Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Spanking Controversy

So, I promised that my first blog over here would be a cool blog with pictures.  Well, first of all, my camera is still in limbo between Germany and the States.  Second of all I want to write a response to the blog I did on spanking.

I’ve read your thoughts, thought over the research I’ve read, and rethought my own ideas.  Here goes:

Before you can have an intelligent opinion about any parenting choice you need to have cohereant, systematic, global view of parenting.  Here’s mine

My job as a parent is to raise my child to be an autonomous adult.  No person is 100% self reliant, but I want her to be as self responsible as she is able.

The question is not “What’s the best discipline?”  My first job is not to discipline her. That is a small part of my over all job to raise her, but my primary focus is training, not disciplining. The question is “What is the best way to parent?”

Easy answer: By example. I really want her to respect herself. I teach her to respect herself, by first, respecting myself, second, respecting her, and finally, respecting her mom, who is her primary female role model.

Now, behavioral modification is a bit different.  First, I avoid needing to.  If a person is hungry, tired, lonely, bored, or chemically imbalanced they are going to act up, whether that person is a 4 year old or a 94 year old.  So, I make sure she eats right, sleeps enough, gets some exercise, has a chance to socialize, and doesn’t eat swill (She weighs 35 lbs. Her eating one twinky is like me eating 5 1/2. I would get seriously wacky if I ate 5 1/2 twinkies in a minute.)

It’s not ethical for me to discipline a child who I fed garbage, didn’t let outside, didn’t talk to, and wouldn’t let nap.  Further, and going back to the example issue, if I want her to eat right I have to eat right.  If I want her to sleep, she has to play hard.  If I want her to play hard, she has to see me play hard, not me sit on my ass and read a book.

And I have to make sure she understands the rules.  The rules should be simple and logical.  The purpose of rules is not to convenience me, the purpose of rules is to prepare her for adulthood.  Whenever possible, I have to example the following of these rules.

I need to make a bigger positive fuss when she does right than I do a negative fuss when she does wrong, or at least as big.  No, it’s not exactly how her boss is going to motivate her.  He or she isn’t going to put her over his or her knee and spank her either.  If the training can’t be like real life, why not train positive?

So, having exampled rightly AND created an environment conducive to success, AND made fair rules AND made them clear AND followed them myself, AND given positive reinforcement, NOW its time to talk discipline.

Going back to the exampling.  I don’t want my daughter to tolerate being hit by other men.  So, I’m not going to spank anymore. It’s barbaric.  It doesn’t seem like it because so many people do.  Our parents did.  And frankly, a lot of really shitty parents who can’t be bothered to parent at all do hide behind i-don’t-believe-in-spanking to cover they’re total selfishness.  But its not OK.

I want to say this again.  It’s not OK.

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October 24, 2008 - Posted by | Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Good post! I like what you said about leading by example. Especially the part about eating right. Ouch! I needed to hear that.

    And frankly, a lot of really shitty parents who can’t be bothered to parent at all do hide behind i-don’t-believe-in-spanking to cover they’re total selfishness. But its not OK.

    That’s an excellent point! I think you’re right.

    Comment by Lottie | October 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. I think you’ve made the right decision. Granted, I know you don’t need external approval, but I do think this is not only in Jael’s best interest, but also in your’s and Becky’s as well. I also agree that just because many people do it, doesn’t make it right.

    Comment by amarisgrey | October 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. This comment will refer to both your blogs on spanking since I read them both in succession. Sounds like your being inflammatory by saying spanking is “barbaric”.

    First of all I think people who take spanking to almost the level of the ten commandments are nuts. You get the idea that the 11th commandment is “Thou shalt spank thy children”. Wrong folks. The only place spanking children is mentioned in the Bible is the book of Proverbs. Proverbs (either biblical or secular) are merely good principles to live by…general truths, if you will. They are NOT the absolute last word in obeying the Bible. I think that it is very possible to raise healthy, happy, adults -in-training without spanking. However I think it is impossible to raise them without discipline of some kind. That discipline does not have to be corporal, but it does need to happen.

    There is a vast difference between parental discipline and wife-beating-lowlifes. Here’s an example. Let’s say a friend of mine decides to be a jerk and shoves me to the ground. That is wrong! Basically that could be catergorized as abuse. Let’s say a friend runs up behind me and shoves me to the ground to quickly move me out of harm’s way of an out of control car. Same action, different motive, and therefore different response. I do not accuse the person of abuse but thank them for saving my life.

    If a person spanks their children it should be out of genuine concern for their welfare and upbringing. As you stated, in the real world punishment is what keeps people in line.

    If a person spanks a child in anger or for some other weird reason, then it is wrong and can be considered abuse.

    I think spanking is not barbaric and it is a viable discipline option, but like all things in life it must be carefully considered and administered.

    Comment by CC | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. I guess I do sound a bit inflammatory, I didn’t spell out an aspect of this: A conscientiousness sincere parent who spanks carefully and dispassionately is doing an infinitely better job parenting that someone who never spanks, but is also selfish and inconsistent.

    But honestly, I stand by my statement. I think its barbaric to hit someone for not doing things my way.

    I mean, if you put it in any context other than child raising, in a context where it isn’t normal, it seems like an awful idea.

    I think its only because we have done it so long that it SEEMS like a viable option.

    Comment by truthwalker | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  5. Also, this isn’t something I would judge other’s for. I would be significantly more concerned about a parent that watches soaps with their young child than one who spanks them dispassionately and with forethought.

    Comment by truthwalker | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  6. A conscientiousness sincere parent who spanks carefully and dispassionately is doing an infinitely better job parenting that someone who never spanks

    Seriously? So even thought I’ve found other methods that work and my son is well-behaved, well-adjusted, responsible, happy child whose teachers refer to as “a joy” and who does well in school, gets along with other children, occasionally looks in on the old man down the street without any prompting from me, etc. etc., you would say that someone else is doing an “infinitely better job of parenting” than I am doing just because the other person spanks?

    Please tell me I’ve misread you here.

    Comment by Lottie | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  7. “who never spanks, but is also selfish and inconsistent.”

    The rest of the line, Lottie! You missed the rest of the line. My point is that a good parent, is better than a bad parent. A good parent who spanks is better than a bad one who doesn’t, and a good parent who doesn’t spank is better than a bad one who does.

    Comment by truthwalker | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  8. I didn’t miss it, but I did misread it. I see what you’re saying now and I apologize for the mix up.

    Comment by Lottie | October 28, 2008 | Reply


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