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[P]
Don't spank those kids

By Eloquence in Culture
Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:08:00 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

In Paddling States v. Non-Paddling States: A National Academic Comparison, Jeff Charles examines the correlation between corporal punishment (AKA spanking) of school kids and the average academic proficiency, graduation rate and graduation rank in 33 different states. The states with the highest proficiency don't have spanking while those with the lowest do. While this does by no means show a causal relationship between spanking and high or low proficiency, spanking does reflect a significant cultural difference which might be the cause of the difference. (Please read the comparison before commenting on it.)


This 1975 study and the rest of this site may offer explanations. Specifically, the cross-cultural comparisons in the 1975 study show a clear relationship between aggression vs. children and later violence (while love and affection seem to favor non-violence). Opinion: To me, it is not understandable how we can still tolerate spanking -- euphemistically labeled as "discipline" -- in the 21st century. Don't you think the politicians who bemoan video game violence should maybe take a closer look at what's happening in American schools?

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Related Links
o Paddling States v. Non-Paddling States: A National Academic Comparison
o 1975 study
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Don't spank those kids | 110 comments (108 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
The connection lies where? (3.89 / 19) (#1)
by IoaPetraka on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:30:20 PM EST

I always get a kick out of these studies that are put on by various interest groups. There are far to many variables here to pull one or two isolated facts out of the pool and say that they somehow correlate. Statistics when applied to these types of topics are meant to be taken with a grain of salt, and they are by no means scientific.

A popular example of this, speaking of salt, was the big Low-Sodium boom that hit the USA (Maybe other areas as well) a few years back. A study much like the one featured above, showed that people with high-salt diets get more heart failure than those with low-salt diets. For years this became a huge deal. Products were labelled (and still are!) Low-Sodium, as if this was the paragon of healthiness.

The fact is, there is still no evidence that the two are related. A big factor that was completely overlooked in this study was the people with a higher rate of heart failure are on junk food diets. Junk food happens to contain more sodium on average than other products.

Eating salt with your well balanced dinner is not going to foul up your heart, no evidence shows that.

So I'm modding this one down. It is an interesting topic in some respects, but it is based on circumstancial evidence and slight of hand if you ask me. Personally, and I know that my view is not the popular one, I don't see the problem with spanking. I was spanked as a child, and I'm probably one of the mildest people you'll ever meet. I'm not alone in that, I know many people who share that opinion. While I don't know if I would ever spank my child, I sure don't feel like I've been jilted by society because of it.

.:.
Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka

Re: The connection lies where? (3.28 / 7) (#2)
by Eloquence on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:44:16 PM EST

*sigh* If you had read the comparison (which I would not call a study), you'd know that the author has never made any claims that are not supported by the evidence. The comparison was done to refute the much-purported lie that spanking is necessary to improve school scores. If there was such a significant relationship, surely we would not have an exactly inverse correlation. I went a bit further and said that cultural differences between states like Texas and Maine might account for the clustering.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Spanking was supposed to improve grades? (3.00 / 4) (#6)
by marlowe on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:41:49 PM EST

I never heard anybody claim that. The point of spanking was to discipline kids too young to understand reason or noncorporeal punishment, not to help them on their math test.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: The connection lies where? (3.33 / 6) (#7)
by IoaPetraka on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:06:57 PM EST

I did in fact read the link. The problem that I have comes in the second paragraph, which is not entirely related to the link. The second paragraph goes into aggression against children and the effect therein. I don't think there is much room for debate there, most people will agree and say that aggressive behavior, violent behavior, towards a child accomplishes very little.

In the realm of the link alone, the point I would have to make here is that such forms of discipline, since I lack a better word at the moment, when applied towards the academic realm probably does result in a lower compentancy. The thing to note here is that our traditional system of Grading has been accepted to be woefully inadequate, and a child does see this so discipline applied towards getting better grades has its problems. This is something not covered in the link. The link assumes that Grades are a paragon of acheivement. Yes, it doesn't come out and say that directly, but the nature of the study suggests it very heavily.

Now, on the second paragraph, child abuse is, in my opinion, completely disconnected from disciplinary spanking. The major difference is the attitude of the parental figure. If the parent is lashing out with anger or frustration, the intent of the discipline goes completely lost on the child, who rationalizes the pain with anger, making the lesson personal and not moral. That is, when discipline is applied with emotion on the side of the parent, the parent is subliminally teaching their child that morality is applicable only to the parent's definition.

IF, however, the discipline is applied in such a parental state of love, and hurt. The child sees that the parent does not want to hurt them for their wrongs, that would in fact rather not hurt them at all. The focus of the lesson then moves on to General Morality, and not personal morality which is all-important.

So, I do not back down from what I said before. Child Abuse and spanking are not the same thing, because of what the child perceives of the punishement.

Here is a nutshell:
Child Abuse has nothing to do with the link you provided.
Spanking, if done correctly and by the parent does not harm the child.
Grades are known to be faulty, so the conflict in the child will be inevitable. Producing pressure and shifting morality to conflicting views, causing confusion.

I still don't see the validity of this report.

.:.
Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
[ Parent ]

Re: The connection lies where? (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by kovacsp on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:19:58 AM EST

Uhhhh, that's not entirely true (About salt that is). When you ingest salt, you increase the water retention in your blood. Sometimes this can be a good thing (like when you're dehydrated), but when you consistently do it day after day it leads to high blood pressure, which in turn can contribute to heart disease.

If you don't believe it, you go ahead and keep on eating salt.

Its funny. I wouldn't believe that all the shit that we go through to keep ourselves healthy works, but historically, we are more healty than we've ever been, as a race. Can't argue against that.

[ Parent ]

A grain of salt (2.33 / 3) (#65)
by IoaPetraka on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:53:24 PM EST

Not entirely true, yes. I never said that ingesting globs of salt will never hurt you. Water is an important part of your diet, but if you drink several hundred gallons a day you will die. All I was saying is that salt when used in moderation has none of the adverse effects that these folks would like you to believe.

Here are some facts I've dug up on this issue[1]:

The original surveys showed a decrease in in systolic pressure, but no reductions in diastolic pressure. The rate of shown decrease was biased towards hypertensive individuals. Among normointensive subjects, the rate of reduction was minimal. The studies were clearly biased, showing only the former group as a means of portraying all groups. The upshot is, a low-sodium diet may not cause lower blood pressure unless you fit a tight category.

Depriving your diet of sodium among hypertensive men actually increases the change of heart failure, making the object of reducing sodium in the diet rather moot.

Among normotensive trials, there was no signifigant drop in blood pressure, rendering the need to drop sodium in your diet a false one, unless you fit into a minority of hypertensives, where, if you are male you actually could increase your chances of heart failure by cutting sodium.

The point is, obviously, a high sodium diet is not good for you. It has not been proven that a low sodium died is good for you at all. There is actually a level that one should keep at. If your salt level gets too low, you will get unhealthy.

Here is an interesting document on the salt debate:
The Salt Debate

[1] JAMA 1996; 275:1590-1597

.:.
Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
[ Parent ]

or maybe... (3.50 / 10) (#3)
by 31: on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 07:40:17 PM EST

maybe kids that misbehave alot (the sort who get spanked), just don't perform well in an academic setting... well, that seems to match what i've seen... regardless of whether they were spanked or not, and having relatively recently gone through a public city high school, there was quite the sample range of misbehavior... um, none by me, of course...

-Patrick
Re: or maybe... (3.50 / 6) (#4)
by Eloquence on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:08:46 PM EST

The point is that some American schools have laws that allow the teacher or principal to let a "misbehaving" kid be spanked; other schools don't have these laws and deal with the kids in different ways. Apparently, dealing with them by spanking them does not improve their scores.

Nospank has a first-person account of a 17-year-old girl from Florida spanked by the administrator for coming too late three times in a row. I don't know if it's true -- it reads like something written for the erotic fantasies of a spanking lover, but according to the laws, it may well be. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of those "administrators" enjoyed their work.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Re: or maybe... (1.00 / 4) (#39)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:25:03 AM EST

nospank.org is a disgusting fictional erotica site. Anyone who would do this in real life should be hung.

[ Parent ]
Re: or maybe... (1.00 / 2) (#96)
by 31: on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:32:22 AM EST

thanks, i almost got trolled.

-Patrick
[ Parent ]
Spanking is bad? Ha! (3.83 / 18) (#5)
by tzanger on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:30:52 PM EST

Beating your kids is bad. Spanking is not. I have two kids of my own (a third in Feb) and spanking is not the primary means of discipline. My mom gave me a much greater tool: the corner. :-)

Seriously though, if the child is NOT listening or is NOT adjusting their behaviour through the main methods we have chosen for discipline (namely The Corner and quiet time) then a swat on the ass (or the face if they are screaming their lungs out and refuse to listen) sends enough of a shock and interrupts their mental process enough to "sync" them back up with reality. Kids often get locked in a positive-feedback loop and don't even know why they're screaming, only that it's absolutely essential that they continue. :-)

I do remember actually truly spanking my stepson once in his four years to date. Right this moment the circumstances elude me but it was absolutely critical at the time (sounds horrible I know but it's been a long day).

Every child is different, but the dozen or so I'm around and care for from time to time are for the most part great. Even the so-called ADHD and ADD ones (which is another pile of shit if you ask me but that's getting OT). If you let them get away with screaming and crying for what they want, you've got a long tough road ahead. Discipline is essential but it is very important to remember that kids are not just "little grownups" -- they do not think like adults and should not be disciplined as such, at least not until their mental capabilities and processes approach those of an adult. However spanking as a primary mode of punishment isn't much good either -- hell even with the corner my little guy doesn't realize half the time why he was there (we always make sure he knows why just before he goes and right after he comes out) -- a spanking would be no different, IMO.



Re: Spanking is bad? Ha! (2.80 / 5) (#20)
by Alorelith on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:13:52 AM EST

I agree with your comments. In my experience, when a child who has been disciplined occasionaly with spanking tends to look back on the moment many years later as beneficial, or at least non-detrimental. I know when my dad used to whallop me with his belt that I hated it at the moment, but now when I think about it, it was somewhat beneficial. I realized the point he was trying to make (don't be an ass to people!), and he knew that a nice smack on the butt was the only method by which I would remember those things. He didn't hit me for ever tiny infraction, but those that deemed necessary often resulted in a spanking. Most people, at least in my experience, who were spanked (not beaten, mind you) as children agree with that statement.

I'm not necessarily advocating beating your children per se, but I do think that in America at least that people have become afraid to discipline their children via the good old belt (and why shouldn't they, there are so many fuzzy laws out there just waiting to get those *nasty* parents), but aren't even concerened about what their children watch on TV or see on the Internet. That, however, is another discussion...and I'm not saying that I'm pro-censorship, nor against it.



----
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. -- Nietzsche

[ Parent ]
Violence indeed (4.00 / 16) (#8)
by cygnus on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:20:30 PM EST


The problem is, there's a difference between spanking and getting pissed off and hitting your child.

I was spanked when I was a kid. Hardly ever (I can think of a few exceptions) were my parents actually pissed off when they did it. They did it to get my attention and let me know my behavior was not acceptable. Not because they lost their tempers and started beating my ass. Not that they didn't get mad occasionally, but that's not the majority.

My point is, it's the attitude of the parent. If they just spank the kid out of rote because the kid is misbehaving without thinking about the situation, they're doing it for the wrong reasons.
Sigs are like opinions. Everyone has one and yours probably sucks.
Spank them once for me! ;) (3.00 / 13) (#9)
by panner on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:35:30 PM EST

As long as parents don't cross the lines, there is nothing wrong with spanking. There is a fine line between beating a child and spanking them, though it is one that parents must be careful not to cross. A spanking teaches a child that they will be spanked if they are bad, and that they don't want to be spanked. Therefore, they don't want to be bad. However, beating a child causes them to fear their parents and others around them, to the point that they can have serious (mental/emotional) problems for the rest of their life.

There is also another point to be made about this, and that is don't believe anything you hear, it's probably wrong (okay, not to that extent, but you get the idea). This is fairly typical: some guy writes an article about a topic, throwing in some statistics and his opinion. There's also a study to go with it (from 1975, nonetheless). However, all of that can go anyway. Statistics and studies can be made to say whatever you want them to say, and your opinion can go anywhere you want it to. This certainly provides a nice topic to discuss (the issue of corporal punishment), but I wouldn't wouldn't rely on an article very much.

--
Keith Smiley
Get it right, for God's sake. Pigs can work out how to use a joystick, and people still can't do this!

Re: Spank them once for me! ;) (2.80 / 5) (#18)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:12:07 AM EST

No. A spanking teaches a child that they will be spanked if they GET CAUGHT, and that they don't want to be spanked. So they blame any misbehavior on other kids and/or bully any witnesses into being quiet.



[ Parent ]
So no discipline should be used? (3.75 / 4) (#28)
by Strange Charmed One on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:37:04 AM EST

You would then give kids absolute freedom to do whatever they like? Any punishment is only applied if the miscreant GETS CAUGHT- would you either advise not punishing children *at all*- children like this grow up with no social responsibility- or you use other methods of discipline on them which are actually usually more cruel as they must be enduring to have any effect, and also teach the same lesson.

If you are going to claim that the social responsibility instilled by any form of punishment is only a pseudo version triggered by fear of reprisal, I'll take that over no responsibility at all.
--
Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?

JUST SAY NO!

If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.
[ Parent ]

Re: Spank them once for me! ;) (3.25 / 4) (#31)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:51:34 AM EST

No. A spanking teaches a child that they will be spanked if they GET CAUGHT, and that they don't want to be spanked. So they blame any misbehavior on other kids and/or bully any witnesses into being quiet.

No. A jail sentence teaches a guy that he will go to jail if he GETS CAUGHT, and that they don't want to go to jail.

See the flaw in your reasoning?

[ Parent ]

Re: Spank them once for me! ;) (4.33 / 3) (#38)
by tzanger on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:18:21 AM EST

No. A spanking teaches a child that they will be spanked if they GET CAUGHT, and that they don't want to be spanked. So they blame any misbehavior on other kids and/or bully any witnesses into being quiet.

No, DISCIPLINE teaches a child that they will be DISCIPLINED if they get caught, and that they don't want ot be DISCIPLINED.

Don't say that kids who aren't spanked don't blame their misbehaviour on others and bully the witnesses into silence, because it's not the spanking that does THAT, it's the discipline.



[ Parent ]
In other news.. (2.75 / 12) (#12)
by gblues on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:37:40 AM EST

Studies show that the majority of people who chew bubblegum--75% or more--will die before the age of 75. The study also shows that the likelihood of death increases steadily after age 75.

This of course does not show a causal relationship between chewing bubblegum and death, but a varieties of other studies show a clear relationship between chewing gum and eventual death. Opinion: to me, it is amazing that we still allow bubblegum to be sold to kids, given the above statistics.
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
What defines "Spanking?" (4.05 / 19) (#13)
by Strange Charmed One on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 07:30:47 AM EST

What strikes me with statistics like this is that I suspect that those who were spanked includes those who were beaten by their parents- probably weighted towards them (even if the study was intended to be impartial) who, of course, wouldn't perform as well at school. If the abusive families are removed from the statistics of those who spank (and those who don't- other forms of abuse are just as possible, if not as easy) the results should be more even- and when youtake into account the cultural bis- that those who don't spank tend to be middle class, I would be surprised if the statistics still showed such a result.

Peersonal history: I was spanked as a child, but not beaten and now am at Oxford University. My mother was a social worker during the 60s and 70s, and she still made the decision that spanking was agood idea. I don't think it has hurt me.
--
Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?

JUST SAY NO!

If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.

Re: What defines "Spanking?" (3.80 / 5) (#24)
by skeezix on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:27:50 AM EST

I agree completely. I was disciplined in a variety of ways as a child, but probably the most frequent was spanking. Like you, I was not beaten, I was spanked. There is a world of difference. And I never felt that my parents were hitting me or beating me out of anger. While it may be hard for some of you to believe, it really did give me a healthy respect and love for my parents and I was always aware of their love for me. A lot of parents are afraid to spank their children nowadays. While I respect whatever discipline choices a parent makes, many of the children I know who aren't spanked just don't respond to other forms of discipline. Anyway, just my two cents.

[ Parent ]
Re: What defines "Spanking?" (2.80 / 5) (#51)
by Eloquence on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:55:14 PM EST

Spanking makes children violent, antisocial--Effect same regardless of parenting style, socioeconomic status, sex of child or ethnic background, Murray A. Straus, Ph.D.; David B. Sugarman, Ph.D.; Jean Giles-Sims, Ph.D., from the "American Medical Association News Update," August 13, 1997, about "Spanking by Parents and Subsequent Antisocial Behavior of Children," Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, August 1997.

Read the research.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Re: What defines "Spanking?" (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by skeezix on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:42:22 PM EST

<a href="http://www.frc.org/fampol/fp96jpa.html">hrefhttp://www.frc.org/fampol/fp96jpa.html"Spare the Rod? New Research challenges Spanking Critics. Here is one quotation from the research:

Researchers John Lyons, Rachel Anderson and David Larson of the National Institute of Healthcare Research recently conducted a systematic review of the research literature on corporal punishment.[6] They found that 83 percent of the 132 identified articles published in clinical and psychosocial journals were merely opinion-driven editorials, reviews or commentaries, devoid of new empirical findings. Moreover, most of the empirical studies were methodologically flawed by grouping the impact of abuse with spanking. The best studies demonstrated beneficial, not detrimental, effects of spanking in certain situations. Clearly, there is insufficient evidence to condemn parental spanking and adequate evidence to justify its proper use.

I have read the research.

[ Parent ]

Re: What defines "Spanking?" (1.00 / 1) (#74)
by skeezix on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:44:29 PM EST

Whoops..I messed up the link there. Here's the correct link:

<a href="http://www.frc.org/fampol/fp96jpa.html">hrefhttp://www.frc.org/fampol/fp96jpa.html"Spare the Rod? New Research challenges Spanking Critics.

sorry about that.

[ Parent ]

Re: What defines "Spanking?" (1.00 / 1) (#75)
by skeezix on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:47:22 PM EST

well it looked fine in the preview....

[ Parent ]
Believe no statistic (2.77 / 9) (#14)
by el_guapo on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 08:53:05 AM EST

that you yourself did not skew. Case in point - give the same standardized IQ test to a representative population cross section and I can prove, without a doubt, that your IQ is directly related to your shoe size. FACT. Why? Cuz the toddlers you give that test to will do quite poorly, and have small feet. Regardless, I think we need MORE spanking - I think kids need to understand consequences that go beyond "timeout" or whatever.....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
Discipline can never be a bad thing (3.16 / 12) (#16)
by Eric Jonson on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:44:55 AM EST

I was spanked as a child, and looking back on it, quite rightly so - I was always doing things I shouldn't and being rude to people. What I needed at that point was a firm hand and a knowledge that actions have consequences, and actions that are wrong have consequences that are bad. And when my father used to belt me, that was what I learnt.

When I moved away from home and went to BJU, I took this lesson with me and made sure I always thought of the consequences of my actions, which lead me to avoid some of the more obvious mistakes my classmates made because they weren't used to having to deal with the results of their actions.

Simple morality should have its place in the hearts of every human being, and yet many parents don't seem to care enough about their children to teach them right from wrong. Children who aren't properly disciplined will never learn that actions have consequences, and will make the same mistakes that my classmates did - drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies and failing classes - all because they don't have the self-discipline that corporal punishment instills.

It may not be the most pleasent of a parent's duties, but I think it's a necessary one. Children don't respond to much else, especially today with all of the influences they are exposed to from a society that is desparate to get your child's attention.



Re: Discipline can never be a bad thing (3.33 / 6) (#17)
by Thaniel on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:59:54 AM EST

Belting is wrong. Period. I don't think spanking is right either, but that has nothing to do with this. If you are hitting your child with a belt, that is physical abuse, pure and simple. There are other ways to discipline kids, and although you may think spanking and belting are the only ways that work, that is only because of the way you were brought up. I was never spanked, but I was generally a good kid. When I did something wrong, I was severely scolded by my parents and sent to my room. Sometimes I was even grounded for a while. This may sound like a walk in the park to you, but that's only because you have suffered far worse. To me, at the time, it was a horrible punishment. It's all a matter of degrees. If you start spanking your kid, yeah that may be the only thing that works, because anything else is going to seem lenient. But if you never spank, grounding seems like the worst punishment in the world. Same goes for the corner and time out, and thus, they'll have the same effect.

It worked for me.



[ Parent ]
Re: Discipline can never be a bad thing (2.50 / 4) (#25)
by Eric Jonson on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:30:37 AM EST

Belting is wrong. Period. I don't think spanking is right either, but that has nothing to do with this. If you are hitting your child with a belt, that is physical abuse, pure and simple.

No, because my father did it because he loved me and didn't want to see me go out into the world without a decent sense of morality. It can't be "abuse" if it's done for love.



[ Parent ]
Re: Discipline can never be a bad thing (3.50 / 4) (#30)
by zapman on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:51:07 AM EST

I see both sides of that issue. I was belted from time to time (The worst though was being told to go and pick your own switch...), but it can be a problem, like any tool.

If you're belting your kid frequently, over a sustained period of time, then there is a problem. If it's a once in a while occrance, and used as a last resort, then it is a useable form of punishment.

Also, the punishment needs to be specific to the child. Some (say socially active) children will wilt under the mere threat of grounding. Some (say loaners) wouldn't care in the slightest. "Go to my room? Sure. I'll play computer games for the next month." I'm painting with very broad strokes here, but remember: All punishments need to be fitted tightly with the situation.
-- The request of a friend in need, is done by a friend in deed.
[ Parent ]
Re: Discipline can never be a bad thing (3.75 / 4) (#32)
by Eric Jonson on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:53:43 AM EST

Some (say loaners) wouldn't care in the slightest.

Loaners? Are they children who have committed the sin of usury?



[ Parent ]
Re: Discipline can never be a bad thing (3.75 / 4) (#67)
by A. Nut on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:13:07 PM EST

"Go to my room? Sure. I'll play computer games for the next month."

OK! *walks to fuse box, pulls your room's fuses* Have fun!

My dad actually did that one once...
You should reverse the fish in my e-mail address
[ Parent ]

belting vs. spanking. (3.83 / 6) (#35)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:07:13 AM EST

Belting is wrong. Period. I don't think spanking is right either, but that has nothing to do with this. If you are hitting your child with a belt, that is physical abuse, pure and simple.

From my POV, there is no qualitative difference between someone using a belt and someone using a hand to spank a child. Both can be appropriate. Both can border on abuse. Both can be abuse. Whether corporal punishment qualifies as abuse depends on several factors:

  • The severity of the punishment: how hard a child is spanked and the number of spanks is very significant.
  • What brought the spanking about: spanking for offenses that do not merit such discipline is a very quick way to give a child a skewed view of the world.
  • The motivation of the parent: if a parent is spanking in anger or irritation, it is wrong and the parent needs to go cool off before disciplining his or her child. It is my belief that discipline should always be administered cooly and aloofly (whether it be a time out or a spank) and always followed up with a conversation to ensure that the child understand why the discipline occurred.

Another way to look at the belting issue is that some people can inflict more pain with their bare hands than others can with the aid of a belt or strap.

The most important thing to remember is that spanking is 95% psychological. In some situations a parent could forseeably belt a child and inflict less pain and yet make a greater impression on the child.

[ Parent ]

Re: Discipline can never be a bad thing (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by synaptik on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:27:03 AM EST

Really? When I was a kid, and I needed discipline, I'd invariably "take licks" over grounding/detention everytime, when given the choice. Sure, a spanking often stung a little, but it was over quick. Detention and groundings were far worse punishments, in my opinion.

--synaptik
warning C4717: 'WORLD3D::operator=' : recursive on all control paths, function will cause runtime stack overflow
[ Parent ]

I dare you to spank that insolent employee... (2.94 / 17) (#19)
by Thaniel on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:12:55 AM EST

Since when does being a minor mean assault and battery is not a crime? As the subject says.. try spanking one of your employees the next time he's late to work, and we'll see how fast you land your ass in jail. Why is it LESS of a bad thing to do the same thing to a two year old? I don't know about you, but my mother taught me that hitting is wrong. That means ubder ANY circumstances (except self-defense). Just as you can't hit an employee, you shouldn't be able to hit your kids. Child abuse is child abuse, whether they did something wrong or not. There are no "acceptable" levels of abuse. If you want to discipline your kid, find a better way. Personally, I can't comprehend intentionally inflicting pain upon one of your own children.

Re: I dare you to spank that insolent employee... (4.00 / 8) (#27)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:34:27 AM EST

Just a counter point:
Young childeren often can not or will not listen to reason. A "short sharp shock" (I'm talking about a single slap, no so hard at to cause buising) will tell them that they have been bad. An adult can be reasoned with, fired, or locked in jail.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Re: I dare you to spank that insolent employee... (3.00 / 4) (#37)
by Kintanon on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:15:56 AM EST

Since when does being a minor mean assault and battery is not a crime? As the subject says.. try spanking one of your employees the next time he's late to work, and we'll see how fast you land your ass in jail. Why is it LESS of a bad thing to do the same thing to a two year old? I don't know about you, but my mother taught me that hitting is wrong. That means ubder ANY circumstances (except self-defense). Just as you can't hit an employee, you shouldn't be able to hit your kids. Child abuse is child abuse, whether they did something wrong or not. There are no "acceptable" levels of abuse. If you want to discipline your kid, find a better way. Personally, I can't comprehend intentionally inflicting pain upon one of your own children. Oh yeah, teach your kid that the worst punishment on earth is 'Time Out', then they'll be prepared for Jail when they have no sense of the consequences of their actions. When properly applied most children only need to be spanked once or twice in their entire childhood. I was spanked once, after that I knew that if my father told me not to do something that he meant it. It didn't damage my relationship with him or impair my ability to function, but it did instill a sense of consequences in me AND saved my life on one occasion. Kintanon

[ Parent ]
Re: I dare you to spank that insolent employee... (4.60 / 5) (#54)
by Thaniel on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:07:46 PM EST

They do have a sense of the consequences. To a child, not being able to do anything but stare at the corner for 5 minutes is a really long and difficult punishment. And on top of that, it gives them time to think about why they're there in the first place, aided by the parent explaining before and after, of course. Whereas a slap on the ass and shouting "stop it!" doesn't teach the child anything but fear of their parents.

My parents never spanked me, even when they found out I had shoplifted from a local store. What they did do was make me take back the merchandise and apologize to the store manager. They then told me how disappointed they were in me an that they felt they couldn't trust me anymore. It made me feel awful about what I had done. I was grounded for a week, but it was their talk with me beforehand that kept me from ever doing it again. That's the power of good parenting. I could have done it again without them catching me, but that's not the point. They instilled in me that it was wrong.

[ Parent ]
Re: I dare you to spank that insolent employee... (3.00 / 3) (#71)
by Kintanon on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:36:26 PM EST

They do have a sense of the consequences. To a child, not being able to do anything but stare at the corner for 5 minutes is a really long and difficult punishment. And on top of that, it gives them time to think about why they're there in the first place, aided by the parent explaining before and after, of course. Whereas a slap on the ass and shouting "stop it!" doesn't teach the child anything but fear of their parents. What happens when the child realizes that he can ignore that punishment and continue to go about his business, because you have already delivered the harshest punishment available and it is one which he can ignore? That doesn't happen with all children, but with enough it does. What do you do then? Kintanon

[ Parent ]
What happens to that child... (4.50 / 2) (#80)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:29:48 PM EST

when he learns he can get away with anything? If he's smart, he grows up to be Bill Clinton. Or Bill Gates.

If he's of lesser ability, he'll eventually reach a point in his life where he doesn't get away with something. If he's lucky, he'll just get beat up real bad, and be wiser for the experience. If he's not lucky, he'll be sleeping withe the fishes.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: I dare you to spank that insolent employee... (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by royh on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 08:34:14 PM EST

What happens when the child realizes that he can ignore that punishment and continue to go about his business, because you have already delivered the harshest punishment available and it is one which he can ignore?

But how does spanking get past this trap? It can be ignored and escaped just as well...

[ Parent ]

Exactly. (4.50 / 2) (#101)
by lazerus on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:55:38 AM EST

Let's be serious. In schools here, where corporal punishment is still legal (in some areas at least), kids PREFER being paddled because they realize that 2-5 minutes of paddling, while painful, is better than an hour or two of detention.

Unless you paddle the child to the point of semi-conciousness or unconciousness (which is clearly wrong, hopefully even the pro-paddlers realize that), they will realize that the paddling punishment is not the end of the world and might even get used to it. Then what? Hit harder? No, there's no way to justify corporal punishment - and no way to verify that it works, save anecdotal evidence.

Cheers,

--Lazerus



[ Parent ]
There's no need to hit your kids. (3.80 / 5) (#43)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:55:53 AM EST

Leave them alone and they'll hit each other.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
I once had an employer who badly needed a spanking (2.00 / 1) (#81)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:41:34 PM EST

Since that wasn't an option, I settled for quitting and moving on.

I heard a couple of years later that he was voted off the board and forced to apologize to the employees for various things. Better late than never. But I really think we should try to nip this sort of thing in the bud.

And no, not all adults are amenable to reason, or able to perceive love, forgiveness and moral arguments as anything other than signs of weakness. At least this guy had enough brains to respond to noncorporeal punishment, so far as apologizing. Whether there was a permanent change in his behavior, I know not.

Kids are not adults. Not even all adults are adults. Do what works for a given individual. And do it promptly.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Up to the parents (3.63 / 11) (#22)
by El Volio on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:25:57 AM EST

Once again, this is something that has to be left up to the parents. As others have pointed out, there is a difference between abuse (unacceptable under any circumstances) and spanking. Spanking can be fine if (a) it's done within reason, as to draw the child's attention to their behavior when nothing else is having an effect, and (b) the parent is comfortable with the need to do it.

If the parents aren't comfortable with it, then it shouldn't happen. Most K5'ers (not all, of course) feel that it's no one else's place to determine how kids should be raised. That applies here, too.

My parents spanked me. And you know what? Sometimes I needed it. I was insisting on throwing a fit, or disobeying, or whatever the case was, and nothing else was getting my attention. That did it. I eventually learned that my behavior had consequences, and whether those were good or bad was up to me. I ended up a reasonably balanced, well-adjusted adult, and I thank my parents for that.

My best friend, OTOH, was never spanked. His father didn't believe in it, pure and simple (though there were a few times when he came near to spanking us both!) and so it never happened. There were times when that kid needed discipline, and he got it through other forms. It worked for them, and he's also grown into a normal adult with no problems.

Each of our families had different needs, and just as my father would never have conceived of telling the other that he needed to spank his boy, the other father would never have told mine that he shouldn't spank me.

As for spanking in school: That was a privilege my parents always reserved for themselves and close family members when they weren't around. They didn't trust anyone else to draw the proper line, and felt that it was their place and no one else's. Believe me, the worst trouble I would get in was if I had to be punished by someone else, because then I'd get it double when I got home.

4000 years of what worked (3.53 / 13) (#23)
by GrayMouser on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:27:48 AM EST

For background, I worked as an educator in a middle school environment before moving on to IT, so I have a first hand experience of the issue. The school I worked in did not permit corporal punishment of any form (Did you know that making Johnny write "I will not hit other students in class" 100 times is corporal punishment?).

This is not surprising, however, as our society tends to despise corporal punishment in general. We feel it is better to lock someone up for three years as a consequence, then let him back out and hope he'll be productive (try thinking of a way to explain that gap on the ole resume sometime...), rather that just flogging or caning him on the weekend and letting him go back to work (or back to finding work) on monday.

For thousands of years, corporal and capital punishment were the standard tools of governments to maintain order. Criminals still existed, but lived in fear of the law. Today these means are no longer readily available, and people live in fear of the criminals. And if you think you don't, consider if there are any areas near you where you just don't go, because it isn't safe.

To get back on the topic of school children, I saw many who behaved however they wanted to, because no one had the power to say "NO" and mean it (meaning have the power to back it up). The school really couldn't do anything, and in many cases the parents wouldn't either.

I think the real reason these studies keep coming up is that people hate pain and don't want to see anyone else suffer pain. Ironically, that in itself should demonstrate its effectiveness to modify and control behavior.

Re: 4000 years of what worked (3.66 / 6) (#41)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:28:09 AM EST

Your post raises a whole bunch of points ....

Making children write lines is not corporal punishment. Your former employer may have defined it as such, but they were wrong. Its rare to be able to be so conclusive, but the dictionary gives it straight "Corporal: of, or relating to, the body". In the usual sense in which this is understood, writing lines is not "related to the body".

The conservative argument that "X always worked, therefore we should never have stopped doing it" is usually an oversimplification. Usually, X stopped because of a much larger pattern of social forces, which was making it untenable or proving it to be pointless

You seem to be in a bit of a state of denial concerning the contents of the study. You say pain is effective as a way of modifying behaviour, but the study (and others) seem to contradict you. Of course, other studies indicate the exact opposite. I suspect this is a field where studies are largely used just to substantiate preconceived opinion, and a great deal rests on interpretation. For instance, its quite likely that those states which still have corporal punishment are also those that are most socially stratified and conservative, and that this is what actually impairs educational performance.

In my view, punishment (regardless of type) is only effective if the people being punished already have a sense of responsibility for what they did, and accompanying guilt for the negative consequences. Without those, punishment is simply force, and must be tolerated or fought as the individual sees fit. You can't change people's mind by hitting them, or by making them write lines. These things are only effective as a way of reinforcing things the individual already believes, or is inclined to believe.

You seem to be invoking, to a large extent, the conception that society is falling around our ears, and this is (implicitly) due to the lily livered liberal attitudes of people who've "softened" the punishment meted out to criminals. In response, I would point out that this idea that society is constantly in danger of overthrow by the barbarian hordes is as old as civilisation itself. While its always perceived to be happening, and indeed has sometimes been conceived of as having happened, social and technical progress have been more or less continuous since the end of the last ice age.

Having said all of that: I'd tend to agree with you that school discipline seems to be a major issue all across the western world. Children (especially from poorer backgrounds) are increasingly disruptive and tend to ignore the teacher's authority. Parents are less and less helpful, and more and more often take the child's side, if they are aware of problems at all. I'd agree with you that teachers must be able to say no and mean it, and that this will mean sometimes having to use force to enforce their will. However, to me that means minimal, ideally restraining, force. Violent assualt against a child who has been made helpless, as a form of punishment is a whole different matter - if nothing else its likely to reinforce a poorly socialised child's conception that torture is a good way to get what you want.

How to resolve the problem in the end ? I don't know, but in the end, parents must socialise their children properly, so they have a sense of responsibility and an accompanying sense of guilt. If that doesn't happen, nothing, especially not violence, is going to help. However, it may be that the era of enforced education, and the accompanying conception that learning is something that is crammed into unwilling minds, as school dinners into unwilling mouths, is ending. That may be no bad thing.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Definition of Corporal Punishment (1.66 / 3) (#42)
by GrayMouser on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:49:27 AM EST

My God!!! A well reasoned, thought out reply! (sorry, if I seem surprised, I only found out about this place after hearing it went down on Slashdot) I could get used to this :)

Anyway, one follow up point. What is or is not corporal punishment is defined by state law, not websters dictionary. If you look up those statutes for your state, you will probably be surprised at how broad a category it has become.

[ Parent ]
Re: 4000 years of what worked (3.25 / 4) (#47)
by cypherpunks on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:44:11 PM EST

Making children write lines is not corporal punishment.

You probably never had to feel how much your arm can hurt after writing something 1000 times on a chalkboard. ;)

You seem to be in a bit of a state of denial concerning the contents of the study. You say pain is effective as a way of modifying behaviour, but the study (and others) seem to contradict you. Of course, other studies indicate the exact opposite. I suspect this is a field where studies are largely used just to substantiate preconceived opinion, and a great deal rests on interpretation. For instance, its quite likely that those states which still have corporal punishment are also those that are most socially stratified and conservative, and that this is what actually impairs educational performance.

Studies, especially studies like these are almost worthless. The authors of the studies usually have the proof of their hypothesis worked out going in and they're just looking for data to back it up. Especially with things like education (which is supposed to level the playing field in the US, but doesn't), there are just _way_ too many factors to consider to be able to declare that factor X is the dominant influence on the quality of education. And why would living in a conservative area mean you don't learn anything? People will learn because they want to learn. And conservative parents place just as much emphasis on learning as liberal ones.

You seem to be invoking, to a large extent, the conception that society is falling around our ears, and this is (implicitly) due to the lily livered liberal attitudes of people who've "softened" the punishment meted out to criminals.

As opposed to the brain dead conservatives who feel that prevention and rehabilitation are worthless, so punish those that need help more severely? Oh yeah, and let's throw the mentally ill and the handicapped in prison too, since they can't contribute to society. (Sorry, but that's been the trend in my home state over the last few years)

Children (especially from poorer backgrounds) are increasingly disruptive and tend to ignore the teacher's authority.

On the parenthetical comment: Bullshit. I've found children in richer areas to be as disruptive as or more disruptive than children in poorer areas. But the reasons are typically different. Poorer school districts have a harder time getting quality teaching staff and the kids know this. They know that some of their teachers don't care, and the kids exploit this. But most poor kids I've seen will give teachers the respect they deserve if the teachers are truly making an effort to teach. Kids from rich areas tend to be spoiled by their parents (or grandparents) success and assume everything will be handed to them in life (since everything has been so far). And if teacher's mean to a kid, or give's the kid a bad grade, the kid's parents will sue the district for emotional distress.

You're main point, which is buried in deeper than most readers will be willing to read, is that parents need to be more involved and effective parents. I agree completely. But don't try to pass this off as a money or ideology issue. It's really about parents wanting the kids they have and wanting to be parents.

[ Parent ]

Re: 4000 years of what worked (4.00 / 1) (#107)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 07:25:17 AM EST

I agree I went on for far too long there. In view of that, I'll try to be brief.

1. Writing lines hurts. We did ours on paper, but its still hurts. So does standing in the corner.

2. Studies are worthless. I think I said that myself, though I was busy pointing out to the previous poster that he was going by his prior conceptions at the time. These are essentially ethical questions anyway, and in such matters studies are not only of dubious value, but utterly inconsequential.

3. I think I load brain-dead conservtives as much as you do. I've no great fondness for brain-dead liberals either.

4. This may be a matter of locality, but experience here in the UK seems to indicate that poorer children are more disruptive. Middle class areas rarely have problems with kids who won't sit down, break windows, bring knives to school, start inter-ethnic wars in the classroom, etc. They have their own problems, of course, and yes, some of these relate to lack of parental support for teachers, but they rarely produce problems so accute the other pupils can't learn. To give you an indication, I know one teacher in Livingston in Scotland who considers a lesson successful if all the children sit down, and several schools were so much of the budget has to be spent on pupil-inflicted damage that there's no money left to buy books.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Re: 4000 years of what worked (3.75 / 4) (#55)
by FFFish on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:11:14 PM EST

One could look back on 4000 years of human history, and conclude that's it's a pretty dismal history, filled with violence, wars, slavery, subjugation and cruelty.

Does violence solve violence?


[ Parent ]
Re: 4000 years of what worked (3.20 / 5) (#57)
by kger on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:14:51 PM EST

GrayMouser wrote:
I think the real reason these studies keep coming up is that people hate pain and don't want to see anyone else suffer pain. Ironically, that in itself should demonstrate its effectiveness to modify and control behavior.

Excellent point.

As to your other points, imagine the money saved (or channeled elsewhere, since the government never gives back your money) if actual punishment was instituted, even for lesser crimes. I wonder how many jail cells would be freed up, or new prison constructions obviated.

And let's be practical here. I am raising two children, and I know from personal experience that spanking works. Children of a very young age cannot be reasoned out of their undesirable behavior. It must be disciplined out of them. However, in the bigger picture, spanking is just one small aspect of good parenting.

In the schools, much of the problems in learning stem from the fact that the teachers have very little remaining authority. There are a number of other causes, too, but that's a topic for another discussion site.

This topic strays far from topics of geekdom, anyway.



[ Parent ]
Re: 4000 years of what worked (2.00 / 1) (#85)
by Maclir on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:10:00 PM EST

This is not surprising, however, as our society tends to despise corporal punishment in general.

It would be interesting to have a list of all 50 US states, showing which allow corporal punishment in schools, and which allow (and actively carry out) capital punishment. I think a reasonable proportion of the US society no only encourages corporal punishment, but also supports much more severe penalties. Being put to death is about as severe as it can get.

[ Parent ]

This reminds me... (3.25 / 8) (#26)
by TheLocust on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:30:44 AM EST

..of an incident after the shooting in Paducah, KY (Michael Carneal). A friend of mine's father is a respected psychologist here in Louisville (the big city in Kentucky), and after the media here in town had jumped all over the "Doom and the Basketball Diaries" bandwagon, they came to him, looking for some positive justification for their claims that Doom (an antiquated reference, for sure) and movies like the Basketball Diaries caused this shooting.

He flat out told them "No, we don't tend to look at what the child is watching or playing with. We look at the root causes, the child's upbringing rather than the symptoms of it".

It is a beautiful day when common sense and analytical reasoning triumphs.
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

Spanking as part of an escalating process (3.25 / 12) (#29)
by scross on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:42:05 AM EST

I'm a firm believer in spanking when it is part of a disciplinary process. The process should be consistant every time so the child knows where he is in the process. My process that I use with my children is
  1. Tell the child to start or stop doing what they should or should not be doing.
  2. Give them a verbal warning, you know, "One ... Two ..."
  3. Give a "Time Out" when the child has to sit for a few minutes
  4. Spank. On the bottom only.
This process has served me well and seldom goes beyond "One ..."

Cheers, Sarah
Re: Spanking as part of an escalating process (3.80 / 5) (#36)
by Kintanon on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:10:06 AM EST

I'm a firm believer in spanking when it is part of a disciplinary process. The process should be consistant every time so the child knows where he is in the process. My process that I use with my children is Tell the child to start or stop doing what they should or should not be doing. Give them a verbal warning, you know, "One ... Two ..." Give a "Time Out" when the child has to sit for a few minutes Spank. On the bottom only. This process has served me well and seldom goes beyond "One ..." This becomes a problem with weak parents. The kind that never go past 2, even if their child is still screaming and running around being a nasty little brat. Because if a parent does nothing but threaten and never follows through the child begins to believe that the worst they can recieve is a warning. This leads to an underlying impression that they can get away with anything which in turn leads to violent young adults. Kintanon

[ Parent ]
Love (2.85 / 7) (#33)
by overcode on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:56:28 AM EST

I think it's wrong to suggest that spanking is mutually exclusive with love and affection. If a parent spanks a kid out of frustration, disgust, or hate, yes, I'd say that's violence. But if a parent finds it the most effective way to get the child's attention (and it certainly does do that) in rare circumstances, I think it can be a very helpful tool. I know that even the suggestion of spanking when I was a kid was enough to get my attention. It can really show a kid that the parent is in charge whether he likes it or not, and that's important for building basic discipline and respect.

That said, psychology is full of studies that indicate the benefits of positive reinforcement as opposed to negative reinforcement. I think it's more important to look at a parent's overall attitude. I would suggest that there's a stronger correlation between spanking and generally bad parents (who would be inclined to use it a lot, and without consideration) than between spanking (frequent or not) and a child's violence later in life.

I don't think anyone but a parent should ever use this kind of punishment. It's just improper. Wouldn't it be better to send a note home with the kid advising the parents of the problem?

-John


Re: Love (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:46:04 PM EST

That said, psychology is full of studies that indicate the benefits of positive reinforcement as opposed to negative reinforcement.<./i>

To pick nits:

Reinforcement in behavioral psychology jargon refers to anything that is done to increase the chance that a particular behavior will be performed. The two flavors are positive and negative. Positive reinforcement involves the giving of a reward (e.g. "Do this and I'll give you some of your favorite ice cream"). Negative reinforcement involves the taking away of an undesirable (but normal) event (e.g. "Do this, and you won't have to take out the garbage.")

Punishment is a different term, and refers to anything that is done to decrease the likelihood that a certain behavior will be performed. Again, the flavors are positive and negative, and work the same way that they do with reinforcement (e.g. positive punishment is, "You did X, so I'm going to spank you", negative punishment is, "You did X, so you're not allowed to watch TV for a week.")

I know all about how popular usage is supposed to define terms, but this drives me up the wall. Sorry.

[ Parent ]

Re: Love (1.00 / 1) (#63)
by A. Nut on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:41:15 PM EST

You didn't close an tag. You're welcome. Rusty : Why doesn't scoop close all open tags at the ends of posts?
You should reverse the fish in my e-mail address
[ Parent ]
Mixing cause and effect (2.83 / 6) (#34)
by zlite on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:59:31 AM EST

This is another one of those meaningless studies. Is it not possible that poorer states, with children more likely to have suboptimal home situations, are the ones who find dicipline the hardest at school and therefore lean towards spanking? And is it not also possible that those same home and economic factors could lead to lower test scores>

Sure it is. They are two effects related only by having the same "cause"--regional economics. One does not cause the other.



Re: Mixing cause and effect (4.50 / 4) (#46)
by El Volio on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:39:46 PM EST

This is an important point. One of the fundamentals of stats is that correlation does not imply causation. There's lots of different explanations: not necessarily "x and correlate, so x causes y". y could cause x, or there could be another factor z which causes both, or...

The point is, while it definitely shows something that should be looked at in greater detail, it doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that many immediately draw.

[ Parent ]

Re: Mixing cause and effect (4.66 / 3) (#69)
by BinerDog on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:23:33 PM EST

El Volio is spot on. There is no indication that these are related merely by showing the data. At a minimum we would need to complete a Chi^2 and even better an ANOVA to even determine correlation.

In all likelyhood, looking over that data, there is a correlation, but the degree of correlation is not even decided. The scores will be caused by many things and an ANOVA would at least help determine if paddling were one of the primary factors.

An even better study would be a multiple regression to determine how much each factor, physoical punishment being one, plays into poor performance.

My personal prediction, and IAAPE (I am a Professional Educator), is that the current allowance for physical punishment and poor performance are both results of a common root set of factors. These two things probably correlate at a reasonable level, but have no causal relationship one way or the other. They are both results several factors which likely include:

  • Low parental education levels
  • low emphasis placed on the importance of education and academics at home and in the community
  • low quality educators in those areas (it is VERY difficult to attract capable people to failing systems in unpopular places). This is not to bash the great people that will be there, but the overall quality declines because
    • the good teachers and administrators are way overworked tryoing t omake up for a lack of qualified staff
    • programs such as Teach America bring in underqualified teachers to fill roles
    • as the community does not usually place great importance on education compared to other things (I once taught in a school district where the kids got three days off for deer season) the most capable people in the community do not help the education system

-- The Entity Formerly Known as Frums (Cuz someone nabbed my name on K5) (I want it back :)
[ Parent ]
Laws? (3.77 / 9) (#44)
by caine on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:27:30 PM EST

Being a Swede, I must ask if it's actually _legal_ to spank your kids in the States? Or is it just in some states? Sounds totally weird if it is. Assault is assault on a kid as well as an adult.

--

Re: Laws? (3.20 / 5) (#49)
by Eloquence on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:49:04 PM EST

Actually, it's not only legal in the family, some states allow school teachers and principals to let kids (who may well be 17 years old) who have "misbehaved" in one way or another (in some cases just smoking or being late) be spanked (usually with a paddle) by an administrator. This is what the article was about. It's truly medieval.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Re: Laws? (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by FFFish on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:02:44 PM EST

I believe in almost all states and provinces, teachers and principals have the right to spank children.

It's because they're considered loco in parentis (I *think* that's the term... I don't think it means "crazy parent!"): while the child is in their care, they have the same rights as a parent.

Of course, no sane principal or teacher would spank a child. There'd be so much trouble rained down on their head, it'd be suicidal.

[ Parent ]
Re: Laws? (4.60 / 5) (#59)
by Thaniel on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:27:57 PM EST

Not "almost all" but almost half (in the US), yes. Accrding to Nospank, 23 of the 50 states in the US allow corporal punishment in schools.

I find this surprising and disheartening. I thought this sort of thing ended a long time ago. I guess I know which states I'll never raise a child in.

[ Parent ]
Re: Laws? (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:21:31 PM EST

Actually, the term is in loco parentis, and it means "in the place of the parents". The school has all the rights over kids that their parents do, and as the school's proxy, the administrator's do.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Laws? (3.33 / 3) (#70)
by cs668 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:32:21 PM EST

I know this is going to make me seem overly violent. But, if a school official spanked my child I would bring my child down to the school so they could watch me spank that school offical.

If there is a discipline problem with my child I want to be told about it and deal with it myself. Although I would beat a school official who beat my child, I would be very reluctant to spank my child.


[ Parent ]
Re: Laws? (3.25 / 4) (#50)
by El Volio on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:52:29 PM EST

It's legal, within limits. If it's excessive, it's child abuse. But there's a degree to which it is legal here, since the theory is that the state has no place telling parents how to raise their children, though it does have an interest to protect them. I don't mean an all-out physical assault; that's illegal, as it should be. "Spanking" usually means a whack or two on the rear end (occasionally a face slap, but that's extreme and many more people are not comfortable with that).

Is that illegal in your country? What about the rest of Europe?

[ Parent ]

Re: Laws? (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by caine on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 10:48:40 AM EST

It's strictly forbidden, and has been so for some 40 years or so I think. Think it's the same situation at least in the rest of the nordic countries, more south I don't know. Probably legal there, though I'm not sure. I agree with someone posting below, that if someone lay hand on my child, they _would_ feel my wrath.

--

[ Parent ]

Re: Laws? (2.00 / 1) (#104)
by El Volio on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:43:29 PM EST

I think even a lot of US parents feel the same way: they may see nothing wrong with swatting their own kid, but may the Good Lord help anyone else who swats him.

[ Parent ]
Addressing some of the comments (3.87 / 16) (#45)
by Eloquence on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:38:57 PM EST

My first reaction is, of course, emotional: I am disgusted that so many people advocate spanking "as a means of discipline". I would not have deemed the differences between Europe and the United States so big in this respect. It should not surprise me considering the general sexual paranoia in the US, but it still scares me. An industralized country, with modern computers and nuclear bombs, and many of its citizens think that the proper way to deal with kids who don't act according to their views is to beat them, to belt them or to spank them. Of course, only if it is done in a "non-abusive" fashion. After all, "it never did me any harm".

First, I must talk a bit about scientific reasoning. Some have argued that you can make a study for everything and provide "evidence" for any preconceived opinion. While it is true that many researchers do have a preconceived opinion on the subject at hand, it is certainly not true that study == study.

I understand that, in former times, people often relied on "experts" quoted by their favorite media instead of building their own opinion and examining the research themselves. After all, most newspapers don't even cite the source for the studies they write about, and ordering and reading them requires more time than one might want to invest. But nowadays, things are different. I have provided direct links to the material in question. Anyone could take a look at the full text of the comparison and the Prescott paper. If there were flaws in the comparison or in the Prescott paper, you could point them out. I would try to answer, and if we agreed that the comparison was flawed, we would dump the whole thing.

Instead, a "You can claim anything with studies" attitude is prevalent. Instead of reading the material and arguing about it, most people seem to prefer to listen to their primitive emotions instead and do what they "feel" or act on what they have "experienced", and of course select the media they consume based on these emotions.

The ideological background for this kind of reasoning is called constructivism, the belief that there is no objective reality, that everything is just a construction of our minds. This belief, obviously, is fundamentally flawed, for if everything is both true and false, the claim that this is so is subject to itself, thus, irrelevant. It is true that we cannot gain absolute truth through scientific reasoning. Only religion claims to possess absolute truths. But we can get closer and closer to the truth. This is visible in the scientific progress of the last centuries. Would you comment a Human Genome Study with "You can claim anything with studies"?

Anyone can take part in modern science. Just falling back into primitive emotions and being proud of being unable to take part in a rational, scientific discussion is dangerous. Have you learned nothing from important scientific mentors like Carl Sagan? How much darkness do you want?

Some have criticized the comparison or my summary for claiming a causal link where there is only a correlation. As I have already pointed out, that is not the case. The comparison wants to counter claims that spanking is necessary to achieve discipline. Some have argued that "Nobody claims spanking leads to better scores". So, does this, inversely, mean that a school without discipline is as efficient as one with discipline? Why do you need discipline through spanking if it doesn't increase efficiency (and perhaps lower it)?

Now, about spanking in general. Of course, I will not convince anyone, but I cannot let some misconceptions go unanswered out of self-respect. First, in Germany, where I live, spanking is not considered acceptable. It is banned from schools and there has been a law proposal for at least recommending not to spank or slap children in families as well. If it were true that corporal punishment in families and schools is necessary to deal with kids, then why don't we have millions of kids with attention deficit disorders? Why is our crime rate an order of magnitude lower? Why is our school violence low, why haven't we had our own Columbines? Why do non-spanking, loving parents not complain about the ineffeciency of love and understanding, while many spankers and beaters (and I would have no problem labeling these people child abusers) seem to be constantly unhappy with their children's discipline?

Surely some of the people this article writes about also thought that their children just needed discipline, applied properly.

Of course it's not all because of spanking or non-spanking, as I have never claimed. Spanking is just part of a set of behaviors and feelings that is anti-body, anti-sex, anti-love and seems to be very popular in America. This set of behaviors and feelings is damaging and wrong. Among kids from the same states and similar family situations, kids who are spanked have lower cognitive ability. They are more antisocial and more violent. Just go and read the research at Nospank if you are not afraid of facts contradicting your feelings. If you find flaws, then I'm willing to discuss them. If you have counter research, I'm willing to take a look at it. If you just want to say "Aw, you can claim anything with studies", then better shut up. And don't get too close to kids, for if you want to have kids, or have them, you should be willing to at least take a look at the huge body of research that suggests that physically hurting them might cause them irreversible mental harm.

Many African girls feel like removal of the clitoris is necessary and that it has "never done them any harm". I hope that at least nobody here would argue that they are right.

To the parent, it does indeed appear that spanking works. Of course the child will try to avoid the spanking in the future. But the primary effect is not learning -- pain reduces blood flow in the cortex, thereby inhibiting rational thinking; this is an evolutionary mechanism to generate immediate fight or flight reactions -- but fear. It gradually changes the parent-child relationship and does nothing to remedy the actual causes of the behavior it is supposed to cure. If you spank your kid because he stole your wallet, he will steal someone else's the next time.

Unfortunately, fear and superstition are deeply rooted in our brains. But love is the only way. If you fail to recognize that in time, you are doomed. The same kids who have received "properly applied discipline" will grow up to become the monsters willing to drop bombs on a foreign country if it fits their political agenda.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

how about anecdotal empiricsim? (4.25 / 12) (#61)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:37:06 PM EST

My child behaved like I brat. I disciplined her by standing her in the corner. Her episodes continued. At the time I didn't believe in spanking.

Finally, I tried spanking her. She immediately stopped acting like a brat.

Now, I seldomly have to discipline her, and when I do, standing in the corner is almost always sufficient. The odd thing is that standing in the corner was not sufficient before I spanked her. But once she understood that spanks happen, her behavior changed almost over night.

Now, with my second daughter, spanking is not any sort of deterent, but standing in the corner is. Different children need to be handled differently.

While we're on the topic, what makes physical punishment (such as spanking) qualitatively different from emotional punishment (time out)? Both when used appropriately can be good. Both when used abusively are harmful.

[ Parent ]

You're using Hustler Magazine as a source? (2.20 / 5) (#79)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:15:49 PM EST

It is not the case that any cite is better than no cites at all.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: You're using Hustler Magazine as a source? (1.00 / 2) (#82)
by Eloquence on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:08:47 PM EST

And your argument is what?
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Do you have any children? (1.00 / 2) (#86)
by gblues on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:24:19 PM EST

Discipline is essentially a fancy word for leadership. And the best definition of leadership I've heard is that it is the art of getting other people to do what you want because they want to do it.

Part of leadership is encouraging the behavior that is desired. Positive reinforcement is necessary, since the maxim "you can lead a horse to water" applies here.

Another part is correcting incorrect behavior. Usually positive reinforcement works here, too, if the cause of the incorrect behavior can be determined and addressed.

In a perfect world, that would be all that would be necessary. However, humans are imperfect creatures (if you think otherwise, take a history class). In other words, the cause of the incorrect behavior may not be something that can be reasonably addressed.

Children (heck, people in general) need to learn that their actions have consequences. Positive reinforcement cannot teach this lesson. In fact, it teaches the opposite--there are no consequences.

However, just like a firewall is not a panacea for network security, spanking is not a panacea for discipline. Like computer security, it is a process. Also like computer security, failing to follow the process can result in compromising the integrity of the system--in this case, the home or school.

But saying "all negative reinforcement is bad" is as much a fallacy as saying "negative reinforcement is the only solution." It is also unfair to make the assumption that because I am in favor of spanking, that I would use it exclusively.
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
[ Parent ]
Just a few slaps (2.77 / 9) (#53)
by Eloquence on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:07:31 PM EST

Pictures of children beaten by professional educators. This is what some of you are supporting.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
Re: Just a few slaps (2.50 / 2) (#62)
by El Volio on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:40:55 PM EST

I think there may be a lot of people (myself included) who don't think it should ever be the place of the school staff to spank kids. Under any circumstances. This is why.

That said, I still believe that a few swats on the rear end doesn't do any harm, and gets the child's attention. Any discipline that leaves that much damage is excessive. Children who have severely misbehaved (I'm talking car theft or total rebellion) don't need spankings; it's not going to teach them what they need to learn.

[ Parent ]

Spanking is too often used innappropriately. (4.58 / 12) (#56)
by h0tr0d on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:14:47 PM EST

I have found that in most circumstances where a child is spanked there truly was no need for that harsh of a punishment. As we have all whined about when a hacker gets busted "the punishment should fit the crime." The only time that a child should be spanked is when they are ignoring parental warnings to stop their current behavior and that behavior involves hurting themselves or someone else. Period. There is no other reason why a child should be spanked. And for those of you who say "it worked on me." Think about it. Didn't the severity of such punishment decrease over time as you grew older or learned ways to endure the pain better. I know that's what I did. And these effects were even more drastic in my younger brother because he learned from watching me. So by the time he was about 8, spanking him, even with a belt or yardstick, was completely useless. In fact the result became hysterical laughter rather than tears of pain. It became a game for him to get spanked. First would be the running away and infuriating my parents in their futile attempts to catch up to him. Then the pretended fear when they finally did (this always calmed them down enough that the spanking became a joke), and then the well acted out shrieks of pain as he was hit, then the hysterical laughter and taunting of "that didn't hurt." The reason this occurred so rapidly in my brother is because my parents used spanking for too many infractions. As a parent I have had to evaluate the way I was raised and try to figure out how I want to do it differently. Spanking is one of those areas where I have to pay particular attention because sometimes when my son does something wrong my natural reaction (based on my upbringing) is to spank him. I have to carefully evaluate the situation before enforcing any discipline upon him. Needless to say, his spankings are few and far between. My wife and I have learned that a timeout is much more affective than a spanking for almost all situations. However, there has been the occasion when he is hurting another child and we had to resort to spanking to stop the behavior. Fortunately he is a very well behaved boy so we have not had to spank him too many times and I am thankful for that because as a parent it hurts me a great deal to have to inflict pain on my own son.

The other problem with disciplining a child, especially spanking, is the time that passes between the infraction and the discipline. Disciplining a child is like training a dog. The punishment has to be immediate otherwise they don't understand what they are being punished for. I can remember my mom threatening us with "just wait until your dad gets home." This created a horribly torterous environment for my siblings and I. There is nothing worse than spending hours going through all of the possible scenarios in your mind and remembering all of the worst beatings you have endured at your dad's hands. We were fortunate in that our father would not spank us if he had not seen the infraction. We would only get a grueling lecture and other punishment. But until we figured this out those long torterous hours waiting for dad to come home seemed like they would never end.

So there are more ways than one that a parent can mess up in the area of discipline. I for one am all for spanking when it is used appropriately (circumstances and timing). I'm not sure that spanking really is the link that the studies lead us to believe it is. I believe there are many other problems that are the root of childrens troubles.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

Swatting, Spanking and Beating Your Kids (4.18 / 11) (#58)
by FFFish on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:27:31 PM EST

I think it's important to recognize that "spanking" means different things to different people. I suspect that most of the advocates of spanking here are meaning it in the same way I'd use the word "swat"; and that most of the protestors are using it in the same way I'd use the word "beating."

For what it's worth, I believe that swatting can, when used seldomly, be an effective attention-getting discipline technique for young (<4yr) children. A swat would be a single smack on a clothed bottom, done by a rational (calm) parent. It's startling, not painful. It must be followed by further disciplinary action -- verbal instruction or a non-violent consequence (ie. situation is changed significantly: sent to room, toy/treat taken away, etc. Must be immediate; toddlers don't do long-term consequences at all well!)

Spanking would be a bare-bottom multiple-smack that is painful. Again, administered by a rational parent. Spanking is absolutely inappropriate for young (<4yr) children. Most of their adult self-image, attitudes and concepts are formed in the first several years of life: one hardly wants them to form self-concepts based on pain and parental punishment!

I believe that spanking is almost always inappropriate. It is an extreme measure and, frankly, I can't think of a situation where a spanking is more appropriate than some other, non-violent disciplinary action. At ages 5+, children are fairly rational beings and other punishments can be just as effective as spanking, though you may need to be creative or persistent.

A beating is administered by a non-rational parent (ie. angry), or leaves welts or bruises, or ranges outside the bumcheeks. Beating children is *always* inappropriate.

Beating adults, on the other hand, may be a punishment worth exploring. I believe our prison systems are ineffectual: they are a long-term consequence, instead of an immediate consequence, and prisoners adapt to jail -- some people become habitual prisoners, prefering it to outside life! My fear is that a good number of law-breakers would become violent when treated violently. On the other hand, that kid who vandalized cars in Singapore certainly hasn't repeated the offense...


Anyway, my point is that the terminology hasn't been clearly defined. As a result, we've got people who appear to be in disagreement, who are really agreeing with each other.

Re: Swatting, Spanking and Beating Your Kids (3.20 / 5) (#60)
by Thaniel on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:35:13 PM EST

For what it's worth, I believe that swatting can, when used seldomly, be an effective attention-getting discipline technique for young (<4yr) children.

There are plenty of other ways to get your child's attention. A swat only works if it is at least a little painful. There are plenty of other ways to get your child's attention without having to resort to hitting them, no matter how lightly.

[ Parent ]
Re: Swatting, Spanking and Beating Your Kids (2.50 / 2) (#87)
by FFFish on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 07:39:16 PM EST

Well, I'm re-reading my message and I gotta conclude: I wasn't awake.

I think I'll revise my opinion: physical punishment of any sort is grossly inappropriate, and is the refuge of the unimaginative.

Although the idea of flogging idiot adults who, say, run stop signs, not that I'm upset about a near accident today, well... yes. Flog the bastard.

But not kids.


[ Parent ]
There are other ways to discipline/reinforce (4.37 / 8) (#64)
by scheme on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:43:59 PM EST

I'm currently working with a clinical psychlogist on simulating interactions between parents and children with cognitive disorders so although I'm not a psychologist, I do have some familiarity with the area.

An important thing to understand is that sometimes children will act in an inappropriate manner in order to gain attention whether the attention is positive or negative. So although parents should respond to significant actions that are inappropriate, they shouldn't focus on just punishing inappropriate behaviours. Instead, the focus should be on praising and rewarding good actions and minor cases of inappropriate behaviour should be ignored. This reinforces the child's positive behaviours and teaches the child that he or she can get the attention he or she desires by acting in the appropriate fashion. Another important thing is that the consequences of their actions should occur fairly quickly after the action(a few seconds) otherwise the consequences don't have much effect since the child won't really associate them with the action.

I think if your at the point where you can only discipline your child through corporal punishment and not through other less drastic measures then things are already in a bad shape. When parents use corporal punishment as their preferred method of punishment then their child may come to see the world as a place where those with power can arbitarily exert their desires on others since they often don't know what they did wrong.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


Fear of Punishment cannot replace morality (3.81 / 11) (#66)
by mattc on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:05:28 PM EST

Spanking seems to be very popular in America, but frowned upon in the rest of the world -- In fact it is outlawed in some european countries! I believe this is because of America's puritanical Christian roots, which bring to mind phrases like "beat the devil out of him" which people used to use (And maybe still do) to refer to spanking and other sorts of abuse.

"Beat the devil out of him/her" rose out of the belief that spanking was literally exorcising evil spirits from the child. Therefore hitting your child was justified because you had to get the "evil" out of him.

Today, of course, not as many people believe that satanic goblins roam the world looking for children to possess, but they still think it is a good idea to carry on the traditions of their parents. Instead of religious justification, they now use "discipline" as the excuse for their child-beating.

I certainly support good behaviour.. I dislike 'spoiled brats' just as much as the next person. It makes me angry to see rich kids going around vandalising, stealing, and acting like idiots. However, rather than calling for more "discipline" aka spanking, I believe that spanking is in fact partly responsible for these activities.

When you spank a child you put in a child's mind -- "If I do that mom and dad will hit me." So what happens? When mom and dad is not there it is okay to do whatever one feels like!! This can be seen everywhere in today's culture -- if someone can get away with something, no matter how wrong, they will do it! This kind of behaviour doesn't just take place in children. The way someone is raised plays a huge role in how they will be the rest of their lives. When the children become teenagers they commit petty crimes and misbehave any time they feel they will not get caught. When the teenagers turn into adults they feel even more freedom to do wrong, since the only mom and dad are the police! Basically it is a free for all as long as there is no chance of a cop being around the next corner.

I believe a better alternative to spanking is telling a child to STOP misbehaving and then telling them WHY they should not do it. In short, teach them morality. If the child decides to ignore you, then other punishment can be given -- chores, standing in the corner, and so on. But at NO POINT is beating a child necessary!!

A child should NOT behave only when mom and dad are within spanking distance. A child should behave *because it is the right thing to do*

In summary: Fear of punishment cannot replace morality. When someone tries to do just that, it always fails (look at totalitarian states for an example of failed fear control)

I have a lot more to say on this subject, but am out of time for now. I suggest people read the various web pages and books about spanking and come to their own conclusions. I have only covered a few of the bad things about spanking-- there are MANY more reasons why you should not spank.

Instilling morality is a lot harder than... (2.33 / 3) (#78)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:12:37 PM EST

you presume it to be. Please don't foreclose any options as far as methods.


-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
It is interesting to see how society has changed (4.00 / 8) (#72)
by BTilly on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:40:15 PM EST

Over the centuries society has moved from literally requiring beatings (eg read the entries in the diary of Samuel Pepys where he talks about how bad he feels after beating his wife) to questioning it (eg Winston Churchill's famous line about "The traditions of the British Navy are sodomy and rum") to largely rejecting it.

In point of fact I know of no evidence that physical punishment works better than non-physical punishment. This doesn't just hold for humans. People who train most kinds of animals say the same thing. Positive re-inforcement works better than punishment, and a stern tone of voice and body language is almost always punishment enough should punishment be required. A few animals are generally not trained this way, however experiences with them (eg stories of <A HREF=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0679456589/wileywoodsranch/002-1640411-5993606>orse Whisperers) show that even with them you don't need force.

Now the point has been made that people on the one side are thinking of serious beating and on the other a light slap. Well clearly definitions vary, and different people's perceptions of the same hit vary as well. However excepting the obvious need in some cases for physical restraints (eg jail or straightjackets) with people who have failed to be trained (criminals) or are untrainable (ever dealt with a paranoid schitzophrenic?), physical force generally does not help.

Another item that amuses me is comparing not just the disinclination to corporal punishment, but the lessening of its severity as well. Ever heard the term "keelhauling"? What it refers to is tying a rope around the hands and another around the feet, throwing the sailor off the front of the ship, and then *running* from one end of the ship to the other and hauling the body out. I say body because the sailor was not expected to life. Indeed the sight of what the barnacles did to the now-dead man was meant to reinforce the lesson in the sailors.

Routine keelhaulings were once accepted as standard and necessary parts of enforcing maritime discipline.

From that we go to laws regulating the width of the stick you can beat a child or wife with, to laws making even light slapping cause for jail. (The US has not yet made the final transition.) Yet people can still learn to live in society, not run around screaming, etc. Funny, that.

In fact if anything we are now less inclined to violent solutions. How many men today would feel obligated to accept (let alone challenge) someone else to a duel to the death? It used to be that the life of the editor of a controversial paper was expected to be short and violent because of all of the challenges. Today the thought of that seems alien and bizarre.

To many in Europe and elsewhere the thought of what is routine in the US likewise seems bizarre. Given the patterns of the last few centuries, in time the US will come to regard it the same way...

I have my doubts whether society has improved (1.75 / 4) (#76)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:09:52 PM EST

I see way too much running around screaming, etc. for my comfort.


-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
I really think it has (3.80 / 5) (#84)
by BTilly on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 05:05:46 PM EST

You comment on the negative aspect's of today's world.

I compare to what used to be the case.

Run through this checklist then tell me if in your opinion things have improved:

  1. Executions and torture (eg whipping posts) used to be a form of public entertainment.
  2. Operating theaters used to be so named because people paid to watch. The introduction of anesthetics ruined the show.
  3. Beating your wife with bare fists and kicks was not considered abuse. That line was crossed depending on the size of rod you used.
  4. Speaking of wives, women in general had no real rights. For instance rape was a crime against the father or husband, not the woman raped. (Classically it was only adultery if the woman did it. Husbands hiring prostitutes was not an issue.)
  5. Have you read accounts of working conditions in the Industrial Revolution?
  6. Oh yes, and slavery is generally not allowed now. (One of the few ways that the US is IMO more advanced than Europe is that the US dislikes racism as well.)
  7. How many people today know what a press-gang is, let alone live in fear of seeing one?


[ Parent ]
Well, I wasn't around for any of that. (3.40 / 5) (#91)
by marlowe on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:27:34 PM EST

But over the past 40 years, I have noticed a steady and alarming decline in basic civility and respect for human life and dignity. This decline cuts across class boundaries. Only the underclass remains unchanged, for the simple reason that they couldn't get any worse. They can do more damage now, though, because more of them have guns. Guns in the schools nowadays. In my day, we had to make do with switchblades.

The gap between rich and poor may be growing economically, but it's shrinking culturally. What is road rage but a yuppified barroom brawl? And how is white collar crime fundamentally different from ward racketeering? And what's with that piece of trailer trash in the Oval Office?

I suppose I can read about all that nasty stuff you cite in the history books, but what does that prove? Not that I don't like history, but I don't take it at its word either. I learned in ninth grade Social Studies class that most of what they tell us about the past is spun to serve a political agenda. No, they didn't actually say that. I inferred it from the awkward silences I got whenever I asked a question in class.

Since then I gather that they don't teach the same things in school anymore. They switched it all around so now the Indians are innocent victims of Yankee oppression, instead of the other way around. Maybe in another 20 years they'll switch it back. And 20 years after that, it'll be back the way it is now...

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Funny, I see it differently (4.25 / 4) (#100)
by BTilly on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:53:05 AM EST

When was the last time you heard someone say "Nigger"?

And mean it?

I have asthma. Asking for a seat away from a smoker is now possible. Used to be that it would just get you someone blowing smoke in your face.

Women I know over 50 bemoan the fact that men their own age, "Just don't get it."

In the day and age of people complaining about the excesses of the PC movement it is all too easy to forget that most of us now would find what used to be common-place to be shockingly rude. And conversely courtesies that used to be common-place among middle-class whites are on the decline. It is not so much that we have moved backwards as that we move sideways.

As for your observations on education, I disagree. First of all now that the natives have been safely rendered powerless it is safe to romanticize them. I don't see that changing in the near future. There is no cause to! OTOH a good chunk of the things I talked about don't show up in school and will not any time soon. It is too disturbing to talk about surgery as theater. In a day and age where the fairness of capital punishment is questioned, does it really fit anyone's agenda to discuss the detail that a ship's captain not only had the power to impose it, but was expected to regularly as part of standard discipline?

I don't think so...
Ben

[ Parent ]
Re: Well, I wasn't around for any of that. (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 01:43:15 PM EST

Our accounts of the past are generally constructed to serve the present, quite true. So are out accounts of the present, for that matter. The line you are following is one constucted to serve a particular, conservative, political agenda, and if you are half as astute as you are claiming to be, you should be aware of that. Someone trying to support a progressive line would take a very different view of the changes over the past 40 years. As to that, you say "over the past fourty years" there has been a decline in basic civility. How do you know ? To be fully aware of that, you need to be around 50 or 60 now (to be a teenager in 1959). I doubt you are.

Having said that, much of what you say seems accurate. The cultural gap between classes has closed. As someone who tends more towards the progressive that the conservative line, I say thats a good thing. The upper classes no longer have the patrician sense of responsibility, and corresponding civility they once had. The lower classes no longer have the degree of respectful servility, and corresponding civility they once had. On the other hand, the upper classes no longer have the unquestioned power and authority they once possessed, and the lower classes are no longer a subbordinate are they once were.

To take your example: Clinton's sexual indiscretions are nothing compared with Jack Kennedy's (or Lloyd George's for that matter - he conducted cabinate meetings with his mistress sitting on his lap). The difference is not the incidence, but the reporting of these matters, and that has changed because there is no longer an unquestioning respect for authority. This is bad ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
punishment ingrained in our society (3.90 / 11) (#77)
by ordermaster on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:11:40 PM EST

A few years ago my mom started to subsitute teach. One of the schools she taught at regularly during her first year was the junior high school I used to attend. That same year that she started there was also a new prinipal at the school. This principal implemented policies that were considered radical. In particular, teachers were not allowed to use any form of corporal punishment negative reinforcement on the students. No spanking whatsoever. Teachers weren't even allowed to send problem students to the office. They had to deal with the students themselves. The teachers didn't like this policy. For years they had been using some form of negative reinforcement to punish bad students. Now they were only allowed to praise the good students and ignore the bad students. The teachers had no idea how to deal with the bad students. Discipline at the school went out of control. They had to bring in several security gaurds because things got so bad. My mom refused to sub at the school anymore because she was afraid she might get attacked. In fact, a few teachers did that year. Keep in mind that this is a junior high (7th & 8th grade) in a Pennsylvania small town.

Now before you draw any conclusions about my beliefs let me say that I fully oppose spanking and any form of punishment. I believe that the idea that negative reinforcement is the way to deal with problems is a sympton of our society. LIke someone mentioned earlier, it probably dates back to puritanical religious beliefs.

But this also raises an important point. Anecdotal evidence like the above true story suggests that since the puritanical ideals are so ingrained in out culture we can't just switch to another set of ideals. The teachers had no hope of making the new discipline system at the junior high school work because they had been taught since they were born that negative reinforcement is the way to change someone's behavior. Similarly, the students lost all dsicipline because no one was waiting for them to make a mistake and punish them.

A change to a more loving set of ideals must start with the parents. As soon a child is born he should be taught these positive ideals through example by his parents. He should no be exposed to the hating puritanical ideals. Whenever a child does something good he should be praised. Whenever a child does something bad being ignored should be punishment enough. Only when this shift occurs in the way parents raise thier children will puritanical ideals start to fade from out culture and the more loving ideal will begin to permeate our society.

Re: punishment ingrained in our society (5.00 / 4) (#90)
by Derek Moeller on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:09:41 PM EST

Well, I have to say that I disagree with you pretty strongly. My mother is also a substitute teacher, at both the middle school (junior high, roses and names...) and high school levels.

Now, I don't agree with spanking, or other methods of using pain to deal with bad habits. I do think that allowing teachers to remove extremely troublesome students from the class is a _good thing_. In fact, I find fault with may school districts for not providing _enough_ support to the teachers in terms of support for dealing with disruptive students.

Why do I feel this way? Strongly misbehaving students really do destroy the workings of the class, and it usually only takes one or two students to make a class a living hell for a teacher and a poor learning environment for the other students. I would know this because I'm one of those students trying to learn around them, and my mother is the one that has to deal with them. While positive reinforcement does work on a great number of students, there are always a few students in which positive reinforcement will _not_ work, and where ignoring them will only aggravate the problem, and actively harm the education of up to twenty to twenty-five other students.

Supportive administrative facilities for disruptive students is an absolute necessity. Most students that are merely encountering trouble in academics don't warrant negative discipline - for these (which represent the majority of cases), I agree with your policy of positive enforcement.

The principle that you speak of, in my own personal opinion, sounds like he had his head up in the clouds. I'll bet that he had not had serious contact with that age range of students, at least not in a wide sampling in a school environment.

As far as you seemingly blaming the teachers (correct me if I misinterpreted your opinion), I find that to be a ridiculously incorrect conclusion - it is obvious that you've never had to deal with a raving classroom lunatic in-class with absolutely zero administrative support. Class can't proceed in that situation, it simply doesn't work. How can you simply ignore someone who is yelling, screaming, and threatening physical harm? And you blame this on the teachers? Al'Harafujital, what a thankless job teaching can be, if you've got bad students.

And corporal punishment coming from puritanical ideals? That's a load of vitamin-depleted horse waste. Corporal punishment has gone way way before any puritanical ideals came about - they existed when there wasn't any real set civilization (ie, no "formal" code of laws existed yet). People banded together, but if you betrayed the group, guess what? You suffered. Corporal punishment has been a part of human psyche essentially forever. It has no association with religion, even if a few religious people picked up on it later - don't condemn spoons because you heard some Nazis use spoons (sorry, bad analogy :) ).

I think what you say about loving ideals etc is interesting, and I think it would work beautifully if the world were made of smart, responsible people like you. Unfortunately, it doesn't. I see this thinking from a lot of smart, responsible people, because they see how easy it is for them to understand social contracts and how critical it is that they follow certain rules to make society functional, and it can be difficult to see why that guy over there seemingly can't. Unfortunately, not all people are responsible and smart - and, like the one student out of a class of 25, it takes a very few minority to completely destroy a system if no action is taken. Your loving ideals sound great on paper, with a bunch of great people, but it falls down when it comes to this minority in which loving ideals and positive reinforcement simply does not work at all. However, take heart that it'll work fantastically for the other 24/25 of the population, just that it takes that 1/25 to ruin it all. And if you think loving ideals would cure these people from wanting to cheat the system, think again - research has set a very large precedent that nearly all historical civilizations have, on average, a similar percentage mix of personality traits, including the more negative ones such as cheating the system (and thus being an unporportionally large detriment to the system).

So, in the end, I think the loving ideals are too naively idealistic, I think the teachers should not have to have the burden of keeping a class functional squarely on their shoulders, but I agree that merely positive reinforcement works for the majority, and finally I disagree that corporal punishment somehow started from puritanical belief (just because Jonathan Edwards wanted to send everybody to hell doesn't mean that hell was the first idea of corporal punishment - wasn't the first, wasn't the last, by long shots in both directions).

Have a nice day!
-- Derek Moeller
[ Parent ]
Re: clarifications (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by ordermaster on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:50:25 AM EST

Let me make a few clarifications. When I wrote the original port I thought I was getting a little long winded so I kinda cut it short.

I didn't intend to claim that it was the teachers fault for not being able to manage every child in his class without resorting to some form of negative reinforcement. I guess I just got a little hung up on the idea. I should have emphasized the fact that that 1 student out of every 25 cannot be kept in line with positive reinformcement only because of how that child's parents have raised him. Specifically, the child was probably basically ignored unless he did something wrong, in which case the parents would punish him in some way once they found out about his wrong doings. This type of upbringing does not lead a child to being responsive to positive reinforcement. On the other hand, a child brought up in a loving enviroment will respond to positive reinforcement. Its not the teachers fault the parents didn't do a good job raising thier kid.

That said, its not really the parents fault for bringing thier kids up wrong either. They were probably doing what they thought was right. However, parents need to take full responsibility in raising thier children and failure to do that is thier fault.

You're right about my use of the word puritanical. I just used it because someone else had mentioned it in an earlier post. I meant to imply a sort of modern christian/catholic religous belief system. At the risk of starting a flame war, kinda like the people who support the death penalty.

And I have practically no experience working with children. My experience is limited to coaching a swim team one summer that was basically a baby-sitting service. What I state on this subject is conjecture, although I think its reasonable.

[ Parent ]
Short-term vs. long-term (2.42 / 7) (#83)
by /dev/null on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:47:38 PM EST

Although corporal punishment does not appear to work from this article, one must take a look at its benefits. Pain is one of our most highly evolved survival mechanisms, and it can be a powerful tool in keeping children under control, quickly. While this indeed is subverting their will, sometimes it must be done -- when the child is a danger to others. Although short-term punishments such as this will not work over the long term, a rewards-based system implemented along with a punishment-based system certainly can and does work. To summarize: I feel that while corporal punishment is effective, it should not be used indiscriminately. Instead, it should be used as a short-term tool to help troublemakers along, then a reward-based system should be implemented as soon as possible.

Re: Short-term vs. long-term (4.50 / 4) (#89)
by bugeyedbill on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:06:24 PM EST

a rewards-based system implemented along with a punishment-based system certainly can and does work

Not very well. The research done on this indicates that a reward-punishment system actually hurts performance. You can't make people learn via pain, that should be a basic construct of common sense, all it really does is create fear, sap motivation, and create anger. I know very few people, personally or professionally, who are motivated to learn by pain, or for that matter, reward.

[ Parent ]

Re: Short-term vs. long-term (2.83 / 6) (#99)
by erotus on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:24:54 AM EST

I noticed an interesting trend here in this study... Have any of you noticed that Northern States are in the top percentage and don't paddle students. On the other hand, Southern states are at the bottom and DO paddle the students. It should be no surprise that stupidity still prevails in the south. Before you go calling me a liberal yankee I must tell you that I live in TX and half my family is from Lousiana or Mississippi - The two states that, incidently, were at the bottom of the pile. It is my conclusion that excessive spanking is the result of a culturally rooted problem and not a cause for poor results in education.

First, I don't like the south... I am glad that my family didn't settle in that armpit of a state called Lousiana. Texas at least has it's own character and doesn't really try to identify with "the south." I am going to leave Texas asap. In the mean time I can dream of greener pastures up north. I have noticed a definite difference between the culture and people of the south and that of let's say Washington state or Vermont. I think the long term violence, racism, bigotry, and lingering ghosts of the civil war contribute to the overall attitude and culture of the south. People in the south are more religious, being in the bible belt, and tend to believe in "beating the devil" out of their kids or their slaves in times past.

In the North, people don't have these civil war hangups and don't fly some dead "stars and bars" flag. People in the north don't look at themselves as Northerners... they just go about their business and don't fantasize about if "the south could rise again." People in the North are not bible thumpers and they are probably not dominated by baptist theology and thus are more logical in the long run. Northerners are more cosmopolitan and have greater access to different cultures and ideas and have advanced beyond the racial and historic barriers which exist in the south.

In the end, I believe that culture is the dominating factor and that spankings are a symptom of deeper problem and may not be a cause for poorer standards in education among southern states. However, I'm not denying that there could be a cause/effect relationship either.

[ Parent ]
Before you go praising the North... (4.50 / 6) (#103)
by marlowe on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:16:36 PM EST

I grew up in Boston and vicinity, and I've seen meanness, bigotry and stupidity to rival anything reported to occur in the south.

No spanking, though. Lots of stoning, stabbing and pummeling amonsgt the youths, but no spanking. The standard means of disciplining a child was to scream at him long and hard, albeit from a distance, with as many uses of the F-word as possible. When, not if, that didn't work, most parents would give up, but some would throw something. Usually they missed, probably more due to alcohol than to tender feelings. But no spanking.

These were civilized people. Parents never hit children unless a child hit a parent first. Adults beat smaller adults, and children beat smaller children. But adults didn't beat children. They just screamed profanities at them. A lot.

Back when Boston was in the middle of the busing crisis, and the Irish were trying to kill all the blacks that were bused into Southie, a reporter asked the mayor how it could be that all this violence was happening in such an enlightened city. Hizzoner replied "you must be from out of town."

Oh, and by the way, New England states are ranked dead last in charitable giving. The southern states do much better.

I haven't seen much genetic inbreeding in Boston, but I've seen plenty of fetal alcohol syndrome, which is just as bad. These kids can't even play banjo.

All of this is why I don't put much stock in reputations.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: Short-term vs. long-term (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by Alarmist on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 05:01:07 PM EST

I have noticed a definite difference between the culture and people of the south and that of let's say Washington state or Vermont. I think the long term violence, racism, bigotry, and lingering ghosts of the civil war contribute to the overall attitude and culture of the south.

No kidding. You'll notice a definite difference in culture between inhabitants of Manhattan and, say, Salt Lake City. Or Chicago and Indianapolis. Or any other two regions in the United States. This is because different regions have different cultures. The north, south, midwest, northwest, southwest, and west are all different from one another in terms of culture. That's what happens when you have close to 300 million people living in a large geographic area. You'll find cultural differences even within a single state, or within a single city. To a certain extent, you can even find them in small towns (e.g. the "right" and "wrong" side of the tracks).

In the North, people don't have these civil war hangups and don't fly some dead "stars and bars" flag.

And most people in the South don't either. Guess what? You've just fallen victim to stereotyping. I can't name a single person I know that broods about the Civil War, or flies the Confederate flag, or thinks that we ought to go back to plantations and King Cotton. And I live in Memphis. I'm surrounded by Southerners who, by and large, do not give a rat's ass about the war. It was fought. The South lost. Mature people have decided to go on with things. Some have not. Some of those people who can't let go of the past are those that fly the flag and say things like "The South will rise again!" Others of them live somewhere else and look down on all Southerners as ignorant, backwoods hillbilly trash.

People in the North are not bible thumpers and they are probably not dominated by baptist theology and thus are more logical in the long run.

More stereotypes. I could just as easily say that Northerners are still a bunch of stuck-up Puritans, Catholics and Jews that are forever at each other's throats and are not any more logical than a pack of two year old kids. That's still a stereotype, and it's still wrong. There are Bible thumpers in the South, certainly, but guess what? There are Bible thumpers in the North, too. And in the Midwest. And out west along the Pacific coast. And most everywhere else in the world. So what?

"more logical." Pshaw. There's nothing logical about a stereotype.

Northerners are more cosmopolitan and have greater access to different cultures and ideas and have advanced beyond the racial and historic barriers which exist in the south.

I won't dispute much of this, save to say that most of the major cities are up North (and have been for pretty much all of United States history), and that the major ports of immigrant entry are not in the South, nor have they been for two hundred years. That's an accident of history, not a conscious decision on anyone's part today. Immigrants favor the traditional ports of entry because they know that upon debarkation, they can find a network of people from the old country to help them out once they arrive. It was like that before the Civil War, and it will probably be like that for the rest of this country's history, barring major sociological changes.

In the end, I believe that culture is the dominating factor and that spankings are a symptom of deeper problem and may not be a cause for poorer standards in education among southern states.

I agree. But let's look at the real social causes here: a perpetual underclass of citizens created by laws and sociological conditions (which are more or less universal throughout the United States; racism isn't a problem found just in the South), the lack of high-tech jobs fostered by a historical lack of emphasis on industry or technology, and a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and violence brought about by and continued by things like poor nutrition, poor family lives, and an indifferent or incapable government, to name only a few problems.

None of the last few problems that I mentioned are limited to the South. They take place in urban areas all over the United States today. Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles--these cities and many others host conditions that create an underclass of permanantly disadvantaged people. It isn't just a Southern problem. It is a human problem, one that we all need to solve.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

Spanking validates violence as a solution. (3.66 / 12) (#92)
by nevauene on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:12:15 PM EST

I think what it comes down to is this - you are showing your children by example, when you lose your patience and use physical pain to bring them under control, that violence is a solution in some circumstances (ie the most frustrating). You are endorsing the application of pain to get what you want, cause that's exactly what you are doing.

I don't buy the reward / punishment model at all, not even the reward part. Giving them toys and 'cool stuff' for being Good, as you define it, again teaches them something very basically wrong about human behaviour, and teaches them nothing about why they may _want_ to be good for any other reason than the materialistic.

Raising children is obviously a touchy issue, and I don't think anyone can really tell anyhow else what is the 'right' way to raise a child. However I really disagree strongly with the sentiment that a child is somehow the parents' property, a piece of clay to mold into whatever they desire during their formative years. The child has some rights beyond this, I would hope.

Please don't try to turn your children into smart and moral adults through pavlovian conditioning, and other cheap tricks. Treat them as autonomous, increasingly intelligent individuals, and make them understand why they should be good, why they should not lie, why they should want to learn.. give them reasons for doing these things besides just evading your psychological or physical wrath.




There is no K5 Cabal.
Do you actually have kids or siblings? (4.00 / 5) (#98)
by Strange Charmed One on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 06:58:48 AM EST

I don't buy the reward / punishment model at all, not even the reward part. Giving them toys and 'cool stuff' for being Good, as you define it, again teaches them something very basically wrong about human behaviour, and teaches them nothing about why they may _want_ to be good for any other reason than the materialistic.

IANApsycologist, but one of the more widely held and useful psychological techniques is that of Transactional Analysis Which deals with three ego states (Parent- Adult- Child) and interactions with each other. While the Adult- Adult interaction you desire is more useful than the Parent- Child one of spanking, but the Adult- Adult one requires not only that the parent be prepared to treat the child as an adult, but that the child is prepared to be treated as such (whch I know I wasn't always, and my sisters (now aged 9) also often aren't aren't. If you can not use the ideal,it is better to do something than nothing at all, giving the impression that they can do what they want.

Treat them as autonomous, increasingly intelligent individuals, and make them understand why they should be good, why they should not lie, why they should want to learn.. give them reasons for doing these things besides just evading your psychological or physical wrath.

There are none so deaf as those who will not hear, and the difference to society in their motivations is low. I agree with you that spanking should be used only as a last resort, but if reasoning does not work (and you yourself say "increasingly intelligent individuals"- they can not be reasoned with while very young), you need some other means of discipline. The corner is not, in my experience a good method (one man's meat...) and as for being sent to my room- I preferred there anyway as it was where all my books were kept. One family I knew used to not smack,but lock the child in the cupboard for 10 minutes. Last time I saw him he had a bad case of claustrophobia. There is no way you can use no form of discipline at all on a very young child.
--
Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?

JUST SAY NO!

If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.
[ Parent ]

Anatomy (IANAP) (1.00 / 8) (#93)
by goosedaemon on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:19:00 PM EST

Want to know something neat? Bottoms are flabby and sensitive. Flab protects you both from spanking and from hurting yourself anytime you sit and your tailbone pokes out (or something like that ). Sensitivity gives you a jolt. I would suggest pinching someone's bottom to test this theory, perhaps several people to make sure it's consistent. Of course, even flab doesn't protect you infinitely. (I Am Not A Parent)

(of course, there's another issue I didn't see...) (1.50 / 12) (#94)
by goosedaemon on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:34:25 PM EST

How can people complain about spanking if they support abortion?

Re: (of course, there's another issue I didn't see (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by SbooX on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:35:31 PM EST

Well, by the same token how can people complain about abortion, yet support the death penalty? Your argument lacks any logic (as does mine ;-)

---

god is silly. MGL 272:36
[ Parent ]

Well, see, I oppose the death penalty, too. (1.00 / 1) (#105)
by goosedaemon on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:28:21 PM EST

One all but one level. The government's judicial system shouldn't be about "serving justice", rather it should be about maintaining stability... uh, you know? So in theory the death penalty has no place except for psychotic people who always break out of incarceration and proceed to kill everyone in sight. But then if you think about it that way, abortion is also appropriate under the most ... um, difficult circumstances. However, the baby isn't a psycho, so it's kind of hard to justify killing it.

[ Parent ]
Nice statistics, but it's not what I see. (3.00 / 3) (#106)
by fonetik on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 10:05:12 PM EST

The numbers would convince me that there was a problem if it weren't for my own experience in this.
I was a problem child, and I didn't listen to my parents.
My two cents... I got my ass kicked. Not just spankings, much less than "abuse", but more than spankings. Not just by my parents, but by bullies, and authorities. It taught me a valuable lesson in life: choices have consequences. I look forward to spanking my kids too! I don't know if I would like to pass that responsibility to a school administrator, I certainly don't think this is a bad thing. I'd prefer the kid learns about consequence before he gets into the real world. I work with a lot of people that I know weren't spanked as kids, it shows.
As for spanking being "euphemistically labeled as 'discipline'", spanking is so very minor, in my opinion. People have too much spare time on their hands when studies like this come out. Every time I go to the store there is a mom with 4 kids that are going apeshit, grabbing every thing and running around screaming, with no manners and no discipline. Does she need to reason with each one separately and have a nice little session with each one of them? Not likely.
Spank them... It works. It gives the kids an idea about who is in charge. All of you other people that complain when people spank their kids (Especially the other ones in the store.), give me the solution. I'm all ears.
I imagine the same thing happens on a larger scale in the classroom. I'd like to see who funded that study.

A thousand compromises doesn't add up to a win. -Aimee Mann
Re: Nice statistics, but it's not what I see. (none / 0) (#110)
by sporty on Sat Sep 23, 2000 at 09:47:05 PM EST

Hitting might not necessarily be the answer. There are 10 thousand ways of doing anything. Spanking might be a solution, though not necessarily the best one.

[ Parent ]
Don't spank those kids | 110 comments (108 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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