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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I think I earned a few miffed comments and judgmental raised eyebrows when I said, about a wailing, temper-tantrum-throwing child, that I'd spank him if he were my child.

And I would. Of course, if this particular child were mine, he wouldn't have been horse-whipped by his grandparents, called "bastard" and "retard" by his father, and he wouldn't have watched his dad push his mom out of a car speeding down the highway. For a child like this, I understand spanking is entirely inappropriate. I understand why his mom disciplines (or doesn't) the way she does. I don't think her permissiveness is doing the child any favors, though. Because of her attitude as well as her abusive husband's, he'll grow up not only to beat the hell out of his girlfriends, but he also won't have any respect for any authority figures. What could the police and the legal system do that's any worse than what he's experienced in his life?

But my (theoretical) children will not experience this kind of pain camouflaged by love. They will, as I did, understand that disobedience has consequences, and if it continues past verbal warnings and unsuccessful time-outs, the next consequence is a spanking. Not once in my sassy, asshole childhood did I ever confuse violence and love. I knew exactly why I was getting spanked. I knew it was something I brought upon myself because of my behavior. Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. And if the kids get Tim's genes, boy howdy will we have some genius kids.

Of course I want to be a loving parent with consistent discipline, so that situations never reach the spanking point. But if they do, I will.

I know it's an extraordinarily controversial opinion. But it's one I've thought quite a bit about.


Blogger Amy said...

I'm certainly one of the ones who raised a judgemental eyebrow when you mentioned spanking that child. Now that I know more of his past, my eyebrow is raised a little higher.

That kid needs hugs and kisses and snuggles and comfort way more than he ever needs a raised hand or voice. He's probably acting out because all he has ever seen is violence and anger and unpredictable behavior. Spanking isn't going to help him change.

7:02 AM  
Blogger molly said...

I'm not rabidly anti-spanking or anything, but I'm not sure what spanking an already hysterical child would accomplish, other than making the situation worse.

7:21 AM  
Blogger tish said...

I also would spank my imaginary kids. I wasn't spanked and I knew that no matter what I did, my father wouldn't let anyone spank me and I was a fucking brat. It's obviously something you wouldn't do unless it was an extreme situation, of course.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I won't raise eyebrows. I'm one of those who would love to say that I'd NEVER spank, but I think I'd be lying. I'm not talking about hauling off and whacking the kid out of frustration. I'm talking about it being used in the way you described, Ellie. And yes, I know it's contradictory to say it's not violence, but to me, there is a big difference between spanking your kid and physical abuse.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Skeezix said...

I would love to say that I would never spank my kid, but I can't say that. I'm not a violent person but I think there can be situations that call for spanking.

I think there are some kids who given all the time outs in the world will still not correct their behavior.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Skeezix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:01 PM  

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