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I was raised with corporal punishment

May 25, 2006

I was raised with corporal punishment.  Not often, but enough.  So, when I hear advocates of spanking make the claim that “it was good enough for me” or “I turned out OK,” I feel that they are more akin to hazers who pass on the activity to the new recruits.  It was done to me, so…

Salon’s article on fundamental advocates of corporal punishment brings back a lot of memories.  As a past member of the Church of Christ (“we take the ‘fun’ out of fundamental”), I was well immersed in the Biblical justifications.  Yet, even as a young ‘in, I sensed they the verses used were gerrymandered, excluding examples or passages that didn’t fit the idea.  So, no proof-texting here, one way or the other.  They found what they were looking for.

So, how does one approach raising a happy, healthy, intelligent and independent child (of great concern to myself, raising a 5 year-old “Pookie”)?  We follow a form of attachment parenting.  Our daughter’s feet didn’t touch the ground for much of the first year.  She was bundled in with either a parent or relative.  She was breast-fed, nursing as will (some parents seek to regulate the times and amount; we did not) and slept in our bed.  

Now, I wish that I could take credit for much of this.  I can’t.  I have been a student along much of the way.  Lovely Spouse, seemingly having read every book on the topic, has an instinct that “feels” right to me.  I see the results, feel the relationship, and notice the results in myself.  We have a lovely daughter with a keen and wicked sense of humor that I recognize as my own.  She has empathy, intelligence and sass.  

My feeling is that those who seek to instill control, discipline or “training” upon a child don’t, in an ironic twist, have enough faith in that child.  Do I let Pookie touch a stove?  Of course not.  If she gets close, I warn and move her away.  But life is not a series of stoves.  

I am having some trouble here because even the advocates of the Rod teach to love and embrace, to use the Rod only as a means of correction.  I guess that is the main departure point.  Where they seek to control, we seek to guide; where they seek to show negative consequences, we seek to navigate through life’s negative consequences (lack of privileges, talk through it, etc.).  Would a good swat make a point.  Certainly.  I remember some of my own.  However, I don’t remember the correction, only the swat.  I don’t remember the guidance or the lesson.  I remember the encounter.  

Pookie graduates from pre-school today.  She may or may not get up with the rest of the class.  She, like I did as a child, suffers extreme stage fright.  If she gets up, great.  I know the struggle she has overcome.  If she chooses not to, I will swat away any feelings of embarrassment, hug her close, and celebrate her end of year.  

She is only 5 once.  

One Comment
  1. beepbeepitsme permalink
    August 30, 2006 3:09 am

    RE: Corporal Punishment

    Spare the Quarter – Inch Plumbing Supply Line, Spoil the Child

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