Bullying and Spanking

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This is post 2 of 4 on Bullying. You might want to go back and read part one:

Okay, just in case you don’t go back to read more, here’s what we decided in part one:

  • Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to dominate others.
  • Those bullied can not easily defend themselves.
  • Bullying is harmful to both those being bullied and those bullying.
  • Anyone can bully or be bullied. In particular:
    • Children can bully other children
    • Children can bully adults
    • Adults can bully other adults
    • Adults can bully children
    • Parents can even bully their own children

In this post, I want to talk about spanking. In particular, I want to talk about parents who spank their children as a form of discipline.

What is Spanking?

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From Wikipedia:

Spanking is a type of corporal punishment involving the act of striking the buttocks of another person to cause temporary pain. It generally involves one person striking the buttocks of another person with an open hand.

And, just to make sure we know what corporal punishment is, also from Wikipedia:

Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain in order to punish a person convicted of a crime or as retribution for a perceived offence, including physical chastisement such as spanking, paddling, or caning of minors by parents, guardians, or school or other officials.

So basically, we’re talking about when “The Parent” decides that “The Child” acted wrongly. So “The Parent” hits “The Child.” Presumably, but not necessarily, “The Parent” wants “The Child” to learn a lesson and not act in a way to offend “The Parent” again.

How does one give a spanking?

The definition above sounds quite harsh, but maybe the delivery of giving a spanking is loving and a helpful form of parenting. With a little searching (thank you Google), one can find some loving directions on how to spank a child. From the directions found at WikiHow, one can learn the correct and loving way to spank a child, with my commentary below.

  1. Make sure you are set on this plan. Before you announce the spanking, be 100% positive that you want to spank your child.

Is there really any discipline that a good parent is 100% sure they want to deliver? And, how does that thought process go? Will a good parent really say, “By golly, I’m 100% sure I want to hit my child.”

  1. Explain to your child what they did wrong, why it was wrong, and which better choices they could have made instead. This should be an open conversation in which the child can ask questions to understand exactly what is expected of him or her. As the spanker, it is important to always be calm and clear of any anger.

I guess the point here is that talking just isn’t enough to convince the child of whatever point the parent wants to make to the child. So, to drive this point home to the child, apparently the parent has to emphasize the lesson with a good smack.

  1. Decide on the place where the spanking will be administered. Spanking in front of others, especially friends or siblings, can be intensely embarrassing for your child. This can generate feelings of resentment that are counterproductive to your child learning better behavior. Especially if you spank on your child’s bare bottom, privacy is important.

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I would think privacy is important for the parent too! The parent certainly doesn’t want anyone to see him or her hitting a child! And, one would hate for anything (like getting hit) to get in the way of any lessons the child could learn.

  1. Once you have reached your destination and have come to a clear understanding, announce that the consequence of the child’s actions will be a spanking. The child will probably be a bit angry and resentful. They may also be a bit nervous. This is to be expected. You should be understanding of these reactions, but you also need to stand your ground.

The timing of all this seems interesting. The whole scene started with the parent deciding, with 100% certainty, to hit the child. Then, the parent spends a good deal of time trying to talk to the child, to teach the child a lesson. Then, the parent gives the child the revelation that the child is about to be smacked around a bit.

Of course, it is likely no surprise to the child that he is about to be hit. The child has probably seen this whole scene play out before. In any case, it should be no surprise that the child is angry and resentful!

  1. Tell the child that they should remain in position. Tell them it would be unwise if they attempt to block or otherwise resist the punishment. If they are complaining or whining, tell them this will not cause a shorter spanking. Crying, however, is very natural before, during and after the spanking, and should never be punished.

Assume the position . . . . . . . . .

  1. Spank younger children with an open hand, and never a tool. Some parents, families, and cultures prefer bare bottom spankings even for teenagers, and some advocate spanking only over clothing. Use your own best judgement, considering all factors.

So, it would seem that older child might need their lesson emphasized with a belt or paddle of some sort. And, apparently it is okay to disrespect your teenager and hit his or her bare butt?

  1. Remove all rings from your fingers. These can hurt your child and be dangerous for own hands as well. You don’t want anything that will obstruct the spanking or possibly hurt your child. If you have decided that you will spank on the bare bottom, pull down your child’s pants and underpants now, or let your child do that.

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I mean, you simply can’t make this stuff up! Heaven forbid the parent hurts him or herself.

  1. Bend your child over your knee. Sit down, then pull the child over your lap.
  2. Relax your hand and all your limbs, with one firm hand on their back and one on their bottom. Make sure your child isn’t squirming and his or her legs are locked.
  3. Don’t hit too hard. It doesn’t take a lot of force to successfully discipline your child, and hitting too hard can cause injury or trauma. For avoiding injury to your child you should keep a safe distance from the genital area, the coccyx and the kidneys of the child. Pay attention to the reddening of your child’s bottom.

My summary of these steps: Don’t hurt your child, but hit hard enough to make your child’s bottom red. Above all, don’t leave any permanent marks–you don’t want anyone to know that you hit a child.

  1. Afterwards affirm your child. Tell them that you just do it because you love them and that discipline is part of that love. Emphasize that they can prevent future spankings by thinking about their actions and making good choices.

I might suggest the following phrases:

  • “I’m only hitting you because I love you.”
  • “Remember, do whatever I tell you and I won’t have to hit you.”
  1. Try to make the spanking a positive learning experience. This may sound odd, but when done properly a spanking can teach a child a valuable lesson that they will be glad of in the future. You may feel bad inside, but know that you are not necessarily a bad parent for spanking your child, because when done correctly, without abuse and for the right reasons, it is a productive part of parenting.

Your child will be glad to have been spanked?
Hitting a child can be done without abuse?
Spanking is a productive part of parenting?

Where do they get this stuff from and can parents really believe this?

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  1. Provide unconditional love. Tell your child that you love them always no matter what.

Unconditional love? It sounds more to me like the parent is teaching the child how to be in an abusive relationship. The child gets to learn that he or she gets to be hit around by someone who loves them. What sort of spouse is the child learning to find having learned these great lessons?

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure that you don’t spank only boys; girls are equal to boys. If boys feel that they are being discriminated due to their gender, they will definitely resent it.

Make sure you hit everyone! Give everyone an equal opportunity to be hit.

  • Try to avoid opposite-gender spankings, if possible.

“Just you wait until you father comes home!”

  • Never spank a child anywhere other than the buttocks, and especially not the head or torso.

It could leave a mark!!

  • Don’t spank children if you are not their parent or guardian. Babysitters, this is you. Not only may it be illegal, you could be convicted of a sex crime.

But parents, you’re in the clear, no one will think anything of you hitting your child? I mean, are they serious? What could get a baby sitter convicted of a sex crime is perfectly fine for a parent to do?

  • If the school of your child uses corporal punishment, and your child gets a spanking at school, don’t spank the child again at home! Many parents do that, but it is an unfair double punishment.

Here’s a suggestion for you: If the someone at your child’s school ever hits your child, its time to find a new school!

Spanking is Terrorism

Have you watched the Showtime series Homeland? A major character in Homeland is Nicholas Brody, a marine who is captured by terrorists and broken by repeated beatings followed by “unconditional love” by the main terrorist. You can watch this scene from Season 1 Episode 3, a little less than 19 minutes in.

[Well, I tried to have a link to the video here, but Vimeo deleted my account due to me posting it. So, you’ll just have to trust me that bullying is terrorism.]

To me, the breaking of Nicholas Brody sounds nearly identical to the description of how to spank outlined above. Should disciplining children be like a terrorist breaking a marine?

Reasons to Spank

I think we can assume that all parents want to do what is best for their children. There are, of course, some sadistic and abusive parents. But I believe that essentially all parents just want what is best for their children. Parents certainly want their children to benefit from the parents’ accumulated experiences. Parents generally believe that they know what is best for their children and this is certainly true for at least part of a child’s life. No one would argue that a baby knows what is better than a parent. At the same time, very few people would argue that a parent knows what is best for their 20-year-old child.

When a parent sees his or his child behaving in a way that the parent believes is harmful, what is a parent to do to make sure the child learns? Apparently, many parents seem to believe that the best way to teach a child is to hit/spank a child. Thus, if a child does one of the following, a parent may feel justified to hit/spank their child:

  • Lying
  • Talking back
  • Stealing
  • Hitting others

Here are some “nice” quotes I found about spankings that justify spanking:

  • From Madame Noire:
    “You want to be respected. To be feared (in the sense of reverence) is to be respected. Your children should be weary of going against your rules. It also teaches them to submit to authority regardless of whether or not they agree.”
  • From the Bible (Proverbs 13:24):
    “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
  • Pope Francis even thinks that it is okay to spank. He said:
    “I once heard at a wedding a father say, ‘I sometimes have to hit my children a little but never in the face, so as to not demean them.’ How nice, I thought, he has a sense of dignity.”

We could probably add more justifications, but to be honest, I couldn’t find any reasons that resonated with me. It appeared to me that the reasons all came down to something like: “When you get frustrated enough, its okay to hit your child.”

If any of these justifications to spank sound good to you, I would like to strongly urge you to try to figure out what it is that resonates. Is it the control? Your desire/need for obedience? A lack of trust that your children can learn lessons on their own? Whatever it is, I implore you to figure it out.

What exactly is Spanking?

Spanking is the attempt to influence the behavior of child through a threat of force. Through spanking, parents are telling their children, “You better do what I say or else I will hit you.” Of course, the parent will say something slightly nicer but somewhat less accurate: “You lied, which I’ve warned you about before, so you deserve this spanking.” Let us define spanking:

Spanking is the use of violence against children in an attempt to coerce a child’s behavior.

Someone who hits a child may believe that they are justified in perpetrating this violence against children. But, make no mistake, spanking is violence perpetrated on a child by the very people who are supposed to protect that child. Spanking is a parent using force, threat and power to coerce the child.

Conclusion: The Connection to Bullying

Remember our definition of Bullying:

Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to dominate others.

And, what is spanking? It is the threat of violence to coerce a child! Spanking is a form of bullying! Simply put:

  • If you spank your child, you are a bully.

More to Come:

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