For our midterm we were given a series of essays to choose to respond to. They ranged in topics from teen pregnancy to prejudices to illegal aliens, with titles such as "Honor Society Hypocrisy" and "I Want a Wife". Some were serious while others were funny. I chose to respond to an essay by Betsy Hart about spanking and discipline in today's world.
Composition Assignment #5
Spanking continues to be an issue of conflict even after years of debate. It seems as though every week there is a new study being done on the harmful effects of spanking. And while the people doing these studies spend countless hours searching for a link between spanking and juvenile delinquency, they fail to spend time on the positive effects that spanking can produce.
In Betsy Hart's essay, "The Need for Spanking", she makes an excellent point by saying that words need to be backed up by actions. She uses the example of telling her kids that she loves them, but never touching them or showing them affection. This can be applied to discipline as well. How will your children know you're serious is all you ever do is talk? Where is the reinforcement? Granted, there are different punishments for different things. Sometimes all that may be needed is a warning or time-out. Age also must be taken into account; a 12 year-old would benefit more from their game system being taken away than from getting a swat on the rear. Even our court systems operate this way; punishments are chosen according to the offense and the age of the offender.
Hart also explains what a spanking actually is, "A controlled, open-handed swat on the bottom or fatty thigh." Most people after reading a study on spanking come away picturing a crazed parent wildly beating his or her child. When in actuality the majority of parents would never think of doing this to their child. However, if their child was repeatedly disobeying and doing something potentially harmful, it seems perfectly reasonable that these same parents would administer a firm swat on their child's rear to send a clear message to their head.
I remember as a child when I would get a spanking, my parents would tell me, "Now, this hurts me more than it hurts you." And I would thing to myself, "O.K. then, let's switch places." But now that I'm older I understand that it was the truth. No good parent enjoys spanking his child, but it is necessary to prepare them for life outside of the home. And in the end, isn't that a parent's job?