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Should spanking be made illegal? V.2



 
 
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  #81  
Old January 1st, 2008, 8:37 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

@mexicant: you seem to have a really healthy attitude when it comes to disciplining your son Evan and I applaud you for it, personally, as a qualified childcare worker, I wouldn't do anything differently.

@DancingMaenid: there is a big difference between disciplining a child in a positive way and being abusive towards a child. I honestly believe that there are situations when it is okay to give a young child a light slap with your hand, to let them know what they have done is wrong. For example, with mexicant's son kicking her one-month old in the face - in my eyes a slap is the only thing that would have worked there, because it needed immediate and effective action. Now with an older child, spanking is not necessary as they have an increasing ability to understand and cope with being punished and they will be able to reason out the consequences to their actions a lot better than a toddler and young child can.

Not all parents spank the same way, and I would agree that some parents can be abusive rather than disciplining. But not all parents discipline the same way, and parents can still be abusive without laying a hand on their child, either physically or sexually. Mental abuse can be a lot worse than physical abuse but it is often a lot harder to see happening and/or prove in a court. Parents can also discipline in other non-physical ways by withholding love and affection, withholding food & shelter etc. etc. and these are all non-contact discipline but are just as abusive as physical & sexual abuse - if not worse because they don't have the physical scars to prove what happened.

So please, while I agree that some parents can become abusive through spanking, please don't lump everybody into the same boat. Not all parents who spank are abusive and not all parents who don't spank are non-abusive.


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  #82  
Old January 1st, 2008, 1:30 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by mariebeth83 View Post
So please, while I agree that some parents can become abusive through spanking, please don't lump everybody into the same boat. Not all parents who spank are abusive and not all parents who don't spank are non-abusive.
I don't feel that I'm doing that.

In general, I disagree with spanking as a whole. But I don't feel that most parents who spank are abusive, or that all spanking will turn out to be harmful.

Most of my problem with spanking is moral. It goes against my moral system. That isn't reason to ban it. Legally and psychologically, my concern stems from the fact that abusive spanking can, at times, be legal. Would you agree with me that some forms of spanking, such as using objects to hit the child and spanking for an extended period of time, should be banned?


  #83  
Old January 1st, 2008, 9:58 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
Most of my problem with spanking is moral. It goes against my moral system. That isn't reason to ban it. Legally and psychologically, my concern stems from the fact that abusive spanking can, at times, be legal. Would you agree with me that some forms of spanking, such as using objects to hit the child and spanking for an extended period of time, should be banned?
Yes, I definitely agree with banning the use of objects to spank a child, that in my mind is bordering if not toppling over onto the abusive side. What I disagree with is making spanking, even with a hand, just once, illegal, because that could lead to a lot of parents being labelled abusive, when they're actually incredibly loving parents who use spanking as an infrequent form of disciplining, when a situation really calls for it.


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  #84  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 1:55 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by mariebeth83 View Post
Yes, I definitely agree with banning the use of objects to spank a child, that in my mind is bordering if not toppling over onto the abusive side. What I disagree with is making spanking, even with a hand, just once, illegal, because that could lead to a lot of parents being labelled abusive, when they're actually incredibly loving parents who use spanking as an infrequent form of disciplining, when a situation really calls for it.
Now we cross-over from spankings to whippings.

When my father would take off his belt and would say "this is going to hurt me more that it will you", I thought he was a damned liar. I still think that to this day. He seemed to get an adrenaline rush from it. Obviously this had the exact reverse affect on him that he claimed. That was abuse. I was just as fearful of his flying backhand, which hurt not nearly as much, as his belt. Yet his belt was a weapon, an unnecessary weapon.

When I spank my child I really do think it hurts me more than it does him, at least emotionally. I agonize over it for several hours, wondering how this is really affecting the way he feels about me. But, I also know that it is an integral part of his rearing. Progressive discipline must include the option for a spanking to be affective. My son occasionally has to reach that level. Not often, but occasionally.


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  #85  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 10:05 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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When I spank my child I really do think it hurts me more than it does him, at least emotionally. I agonize over it for several hours, wondering how this is really affecting the way he feels about me. But, I also know that it is an integral part of his rearing. Progressive discipline must include the option for a spanking to be affective. My son occasionally has to reach that level. Not often, but occasionally.
And that, IMO, is the correct way to manage spanking - occasionally. There are going to be moments in a child's life where they do something that they think is ok, but could be so completely dangerous or wrong that parents have to react to it straight away and I feel that spanking can be the only way to discpline a child immediately in a way that they know they did something wrong and it should teach them not to do something again. And if a parent doesn't feel guilty, then there's something wrong


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  #86  
Old January 3rd, 2008, 1:43 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Glad to hear we agree...


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  #87  
Old January 3rd, 2008, 2:25 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
Children can differ, obviously, but I think you're underestimating the potential for punishments like time out of taking away privileges/toys. For instance, when I was a child, being sent to my room terrified me. For some children, it's very meaningful.
And for others, it wouldn't. You seem to forget that not all children are the same. One form of punishment may not work on another. As I pointed out in the last topic, for me, Time Out would not have worked period. I liked my room. I would just play with my toys. Being yelled at was enough to set me straight, and if I kept doing the same thing wrong when other methods of punishment failed, I got a spanking for it. I never grew "scared" of my parents or resented them either. A swat on the behind gets a kid's attention. They negate "bad deeds" with discomfort. I know this much, I stopped "lying" all the time after I got that spanking.

When older, "Taking stuff away" worked for me.

I have two cousins, their mother is the "spanking" type. Spanking doesn't/didn't work with them at all. They still talk back and act up. For them, taking their games away would probably work a whole lot more than her spanking or hitting them.

Different methods work for different children.

That aside, spanking should be a last resort anyway. If other methods of punishment doesn't work, and the child still continues to do the same exact thing wrong, then spanking might shock them into not doing so anymore.



Last edited by SSJ_Jup81; January 3rd, 2008 at 2:48 am.
  #88  
Old January 4th, 2008, 3:34 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

... I don't think the government should decide how people can and can not discipline their kids...
Spanking is necessary in some cases... For example, my 3 year old niece is abusive, and a bully to younger kids... She gets very violent... Sometimes spanking is the only thing she responds to, because she never listens to anything else, and if we take her toys away, she just gets more violent...


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  #89  
Old January 5th, 2008, 5:20 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Mexicant's post was very good, everyone please read that one. I am responding, or adding on sort of, to some of the things she wrote...It's too long to quote her though, so please know that that's what I'm responding too.

I do agree that spanking should only be used when it is needed and only in the right circumstances. Time outs are not always an appropriate punishment for the behavior. I was one of those children who was left on time out and forgotten. I was five or six when it happened. My mom wasn't home and I don't remember what I had done, but it must not have been too bad because my dad didn't spank me...he just put me on time out. My time out place was on the stairs that lead up to my old bedroom. He would set me at the top of the stairs and tell me not to move until he came to get me.
He left me there for over three hours.

My dad also yelled. A lot. Some of my worse memories of my childhood are of him, towering over me, red-faced and screaming with spit flying out of his mouth. He would get right up in my face and just let loose. Some of the words he used stand out more than others. But to this day, I cannot handle someone yelling at me. I just can't.
In 8th grade, my Math teacher once raised her voice at me about not turning in an assignment and I got so upset I started crying right there in front of the whole class.

He would also get really angry when I cried and then would yell more because of it. I ended up getting angry with myself for crying, still do. It's the rare occasion that I cry anymore, and when I do I find myself berating myself in my head, calling myself horrible names and getting very angry with myself for crying.

He would also threaten. I remember once he told me, "I could easily put you in the hospital right now.". He never beat me or anything, but the threats were enough.

And there were a couple times when I was spanked with something other than a hand...I wouldn't exactly call those times 'spankings'.

In my mind at least, when it is a swat on the bottom for bad behavior it is a spanking. If it goes beyond that, it is no longer spanking. I do feel offended when people lump spanking and abuse together like that though...because I have SEEN abuse with my own eyes. And if some of the people on this thread who are lumping them together had also seen abuse, they would know the difference between that and a spanking. I cannot even begin to describe the difference.

I wasn't abused...spanked, but never abused. When I have kids, they will get the occasional spanking I'm sure, but it will only be in situations where it is needed and will never be forceful. If another discipline will work in that same situation I will use it, but if there is something that requires immediate action, like Mexicant's description of her son kicking his infant brother, then I do feel that a swat is appropriate in that case.

Mexicant, you sound like a great mother. Keep up your good work, Evan sounds adorable!


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Last edited by mac_attack; January 5th, 2008 at 5:22 am.
  #90  
Old January 5th, 2008, 9:40 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by mac_attack View Post

In my mind at least, when it is a swat on the bottom for bad behavior it is a spanking. If it goes beyond that, it is no longer spanking. I do feel offended when people lump spanking and abuse together like that though...because I have SEEN abuse with my own eyes. And if some of the people on this thread who are lumping them together had also seen abuse, they would know the difference between that and a spanking. I cannot even begin to describe the difference.
The difficult thing is that what is and is not spanking has not always been a clear issue. It wasn't all that long ago that some schools in the U.S. would use paddles, for instance. There are also parents who use belts on their children and consider it spanking. I have seen many different viewpoints on parental spanking, and many of them are as different as night and day. And while it's possible to injure a child through more extreme spanking, it's more likely that a parent would be able to cause an abusive amount of pain to the child without leaving a lasting mark, which would make it difficult to charge that parent with abuse. That's why I don't think it would be bad to have some sort of regulation. I don't think parents who really just spank by lightly swatting the child one or two times with their hand are likely to do much harm. I don't agree with it as a form of discipline, but I don't think those parents are abusive or setting their children up for any long-term harm. But when I see an article written by a mother who almost seems to be bragging about the fact that she hits her children with a wooden spoon, and it's perfectly legal for her to do that, I have a problem.


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Old January 5th, 2008, 10:50 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

I'm from New Zealand where spanking has recently been made illegal. I'm not a mother; I haven't really "been there" so I'm not sure how useful my opinion will be. I don't really feel strongly towards either side of the debate but I think I am leaning towards spanking being allowed. I'm not sure if I personally would spank my children but I think that parents deserve (to some extent) the choice of whether they want to spank their kids or not. However, I think it should be illegal to use any objects and spanking should be limited to just the bottom (but I suppose a detail like this would be hard to control). Sometimes spanking is the only way to make a chid understand what they have done wrong but I suppose it depends on the parenting style of the child's parents which is why I think there should be some degree of choice on their part.


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  #92  
Old January 17th, 2008, 5:31 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Hey everyone...I have to do a research paper on a topic that interests me, and Spanking as a form of discipline is one of my prospective topics. Can anyone tell me if it is illegal in Australia? I know they've been debating that for a while, but I don't know if a decision has been made yet. All the information online I've found contradicts everything I find on another website, so I'm not sure.


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  #93  
Old January 17th, 2008, 6:07 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by mac_attack View Post
Hey everyone...I have to do a research paper on a topic that interests me, and Spanking as a form of discipline is one of my prospective topics. Can anyone tell me if it is illegal in Australia? I know they've been debating that for a while, but I don't know if a decision has been made yet. All the information online I've found contradicts everything I find on another website, so I'm not sure.
I don't think so. New Zealand has banned it, but I don't think Australia has.


Frankly, a ban on spanking would be nearly impossible to enforce or prosecute. Something that doesn't leave a physical mark, unless witnessed in public, becomes word of the child vs word of the parent. It is hard enough to prosecute spousal abuse. Disciplining your children has much more leeway than beating your wife.


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  #94  
Old January 17th, 2008, 10:24 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by Raven_Girly View Post
I'm from New Zealand where spanking has recently been made illegal.
I was just wondering, how are they going to enforce this? Or what the reasons behind making it illegal were?


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Old January 17th, 2008, 10:27 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Apart from the possible effects that spanking might have, I'm wondering about how such a law could be enforced. I believe that we, in the Netherlands, have some sort of 'law' but it isn't like someone gets a fine when s/he spanks his/her child in public. What then, is the point of prohibiting it, if you can't enforce it?

Well, about spanking... I'm not a parent so I don't think I can speak from experience of having to do it, but I think I can speak from a little experience of being spanked as a child... By the way, I assume that we're now talking about a 'slap on the buttocks' when discussing spanking, right? (unfortunately, my command of the English language isn't as great as I'd wish...)

At first, I wonder who we put first: the parents or the children. I am not intending to say that we should forsake the 'children's rights' but I am rather trying to point out that 'we' tend to consider the child's welfare rather than that of the parents. For instance, if you spank your child when he is behaving in a very annoying way, it's generally considered as 'unjust use' of a disciplinary action. So, it doesn't matter what we think about a child's behaviour, but if it's merely 'annoying' and not harmful or something, then we can't discipline with spanking because it would 'exceed' the action that warranted the punishment. Of course I'm not saying that everyone who is annoyed by their children should spank them at that very moment, but I think that this example shows that parents are becoming more and more the 'lesser' party in the rearing of their children... Parents are supposed to be perfect, they must keep their temper in check at all times and they should never hurt their children etc.etc.
However, what if you look at it in this way - using the example of 'annoying someone' - in the 'real' world, people will get annoyed and people will 'punish' you for your behaviour, though not by spanking, but by refusing friendships, bad marks, etc. So, in the hypothetical event when a parent is unable to make their child stop being annoying (if time outs and the like don't work and spanking would be the 'only' option), that child would not learn how to behave itself. Because people are so concerned about their welfare, they are not touched - but they will grow up to be 'bad' people.

I think that this tendency, the tendency to value the children higher than the uhm, things they must learn, is worrisome at least. It's not only about spanking - it's about how parents handle their children. How else can the problems in 'child rearing' that occur nowadays be explained? Of course, the media plays a large role in this by television programmes, but television programmes satisfy a certain demand and apparently, that demand has grown...
In the past, you were 'nothing' if you were still a child. That approach isn't always perfect, I know, but at least it instilled a bit of... instinctive respect in children. They tended to respect their elders more than nowadays. Now, while children are respected more, somehow they don't show the respect that is demanded for them. Look at the schools for instance - in the Netherlands at least, in the 1960's it was something like a 'sin' to talk while the teacher was talking. At present, everyone talks while the teacher is explaining something and it's considered as normal.

What does the above have to do with spanking? Well, I think that the desire to prohibit spanking and to protect the children is not always a good thing, because you will enforce the fact that children should be valued as more as their parents. It can't be right that children can 'hold something over their parent's head' at all, because this creates a situation in which parents are powerless and children 'reign'.

Child abuse, of course, should be prohibited. However, to me this is for the same reason as 'normal' abuse of people is prohibited - it is forbidden to hurt people on purpose, for the hurting itself. I know that some parents spank their children because they like it, but I don't think that has anything to do with the spanking we talk about. We're discussing the 'normal' healthy way of spanking and not about the differences between spanking and child abuse because I agree that sometimes, the line is hard to draw.

Well, I don't think this makes much sense, but I hope that everyone understands what I'm trying to put across... This is a very interesting topic!


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Old January 18th, 2008, 1:28 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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At first, I wonder who we put first: the parents or the children. I am not intending to say that we should forsake the 'children's rights' but I am rather trying to point out that 'we' tend to consider the child's welfare rather than that of the parents.
I agree with you in the sense that parents, at least to an extent, need to be able to exert authority over their children. However, I don't think the welfare of parents, in most cases, needs to considered equally to that of their children. Most parents choose to be parents, and being a parent requires some sacrifice. I think accepting that small children will be annoying sometimes is similar to accepting that babies will need their diapers changed. I do, however, think that the welfare of the parents needs to be taken into account when parents are truly at a loss about how to raise their children, which happens sometimes.

Quote:
However, what if you look at it in this way - using the example of 'annoying someone' - in the 'real' world, people will get annoyed and people will 'punish' you for your behaviour, though not by spanking, but by refusing friendships, bad marks, etc.
And sooner or later, children will realize this. Experience is the best teacher. All it would take is a few minutes of playing with other children for a child (of the necessary development) to see that their actions have social consequences.

However, many very young children are simply incapable of learning this through any means. Toddlers, for example, lack the psychological development to control their emotions or express themselves in a rational way, so preventing tantrums is more about keeping calm, limiting upsetting stimuli, and not encouraging the behavior than punishing the child.

Quote:
Child abuse, of course, should be prohibited. However, to me this is for the same reason as 'normal' abuse of people is prohibited - it is forbidden to hurt people on purpose, for the hurting itself. I know that some parents spank their children because they like it, but I don't think that has anything to do with the spanking we talk about. We're discussing the 'normal' healthy way of spanking and not about the differences between spanking and child abuse because I agree that sometimes, the line is hard to draw.
But if it would be considered bad to hurt an adult by spanking them, is it such a leap to consider the possibility that spanking children might be harmful?

I think it's a mistake to equate spanking with discipline. To me, that's like saying that you cannot have a flavorful meal unless you add salt. While salt adds flavor, too much of it isn't healthy, and doing without it won't necessarily ruin the meal, nor will replacing it necessarily ruin the meal. I think, too often, parents spank because they're at a loss for how to discipline. This isn't always the case, but I think it happens a lot. I've never met a parent who spanked or threatened to spank rationally and for their children's benefit. In my experience, it has always been about trying to control the child, or not knowing how to teach the behavior they want to teach.

Quote:
Well, I don't think this makes much sense, but I hope that everyone understands what I'm trying to put across... This is a very interesting topic!
I think your post was very understandable!


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Old January 18th, 2008, 1:49 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by mariebeth83 View Post
Yes, I definitely agree with banning the use of objects to spank a child, that in my mind is bordering if not toppling over onto the abusive side. What I disagree with is making spanking, even with a hand, just once, illegal, because that could lead to a lot of parents being labelled abusive, when they're actually incredibly loving parents who use spanking as an infrequent form of disciplining, when a situation really calls for it.
How exactly do you propose to ban this? I'd rather see money spent on something that can actually be enforced without destroying families. Even parents who spank frequently can be loving ones--I was spanked rather often as a child, but I never had any lasting injuries from it. My parents hurt me much worse by accident (dropping me, hitting me with doors, etc.) than they ever did by punishing me.

The standard should be the effect spanking has on the child, not the method of the spanking or the intent behind it. If we go too far, a child who wants to get his parents in trouble can report being spanked with a wooden spoon, say, and then what? Is fining or imprisoning the parents actually in the child's best interest? Even if a child is spanked frequently, that doesn't mean he or she is being abused. I know I deserved every one of the spankings I ever got except for when my brothers blamed things on me.

Look all I'm saying is I know you mean well, but you may be drawing the line between punishment and abuse a little nearer than it actually is.


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Old January 18th, 2008, 5:11 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Look all I'm saying is I know you mean well, but you may be drawing the line between punishment and abuse a little nearer than it actually is.
With all due respect, I think that's subjective. Personally, I feel using any object to hit a child is definitely abusive.


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Old January 18th, 2008, 5:48 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Look all I'm saying is I know you mean well, but you may be drawing the line between punishment and abuse a little nearer than it actually is.
As DancingMaenid has said this is a very subjective issue and I agree with her. I don't see spanking with a hand as abusive, if carried out as a form of punishment and only when it really is necessary. As I've studied childcare I know there are more positive and more effective ways of punishment without ever lifting a hand to a child, but sometimes it is necessary, for whatever reason the parent have.

However, using something to spank a child, whether it's a wooden spoon or a paddle or whatever, I believe is bordering on abusive when it's an adult using the object against a child who is 2 or 3 or 4 times smaller than them.


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Old January 18th, 2008, 4:07 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by mariebeth83 View Post
As DancingMaenid has said this is a very subjective issue and I agree with her. I don't see spanking with a hand as abusive, if carried out as a form of punishment and only when it really is necessary. As I've studied childcare I know there are more positive and more effective ways of punishment without ever lifting a hand to a child, but sometimes it is necessary, for whatever reason the parent have.

However, using something to spank a child, whether it's a wooden spoon or a paddle or whatever, I believe is bordering on abusive when it's an adult using the object against a child who is 2 or 3 or 4 times smaller than them.
By its nature, being subjective means that it is not a prosecutable or legally definable issue. The fact that the children are so much smaller is not the whole of the issue. In some ways that creates circumstances where a paddle or even a belt is better than the use of a hand, especially when the parents are not as capable of restraining themselves or timing discipline proportionately.
I don't use objects to spank and don't agree with it in my home, but I got the belt and a paddle used on me as a child and it wasn't abusive or detrimental to me. I don't require the use because I am sufficiently able to restrain myself and to time discipline to avoid adrenalin and anger in the implementation of a spanking. My father particularly, was a heavy handed man who was far less of a risk using a leather belt than using his large powerful hands to swat my and my siblings buttocks. He had a life growing up I wouldn't wish on an enemy, yet he was concerned enough to try and find ways to compensate for his temper to avoid actually harming his children. The belt stung, but didn't jar the way a swat with the hand did when he was angry. To pre-empt the "using a belt did harm his children" comments that are sure to follow this, as the recipient of the swats, I can tell you that no actual harm, other than a sting on the buttocks was a result.
My mother used a paddleball paddle, which was also lower impact than her using her hand. The paddle is a larger surface area with greater force distribution. She more often than using it brandished or referred to it and not surprisingly it had the desired effect very often. With my parents the time period between their deciding to spank and their going to get an implement or sending one of us to get it was a good cooling off period. Had they used their hands, especially my father, and spanked at the first moment, the outcome would have been much worse. The catalyst for this was an incident from my older brother's childhood.

My point in all of this is that within a household there has to be leeway for parents to try and find the right answer for their family. As canismajoris was saying, the blanket assumptions and statements ignore the fact that circumstances are very wide ranging and people very different in how they discipline and receive discipline. The narrow gap between discipline and abuse isn't quite as narrow or exclusive as it may sometimes appear or be presented to be. Unless we are going to allow monitoring equipment in our homes, a ban on spanking is impossible to implement and the introduction of a "monitor" would subject good parents to horrible consequences based on the opinion of someone who doesn't know the first thing about them, their child or their household.


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