A few days back, I read a column, The Liberal View, which submitted that spanking children should be out of style. At first, I figured the article would be one of those tongue-in-cheek pieces, but upon going deeper into the column, I discovered as usual, I was 180 degrees wrong.
The author was deadly serious, quoting survey results from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Now, I won’t sit here and dispute the results of the survey. I’m sure they were accurate when they said the response indicated that of the 2,500 mothers interviewed, .54 percent admitted they’d spanked their child once or twice within the past month.
Then the author fell back on the flawed old saw that ‘violence begets violence’. She implies if you spank a child, he becomes a little monster, a bully, aggressive. Naturally, he doesn’t morph into a dislikeable little savage overnight, but, according to her interpretation of the survey, he will eventually.
That’s BS piled higher than the Empire State Building, or whatever building is the tallest in the world. If spankings make kids bullies, I would have been the most aggressive bully in Texas. But you can ask anyone. I’m anything but a bully. I’m a great believer in ‘a soft answer turnth away wrath.’ (although today, a soft answer seems to invite it)
Now, the column used an anecdotal explanation that the writer’s grandfather, an immigrant (though I have no idea what that has to do with anything), used a cat-of-nine-tails on her father when he was a youth. Often her father said, he had no idea why he was being punished.(I don’t know what that has to do with anything either)
In addition, her father said that everyone (all immigrants, I guess) kept such a weapon in his home in that particular borough.
I admitted I was spanked—a bunch. If the American Academy of Pediatrics had interviewed my Dad, his response would have blown the survey off the charts. I was probably a two-a-week spankee—and those were the good weeks. But I can tell you this, I always knew why I was on the wrong end of the belt. There ain’t a kid alive who doesn’t know why he’s getting his tail spanked.
Oh yeah, I know, there are loonies out there. There are disgusting pieces of scum wearing human visages abusing kids. I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about average moms and pops sincerely trying to rear their children, not the others. We can do very little with the slums and those sickos who shouldn’t have had children.
There’s spanking, and then there’s spanking. One has to know when and how and if the situation calls for it.
With forty-one years in our public schools, I, along with the other relics in my generation, have witnessed the decline of parental support for schools in respect to discipline and academics.
Once, troublemakers in schools were labeled as products of low income, single parent homes. I never believed that. I still don’t. There were as many problems with children from the more prosperous homes.
If that isn’t true, then why do even the more affluent school districts create their own police force or set up a working relationship with the local police?
My best friend, Bobby, and I were mischievous, but his Dad and mine kept us pretty much in line. When his little brother came along, his mom nagged his dad not to be as hard on him as he had been on Bobby. That kid got away with stuff for which our tails were blistered.
Bobby and I taught in the Fort Worth area in the sixties. I ran into him in Austin in the eighties at a conference. His forty-something brother had been married and divorced three times, was currently unemployed and living at home with the parents.
I know, I know. One example proves nothing.
Am I saying spanking solves everything? No way. Raising children is the hardest thing in the world, even worse than a root canal. Just find out what works for you and do that. Don’t let a new world liberal, or an old fogy like me, sway you.
One comment about the survey though. Forty-six percent, or 1150 Mothers didn’t touch the kid. What do you want to bet we have a lot more spoiled brats in that group than those who got their little tails spanked?