I imagine I'll get some p0-rn seekers on that one!
I saw a news clip the other day that was about some 25 year study on the long-term effects of spanking children. I didn't hear the actual news story, it was on a TV in a little Japanese restaurant where I was waiting for my take-out lunch. The thing was that the videos they showed to go along with this teaser ("Story at 11" kinda thing) were not videos of spankings. They were videos of slaps and punches and hitting babies with wooden spoons and outright beatings. There's a big difference here.
I've got no problems with kids being spanked. I was spanked growing up and so was my husband. We turned out OK. So have many other upstanding, mostly well-adjusted people I know who were also spanked as children.
In my playgroup in Tucson, there was 12 moms and babies. 2 of the moms had older children (2 years older then the babies) and one of those - her older kids were twins (one boy/one girl). We'll call the woman with twins E. There were differing opinions on the spanking issue but most agreed it wasn't that bad. Except E. She was a little nuts on the issue, insisting that it was the worst thing you could do to a child and it should never be done under any circumstance. I think most of her issues with it stems from the fact that her mom used to smack her around when E. was a child.
One day we were on the subject (yet again) and E. was riding her high horse (again) saying how you should never hit a child in anger and if you did, you'd damage them for life and blah, blah, blah when I finally had enough of her righteousness.
Me: You're right E., you shouldn't ever hit a child in anger, but there's a difference between spanking as a consequence to bad behavior and striking out in anger. What we're talking about is a smack on a well-padded, diapered bottom as a consequence and we all seem to agree that 3 years old is the age where they will understand why they are being punished and that it is just that - a punishment.
E.: Well, I just don't think it's ever acceptable to hit a child.
Me: Well, what do you think is an acceptable form of discipline, because I don't really seem to see you ever use any.
Here's where things got ugly and, yeah, I started it. And I have no problem with that. See, E. seemed to be so adverse to "punishing" kids that her children had no discipline in their lives at all. The twins were holy terrors and would constantly. Tear. People's. Homes. Apart. It got to the point where we had to tell her that the twins were no longer welcome on our Tuesday playdates. The worst part is that she'd watch them breaking toys, making the babies cry and various other mischief and all she do was a rather useless and hollow warning, "Oh, H., stop doing that."
One particular playdate, we were all at N.'s house and the twins were causing havoc as usual. E. was wondering around this enormous house, looking at the artwork while her older boy was in the living room, jumping, trying to catch balloons while there were babies at his feet. I asked him twice to stop and when he finally succeeded on tromping a baby's little hand, I told him to knock it off. He looks at me and says, "You're not my mother." I took him by the arm and said, "Well, fine. Let's go find her." As per usual, she did nothing and it was after that when she was tactfully told not to bring the older kids anymore. (Obviously, the tact was handled by someone other then me.)
Kids need boundaries. I don't think anyone disputes that. Whether it's spanking or time-out or whatever works in your family and is within the limits of the law. I spoke last time about the consequences of letting children go crazy with no guidelines or consequences. I almost feel bad for E.'s kids and some of the kids I see in my son's class. I feel like they have a bad start and will be sorely disappointed in life when they finally realize that they can't always have their way.
Our boys have had many spankings and seem none the worse for wear. They will be 7 and 5 soon and now when they are doing something wrong, we only need to count to 2 and they straighten up. Some would say it's out of fear of discipline but isn't that why most people live a crime free life? Isn't it fear of jail or whatever (LYS banishment?) that we don't steal those yarn skeins from the back of the store when no one's looking? Just kidding. I know that most of it is just wanting to live a life of integrity but for some - it really is just the threat of jail that keeps us from ramming our car into the asshole that just cut us off in traffic.
Instilling discipline, Ruth!