One said she spanks. It’s her way of disciplining her three-year-old. Nothing hard, nothing violent. Just a swift pat on her child’s backside and that’s it.
This sparked a heated debate about the virtues — or lack thereof — of this seemingly old-school technique.
One of my other friends decided to avoid spanking — she just uses the threat of it — on her two kids. “I don’t see the point of getting physical with my kids,” she said, matter-of-factly. “There’s really no need.”
I was the only single, childless one in the conversation — so I stayed completely out of it. I mean, what do I know about raising kids?
But it was interesting how heated this topic can get, especially online. Google “spanking” — and another appropriate keywords like “parenting” or “kids,” otherwise you’ll get an interesting selection of, ahem, other sites — and you’ll find wildly varying opinions on the subjects.
Some believe it’s an effective discipline tool; others say it’s flat-out child abuse. I even read an article in Time from 2009 that pointed to research showing kids who got spanked may have lower IQs.
Most of us can tell stories about getting spanked — or dirty lickings — as a kid. Some of us have been struck by belts, sticks, even rubber slippers.
I can’t say these were my fondest memories of childhood — but I don’t think they’ve scarred me for life, either.
It seems parents these days — or at least the ones I know — are hesitant to spank their children. What changed with our generation? Are we the “victims” of spanking and don’t want to “victimize” our own kids? Have we been spooked by lawsuits, child protective services, jail time, episodes of “Oprah” and now avoid any physical contact with anyone, including our kids? Or are we just more educated, more patient, more involved with our children that spanking has become a last-resort option?
What’s your take on this?