by Kristin Meyers
I'd love to see your spanking... "refocusing" technique used on an adult. Or a dog. Why is it that we can physically strike a defenseless child and call it "beneficial" and "helping them refocus" but doing the same to an adult or even an animal is criminal?
I heartily agree with the principle behind your assertion (that
violence is bad), and I also am against spanking as a discipline
method. But to remain credible, rather than just making an emotional
argument we must admit that there are different kinds of hitting in
this world, and not all are bad. After all, I work in a business
where, all day long at my martial arts school, I teach children, teens
and adults to "hit" others, and we practice it by "hitting" each
other. Aside from self defense applications of hitting, the art of
sparring in itself is a valuable exercise where the entire objective
is to actually hit others in certain areas to score points, like in
But that doesn't mean we hate or prosecute our opponent afterward, nor does it mean we've been abused. Clearly, the REASON a person hits someone, and HOW they do it, matters greatly in life and society. In fact, it makes ALL the difference. If a parent does a light smack when a child is in the middle of a wild blind tantrum, does it work to slow down and end the tantrum, keeping the child from hurting herself or others? Yes, usually. In fact, even just the threat of it, if the child actually believes it will be carried out, is often enough to end even the most frantic tantrums. The parent ended the tantrum quickly, out of love and concern for the child. That's not a type of "hitting" that is damaging to anyone, just like the type of hitting I practice with the 5 year olds at my karate school. We respect our opponents and they respect us, and we hit them from that basic premise. Adults practicing sparring with children hit children every day in my school, as that is the way everyone learns and gets better. Likewise, if a parent chooses to spank, it must always be from a premise of love and concern for the wellbeing of the child. The lesson that is learned from hitting or being hit is NOT necessarily that violence solves all problems (that's not what my students learn from it), so we must be careful not to make sweeping generalizations about ALL hitting being akin to abuse.
There are lines that need to be drawn and one cannot say that all
violence is inherently evil. Violence in one form or another is
necessary for life to exist, and tragic events or uncomfortable events all the time in our lives correct and teach us important things. We create the same learning opportunities with our kids. Is it worse to spank a child, or publicly humiliate them in front of their peers or family, as I have seen many parents do in one form or another as an alternative form of discipline, when they refuse any type of spanking? I would say, although I am strongly against spanking in nearly every single situation imaginable, humiliation by a trusted adult is far, far worse for the child, and yet parents do it all the time.
I think parents need to be reasonable, loving, and do what works for them, and I will trust parents to decide what is appropriate for their