Afraid To Spank Your Children+
"Spanked as a Child and Somehow Lived to Tell About It"
Summary: Failing to spank your children does them a great
disservice. Scripture clearly supports corporal punishment for bad
behavior. It can be a valuable learning tool for your child. Don't
Keywords: Spanking, Discipline, Punishment, Children, Parenting
Mentally count how many times this has happened to
you: You're in a restaurant having some lunch. You're with your spouse
or a friend trying to relax, have a meal and enjoy some long overdue
pleasant conversation. Maybe you're discussing business or just reading
the daily paper. But in the background, or at the table next to you, is
an unruly, misbehaved, unsupervised child causing havoc and unrest for
the entire room. It's a challenge to talk or listen to your company or
absorb the plot of that book you have been trying to steal a little time
to read. Stop! Don't even think about saying something to the kid's
parent or the sharp fangs (or sharp words) of mama bear will tear at you
like a weed-whacker in damp grass. You can stop counting now. May I get
you an aspirin?
Don't get me wrong – I think that children, well
behaved children, are adorable. The more polite, the more adorable. To
look at the smile on the face of a child is heartwarming.
But parents let public places be turned into the
local playground. The supermarket, shopping mall, restaurant, motor
vehicle department, library (yes, library), the doctors office, are not
off limits to the running, screaming, tantrum-throwing and disheveling
that could drive even the most patient persons to their wits end. At
this point, it should be noted it always seems that the tot causing the
ruckus in the doctor's waiting room is the "patient". "But, I thought
they were sick?", I say to myself.
So, what is the cause of this? The child? Well,
no, unless they are of an age of reason and should know better. The
parents? Most certainly!
In this age, when many people do their thinking
with their feelings, it is not surprising that their children run
roughshod over them. Most are so tired with the business of the day that
they are too tired to deal with discipline or even the basic corrections
that will so greatly guide their children to becoming considerate
citizens in polite society. Taking a job and dumping off the kids
instead of self-raising them affects society in the form of bad
behavior. Who wants to be the bad guy after being gone all day, letting
someone else teach (or neglect to teach) their child manners? We all
feel the brunt of parents who are too apathetic or just plain lazy to
use one effective tool that could get to the bottom (no pun intended) of
the problem: spanking.
I was spanked as a child. Not a lot, mind you, but
enough that I knew I didn't want to be again. I knew my parents loved
me. They took the time to tell me that it was for my own good, and why.
After growing up a little, I realized what they explained was true. And,
I understood it. Society is so quick to point out how much 'smarter'
children are now. So why not expect civil behavior? Why can't they be
smart enough to learn the lessons that good ol' dad taught me: Act right
around others, behave, be polite, respect those around you? Oh, and by
the way, if you're not, your gonna get it, spanked that is… I have NEVER
come across anyone who told me that they were damaged or emotionally
affected by their parents spanking them. They quite unanimously agree
that it was good for them.
But parents are so worried that spanking will harm
their children…oh dear! When I grew up in the 70's, parents weren't so
worried about the 'delicate physical & emotional state' of their children. My
parents loved me dearly, but quite frankly, most days my mom could send
me out the back door at eight in the morning and I could play with my
friends until it was time for dinner, all without a worry for myself or
my parents. When I did something wrong, something that deserved it, I
got a swat on the tush. They didn't fret because they knew they were
forming me into a better mannered individual that one day would act
decently on my own because it was the right thing to do. They were
building my character with snapshot corrections that I would remember –
or not forget. As a child, that spank is a real shocker - one that
"snaps" you to attention – the attention required so that mom or dad can
teach you an important life lesson.
I managed to make it through the scum of the 60's,
70's and 80's without getting into trouble. And, here I am today in my
mid-40's with no scars or emotional trauma that would turn the pupils of
the most sincere psychologist into dollar signs. Amazingly, my rear end
is still intact and I too shall pass on what I have learned through the
communicative skill of a well-timed and well-placed swat.
So why the reluctance to use spanking as means of
teaching? Some may feel that it is too harsh. Many of my fellow
Catholics seem to agree. I know because on Sunday I can hear their
children standing on the pews or running around the back of the church.
I recall a mass that I attended where one tyke managed to be so
distracting that the priest actually had to stop his sermon and ask that
the parent come get their child! Maybe a few parents could use a spank
once in a while. Clearly, the church or any other publicly shared place
should not become a playground for the unattended.
Parents unwilling to discipline and spank do their
children a great disservice. How many times have you observed unruly
toddler behavior and thought, "I wonder who's in control here?" or,
"Which one is the parent?" Children learn there are no consequences for
their actions. Spanking increases attention span and builds a sense of
who is rightly in command. After a spanking, children learn that if they
act a certain way, unpleasantness will follow. This is a great deterrent
to future bad attitudes & bad behaviors. More importantly, how can a
child come to believe that his Heavenly Father will give him an eternity
of corporal punishment for failing obey His laws? Or similarly, how will
he comprehend that a just judgment of eternal damnation will come from
Christ - one that he himself has earned through a single unrepented
mortal sin - if his own parents cannot bring themselves to merely swat
I know so many who are willing to share their
scriptural prowess to make a point they feel is important. So I will
conclude this article with irrefutable support for what many may be
thinking who have managed to read this far: "It's harsh to spank
children, even when they misbehave. Surely, a less 'violent' method is
more loving and appropriate". My support is scripture. Scripture can be
harsh, but for our own good. In many places, scripture advises and even
commands, that we "spare not the rod". To argue otherwise is to argue
Prov. 13:24: He who spares his rod hates his
son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him.
Prov. 23:13-14: Withhold not chastisement from
a boy; if you beat him with the rod, he will not die. Beat him with the
rod, and you will save him from the nether world.
Prov. 29:15: The rod of correction gives
wisdom, but a boy left to his whims disgraces his mother.
Sirach 30:8-13: A colt untamed turns out
stubborn; a son left to himself grows up unruly. Pamper your child and
he will be a terror for you, indulge him and he will bring you grief.
Share not in his frivolity lest you share in his sorrow, when finally
your teeth are clenched in remorse. Give him not his own way in his
youth, and close not your eyes to his follies. Bend him to the yoke when
he is young, thrash his sides while he is still small, Lest he become
stubborn, disobey you, and leave you disconsolate. Discipline your son,
make heavy his yoke, lest his folly humiliate you.
"Spanked as a Child and Somehow Lived to Tell About It"
[Note: The reader is reminded
that discipline of children should obviously be done within reason. One
must not abuse children.]
+ Note: Unfortunately, in some locations, it may be
'illegal' to spank children. Consult a suitable attorney for further
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