COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS PART ONE – PARENTING

Dear all – I don’t want the site to lie dormant whilst I get back to grips with a new term at school. Therefore I’ve decided to share a few replies to others that I’ve posted or sent of late.

First off – a comment in response to an atheist friends’ blog on corporal punishment. He is against it and has strongly criticised Dr James Dobson’s insistence that it is the loving thing to do (Dobson himself was apparently extensively beaten as a child). He vows not to allow brutality and pain a part in his soon-to-be-born daughter’s upbringing…

My comment:

” I was interested by this, enough to step out from lurking in the shadows for once! I totally disagree with you (although I entirely respect your choice and motives), and not necessarily on religious grounds alone. I’ve just always felt that moderate and controlled smacking – not done as an angry outburst – is a harmless and effective deterrent. Did me no harm whatsoever, nor my parents before me, nor most of our mates… I do get annoyed when the currently overwhelming tide of mistrust and political correctness tries to portray those who do it as abusers; particularly in light of a generation of spoiled and pampered kids starved of discipline and lacking, as a whole, respect for those around them. That’s not merely a changed perspective as I age – kids genuinely don’t have the same automatic wariness and respect around their elders as we did. It’s seen in everything from the failure to surrender a seat to the ubiquitous loud playing of music or swearing on a crowded bus.


There is a Christian element to it – in my assumption that people are not naturally ‘good’, but need to know rebellion carries unwelcome consequences (a conviction hugely strengthened by my 6 years as a teacher!). But that’s not the primary motive on this one – I just think it works. I hate most the assumption that I can’t be trusted to administer such punishment lovingly and without excess or recognising limitations. It’s the same suspicion for all that has led the state to tell me I can’t lay a hand on a pupil or be alone in a room with him because I’m most likely a paedophile. Such fear is only prevalent in a morally baseless and deeply troubled society. One that, at present, trusts children too much and adults too little…

 

PS As for Dobson – I haven’t read the book, so I can’t judge. But I would certainly agree that love includes discipline. If kids don’t learn tough lessons from us, applied with the motive of care and improvement, they will certainly learn them elsewhere with an outcome less sure. All kids are moulded by their formative experiences – it is more loving they learn that wrong behaviour results in discomfort than that they perceive there are no real consequences to their antisocial conduct. That said, if your summary of his experiences are true, it does sound like brutality and abuse – pure and simple. I learned my lessons without any need for bruises or tools beyond the palm (or back) of a hand…

 

PPS And just in case it seemed I was being careful to leave God out of this one – yes the obvious analogy stands. I do believe God disciplines us in love for the good of our eventual character, just as does a parent (Romans 5:3-4). And a spoiled and whingeing Christian is just as unappealing as a spoiled and whingeing kid! “

What do you think? Decent comment. Is corporal punishment OK?

Advertisements

2 comments so far

  1. Phil C on

    I think I agree with you. It’s one thing to argue against corporal punishment, but it’s a lot harder to explain why corporal punishment is *bad/wrong* while other forms of punishment (refusing a child dinner, making them sit on the naughty step, shouting at them, withholding pocket money) are acceptable…there are clearly degrees of punishment, regardless of whether it is corporal or not, and it seems to me that it’s more important that the degree of punishment is appropriate, more than the specific form that it takes.

  2. Tom Stanbury on

    I think often when people think of smacking they have in mind the ill tempered parent on the bus. Who smacks when they are angry and not in control. We have all seen it in public when discpline is done badly and it is embarassing.
    Once I was on a bus and a mum was trying to control the shopping and her daughters I told the disobedient child to listen to her mum. I made a point of praising the sibling who was obeying her mum.
    I don’t think the discussion needs to start with smacking. it seems to be men playing their role of fathers and leading their families.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: