Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Spanking time!

I’ve written about liberals giving themselves away on many occasions. Let’s do that again tonight. Tonight’s topic is spanking. Yes, spanking. It turns out that despite what talk radio will lament, you can in fact spank your children. SO sayeth the Court.

Here’s what happened. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled last week that parents may in fact spank their children, ruling that spanking “remains firmly woven into our nation’s social fabric” and “it follows that we must guard against the imposition of criminal sanctions for the use of parenting techniques still widely regarded as permissible and warranted.” Wow, common sense!

The one caveat on the ruling, which makes sense too, is that the spanking can only involve “reasonable force” so as not to cause the child physical harm or mental distress. That makes sense and it fits with the normal rules for use of force in tort cases.

This rule represents a clear victory for traditional child rearing concepts and a blow to whiny liberal experts who have been trying to stop spanking for years, especially as the ruling came in a very blue state. This was not a spank happy Texas court.

Anyhoo, the liberal we will now discuss is Rachel Bersche, who wrote a length article about the decision for Yahoo and her cited expert Deborah Gilboa, some child-rearing expert. Rachel dutifully reported the decision but quickly and repeatedly warned us that “experts say that even though spanking may be permissible, it’s not advisable.” In fact, the bulk of the article is basically about how spanking is a horrible thing. In making this case, she quotes Gilboa without raising any of the obvious problems with what she says.

According to Gilboa, there is only one time that spanking is effective when it comes to raising a child. That is where it is an expected form of punishment and “it is normal across that child’s community,” but “that’s just not the case in our society anymore.”

Now first, let me point out the ludicrousness of this. If spanking is bad because it teaches kids to be violent, as Gilboa claims, then why would it suddenly not teach that lesson if everybody’s doing it? That’s nonsense.

What’s more, consider her statement that spanking just isn’t “normal across the community in our society anymore.” Right before this quote, Rachel quotes a poll that found that 78% of parents think spanking is appropriate and 67% say they have spanked their kids, with 30% of 1-year olds having been spanked in the past month.

I would call that pretty darn widespread if 8 of 10 parents approve of it. Wouldn’t you? Apparently, Rachel and Gilboa don’t. This reminds me of the debate about the Washington Redskins’ name where liberals are stretching a poll that found that more than 8 in 10 people approved of the name into claiming a “significant and widespread opposition to the name.” Yeah right. The existence of a fringe does not a lack of consensus make, and less than 2 in 10 is a fringe.

Gilboa also makes the classic mistake of presenting only one side of the ledger when it comes to costs and benefits. She claims that spanking doesn’t work because “it undermines the trust the child has with the parent.” But she never examines the flip side, which is that respect is vital to trust and children won’t trust a parent they don’t respect and they won’t respect a parent who is incapable of enforcing rules. Time outs and hand wringing simply aren’t enough for some people to be able to enforce their rules.

Further, Gilboa whines that the problem with spanking is that it “undermines the message that we don’t hit people to get what we want.” Only, spanking is not done by the parent to get something from the child. It is to remind the child that they should not be doing something. It is a punishment, not a form of extortion.

So in two very fundamental ways, Gilboa misunderstands the nature of spanking and she completely distorts the behavior of society to make her point, and Rachel never seems to call her on it because she’s too busy telling us how spanking is bad. This is so typical of liberals, but you find it in other places too. They want you to believe something, so they give you a one-sided presentation of it, hoping that you’ll go away nodding your head like an idiot believing what they want without ever questioning it.

As for spanking itself, I personally find there are much better methods of enforcing rules. The best method involves taking away privileges. This is something prison wardens talk about. The reason they provide things like weight rooms and good food is so that they can take it away when the inmates misbehave. That has proven to be infinitely more effective than threats of violence.

I also find it interesting that the one thing liberals never seem to connect with spanking in their diatribes is that spanking sends the message that might makes right. That is a lesson we should not be teaching, yet I think liberals kind of like that one since might happens to be the only way they can push their ideas on the rest of us.



tryanmax said...

I don't see a risk in sending the message that might makes right through spanking. Children figure that concept out on their own. I have yet to encounter the parent that encourages their toddler to hit, yet all toddlers do it. Violence is an innately understood concept.

I don't regard spanking as an act of violence, anyway. I'm not going to gain any authority over another person by striking them on the buttocks. The act is a demonstration of the authority I already have over the person subjected to it. In this sense, it is an act of humiliation. That isn't to say that it can't lead to violence, but as a show of disgrace, it should be administered with control in view of witnesses. I think it is also important to impart on the child that the spanking is an unhappy duty of the parent, not something that is reveled in, and certainly not a tool of coercion.

Anonymous said...

Wow! A common sense ruling from a state supreme court and the state is Massachusetts, no less. Good article. Another well written analysis of the liberal mind set. I would just say one thing. As far as taking away privileges being better than spanking you're right, but that's for older kids. Very young children are Pavlovian. They don't have the long term thought development to appreciate that they don't get to watch cartoons at 2:00 because of something they did at noon. Their thought process runs along the lines of "I did that and got smacked." My granddaughter is going through her twos right now. :)


Koshcat said...

I have mixed emotions about spanking. I have done it, especially with the boy as it seems to be the only way to realign his attitude. However, I also agree that it is sending the message that might is right. We have found taking away privileges is effective 80% of the time. We also use physical punishment in the form of push-ups, etc. I learned from my father some techniques that can be very effective. If I ever mouthed off, he would smack me with his fingers right on the lips. Not enough to bleed or bruise but that is a really sensitive area. My wife picked up from her mother pulling the hair behind the ears to get the boy moving but he has learned from his uncle the benefits of a very short, summer haircut. The daughter responds best to the privileges punishment but rarely do we have to do much as her guilt level is set very high. Fascinating how different the two really are.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I concur! I particularly agree that spanking is not (or should not be) an act of violence, it is a demonstration of dominance. It is about telling the child that you are in charge.

I also think that's why it fades as kids get older because there are more effective means of showing that.

As an aside, I learned a long time ago not to spank my dogs when they are young. It is much more effective to take them away from the thing you don't want and hold them in place so they cannot move. It's a much stronger show of dominance and I've found it to be extremely effect in teaching them exactly what I want and getting them to obey very quickly. I found that spanking the dog makes them irrational and they don't learn the "why" they just know to fear you at that point.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. On the might makes right, sadly, that is probably the one principle that can explain everything that happens on our world.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, Thanks! Surprising ruling, isn't it? Especially from such a blue state!

Great point. For young kids who aren't really very clear thinkers yet, there probably is no other way to punish them that they will understand except spanking.

And let me add this too... in many ways, spanking is the same learning mechanism like touching a hot stove. It's the shock and the memory of the pain that keeps you from touching the stove again. Spanking is kind of the parent-created version of that for other rules.

Anthony said...

I have two girls. My wife was initially big on spanking them, but they dreaded my punishments more (no tv or what have you for weeks vs a minute or two of spanking) so after a while the spankings stopped. Things might be different if we had boys (neither of my daughters has ever been in a fight, which is more than my brother and I can say).

My parents were big on spankings but they agreed (my mother is no longer with us) it's not something that should be used nowadays.

I'd say the danger of spankings is parents going too far. My dad (huge guy, ex military, moonlighted as a bar bouncer) would have done serious damage to my brother or I if he hit us full force when we were kids, but he always gave himself a day to calm down before the spanking. I've seen cases where parents were clearly going all out, and that crosses a line.

I'm not saying spanking is always wrong, but generally speaking I think there are better, safer ways.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I have mixed emotions too. I see the benefits, but it strikes me that I should be better at getting my way than resorting to that. It's a hard call and one I would definitely not make for other people unless they are harming the child.

It is fascinating how different kids can be. Our two are polar opposites. One is an extreme extrovert who needs attention all the time and the other is a total introvert who can vanish into her cave for days if we let her. They are also polar opposites when it comes to guilt, which worries me a bit with the one.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Having occasionally been involved in cases that involved child abuse, it's pretty shocking what some parents think is acceptable. But excluding those, I think most parts are quite reasonable about how much force to use.

That said, I with you. The best punishments are those that take into account the personality of the child. My wife is big on grounding, but that plays right into the hands of our introvert who is happy to hide in her room. My punishments tend to be more based on what they will absolutely hate the most.

For example, I gave them both phones for a number of reasons and our extrovert can't live without hers. So I take it away... and she slowly goes insane. The introvert loses access to the television, to her manga, and I make her go grocery shopping with me... which apparently is much worse than anything Hitler did. LOL!

Koshcat said...

I think grocery shopping with your father or step-father may be restricted under the Geneva conventions. Less torturous to waterboard.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! You would think it was a war crime from the way she acts. The other one loves to go, but not her.

EPorvaznik said...

Fear of the belt, which was applied only once with actual merit (the second, unwarranted, time just made me wary of hanging out with older kids, who make up stories about punching their younger siblings), was how my brothers and I were raised, but with mom, a professional Catholic, in the house, fear and guilt wielded with amazing precision, were to be expected.

tryanmax said...


Applying physical restraint is a technique I use with my non-verbal autistic daughter. It gets the point across better than anything else. Even a finger swat seems to perplex her. Unfortunately, there are do-gooder busybodies citing a handful of abuse cases in order to outlaw restraint and seclusion as methods to discipline unruly special needs kids in schools.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Whenever Catholicism and corporal punishment comes up, I think of that scene with "the Penguin" in The Blues Brothers. :D

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That is ridiculous... so why am I not surprised. So basically, according to the do-gooder squad (a misnomer if ever there was one), you can't touch a child or speak to a child if your goal is to discipline or instruct about some rule. I guess, free range/feral children is the order of the day for those people.

I am reminded of that scene in Aliens when the lieutenant tells the men they can't use their guns against the alien. "What are we supposed to use? Harsh language?"

In any event, I've never done the physical restraint thing with a child, but it works super well with dogs and it doesn't harm them in the least.

EPorvaznik said...

>>I've never done the physical restraint thing with a child, but it works super well with dogs and it doesn't harm them in the least. >>

In the event a dog should happen to bite someone, AP, I've been told doing likewise to their ear sets them straight. Never had the opportunity to test that theory, notably after one locked on to my calf a few years ago, so please let us know if he pays any dividends with your girls.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, LOL! I'll let you know! I think what works best with the immobilization when it comes to dogs is that it's a dominant thing and you are showing the dog that you are stronger, so they give in.

EPorvaznik said...

Back to your Blues Brothers reference, can’t go wrong with “The Penguin” when it comes to dispensing with Catholic justice. Crack them knuckles and/or get some churchin’ up!!!

Staying with the flick, I actually got to throw a nod its way earlier today at the shop where my car was being fixed. Apparently catalytic converter theft is to the point in CA, a rigidly neurotic state (shocka!) in the emissions department, which merits Sacramento-sponsored notices being posted in shops. Though the reference went past the otherwise super-nice receptionist (of the age where I thought she might get it), made my pitch to switch to cars from the 60s and 70s since they were made before catalytic converters and run great on regular gas. Hit it!

AndrewPrice said...

Well... the new Caddy's are in early this year. ;-)
Nice reference! :D

I've heard that catalytic converter theft was thing during the metals boom a few years back. I'm not sure if that's still a problem or not?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I comcur, Andrew, great post.
Personally, I like spankings...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I think it is also important to impart on the child that the spanking is an unhappy duty of the parent, not something that is reveled in, and certainly not a tool of coercion."

So you're sayin' it it would be inappropriate to shout booyah! after spanking the kids?

EPorvaznik said...

Shocked me, but apparently enough of a problem in Cali. What goes right in this state anyway. In my best Admiral Stockdale, who am I, why am I still here?!?!

(New Oldsmobiles)

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Booya! LOL! Bravo, bravo! :D

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, nothing seems to go right in Cali anymore.

Oldsmobiles. Dang it. I haven't seen the film in a couple years... should have checked. :(

Anonymous said...

Spanking a child over the age of reason is spanking a child who is old enough to interpret it correctly as a sexual act. If your child has reached that age and you cannot reason with him or her, then it is time you saw a professional and got help figuring out your unresolved anger issues with your own parents, who in all likelihood sexually abused you in a similar way.

This has nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism. Neither strain of Western philosophy seeks to keep children in a dependent state within a sadomasochistic framework; both liberals and conservatives wish children to grow up to respect legitimate authority and to question authority that is bogus. Inflicting physical pain is a game for bullies, and unseemly as the schoolyard peer bully is, this sort of behavior is simply barbaric when applied by a grownup to a child. It is precisely the sort of dominance one sees at its worst in fringe reactionary belief systems and their adherents (ISIS, the Tea Party, etc.) -- which are not representative of legitimate conservatism (think Burke) at all but are simply thinly disguised fascisms.

And this one's for women in particular: If you don't think you can reason with your children and that they will force you to beat them, don't have them. Thanks to Griswold and Roe, nobody can force you to bear them, and your husband cannot interfere with what happens inside your own body.

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