As a parent, I began my journey of parenthood, and life, thinking back upon my own childhood. What were my likes and my dislikes as a child? What types of discipline had I received either through an external organization (i.e. faith, school, other), extended family situation, or at home, that had caused me internal strife? Did I always feel safe when receiving this discipline? If not, why not? Moreover, this internal dialogue that has occurred throughout my life, has effected my personal and professional development. What could I do to ensure that my own children are raised in an environment that is reflective of my desires? Are there measures that I can take to ensure that my children are raised in a positive environment? Importantly, do not try being a better parent than your own parents, rather be the best parent that you can be for your children.
Discipline is a vital aspect of growth. Reflectively, praise is equally as important for fostering growth as discipline is in the life of a child. We, may recall our own parent’s techniques of parenting, discipline, and praise. We may also recall our schools resources for using discipline and praise. As a child, I recall having received discipline and praise by both my parents and my school. I recall measures taken by both, that in today’s standards would be considered drastic and possibly reprehensible.
Discipline should not have features that are overbearing, hypercritical, or containing some forcible correction to the physical body. The use of swatting, spanking, slapping, pinching, punching, hitting, ear or tongue pulling, biting, soap in the mouth, or any other form of physical control, should have no place in the raising of a child. If you were to be honest with yourself, a child that is “deserving of a spanking” is often a child that has gained control over the parent.
If I, as a married man used any of the forms of corporal punishment to correct a perceivable wrong in my relationship, I could be effectively arrested and charged with battery. Why then, should my children be allowed to endure the hardships of swatting, spanking, slapping, pinching, punching, hitting, ear or tongue pulling, biting, soap in the mouth, or any other form of physically manipulative punishment?
Is it ethically “right” to use Corporal Punishment? Corporal Punishment is any form of punishment or correction that is intended on inflicting physical pain and mental anguish on the life of another.
So, is it right to use corporal punishment? The answer must become a resounding no!!! Parents, schools, faith organizations, and others, typically use corporal punishment when they themselves are without answers or solutions to correct or resolve a problem. As an adult, what would you do if your boss was granted the right. by the courts or some other legal body, to use corporal punishment in your place of employment? Would you resist being spanked, slapped, swatted, or physically scolded? Why, why not? Would it be ethical for an employer to be capable of using physical discipline? Why then, are we agreeable to allow physical battery of a child?
Corporal punishment is inexcusable, unethical, and morally reprehensible.
If corporal punishment is a good idea; why not use it in our legal systems to resolve traffic violations, misdemeanors, and other minor offenses? Why not use corporal punishment? Because, each time in our global community that corporal punishment has been made allowable and permissible, people suffered at the hands of individuals who lost control. Why should corporal punishment be banned altogether? Because, there are alternatives.
The problem is, few people discipline their children while in control or without prejudice. In most cases, the parent is fed up, exhausted, and personally inflamed by a childhood act. When a person is personally and emotionally involved, the situation can prove volatile in the best of circumstances. Good people make mistakes. Why then, are we offering or allowing a recipe for plausible and considerable harm?
PERCEPTION OF CONTROL
For many individuals, they perceive themselves as having or being in control of their emotions, but the reality has been proven wrong time-and-time again.
While corporal punishment has been used for a variety of purposes, it’s primary roots stems from a religious background. While many claim that spanking is not a form of beating, it’s this fine line that many cross. A recent case resulted in a young child losing her life. Parent’s Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz followed the instructions set out in a book called, “To Train Up a Child” by author Michael Pearl. The Schatz’s were spanking their children, Lydia and Zariah, when Lydia perished from the severe spanking. The problem is, they spanked to create pain in order to reinforce a discipline. Obviously, the Schatz’s perception of control was lost during this spanking session.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
Parents and children should both receive timeouts. The parent should accept a timeout to cool down and refocus ensuring personal control. The child should be given a timeout based on his/her age. If your child is 5, then your child should receive a 5 minute time-out. It’s a minute per year of life: 5 years (x) 1 minute = 5 minutes. Again, placing a child into timeout ensures that the parent can retool and prepare to positively reengage.
Be creative, inventive, resourceful, and proactive. Discuss the matter of discipline with your child. Ask your child what he/she feels would be a good consequence for his/her behavior or attitude. Consider looking online for legitimate sites and resources: Center for Effective Discipline; Project No Spank; etc. Gain advice from those you trust and have shown positively effective parenting. You might consider brainstorming with other parents, the school, or friends who have children of a similar age.
Always reaffirm your child’s goodness. Don’t use negative images or language when you disciple your child, such as: you’re a bad child, or I’d like to beat you within an inch of your life. Remember as the parent, you should be positively in control. Refrain from using language that stresses hate, resentment, anger, or intolerance. Children need a familial environment that is safe, caring, nurturing, and unconditionally accepting and loving. Children should always feel secure and safe in their home and school environments. Furthermore, it is okay to disclose your disappointment in your child’s behaviors or attitudes, but it is never okay to make a child feel as though they are a bad person. A child’s wellbeing is ultimately placed into your hands. If you breach their right to safety and wellbeing, then you are ultimately placing your child’s life in harm’s way.
Are you proving an advocate for your child? Are you instilling good parenting techniques and qualities in the life of your child? Have you chosen to be a positively influential role model? Parenting has no concrete absolutes, but as a person you should seek to grow and positively influence your children. If you have had moments you have lost control; forgive yourself and move forward. Good parents make mistakes, but seek to learn from your mistakes while moving your family forward.
Center for Effective Discipline (2011). Discipline at home. Discipline at school. Retrieved August 18, 2011 http://www.stophitting.com
CNN (2011) Ungodly discipline. Retrieved August 16, 2011 http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/17/video-ungodly-discipline/
CNN (2011) Ungodly discipline. Retrieved August 17, 2011 http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/08/15/exp.ac.tuchman.punishment.cnn
Couture, L. A. (2008) Instead of medicating and punishing: Healing the causes of our children’s acting-out behavior by parenting and educating the way nature intended. Oregon: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing.
Griffin, M. M., Robinson D.H. & Carpenter, H.M. (2000). Changing teacher education student attitudes toward using corporal punishment in the classroom. Research in the Schools, 7(1), 27-30
Osofsky, J. D., (Ed.) (2004) Young children and trauma, Intervention and treatment. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Robinson, D. H., Funk, D. C., Beth, A., & Bush, A. M. (2005). Changing beliefs about corporal punishment: Increasing knowledge about ineffectiveness to build more consistent moral and informational beliefs. Journal of Behavioral Education, 14, 117-139
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA