Stop The Spankings: Hitting Children Is Always Wrong
With all of the attention being paid to the NFL for the numerous players fighting assault charges, there has been quite a bit of discussion about disciplining children. Adrian Peterson apologized for hurting his son, but clung to the notion that beating his four-year-old with a stick so hard that it left welts for more than a week is not abuse but harsh parental discipline. This is utter nonsense.
As a child, I was hit often. Not so much that I’d call it abuse, but enough that if a police officer from 2014 had showed up at our door some nights, my mother would have had to retain an attorney. After almost every instance of physical punishment, my mother would be wracked with guilt and offered tearful apologies.
When I became a parent, I thought for certain I would continue the pattern with my own daughter. One day at an Italian restaurant my daughter, barely four-years-old, punched her mother in the face. I was then instructed to engage in the time-honored parenting tradition of taking the child to the bathroom, in order to have a bit of privacy while I beat her. I smacked her on the backside once and immediately hated myself. The look on her face showed that the only “lesson” she learned was that the people she trusted the most could hurt her.
When my daughter was very young, no older than three, I wanted to teach her to avoid the stove. Rather than smacking her hands, I stood with her and turned on the fire and said “Hot” followed by “No touch.” She got it almost immediately and, now at the age of 13, still avoids the stove in favor of the microwave.
I am sure that anyone reading this has a strong opinion one way or another. Please share your thoughts, opinions, and experiences in the comments below.