Apparently the post on “Why we hit our kids” was popular. It was also, apparently, an invitation for some less than stellar elements to come out of the woodwork, so to speak. Due to the type of comments I received on that post and the nature of several of them, I will not be approving comments on that post. I will be deleting them. However, I will deal with several themes that pop up in those comments.
Response #1: I was spanked and I turned out okay.
My response: I’m going to quote Elizabeth Esther on her blog in response:
“Even so, in defending spanking we often hear people say: “I was spanked as a kid and I turned out alright.” Um…no, no you didn’t. By defending spanking, you have turned out to be someone who perpetuates violence against children.” (Source)
I agree with Elizabeth. You have become an advocate of violence. I also want to point out that you have repressed what spanking really felt like and what it did to you. I should know. I definitely stuffed down the anger I felt at my parents for hitting me. I was angry but I couldn’t articulate that anger and I definitely couldn’t show that anger. My mother was going to spank and disciplining me was the least of her reasons to do so. I also had to stuff down those feels of anger and betrayal because I didn’t know how to live without my parents. My parents were all I had. Spanking was the norm and as a child, I had to put up with it, allow it so that I had a roof over my head, food to eat, the ability to go to school.
Response #2: Spanking was the only form of discipline I listened to.
My response: I didn’t learn to associate the pain of a spanking with not doing a specific behavior. All I learned is that it was okay to hurt a child as long as you had an excuse. So spanking wasn’t the deal breaker many make it out to be. Plus, there is countless evidence that spanking is NEVER effective in changing behavior. Spanking actually damages the brain. Many studies point this out. Again, many people lie to themselves because they cannot acknowledge that their parents actually hurt them. I suggest reading Leaving Home: The Art of Separating From Your Difficult Family by David. P. Celani to understand this divorce in the brain.
Response #3: Spanking is Biblical.
My Response: Actually, it isn’t. The idea that “spare the rod, spoil the child” comes from a poem called Hudibras by Samuel Butler and involved Sir Hudibras making a lewd comment to a woman who promised to get him out of jail (Source). And the verses that do reference the rod in Proverbs is not the rod that most make it out to be and applies to nearly full grown men, not children. See Samuel Martin’s book Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me to see a full, Biblical explanation of those verses.
Also, several deaths have been associated with the Pearls’ teaching. Too many “Christian” parenting books advocate spanking and first tine obedience when that doesn’t work. Even James Dobson of Focus on the Family compares child rearing to cruelly beating a dog.
Hopefully, this will cover the major comments I saw. I won’t answer the really rude ones.