Saturday, December 08, 2007

Serious Business

I've been watching the controversy about the possibility of a law against spanking and I'm wondering what your take is on this proposal.

As for me, I never struck my kids in the heat of anger or frustration, choosing to walk away, but do admit to a few, light pops on the butt when they were young. I grew up with a mother who believed that beating her children, with her hands or any available object, was her right and that slapping them, hard and in the face, was a necessary measure when they spoke out of turn. So, when I became a mother myself, I had a good idea of what not to do, wondering, always, how parents could willfully hurt their children. I do not believe that hitting children is an acceptable manner of discipline but neither do I believe that the government has the right to monitor our personal lives. This would be a gross invasion of privacy.

Government is getting out of hand and its tentacles are reaching into places they were never meant to be. Now they want to monitor the rearing of our children. I am all for saving children from child abuse, but abusers are the minority and this law would bring the eyes of Big Brother into the homes of many innocent people. Doctors, teachers and counselors are already on the watch for children who are being mistreated, and although they have saved a lot of children from further abuse, they have also mistaken accidents for something other than what they are and have caused good parents and their children a lot of anguish. A double edged sword, to be sure. Can you imagine the government being involved?

And what of children who think their parents are being unfair and see it as a means of retaliation? This point was brought up to me by my husband, who knows of such a case.

It's a conundrum and there are no easy answers. It's not a perfect world and, unfortunately, we cannot always protect the abused, be it children, women or the elderly, from their abusers. I just believe there has to be a better answer than government involvement.

I am very interested in your opinions.


Blogger Simply Coll said...

This is the first I have heard of such a law.. but it sounds very typical of the times. In this day and age, the right to privacy seems to be a quickly fading concept in so many ways. I too am troubled by the far reaching tentacles of "the government". Perhaps better use of our government would be to promote better parenting education and anger management. The making of such laws almost seems like a bandaid, quick fix attempt.. rarely effective in the long run. No easy answers.. that is for sure.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Coll, anger management and parenting education would make a lot more sense but I don't think doing the right thing is what our government's after. I think they are more concerned with control and power and the slow elimination of our democratic rights.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Amen to your insight about control and power. We are being turned into a socialist state with government wanting to control everything. I don't begin to have an answer but that definitely isn't it. I got my butt swatted a few times when I was a kid and think I grew up to be a pretty good person because of it.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I'm really against striking a child, although a few of my kids got spanked when they kept pressing limits - I just didn't know what else to do. Now, I believe in parenting classes and support systems, in other words - education. governmental probing.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

I am hoping that, since you are back to blogging, you are feeling a bit stronger and that your "break" was therapeutic.
I wish the government and the church people could stay out of our lives...their priorities are all mixed up.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Mama P said...

I personally am sick of people telling other people what NOT To do, but then not giving them alternatives, like parenting classes, or support groups for moms, or child care so people can get a break. society is so fxxed up these days. It's such a pressure cooker. As for my stance, I'm a no on spanking, but I've done it. I just get too mad, and I don't want to cross the line. It's working so far. Lots of alternative lessons, but I have had to dig deep.Not the quickest solution, but in the long run, I hope it's a good one.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I would pretty much agree with your stance, Pam. I don't think children should be hit or slapped around. This only teaches them to be afraid and sends the message that if you are bigger it's OK to hit. I think parenting classes and anger management should be mandatory for Anyone who is a parent - male and female. It's a tough and important job to be a parent and there should be all kinds of help available.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Richard, our government is slowly insinuating its control into every aspect of our lives and stealing our freedoms, one by one.

Bonita, rearing children is the most difficult job any human being can ever have. Also the most rewarding. And it's the only undertaking in which classes are not mandatory, in my mind, an error in education.

Ginnie, I wish they'd stay out of our business, too, they seem to make things worse. I am feeling much better, thank you for asking.

Mama P., well said, and I agree, it's always "no," never "how." The world has changed, stress levels are up and were constantly criticized for not handling it well. I'm with you, they should give us a hand not a law.

Alyssa, I agree 100%, kids don't pop out with instructions. As delightful as raising kids can be, it's a very tough road in a world that challenges us in ways we never could have imagined. Instead of criticizing, pointing fingers and passing laws, our government should offer help. I believe the kind of control they want is just as harmful to our young people as uneducated parents.

5:50 AM  
Blogger kate said...

This is too hard a law to enforce - would a light tap on the backside constitute spanking? I don't agree with having a laws like these. As you say, abusers are in a minority and there are already laws to cover them.

7:54 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

I think what you are referring to is a proposed piece of legislation in Massachusetts. It doesn't make sense that there would be a federal law on this topic.
It is complex--there are parents who beat their children to an extent bumps up against abuse. And I agree there is a proliferation of laws that are not necessary.
But. . .where to draw the line? and who do we sacrifice just so we don't have too many laws?

8:36 PM  
Blogger Crayons said...

Hi Pam
It sounds like you are definitely back in the ring after taking a breather.

I enjoyed reading your thoughtful and feisty post. I have two thoughts:
1. My parents never set a hand to us. They told us that it was wrong to strike another person. I think I am a better person for it.

2. Laws rarely change anything. I think Oprah and Dr. Phil have brought about more change in our country than 100 legislators combined. Anger management and parenting classes would make a world of difference.

9:37 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

I don't think a child should be spanked by a teacher--there is too much child abuse these days by predators of all kinds. i used to think it was great for a teacher to show affection--hugs, pats on the back, etc. Now they can't even do that==a sort of hands off policy. I think that's too bad--affectionate touching (appropriately) was a good way to teacher-student to bond. We've become a whole nation of men who are leary of touching or being touched by other men, women who are always ready to sue somebody they believe touched them or said something offensive....

I don't think spanking is a very good idea (altho I do admit I have spanked my kids and grandkids more times than I care to admit)--Time-outs work well for the Nanny. Everything works well for Her.

My folks NEVER spanked me--well, once when I ran away, and once when I cried all night because the wind was blowing, and kept my dad from sleeping....but only those two times, that I remember....

9:38 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Kate, it would certainly cause more problems than it solved.

Kgmom, thank you for clarifying, the piece of news we saw didn't mention anything about Massachusetts. Either way, invasion of privacy is unacceptable as are parents who abuse their children. So far the best answer seems to be instruction.

Caroline, another vote for instruction and I concur. As for Oprah and Dr. Phil, I'm not inclined to watch talk shows, so I have no opinion on that one.

Joyce, I don't like the way things have changed; when we were in school our teachers were very interactive and were allowed to discipline us and show affection. All within reason of course, but they were responsible for us for the majority of our day and acted accordingly.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Pam, It's so interesting to see everyone's take on this matter. Children are so different. I don't like the idea of physically disciplining a child, but I've seen kids who tested my patience and remember thinking: why doesn't that parent just pop 'em on the bottom. Imagine being arrested for that public 'attention getter'.

8:22 AM  
Blogger kokopelliwoman said...

Hi, Pam,

What a wonderful blog! Joared has some very talented blogger friends, indeed! I am adamant about not hitting children, people, and animals. Anything else is pretty much fair game. Hitting accomplishes nothing positive, and way too many negative outcomes. I bopped my daughter on the back of the head with a paperback book once, and she has never forgotten it--it represented a total (thankfully temporary) breakdown of communication and trust. Children who are hit don't learn how to behave well, they learn how to hit people and animals smaller than themselves. Studies show that physical abuse carries across generations and all too often escalates. This means those who hit kids are promoting a violent society. Seen too much misery to be open minded on this subject, apologies for ranting.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Roberta S said...

With the devil dead, and God dead, and spanking vetoed, there is nothing to guide or monitor morals except government. But unfortunately I don't think they have either the precepts needed, the emotional connection, or the skill. Sharing parenting with them will hurt our children mentally and emotionally in ways I can't even imagine. I'm with you. Government needs to stay out of it -- it's not as if they have a resume that proves adeptness in either a moral or social arena.

3:28 PM  
Blogger The Atavist said...

My son is as headstrong as I am. That meant that in order to try to correct his behaviour when he was small, I had to get his attention first. That often meant a swat on the behind. I am soooo tired from reading and hearing all the sanctimonious claptrap from the do-gooders and feel-gooders and various social engineers who want to outlaw everything that doesn't fit with their own narrow-minded and shallow world view. I hire their kids, eventually, and my wife teaches them in the interim. Their kids are ill-behaved, inconsiderate, mouthy, uncooperative and often simply complete a**holes.

I was spanked as a child, and nearly everyone I know got swatted on occasion. None of our parents were child-abusers and none of us turned out to be sociopaths or psychopaths. That is more likely to happen to children who are taught, actively or passively, that they can do no wrong and that the world revolves around them.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I only spanked my son once, and that was with plenty of warning. I know it hurt me more than it did him, but I never had to spank him again. Just the mention of the word was enough to make him behave.

That being said, I do think there are people who spank too much or inappropriately, but I don't think government should pass a law against it. As you said, there are times when children will use it to retaliate against their parents and our government is already overly involved in our personal lives as it is.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Cathy, I hear you loud and clear. I didn't write this as a judgment on the occasional swat on the behind. It was written more as a criticism against our government's escalating involvement in our personal lives.

Kokopelliwoman, I responded to your comment when I visited your blog. I just want to say here that although I don't believe in hitting children, my issues are with the government rather than people who resort to an occasional light swat. But I also think there's a big difference between a pop on the butt and repeated strikes aimed to hurt.

Roberta s, there you have it, exactly. Government's a mess and they have made a mess of almost everything they're involved in. Why would we want them anywhere near our children?

Atavist, seems I've touched a nerve. I am neither "a do-gooder or a feel-gooder" and neither am I narrow-minded. I know the kids of which you speak and think many of them got that way due to a lack of parental supervision, discipline (not necessarily spanking) and overindulgence. Too many of their parents, in their headlong rush to have more, bigger and better stuff, have neglected the hard work that makes for good parenting and/or given them too much of what they want in place of what they need. And yes, they think the world owes them a living.

Laurie, amen, girl. Our government needs to let us figure these things out for ourselves and do a better job of managing our country!

7:10 AM  

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