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Should parents smack their children?

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Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:57 pm
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Gahks says...



My mum used to cane me with her feather duster! Seems kind of funny looking back, but God, how that struck fear and dread into me every time she brandished it around like some mad banshee! She always used it as a last resort, and it proved (quite) effective. While I don't particularly advocate it myself or denounce it, as a means to an end when all other methods have been exhausted, only then might it be useful.
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Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:01 am
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Rubric says...



Entschuldigung Volant for the breach of etiquette. I would maintain that sarcasm would be only as inappropriate so far as it is a straw-man argument; which I don't believe to be a case here. But still, rules are rules; sorry.

As for misquoting, I have to say that I didn't. I never inferred that the punishment was any graver than was stated; I never claimed he had a scar, was seriously hurt or had become emotionally unstable. In fact, I would probably go so far as saying that by claiming I have said these things, you would fall foul of the straw-man fallacy yourself.

I simply stated that burning with boiling water was a punishment, which it was. Having re-read the post it is in fact possible that I was mistaken, depending on whether it was the water or the water's container that was touched. However, the difference is rather irrevelant to our debate.

And, I'm afraid of saying it, but I'll be blunt: you can't sit a five-year-old down and have a talk to him about what he did wrong. Pain really is the quickest way to reach them, and reach them effectively. There's a better way of saying that, I just can't find it, so keep an open mind for a little bit longer.


My parents had started teaching me right and wrong by the time I was five. Pain is almost certainly the quickest way to reach anyone, especially if they don't initially agree with your points of view.

As open minded as I'm inclined to be, I can't help but realise how easy it is to hide child abuse under the title of discipline. It's far easier to defend the odd smack given in direct response to an undesired action, but obviously far harder to defend a drunken beating, and yet both can easily fall within the title of discipline.

By what measure do we decide proportionality? How does one decide when a parent is being too lazy to reason with their children, and simply uses fear and violence to get the desired result (actually a bit fascist in my opinion).

Children are indeed self-centred but that is not to say they are without the faculties of reason.

It was indeed the same paternalistic ideas of lesser intellectual faculties that endorsed the slave trade, and the beatings and lynchings given to disobedient and runaway slaves.
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Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:28 pm
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thunder_dude7 says...



Rubric, the sarcasm was absolutly innappropriate. You incorrectly portrayed our side to be evil people who abuse anybody smaller and less intelligent than us, which is completely untrue.

Also, the whole scalding thing was also innappropriate because you (falsely) implied that she punished him by forcibly pushing the hot coffee onto him, which also was completely innappropriate.

So yes, it was a strawman argument. It may not seem like it to you, but it was.
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Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:49 pm
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~Volant~ says...



One more thing about your argument, Rubric...sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you. :P

Rubric wrote:Honestly I can't see why we limit this to children. I mean, There's this friend of a friend who's a little slow on the social niceties. Rather than having to go through all of the details and reasonings (honestly who can be bothered? I know I'm right, because I'm smarter than him).


It seems to me that you were implying that parents who hit their children as punishment are as close as you and "your friend's friend," which I find highly offensive. lol.

I can't really smack a friend of a friend because I really have no right. It's not my job to punish someone who's barely connected to me. However, if I had a child, and I knew him well enough to know that a spank would keep him from running out into the streets, I am his parent and have the authority to punish him. I have no right to abuse him, yes, but I do have a right to punish him.

The only people I would let punish him is his school teacher and my husband. If his friend hits him, I wouldn't punish his friend. I'd leave it to his mother, because I would want her to do the same.

Rubric wrote:As open minded as I'm inclined to be, I can't help but realise how easy it is to hide child abuse under the title of discipline.


You're very right. There is a fine line between punishment and abuse.

Now, early on this thread, people have been talking about "time outs." Well, a while ago, I read somewhere that a father put his son in "time out" and went over the top. He wouldn't let his son out, and the kid died from eating drywall. I would like someone who is not for spanking to answer: Are you still for putting your child in time out? You still think time out isn't abuse?
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Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:04 am
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Rubric says...



*sigh* I think I understand why sarcasm is banned on the debate threads; if nothing else it isn't worth the censure. (No offence intended, this is purely self-recriminatory). And no Volant, you aren't picking on me, tis a debate to be debated.

You incorrectly portrayed our side to be evil people who abuse anybody smaller and less intelligent than us, which is completely untrue.


I do apologise Thunderdude; what I meant to say was that your "side" abuses a select and transient minority specifically because they are smaller and less intelligent than you. I do not of course refer to the reasoning behind why discipline is required, merely the rationale that has allowed it to continue.

It seems to me that you were implying that parents who hit their children as punishment are as close as you and "your friend's friend," which I find highly offensive.


A fair point Volant. What of orphans, living in the archetypal dark and gloomy orphanage run by nuns? Surely the nuns can't be on closer terms with all of their charges than a friend's friend, and yet the discipline they mete out is infamous: and still not regarded as abuse.

Back to the mainstream though, why is it the ones we love who are the only ones that are allowed to physically discipline? Obviously they are generally the only ones who can legally do it, but this seems to be a rather weak moral argument. Is it because they are the least likely to abuse their rights, and act in the child's best interest? Again, I would have to point out that many parent s are far from paragons of virtue, and that a drunken beating for "looking at me funny" seems to be less acceptable than a court-ordered 100 smacks to the bottom.

The courts are obviously rather divorced from the individual child, and yet they mete out punishment (albeit infrequently physical) to children as well as adults. Do you find this "highly offensive"?

Rather than attacking your arguments, what I'm really looking for is the rationale for why it's ok for parents to smack their kids.
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Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:17 pm
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thunder_dude7 says...



Back to the mainstream though, why is it the ones we love who are the only ones that are allowed to physically discipline?


Because parents have authority over their own children, and they do not have such authority over other children. This is also why the whole "Let's smack our friends' friends because they're smaller and less intelliegent than us" thing doesn't work.

Remember, the smacking we are talking about is not actually out to cause our children pain. We are simply producing the shock to make them understand that their actions were unnacceptable.
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Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:59 pm
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Rubric says...



Yes Thunderdude, they have authority; but why? Surely authority is derived from a reason, a root moral or intellectual point that you can brandish at me in victory?

Parents have a responsability to protect and raise their children so that they become fitting members of society. I honestly don't see how this should extend to the short-cutting involved in physical discipline.

The purpose behind discipline is obviously not that children are smaller and less endorsed with rational faculties; but were children better able to retaliate to a smack; and were parents not able to defend their commands with "because I told you so", physical discipline would fall apart. Though the physical violence remains a means rather than an end. I maintain that:

I do not of course refer to the reasoning behind why discipline is required, merely the rationale that has allowed it to continue.


In response to this:

Remember, the smacking we are talking about is not actually out to cause our children pain. We are simply producing the shock to make them understand that their actions were unnacceptable.


I would remind you that not all parents have the same idea concerning proportionality. Oh and the shock you speak for is in fact a euphemism fo pain. The words amount to the same physical result, but you're putting positive spin on it.

This debate is not about whether physical discipline such as smacking involves pain (such has been conceded), but whether that pain is warranted or neccesary.
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Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:09 pm
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~Volant~ says...



Sure, a spank hurts when it happens. But in fades in like, what, two minutes? Three? It's not like I couldn't sit down for a week. And, Thunder's right, it was more of a shock than actual pain. It was no euphimism.

And, really, anything can be considered abuse. Anything. That instance I talked about earlier where the dad accidentally killed his son by putting him in time out is definately abuse. But a few minutes facing the corner can do a kid good. Yelling at a kid and hurling insults and profanities at him (I heard one mother yell at her child, "I regret having you! I should've had birth control or an abortion or something!") is abuse, but a few firm words in a well-intentioned lecture to tell him that what he did was wrong can do a kid good. Beating a kid until he's bruised and bloody and can't walk straight or can't see out of one eye is abuse. But if he's done something very wrong, and you know your kid well enough to know that he doesn't care if you take his video games away, one or two smacks or a well-deserved swat to the bum can do a kid good.

Any form of punishment can be labeled abuse.

What of orphans, living in the archetypal dark and gloomy orphanage run by nuns? Surely the nuns can't be on closer terms with all of their charges than a friend's friend, and yet the discipline they mete out is infamous: and still not regarded as abuse.


I can't say much about this because I don't know much about these situations. lol. But I do have two friends who grew up in this scenerio. One of them talked something about how if their feet weren't in a right position or if she tapped her feet or shook her knees something like that, she'd get a couple of raps on her hands and fingers. Which is ridiculous and can't be rationalized. The other doesn't talk about it much, but she was a prankster and talked about a few tricks she did to the nuns and their "funny little hats," so I don't think she had much love for it either. lol. So from what I can gather, the nuns there seem a bit more like stern overseers than guiding parents. haha. So, yes, I think their methods should be considered abuse.

Rubric wrote:Yes Thunderdude, [parents] have authority; but why?


Because parents love their children and want the best for them. (not true for all, I understand, but I'm not talking about that bad 'uns. lol.) Parents are the "governing body" in a household. My mother will often play the trump card, "Because I gave birth to you, girl!" :D haha. But they've got to be careful when doling out punishment, and they've got

There are abusive parents, which make the fine line between punishment and abuse even more delicate. Just recently I lost a friend who had to move to a different state because of his abusive father. There's no denying it; people will cross the line, and civilians and authorities alike have to look out for them. And it doesn't have to be physical abuse, either. Like I said, any punishment could be taken as abuse. So I guess we could be debating, "Should parents yell at their kids?" too.
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Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:38 pm
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thunder_dude7 says...



"Because I gave birth to you, girl!"


Exactly!
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Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:43 pm
~Volant~ says...



The courts are obviously rather divorced from the individual child, and yet they mete out punishment (albeit infrequently physical) to children as well as adults. Do you find this "highly offensive"?


No. Not at all. The courts are government and if the child has done something really wrong, they most definately have a right to punish.
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Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:53 am
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Rubric says...



Volant

And, really, anything can be considered abuse. Anything. That instance I talked about earlier where the dad accidentally killed his son by putting him in time out is definately abuse. But a few minutes facing the corner can do a kid good. Yelling at a kid and hurling insults and profanities at him (I heard one mother yell at her child, "I regret having you! I should've had birth control or an abortion or something!") is abuse, but a few firm words in a well-intentioned lecture to tell him that what he did was wrong can do a kid good. Beating a kid until he's bruised and bloody and can't walk straight or can't see out of one eye is abuse. But if he's done something very wrong, and you know your kid well enough to know that he doesn't care if you take his video games away, one or two smacks or a well-deserved swat to the bum can do a kid good.


I find this argument a little hard to penetrate. First you claim that anything can be considered abuse, then you show specific of examples of what are and what are definitely not abuse. A second inference seems to be that verbal discipline can also become abuse; I do not disagree with this.

I think by showing the two examples, (I introduced this dichotomy, so it's really my fault) of physical abuse you polarise physical discipline. What about something closer to the middle of the spectrum; discipline with a belt, a cane, or just a serious smacking whereby the child actually couldnt sit down for a week without pain. At what exact point do we draw the line and say "this is abuse?"

So I guess we could be debating, "Should parents yell at their kids?" too.


I suppose it's really part of the same debate. I would think any yelling at a child that made them feel endangered (and to behonest most yelling would do this on some level) would be abuse, and therefore unconscionable.

"Because I gave birth to you, girl!" haha.


That's something I can almost accept as reason enough. Of course being a biological parent is still not reason enough to validate any behaviour we consider abuse.

No. Not at all. The courts are government and if the child has done something really wrong, they most definately have a right to punish.

Then you agree that it is the duty of the court to take a diciplinary role in the lives of children; if the actions are severe enough? What then of actions that are not severe enough to warrant the involvement of the courts, but are not tended by the parent in sufficient way. Such parents are unlikely to be judged unfit, and yet their children will be negatively affecting the rest of the community unless they are disciplined.
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Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:11 pm
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clueless says...



as a kid i got spanked.

if i ever lied to my parents, i got spanked. i barely ever lie to my parents. i try my best not to and i cant remember the last time i did.

if i ever argued with my sister and refused to say sorry or forgive her, i got spanked. now i always feel sorry whenever i get mad at her and im ready to forgive.


spanking really worked for me. i at no time felt like my parents didn't love me. they were not abusing me, they were teaching me that those things were not acceptable.


spanking is in no way a form of abuse unless the parent is doing it with out reason or to intentionaly hurt their child.
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Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:27 pm
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~Volant~ says...



I find this argument a little hard to penetrate. First you claim that anything can be considered abuse, then you show specific of examples of what are and what are definitely not abuse.


So then you agree that "one or two smacks or a well-deserved swat to the bum" is definately not abuse? XD Sorry, that was uncalled for, but I could not resist. haha.

Ahem. Anyway:

I find this argument a little hard to penetrate. First you claim that anything can be considered abuse, then you show specific of examples of what are and what are definitely not abuse.


Alright. Fair. What I meant to say was that any method could be considered abuse. Sorry for not dictating that clearly.

I think by showing the two examples, (I introduced this dichotomy, so it's really my fault) of physical abuse you polarise physical discipline. What about something closer to the middle of the spectrum; discipline with a belt, a cane, or just a serious smacking whereby the child actually couldnt sit down for a week without pain. At what exact point do we draw the line and say "this is abuse?"


I polarized everything in that paragraph, and I did it on purpose. You seem to look at our side by seeing the real abuse, and my point is I can just as easily look at your side in the same manner.

As to the last sentance of that paragraph...like Thunder and I have said, a (good) parent spanking or smacking their child is not trying to hurt him, but to give him a shock to tell him what he did is unacceptable (unless they are actually trying to hurt their child, which I think is abuse). If the child can't sit down without pain for a few days, I think that's abuse. Like I said, the line between abuse and discipline is fine. It also depends on baggage (culture, religion, tradition, etc.) that the parents are carrying.
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:45 am
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happy-go-lucky says...



I've never really thought about this topic before but I suppose it's ok sometimes. For example if a child is doing something that puts them in danger (think finger in plug sockets) then a quick slap on the back of the hand is fine. However I do believe there should be personal limits.

As a child I was smacked, but I have no memories of it because I was too young to remember it. But I still know that some things are wrong/dangerous to do because I was taught in that way. Smacking a child in appropriate situations is fine but I think factors like age, how hard you hit them and a reason why needs to be considered before doing so.
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:32 am
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Rubric says...



Hmm we seem to be rehashing the same ideas we brought up earlier...

Basically, I would consider smacking a child to be sufficient to teach them right and wrong (in a rather primitive sense) but not neccesary, as there are other ways.

Additionally, by allowing some physical discipline, the line between discipline and abuse becomes too blurred (due to subjective interpretations as to proportionality etc).

Thus the arguments that it is efficient, or that it is a neccesary evil cut no ice with me.
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