Sunday, August 21, 2011

Turning Out

This is what I keep seeing around Facebook:

"I have to laugh at people who are against spanking. My mom sometimes smacked me when I was naughty.. . I didn't hate her.. I didn't have trust issues with her cause of it... I didn't fear her... But I darn sure respected her! And I learned what my boundaries were, and knew what would happen if I broke them. I wasn't abused, I was disciplined....SINCE WE TOOK THIS SOFT APPROACH LOOK WHATS HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY & YOUNGSTERS *Re-post if you got your rear smacked and survived"

And I am appalled. 

Okay, I know the first thing that will cross the mind of many is, "But how would you know? You have yet to parent a child!" 

This is true. So I will start by linking to 3 women who have years of parenting under their belts, who have written beautifully about the ridiculousness of the idea that spanking is okay as long as it is not in anger, and who have spoken out against this very status already

The third has given an eloquent breakdown of the "Rod Verses" (the Scripture in proverbs used to build an argument for the idea that spanking is Biblically mandated. I 100% do not believe this is the case. For the reasons given in the linked post and also because Proverbs are proverbial. They are vivid and often hyperbolic word pictures. They are sayings of wisdom, not commands. Truly, how many Christians do you see putting a knife to their throat if prone to gluttony? Nobody. Because it obviously wasn't a verse meant to be taken literally.)  

There's some seasoned parents for you.

And Here's my piece:

1) "Since we took this soft approach" makes no sense to me. I don't know what soft approach they are talking about.  I don't know the details of most people's childhoods, but I have met opposition from my peers when I talk about my unwillingness to spank my future children. The most common argument I hear is, "But I was spanked, and I turned out fine!"

Okay. Here's the thing. What does "fine" even mean? Sure, people can be spanked and turn out successful, hardworking, compassionate, and all manner of complex beautiful human things.

But there is no evidence that spanking is responsible for good qualities displayed. However, there is plenty of evidence for spanking resulting in difficulties people develop that they end up having to work hard to overcome.

People can also be spanked and develop depression, low self esteem, poor boundaries, and a slew of other hard hard things that they will have to fight through in their adult life in order to find a level of health.

2) It annoys me when any generation goes whining and fussing about the generation younger than they. The whole mentality of "Look what a mess they are!" Is destructive and... in my opinion, childish. Humanity is the same as it ever was. It is the same as it ever will be. If there are differences, it is technological, but the temptations and vices are the same.

3) There is a VERY big difference between permissive parenting and gentle parenting in which a parent disciplines (teaches), engages, and sets appropriate boundaries without punitive measures.

4) My mom did not spank me. My mom was a social worker with a background in early childhood development when she got around to having me. She knew how to instill age appropriate boundaries in our home that allowed me and my little brother to flourish and thrive. She never had to hit me to have my respect. She never used violence or pain to show me where my boundaries were. And yet I knew where they were, I respected (and continue to respect) her, and I "turned out just fine". Whatever that means. (Really... when are any of us officially "turned out"?)

5) My dad did spank us a handful of times. Mom ended up putting a stop to it pretty quickly. It's a good thing she did. I adore my dad. I adore my dad, he was and is an excellent father, and it was wrong for him to spank us. Those two things can and do coexist. 

I think I am finished with this rant now. Thank you, anyone who read it. Obviously this much text would be all kinds of lost and useless on Facebook.

Good gravy.



  1. I can't wait to see you again- I miss you so incredibly much. Congrats, by the way :).
    As another person-without-kids, I kind of agree with you on the spanking thing. My parents never spanked me, though I got the occasional pinch in the grocery store or church. My little brother, on the other hand, responded to no other punishment. I think it depends on the kid :)
    Also, I agree that Facebook statuses aren't necessarily the best place to take a stand. :D

  2. Awe I miss you too! For the record, I don't believe in punishment at all. It assumes kids must experience pain to learn, which simply isnt true. I also don't believe in shaming. Natural consequences, sure, but not punishment. <3

  3. I was spanked once my whole life and threatened many times (my dad is too much of a soft to spank me) that time was for climbing out on the roof with my step brother. I think I deserved that one. I ALMOST got my second spanking for stealing an entire carton of GPC cigarettes from the local grocery store.

    I think that most of the time kids get spanked for not being parented correctly. At least thats what I see out in the world. If parents would actually spend time with their kids, listen and play with them, they probably wouldn't need spanking. But, what do I know.

  4. I think that's a really good point Donna :) <3