“….Then there is the terrible, inexcusable, and evil phenomenon of physical and sexual abuse. It is unnecessary. It is unjustified. It is indefensible. It terms of physical abuse, I have never accepted the principle of “spare the rod and spoil the child”. I will never be forever and grateful for a father who never laid a hand in anger upon his children. Somehow he had the wonderful talent to let them know what was expected of them encouragement in achieving it.
I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. I am satisfied that such punishment in most instances does more damage than good. Children don’t need beatings. They need love and encouragement. The need fathers to whom they can look with respect and fear. Above all, they need an example.” –Gordon B. Hinckley
It is clear that physically abusing a child is wrong and this is one thing that I believe most people would agree with no matter their skin color, their politics, religion, etc. I believe it is a scourge not only in our country, but around the world. And I also do believe consistently beating a child as a means of discipline, even it is meant to be for their own good is wrong as well. Despite these beliefs, I would not go as far as to propose criminalizing spanking as some now are encouraging because of the Adrian Peterson incident.
I believe that is swinging pendulum too far in the other direction and I do not think many of those people promoting this idea really care that much about children or the family for that matter. I also think it is extremely hypocritically for a society to criminalize spanking but do very little about child pornography. When was the last time child pornography was a national news event that was talked about for days on end by ESPN, CNN, MSNBC like the Adrian Peterson incident has been. And the ultimate hypocrisy in our society trying to criminalize spanking is our legalization and promotion of abortion, which is child abuse of the first order. Is anything more abusive than violently taking away a child’s right to be born and to live?
Parenting is hard and our society does a lot to make parenting even harder. So of the thousands of decisions parents makes on behalf of their children to provide for them and shape their characters and personalities, there are bound to be mistakes and breakdowns, especially when a parent is young. Parenting is a learning experience. While you can parent from some generalities, each child you bring into this life comes with such unique personalities and intelligence that is there is a lot customization that has to go on to be an effective and loving parent to each of your children, and this takes time. In addition to this, to be a good parent requires learning to be unselfish, patient, enduring, and long-suffering. These are attributes that many of us do not naturally have and they are not attributes commonly glorified or encouraged in our modern secular society and they are not attributes that you can legislate and force on a parent.
I can’t imagine, otherwise good and loving parents, being treated like criminals and deviants on par with child abusers for an occasional spanking or swat. This also potentially pits children against their parents, where you would potentially have children reporting on their parents to the state. Children should not be put in this position especially when they oftentimes think they are being treated unfair and their ability to reason and sort out consequences is not fully developed until they are out of high school. Children ratting out parent is eerily reminiscent of communist states like Cambodia in the 1970’s and North Korea now. This I would consider one of the defining characteristics of a dystopia.
I can remember one instance when I was 17 years old and was giving a lot grief to my parents that year where I had said something very rude and hurtful to my mother while she was in the kitchen cooking dinner for everyone and she had had it and she swatted me with the wooden spoon in her hand. The swat while surprising me did not hurt and actually made me laugh and still makes me laugh to think about it today, but under these proposals people are making to criminalize spanking, I could have reported my mother to the state for that incident, despite the fact that I could count on one hand all the times my mother ever swatted or spanked me in my 18 years at home versus the countless selfless acts she did on my behalf and still does on my behalf.
Some experts state that spanking creates anxiety and negative feelings in a child and that is why you shouldn’t spank a child and it should be criminalized. The problem with that conclusion is that it is oblivious to the fact that most forms of punishment create anxiety and negative feelings in a child. Being told no or being prohibited to do something you want to do in my experience is not always a positive experience (even as an adult I don’t like it, even though a lot of times it is for my own good). How many times did I wish my parents would actually spank me, even as a teenager, and get the punishment over with, than have to go through listening to a lecture and seeing their disappointment and sometimes be grounded. There is no common sense, mercy or any real understanding of a parent-child relationships in these proposals and contrary to achieving any social justice, I see these proposals creating a lot of injustices and doing very little to help create and support happy families.