The Great Spank Debate

I saw an article recently regarding Canadian experts and their attempts to ban spanking:

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/canadian-experts-call-nationwide-ban-spanking-180200392.html

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means:

I have joined a fantastic group of ladies, who are involved in a weekly blog project. Every Thursday, we will dazzle you with our insight on various topics. And each week, we take turns coming up with the idea for the blog topic. Please check out their blogs as well, listed under my Blogroll section. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Mom Of Many (Susanna): One Mom’s perspective on life, raising kids, knitting and other unrelated topics.

That article prompted me to choose spanking as our topic for this week.

What I’ve noticed is that individuals base their view on spanking on how they were raised. You have a group who spank their kids and are almost proud of the fact. Comments like “That’s how my parents raised me and I turned out OK” are never far behind the admittance to corporal punishment. They will regale you with tales of the time they got a severe ass beating because of something bad they did, and it’s almost always a fond memory of how their parents kept them in line.

Another group swings at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, and refuse to spank. Maybe they were spanked as children and had horrible experiences, or they’ve read data which supports how terrible spanking can be on a child’s psyche. Maybe their parents never spanked. These individuals seem to be completely horrified when they hear of parents who do spank, and get very defensive about it and often compare it with child abuse.

I fall in the middle group. I did experience abuse as a child, not at the hands of my biological parents but by an evil stepmother who had been raised that way herself. Sounds a little Cinderella-like, but it did happen and it’s shaped my own opinions on spanking. I don’t look down or frown upon anyone who spanks, but it’s not my go-to form of discipline. I can count a handful of times in my older son’s life where I had to spank him, and it was for something extreme, like the time he darted out into a Target parking lot when he was 3, after I told him multiple times to hold onto my hand. Cars were driving through as he flew out from my grasp, and you better believe he got a swat on his butt when I caught him. I didn’t care who saw or what anyone thought.

Spanking never really worked on him though. I don’t think I was effective, most likely due to my own fears that stemmed from my past. He’d look at me in this confused manner and continue misbehaving. I’ve found that putting his precious Legos or various other toys in time out does the trick, or grounding him from doing something he really wants to do works too. As for my toddler, he would have no clue or idea what a spanking is for. He thinks time outs are a game.

I can see what the Canadian experts are trying to achieve by banning something they feel is detrimental to children’s health, yet how would they even monitor the activity? Are they going to put people on the alert, have neighbors call in on each other? What if someone swats a behind once? Does this constitute an abusive parent, vs. a parent who really does go over the line? And where is that line drawn, anyway? As I mentioned above, people fall in different groups, and what one person sees as a form of discipline, another might see as all out abuse.

I think most of us can recognize child abuse. Spanking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for me. I think of smacking children, using fists, using inanimate objects to cause harm. Placing wounds in areas where no one can see them. It’s calculative and horrible. Stricter laws should be in place for children who are suffering and I am in complete support of that.

As for my 7 year old, I would say he is a  healthy, happy normal little boy. He doesn’t seem “screwed up” from the handful of spankings he’s received. He’s emotionally stable and knows he is loved.  I would never constitute him as being physically abused, and it would sicken me to have someone classify me as an abusive parent, considering what I’ve been through in my own childhood.

 

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