Spanking: a reality check

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Originally posted by Catchfire:
[b]Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about the spanking law. I don't have kids, but I was spanked as a kid, sometimes with what bordered on abuse, and I know what effect it had on me. All I can say is I hope I never resort to violence to discipline my children.[/b]

I was too, it wasn't wonderful, but I somehow doubt that putting my parents in jail and sending me to bounce around between foster parents would have made things better.

It wasn't the highlite of my childhood, maybe I'd be better off without it, and it's not what I want to do with my kids later on. But a lot of things fit in that category, and relative to some other things I remember it was quite trivial. There were more serious problems, and if the government decides to intervene more in child development, they would be more productive. The verbal and psychological abuse from teachers, for example, was far more severe than any slap on the shoulder. One example among the many.

[ 25 June 2008: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]



Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b]Nope not many people willing to stand up and be counted in the "I can't control my children's behaviour so I hit them instead" crowd. Only people who say I don't really want to do it but please let me have the RIGHT to hit my children.[/b]

I don't think anyone has said that, either.



Originally posted by Pogo:
[b]What are your feelings about solitary confinement (timeouts), verbal assaults and public humiliation. Shouldn't they first have to prove their legitimacy before becoming legal?[/b]

"Verbal assaults" are not illegal to do to adults if what you're talking about is yelling or making demands in a loud voice. Threatening to assault them is illegal, of course. But then, if spanking was made illegal, then presumably, threatening your child with spanking would also not be sanctioned. Although in practice, as kropotkin says, adults generally aren't arrested for saying, "Shut up or I'll smack you."

"Public humiliation"? That's not illegal for an adult to do to an adult either. It's not illegal for me, for instance, to walk up to you in a park and say to you, in front of a crowd, "Why did you just dump your garbage on the ground instead of putting it in the garbage? You should know better! Pick that up right now and put it in the garbage!" That's not illegal.

Solitary confinement - that one's more tricky, and there I agree with you, that if they simply took out that clause that said that the exception to the "unlawful confinement" law is parents who do it to their kids as reasonable corrective action (although there IS a such thing as illegally confining a child and crossing the line into abuse), then there would be a problem.

But it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You CAN say that assaulting a child is illegal, but it is not illegal to confine a child for corrective reasons. It's not that complicated, really.

But you asked our feelings about confining a child. My answer is this: I find that, when that sort of action is called for, it's much less effective to send my son to his room (because if he's really pissed off, he just walks out of his room and then you have to escalate the punishment to save face, and that's not helpful). But I've done that before, made him go to his room, and I've physically carried him there, with him kicking and screaming the whole way. It wasn't much fun!

I find it more effective to give him a timeout from something he likes to do, like watching television or playing on the computer. The only time now that I make him go to his room and stay there is when he's whining or crying for attention, to try to get him out of the habit of doing it in front of me as a way of coercing me into giving in.

For instance, if I don't let him watch television, he will start this fake-crying or almost keening, right in my face, and work himself into real crying. In those cases, I tell him that he needs to go to his room and finish crying there with the door closed, and when he's ready to stop, he can come back out.

So yes, I can see the need for such a clause for "unlawful confinement" where you make an exception for parents who are correcting their children. But just because you need it for that, doesn't mean you need the same exception for assaulting children.

I really do believe that hitting children is assaulting them. But I think it's such a common practice, and that the current structures in place are so racist and classist and biased, that a law like this will simply be used by teachers and CAS and police to ONLY go after families they'd like to target for other reasons. It will NEVER be used to correct white, middle class parents. Never. I don't think that an occasional spanking is harmful ENOUGH to give the authorities such an opening.

[ 25 June 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]



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