieu of spankings than from spankings. Words can cut much more deeply and permanently than a smack on the butt.

BTW, all four of us kids grew up to be polite, gentle, loving, kind people with families, and we all have kids who are growing up the same way. Each generation seems to spank less and less, and kids seem to push the limits more than ever. Maybe some spankings would bring that behavior back around.

At 12:36 AM , Blogger Middle Child said...

Ah sling you gotta get 32 and 29 yr old daughters are actually thanking me for my "discipline" which was not heavy way when out in the supermarket mainly after Melissa had raked a whole shelf of anchovette paste jars to the floor from the baby chair in the trolley was to quietly and secretly pinch her bottom and tell her what she did wrong through her nappy she felt that pinch but no one saw me do it... whereas once whe youngest Alison raced out onto the main shopping street and when I caught her I gace a controlled bottom hit... controlled meaning I held her arm so she didn't fall over an elderly lady admonished me for hitting my beautiful child...which child was sooo close to being wiped out by passing traffic...hmmm

you gotta be sneaky these days...a small pinch is invisible and causes no harm at all but gets the message accross and no welts ...just deny it all.

For me the fact that both daughters have said to me that they were glad at how I raised them is all the proof I need.

Sneaky... Sling okay!

At 12:43 AM , Blogger Middle Child said...

You have reminded me of myntime with the NUNs in the 60's which I have posted befoe but will post again

At 4:17 AM , Blogger Grish said...

I've tried to post several times but it hasn't let me.

I'd like to just say bravo. It's dangerous to bring this discussion to a public wrestling arena.

I can't see how a newborn could do enough to warrant a paddlin because they wouldn't understand what it was about. just my 2 cents..

An important thing to remember is that punishment is punishment. It's either physical or psychological manipulation no matter how you look at it.

What is more effective? Geez I don't know. I endured both as a child as did most peeps my age. Paddlings and lectures, often times at the same time and in school the teachers nursed a certain amount of fear by dishing out public discipline. Better? Worse? Who knows but things were ALOT different back then and the fact that we are able to remember the difference in atmosphere has to mean something...

As for the government telling us the best way to raise our children. I'd vote NO in a heartbeat.

At 6:43 PM , Blogger apositivepessimist said...

Arrhaaha MiddleChild is wicked. I like that in a person.

At 7:03 AM , Blogger JessnBekahsmom said...

I am the mother of two girls, 3 and 5. They occasionally act up and occasionally get spankings. I don't believe the government should be involved in this. It is already a criminal offense to beat your children. I was spanked when I was a child. Excessively. My take on this is this: I spank my children because I love them. When they need it. I just asked my five year old, "What do you think about spanking? Do you think it helps you to be better?" She said, "EEE!(pause) Yeah, it helps me not to be as bad." I don't remember the last time she got a spanking. We have hardly any discipline problems with her now. But she has friends that throw tantrums, hit their parents, etc. They didn't get spanked. Every child is different. Some need it, some don't. My three year old hasn't had many spankings. Mainly because I haven't followed through. And when she is asked to do something, clean her room, etc., her response is, "But I am only three!" She knows she gets away with stuff. But the government doesn't need to tell us what we can and cannot do, as long as there is no abuse going on. It is already illegal to abuse a child. Spanking as punishment does not fall into that category. 'Nuf said.


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