Ever since Dr. Benjamin Spock published his first book, Baby and Child Care in 1946, effective parenting has gone down the tubes. Spock spoke out against spanking or any other form of corporal punishment for disciplining children. Virtually every social do-gooder and liberal advocate began to condemn spanking.
Not long after his book was published, liberalism began to spread through American culture like yeast in a bowl of dough. With the spread of liberalism, Christian values, morals and teachings became less of an influence. The result was a society that valued the person less and their focus became centered upon themselves. Consequently, many more parents spanked in anger rather than discipline and it was viewed as a form of child abuse.
Once spanking was equated to child abuse, it became frowned upon by society in general. A parent caught spanking or just placing a well-deserved whack on the bottom of an unruly child in public faced being arrested and losing custody of their children. Now you have a generation of kids growing up without a sense of discipline because parents are taught not to spank, but give them a ‘time out.’
When I was in public school, teachers readily gave swats to students who deserved them and trust me, most of mine were well deserved. But once corporal punishment became distasteful to the sociologists and psychologists, teacher spankings became a thing of the past. Now you have students swearing at teachers, threatening their lives and even physically assaulting them and there is little teachers can do to defend themselves. A friend of mine once taught 6th grade and had a student pull a knife on him in class. He managed to get the student to the principal’s office, but the student ended up back in the classroom before my friend could fill out his report on the incident.
In Canada, they have a national law that allows for parents to spank their children. However, the liberals have been attacking that law for years, trying their best to get it repealed. In 2004, a case challenging the law went all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court. The challenge stated that the Criminal Code provision allowing spanking violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of a child and that it infringed their right to security of the person under that Charter. They also claimed that corporal punishment constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The Canadian Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold the Criminal Code and preserve a parent’s right to spank.
Journals like Pediatrics, has held a long tradition now of publishing one article after another condemning spanking and any other form of corporal punishment. They claim it not only can cause physical injury and harm but it can also lead to emotional and mental problems as well.
However, one leading pediatrician believes if done correctly, spanking can be an effective means of disciplinary training and that the most recent article in Pediatrics was written by the same old sources as usual. Dr. Den Trumbull is president of the American College of Pediatricians. He recently responded to another anti-spanking article published in Pediatrics that claimed that spanking is harmful and wrong. Dr. Trumbull said:
“Sometimes the milder measures, such as time out, disapproval, logical consequences, are ineffective. And in these settings, spanking, appropriately applied, can be very effective. If used early on, it’s not needed much later on, because a child begins to comply.”
“Without correction, children are given the impression that their indulgences are just fine, that they can chart their own path, that they are wiser than they actually are. They’re given that impression by their parents, and basically, chaos sets in.”
I personally have spoken to young adults who told me that they wish their parents had spanked them when they deserved it. By not spanking and effectively disciplining them, they came away feeling that their parents really didn’t care for or love them. Some even confessed that they knowingly pushed the boundaries trying to get that disciplinary attention from their parents.
I agree that when parents discipline out of anger, that it can be more harmful than beneficial and measures need to be taken to prevent spanking from becoming a form of child abuse. And I’m pleased to see someone of Dr. Trumbull’s status come out and endorse spanking if done correctly. But I strongly disagree with the idea that because some parents abuse it, let’s ban it for everyone. Based upon that kind of flawed logic, virtually everything in life would be banned because someone somewhere has and will abuse it.
What everyone is forgetting is the best child rearing manual every written. In that manual, it says:
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
That same manual also says:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The Bible contains a great deal of wisdom in raising a family, training them up in God’s ways and disciplining them when they need it. The verses quoted are Proverbs 13:24 and Proverbs 22:6. However, the entire book of Proverbs is a great teaching manual for raising a family, teaching them the ways of God and how to avoid many of the temptations that Satan will through along their way.