Monday, May 04, 2009

The Spanking Controversy

A Newsweek article this week has a story about a school in South Carolina whose principal is using spanking as a form of discipline and is getting good results:

Before Nixon took over "John C," student behavior had gotten so bad that one teacher described it as "chaos." She eventually quit in disgust, pulled her own child from the school, and moved to a different one 45 minutes away. John C is located in a rural stretch of South Carolina near the Georgia border where all but one of the major textile plants have closed, and where the leading local employer is the school system. Nearly 90 percent of the kids at John C live below the poverty line. When Nixon went to his first PTO meeting, only about a dozen parents showed up at a school with 226 students. He still has trouble reaching many families by phone because they can't afford to put down a deposit on a landline. And yet Nixon has managed to turn John C around. It recently earned three statewide Palmetto awards, one for academic performance and two for overall improvement—the school's first such honors in its 35-year history. Not everyone agrees with his methods, but most parents and teachers will tell you he couldn't have pulled off such a turnaround without his wooden paddle.

The article talks about the guilt that the principal feels over his method of discipline but perhaps he should take comfort in the work of Berkeley psychologist, Diana Baumrind:

The studies cited by opponents of corporal punishment, Dr. Baumrind contended, often do not adequately distinguish the effects of spanking, as practiced by nonabusive parents, from the impact of severe physical punishment and abuse. Nor do they consider other factors that might account for problems later in life, like whether parents are rejecting or whether defiant or aggressive children might be more likely to be spanked in the first place.

Dr. Baumrind described findings from her own research, an analysis of data from a long-term study of more than 100 families, indicating that mild to moderate spanking had no detrimental effects when such confounding influences were separated out. When the parents who delivered severe punishment -- for example, frequently spanking with a paddle or striking a child in the face -- were removed from the analysis, Dr. Baumrind and her colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Owens, found that few harmful effects linked with spanking were left. And the few that remained could be explained by other aspects of the parent-child relationship.

''When parents are loving and firm and communicate well with the child,'' Dr. Baumrind said, ''the children are exceptionally competent and well adjusted, whether or not their parents spanked them as preschoolers.''

The principal in the South Carolina school may use a paddle but he does not use it "frequently," and he does seem to have a consistent pattern of using corporal punishment. Parents are also brought into the equation and seem to be working with the principal toward expecting better behavior. This seems to me to be a help and not a hindrance to the kids in this town.

What do you think?


Blogger Rob F said...

My fiancee is from South Carolina, and spanking sounds like a damn good idea to me...

6:21 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

I'm 52. When I was in school, spanking happened from time to time all the way from elementary through high school. The joke was that they were "applying the board of education to the seat of learning." It seemed to work. Few who were spanked offended again. None were permanently damaged by spanking.

7:11 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Rustmeister said...

Spanking is a common sense approach to discipline, especially with younger kids.

Younger kids don't have reasoning skills beyond "If I do X, I will get spanked."

Once they grow older, they figure out that spanking doesn't hurt that much, and it's over quickly.

Once a kid starts choosing "licks" over detention, it's time to stop spanking.

8:13 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Rust wrote: "Once a kid starts choosing "licks" over detention, it's time to stop spanking."

While I get your point, the guys at my boys school ALWAYS took the licks over the marks. It was a question of toughness. I still remember when a guy in 8th grade took the demerits over the swats, it was not good for his reputation.

But, the swats hurt, so you did not want to get them in the first place. Given the choice, you took the pain of the swats over the social disaproval.


8:27 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

Spanking by parents is one thing, done by a nonparent quite another. This guy needs to stop.

9:06 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger HMT said...

Mention public schools here and you're likely to get a lot of posts about the institutionalized liberalization of American children.

Mention allowing that same institution to inflict pain you children and you get a number of "we approve!" posts. I find the logic dislocated.

My father was a disciple of the belt. He didn't mind using it when we needed it and he was good at it. His approach was measured (i.e. never when he was angry, but definitely later) and painful. My brother and I still managed to misbehave with appalling frequency. Spanking was a deterrent, but only from getting caught. We got pretty good at not getting caught.

Discipline is a mental and emotional exercise. If you're using physical techniques to try and create discipline you've left your best tools in the toolbox.

9:22 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Cham, what are your reasons for opposing paddling at school?

HMT, spanking is not the only tool for discipline, but I think it is a good tool in the toolbox. So is grounding, time out, extra chores, going to bed early, and a good talking to. We use spanking when the other approaches do not encourage cooperation with our kids. Because we actually have swatted all the kids, merely bringing it up is usually enough to get cooperation in other areas. Somtimes the kids ignore my wife, they stop as soon as she has a wooden sppon in her hand! The funny thing is that we have never spanked them with a spoon, as we prefer the hand. I guess they are worried about the spoon!


10:01 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger HMT said...

TMLink. For this article I see the main issue as "3rd party" spanking, not parental spanking. I really don't think there's ever a reason to let the state have the freedom to spank my child, or any child.

Frankly, I'm somewhat surprised at the willingness of people (here of all places!) to so easily hand over the power to inflict pain on their children.

One of the events that caused my respect for my father (and mother) to grow stronger was over school paddling. I brought a note home from school. Coincidentally, we were living SC. The note was a permission slip about school paddling. I was sure my parents would sign it offhand. Instead my father and mother discussed it openly and handed it back to me with the "NO" box checked and signed. My father looked at me and said "There's no way I'd let someone at the school hit you, and if they do you come tell me. If you do something wrong, they can tell me and I'll take care of it." I knew my father and mother had my back, always. I also knew if they found out I'd misbehaved they'd HAVE my back(side) :)

10:19 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Michael Lee said...

So (1) spanking works when other methods dont, and (2) it does no lasting physical harm.

Those are the same arguments in favor of waterboarding.

What none of you spankers have done yet is establish that you have a moral right to hit children. You take it for granted that it's ok to do it if "it works."

10:25 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Well, I only got whipped with a belt twice when I was young, both times by my mother, mainly because my father wasn't home at the time (thank God).

The first time was when I was 5. We were over at the next door neighbor's yard, playing with this ball, and it rolled under the house, which was up on one-foot stilts to guard agains flooding. Everyone else was afraid to crawl under the house to get the ball, so I volunteered. As I was crawling out from under the house with the ball, this stupid girl, Melissa, hit me on the head with a 2x4 and laughed about it, because she thought it was funny.

It hurt, and I was crying. The parents all came out and asked what was wrong, but I didn't say anything. The next day I was standing in the driveway, rubbing the bump on my head, and Melissa was standing on the other side of the chain link fence, smiling at me. So I dropped my shorts and peed all over her.

Of course, my mother was watching through the window, and she came running out, grabbed me by the arm, dragged me into the house, and took a belt to my ass. But I'd do it again, knowing that I would get a whipping. This stupid little girl hit me upside the head with a board for no reason, so I peed on her. There is no form of punishment my parents could inflict that would prevent me from doing that, because to this day I feel that I was justified.

The other time was a few years later. I was playing Cowboys and Indians with my Johnny West dolls, using lit matches as flaming arrows, and burned a bunch of holes in the carpet. Oh, I got a whipping for that, which I rightly deserved. I also got grounded for three months. That was stupid, and I wouldn't do that again.

I only got paddles twice in school. This first time was in elementary. After recess, we were all standing in line to go back to class, and this guy behind me poked me in the ribs. I turned around and said, "Hey, what's your problem?" The coach pulled me out and paddled me for speaking in line. That was unfair, because I wasn't at fault--the guy behind me was. And it goes to show that discipline, in order to be effective, must be appropriately administered.

The only other time I got paddled was in the 7th grade. We had this mean, old lady as a teacher, who took it upon herself to paddle each child on his or her birthday in front of the entire class. Those who happened to be born in the summer got of scot free. That was not discipline but abuse, although nobody ever did anything about it.

I believe that spanking or paddling has its place as an effective form of discipline, as long as it is appropriately and fairly administered. But I draw the line at allowing adults to punish children at their whim, for nothing more than being born, simply because the adults are bigger than children and the children can't do anything about it.

Discipline is discipline, and it is effective and necessary. Abuse is abuse, and should rightfully be condemned, if not itself punished outright.

10:29 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

What none of you spankers have done yet is establish that you have a moral right to hit children. You take it for granted that it's ok to do it if "it works."On the other hand, nobody argues about the moral right of our schools to do things that "don't work". Think of the failure of our public schools to teach students to read, to write or speak correct English, or to do mathematics. Perhaps we should start there.

10:35 AM, May 04, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If spanking works at school, then is should also work in the home? Why ot try waterboarding? We are told by some tv pundits and bloggers that it gets results.

11:01 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Mike said...

fred said...
If spanking works at school, then is should also work in the home? Why ot try waterboarding? We are told by some tv pundits and bloggers that it gets results.
If I was as illiterate and confused as you are, I wouldn't be so quick to post.

11:07 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

Some parents don't believe in corporal punishment and it is their right not to have spanking administered to their kids by anyone else. Who gets to decide which situation a child gets spanked? Lying? Cheating? Looking at someone the wrong way? Who are these spankers? Teachers? Principals? PTA members? teacher's assistants? hall monitors?

This is a bit too much government for me. We have a justice system for a reason, if a kid's behavior is questionable we should use it, send the kid home, or have a conference with the parents. Public schools have not been elected judge, jury and corporal punishers. I hope somebody sues.

11:35 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

I hope somebody sues.

And I hope the judge hands them their asses. There IS such a thing as physical abuse, but normally a spanking does not cross that line. If it does, THEN they get to sue. The two times I was paddled in school when I didn't believe I deserved it don't change my mind on that, either. If the rules are laid out, and they're not overreaching into stupid territory, then it's fine by me.

11:48 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

Um, yeah, we've just learned waterboarding isn't abuse either. I've got a bridge to sell you too.

11:51 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Toysoldier said...

My position on this issue is somewhat jaded by the what I went through as a child. Personally, I find it quite cowardly to strike a child. It is an admission by the adult that he or she does not care at all about the kid; it is just about domination and pure control. The adult cannot get the response he or she wants through talking or verbal threats, so, like a child, resorts to slapping, hitting, pushing and humiliating others to get his or her way.

Nixon simply takes the easy way out to get the result he wants, which essentially means he engages in the same kind of behavior most child abusers do when they want a child to shut up and take their clothes off or shut up and never tell anyone or simply shut up. The fact that he feels guilty about it demonstrates that. The fact that he hides behind, "It's my job" demonstrates the extent of his cowardice.

Simply put, if spanking was a good idea and truly harmless, we would do it to adults.

11:51 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

The Memphis City Schools stopped corporal punishment and didn't replace it with anything effective. Teachers that I spoke to said that they had great support with everything but discipline, and the lack of any way to make the kids conform to behavioral requirements (like not throwing chairs across the room just for the hell of it) was killing them in the classroom.


" Rob said...
My fiancee is from South Carolina, and spanking sounds like a damn good idea to me...

6:21 AM, May 04, 2009"

Either Rob thinks his fiancee (presumably an adult) needs physical punishment, or he associates spanking with sexual behavior. If the latter, NO ONE who thinks as he does has any business spanking kids, or having input into anyone else spanking them. I have a feeling that this has happened far too often. What his fiancee puts up with is her business but kids, especially little kids, can't say no to the adults who control their lives.

11:56 AM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

You guys raise good points about letting the state spank my kids. Honestly, the school has only had behavioral problems with my kids one time, and I spanked the child for it.

The problem stopped. 8)

I got spanked once inappropriately by a school person, it was a private school, so there was no state involvement. My parents got all upset about it, I saw no problem with the whole thing at the time or now.

Proverbs 13:24 - He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 22:15 - Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 29:15 - The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

Works for me.

I agree that waterboarding is torture by the way. But a spanking? Confusing the two demonstrates a complete lack of perspective.


12:07 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Mister Wolf said...

Personally, I think the Principal should stop corporal punishment and use Cham's suggestion. Use the justice the police and have the kids arrested. THAT won't harm the child whatsoever.

Plus the school officials can say they have zero tolerance policy on violence. Zero tolerance, zero need of judgment on the school officials part.

12:43 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Mike said...

This is a bit too much government for me. We have a justice system for a reason, if a kid's behavior is questionable we should use it, send the kid home, or have a conference with the parents. Public schools have not been elected judge, jury and corporal punishers. I hope somebody sues.Wait, wait, you can't be serious, can you? You sound like a sub-species of troll. Someone who says something so utterly absurd that they can't possibly be on the side of an argument they pretend to be.

Do your neurons actually fire in the order that would be required to generate that defective thought? Do you lack the reflection and life experience to actually believe what you wrote?

I'm really curious, because I could pile on and tear your thoughts asunder, as others have, but it's a stretch to believe there is a literate person out there who believes what you wrote, and also believes several underlying premises (all of them silly) that would be required to come to that nonsensical thought you posted.

1:04 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Michael, I bet you and I agree pretty much on the punishment issue. But I see the other folk's points, and while Cham and I disagree at times, I can say that Cham is neither a troll or an idiot.

For me, I went to schools where my parents and I could trust the teacher and administrators. Those days may be mostly gone, and a school you can really trust is probably too expensive. I have to accept their point about not wanting to let a public school official spank their kids. So I was wrong and they were right about that matter as far as I can see.

The other aspects, I bet you and I agree more.


2:17 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I spanked my kids a few times. Always for them committing a violent act against someone else. It worked and I'm sure it's much less extreme than waterboarding.

What gives a child the right to hit someone else without like consequence? My oldest daughter's two children are the biggest brats you've ever met. Not only does she not spank, she won't even raise her voice. Her oldes son, 16, feels free to threaten her with violence though. I'd like to show a little violence myself to be honest about it. I refuse to visit them any longer as it is so unpleasant. They get no disciplince from school because they are home schooled.

The schools my two youngest attend don't spank but have a strict and effective discipline program. It's a rural school but not as poor as this one in this article. I wouldn't like schools spanking my kids if for no other reason that they too often "convict" the wrong party.

HMT - makes an excellent point. I've gone to bat for my kids against the school a few times and my kids trust and respect me for it.

2:52 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger fivewheels said...

I have to reluctantly come down on the anti side. Parents carrying out corporal punishment is one thing, and perhaps in this case the principal is doing a good job. But putting it in the hands of the usual gang from the NEA? No thanks. How long before you find kids getting swatted for being suspected of having opinions anywhere to the right of Ward Churchill? And does anyone doubt that boys will bear the disproportionate brunt of this, even above and beyond the extent that they might (might) offend at a greater rate?

It's similar to why I'm somewhere between ambivalent about/against capital punishment: I just can't trust those who are administering it to get it right.

3:18 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

5wheels, well said. I agree about the death penalty too. That and if I am anti-abortion it is difficult to be pro death penalty.


3:22 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Michael Lee said...

@ TMink and DADvocate:

Both of you have made the point that spanking is less extreme than waterboarding. Your point doesn't address the moral correspondence between the usual pragmatic arguments in favor of spanking and those in favor of waterboarding. (And, so far, in this thread, all pro-spankers have relied explicitly or implicitly on the usual arguments.)

The issue here is one of KIND, not so much DEGREE. The first question is:

Is it morally permissible to induce physical suffering or fear in someone up to but not crossing the line of doing permanent physical damage in order to coerce their obedience in an important area?

The second question is:

If the answer to the first question is Yes, then for which group should the bar be higher to justify it--for children or for adults?

In the spirit of "hard cases make bad law" let's accept for the sake of argument these two reasons justify some level of pain/fear inflction:

1. Self-defense. While the CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques" went way beyond the traditional legal notion of self-defense, there is a philosophical argument that can be made--not saying I agree, but saying I don't want to cloud the waters here by arguing about it.

2. Incompetence. For example, a child of 2 is too young to understand the danger of getting run over by a car, but can grok the correlation between getting spanked and crossing the curb line. Again, not saying I buy this as the best way to keep ygur kid safe from cars, but I'll grant it here.

Neither self-defense nor incompetence apply in the majority of spankings.

In general, we've banned the infliction of humiliation and physical pain when trying to reform bad adult behavior--why shouldn't children be treated at least as well as criminals?

Because so many spankers here are stuck on "it works" I want to throw down a gauntlet:

Outside the two exceptions I listed above, All parents who spank more than rarely are incompetent. I define rarely as no more than once in every several years.

Even if spanking works there are far better and less morally compromised ways to handle children. Go get some training or think harder about how to get along with your children.

Finally, losing your temper with your kid on rare occasion and smacking him a few times isn't the worst thing in the world. Kids can be incredibly provocative. Just like girlfriends.

3:54 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Derek said...

There are rational arguments against spanking. And I respect Jacob's assessment that it's a cowardly act. But I think arguments that ascribe a plausible (but not necessarily accurate) motivation to anyone who spanks fall short. For example,....

"It is an admission by the adult that he or she does not care at all about the kid; it is just about domination and pure control.How then is forcible isolation of a child any different? Does it not say to the child, "I don't want to be with you unless you behave the way I want you to behave"? Isn't that manipulative? What recourse does the child have to the experience of "time out"? Is that not an experience of domination and control?

If a parent is spanking in an effort (perhaps misguided) to teach a child not to engage in behavior that will be detrimental to that child long-term, how is that showing a lack of care for the well-being of the child?

My primary point is that any argument against spanking that is based on the vilification of those who do spank falls short of being convincing. And, secondarily, any type of punishment can be detrimental when carried to extremes, but that doesn't invalidate its periodic and appropriate use.

And, no, I'm not suggesting that a good whack will solve every problem.

3:58 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Michael Lee - take you moral correspondence and cram it where the sun don't shine.

4:02 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger William said...

I don't trust the schools to use corporal punishment on my children. I don't use corporal punishment on my children. I do use discipline, and they suffer the consequences of their actions.

I'm the adult. I am supposed to have greater intelligence, experience, and reasoning power. Therefore, no, no hitting.

5:10 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

I spanked my daughter when necessary. I tried very hard not to do it when I had lost my temper. People who talk about "spanking when you don't know what else to do" aren't talking about spanking done correctly.

My child had, and has, a very tender conscience. I think "time out", which would have involved her sitting somewhere and contemplating how bad she was, would have been very cruel. I thought that a few brisk whaps on the butt, administered along with an explanation, followed by "now we're through with this and we don't have to deal with it anymore", was more likely to get across what I wanted: that her naughtiness was a temporary aberration to be dealt with so she could get back to her usual state of being a good girl. Once they're old enough to reason with, and assuming that you've gotten "you have to do as I say" across, you shouldn't have to spank anymore.

Having said that, no way in hell was a stranger with the school system going to get my permission to strike my child. I could not have guaranteed fairness or appropriateness, and I certainly could not have guaranteed that some school person wasn't going to think he could get his jollies by spanking a helpless girl. Or boy - that happens too and it appeared to have happened in Memphis, with a coach who got fired for being a little too free with his paddle back when it was allowed.

5:12 PM, May 04, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes the kids ignore my wife, they stop as soon as she has a wooden sppon in her hand!My mom's weapon of choice was a spatula. Nothing motivated me more than seeing mom walking into the living room with spatula in hand after I ignored her for the umpteenth time.

The threat alone was enough to change my behavior.

Is it morally permissible to induce physical suffering or fear in someone up to but not crossing the line of doing permanent physical damage in order to coerce their obedience in an important area?Absolutely yes, especially if that important area will help save the child's life in the future.

The adult cannot get the response he or she wants through talking or verbal threats, so, like a child, resorts to slapping, hitting, pushing and humiliating others to get his or her way.A lot of my time as a parent is spent in a test of wills with my children, especially my youngest, who is headstrong and absolutely fearless, until it comes to spanking. Just the threat works 90% of the time, but once in awhile it is necessary to do so.

I don't think we have spanked our oldest (8) in a couple years. Our youngest (4), maybe a couple times a year but only for the most dangerous or extremely disrespectful behavior.

We don't spank over spilled milk, or broken toys, or the normal casualties of everyday life, but I think spanking is a useful & effective discipline & teaching tool for parents.

As for schools doing it, I don't have a major problem with it as long as it is used consistently and for major behavior problems, and only administered by the principal.

I was spanked once in elementary school for throwing snowballs, and I knew I would be if I got caught. My parents' response: don't throw snowballs during recess.

Also agree with the first two paragraphs of Laura's 5:20 post. Well said.

5:42 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Michael, I gave you my moral authority. It is Holy Scripture.


9:30 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

I signed a waiver allowing Giesela the authority to spank my daughter if she went out of line. My daughter knew this. My daughter didn't go out of line. See, I took the time to be involved in my daughter's school and so could judge Giesela. She was an iron hand in a velvet glove and utterly fair.

11:28 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger K said...

I graduated from HS in the early 70s. At that time, some of the brightest of my class went on to become teachers. I stayed in touch with several and even though they achieved their credentials, none actually went into the profession. The reason they gave was the same, corporal punishment had just been eliminated as an option in California schools and the resultant chaos reduced them to babysitters instead of instructors.

I also wonder if the notion of drugging school kids would have become so widespread if corporal had been available.

3:25 AM, May 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spanking is child abuse. Drop the bible and read the works of Alice Miller.

7:49 AM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Sorry, Kevin, K makes the point. Drugging kids is child abuse.

9:17 AM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

I have a well read copy of Drama of the Gifted Child. I bought it in 1984. Pages are creased and passages underlined.

How well do you know the Bible Kevin? Is your copy of the Bible as well worn and used as my copy of Miller?

You are mistaking spanking with child abuse. It is not a difficult distinction, why is it difficult for you?


9:50 AM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

A good question K and Dadvocate. I routinely see children who are referred by their teachers!!! for medical treatment of ADHD that the children (almost all boys) do not have.

I am thinking that more effective discipline in the classroom and at home would greatly reduce these false "diagnoses" and the resulting inappropriate medical treatments.

Having said that, spanking is not for every child, some do not respond well to it and some respond so well to other forms of discipline that it is not required.

I have four children and gave three swats last month.


9:54 AM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

Um, yeah, we've just learned waterboarding isn't abuse either. I've got a bridge to sell you too.Waterboarding a disobedient child would be abuse. It is not, however, torture. If it were, liberals would not be having it done to themselves to prove how it IS. As soon as one volunteers to have thumbscrews used on them, I'll stop pointing that out.

12:52 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

Having said that, spanking is not for every child, some do not respond well to it and some respond so well to other forms of discipline that it is not required.
Totally agree. What some others do not realize is that some children just do not respond to anything else sometimes.

12:58 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Wayne, I disagree about waterboarding, I think it is torture.

And I am so glad my government used it to protect thousands of innocent civilians in Los Angeles from the 9-11 type attack that was in the works against them.

But people who confuse waterboarding with spanking have more than a perspective problem.


2:18 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

I wouldn't give a stranger permission to strike my children. Not going to happen. That is a decision that is not going to be taken from my hands.

4:39 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Derek said...

I'm not sure that the position that one "wouldn't give a stranger permission to strike [one's] children" is really a good critique to make against corporal punishment in schools.

After all, if one's children's teachers are truly "strangers," it could be argued that one's kids have bigger issues than being spanked at school.

8:52 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Words Twice said...

Leave it to some buffoons to introduce waterboarding into a discussion about spanking.

Although, I suppose it is consistent with the the leftist mindset, since they view terrorists and dictators as misunderstood children who would behave if we just loved them enough.

I am not too thrilled with a school official administering corporal punishment, but it seems that a lot of these kids do not have any structure or discipline at home, and they bring that chaos with them to the classroom. The teachers are forced to deal with a problem that begins in the home.

Nixon's policy does not have universal support at John C. On the permission form he sends to parents about paddling, a few have checked "no."There is a provision to opt out of this, so it's not really as controversial as it might seem at first glance.

9:14 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Words wrote: "Although, I suppose it is consistent with the the leftist mindset, since they view terrorists and dictators as misunderstood children who would behave if we just loved them enough."

Brilliant. I wish I had thought and written that. It is my hope that you post more often pal.


10:11 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

I'm not sure that the position that one "wouldn't give a stranger permission to strike [one's] children" is really a good critique to make against corporal punishment in schools.It is a perfect argument to make. I retain control of how hard, how often and if ever my child receives corporal punishment.

It eliminates a multitude of potential problems, many of which were outlined here.

There is no reason for any adult to strike my children.

10:59 PM, May 05, 2009  
Blogger Derek said...

Jack, your response makes it seem that you missed my point.

It is not "a perfect argument to make" (depending on the age of your child) because it suggests a complete lack of interest on your part in who is actually teaching your kids and what is being taught.

Note that I'm focusing on the word "stranger" as a description of "teacher" and thus reason to deny permission. That is a different position than that there is "no reason for any adult to strike my child", stranger or not.

10:15 AM, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Derek. You do realize, do you not, that it's not the teachers who do the spanking?

11:39 AM, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Derek said...

At the school noted in the article, Laura's right. It is the principal with the paddle. That is neither necessarily nor universally the case, from my experience.

And I'd make the same point about describing a principal as a "stranger." They don't have safe rooms into which they retreat when parents try to introduce themselves.

12:34 PM, May 06, 2009  
Blogger Derek said...

BTW, thanks to Laura for pointing out my omission. I should have included principals in my earlier post.

And, for the record, I'd argue that discipline problems in school have their roots elsewhere. And those problems, as with most problems, won't be solved with a quick whack. They may only be hidden during class time.

12:48 PM, May 06, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How well do you know the Bible Kevin?"

Well enough to toss it into the trash bin along with the Koran and any other stone age third world Middle Eastern superstitious crap, Trey.

7:21 AM, May 08, 2009  
Blogger TWM said...

Proof that paddling doesn't work is right in front of you. Discipline in schools has dramatically improved over the past decades. Kids sit quietly and pay attention in class. There are fewer fights in school and certainly no serious attacks that result in the deaths of even one student much less many.

Graduation rates are higher than back then and all the kids go to college prepared for anything that awaits them.

It's all rainbows, marshmallow clouds and unicorn sweat now, folks, and nothing like the hell holes that schools were like back when when a coach would give you a few swats for acting like a moron.

Thank God for the liberal changes to our school system. No paddling. No moral compass via anything remotely religious. No dress codes. Little patriotism because that is a bad thing of course.

All this has made our school system the envy of every other nation on Earth.

7:54 AM, May 08, 2009  
Blogger Mike said...

Well enough to toss it into the trash bin along with the Koran and any other stone age third world Middle Eastern superstitious crap, Trey.It's easy for an aethiest to crap on any religion as superstition. It's not so easy for them to realize that maybe there's a bonafide point to religion, that maybe it has served humanity in the past, and continues to serve it today.

The quickest way to get this point across is to ask- what's the status of any society that has a multi-century tradition of religion X? What's the status of any society that has practiced Religion Y for a millenia or two?

If the cultures, traditions and attitudes imparted by a certain religions have any value, then we should be able to discern differences in outcomes and weigh them.

Let's start with Judiasm. Jews are generally disproportionatly successful in any country they happen to be present in. In the United States they constitute maybe half the billionaires, despite being two percent of the population. Israel, a basically Jewish Nation, is a prosperous country surrounded by countries clearly less well off.

Meanwhile, Europe and the United States have a clearly Christian tradition. While it's influence is fading, no honest person could argue that well over a millenia of the dominance of Christianity has played a huge role in the History of those various nations.

Now compare Islam. If you take oil out of the equation, adding up the GDP of Islamic-dominated countries doesn't even get you the annual revenues of Nokia. (I exagerate some, but the performance difference in the nations of various traditions is clearly disparate.) Many Islamic countries still practice 'honor' killings, where they behead women for the misfortune of getting raped. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Let's look to Asia. Japan lagged behind Christian Europe by centuries, but when given the opportunity, it's culture and traditions, including religious factors, allowed them to embrace western means and make up the cultural difference in decades. Same for Korea & China, and probably a few other countries.

Honestly asking yourself "What benefit could Christianity have imparted?" opens up your mind to a more anthropological evaluation. Any narcissistic teenager who thinks he's smarter than everyone else can say "Lol11!!! Jesus is Santa!!! Lulz!"

It takes a humble adult to try to understand the role that religion actually played, and how a history of practicing the Christian tradition has played out against the results of alternative wide-spread cultural traditions.

A fertile imagination can pretend that humans are perfectable, and that we can reliably teach children vital moral codes via specifically articulated rationality, and restrain all adults via the same.

A more realistic view of humanity will determine that to be impossible, as the intellectual capability and educational levels of the population vary wildly, and our time on earth short.

In this evaluation, the Bible then becomes a 'manual' to impart useful values to the adherents of Christianity. The question of whether or not it is literally true is secondary to the question of whether A person, and their community, will gain by adherence to it's lessons , as compared to realistic alternatives.

The natural human is greedy, violent, and capricious. A few religions have demonstrated their capability to civilize nations and allow the people to work together towards ever- higher achievements.

That the history of those same religions & cultures is not perfect doesn't damn them, because their imperfect influence must be weighed against real alternatives- not your untested theories.

10:16 AM, May 08, 2009  
Blogger kentuckyliz said...

I grew up in a non-corporal punishment state, but it was during a time when teachers and parents and administrators were unafraid of their authority and there was discipline at home and structure and rules and kids cared about what their parents and teachers thought of them.

My mother didn't have to spank me much at all. She had The Look - as if my behavior were staining the family honor. It was shame based and I would have rather been paddled. I think I still struggle with shame and self consciousness as if everyone is watching what I'm doing. I think that is worse than a swat or a paddling. YMMV, maybe it was a British thing. I flinch when I see how harsh and shame-based my British rellies are with their kids.

This school has a 90% poverty rate. Likely mostly single parent homes, perhaps a higher dropout rate than the national average. Poor homes/families/communities involve a lot of chaos and no middle class values and ethics and rules and practices, and that's why it was so out of control.

If the school creates an environment with high expectations and structure and accountability and discipline, this is probably the only place these kids are getting that, and it will hugely increase their chances of success in the future.

To refuse to discipline little monsters behaving badly means that you'll end up with big monsters behaving badly.

One of my students was a police officer in that region of the country, until she recently moved her family to this area. Why? The social breakdown--and she didn't want her kids to have to grow up in that broken down of a social environment. She didn't want to normalize that for them. The precipitating event: getting called out to the school to investigate gang involvement by third grade children. !!!!!

So, between chaotic gang infested schools and ordered schools with the option of corporal punishment, I would choose the latter. Of course, caveats being nonabusive corporal punishment delivered with no anger, and with parental consent (the opt-out option having been offered at the beginning of the school year).

These parents are apparently pretty grateful for someone doing the job of challenging and disciplining their kids, because they aren't doing it. Otherwise there wouldn't have been a problem in the first place.

You may think, no other adult has the right to swat my child, but you are middle class and have structure and discipline at home so your child doesn't behave in a way to provoke discipline from someone else.

If you think no one should intervene and discipline if a behavior disordered child is attacking someone else, well, I think that's just wrong. That's monster creation. If they get away with it, there will be more of it.

10:18 AM, May 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most compelling of all reasons not to spank are the following (which can be verified by people who were actually spanked themselves by doing a little research):

"Even without sexual motives on the part of the punisher, spanking can interfere with a child's normal sexual and psychological development. Because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, slapping them can trigger powerful and involuntary sensations of sexual pleasure. This can happen even in very young children, and even in spite of great, clearly upsetting pain."
Tom Johnson Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children

“...The buttocks are the locus for the induction of pain in a child. We are familiar with the argument that it is a safe ‘locus’ for spanking. However, the anal region is also the major erotic region at precisely the time the child is likely to be beaten there. Thus it is aptly chosen to achieve the result of deranged sexuality in adulthood...” 1971 (p. 113)

David Bakan, Slaughter of the Innocents,1971 (p. 113)

“Advocates of corporal punishment in schools should examine very carefully the weight of evidence now available and, particularly in light of the pornographic component, consider whether they can justify the continuation of a system with such a capacity for exciting unhealthy interest.”
British Psychological Society, “Report on Corporal Punishment in Schools” (1980)

“But what you would not so readily believe upon my affirmation, was that there are persons who are stimulated to venery by strokes of rods, and worked up into a flame of lust by blows... A strange instance what a power the force of education has in grafting inveterate ill habits on our morals...”

Johann Heinrich Meibom, physician, 1629

Unpleasant as this information is, we do our children a great disservice when we fail to acknowledge its truth.

Had we not turned a blind eye to the unpleasant phenomena of clergy abuse of children 40-50 years ago, many children would have been spared its consequences.

To learn more about this issue, visit

6:34 AM, May 14, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:45 AM, May 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:46 AM, May 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:48 AM, May 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inherited Bad Habit

Child buttock-beating for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

There are several reasons why child buttock-battering isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson

by Lesli Taylor M.D., and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

10:13 PM, May 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are just a handful of those engaged in trying to raise awareness about why hitting kids isn't a good idea:

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu( supports the Global Initiative)

Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Center For Effective Discipline

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Churches Network for Non-Violence (CNNV)

PsychHealth, Ltd.,
Behavioral Health Professionals

Countries where it is prohibited by law:

Denmark,Germany, Italy,Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Austria, Norway, Cyprus, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Israel, Iceland, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Costa Rica, Republic of Moldova.

The US was the only UN member who did not sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child

10:28 PM, May 24, 2009  

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