Thursday, February 04, 2010

This explains the rise of EMO

From World Magazine. At least now we know why emo came on the scene. Thanks, Dr. Spock.

Spanking gets a good report card

This just in (sorry, kids): Spanking children makes them happy.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, a new study by Calvin College’s Marjorie Gunnoe found that teens who were spanked as children ended up with a “sunnier outlook,” were “better students,” had “more positive academic records and optimism about their future,” and volunteered more than their unspanked peers. In fact, Hemingway wrote, “the never-spanked group never scored the best on any of the 11 behavioral variables analyzed.”

Hemingway mentioned two extremes in the spanking camp, No Greater Joy’s Michael Pearl on the spanking side and ParentingInJesusFootsteps.org on the non-spanking side, as well as Scriptural proof texts for corporal discipline. Before anyone accuses her of abuse, Hemingway jumps in with admonitions of balance, reminders to use all of Scripture for discipline, not just the verses about the rod, and for this, we salute her. Too many—like the woman I know who swatted her children 400 times for telling a lie—vehemently adhere to passages on the rod outside of the context of their balancing counterparts: not provoking our children to wrath and being sure we put on humility, gentleness, and forgiveness in our parenting.

Parents, Christian or not, will likely continue the spanking debate ad infinitum, the question being is spanking abuse or an effective tool in the parenting tool belt? No rational person would advocate lashing out in anger and beating a child (which is what most people in the anti-spanking camp call “spanking”). Yet many of those who claim to be against spanking because of its “abusive” nature think nothing of verbally tearing into their children, giving them the silent treatment, sending them to their rooms for hours on end to contemplate their misbehavior, shaming them, or scolding them within an inch of their life. Because no bruises are visible, they feel their form of discipline is less harmful than spanking.

I recall a neighbor who vehemently vocalized her distaste for those who spank their children, yet regularly shouted so loudly at her little boy that my father once said, “Boy, it would be better if she shut her mouth and just gave that child a good spanking.”

Is spanking abuse? It can be. But, with new studies like Gunnoe’s showing the upsides of corporal discipline, opponents might want to reevaluate their tired rhetoric, because the proof that spanking is good discipline is starting to show up in the parental pudding.


If you need help in learning how to discipline properly (including limited, but realistic, use of corporal punishment), I advocate Dr. Dobson's classic Dare to Discipline. However, we also used child training (not just punishment, but positive training) inspired by To Train Up a Child and Above Rubies.

7 comments:

Doug Hagler said...

This isn't a concern of yours, but it seems like it would be hard to raise a child with the idea that violence is wrong via spanking. Possible, maybe (did the Quakers spank their kids? Don't know) but difficult.

Having said that, thinking that any punishment is good as long as it isn't spanking is a pretty bad scene.

Doug Hagler said...

Having left my usual greenie-weenie comment, I looked more closely at the pic and saw that the kid being spanked is in fact packing heat. I rest my case?

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

Notice also that the dad is using a cleaning brush... cap & trade, anyone?

I don't know if you've read Dobson's work, but he emphasizes discipline (not corporal punishment alone) as the corrective to a permissive society. Same thing with TTUaC. Corporal punishment is a quick method of getting a child's attention that breaks through their illusion of autonomy. Then, once you've established who is really in control, other methods can be used. But as long as the child thinks they are in charge, anything you do is a prelude to them gaming you.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

My oldest daughter is well on her way to being the "sunniest" person on planet Earth. ;)

But seriously the key Doug is teaching children the difference between discipline and violence. I am very careful about never allowing the discipline to be haphazard and/or unmeasured. When my daughter(s) do something that requires corporal punishment I am careful not to do so in an out-of-control manner as an immediate response but in a very controlled and organized fashion.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

Also I highly recommend Tedd Tripp's book "Shepherding a Child's Heart". I would also recommend almost anything by CCEF.

TulipGirl said...

The Church has too long turned a blind eye to abuse of children within her walls propagated in the name of discipline.

I'm not reacting to the article or stating that spanking is abusive. I am responding to your cavalier endorsement of To Train Up a Child.

The Pearls advocate parenting through high-control and end-justifies-the-means practices. Consider this teaching of the Pearls, from chapter 6 of TTUAC:

“If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.”

The Pearls teach parents that they should use whatever force is necessary to restrain a child, to hold him there until he is surrendered. . . defeat him totally.

Is it any wonder that these teaching influenced the parents who abused Lydia Schatz and Sean Paddock, both who died of child abuse within the Church?

I want to be clear that I hold parents to be to be responsible for their own actions.

However, teachers within the church like Michael and Debi Pearl ARE aware of the impact of their words and teachings. They also need to take responsibility for the impact of their words and ideas. In the case of the Pearls, they know their influence–they seek this influence.

The Pearls would do well to consider their influence–especially over those who already have issues with anger, inclinations towards harshness, have been abused themselves. Teachings such as those of the Pearls push those who already have control issues (and lack of self-control issues) from merely harsh discipline to abuse. The message of this article, Avoiding Millstones, ought to be taken to heart by the Pearls and anyone who recommends their materials.

Lord, have mercy on us all.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

TulipGirl - I didn't cavalierly endorse the work of the Pearls. I understand you have a bit of a vendetta against them, so maybe my blog showed up in your news feed or something. But if you read my statement, you'll see that I endorsed Dr. Dobson's Dare to Discipline and I said that I also used the child training methods inspired by the Pearls, et al.

For those of you unaware of what that means, it's having regular obedience sessions where simple commands are given and - sometimes - simple rewards are used. Stuff like "Take that piece of paper to the trash." for my 2 year old (which he does). Not beating him or sitting on him.

Anybody can take just about anybody else's good idea and make it bad, or bad idea and make it extreme.

I do agree with you that people who have anger issues and have a history of abuse should seek help to get past that before ever considering corporal punishment. I'd prefer they do that before they get married, much less become parents.