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Thursday, April 12, 2007

On Corporal Punishment

Practically every time I read The Oklahoman, I get upset. It usually happens on the editorials page. Case in point: A woman wrote in recently addressing the issue of parents spanking their children. She took the position that it simply shouldn't be done, no matter what. Her claim was that all it taught was violence, not respect. She also went on to mention her success with her own children, as well as foster kids, stating that they had grown into wonderful, mature people, sans spanking.

I have two statements about that: "Good for you and your kids," and "All kids are simply not the same."

While I believe that there are those parents who raise good kids without ever laying a hand on them, my opinion is that it has as much to do with the child's demeanor as the parenting techniques involved. For some kids, standing in the corner or having toys and/or priveleges taken away are the worst things that could happen. I mean, that's a punishment that may last for days or weeks, whereas a spanking is over in seconds, and the pain has vanished in minutes.

I could go on for much longer, but let me just sum up with a couple of statements that are true, whether you believe them or not.

- A spanking is NOT the same thing as a beating. A person who is being beaten on a regular basis has bruises, scars and perhaps even the occasional limp. The physical effects are long-lasting. People eventually notice these things and either intervene or encourage the victim (a victim of spousal abuse, for example) to get help. My children, on the other hand, have no bruises, abrasions, cuts, scars, limps, etc. They are healthy and they are happy, even though they occasionally get a few spats on the backside.

- An entire generation shows us that spanking children does not make them more violent. The generation of my grandparents grew up being spanked when it was called for. Yet, according to history, the biggest problems in the classroom at that time were things like gum-chewing and talking. Today, guns, drugs, underage sex (getting younger all the time) and violence, both against other students and teachers, is the norm in public schools. Morals have all but dissappeared, with even educators scared to teach them for fear of a lawsuit. Am I ready to lay all of that at the door of parents who don't spank? Of course not. But, considering the state of kids today, compared with that of kids 60 years ago, if someone is going to make the argument that spanking creates a violent generation, then they probably ought to find out what went RIGHT with the WW II crowd, and what's going wrong with our kids today, who are spanked much less in comparison.