Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Spanking

Some of the parents who hit their kids are evil sadistic monsters. This post is not meant for them.

The rest of the parents who hit their kids are just ignorant. They call it spanking to make it seem harmless. They talk about tempting wall sockets and about kids running to the road every time they hear cars. These people don't have a choice, see, but to hit their kids. It's for their own good. Here's a good one: Spare the rod, spoil the child. It sounds true, so it must be true.

Here are the pros and cons of hitting a child:

1. It makes sense if you like hitting people who can't hit you back.

1. Your kids sometimes feel the outside world is scary. With time, they learn the people they can always rely on are their parents. By hitting their kids, the parents break that trust. The home becomes a violent place while the world outside becomes the relatively safe place. When this happens, you have failed your kids and you have failed in your commitment to your family. For every child who grows up to say being spanked put him on the right path, there are two who grow up with distrust for authority and cynicism toward the world because the people assigned by fate to take care of them had abused that role.

2. Spanking is simply unnecessary.

Your kid says something you don't like? Use a certain authoritative tone to correct him. Let him know you don't like what you hear.

Your kid runs around in the mall to the point that makes you feel uncomfortable? Use a more authoritative voice. Let the kid know this is unacceptable.

Your kid is about to run to the road? Use an emergency hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime tone. Let him know this will not happen again. The tone of voice that will make this clear is within you. It might be harder to find this voice than to find a hand to hit your child with, but when you hit your kid after he runs to the road you give the message that he's being punished because he was caught doing something bad, and that if you weren't there, he would have been fine; when you go down to his level and use your "never again" voice, you have the opportunity to teach him a real lesson, which was, after all, the point here.

3. There is a large gap between the number of people who hit their kids when they run to the road or put their wet fingers in sockets, and the number of people who use these examples as excuses. Most of the people who are ready to hit their kids when they do something dangerous, will hit them when they throw their food off the table, when they talk back, when they refuse to go to sleep at night, and ironically, when they hit other kids. If you're ready to hit, you will hit. And your kid will learn that hitting is what people are supposed to do when they don't get their way.

4. Some people, like a commenter below this article, argue that spanking is a last-resort disciplinary tool found in the parent's tool box. After everything has been tried and failed, thankfully we can dig inside our tool box, and look at that! He adds that "if all has been tried after a time and has not ended in a turn-around in the erring behavior, then spanking should be used." That would somehow make sense if that guy only had to spank his kid once. Obviously, if spanking is that last-resort tool that unlike those other failed tools, has turned around the erring behavior, then there will not be a need to hit the kid again! If this commenter hit his kid more than once, then spanking has failed just as badly as the other disciplinary methods did, and all we have left is an empty justification for pointless violence.

I know I'm more or less just preaching to the choir. People who feel the same as I do about hitting children will agree with me. On the other hand, people who do hit their kids will continue to diminish the physical and emotional pain they inflict by calling it spanking. They will continue to talk about last-resorts, tool-boxes, and electric sockets. They will continue believing they are right.

Still, there might be a small percentage of parents who spank because that's all they know, but deep down they feel it's wrong. If this post has helped them realize their gut feeling is the one they should follow, then it did its job.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Now that we're done celebrating the "Top Daddy Blogger Lists," it seems like a good time to highlight a blogging dad who has less visitors, less Klout score (whatever that means), and less blog comments than he deserves.

Henry, of Henry's Blog v2.0, writes about his kid, about the wife, about the soon to be Baby Number 2, about blogging in general and dad-blogging in particular, and about Twitter interaction. He posts quizzes and great photos and the occasional cool video.

We don't have that much time to read, and reading blogs is a zero-sum game, unfortunately. Soon enough, we find a small group of blogs we like and we stick to them, because otherwise we'll get lost on the Internet and Google Reader will show us the dreaded "All Items (1000+)" line. Still, every now and then, we should take the time to discover the lesser known gems of the Internet. This week, I hope I convince you to read a dad's blog you've never read before. Then I hope you stick around there and make it a part of your cycle. Dooce has enough readers, you know.



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