In favor of corporal punishment

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Spanking: The Best Way to Save Tax Dollars

One guest on the show outlined the "steps" she used to discipline her children:
Step 1: You get a warning
Step 2: You get a time-out
Step 3: Privileges are taken away
When I was growing up, we had no steps. It went like this:
Step 1: You do it.


Spanking hasn't seemed like an option that makes sense (yet) in raising our 27-month-old. I think I would prefer to avoid it. But, I do get sort of annoyed when people seem to add on to Church teaching on matters like this -- it is just not defined yet, AFAIK, that spanking cannot be a just punishment or disciplinary tool done by parents with the proper motivation, restraint, etc.

I first heard of the "1, 2, 3 Magic" method from a woman who brought two horrendously behaved little boys to an evening meeting of adults who normally try to keep their kids in line, and let them run so wild that I couldn't follow the conversation and had to leave the room to cool off my anger a couple of times...

I guess I should clarify that it's a very attachment-parenting-friendly group and theirs was the worst behavior for the longest time, by far, in over 2 years of meetings almost every month. I try to have a merciful attitude toward other parents re rambunctious kids because I'm still figuring out the discipline thing myself. But I do not understand bringing a 3- and 5-year-old and letting them make a giant racket racing around as women you never met before try to talk about important and personal issues, and once, helplessly, saying, "It's way past your bedtime." She warned one once when he was about to do something actually dangerous and he stopped, so why no action at all the rest of the time!

So, that's why I sort of snickered when someone asked for parenting "method" info on a mailing list and she recommended hers,this 1-2-3 Magic, although I suppose she could've seen some huge and quick change by starting this method since that meeting not long before.

I just question the writer's assumption that the two choices are spanking or spoiled brat. Everyone knows horror stories of people who use "gentle discipline" as a cover for not bothering to correct their children, but I've met well-behaved kids from families who avoid corporal punishment, and I've known bratty kids from families who did spank.

Mama Owl -- so did the woman ever even start the 1-2-3 thing with her kids that night? I once was sorely tempted to stalk out of a LLL meeting because I was hearing nothing -- I had to spend the whole time keeping 14 month old Hambet away from the only other child in the play area, a 4 year old who started hitting and pushing when Hambet got "too close" or reached for a toy he thought he might want to play with sometime in the next six months. Mother would occasionally look over her shoulder and call, "Use your words, Zachary" -- but that was all.

A mom I know whose kids I really like once mentioned that she is most effective when she remembers that if her kids misbehave, it's because they need something, whether it's food, water, or a nap; attention; and/or teaching and correction.

I will echo Peony's sentiment that there are other options than just spanking parents or spoiled brats. My siblings and I were all spanked and we all grew up lying, framing each other, etc. I know other kids that were spanked who grew up to be great and noble people. Likewise, I know non-spanked children who behave and others that don't. Which leads me to believe that the spanking part isn't really the main issue here.

Parents who are tuned into their kids and are carefully guiding them and training them up to follow a moral code will raise excellent adults. Parents who are haphazard in their direction/punishment and detached from their kids risk trouble.

So for me, if the spanking isn't the "silver bullet," the question becomes, then why spank at all?


I'm on the moderate, personally anti-spanking side myself, too; I've just begun rebelling against the idea that it is unquestionably abusive, unquestionably incompatible with Christian parenting -- not that that appears to be Sparki's or Peony's position.

Honestly, I don't believe I have ever had the desire to spank my kid. Maybe that makes me more suitable for spanking than some parents -- it is not something I seem likely to do as an expression of anger rather than reasoned, restrained discipline. When I'm angry or frustrated with a kid's behavior I think I need to watch my words, tone, and volume more than my hands. Everything tells me spanking isn't for our family right now, but I am still learning and only have one 27-month-old born child yet.

To me parenting with one's emotions is a big problem. I don't want to tell my kid "If you do that again Mommy will get angry" because I don't want him to think, "If Mommy doesn't know, hence doesn't get angry, it's okay." OTOH kids need to be aware of others' feelings and reactions but they aren't the main reason to behave a certain way.

Most kids will never need a spanking. But some who are strong-willed might need the physical reminder. I found that for life-threatening behavior (running into the street, climbing out of the car seat straps) a quick swat was more effective and for a longer time than trying to explain the need for physical restraints in potentially dangerous situations. I had the great disadvantage with my children that their physical skills and problem solving skills vastly outpaced their sense of danger - hence the choice to use a small pain to protect them from a potentially greater pain. Oh, I was also outnumbered fairly early in the game of parenting, and sometimes spanking the offender saved the other children from thinking that they could get away with some flagrant misbehavior. YMMV.

I'm very concerned when parents recommend spanking to other parents online or in real life without a strong personal relationship already established. Recommending spanking without knowing a parent's personal self control, method of handling anger, discernment about context, etc., is very irresponsible, IMO.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on June 27, 2004 2:46 PM.

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