Spanking Children

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Results of the Spanking Poll on Rexanne.com: Voters - 233

Percentage of readers who do not spank their children: 37%

Percentage of readers who spank their children: 62%

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I am completely opposed to spanking. I know that almost twice as many of you spank your children as don't. At the risk of alienating 62 percent of my subscribers, I cannot, in good conscience, keep my opinions to myself. ;-)

I feel we have evolved enough as a society to understand that violence breeds violence. Hitting is physically violent. So is spanking. I do not believe spanking children teaches them to mind their parents or caretakers any better than other forms of constructive discipline. If it is unacceptable to hit an adult, what makes it acceptable to hit a child? Taking into consideration the parent or caretaker is most likely three times the size of the child, doesn't this bring up issues of bullying? Many of the comments left on the spanking poll mentioned a biblical reference, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." When we consider that the bible was written thousands of years ago, we must also take into consideration that we may have advanced to the point where biblical interpretations are probably not to be taken as literally as they once were. I do not believe parents should spank their children into submission, any more than I believe criminals should be stoned to death by the masses, as was the custom so many years ago.

Many parents (myself included) have neglected to replace spanking with another solid form of discipline. Refraining from spanking our kids does not negate disciplining them. We have created a generation of children without boundaries in our zeal to adopt a kinder, gentler parenting style. While I am thoroughly delighted that many parents have decided not to spank their children, I am saddened by the lack of respect for authority in so many children today. Without limits, children are insecure, always testing the boundaries ... begging to be corralled for their own safety. In removing physical punishment, we need to find a healthy replacement.

Another comment mentioned often in the spanking poll had to do with spanking a child "out of love." I think this means the parent is disciplining their child because they love them. Yes, by all means, discipline your child when needed. My only request is that you consider not raising a hand or your voice to them in order to accomplish this. My methods have been to remove a privilege, after a warning. It might not be the best form of imposing limits on children but it works pretty well with my daughters ... most of the time. ;-)

One interesting comment was from a mother who said she only spanked her child when the kid was outright defiant. Well, you know, I wanted to consider that option for about two seconds! When my older daughter is defiant, my immediate instinct is to smack her ... but I don't. She is now an inch taller than I am and almost outweighs me. Not a good time to start swatting her butt. She'd either laugh at me or hit me back. Neither option seems conducive to maintaining authority! As much as that option sounded tempting, it is not the answer. If we are to grow as a people, we need to adopt more humane methods of teaching our children to behave.

The comment that disturbed me most was from parents who said they did not spank their child "right away." The child is told they are going to be spanked while the parent goes somewhere else to "calm down" before doling out the dreaded punishment. Sorry, this one gives me the willies. To me, this is a method of psychological torture. Imagining a small child, probably a toddler (or an adolescent reduced to a toddler's fears) in this situation tears at my heart. If I were a child, waiting patiently for a spanking, I think I would seriously consider running away. Why stick around for a parent who is going to come back, irrationally calm in the face of my utter terror, and let them hurt me? I do not think this is a good idea, no matter what the circumstance. I would rather see a parent swat a kid on the butt from sheer frustration, as in the situation with a defiant child, than meditate on it a while and then do the deed. I'm sure I have just contradicted parenting advice many of you have heard by experts. These experts do not rate one inch in my life. I cannot imagine a competent child psychologist thinking that this is OK.

I am 100% committed to a no-spanking philosophy. I believe spanking will be outlawed in most countries within a few years. This practice has been a traditional tool of discipline for far too long.

Please, my dearest readers who do not share my opinion, I ask that you consider the alternatives. Many parents spank, simply for lack of a better solution. There are other solutions. It's not always easy, I know. Spanking is probably the easiest method of momentarily whipping a child in line, however, if we are armed with alternate choices that really work, we will be better parents.

Copyright 2000 ? 2005 ? Rexanne Mancini

Rexanne Mancini is the mother of two daughters, Justice and Liberty. She is a novelist, freelance writer and maintains an extensive yet informal parenting and family web site, Rexanne.com ? http://www.rexanne.com -Visit her site for good advice, award-winning Internet holiday pages and some humor to help you cope. Subscribe to her free newsletter, Rexanne's Web Review, for a monthly dose of Rexanne: http://www.rexanne.com/rwr-archives.html

In The News:

How Children Evolved to Whine  The New York Times
Nurturing modern age kids  Deccan Chronicle
Online advice on parenting  New Straits Times
Open-access parenting programme shows promise  University of Cape Town News

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