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Do parents have the right to spank their children? This question has confused millions of parents who want and have tried to physically discipline their children. The definition of abuse has changed so much over the years; it has taken away the parents rights and ability to spank their child the way they see fit. If a parent does decide to spank their child, many people can easily misinterpret the spanking as abuse, but when does a parent know when it is the right time to spank their child?
Growing up, my mother was a very strict parent toward me and my brothers. Being a single parent raising three boys was quite the challenge for her. At times she did try to communicate with us verbally but when the message was not getting through to us, she had no choice but to resort to other means of discipline such as spanking.
For some reason spanking was the most effective way for her to get us three boys to cooperate with her. My brothers and I never looked at my mother as an abusive parent nor did we ever judge her for spanking us. I have always seen spanking as a tradition passed down from generation to generation. My grandparents spanked my brothers me, and so did my aunt Susanna. On the other hand my aunt’s Mary and Benita decided that they did not want to raise their children the way they were raised, which they called “the old fashion way.”
Elizabeth Gershoff, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, states that there are no positive outcomes when spanking a child and the less you spank a child the more disciplined the child will become. She also states that children may feel or expect others to be unkind or hostile toward them.
Now, I can be quite honest my brothers and I grew up with much more respect toward our mother and especially toward our elders. My aunt’s kids or my cousins never disrespected my mother nor did they dare to disrespect my grandparents. Their children would sometimes become irate and out of control toward my aunts. My mom always told them “Just because your parents refuse to spank you kids, don’t think for one second that I would not spank you.”
Because of this, my cousins have learned to respect my mother more than they do their own parents. I truly do not believe spanking a child is the wrong thing to do. I always ask myself three simple questions to determine if a spanking is in order. The first question I ask myself is, “Are they disobeying after being told not to do something?” The second question I ask is, “Are they being disrespectful to me or anyone else?” The third and final question I ask is, “Are all the reasons for the spanking justifiable?” If I generate a “yes” for all three questions, then a spanking is in order.
Knowing, when and how to spank your children can become very confusing. Some parents can feel guilty or ashamed after spanking their children. Other parents can feel like the spanking is justified and simply turn their heads and say, “I told you that I would spank if you did not listen.” I do not think its right to judge a parent for spanking their child but, a parent can be judged for how they decided to spank their child. Excessive verbal, physical, and mental abuse is an example of why some parents are judged for how they discipline their children. A child being spanked on the rear end by the hands of a parent is not abuse to me nor is raising your voice to a child but, when it becomes excessive, then I do see it as abuse.
Who has the right to decide how you raise or discipline your child? According to Dr. Phil “Parenting” Spanking Research:
• “Spanking can be effective on a short-term basis in getting children to change any negative behaviors that prompted the spanking.”
• “Spanking has been shown to be most effective in 2- to 6-year olds when used in conjunction with milder disciplinary methods, such as reasoning and time-outs.”
• “In a study, mothers who combined reasoning with negative consequences (Such as spanking) has the most success in changing negative behaviors.”
When proven effective, many people can still misinterpret spanking as abuse.
Why? Many of the reasons have to do with the way some people were brought up during their childhood. Some parents may say, “I was never spanked by my parents;” others may say, “I was spanked and learned a lot from it.” It is very hard for one to decide.
The most troubling thing I see in today’s society is children disrespecting their parents and their elders. I have witness children of all ages yell, spit and even hit their parents. This is just a small hand full of the things that go on with today’s youth. I do my best not to judge parents for how they decide to raise or discipline their children, but rather in my mind make comments such as, “Lord knows if that was my child, that child would be spanked.”
A parent can become easily offended when it comes to their child; whether the situation is right or wrong. So does getting involved when the situation is out of control make you a Good Samaritan? A 43 year old man named Randall Allen was arrested at Children’s Hospital after taking his 6 year old child there for bed wetting problems. While the physicians examined the young child, they discovered severe swelling and bruising to child’s buttocks. The child reported that he was struck by his father several times in the buttocks with a paddle causing him to have severe injuries. Based on the father’s comments, he did not consider the spanking to be abusive.
In situations like this, I would say yes, though no one wants to get involved in any parent/child situation, sometimes a silent help is called, even when it is not verbally spoken. Speaking up can sometime help save a parent or a child from abuse when it is excessive. I always remember not to get my personal feelings or opinions involve when I am assessing any parent who is disciplining their child.
As it is written and quoted in the American Standard Holy Bible (NASB), King James Version, Ephesians 6:1-4. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” “Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise) so that it may go well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” “ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
In conclusion, I do not feel like anything was ever taken away from me because I was spanked as a child, nor did I ever feel fear toward anyone because of my upbringing. Being spanked has thought me a lot of valuable things in life. Some of the things I have learned are, discipline, respect and priority. Being spanked has never thought me to fear my mother nor did it teach me to hate her, but it has brought me to respect her and to respect the values of life as they are to come.
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