*Disclaimer: This post is in regards to MY beliefs on spanking and interacting with children. I am well aware that I am not a parent and have no plans of being one in the near future. However, I cannot be bothered with the people who love to say, "You can't talk about parenting issues if you don't have kids." I talk about whatever I want. If you don't like it, you've been warned. :)
While blog-cruising the other night, I came across a World Star Hip-Hop video of an uncle who had apparently caught his teenage nephew "faking his gangsta" on Facebook. The uncle was obviously pissed, as he explained to viewers that their family isn't about that "gangsta" shit, and proceeded to pull out a belt and whip his nephew several times for his indiscretion. You can check the video out here.
I went on to read through the comment section as I normally do, and reactions to the video ranged from kudos to the uncle for his actions, to amusement at how completely humiliated the young boy must have been. I was not amused by the video at all. To be honest, I found it to be contradictory that this man was chastising his nephew for pretending to be "gangsta," and chose to teach him a lesson by spewing profanity and using violence. In my opinion, that seems pretty fucking gangsta.
Of course, I felt the need to speak my piece on the video. I mentioned that I had been spanked just a few times as a child, but my parents decided to stop spanking me and my two younger siblings. I stated that I have no plans to spank when/if I have any children, and that there are alternative methods to discipline children.
I got an immediate rebuttal from another poster whose argument is that there are just some bad-ass kids out in the world that "need" to be spanked. She mentioned that she was a bad kid, and had come in contact with other bad kids in her lifetime who would have benefited from a beating or several. She then told me that I was condemning other people's beliefs, and went on to say that it was "asinine" to say that no children should be spanked.
I countered by using myself and my siblings as an example again. My sister and I have always had fairly laid-back personalities and never required much supervision, but my brother was one of those "bad" kids that most people think "needed" to be spanked. He got into everything imaginable, and I'm pretty sure he drove our parents up the wall when we were younger. However, my mother still found different ways to discipline him when he acted out. She found different ways to discipline ALL of us when we acted out. I remember being in the 2nd grade and giving her attitude about whatever it is that 2nd graders get attitudes about. At the time, I was obsessed with reading Goosebumps and The Babysitters Club novels. Because of my attitude, my mother decided to take away my books. In a desperate attempt to negotiate with her, I requested a spanking rather than being stripped of my favorite reading materials. That was a no-go, and the books were taken until I got my act together.
As I got older, the punishment for misbehavior intensified. And I'm not talking about the bullshit punishment that a lot of kids get nowadays, where they sit on the couch for about an hour mean-mugging everyone until Mom and Dad get annoyed and send them off to play. I'm talking about 24-hour lockdown, where I would do nothing but sit in a room staring at the walls. There was no TV, games, music, Internet, books, NOTHING. If I mouthed off about said punishment, that got me an additional day tagged onto my sentence. Yes, that's what it felt like. A prison sentence. Once again, I would have preferred a swift slap to the face or a couple belt whippings, but those were not options in my house.
There ARE other ways to discipline children; you just have to be creative about it. I think most people choose to resort to the "tried and true" method of spanking because it's simple. Little Kayla takes a toy from her younger brother, he starts crying, you pop her on the butt a few times, and she sits in a corner whimpering for the next half hour. But what is that teaching her? It's teaching her that any time someone does something you don't like, you hit them. And we wonder why there is such an issue with domestic violence, and violence in general, in the community--especially in the African-American community. Most people's opinions seem to lie on extreme sides of the spectrum: you either spank your kids, or you let them do as they please with no repercussions. I don't believe in either one. Too many times I've seen parents who spank their kids, then send them off to play video games, hang out with their friends, and get on their cell phones. It has gotten to the point where spanking is simply a formality; kids know the drill, so they take that whooping, then go about their business. Spanking is a quick fix that is all but forgotten once the sting of the belt fades.
I could say even more, but I'll stop there. Let the blog attacks begin.