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shyboy

Spanking, Smacking etc. of Children

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If your position is that they do, under what circumstances? What Limitations should exist? If your position is that they do not, how should parents discipline children? How should they deal with inappropriate behavior? Do you think spanking is effective? etc...

I'm pretty much clueless about what to think right now.

Edited by shyboy

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I believe that parents should have the right to raise their kids any way they want. Personally, I wouldn't spank my kids. It creates a ba dimage of the parent and eventually makes parenting more difficult down the road.

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I would caution against "spanking" as such as it only teaches the child that you can get your needs met through force, as opposed to reason. That said, the context should be considered. If a child is about to put himself in danger, such as touch a hot stove, then a quick swat is appropriate. The same goes for putting others in physical danger. If for instance a child aggresses toward another child, the parent might grab the 'aggressing' child and remove him from the situation (if the child is small enough). But spanking in situations that reason can be applied is problematic.

Edited by Tabitha

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If your position is that they do, under what circumstances? What Limitations should exist? If your position is that they do not, how should parents discipline children? How should they deal with inappropriate behavior? Do you think spanking is effective? etc...

I'm pretty much clueless about what to think right now.

What kind of right: moral ? legal?

Even if you have a right to something - it still does not mean that it is a good idea.

Spanking is an admission on the part of the parent that he cannot otherwise properly handle their responsibility towards a child. It is a cop-out (and older children know it too - it actually dimishes your authority as a parent - it is an addmission of your impotence)

How do you discipline children instead?

Using severe (when the situation calls it) age appropriate consequences and being firm about followiing through with it. You have to keep a tight link between cause and effect.

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What kind of right: moral ? legal?

Even if you have a right to something - it still does not mean that it is a good idea.

Spanking is an admission on the part of the parent that he cannot otherwise properly handle their responsibility towards a child. It is a cop-out (and older children know it too - it actually dimishes your authority as a parent - it is an addmission of your impotence)

How do you discipline children instead?

Using severe (when the situation calls it) age appropriate consequences and being firm about followiing through with it. You have to keep a tight link between cause and effect.

My question in the title isn't sufficient in what I was really trying to ask. I should've typed, "Is It Moral For Parents To Spank Their Children?"

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I should've typed, "Is It Moral For Parents To Spank Their Children?"
The answer is basically the same as "Is it moral for the government to use force against individuals?". Not freely, only in exceptional circumstances. Parental force concretizes certain moral lessons which children may not otherwise grasp. Just as imprisonment is not required for each and every rights violation commited by an adult, it is not necessary to spank children for each and every rights violation that they commit (and childen are frequently rights violators). I would bet that spankings could always be avoided if a child is given an optimal upbringing, but sometimes parents screw up a child somewhat and then parents (the same or different parents) have to clean up the mess -- the lesson has to be learned that it is not right to break into a person's house to play with their toys, and torturing the kitty cat is not acceptable behavior. Especially if verbal punishments and confinements fail, physical punishments can be justified, just as the government does on occasion have to use physical force when an individual violates someone's rights. The important point that I think the child should understand is that force is the court of last resort when it comes to justice, and hopefully a parent can count on the fingers of one hand the number of spankings that were administered before age 6, and count on no hands the necessary spankings after that.

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Very young children are dominated by emotion, and have not learned reason. When you deal with an irrational creature, do you try to reason with it?

Spanking a child who is old enough to understand your "no" but young enough to be so fully ruled by emotion, who is openly defying your instructions, and who is not listening to an attempt to explain the reasons for your rules, may be the only way to extract from the child the obedience that is required, quite possibly for the child's own safety. I don't mean a beating, I mean a simple spanking, and one that is never given in anger, but only as a tool for training.

The $0.02 of a non-parent. Take it for what its worth. :)

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Very young children are dominated by emotion, and have not learned reason. When you deal with an irrational creature, do you try to reason with it?
Yes, until I'm persuaded that it's impossible. Of course if a being does not even have a faculty of reason, there's no point in trying. Children do have that faculty, but they still haven't learned how to apply reason reliably. Man is born with the faculty of reason, not a full-blown grasp of reason. They have to learn, and simple humanity dictates that you should make a reasonable attempt to teach. A very important lesson that is lost on many children, who later become adults, is that existence by reason is not the same as a pacifist existence.

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I'm curious as to how many of the respondents have children? I have two, both young. On occasion, I have administered a swat on the hand as punishment and see nothing wrong with it. Children can understand certain things, but the poster who noted that they are largely impulsive and ruled by emotions is largely correct. It is also true that their rational faculties are not developed enough to the point where they can grasp complex, conceptual arguments. They can, however, understand cause and effect, action and consequence. The consequences of actions can be demonstrated in a variety of ways other than spanking. However, this is not true of all situations. And, in certain instances, a lengthy explanation or discussion simply isn't possible or practical or necessary. When those conditions are met, spaking is appropriate and effective. As the children get older, it should become less necessary.

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I'm curious as to how many of the respondents have children?

My son will be seven in October. He has never been spanked (not even a small clap on a hand). I have no discipline problems with him which I think is a result of me respecting his young developing mind, setting fair limits, and enforcing them firmly but lovingly.

I have always spoke to him using a calm voice (I have a rather relaxed nature). Raised voice was saved only for those occasions in which I wanted to stress out the seriousness of a situation and my command. It worked to get his attention and response because it was something very unusual. (To this day, him being as big as he is, he can sometimes tear up just because I used a raised voice.)

My focus has always been on encouraging the development of self control rather than my policing.

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I believe that parents should have the right to raise their kids any way they want. Personally, I wouldn't spank my kids. It creates a ba dimage of the parent and eventually makes parenting more difficult down the road.

How does it create a "bad image", and how does it make "parenting more difficult?" I don't know about you, but it would be allot more difficult to use minor punishments against a spoiled child for 18 years than to simply spank him when he's young and have him learn from his mistake for life. I use to get spanked on the bare bottom with a leather belt every time I got into a fight with one of my sisters, and boy did you bet I learned my lesson since then. I have never initiated a fight in my entire life since then nor have I EVER been tempted to do so.

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The answer is basically the same as "Is it moral for the government to use force against individuals?". Not freely, only in exceptional circumstances.

The government does not and should not inflict physical pain as a form of punishment.

Parental force concretizes certain moral lessons which children may not otherwise grasp.

Inflicting physical pain is not a necessity for child's moral education. All moral lessons can be taught by other, non violent means.

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How does it create a "bad image", and how does it make "parenting more difficult?"

I believe that it does, especially if used frequently, and especially in adolescence. Over time it reduces the ability of parents to influence their children.

Children are more likely to listen when there is a strong bond of affection, respect, and trust - when a parent is a loving, respected teacher. A child with a strong bond of this kind to the parent is a child who is eager to please his parent - a child who values greatly his parent's positive appraisal. Such children are obedient and respond to reason without much parental effort.

In contrast, inflicting physical pain is humiliating and demeaning to both the parent and the child. Resentment and shame are not uncommon feelings which follow (and I don't think unreasonably as it cuts to one's personal dignity). Child who feels like a victim is more likely to engage parents in power struggles, push the limits of reasonable control, act on the "you can't make me", challenge parent's authority.

I don't know about you, but it would be allot more difficult to use minor punishments against a spoiled child for 18 years than to simply spank him when he's young and have him learn from his mistake for life.

The choices are not limited to minor punishment or spanking. Punishment should fit the crime.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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I think a parent that uses physical punishments as a method of educating his/her child is immoral, and should be punished by law. It is very damaging for a human being to be brought up like a horse.

Very young children are dominated by emotion, and have not learned reason. When you deal with an irrational creature, do you try to reason with it?

children are not irrational creatures. They are creatures with developing rationality. You cannot help rationality to develop by using it's anti-thesis - obedience.

Spanking a child who is old enough to understand your "no" but young enough to be so fully ruled by emotion, who is openly defying your instructions, and who is not listening to an attempt to explain the reasons for your rules, may be the only way to extract from the child the obedience that is required, quite possibly for the child's own safety.

So much emphasis on obeying the rules. Why do you see it necessary to bring up a child in an environment of rules? Why do you view it as rules and not as teaching your child right and wrong?

There is nothing more damaging to a human being than obedience. Destroying your kid's ego from a young age is the worst possible damage you can do to him/her, far greater than any danger they face in life. Failing at school is nonsense compared to bringing them to a mental state of dependency and humiliation.

Now, if you have a horse, for example, and all you want is to ride on its back, then obedience is what you are looking for from a horse, and whipping and sugar cubes is the way to achieve it. But with a human being you (hopefully) have the goal of bringing him/her to be an independent person. Achieving obedience is not the method for that.

Stupid parents think that only by force they can ensure a child's success in school. In fact, what they assure is that the child will hate accomplishing things that require thinking. Because the act of thinking becomes entangled with an ego problem. The kid has to choose - to use his mind and give up his pride (for obedience), or to rebel against the authority and not make an effort in school (or thinking).

Sophia said it all very well, especially in her last post (number 16).

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The government does not and should not inflict physical pain as a form of punishment.
That's true, but I don't see how it's relevant. Governments do punish in ways more severe that a good talking-to, such as execution. The point is that children need to understand that actions have consequences some of which can be quite unleasant.
Inflicting physical pain is not a necessity for child's moral education. All moral lessons can be taught by other, non violent means.
You claim, and yet the fact is that some children have learned that because their parents will not deliver The Ultimate Punishment of a swat on the butt, they can actually get away with really evil stuff. Besides, the claim that a spanking has anything to do with inflicting physical pain is dubious hyperbole. Yes, it's possible to inflict real pain, but then if you wish to live by the ethic of no-contact parenting, that also means you can't physically restrain a child who wants to flail about wildly during a temper tantrum, and that is just irresponsible parenting. The proper point of a spanking is not to cause pain, it's to inflict a sufficiently unpleasant experience that the perpetrator understands that violating the rule against torturing small animals will result in some form of justice against him.

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It is true that many (perhaps the vast majority) of smacks on the bottom are not about real physical pain, but simply about a form of punishment. For this category, I question whether the smack is the most practical approach. I do not think it is; I think it's usually the least creative, with no relationship between transgression and punishment.

Also, "no smacking" does not imply "no contact".

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If your position is that they do, under what circumstances? What Limitations should exist? If your position is that they do not, how should parents discipline children? How should they deal with inappropriate behavior? Do you think spanking is effective? etc...

First I'm going to say I've never had children nor raised any. I'm speaking from my own personal memories growing up and my observation of my nieces and nephews.

Parents have a right, and one could argue an obligation, to discipline their children. How they go about it is open to debate. Now, spanking, and other forms of physical punishment, are to be regarded as a last resort and never, ever, undertaken in anger. This may sound incredibly hard to believe, but sometimes spanking is the parent's means of getting revenge on a child. Discipline is necessary, but retribution shouldn't enter the equation.

Now, small children are not very amenable to reason, as has been pointed out. This doesn't mean one should hit them, though, or at least not hard. I've noticed that children around 3 and older respond very well to a slap on the wrist. That tells them they are doing something serious enough to get you angry, and shows them you are angry. Then they are ready to listen to reason. But you have to catch their attention. Yelling at them can work, too, but I think a quick slap, not hard, will be taken more seriously.

Children under 3, who mostly don't yet talk and don't understand very much are more difficult to deal with. This is especially so when they're crying. However, hitting them only makes them cry harder. Along those lines, let children cry. Sometimes they'll do so for legitimate reasons, sometimes to get your attention. You have to learn to distinguish between the two. If they're crying out for attention (literally), you must judge whether it's deserved or not. But the very worst thing you can do at such moments is to hit them or spank them to, in my father's words "give them somethign real to cry about." That's pure hostility to vent anger, and it's not conductive to discipline, understanding, growth or anything remotely productive.

Punishment, when necessary, ought not to be physical. Instead take away something the child wants until he behaves. He'll understand that good behavior is rewarded and abd behavior is punished much better that way. Don't let him watch TV, or play videogames, don't take him to the game, don't let him go to a birthday party, that sort of thing. It's hard to figure out what to do what to do when you've promised the child somethign he really, really wants very much and he's missbehaving. for example, not sending him to camp when he's been looking forward to it will be mcuh worse for you than it is for him. So think of something else. TV and games loom large for all shildren, and the mere threat to remove them often works wonders. But of course children do vary. Once I found books around age 8, I could care less what happened to the TV even if I did watch it a lot.

Try to avoid placing children in situations that are conducive to missbehavior. A child will sit still only so long. So taking them to weddings is a very bad idea. If you do, let them bring toys along to amuse themselves, and take them home as early as possible. Also make sure either you or your spouse assumes responsibility to look after them while they're there.

Children do want to understand why they can do certain thigns but not others. It can be explained to them, too. So it's useful to always explain why they're being punished. You need to be consistent, too. And keep in mind that kids live more in the present than you do. You will need to apply certain lessons any number of times before it takes hold. When that happens, it does help to remnid them you've gone through it already.

Edited by D'kian

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I think it's usually the least creative, with no relationship between transgression and punishment.
I agree, but an absolute prohibition against spanking is fundamentally wrong. Just because the death penalty is the punishment of last resort does not mean that it is never the correct punishment.

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My oldest is 4 1/2, reads and does basic arithmetic, is inquisitive and is generally not much of a disciplinary problem. But, sometimes, he is and, as noted, in certain circumstances he has received a swat. The intention was not a desire to inflict pain for its own sake. My daughter, who is only 2 and now speaking very well, is also generally a very good child. But, she had a habit of throwing her uneaten food on the floor once she was full. Reasoning and speaking firmly proved wholly ineffective and simply removing the food wasn't always practical either. A few smacks on her hand taught her that the consequences of throwing food on the floor were unpleasant and so she no longer does this. She has learned to exercise self-control. As she grows up, the full context will become evident. I fail to see anything even remotely immoral in having disciplined in this way nor do I forseee her future consisting of psychological difficulties, lack of trust, hostility to learning etc based on any of this. Physical punishment and acting as a teacher to one's children are not mutually exclusive. Whenever my children receive any sort of punishment, they are told why they are being punished. Context matters.

Removing toys or denying of privileges can certainly be effective, particularly as the child becomes older. However, all of these things involve an element of physical coercion since one's ability to remove toys or privileges or change the situation, and to maintain those conditions, rests entirely on one's superior physical strength compared to that of the child, who is unable to physically prevent you from doing so. Accordingly, I see nothing but a difference in degree here.

Children are all different and so are circumstances. So, while I am suitably impressed with those posters who have never had to spank their children and respect their views, I do not regard their experiences as definitive or inherently more valid than those of other parents who have had or chosen to spank. Claims that spanking is inherently humiliating or demeaning (to both parents and children) represents a value judgement of an almost exclusively subjective nature. There are certainly examples of parents who have never spanked who have watched their children grow up to be very badly behaved.

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Claims that spanking is inherently humiliating or demeaning (to both parents and children) represents a value judgement of an almost exclusively subjective nature.

It's not inherently humiliating or demeaning, but it can be, One way in which it becomes so is when the parent does it in full view of other people. In general it's better to discipline children in privacy.

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It's not inherently humiliating or demeaning, but it can be, One way in which it becomes so is when the parent does it in full view of other people. In general it's better to discipline children in privacy.

In general, but in specific sometimes its better to do it in front of their peers. Particularly if said child is acting up in front of their peers, because their peers are there.

Age is also a factor. For example, a good friend, and super mom of 4, went to an amusement park with us as part of a group trip. While there, her 4 year old son decided he didn't like his swim shorts. He pulled them down. She pulled them up again and said don't do that. He pulled them down again. She swatted his naked behind, once, sharply, right then and there, and pulled them up again and said, "don't do that".

He left them up.

Her kids are awesome, love em to death, but a child in a meltdown situation may well need a sharp slap back into reality.

By contrast, my father never spanked, but when I was old enough to talk back, on more than one occasion, he slapped my face for something I said. I wasn't a small child - I remember this happening into my early teens (until I was big enough that he knew if he tried it again, I'd hit back).

His anger driven, physical reaction to my remarks - which I'm absolutely certain *deserved* such a slap mind you - told me I'd won.

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This kid in this video is acting up on live television. He kinda irks me when he smacks his mom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn18H3FKDV4

I don't know what I would do if I was in his moms situation but I guess it is partly her fault.

She said she was petrified because of her son, yeah right...She seems like she is sucking up to the camera and trying to contain herself.

Edited by shyboy

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