29
   

Spare the rod . . .

 
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 12:52 pm
@Robert Gentel,
It is my supposition that the only adults who would fall into the category of those for whom all other methods had failed would be those who were hit as children or were emotionally/intellectually incapable of understanding their actions.

This is where I get stuck on the idea of any child ever "needing" to be hit in order to learn a lesson. If all other methods have failed then, again, my supposition is that it's an ineffective parent doing the teaching (and hitting) more than that of a child who cannot be controlled -- unless said child is developmentally delayed. That brings us to the supposition that it's ok to hit developmentally delayed children in order to teach them. I simply can't go there...
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 12:53 pm
@sozobe,
I think the right parent also matters a lot. A parent with less people skills may need to rely on less nuanced forms of behavior modification.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 12:57 pm
My younger brother was a nightmare of a child. He was always into trouble from the moment he could crawl. No type of discpline seemed to work on the little monster. If he was spanked, he'd laugh. He was an odd child. Although now as an adult he is extremely mild tempered.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 12:58 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
This is where I get stuck on the idea of any child ever "needing" to be hit in order to learn a lesson.


IMO, the need factor is contingent on how necessary you feel it is to modify the behavior. I can certainly envision situations* where a child/parent combo are not able to do so another way, and at that point it would be a matter of how necessary you feel it is to change the behavior (another way to put it is how willing you are to tolerate the behavior).

*Some kids are psychopaths who would kill their little brother, not everyone can be reasoned with.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I don't think spanking a psychopath is going to make him more safe for society (or his brother).

I agree that the combo of the child's and parent's temperaments are very important. A control freak child with a control freak parent is going to have a tough time growing up. That parent's parenting style would probably be ineffective with that child, which makes the point I was making above.
ehBeth
 
  4  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:05 pm
I'm not a fan/proponent/supporter of hitting/swatting/beating/grabbing children, adults or animals.

I do see a place for touching in some situations. It's part of the approach to working with animals many people became familiar with through the Dog Whisperer, but it's not new. I think it's often forgotten or shied away from as a tool.

I think that sometimes people and animals need a touch to break a behavioural cycle. Not a harsh touch, often barely more than an attention-getting touch.

Words aren't always enough to get a person's attention enough to stop them in the middle of something they're doing. Touch can be very powerful, as a therapeutic tool and as a form of discipline. Boomer's recent thread about caring touch fits in this area for me.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:12 pm
@ehBeth,
Good points.

Re: attention-getting, one surprise tool I happened across is math. When the kid gets really upset there is no reasoning with her -- she's in a hot state and her brain is simply not functioning normally. This is a sort of situation when a lot of people swat the kid -- they're shocked, and they might be shocked out of their mental state. However, I started using math, and was surprised at how well it worked. She'd be blubbering and screaming and making no sense and I'd say "what's 2 plus 2?" She'd stop mid-scream... what? I'd ask again. Um, 4! Right!! What's 4 X 4? Um... 16. RIGHT! What's x in 2X = 16? (She's calmed down considerably at this point.) Ummm.... 8, right? YES! (Big hug.) NOW... let's talk about this, OK? What the heck was going on just now?

It seems to help rewire her brain, get her out of the extreme-emotion loop.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:17 pm
@sozobe,
nice.

It works in the reverse too. If I was having a rant over some thing or another, the girls would start counting backward from 10 to 0 and then shout "Blastoff!" Usually, I'd be counting with them by the time they got down to 4. If I was *really* angry, I'd stay silent, but at least I'd gotten the message that I was ranting. Then, once we got to 0 we could discuss whatever the issue was.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:28 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
I don't think spanking a psychopath is going to make him more safe for society (or his brother).


Yeah, I thought of that when I was bringing up the example. I can certainly see cases where it could be disastrous, but I can also see cases where it may help. But the point I was making is that I don't believe that all children and parents are capable of avoiding any corporal punishment.

Quote:
I agree that the combo of the child's and parent's temperaments are very important. A control freak child with a control freak parent is going to have a tough time growing up. That parent's parenting style would probably be ineffective with that child, which makes the point I was making above.


And beyond personality and style that I think some parents lack the emotional intelligence to parent without any physical cues. And I think some children lack enough sensitivity to non-physical cues. And sometimes the kids lack enough adult supervision...

E.g. If a kid started smacking another kid on the face and I couldn't isolate the kid (I am the only caretaker of 20 children) and the kid was not receptive to other forms of behavior modification but was receptive to a small physical cue (e.g. a light slap on the hand and being physically removed from the confrontation) I think the physical confrontation can be a net positive for that situation.

I can certainly think of better ways it can be done but life is imperfect and less than ideal happens. I strongly opposed corporal punishment as I experienced it, but I'm not convinced that it's entirely avoidable. Physical cues are a big part of parenting in nature. Our superior verbal ability might set us apart but I still think at some level some children might need physical cues to even begin to comprehend their place in the pecking order if their parents aren't able to find other ways.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:30 pm
There exists a photo of my sister S., when she was about 4, sitting on the floor, mouth agape, eyes wide, soaked in water.

She had a furious temper -- she'd get completely out of control. My mom's doctor told her to throw a glass of water on S. the next time she went into a tail spin.

Mom says she only had to do it once!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:31 pm
All very interesting. My grandparents subjected us (very rarely) to corporal punishment. A spanking with a bare hand shouldn't leave marks. We were threatened with my grandfather if the transgression were serious enough, and, theoretically, he would take the offender into the basement along with his razor strop. He never struck me with the strop. He would slap a bag of coal in the basement with the strop, while lecturing me on the stupidity of having offended the "womenfolk" to the point that he was called upon to administer punishment. At no point did he tell me i was "bad," simply that i had been thoughtless and foolish. His disappointment was a more severe punishment than being whipped with the razor strop would have been. The only other corporal punishment was to get "swatted" by my grandmother for lesser offenses, and that probably didn't happen even as much as half a dozen times.

In the 1950s, this was so common that no one would even have commented on it.

Later, i was often responsible for my brother's two oldest sons when they were boys. Our relationship with regard to behavior was that i would take them to the pool, to the beach, to have lunch in a real, honest-to-god adults eat here restaurant, that sort of thing. They understood that the "treat" were conditional upon their behavior, and subject to withdrawal at any time. They knew that i did not lie to them, and that i almost never made promises, because one can't always be assured that one can keep the promises. I'd say something like, "We'll see," or "If i have the chance." They also knew that i wasn't blowing them off, and that i'd take them to the beach if i had the chance.

My youngest nephew (as he was then, there have been others since) at one point, when he was about five, thought it was funny to hit me and then run away. I told him several times not to do that, that i never hit him, and that i didn't appreciate it, and that one day i might hit him. I was standing in my grandmother's kitchen one day, when this kid came up, hit me as hard as he could, and started to run away. I reached out my hand, he ran right into it, i lifted him from the floor, and i swatted his butt--hard. It was with my open hand, and it wasn't going to leave a mark, but it certainly impressed him. He stood there, holding his butt, saying: "John, you hit me." I told him, "You're damned right i did, and i've been warning you for a long time." He ran off to tell his father, who commented that he very likely deserved it. He never hit me again. A few years later, his brother was laughing at him about the incident, which he denied had ever happened. When his brother left the room, i reminded him, and he replied that he knew, but that he didn't want to admit it to his brother (men who grew up with their brothers will understand). I said it made sense to me, and that he could be sure i'd never try to shame him with it. He then thanked me for saying nothing when his brother taunted him. His brother later expressed his disgust that i had said nothing. I ignored that.

That boy never offered me any violence again. As far as i know, he never offered violence to anyone, unless he were fighting with his brother--brothers fighting can be considered a childhood pastime. It was the humiliation which mattered, not the violence.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:37 pm
@ehBeth,
I agree with this, on some level I think physical cues are important. Not necessarily punitive ones, but things like tapping hands away from places they shouldn't go and small physical cues that can show a pecking order.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:39 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
It was the humiliation which mattered, not the violence.


Egg-zactly. Properly applied corporal punishment isn't about the application of pain at all.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 01:46 pm
Interesting, I was spanked once, I was about 8 years old and had taken a deck of cards (my fathers) to school (show and tell sorta thing) and the cards happened to have nekkid ladies on them. The thing was the teacher in my classroom had been at our house the night before where she and her husband had been playing cards with my parents, well anyway, she told my father about me and the cards ( I was passing them out to the other kids in class.
Other than that and not at all unlike Set, my grandfather would grab his razor strop and threaten me chasing me as I yelled. He never managed to actually catch me but I knew I was in deep serious.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 02:52 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:

I don't think spanking a psychopath is going to make him more safe for society (or his brother).

I agree that the combo of the child's and parent's temperaments are very important. A control freak child with a control freak parent is going to have a tough time growing up. That parent's parenting style would probably be ineffective with that child, which makes the point I was making above.


Less so.

Harsh punishment is associated with anti-social and sociopathic personalities.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 03:07 pm
@ehBeth,
Excellent poingts, ehBeth. It's essentially the child-rearing system that was used by many of the people you Canajuns call First Nations or that Set refers to as Amerinds. Among the plains tribes the practice of an adult actually hitting a child was virtually unknown. You taught a child not to behave in certain ways through example, a light restraining touch, etc. etc., never by striking the child.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2009 03:08 pm
@dyslexia,
Seems to me any hitting that might have been considered necessary should have been given to your father, for being dumb enough to leave stuff he didn't want to admit to having, where you could find it!


I am imagining the ruckus if I had taken the similar deck of my father's I found hidden in the garage to show and tell!

Somehow, I intuited that this would not be appropriate.
0 Replies
 
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 06:10 pm
Well, cripes. I'm not a parent, and never will be.

I do see, however, behaviors from both children and adults that are inappropriate: Adults (in the US) often seem so fearful of being accused of Child Abuse that they can easily be manipulated by their children into a complete failure to modify their children's behavior at all.

I think what is needed is not "the rod," but "the time." A2K parents are willing, it seems, to spend that time with their children, to teach them right from wrong... children in "the real world" are severely (in my opinion) neglected, ignored, and run rampant in public places.

Hasn't anyone shopped at Wal-Mart lately, and wandered into the toy isle, as I have? I've heard, from a young child to a parent: "I'm going to kick you if you don't buy me this toy."

My own nephew once threatened his parents with: "I'm going to accuse you of child abuse if you don't do..." whatever it was he wanted.

I believe that in the US the pendulum has swung too far in the "Don't touch your children" direction. This is ironic for me to say, as I myself was severely abused as a child by my own parents.

NO, I don't think children should be beaten. But I do think that children should be taught Right from Wrong, and frankly I do not see that happening.

There is, however (in my opinion) a huge difference between spanking a child, formally and with pomp and circumstance, and losing one's temper as a parent.

I've known dozens of children who were deprived of not only discipline, but parental attention of any kind. I think if parents paid more attention to their children, and had the time to teach them, these extreme behavioral problems could be solved.

On the other hand, if both parents are working full-time, do they really have the time to properly teach their children? That's what is needed: Time for children, to teach them gently yet firmly.

Why has no one else mentioned this lack (of time)? Because it's not do-able?
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 06:24 pm
@BorisKitten,
"parenting" is not considered a valued activity in our current society. 60" flat screen 1080 t.v.s are.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 07:39 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

"parenting" is not considered a valued activity in our current society. 60" flat screen 1080 t.v.s are.

Yer Darned Straight!

It's a sad thing.
 

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