Spanking Tears

head in hands

I've written a lot about spanking in the past, but one thing that is difficult is that, for my family, it's not really the past. I am the oldest in a family of over a dozen; many of my siblings are still minors, living at home. My parents still spank. This can make visiting home painful. I keep trying to write about this but I'm having trouble doing it it in my normal fashion. So instead, I give you a series of vignettes---short scenes or conversations from recent visits … [Read more...]

“Mommy, You Have Two Options”

preschool

When Sally wants something that is not an option at the moment---say, going out for ice cream---the first thing I do is explain why it's not an option. I explain that we had already made other plans, or that we don't have money in the budget to go for ice cream every day, or that we need to make sure we're eating a healthy diet and ice cream should be a special treat not something we eat constantly, etc.Sometimes, however, that's not enough. Sally doesn't always understand the concept of … [Read more...]

Hana Williams Abuse and Murder Trial Ongoing

Hana Williams

Hana Williams died two years ago, in May 2011, of hypothermia after her mother banished her from the house as punishment for being "rebellious." Hana was already overly-thin from starvation---her parents withheld food as punishment---and she had often been forced to sleep in the barn, use an outdoor port-a-potty, and shower outside. Hana Williams had been adopted from Ethiopia in 2008 by a conservative Christian homeschooling couple who followed the child training methods of Michael and Debi … [Read more...]

Gentle Discipline and Shades of Formula Parenting

still

There appears to be a growing trend in some Christian homeschooling circles away from corporal punishment. The term generally used instead is "gentle discipline," and it sounds in many ways quite similar to what I call "positive parenting." I hesitate to make the critique I'm about to make, because I truly am glad that these parents are deciding not to spank.The thing is, when I read blog posts by mothers into gentle discipline, I am sometimes afraid that they have simply exchanged one … [Read more...]

Why We Give Parents Power

parent power

One commenter on my post about whether children are an oppressed class had this to say: You can't give someone great responsibility without giving them equally great power. . . . If parents are going to be held responsible for their children's actions, they must have the power to curtail their children's actions. This is an important point. While I don't believe in "parental rights," I do believe that parents have responsibilities toward their children. They are tasked with ensuring that their … [Read more...]

Are Children an Oppressed Class?

parents_lecturing

I've often heard that children are manipulative, but it just occurred to me that being without any real power can't help but make people turn to manipulation. After all, what other options are there? Think about it: If a preschooler wants to stop by the ice cream store, the only way she can meet that desire is to convince her parent to take her there and buy her ice cream. And the parent, in this situation, has absolute power. The parent can simply say no and that's the end of it. And it's not … [Read more...]

In Which Sally Grasps Contraception

iud

"Mommy, what's this?"In her hand Sally held a condom, still in its wrapper. Sean had cleaned out his desk earlier in the day, and it had somehow ended up on the floor, a leftover from last summer between when Bobby was born and when I had my IUD put in. I could have just brushed the question off with a non-answer---Sally's only in preschool, by the way---but I decided against that. Instead, I pulled out my copy of Our Bodies Ourselves and showed Sally diagrams of the female reproductive … [Read more...]


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