A Reader Asks About Spanking

…over at the Register.

  • http://www.parafool.com/ victor

    Never on the first date! I’m sorry, what was the question?

    • Newp Ort

      Yeah I was a bit disappointed when I clicked through.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I have to admire you for wading into a hot-button mommy-war topic (spanking, not torture). View the comboxes; anyone who spanks is an ill-adjusted adult seeking power or revenge, or a neglectful, frustrated parent taking out their disappointment in life on their children. If you want to be demonized in public, just mention that you think there might be acceptable moments to spank.

    • Dave G.

      My experience is that it’s not how you punish your children (within reason), but why. I knew kids whose parents wouldn’t touch them who grew up to be rotten to the core. Others had parents who used belts like Indiana Jones, and they turned out quite well. The opposite is true. Since, on the whole, the percentage of people turning out rotten doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years, and spanking was far more common years ago than now, I don’t think there’s a strong case to be made that it leads to genocidal murderers.

      I, for one, don’t spank if I can avoid it. My parents did, but I doubt a dozen times my whole life between the two. Sometimes I think those against spanking use parents who have self control issues as their models, and forget there’s a wide range between beating kids a dozen times a day and never touching them. Again, I don’t spank my own boys as a general rule, but I’m more comfortable with a traditional notion of right and wrong and punishment and reward that allows for it, than many of the assumptions about right and wrong and punishment that accompanies many calls to abolish the practice.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        There are a lot of very reasonable voices–like yours–that point out that spanking can be used as a consequence. We’ve had occasion to use it, especially with our oldest, who used to get so wildly out of control the swat on her bottom served to get her attention when nothing else would. I get frustrated with the people who assume that all spanking is done in anger or as a power trip, compare it to abusing one’s spouse, etc. I prefer to use other methods and do 99% of the time. On the other hand, I don’t think.dad’s belt applied to my butt caused me severe psychological damage. It did convince me that I’d better behave in church.

        • Julia

          Yeah, te comments comparing it to spousal abuse get to me.

          A husband who keeps his wife in there room when she misbehaved, and prevents her from seeing her friends while telling her what to eat and wear is abisive. It doesn’t mean it’s abuse to do the same to your kids.

          As a kid, I was spanked once and turned out okay. My kids drive me so crazy (I have three under five), I don’t do it.

          • Julia

            Lets just pretend I know how to spell, please :)

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              You’re spelling better than most of facebook :D

      • kenofken

        There is a wide range between firm physical discipline and abuse, just as there is a wide range between social drinking and alcoholism. The problem is that one often can’t see the line dividing the two in their own life until they are way over it. Spanking can be a tool in the right circumstance, IF the parent in question is in a good place in their own heart and head to administer it. It’s also a tool with many limitations. It does nothing to teach self-control, for instance.

        It’s also true that a lot of people who grew up with even fairly severe spanking regimens “turn out fine.” They’re not serial killers or abusers, but a HELL of a lot of them are BDSM freaks. In fact, I have never met someone in that subculture, ever, who did not come from a background of stern physical punishment as children. Not all of it, by a long shot, is what most of us would consider “abuse.”

  • Marthe Lépine

    Is not there something in the Bible about “spare the rod and spoil the child”? I did a quick search through the book of Proverbs and did not find this exact wording, but there were a few references to rods and disciplining sons…


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