Meditations on the First Spanking Study

By Eco Child's Play on July 02, 2011

Meditations on the First Real-Time Spanking Study Spanking. Many parents do it, but few admit to it. And for those of us who were spanked as children, our reaction is often, “I was spanked, and I turned out alright.”

For me, the road away from spanking was the logical path when leaving violence behind in our lives. I decided that because I wanted my sons to know that violence was never a justifiable way to solve our problems, I needed to show that first through my own actions.

Of course, some parents don’t see that spanking is hypocritical. George Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University, recruited parents to audio record their everyday interactions with their children. He didn’t tell them that he was studying spanking. Researchers regularly don’t reveal this, so as not to skew results.

Actually, he didn’t know he was studying spanking. He was looking at parents’ use of yelling, but found regular corporal punishment instead. And parenting rich with irony. Time reports,

One mother in the study hit her toddler after the toddler either hit or kicked the mother, admonishing, ‘This is to help you remember not to hit your mother.’

‘The irony is just amazing,’ says Holden.

Interesting. Of course children act out physically at times. And no, it’s not acceptable. But neither is it reasonable to hit to show hitting is wrong. I’m by no means “Mother of the Year.” I yell, something I work on all the time, as it feels like another tool of violence and control. But surely, you see the problematic parenting in the above example.

Let me put it this way:  if a woman shouldn’t be “corrected” for her behavior by her partner with force, neither should a child. Sure, one could argue that children come into this world with no rules, and it’s our job as parents to guide them and enforce the rules. That’s entirely true. But by that line of thinking, you could say that every person has different rules, and some men (and women, mind you) should be able to “guide and enforce” their partners by hitting.

Hitting another person is unacceptable. I practice that with my boys. When I tell them that hitting is never okay, they believe me. Because they’re not hit. Ever.

And let’s be honest with our terms, here. Spanking is hitting. You’re hitting a child, no matter what you want to call it.

Of course, there is a wide array of how parents employ spanking. Some give the rare “swat.” Others hit their children as a matter of course for every single transgression, then wonder why it’s not effective. My ex liked to use it as a constant looming threat, which was pretty much his style for every interaction. His was the, “If they fear me, they’ll respect me” routine.

Mainly, though, it seems that parents who spank don’t think it’s an issue. The mothers in this study knew they were being recorded, yet still spanked. Wouldn’t you....

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By Eco Child's Play| July 02, 2011
Categories:  Care

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