Spanking the Kids

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Ancient Calvinist methodology that I grew up with. So did most of our generations prior to the eighties. How many times must I hear, “But I turned out just fine.” If this is the case then why do we continue to see single parenting on the rise but also abuse and domestic violence continuing to flow every seven seconds? Why are adults more eager than ever to talk to psychotherapists about their childhoods when corporal punishment was so “effective?” Why have the generations that followed raised the entitlement generation if their parents did such a great job? Why have parents lost that skill in teaching right from wrong, setting limits, and teaching good work ethics? Why are children no longer involved with their grandparents religious teachings?

Let’s take the issue of Children’s Protective Services (aka social services in some states) out of the picture. Don’t blame an agency for your thinking process. CPS does not look down on parents who set limits, teach right from wrong, or good work ethics. They do not look down on parents who take their children to worship. CPS is not responsible for the fact that parents use drugs or alcohol in higher numbers than your own parents did. They are not responsible for the fact that you are a single parent either and have been displaced from your birth place so that there are no family members nearby to help in bringing up the child. You are responsible for your child.

Spanking the Kids and the Debate over Spanking

The issue of spanking kids, as you will read in the article above, takes on polar opposites. Either you are pro or against. Like with any other political agenda these days, there is no in between. What people are hoping to accomplish is often the reverse of what happens. It did not happen for you and it won’t happen with your kids. We are also living in a society now that is much different from what you or I were raised in. In my opinion, limits need to be set with kids immediately before they even know what a computer is. When I hear parents say “I have no control over my child, now that there is an Internet,” I wonder what happened long ago when their child was conceived. When did they first start allowing their children to get away with things?

When you first learned that you were pregnant, did you engage in a healthy lifestyle? Meaning were you conscious of not smoking, doing drugs, or alcohol? Did you see your OB/GYN as requested by them? Did you focus on a healthy diet that included organic foods, vitamins, and limited the caffeine intake? Were you working at a job with lots of stress or did you cut back in order to focus on the pregnancy? All of these items of concern have had an impact on the child you brought into this world.

How quickly did you put your child in front of the television and then the computer to use as a babysitter? This has an impact on the way your child views the world. Or did you have your child with you at all times when you were at home, bonding with them. Were you a parent who spent time out in nature talking with your kids and teaching them about life?

Were your children raised in a two parent household? Do you and your spouse believe in team parenting? This means you put the children first above your egos. It means that you come to an agreement on the values you will teach your children. It is not easy to do when you can’t stand the person you divorced. That is why you divorced them. Nonetheless, the children come first.

So now when you talk about spanking your children, who really needs the spanking? How can we expect our children to behave when we have put them on their own for so long? When we have given them whatever they want, whenever they want it, to massage our own guilt feelings about what we did not have as kids. When we have focused on keeping up with the Jones’ rather than developing family autonomy. Have we taught our children to fear us or to make us their best friend? Neither works by the way.

Our children need to learn from day one that we love them and are there for them no matter what. They need us to sit down at the end of the day and read to them. They need us to spend time with them and talk to them about life as they grow. They need to see us being good role models. They need to meet and know their extended family, on both sides, and have a relationship with them. Even if it is Skype and vacations. They need to know what their limits are from day one. This means when you say no, you mean no. If you and their other parent don’t agree you need to sit down and have a talk with your child and explain why your rules are different (without damning the other parent). Remember, they love both their parents, even if the other is screwed up. This talk needs to continue each time they ask about it. You don’t ever stop being a parent. Being their friend is going to have adverse effects because they won’t respect authority or elders. They will learn too easily how to get away with things. They will expect the world will be their friend and this is not the case. Your boss is not your friend. Your landlord is not your friend. Your doctor is not your friend. Your lawyer is not your friend. Your accountant is not your friend.  So don’t teach your children to be your friend. You are an adult and a parent. Teach them to respect you and your values and then respect them as individuals, as they grow. Give them a voice but show them that they have limitations. Let them express themselves creatively but explain what you like and don’t like about what they are interested in.

If from day one you have raised your children, consistently, in a good and healthy atmosphere, taking heed to what has been said above, you won’t need to spank them. Believe it or not, children who have been raised in these environments and were not spanked, live much better lives than children raised in households with belts, spoons, whips, rulers and extension cords. No one raised with corporal punishment has a good sense of self without lots of psychological support. Spankings never stopped there and never occurred when someone was thinking logically. Generally there was emotional abuse and sometimes even sexual abuse. It was humiliating and degrading to the human psyche. We have grown as human beings and have realized that there are more mature ways of raising children.  Let us open our minds and step out of the box of what we once knew and hated.

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