Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

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Apply the Rod or Spoil the Child It is the natural scheme of life. Human beings produce children and thus are classified as parents. It is and has always been the parent's job to raise and nurture the child, to teach it right from wrong, and to protect it from the harshness of the surrounding environment. However, when the child strays or behaves in a destructive manner, what steps should a parent take to correct such behavior? Some psychologists suggest that a good old-fashioned spanking is just the ticket. Others say that such action will emotionally damage the child later in life. With the parent ultimately responsible for the child, it's hard to know what is right or wrong when your 3 year-old is beating his head against the floor in a full-blown temper tantrum. 25 years ago, parents would have picked the child up, spanked it, and taken care of the tantrum effectively. Today, parents are more apt to try anything other that a swat on the behind. Reason, however, doesn't impress a 3 year-old so the behavior is often ignored because passive parents don't want to risk mentally scaring their child. The experts have basically made a huge issue out of something very simple. If spanking is as harmful as they say it is, then every human being over the age of 30 is a mental case. Spanking is not the answer for everything, but in some cases it is the only answer. The growing trends for passive discipline in the United States stem largely from the revelation that there were people out there that severely abused their children. As more and more abuse cases were brought to light, laws were changed to protect the child.1 Psychological issues soon began to crop up and spanking soon came under fire, being called a form of child abuse and in some cases punishable under the law. Researchers have studied the effects of spanking and the effects are not to be taken lightly. First of all, the experts claim that spanking doesn't teach a child self-direction. The child learns to do what the parent says or else face the consequences. This leads to other issues, including lying and cheating to avoid a spanking, which in some cases result in a spanking as well. Instead of regulating the behavior, it just trades one form of bad behavior for another. Second, and probably the most talked about consequence of spanking is that it can lead to hereditary violence. In other words, a child who is spanked could display violence with siblings and classmates, and as adults with spouses and their own children. Psychologist Terry Luce of the University of Tulsa2 says his research in aggressive behavior shows that children as young as pre-school age will hit other children as a result of being spanked themselves. Spanking also sends a disturbing message. It tells the average child that hitting is a way to solve problems and that it is all right for a big person to strike a small one. Another effect experts say spanking can have is that it erodes the parent/child bond. A large part of that bond is the child's desire to please the parent. The more the parent spanks the child, the less likely it is for that child to want to please the parent. Desensitization is also a factor here. Parents that spank may feel they have to spank longer and harder to get the same message across and eventually the child stops responding all together. Along with this, a child may be too young to understand the lesson that a spanking is trying to get across. Also, spanking your child can lead to a gradual increase in the severity of the abuse. Sociologists say that one-third of the parents that spank children with an open hand on the bottom move on to using belts and paddles, then to hitting on the face and head, then to punching, kicking, and beating.3 The number one cause of infant death according to Luce is parents who beat them under the guise of discipline. Still, in spite of all of this, every state in the union has laws that allow parental corporal punishment.4 Finally, a study...
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