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Don't Spare the Rod

It still surprises me when people talk about spanking like it's child abuse. I came across this article that goes so far as to say that "corporal punishment is like smoking", as if it's addicting. Any sane parent can tell you that it is very hard to spank your children. My dad used to cry when he spanked me because I cried. It's hard to believe that spanking can somehow facilitate abuse, which is what the article implies: "It's a rare human being who can refrain from stepping up from a mild, relatively harmless dose to an excessive and harmful one." I beg to differ. My parents never abused me. Never. Not even my stepparents. Physically, anyway. Emotionally, well, I guess that is a topic for another day. I digress. Any parent that can't keep from stepping over the line is an abusive parent, and spanking or not spanking will have nothing to do with that.

To support their claim, the article goes on to say that "[m]ore than one-third of all parents who start out with relatively mild punishments end up crossing the line drawn by the state to define child abuse: hitting with an object, harsh and cruel hitting, and so on." When I was a kid, you got whipped with a hickory or a belt, and you liked it. Or you got whipped again. But you didn't like it too much. Or you got whipped again. I can hardly call getting whipped with a hickory child abuse. It wasn't like it left a scar or even a bruise. My parents whipped me hard enough to get the point, but they never actually hurt me. Sure, I cried like a fountain, but they were crocodile tears. (And, they worked. Hehe.)

The article goes on to say the following: "The key is corporal punishment's temporary effectiveness in stopping a behavior. It does work—for a moment, anyway. The direct experience of that momentary pause in misbehavior has a powerful effect, conditioning the parent to hit again next time to achieve that jolt of fleeting success and blinding the parent to the long-term failure of hitting to improve behavior. The research consistently shows that the unwanted behavior will return at the same rate as before. " I really just can't believe that. When I got whipped for something, when it came to me getting whipped because I'd had my warnings and time outs, I got the point. I didn't do that shit again. And, I would bet you a hundred bucks, most kids would rather be whipped than be grounded. I'd venture to say it's also more effective that grounding. Grounding just pissed me off. Made me want to rebel.

You may be modern and believe that spanking is child abuse. I believe it is not. And, I can assure you my kids will get a swat on their behind. They will also get an explanation, which is something I think a lot of people forget about. It doesn't matter what the punishment is, if you don't explain to your child why you are upset and why what they were doing was wrong, bad, or dangerous, the kid is going to repeat the offense. Children can understand that they shouldn't do something because it makes Mommy sad. That tactic works. So, I say, swat the behind, and then tell them why, and you'll get a happy, healthy, and safe child. Of course, that's just how I was raised. And, I didn't turn out a murderous, raping, anarchist, menace to society. I'm a college educated, salaried engineer, who pays my taxes and my parking tickets. I'm no model citizen, but I'm a decent human being. And, I'm fairly certain I didn't get this way because my parents grounded me.

All I know is that when I was a kid, and whipping was the norm, we didn't have to lock our doors. Now that spankings are child abuse, I have to lock my doors. I can only believe there is some sort of correlation there.

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