Is it OK to spank kids?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Desiree Gamotin: These days, children have no respect for their parents. I often see kids in stores yelling at their parents to buy them the latest video game and female “tweens” resembling Bratz dolls. I think the best solution is returning to the old-school days of spanking. It establishes parental authority and kids wouldn’t be so rude if there was a bit of fear involved.

Dave Ward: I agree some kids today lack respect for their parents, but spanking won’t fix the problem. Putting aside arguments about the evils of corporal punishment for a minute, this issue comes down to laziness. There are more humane and effective means of instituting discipline. Most involve spending more time with your kids. Why take the easy way out by physically abusing a child when you could take time to explain why what they did was wrong and follow through with meaningful and appropriate consequences?

Gamotin: There’s a difference between physical abuse and small doses of spanking, which puts the parent in charge of their child. In many cases, talking to your child doesn’t work anymore; sometimes, verbal discipline goes in one ear and out the other. Spanking leaves a mark in the child’s memory. They’ll remember this stinging punishment so well that even a strict look from a parent would make the child reassess their behaviour.

Ward: Making a mark on a child’s memory shouldn’t necessitate leaving a mark on their body. A good verbal lesson can leave a lasting impression. A physical lesson only creates recollections of pain. Yes, you might create aversion to a certain activity. But you’ll also create aversion to the parent instituting the punishment.

Gamotin: It’s all about balance. Obviously, if spanking becomes a consistent form of punishment, the child isn’t getting the picture. Many parents don’t like spanking, and if they show they truly do care about the child, the child will soon realize it hurts the parent to punish them.

In many cases, spanking has proven effective; the child becomes well-behaved and respectful. This form of discipline may be a lighter version of boot camp that trains children into becoming less abusive toward their parents.

Ward: Maybe we’re forgetting we’re talking about children . Boot camp? Children retain innocence for too short a period of time. Anything involving violence shouldn’t involve children. Many of us can remember being spanked as children in a time when it was more common. But in how many of those cases do we remember what exactly made us deserve it? Why was corporal punishment removed from schools, even though it was probably a great way to make kids listen and behave? It can’t be forgotten that hitting a child is wrong " for any reason. We’re an evolved species. We can think of better ways to educate our children.

Gamotin: You don’t remember the lectures parents gave you as a child. You remember the actions, whether it was a hug or playing sports together, and yes, even spanking. Innocent children? Give me a break. How many times have you seen a 12-year-old girl with the word “Juicy” printed on the back of her tight pants? How many teenage boys are cursing like mad men at their parents and little siblings? Some form of disciplinary action must take place to prevent this. Corporal punishment was taken out of schools because it’s parents’ job to punish their children how they see fit. Hitting a child is wrong, but it’s not violence if the reason for spanking is rational and it’s done in moderation.

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