“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, . . .[and] to teach them to love and serve one another” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, ¶ 6). This statement by The Proclamation proclaimed to the world of the responsibility parent have for their children – to teach them right from wrong. In today’s world less and less parents are the principal caregiver and teacher in a child’s life. The Proclamation firmly places this responsibility squarely on the heads of the parents. Yet even with this knowledge, the application of how to “rear their children in love and righteousness” could be debated. Many parents (even amongst members) have differing opinions on how children should be disciplined and taught. Is spanking considered abuse? Or is it excusable under certain circumstances? Should time out, or bribery be used to coerce kids to obey, or is it a combination of both? Many people have questioned what types of punishments are “righteous” and which ones are not. Here I want to discuss these things and find out what is the most popular belief among college students. Then we can go to our text, “Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family”, and discover what General Authorities and scholars in the field of Sociology and Child Development teach. In this way we can talk to others and inform them on, and maybe call them to reflection about their opinion and on the teachings of the leaders of the church.
When I was growing up, my parents believed in punishing a child who had severely disobeyed with spanking. Learning quickly at a young age that I did not like this, I was only spanked two or three times after which I built up the determination never to do anything deserving of spanking again. It scared me half to death and I despised it as a child. I have seen my older sisters, as they are currently raising their children, use spanking as a mode of punishment – sometimes it works, other times it seem to have little affect. I decided to ask my roommates and friends how their parents had disciplined them and what they thought they would do with their future children. Differing opinions existed among them, more than expected. Common belief follows the research, which shows that in many causes, children tend to grow up and raise their children in the same way their parents raised them. I discovered amongst my roommates that this was not always the case. Though all three of them had been spanked, only one stated that they would want to implement spanking in their future parenting.
While talking to D, (one of my current roommates), she attested to not only being spanked but also sent to her room for punishment. Being sent to her room, she felt, was a good solution, however spanking was not something she wanted to implement in her home. Stating examples, D explained how she felt she would probably use the isolation of the children to their room as a common form of punishment. Using time-out was also mentioned as a form of chastisement she would use on her kids. While we were enjoying discussion and the exchange of ideas, I took the opportunity to share with her some quotes from our textbook. Under the title heading “The Value of Prevention” in chapter eight, we learn to start thinking of ways to prevent bad behavior rather than think of good punishments. “It seems that the Lord favors teaching over punishment”(Dollahite, 129). With this she readily agreed but had never thought of it from that angle. So many people thank about ways they will punish their kids, (either like or different from their parents) and often don’t take time to think of ways to prevent punishment instead of look for it. We discussed further her idea about sending children to their room and I warned her against the over use of that as it can be seen as “love withdrawal” (Dollahite, 126) and if done in anger it could end up being “delivered with a coldness that confirms the child’s sense of...
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