|We are like giants to them.|
A few weeks ago we were warming up on the sideline and the conversation revolved around funny things that happened while they were hitting their kids. One example is the belt recoiled and the buckle smacked the dad in the nuts.
They all laughed and made comments like "better not put that on Facebook!" as though they knew hitting their kids wasn't right. But they did it anyway.
Sleepy Dad has never hit his kids.
When the Little Dude was 18 months old, he had a play date with a friend. The friend did something wrong (?) and his mother smacked him and he cried. The Little Dude looked at me, aghast, with an expression saying "What the hell? Did you see that? Could that happen to me?"
A child may learn what is wrong by being hit, but not why they were wrong.
All of the people in my sports team go to church, a modern protestant church. They are taught to hit their kids because of the apparently inerrant bible. There are several passages in Proverbs instructing people to hit their kids. Proverbs was supposedly written by King Solomon.
If we read further into the bible, we find that Solomon's son, Rehoboam, grew up to be one of the wickedest, most abhorrent kings in history. He treated his people cruelly and narrowly escaped with his life when his own people turned against him. (1 Kings 12)
Not a very good endorsement for bronze-age philosophies on child-rearing.
|These are weapons, not tools of discipline.|
If a co-worker does something I don't agree with, I won't hit her to make her come around to my way of thinking. If Athena disagrees with me about something, I won't hit her into submission. If I hit you, I will go to jail. Why do we hit our children? These are the smallest, most vulnerable people in our society and they are the only people that we are actively encouraged to beat.
When I was a small child, I spent a lot of time with one of my cousins. We sometimes (or more often) got in trouble and would cop a hiding. We would come up with schemes to make the smacks hurt less. The first technique was to hit your own leg afterwards, to take the pain away from your bottom. Fail. The second attempt was to laugh while being hit because laughing would make the pain more bearable. You can imagine how this played out with a mad adult trying to maintain authority over a cackling child who needed to be taught right from wrong: the smacks became harder and harder until my cousin couldn't help but bawl. Megafail.
The solution, we found, in the end, was to lie. We would flagrantly lie to our parents to avoid a beating.
I don't want my children to lie to me. Beating my child will lead them to fear me and lie to me. Not respect me, or love me. In all things, I hope to raise my children to be fearless.
|Dress-ups should be for fun,|
I have heard people say "I was smacked as a kid and I turned out alright." If you think that hitting children is an acceptable way to teach them right from wrong, you didn't turn out alright.
Studies have shown that one-in-three boys have a genetic predisposition that will almost certainly cause him to engage in criminal behaviour, antisocial behaviour and substance abuse later in life if subjected to physical abuse.
Discipline of children in the Sleepy household works on two levels. Where appropriate, time-outs are used. This is the first punishment when talks break down. The next level is what we call "working in the kid's currency". We find something that is of value to the child and use it punitively. e.g. confiscating a treasured toy for a day, only to be returned if he is well behaved for the intervening time. On a few, rare occasions, we have had to confiscate two toys. Now the threat of confiscation is enough for behaviour correction.
These techniques are working for us at the moment. We may have to modify this regime over time if their effectiveness starts waning.
You can teach a child right from wrong without flogging them. A child behaves well if they feel valued and that they have a good standing in their social environment. Nobody feels valued when they are on the end of a hiding.
Young children are disciplined to teach them what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in their society. Ultimately they need to learn how to make sound moral judgments, and this is where they absorb wisdom from a parent's example.