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Old 01-04-2002, 09:57 AM   #1
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Corporal punishment??

This is something I've been curious about for a while. What do you all think about corporal punishment, namely "spanking" as used in discipline of children? Is it a parents right or is it always child abuse? Should the state have any say over this or no?

Myself, I grew up in a somewhat strict home. My parents while very loving did use spanking as a form of discipline and I hated it (of course). However, in retrospect I can't say that I am worse off or emotionally scarred for life as a result. I know there are some who propose that it just teaches children that violence is the answer to problems, but in my own life I haven't found that to be the case. I don't have violent tendencies and I've never struck anyone. My parents were always very clear about actions that would result in spanking and almost always did not distribute this punishment while in anger. (Usually I got the sad "this is hurting me more than it hurts you" speech. lol).

On the other hand, there are so many people out there whose idea of child discipline is to reason with the kid until they are screaming their heads off at each other, angry, and THEN resort to physical punishment. To me, that's more like abuse because it is unpredictable and creates instability for the child.

I don't know if this rambling makes any sense. It's not an issue I have clarity or conclusions on yet (obviously) and as I don't have any children of my own, I can't say what I'd do as a parent.

But anyways, I'm curious as to your thoughts.

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Old 01-04-2002, 11:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
This is something I've been curious about for a while. What do you all think about corporal punishment, namely "spanking" as used in discipline of children? Is it a parents right or is it always child abuse? Should the state have any say over this or no?

Myself, I grew up in a somewhat strict home. My parents while very loving did use spanking as a form of discipline and I hated it (of course). However, in retrospect I can't say that I am worse off or emotionally scarred for life as a result. I know there are some who propose that it just teaches children that violence is the answer to problems, but in my own life I haven't found that to be the case. I don't have violent tendencies and I've never struck anyone. My parents were always very clear about actions that would result in spanking and almost always did not distribute this punishment while in anger. (Usually I got the sad "this is hurting me more than it hurts you" speech. lol).

On the other hand, there are so many people out there whose idea of child discipline is to reason with the kid until they are screaming their heads off at each other, angry, and THEN resort to physical punishment. To me, that's more like abuse because it is unpredictable and creates instability for the child.

I don't know if this rambling makes any sense. It's not an issue I have clarity or conclusions on yet (obviously) and as I don't have any children of my own, I can't say what I'd do as a parent.

But anyways, I'm curious as to your thoughts.

-sula

Well, in a word, yes. But I'm wary when that can be taken as a license for people to beat their kids. My parents were quite strict also, but it was the threat (right word?) rather than the reality of discipline that was effective. I may have been spanked once, possibly twice, in my whole life.

But corporal punishment should never be the first resort IMO. Like hitting the kid because they're talking when you're trying to read the paper or something.

If it ain't fair, and clearly so, the kid will only grow up to hate his or her parents. And then they get old and decrepit, and all hell unfolds.
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Old 01-04-2002, 11:31 AM   #3
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PS. I mean 'yes' parents should have the right to exercise corporal punishment. And 'yes' the state should have some capacity to intervene if necessary. Because extreme abuse bloody well does happen in the home, if also in public institutions.
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Old 01-04-2002, 12:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:

My parents were always very clear about actions that would result in spanking and almost always did not distribute this punishment while in anger.
That's the key, but many parent do not have the skills to do it correctly like your parents did. I don't have any problem with corporal punishment if it's carried out properly (i.e., as you've stated it above). That said, I don't know if I'd spank my children. I'll have to wait and see.

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Old 01-04-2002, 12:59 PM   #5
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I'm a big fan of spankings... Haha.. but I's slick enough to actually steal my mom's paddle back in the day.. though the ingenious spot of hiding it under my bed isn't as genius as i thought... as she found it within five minutes
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Old 01-04-2002, 02:18 PM   #6
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Since my husband and I have a young son, we've often discussed which is the best method of punishment for him when the situation arises. This is never easy for any well intentioned parent!

My husband and I were raised entirely different. Whereas my husband was spanked maybe 2 times in his life, it was the mere threat of being spanked growing up that kept him in line. My parents (dad mostly) was very very strict and I was spanked or slapped or knocked around with various objects for even the littlest things. Sometimes the punishment of spanking from my father was justified, but most of the time it was plain abusive and it took me many years to get over it. When I was a child I was afraid of what kind of punishment I'd receive more than I was in disappointing my parents.

Every child wants to please his or her parents, just as *most* parents want to do right by their child. In many cases where a child does something that disappoints the parents, the fear of having the parents mad at him can have as much of an affect on the child's reaction to the whole situation more than the actual physical punishment.

Every child is different, so it's a matter of applying different appropriate punishment tactics according to situation.

My brother used the "time-out" method on his son for all punishments and this method worked well. Sometimes. In severe cases where the time-out method was used, his son found a way to easy manipulate the situation and he'd turn right back around and do whatever it was that got him in trouble in the first place. I knew that when I had a son and saw his personality develop, the time out method wouldn't cut it.

For my son, I admit I have spanked him a few times in severe situations where I felt corporal punishment was necessary. It was really all I needed to do those few times, as now my son has a fair idea of what pisses me off, so he isn't likely to commit the same childlike crimes again. I think what really gets my son the most when he does something wrong is that he knows he's disapointed me and that he made me angry. He doesn't say "don't spank me" but he cries, apologizes, and now that we can communicate we talk over what happened and why it shouldn't happen again. This seems to work for all of us, as a resolve is found much quicker through explaining cause and effect, yet keeping firm that what he did made me very angry and disapointed.

Basically I feel corporal punishment is warranted in the most severe of situations - but more importantly the punishment should not stop with a smack on the butt. It may be called "laying the guilt trip" on my child, but I find that it's important to let him know that what he did made me very angry and that I am disappointed in his behavior and that it ultimately makes me sad (small kids in the developmental stages have a grip on the basic emotions: happy, sad, mad) To follow up on that it's important for my piece of mind (as well as his) to come to a resolve. Whether it means me making him clean up his mess after he's thrown things around during a tantrum because he didn't get his way, or simply talking about how wrong his actions were and how they effect other people around him, the resolve is the most important factor in a punishment.

It may be a swat on the butt or a slap on the wrist or a stern talking to, but any kind of punishment no matter what the person's age and no matter what the resolve is, should be constructive.
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Old 01-04-2002, 02:32 PM   #7
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thanks for that very well-written post, adam's mistress. I must agree with you that punishment MUST be constructive and also that it must be tailored to the individual. What worked to curb my naughtiness did not help curb my brother's, etc. We are all unique.
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Old 01-04-2002, 09:32 PM   #8
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I don't think I'd ever do it. Under the circumstances that might warrant a spanking, I'd be extremely angry, and hitting a child when one is angry is a bad idea. That's just my opinion though.
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Old 01-05-2002, 05:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by adam's_mistress:
Every child is different, so it's a matter of applying different appropriate punishment tactics according to situation.
I agree
I also agree that corporal punishment should never be issued out of anger
I guess it's very difficult though

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Old 01-06-2002, 12:42 AM   #10
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i don't know...i would never spank my kids, i just think talking the problem out would be more effective. (me, ever the psychologist lol) but i don't look down on people for spanking their kids. the only thing that bugs me is when parents spank their children in public. generally, i've found it to look embarassing for the parent and child, and usually unnecessary. it's like the child is crying out of control and they slap them. this is just my opinion but i'd think it'd be more effective to take them outside or to the bathroom to try to calm them down. hitting them would only make them cry more, imho.
but like i said, it's only my opinion and of course i think everyone's entitled to their own, even if they disagree with me.

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Old 01-06-2002, 06:37 PM   #11
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Bring back corporal punishment in schools, thats what I say. Bring back the cane and thrash the well-deserving hides.

I'm perfectly serious, not only is spanking or physically reprimanding a child once in a while (like twice in childhood) beneficial, but it should be widely recognised as such. Sometimes kids can not be reasoned with. I should know, I was one nasty little shit.

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Old 01-07-2002, 05:14 AM   #12
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I see spanking children as a sign of weakness and ignorance.

There are always alternatives, but if you don't take the time and effort to find out about them, spanking is the easy solution - yes, easy, even if it makes you feel bad.

So many people here talk about human rights in other contexts, but why have we as a society decided that in the case of spanking, children's rights are worth less? Why do we subject our most vulnerable fellow humans to a humiliating and painful punishment which would land us in prison if we tried it on adults? Because children can be impossible to reason with? Or just because we can?

Tell me this, at which age would you stop spanking your child? If your 6-foot son misbehaved at age 16, would you still attempt to spank him? No? Afraid that he might hit back?

As for not hitting a child in anger, that's fine, but do you seriously believe that waiting until you have calmed down (or Daddy gets home) and then hitting your child in cold blood is better?

I think we all need to face up to the fact that many, many parents do not feel the need to spank their children, and that doesn't necessarily mean that they let their children do as they please. These parents may either be blessed with an "easy" child, or they have in fact taken the time to read books, listen to radio programmes or even consult experts on how to handle children. These parents are showing maturity and devotion to their children.

Now, I'm not saying that parents who spank their children don't love them, all I'm saying is that they're not trying hard enough. So you have a "difficult" child? Is that your child's fault? Some children seem to be born that way, and others are created due to their parents' incompetence, but in either case it makes no sense to spank that behaviour out of the child. Parents need to examine the source of the problem and deal with that instead.

Saying, "This hurts me more than it hurts you" may ring true, but in fact it's just a way of making the parent feel better about having failed again. It's a nice little mantra you can repeat to yourself and your child in order to justify your actions.

Certainly, there are many other ways of abusing children, including ignoring them or yelling at them, but let's stick to the topic at hand - people hitting their children. Whether you call it spanking or smacking or something else, it's physical violence, and it's humiliation. And I'm not even talking about the parents who spank their two-year-olds with various implements because they are "smart" and "know better". Just your average garden-variety end-of-their-rope parent.

To those parents who say that they only use spanking as a last resort, I want to pose this question: If spanking is the last resort, what do you do if that doesn't work? I find it frightening to think that there are parents out there who honestly believe that they have exhausted all possible options once they have used time-out, a couple of warnings or yelling. If that's the case, you're not doing your job to the best of your ability, and for the sake of your child you should educate yourself more.

Apart from the argument "It's the only thing that works, sometimes", another one you hear often is "I was spanked, and I turned out just fine". Well, in my not so humble opinion, the only way you were spanked and turned out fine is if you don't spank your own children because you have decided to do better than your own parents.

Finally, let's look at Sweden where hitting your children in any way has been banned for some 20 years. Have the Swedes since then raised a generation of problem children, thugs and losers? I think not. So it is in fact possible to raise perfectly well-adjusted citizens without resorting to violence. And if that's the case, why do parents in many other countries still resort to this kind of abuse? I think it goes back to what I said in the beginning - ignorance.

Parents, please take the time and effort to educate yourselves. There are other and better ways.
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Old 01-08-2002, 03:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klodomir:
I see spanking children as a sign of weakness and ignorance.

There are always alternatives, but if you don't take the time and effort to find out about them, spanking is the easy solution - yes, easy, even if it makes you feel bad.

So many people here talk about human rights in other contexts, but why have we as a society decided that in the case of spanking, children's rights are worth less? Why do we subject our most vulnerable fellow humans to a humiliating and painful punishment which would land us in prison if we tried it on adults? Because children can be impossible to reason with? Or just because we can?

Tell me this, at which age would you stop spanking your child? If your 6-foot son misbehaved at age 16, would you still attempt to spank him? No? Afraid that he might hit back?

As for not hitting a child in anger, that's fine, but do you seriously believe that waiting until you have calmed down (or Daddy gets home) and then hitting your child in cold blood is better?

I think we all need to face up to the fact that many, many parents do not feel the need to spank their children, and that doesn't necessarily mean that they let their children do as they please. These parents may either be blessed with an "easy" child, or they have in fact taken the time to read books, listen to radio programmes or even consult experts on how to handle children. These parents are showing maturity and devotion to their children.

Now, I'm not saying that parents who spank their children don't love them, all I'm saying is that they're not trying hard enough. So you have a "difficult" child? Is that your child's fault? Some children seem to be born that way, and others are created due to their parents' incompetence, but in either case it makes no sense to spank that behaviour out of the child. Parents need to examine the source of the problem and deal with that instead.

Saying, "This hurts me more than it hurts you" may ring true, but in fact it's just a way of making the parent feel better about having failed again. It's a nice little mantra you can repeat to yourself and your child in order to justify your actions.

Certainly, there are many other ways of abusing children, including ignoring them or yelling at them, but let's stick to the topic at hand - people hitting their children. Whether you call it spanking or smacking or something else, it's physical violence, and it's humiliation. And I'm not even talking about the parents who spank their two-year-olds with various implements because they are "smart" and "know better". Just your average garden-variety end-of-their-rope parent.

To those parents who say that they only use spanking as a last resort, I want to pose this question: If spanking is the last resort, what do you do if that doesn't work? I find it frightening to think that there are parents out there who honestly believe that they have exhausted all possible options once they have used time-out, a couple of warnings or yelling. If that's the case, you're not doing your job to the best of your ability, and for the sake of your child you should educate yourself more.

Apart from the argument "It's the only thing that works, sometimes", another one you hear often is "I was spanked, and I turned out just fine". Well, in my not so humble opinion, the only way you were spanked and turned out fine is if you don't spank your own children because you have decided to do better than your own parents.

Finally, let's look at Sweden where hitting your children in any way has been banned for some 20 years. Have the Swedes since then raised a generation of problem children, thugs and losers? I think not. So it is in fact possible to raise perfectly well-adjusted citizens without resorting to violence. And if that's the case, why do parents in many other countries still resort to this kind of abuse? I think it goes back to what I said in the beginning - ignorance.

Parents, please take the time and effort to educate yourselves. There are other and better ways.
Klodomir you've brought up some really good points and I respect your opinion - but also remember that no parent no matter how hard they try, is never perfect. I don't know if you have children, but the only way to truly pass judgement on parents (as you did by calling them "ignorant") is to walk a mile in their shoes. Parents can look to books and professionals for guidance, but books as well as professionals are not privvy to every child's behavioral patterns 24/7.

I cannot strongly reiterate enough that every child is different, as is every parent. I've seen children get away with murder, children who are not reprimanded either verbally (or physically) and resort to hitting their parents, destroying their surroundings (ever see a kid start throwing stuff in a public place because he didn't get his way?) or resort to manipulation (the parents' fault for giving in "I'll give you a piece of candy if you stop behaving badly." Is the child the boss in these types of situations, or is it the parents' duty to restore order? I've seen parents who weren't strict enough, and many more parents were were too keen on spanking the crap out of their kids. Somewhere in the mix there has to be balance, and as any parent would agree, the punishment doled out should cater to the needs of both parent and child.

Children are smarter than we think, and by the age of 1 year old are already exploring the avenue of cause and effect. It is part of their social development to "test" or "push their parents' buttons" Though I don't think a child should be spanked out of anger and definitely not swatted in public places, in some extreme cases according to child corporal punishment is necessary. Kids at young ages, namely before 7-10 years old, simply do not have the social skills needed to reason with adults in situations where any kind of punishment is inevitable. Does this mean that a parent should automatically strike their child? Of course not. Does this mean a parent should give the child a nasty glare and hope he doesn't make the same mistake again? Absolutely not!

To break it down, parenting is trial and error. Either way it will affect the child in some degree from the most minute to the most severe. There needs to be balance, and that's not something that can be found in the pages of Dr. Spock, but in first hand experience only.

You make it seem as though every good intentioned parent who swats their kids on rare occasion is an evil, ignorant, abuse monger who is in dire need of anger management counseling. This is simply not the case, and I for one feel I'm a good parent (though I know I've made mistakes along the way - everyone does.) Unless you know the parent and the child or have seen first hand how they can or cannot diplomatically handle a situation where punishment may be part of the resolve, you have no right to pass judgement.



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Old 01-08-2002, 04:43 PM   #14
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Old 01-08-2002, 05:02 PM   #15
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i thought i should say a little bit more than "exactly," lol.

i don't know...i mean i know about trouble kids, trust me i do. i may not have any, but i've been a babysitter and i've watched some kids who i swear are the devil incarnate. some kids aren't used to hearing no, maybe it's something having nothing to do with the problem at hand. i'm sure all of us have blown up at someone over something trivial, only to later realise that we were upset about something else, and that incident sparked our temper.
i just think it would be a lot easier to talk things out with your child instead of just smacking them. it doesn't solve anything, and sometimes even after the physical wounds have healed, emotional wounds lie deeper and may never heal.
i'm not saying everyone who spanks their kids are horrible parents, but have all the options really been explored? i understand no parent is perfect, and although millions of books have been published on almost every problem a parent could encounter, every situation is different, so even if your problem is explained in some book, it may not apply to your situation. all i'm saying is, maybe talking the problem out with your child instead of immediately spanking them or threatening to spank them.

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