Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Spanking, Smacking etc. of Children

Rate this topic


shyboy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was only spanked once as a child, one time, because my father heard me say a curseword and he got angry (he's a born again christian.) Immediately after my mother came and told him never to lay a hand on me again. Other than that, which I don't remember very well, I never needed to be spanked.

Will I spank my children? Probably not. I do not believe that children are born with 'inherent tendencies' to be 'demon children' or misbehave, so if I find myself in a situation where my child is exhibiting spoiled or rotten behavior, I'd assume I've not communicated some point or other and fostered some kind of contradiction or gap in my child's understanding. I'd then work to find out what it is, and try to fix it, if such is possible. In such a situation, where I have accidentally led my child to a situation where he or she misbehaves in a time or place that I cannot stop and explain, my first recourse would be to remove the child and myself from the situation. Failing all of that, I would probably resort to spanking.

Further, if my child is beating on other children, or other people, and continued to do so despite my attempts to convince him of its futility or immorality, I might resort to spanking. I don't think children beating eachother is a good or acceptable behavior, even if it's just boys.

EDIT: To clarify, I do not believe my child will develop the extreme behavioral habits which would require me to spank them, is why I said I probably wouldn't.

Edited by Jackethan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you happen to have children?

Not sure why this observation is important in order to comprehending the ethical implications of the use of violence in discipline. I think this is an attempt to imply that only those with children can "know", this is false and is a form of argumentum ad verecundiam.

So I shall plead the fifth.

Based on my interpretation of Ayn Rand's philosophy I conclude that is is definitely immoral to allow a child to harm itself or others because of a misguided belief that children should never receive physical punishment. So on that front, we have a stalement.How is this relevant? Who has denied that fact?

Since we are talking about the morality of post facto punishment with physical violence your argument does not invalidate my interpretation of the morality of the use of violence in the post facto punishment of transgressions.

Aside from the ethical problem with corporal punishment there is significant behavior studies linking spanking with later psychological, behavior and sexual problems later in life.

Sexual problems

Behavior problems

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure why this observation is important in order to comprehending the ethical implications of the use of violence in discipline. I think this is an attempt to imply that only those with children can "know", this is false and is a form of argumentum ad verecundiam.

So I shall plead the fifth.

You don't necessarily have to have biological offspring to know about how one should raise children, but you do need to know about raising and disciplining children.

The argument from authority refers to statements being taken as correct, without proof, just because someone in authority said them. For instance, if I were to say "I have children, and I'm telling you spanking is A, B and C, and me being a parent is all the arguments you should need", that would be an argument from authority.

But it has nothing to do with requiring evidence of some kind of knowledge of a subject, if you are to be taken seriously when speaking on it, which is a perfectly reasonable expectation. Dismissing someone who has no knowledge on a subject is not argument from authority, far from it.

If you refuse to answer that, that's a sign of an attempt at deception: you're trying to hide how much you know about the subject. We need to know if you ever tried raising or educating children, to make up our minds on whether we take you seriously or not.

You can't have a valid opinion on applying Objectivism to a situation you're not at all familiar with, just because you're familiar with Objectivist ethics. It is important to know things about children, before you can decide what the best course of action is in raising them, and no amount of moral principles is going to replace the need for that knowledge of the situation the principles are being applied to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since we are talking about the morality of post facto punishment with physical violence your argument does not invalidate my interpretation of the morality of the use of violence in the post facto punishment of transgressions.
Stick with the cards that you dealt yourself. You claim that corporal punishment is absolutely contrary to Objectivism, I say you're wrong. So justify your claim about morality.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stick with the cards that you dealt yourself. You claim that corporal punishment is absolutely contrary to Objectivism, I say you're wrong. So justify your claim about morality.

Corporal punishment for the sake of controlling behavior is antithetical to the very core of Objectivism, since it represents a repudiation of reason and a resort to to the tactics of a brute. i also find the idea that children cannot reason to be a poor rationalization for is it not the ability to reason that is being counted on to make this punishment effective ? the child reasons, this hurts, I do not enjoy pain, therefore I will not do what the person causing the pain is present?

Also, sense we as parents have the objective of producing reasonable and objective adults, we cannot hope to accomplished this with out being at all times agents of reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can be as rational as we can possibly be with our children, but keep in mind that when they interact with their peers, that influence has a huge negative effect on what we have taught them. Children are not entirely rational little bienings, and will often exibit behavior that goes against everything you have taught them. Corporeal punishment is a tool that can effectively cut through the bullshit to the heart of the matter.

As my Granny said: "First, you have to get their attention." ;)

Edited by Maximus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even with children, the only time I find it acceptable to strike a person is after I've been struck. I would never raise a hand to my child when I am trying to get him to do something. However if he make it a physical matter I wouldnt waste a second in slapping him into next week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corporal punishment for the sake of controlling behavior is antithetical to the very core of Objectivism, since it represents a repudiation of reason and a resort to to the tactics of a brute.
Can you then explain why Rand clearly advocated the rule of law, whereby the government would rightly use force in retaliation against criminals and implicitly threaten would-be criminals with retaliatory force. If you believe that Objectivism adheres to some kind of pacifism, that Objectivism slavishly clings to non-violence as its philosophical primary, you are entirely mistaken about the nature of Objectivism.
i also find the idea that children cannot reason to be a poor rationalization for is it not the ability to reason that is being counted on to make this punishment effective ? the child reasons, this hurts, I do not enjoy pain, therefore I will not do what the person causing the pain is present?
Stay on topic. Can you show me any evidence that anyone here has claimed that children cannot reason? Can you show me anyone here who even suggests that one should always beat children to get them to behave correctly? No, you cannot.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Children are not entirely rational little bienings, and will often exibit behavior that goes against everything you have taught them.

Neither are most adults, and if you only want your kids to do what you told them to do, you're not going to help them become rational, either.

I grew up helping raise other kids (my brothers and numerous others that I baby-sat), and I've never encountered a situation where it was *necessary* to hit *any* of them. Rebellious behavior generally arises because adults have *no respect* for the reality of a child's values or for their hierarchy of values. That and a refusal to help the child *find* a solution.

Taking a child to school naked is *not* allowing that child to see the consequences of their actions. Not taking them to school because they haven't gotten dressed, is. The more I read and hear about Positive Discipline, the better I like it. If I ever have children (yeah, right, like that's going to happen), that's the method I'll use. I also wouldn't enroll any children of mine in the Official State Holding Pen or any of the quasi-private Holding Pens, either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was growing up, my mom hit us every now and then, but our dad did not. If I adjust for other factors -- like time spent together -- I still don't think one approach made us follow instructions better than the other. If anything, while they were tied in terms of short-term compliance, my dad's approach probably worked better for ongoing compliance. Candidly, hitting was more about my mother being angry and frustrated rather than about some rational plan about how best to get us kids to comply.

When I was in school, teachers hit kids quite regularly. Here too, in retrospect, there was no correlation between the hitters and the compliance they got. In the younger classes, hitters got compliance, but other teachers did as well. I think some teachers who could not control their classes, would end up going the hitting route, because they could not learn how to get the respect that was commanded by the non-hitters who still managed to control their classes. Basically, just poor teachers. I remember this one teacher who moved from teaching middle schoolers to teaching high-schoolers. We were in grade 12 and some of us remembered him hitting us when we were in 6th and 7th grade. We made sure his 12 th grade classroom was bedlam...he walked out so many times and we managed to almost bring him to tears.

With that said, I don't think spanking (and ours was more than an occasional smack on the bottom) is a recipe for a troubled psyche, at least not in general terms. In specific terms, if it crosses over a certain amount of small-time smacking, it might temporarily affect the child's relationship with that parent. I know that in my case, when I was too old for my mom to hit me, I despised her for her previous hitting, but even that was not long term. One grows up, forgives one's parents for their stupidity, and move on.

And, with that said, of course, if beating goes beyond a certain point, it should be criminal. However, where we are now in the U.S., parents need more discretion in how they bring up their kids, rather than less.

And... with all that said... my wife and I have never spanked or smacked our boy. He's 11 now and opportunity is running out :( Because of this, he is one of the most obedient kids around. So, that's my little contribution to the argument from authority. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taking a child to school naked is *not* allowing that child to see the consequences of their actions. Not taking them to school because they haven't gotten dressed, is.

No offense, but back then if my parents ahd kept me from school for doing something I'd have kept doing it. Surely I'd have regretted it years later, but not at the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No offense, but back then if my parents ahd kept me from school for doing something I'd have kept doing it. Surely I'd have regretted it years later, but not at the time.

If your kids *hate* going to school, you shouldn't be *sending* them to school, because this is indicative of a serious ongoing problem. I hated school but I still got myself up in the morning and went because it was more of a hassle *not* to go. My parents would always assume I was "faking" when I said I was sick (which I NEVER DID EVEN ONCE) to the extent that they sent me to school for THREE MONTHS with CHRONIC BRONCHITIS. The teachers were getting annoyed with me because I would interrupt class with my coughing up entire mouthfuls of phlegm. Finally when something like twenty students were out with the same thing I managed to convince my mother to take me to see the doctor.

Most parents do enough good to make up for the incidental bad episodes. Mine did not, and from the way I see a lot of people raise their kids, it's an *accident* that they don't, either. They're decent parents not because they've made a conscious decision to be so and work at it but because their kids don't manage to push their buttons *all* the time.

Raising kids is one of the most long-term and complicated tasks anyone will ever engage in. I don't see why people let themselves get bogged down in stupid minutiae like "how do I get this kid to put her socks on?" and turn it into some sort of contest of wills. They're just socks, and if YOU can't see that and have some perspective about the problem, how do you ever expect your KIDS to do it? Even better, when they get older and their own value-judgments extend, they'll think that YOU are the concrete-bound nitwit because you started a war over SOCKS. Or a letter opener. Or garbage. Or whatever.

Just about the only value my life has had up until now and for the foreseeable future is of a walking cautionary tale of What Not To Do. I try to give people the benefit of my experiences and people scoff at me like I'm making it up. What's the difference between saying "it's okay because I only hit them a little" and "it's okay because we'll only tax them a little"? Principles cannot be applied only part way. Yes, you may get away without any harm and even maintain a good relationship with your kids. That doesn't make it the right way to behave any more than the fact that some people get away with robbing banks makes *that* the right way to behave.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your kids *hate* going to school, you shouldn't be *sending* them to school, because this is indicative of a serious ongoing problem. I hated school but I still got myself up in the morning and went because it was more of a hassle *not* to go.

I ahted going to school because I dind't do well, I loatherd homework and I was bullied every day. But not going simply wasn't an option. Just changing schools took me years to accomplish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And... with all that said... my wife and I have never spanked or smacked our boy. He's 11 now and opportunity is running out ;) Because of this, he is one of the most obedient kids around. So, that's my little contribution to the argument from authority. ;)

:( That's a terrific achievement.

I do think, though, that beating does cause psychological damage.

Pride is a very basic state thing for humans. Even very small kids have it, before they even have many concepts developed. Beating up a child, demanding obedience goes against one's pride. It does, and I've seen it, cause problems with self esteem when a child concedes his pride because of fear of physical punishment. It is an ugly process of destroying a human being's pride. I think every parent who does this regularly, and especially for reasons other than the child's safety (such as venting anger or demanding obedience for the sake of obedience) is despicable.

I've had neighbors across the street who had the I.Q. of chimpanzees. The couple had 7 boys, and the husband-baboon would beat up his kids often (and even publically). Surprise, surprise, his kids grew up to be a psychological mess. They would feel humiliated, like a second-rate human beings. They wouldn't look people in the eye, they were hateful of everyone who has good things (one of them actually broke into our house occasionally, pick up some stuff and threw them in a nearby field), they delighted in bullying weaker kids.

The evidence is the size of a mountain that beating up kids does cause psychological damage.

Even in cases when it is done to "restrain" kids (so called "educational purposes" - what does it "educate" them to do? to sit quietly like monkeys?) it has the same effect in lower doses than the freak of a neighbor I brought as an example.

I just can't stay calm on this topic, it infuriates me when someone thinks they have a right to sabotage a life so that they can have some "peace of mind" or feel supreme because they have obedience from their child. If what you want is peace of mind don't bring a human being to this world. If you do, do so with the value of your child's life as a top value.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And... with all that said... my wife and I have never spanked or smacked our boy. He's 11 now and opportunity is running out ;) Because of this, he is one of the most obedient kids around. So, that's my little contribution to the argument from authority. ;)

Argument from experience, you mean. That's quite different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And... with all that said... my wife and I have never spanked or smacked our boy. He's 11 now and opportunity is running out ;) Because of this, he is one of the most obedient kids around. So, that's my little contribution to the argument from authority. ;)

And another thought: it makes perfect sense that this is how he acts. He knows that his parents value and love him, they are on his side. He knows he can trust them to only look out for his best interest and also their love becomes a very very important value. On the other end, when a parent uses physical violence against his child, the child remembers and resents it, and he (or she) will not trust the parent and may even come to not value the parent's love at all. It becomes a matter of how to avoid physical pain and get away with what the child wants.

Edited by ifatart
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found several of the comments on this thread to be highly rationalistic and I suspect that there's a strong correlation between that issue and not having children. Deriving whether corporal punishment is moral or not from Ayn Rand's theory of individual rights is not helpful because they're wildly different issues. I can assure you that there is a great chasm of experience between what you think about raising a child prior to having any and after having some: it has been a real eye-opener for me. There's a credibility that comes from having some skin in the game, so to speak.

I have spanked my four children at various times in their short lives (all are under 6). It generally occurred at the point of successive willful disobedience. For example, a daughter plays loudly at bedtime or goes wandering upstairs after a cat and is told to get back to bed. She repeats the behavior or a variant again and I tell her that next time she is going to have the cat taken away. She continues and I say that next time she will get a spanking. She continues again so I administer one to her rear. She cries and stops, falling to sleep shortly after that.

She's only done that sequence once and every other time stops after the first reminder. The spank, as I see it, was an emphasis--letting her know that this was the end of the line for this set of behaviors. I didn't enjoy it and she knew the consequence in advance. She (and her siblings) has suffered no ill effects that I can see and is no door mat to authority.

Where children lose respect is when this becomes the go-to move or is applied capriciously. When punishments aren't objectively applied, then a minor version of learned helplessness and associated resentment ensue. In the thick of heavy emotions or impulsive behavior, calm reasoning can fail--children lack the self-control that we adults can have.

I view the parental role as imposing control, foresight, and empathy until they are able to exercise it on their own. I do this through objective rules, timeouts, and explanation. As the children age, they will internalize the rules and explanations and I can phase out the timeouts.

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even though I am a "non-spanking" parent, I agree that arguing from politics to kids is the wrong approach.

For example, a daughter plays loudly at bedtime or goes wandering upstairs after a cat and is told to get back to bed. She repeats the behavior or a variant again and I tell her that next time she is going to have the cat taken away.
Does taking away the cat or taking away her music not stop her? Or, is the second event on another day? Edited by softwareNerd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And another thought: it makes perfect sense that this is how he acts. He knows that his parents value and love him, they are on his side. He knows he can trust them to only look out for his best interest and also their love becomes a very very important value. On the other end, when a parent uses physical violence against his child, the child remembers and resents it, and he (or she) will not trust the parent and may even come to not value the parent's love at all. It becomes a matter of how to avoid physical pain and get away with what the child wants.

I was spanked as a child, and I deserved it. I do not resent my parents, I trust them implicitly and highly value their love. That disproves your theory right there. If it were so, it would apply in all cases. My children love and respect me, my oldest, after he joined the Navy, even apologized for his behavior as a teenager.

Edited by Maximus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...