Wednesday, June 17, 2009

To Spank or Not to Spank?


This post from PerezHilton.com really got me thinking today. The post discusses Kate Gosselin (of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" fame) and shows a cover from InTouch Magazine with the headline "Caught Hitting Her Daughter."

Here's an excerpt from Perez's post:

Photogs captured Kate losing her temper with one of the sextuplets, Leah, on Saturday morning. As Kate was on the phone, Leah was blowing a whistle. After Kate asked her to stop, Leah blew on the whistle again and Kate became enraged.

She rose from her seat, came over, and spanked the little girl! In front of the cameras!

Don't get me wrong, as I'm no proponent of child abuse or severe child discipline techniques, but isn't this some serious sensationalism? It appears Mrs. Gosselin is spanking her daughter at her home (albeit on camera), something plenty of Americans do... granted they don't have cable TV shows.

I was spanked as a child, as were all my siblings. My parents never used paddles, belts, switches or the like in our spankings; their hands smacking our rears did plenty to make us sorry. These spankings were deserved — and few and far between, as we were mostly well behaved. I don't think back to my childhood and feel any kind of anger toward the way our parents disciplined us — nor do I think I'll take any issue with spanking our children if/when Dan I have kids one day*. In fact, I think I preferred spankings over the one time I got soap put in my mouth... 

What are your thoughts on spanking? Were you spanked as a kid? When you have kids one day, do you think you'll use this practice in your child discipline? Do you think there's a better/different way to punish bad behavior?

(*Note: I don't think Dan and I have talked about his feelings on spanking — but my recollection is that he feels its a fine and appropriate means of discipline as well.)

14 comments:

Mb said...

Interesting post! I was spanked as a kid, but I'm not sure that I could bring myself to do it. However, I do agree with the "sensationalism." She was seen doing something at home that many Americans do, and I think is just another attack on her because there are many other reasons not like her. More attention should be paid to people who neglect their children.

K_Streams_Her_C said...

It is interesting indeed! Thanks for the comment!

Katerina said...

As a child of foreign parents I got spanked A LOT - and I deserved it. I honestly don't think it's a big deal and people are only focusing on it because of who it is. I'm sure a lot more people than we realize do it, it's just kept behind closed doors.

Mb said...

So I brought up this post at dinner last night with Shoe and his roommates. They are all in agreement with what we've said. Like I said, I was spanked and I think most kids our age were. I'm not sure how I'll discipline my children til I'm actually at that stage in my life, but yea I think the criticism is a bit silly.

K_Streams_Her_C said...

I wonder how our generation is disciplining versus our parents... I guess I'm kind of old school.

K_Streams_Her_C said...

Kat and Mb - are non-Americans more spank-happy?

Chiara said...

This is a very thought provoking post! I was not spanked as a child as my mom didn't believe in it. My mom was a firm believer in telling you what you did wrong and that she was disappointed in the decision that I had made and that was enough for me to never do it again. My sister was another story though! I think that it largely depends on the child and the situation. I'm not against spanking, but I don't think that at every turn you should be hitting your child. I think there can be very serious consequences later in life. Like them thinking violence is the way to punish someone for doing something they shouldn't be doing.

mew3333 said...

There is one simple and profound truth that is being overlooked here: If you allow a 5-year-old to hold a whistle, the 5-year-old will blow said whistle. You could threaten to cut off the child's toes, throw away every TV in the world and revoke summer vacation for all eternity and the kid would still not be able to resist blowing that whistle one more time.

When we have to discipline my stepson we use a variety of strategies but he definitely gets spanked from time to time. When we have full time kids they will be spanked as well. However, I prefer redirection as a means of behavior modification when possible. ie... "Because you can not control yourself I am taking the whistle away. Now you will have to go play with the... (insert non-annoying toy here)" Then if the child copped an attitude or became insolent naturally he/she should be beaten with reeds.


That all being said, I know from my limited experience with dealing with one child part time, that parenting can be very frustrating. I can not imagine dealing with 8 kids under the age of 10 on a day-to-day basis.

K_Streams_Her_C said...

Smart thoughts and interesting insight, Miz M.

You brought up something I meant to say and didn't (so thank you). While I, too, think that spanking is acceptable — I believe parents should resort to the method as their only or regular form of discipline. Redirecting sounds like a good option before things have to be escalated.

And God love Jon and Kate and how challenging things must be for them right now. (I hear we should stay tuned for a divorce announcement on the next episode...)

And my kids won't have whistles (or balloons or water guns or Miley Cyrus CDs)... jk. Okay, not jk.

Mb said...

Maria- you brought up a phenom point. Step 1 to discipline- address the issue. Take the mothereffin whistle away. If she finds another way to be annoying intentionally to piss you off, slap that baby. Hahaha :)

Mb said...

Oh and to Katy's question- I can't speak for all FOB-y parents, but anyone that came over on the boat with my parents used spanking to discipline their kids. Maybe an old-school thing? Maybe a Euro-thing? But definitely a criteria if you were friends with my parents :)

Katerina said...

I'm a day late in responding to this - I just think that for Europeans (and i'm only using them since I can relate) it's not as controversial an issue as it is in the US. I'm pretty sure I used to be a member of a facebook group about Greek kids being hit with slippers - and everyone in the group could relate!

Dan said...

We are years away from having a child but I can already tell he/she will be a devious rascal who will occasionally enjoy a spanking. That said growing up I would have rather had 15 beatings then hear my dad mutter "I am disappointed in you for doing (insert something stupid)". Luckily I was a perfect kid and never had to worry about being punished. (Dripping with sarcasm)

K_Streams_Her_C said...

Kat, no way there's a fb group called that. Ha!

Dan, I meant to thank you for your comment. I'm sure that our children will be perfect angels (yeah right)! But glad to hear you're not anti-spanky spank.