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Post 40

Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:03pmSanction this postReply
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George - I'm afraid all the smack-banners are indeed living in cuckoo-land, not to mention Nanny State-land. I want to see *all* of them answer my question - should Mr. Bertelsen be subject to criminal charges for what he has "confessed" to above? If not, why not? Come on, the lot of you - quit cowering, & face the logical extension of your pathetic political correctness.

Linz



Post 41

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 2:20amSanction this postReply
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Lindsay,

Context!

David didn't "confess" to anything, because in the current context he didn't do anything wrong and were that context ever change in the manner I'm suggesting (I say "I" because I'm not sure the others want to go as far as I do) then no one who's smacked their kid now is going to be rounded up and retroactively charged. But if it were illegal, then surely its obvious that there comes a point when the police would get involved? I don't see why you even asked the question -hence the apparently failed attempt at flippancy in my initial response.

(Oh and by the way, since when did attempting to expand the scope of individual rights to the detriment of a nonsense concept such as "parental rights" become politically correct?)

MH




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Post 42

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 2:25amSanction this postReply
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MH:
"Given that at the present time smacking children is...not illegal..., no he shouldn't have been arrested...where smacking children was illegal, then he would've been breaking the law"

"In a context where any smacking of children was basically illegal, one would hope that most parents, being aware of the laws and understanding the principle behind them, would refrain from doing so."

I reply:
MH, you are avoiding making a moral call on this issue. You have used the moral relativist's justification that the law is the law. (From your legal studies you will know this as legal positivism, I think: which is endemic and vile).

It's fine for you to disagree on the issue, but at least take responsibility for your position.

Tim "Baby-basher" V

PS: I wasn't specifically referring to you re comprehension although I wouldn't give you an A+ on this occasion :).




Post 43

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 2:43amSanction this postReply
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Tim Visser: you rock! Let's hear more from you, please!

MH: You said: "David didn't 'confess' to anything, because in the current context he didn't do anything wrong and were that context ever change in the manner I'm suggesting (I say 'I' because I'm not sure the others want to go as far as I do) then no one who's smacked their kid now is going to be rounded up and retroactively charged. But if it were illegal, then surely its obvious that there comes a point when the police would get involved?"

So if it were illegal, as you propose, the police would "get involved" with Mr. Bertelsen? Then you're a sick statist fuck, & I've no idea what you're doing here.

Linz
(Edited by Lindsay Perigo on 1/16, 2:51am)




Post 44

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 2:50amSanction this postReply
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Hi Tim,

MH, you are avoiding making a moral call on this issue. You have used the moral relativist's justification that the law is the law.

No I didn't...The post you quoted discusses legal contexts. Leaving legal rights aside and thinking purely in terms of child-rearing, I think children should be taught to reason and think for themselves, rather than being smacked whenever they don't pay attention the first time or whatever, so morally I do have a serious problem with it, as I would have thought was obvious from my earlier comments/the previous discussion of this back on the Yahoo forum.

Totally agree about legal positivism btw.

MH




Post 45

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 3:01amSanction this postReply
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So if it were illegal, as you propose, the police would "get involved" with Mr. Bertelsen?

Read my post #37 from the middle of last night. If it were illegal on the basis I'm suggesting and in a cultural context where this was accepted, I would hope no one would be smacking their kids to begin with, so there would be no need for the police to do anything. Even if kids were smacked it wouldn't necessarily mean police involvement.
 
 
Then you're a sick statist fuck, & I've no idea what you're doing here.
Yeah well, I've honestly answered every question that's been put to me and explained why I see this as an individual rights issue. You haven't responded to a single question of mine. So I guess I'm about done with this thread.

MH




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Post 46

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 4:15amSanction this postReply
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MH wrote

 If it were illegal on the basis I'm suggesting and in a cultural context where this was accepted, I would hope no one would be smacking their kids to begin with, so there would be no need for the police to do anything. Even if kids were smacked it wouldn't necessarily mean police involvement.

Let me make my position more clear, Matthew, and possibly make it easier for you to give a yes or no answer.

I wouldn't accept your "cultural context". I would not accept an unjust law.

I would smack my kids if I thought it was appropriate.

It would be gentle and there would be no marks or bruises.

I would do so only as an extremely rare, last resort (and I agree with posters above who advocate extreme imaginitivity in avoiding this resort).

My 3 and 1/2 year old child, who cannot reliably tell me what he had for dinner last night, is prepared to tell the police I hit him (and who knows, he may use his imagination and flare for embellishment too!)

Will you send the police for me?




Post 47

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 9:19amSanction this postReply
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I'm posting the following on behalf of Kelly, a new member (and a friend of mine) who is having computer problems posting her reply.
 
Hi, I'm new here. My name is Kelly, and I have a 16 month old daughter. I would definitely be interested in a parenting forum like Luke suggested. I was hoping to discuss parenting with some people here after my good buddy Jason Dixon turned me on to this group.
I am not interested in discussing whether spanking should be legal and what the line is for abuse. I am interested in talking about whether spanking is right or wrong and whether rational parents should use punishments.
I think the essential question is about purpose. If the purpose for discipline is stopping the action, spanking and other punishments will certainly work until the child no longer fears the parent or learns not to get caught. But if the purpose is to help a child develop self control and learn right from wrong, punishment backfires. It teaches external motivation (behaving cause Dad said so) rather than internal (behaving cause it furthers my values). It is also contradictory and confusing to say not to hit and then to do it. Hitting a child teaches that force is an acceptable way to resolve problems.
I am certainly not advocating permissive parenting, either. Children need limits, but they are better ways to enforce them (ways which increase communication and connection between parent and child, rather than fear and resentment). Some that I use are redirecting (especially with very small children), physcially stopping the action, offering an acceptable way to meet the need or express the emotion and working together on this with older children, explaining, allowing the child to experience the natural consequences of the action (if it is not too dangerous or violates other's rights), and setting up the environment so that it is easier to behave well.
I am going to give my take on a few examples that were used in previous posts as times when it is appropriate to spank.
1) They child gets angry and hits another over the head with a toy. Ideally, a parent would be able to stop the child before the hitting happens, but that isn't always possible. So, I would step in and stop the hitting, and say" No hitting." If the child continued, I would take away the toy and say. "I won't let you hit Ryan." If the child hit with his hand, I would physically remove him and say, "I won't let you hit Ryan." With children a bit older than my own, I would explain more about why we don't hit. This does not immediately stop all hitting forever, but it does begin to teach how we interact with people, respecting their rights, and it models dealing with problems calmly but firmly, and it stops the behavior at that time. I would also talk with child about feeling angry (just naming the emotion for a really little one) and offer some other ways to express anger. With older kids, I might give them the words to say next time rather than hitting, for instance, "I don't want you to touch me right now. Move back."
2) A small child runs into the street. My tongue in cheek answer is that the parent needs to be spanked to help him remember to keep a good hold on a small child near a street. :) When a child is too little to avoid a danger and the risk is too great to allow him to experience the natural consequences, it is the parent's job to keep him safe. When we are in a parking lot or near the street, our rule is that Livy can walk and hold hands or be carried. If she tries to pull away from my hand, I pick her up saying, "You can either hold hands or be carried." I also explain what I am doing to keep us safe. "I look both ways, no cars, we can go." If she did get away from me and ran toward the street, I would grab her, hug her, show her my very real fear, and resolve to be more careful in the future. With an older child, I would also talk about why it was so dangerous and maybe role play later about walking near streets.
I would be glad to talk about more examples if anyone has any. I totally agree with the previous poster who said that creativity is a must. I am always looking for new ways to discipline in a positive way.
Kelly




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Post 48

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 9:57amSanction this postReply
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People, this is not as complicated as it would appear. A parent has a responsibility to raise a child, and corporal punishment is one of several tools in the parenting toolbox. Child abuse is the misuse of that tool through irrational behavior on the parent. Unless I missed it, (maybe I have?), I haven't seen any posts addressing the reason WHY a parent would have to hit a child in the first place. I don't mean the cause, which would be misbehavior, I mean the expected result. Is there a valid reason to hit children at times? YES! It's my understanding that you would hit a small child in order to reinforce an abstract concept (i.e., "No!") with a concrete, physical reinforcement. Younger children have less experience to draw on, so a parent has to provide an association of cause and effect in cases of prevention of harm, say, playing with a hot stove. You smack the child and say "no" as opposed to letting him burn himself. He then knows that "no" means "danger" and possible harm. (If you don't hit your child when playing with fire, mother nature will burn him. And we'd rather have a sore hand or butt than a burned child, right?). As a child progresses rationally, you adjust the punishment accordingly, to including less physical, more abstract means of discipline, but you can't skip stages until the physical enforcement has first been implanted.

I find it informative that in my experience in working, I have noticed that physical punishment varies class levels. A "no" means nothing to a young kid without an association. I have seen parents (usually middle-upper class white women) in stores say "no" a million times to no effect, and I would venture that they don't hit their children. Meanwhile, the spoiled brat is tearing up the place. But I notice that poorer inner city blacks, (and my own white-trash ancestry) fully endorse an extreme philosophy of punishment, with little reason and much emotion, which allows the parent to vent their anger and relieve the responsibility of parenting. It is one thing to smack a child, it is another thing to wail on the child in public accompanied by a verbal assault that would make a drill sargent blush. (Interestingly, the white "progressive" parents have a more subtle, yet more insidious way of relieving their responsibility: Ritalin.)
Do we expect these kids to grow up to deal with life with reason or with violence and drugging, where the initiation of force is the answer? Prison may be punishment, but the point of disciplining a child should be punishment and rehabilitation and a better understanding of right and wrong.


(Edited by Joe Maurone on 1/16, 10:45am)

(Edited by Joe Maurone on 1/16, 10:46am)




Post 49

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
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Hi Kelly,

Welcome to the forum. Reading the part of your post about holding hands or being picked up was funny for me, that’s the exact routine, right down to the exact words I go through with me almost-three year old. And you are right on the money regarding running into the street: Simply don’t allow the opportunity to make a mistake they are too young to avoid—and there’s nothing to punish.

My experience with smackers is of incompetent parents. Clueless as to what’s going on, what they’re doing, how they should be doing it. Before everyone jumps on me, I AM NOT indicting all smacking as having incompetence as its genesis. I AM telling you honestly that in my three years’ experience with this, I have yet to encounter a smacker who has a clue about child-rearing, ALL of them have been idiots, the actual worthy recipients of smacking.

Jon




Post 50

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:21amSanction this postReply
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Joe, well said. And good observations too.




Post 51

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:24amSanction this postReply
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David,

In post 24 you wrote: “very gently, the rarity of the act makes real pain absolutely unnecessary”

And in post 46: “It would be gentle and there would be no marks or bruises.”

I would like for you to tell me in what way your “smacks” differ from an endearing brush across the cheek. You seem certain that pain is not occurring, so what IS occurring? From your descriptions, you are not even engaging in corporal punishment.

This is common in my experience. Pro smacking parents use euphemisms and they claim there is no pain. They sanitize it down to something no one could object to. Then I ask them: “If you prefer to call it by the sound it makes “smack” instead of the act “hit”, if you insist on describing it in ways that remove the possibility of pain—then have you considered that your sub-conscious is trying to tell you something about the nature of what you don’t like to face square-on?”

Jon




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Post 52

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:36amSanction this postReply
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Kelly:

You raise some very good examples of ways to treat bad behaviour positively. Will you believe me if I say that I use "all" of the suggestions you raised plus many more? Despite my devils advocacy of smacking, I do, in fact agree with you that these are better ways to treat a child.

I do, however, insist upon my right to smack as a last resort - always with the proviso that I hope the hell that I never have to use it.

Joe:

Well said. I've noticed the same broad difference between classes.

Jon:

Can I turn your statement around?

My experience with non-smackers is of out-of-control children. The parents, in practice, have no way to assert authority when they really need to. Before everyone jumps on me, I AM NOT indicting all non-smackers as having out-of-control children as its genesis. I AM telling you honestly that in my three and a half years’ experience with this, I have yet to encounter a non-smacker who has a clue about child-rearing, ALL of them have been idiots, the actual worthy recipients of smacking.

See how easy it is to generalise?

Actually, I would not really say that they have all been idiots- but I do think they have compromised their effectiveness as child raisers by choosing not to use a useful disciplinary tool. And the kids HAVE been out-of-control little brats...



Post 53

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:48amSanction this postReply
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Jon:

we must have crossed posts. You asked in post 51

I would like for you to tell me in what way your “smacks” differ from an endearing brush across the cheek. You seem certain that pain is not occurring, so what IS occurring? From your descriptions, you are not even engaging in corporal punishment.

Fair question.

A smack (you may call it a hit, because it is), with an open hand, on the back of a leg or backside. With clothes on.

Of course there is pain. But it is a 5 second sting, infintessimally less than the naturally occurring bumps and falls that happen each day in the natural course of healthy activity. And in the case of my son, it is the sheer immensity of it having been necessary that makes him cry. The recognition that he really went too far, and that he must have been naughty this time for Daddy to have gone to such extreme measures. After one minute, I will have him in my arms, not apologising for my actions, but explaining to him exactly why it was necessary, why what he had done was wrong, and asking him to think about it and apologise when he is ready to do so. At this point, I can see a focussed little mind who has become very concentrated on a specific lesson he has learnt.

Do you think this is wrong, Jon? Remember, I am not an out-of-control brute. I am a dedicated father (you'll have to take my word on this). I am inventive and extremely diligent about seeking out alternatives to smacking.

Can we agree to differ on approaches to child raising, or do you truly believe that government intervention is required to stop the likes of me from disciplining their children in this manner?




Post 54

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:52amSanction this postReply
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David, you make an excellent point here:

And in the case of my son, it is the sheer immensity of it having been necessary that makes him cry. The recognition that he really went too far, and that he must have been naughty this time for Daddy to have gone to such extreme measures.
I was cuffed three times in my life, but I remember every one of them.  They were not brutal slaps, nor did they scar me for life, but you can be damn sure they corrected the behavioral problem.

If a smack is a rarity, and used as a last resort, it makes its point.




Post 55

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:52amSanction this postReply
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David,

If you say that’s been your actual experience, I have to accept it. My experience is opposite of yours, the smackers have out of control kids, the kids appear starved for attention and they actually appear to thrive on the attention they do get by being hit.

In Colorado I rarely meet any smackers, I would guess they run about 2-4% of the parents I meet. You live in Spain, right? What would you guess, from your observations?

Oh, one more thing:
I would like for you to tell me in what way your “smacks” differ from an endearing brush across the cheek. You seem certain that pain is not occurring, so what IS occurring?

Jon




Post 56

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:56amSanction this postReply
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I have also experienced that non-smackers have out of control children who walk all over them and anyone else in their midst.  I realize this is a generalization, but I believe it is because American parents have become pacifists instead.  They have stopped smacking, but have not attempted to put any worthwhile alternative in place, and instead let their kids run rampant.

Jon, the parents who do make the effort to use reason and creativity to discipline their children, and make it actually work, are the exception in this country.  I salute you for it, I think.  I'd need to actually be around your children for the salute to be fully executed.  :)

(Edited by Jennifer Iannolo on 1/16, 10:58am)




Post 57

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 11:05amSanction this postReply
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David,

We are crossing paths!

No, I don’t think you a brute. From what I can see you are a conscientious parent. And of course we can disagree on approaches.

I do not believe that government intervention is required to stop the likes of you from disciplining their children in this manner. I do continue to hold that this law, from what I understand of it, does not affect you. I hold that bruising and other damage defined under this law is a reasonable and objective way of separating what you are doing from abuse. I support getting you into trouble with the law as soon as your smacks, (from which you only now say “of course there is pain”) cause actual, objectively observable welts and bruises, etc.

I would go on to say that no-injury smacking that is repeated throughout the day, day-in, day-out, will obviously cause severe psychological damage, should be a crime, is totally immoral. This law doesn’t even address that.

Jon




Post 58

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 11:07amSanction this postReply
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Hi Jon,

I guessed we crossed again! Did I answer your question re pain?

I love the way the Spanish raise children. Children are the absolute centre of attention and are tolerated and given attention to a degree unknown in my previous experience (I grew up in New Zealand, but also lived for extended periods in Japan, NY and Germany). There is a lot of explaining, a lot of reasoning and negotiating and extremely little corporal punishment- but I don't believe most parents renounce smacking completely. And the kids grow up just beautifully.

I remember the threatening feeling of walking past a group of teens in a park in  the twilight in New Zealand or New York. Eyes that turned to fire out blazes of aggression, looking for an excuse to erupt into violence. It is a pleasure that I revel in every day here in Spain to walk past similar groups with nothing more harmful than an exchange of glances or shared smile.

Now I'm getting off the subject but only to show that I agree with you that the absence of violence in parent-children relationships and a a surfeit of attention and dedication is the ultimate combination for raising intelligent, respectful and independent adults.

But I still insist on my right to my use of corporal punishment as a useful last resort.

David




Post 59

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 11:42amSanction this postReply
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Jennifer,

As I said very late Friday night, my mother-in-law is with us for the weekend. She has thirty-plus years experience in child education. While I allow for some possibility of grandmotherly exaggeration, she describes our not-yet-three year old as having the language, knowledge, conceptual and self-direction skills of five and six year olds. She says she could pass the qualifications and enter first grade today at the school she runs.

At the grocery store she picks things up from the shelf and places them back where she found them. She is allowed to play with a ball or other toy, because before we move on, she always places them back. She hasn’t had a tantrum in the grocery store in over a year. We have always been able to go out to restaurants; it’s no problem at all. I have never even so much as made her aware of the possibility of being hit for anything. I have always told her no one can hit anyone. She doesn’t hit kids. When hit by one, she gets away or holds their hands until they cry and go away. It’s actually funny to watch.

Boys are afraid of her because of the way she uses a commanding voice (which she learned from me.) She attends an educational, pre-school-type daycare on Thursdays and Fridays. A couple months ago the teacher confided in us that she uses my daughter as an enforcer at times. That day, Michael and Keaton were hogging the bathroom and another girl needed to get in. Tied up, one teacher said, “Garnet, would you get the boys out of the bathroom?” They said it was the most amazing thing they had ever seen. Garnet walked over to the bathroom. With one hand on her hip, she pointed at one boy, then the other, and then out the door, saying, “Michael. Keaton. Out!” They turned white, dropped the tissue in their hands and clawed against each other to get out first, pants at ankles.

Please dispossess yourself of the false dichotomy of “pacifist”, do-nothing, kids running amok vs. hitting. Both approaches fail. The opposite of these two “alternatives” is getting involved in the science of child rearing—reading, learning, talking to other parents. In short, taking it seriously as a career.

Jon




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