discipline

Spanking Survey, Part 8

This post is a continuing series of spanking survey questions, now moving between questions about children to adults. Previous parts are here: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.

Now that you’re older, what is your opinion on the use of spanking with children? Frankly put, I think it’s wrong. I don’t support it at all.

Do you think parents have a right to spank their children? Legally in the US, yes. Ethically and morally, no. Hitting people without their consent is assault. Just because the person is littler than you or younger than you doesn’t make it right.

How do you think parents should spank their children? They shouldn’t.

What ages do you think parents should spank children? They shouldn’t.

Is corporal punishment an effective method of disciplining a child? This is a question that can be answered in many ways. It’s like asking, “Is war effective?” It depends on what your goal is and what consequences you are willing to have all participants suffer from as a result of those actions. Generally speaking, though, I don’t think it’s a good way to discipline a child. I think that spanking is far overused in our culture.

Does corporal punishment lead to the development of good character? No, generally not. Children who are abused are more likely to become abusers. They’re more likely to become bullies. They’re more likely to act out. I saw it vividly among classmates and students whom I taught. People with “good character” who treat those around them with respect can be raised without corporal punishment. It just takes education about alternative ways to parent.

Does corporal punishment help build respect for authority figures? No, generally not. More often than not, it teaches children to fear their parents or those who have spanked them. That’s not respect. Respect is something that is given freely and which is earned through actions that merit respect. Hitting someone because you are bigger than them is not a respect-earning action.

Does corporal punishment work better than other disciplinary methods that don’t involve physical pain? Again, it depends on what “better” means. If you want an immediate end to a certain action, corporal punishment can be more effective with younger children than things that make no sense to them such as grounding. However, if administered incorrectly, it will lead to emotional damage. Often there are ways to redirect children’s behavior that involve preventive parenting and logical consequences. These are far more effective in the long run in teaching children appropriate behaviors.

Have you ever intervened in a situation in which a child was being hit by a parent/guardian in public? No. I have only witnessed one such situation which I mentioned in survey 6 at the end. I regret not having the willpower to intervene, though. I’m sure it wouldn’t have changed the outcome for that child, but at least the child would have known someone cared about him since his parent clearly didn’t.

Did you spank your own children if you had any? No, my ex-husband and I were against spanking. We both had been spanked as children, but it didn’t make sense to us. We decided to find other ways with the help of parenting classes and parenting books. I’m grateful we did. It is entirely possible to raise happy, respectful, well-behaved children without using spanking.

Until such classes and books are free and readily available, I don’t see most making changes in the US though. Too many people can’t think outside of how they were raised. There are a lot of bad stereotypes that if you don’t spank children, they will be brats. That’s not true. Kids need structure and discipline, but that doesn’t have to be corporal punishment.

If you have children would you spank them as a last resort? No.

If so, is there anything you would do differently compared to your parents? When we decided we were against spanking completely, that decision was 100% different than how our parents acted or our siblings parented their children.

Do you think spankings should be allowed in schools? Absolutely not. None of the schools I attended spanked, and it was never necessary.

Do you think corporal punishment should be considered by the courts for children? For adults? For children, no. For adults? Maybe. I think a lot of people would chose a public caning (like in some Eastern countries) than a prison sentence. The only way I would support it, though, if was if the sentenced person was given a choice between corporal punishment and a prison sentence.

(continue on to part nine)

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