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A cheap alternative to the iRod, which sells for $299
January 13, 2005 4:35 AM   Subscribe

When we started selling a device made for the sole purpose of beating children, we had no idea people would be upset!
posted by XQUZYPHYR (125 comments total)

 
!
posted by mediareport at 4:44 AM on January 13, 2005


While many Christians cite lines in the Bible's Book of Proverbs that speak of the disciplining force of ''the rod" and repeat a line from a Samuel Butler poem, ''Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child," she prefers to cite Jesus Christ's teachings in the New Testament about nonviolence.

Precisely.

So the question remains, are fundies Christian (Christ-like) or are they Old Testament cherry-pickers looking to justify their cruelty, bigotry and hatred?
posted by nofundy at 4:50 AM on January 13, 2005


"Spoons are for cooking, belts are for holding up pants, hands are for loving, and rods are for chastening"

Now look, if it's good and natural to emulate pyramiding cheerleaders and to use the parenting technique of tethering children as torture methods, who are we to question this?
posted by idest at 4:55 AM on January 13, 2005


Banning these things will surely keep parents who would otherwise not beat their children from at least considering it. I wish they had banned willow branches when I was a kid.

"I wonder if there's anything I could buy that would make beating my child easier? As a first timer, I'm just not familiar enough with what's available out there that would make beating my little girl more accessible. Would my hands and fists work... maybe the people's elbow?"

Knuckleheads on both ends of this one.
posted by Witty at 5:02 AM on January 13, 2005


Actually, it's a great product and I have no problem with it at all. The only mistake is that it targets the wrong demographic of fundamentalists.

It should be used on the Bible thumping parents, not their children.

Once we clear up the typographical errors on the ads, it's all good.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 5:07 AM on January 13, 2005


Try it on yourself ahead of time to determine how much force to use to get the result you desire.

Seems pretty reasonable to me. It's not like they're giving you a rod and telling you, "Go, onto you, and merry whipping." They want you to know how much you're going to hurt your kid so you don't overdo it.

Examine your heart.See? Responsible beating. Maybe some of you parents should try it on your brats sometime. They might actually listen to you in the future.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:10 AM on January 13, 2005


"Spoons are for cooking, belts are for holding up pants, hands are for loving, and rods are for chastening"

I disagree. Rods are for loving, too.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:12 AM on January 13, 2005


It should be used on the Bible thumping parents, not their children.

Haha! Yea, fuck them. Fuck Muslims we're at it. Why not?

She also asked the federal government to deem The Rod hazardous to children, and ban the sale of all products designed for spanking.

All products? Where are these things? Where do you buy "products designed for spanking"? When I was a kid, as far as I was concerned, yard-sticks were "products designed for spanking". I just love stories like this, about dumbasses who think they're "solving" a problem by trying to patch up only those things of which they can see. I mean she can't possibly believe that she's actually protecting anyone with this little crusade, can she?
posted by Witty at 5:19 AM on January 13, 2005


Spank you very much.
posted by ColdChef at 5:20 AM on January 13, 2005


I wish they had banned willow branches when I was a kid.

she can't possibly believe that she's actually protecting anyone with this little crusade, can she?
The trees?
posted by thomcatspike at 5:24 AM on January 13, 2005


The Spanking Machine: a Resilient Myth in Popular Culture.
posted by raygirvan at 5:25 AM on January 13, 2005


From raygirvan's link:

"...mass whacking on a truly industrial scale..."

Don't we call that MetaTalk?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:35 AM on January 13, 2005


"Less Confusing To The Child"

Yes, I'm tired of children being confused while beaten. This product is a Godsend!

p.s.: Nylon whip, eh? Everyone knows rods should be made from inanimate carbon.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:40 AM on January 13, 2005


There is nothing wrong with wooden spoons for the purpose.

When I was a kid, my mom would save the paddles from those paddle ball toys you could get-the rubber band part would always eventually break. This then turned into her tool of choice for administering correction.


I have three practically grown kids. They got the occasional spanking when they were little. They learned that if they did not behave, there were consequences.

I don't believe in terrorizing children, or BEATING them. I do believe in not letting them run loose over the countryside terrorizing the populace...they were happy kids who knew what the limits were, and knew HOW to avoid spankings. I never spanked them for any offence they had not been previously warned about.

Speaking of yardsticks, I remember when teachers in my public school used THOSE...they used to slap the palms of our hands with them. I remember back in fifth grade one kid getting licks with a yardstick-about six inches of it would break off with every hit the teacher would give. When she was done the thing was in total pieces. Now THAT was ridiculous.
posted by konolia at 5:43 AM on January 13, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, where is the indignation of parents who abuse kids with their fists?

Oh, right, it's not only Christians who do that so obviously not worth the mention.

Also, nice to put words in their mouths. I'm pretty sure they knew people would object.

Again I must state that people that interpret scripture in this way are indicative of idiots, not Christianity.

But that might be a leap of faith for some of to believe that. It is my opinion that Idiots will find any tract to support their small minded beliefs. Zealotry comes in more flavors than ice cream, mate.
posted by Dagobert at 5:45 AM on January 13, 2005


Dagobert: this link is not about folks who beat their children with fists, it's about this:

Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chastenth him betimes.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13,14 Withhold not correction from a child: for if thous beatest him with the rod, he will not die. Thou shall beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

And konolia, you state "I don't believe in terrorizing children, or BEATING them," yet it seems as though your beliefs contradict the scripture. The proverbs above clearly state that BEATING children is a-okay.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:54 AM on January 13, 2005


When visiting Disney World when I was 4 with my parents they purchased "the whompin' stick". It was a paddle approximately 3" wide by 18" long. Burned into it was it's name along with a picture of a child being bent over a barrel screaming in pain. There was a man behind him wailing on his ass with "the wompin' stick".

Keep in mind this was purchased at Disney World.

The mere idea of that paddle kept me in line as a child. I only recall it being used once and after that I knew that if I acted like a goon I'd get it. Incidentally, I believe this is one of the few areas in which my parents excelled at their role - they taught me that my actions would have serious consequences. A "timeout" is not a serious consequence, IMO.

That paddle still hangs in my parents kitchen and has now been used to help control three generations of my family. If there's any justice it'll be used for three more.
posted by pookzilla at 5:56 AM on January 13, 2005


Kids should still have to fetch their own switches.

Criticizing the rod? You better believe that's a paddlin'.

Please, only correct your children if they are doing something they are too young to understand is life-threateneing, such as playing with an outlet.
posted by Eideteker at 5:57 AM on January 13, 2005


spare the rod, spoil the child.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:13 AM on January 13, 2005


Striking a child, no matter what you are striking him/her with, is NOT O.K. ... that said, there is an exception..as noted by
Eideteker above, I think..

If a child is too young to understand a verbal correction for a behavior that could hurt/harm them (running into the street), a swift and decisive smack on the butt with your hand is reasonable, IMHO.

Any other use of force to "train" a child will probably teach the child that the compliance of another person (shall we expand this to include groups/countries/etc) is gained through violence.

The question becomes, do you want to perpetuate that way of thinking when there are other methods of teaching children available?
posted by HuronBob at 6:13 AM on January 13, 2005


What is the origin of the phrase "that's a paddlin'"? 'Cause every time I read it (usually here), I start laughing without really knowing why.
posted by Ritchie at 6:18 AM on January 13, 2005


Sir,

I wish to address you to hold forth forthcoming and fontaeneously 'pon the subject of Child Discipline. Every honest Christian gentleman of good breeding knows as surely as he knows the 7 Commandments (of Our Lord God Almighty And Most Terrible And Punishing For Sins Of The Flesh, Such As Ejaculating Onto A Caccus) the favourite saying of our erstwhile Lord of Affairs and Stately Cumbershanks, Sir Peter Crumblehair (Royal Knight Secretary Lord Horse To The Catcher Of The Privy Oubliére Council Trouser): "A child not beaten to within an inch of its very life is an offence in the eyes of the Lord God Almighty he who created That Great Nation England and Her Royal Highness Queen Pomp-vuss Victoria HünschënheimvennächtësvalënSchloßvös III's glorious and most venerable Empire of Britain and the outlying lands of Compromos, Scotland, and Progron 5". However I am afeared in mine eyes that perhaps it is possible to administer a beating that goes above and beyond what one expects to glean from aforementioned beating. If I may take just a moment of your most honourable time to perentulate what a typical aforementioned beating applied by a generous God Fearing philanthropist such as myself may possibly entail:

1. Take stout cane of matured oakwood
2. Soak in quinine
3. Suck quinine from cane
4. Gag child
5. Beat child's face until gag comes off
6. Beat gag as it lays on floor
7. Beat child's eyes
8. Beat inside of child's knees, with occasional random beats across the back
9. Punch the air with your fist, and go 'Yes!'
10. Child will have looked around; beat child's face, hands, face, legs
11. Beat buttocks
12. Flay skin from buttocks using beating
13. Beat blood that emerges until it is gone; muscle will be revealed
14. Beat muscle
15. Buttock-plate is revealed; beat buttock-plate until it cracks
16. Fluid will seep out; beat fluid
17. Beat child's chest until it splits
18. Beat heart until it bursts
19. Eat remains of heart

So in summarisation - in your esteemed opinion, how much is too much?

Your honourable honoured lowly noble servant,

Sir Guinea Eggmouth Pipistrelle Paperswanston-voc,
Battersea Orphan And Urchin's Home For Orphans And Urchins,
Battersea
posted by ZippityBuddha at 6:18 AM on January 13, 2005


Hurt me hurt me daddy OHHHHHHyesss.
posted by pekar wood at 6:22 AM on January 13, 2005


Ritchie, it's from the episode of The Simpsons when the teachers go on strike. Spoken to Lisa's 2nd grade class by Grampa Simpsons' long-bearded chum Jasper.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:22 AM on January 13, 2005


Are you demonstrating the qualities in your life that you are trying to instill in the child?

As in, it's okay to beat people whose actions you don't agree with?

Where are these things? Where do you buy "products designed for spanking"?

Did you read the article? They list one such place. There are a few more. Or, hell, there's a guy who will even send you a free paddle.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:39 AM on January 13, 2005


The mere idea of that paddle kept me in line as a child. I only recall it being used once and after that I knew that if I acted like a goon I'd get it.

Same here, and it worked as well--the threat of paddling was enough to keep me in line. I was spanked precisely once in my life, and I still remember what I did to deserve it. My parents held off on the physical punishment until it was absolutely necessary to get something Very Important through my thick skull.

Thing is, there's a difference between Hitting Your Kids and disciplining them through subtle acts of physical persuasion. For example, if I was acting up in a department store with my mom, she would grab my arm and haul me outside. She wouldn't say, "Now, Civil, please be a good boy, please behave." You can get the "roughness" through to your kids by simply grabbing them in a strong manner, for instance.

I think that parents are afraid to punish their children these days (Jesus, "Time out?" What in the hell is that crap?), and if not punished early and consistently (very important), they'll walk all over you later on.

it's from the episode of The Simpsons when the teachers go on strike

Old Man Jasper: "Talkin' out of turn... that's a paddlin'. Lookin' out the window.... that's a paddlin'. Starin' at my sandals.... that's a paddlin'. Paddlin' the school canoe... oh, you'd better believe that's a paddlin'."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:40 AM on January 13, 2005


"Any other use of force to "train" a child will probably teach the child that the compliance of another person (shall we expand this to include groups/countries/etc) is gained through violence."

That's a pretty broad generalization -- care to back that up with any facts? From my own experience, I got my behind tore up (to use the Southern expression) until grade school. That's when my parents switched over to lectures and groundings. I grew up to be a person who has a respect for authority (although this administration is calling that into question), good interpersonal skills and does not condone violence except in extreme cases (i.e. self-defense). My 13 year old nephew, on the other hand, has never had a spanking in his life and is constantly kicked out of school for fighting. Go figure.
posted by lemoncello at 6:41 AM on January 13, 2005


Most people today were not hit enough as children.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 AM on January 13, 2005


Did you actually get to see the rod?
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 6:47 AM on January 13, 2005


A cheap alternative to the iRod, which sells for $299

Classic!
posted by jeblis at 6:51 AM on January 13, 2005


Looks like a sex toy to me. Does it vibrate?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:57 AM on January 13, 2005


Now if only someone would ban cold, parental indifference.

Daddy, why don't you love meeeee!!!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:02 AM on January 13, 2005


Most people today were not hit enough as children.

Huh? Surely your tongue was planted firmly in cheek?
Civil_Disobedient: Time outs do work wonders when used correctly.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:02 AM on January 13, 2005


Thanks for the Simpsons ref.

I went to an all-boys private school which had corporal punishment (known sometimes, bizarrely, as 'administrative' punishment). Caning, basically. I avoided it, but it was never made clear what was grounds for caning. Apparently any teacher could cane a boy, in front of the class or out in the corridor.

The vast majority of teachers didn't, but there was one who was reputed to have once hauled a boy out of class and caned him in the corridor until he curled up in a ball on the floor. I can't confirm whether this happened or not. It didn't seem out of character for that teacher (who had a notoriously short fuse), but on the other hand kids do blow the truth out of all proportion to reality.

The emphasis at the school was very much on discipline, but the discipline was always externally imposed. I eventually changed schools, but I always wondered how those kids who made it through exams coped when they got to uni and had to rely on their internal discipline.
posted by Ritchie at 7:03 AM on January 13, 2005


My 13 year old nephew, on the other hand, has never had a spanking in his life and is constantly kicked out of school for fighting. Go figure.

As a kid, various implements were used on me, including wooden spoons, metal ladles, and belts. It didn't seem to keep me from getting in trouble at school, and neither did the fact that the school, at the time, was legally allowed to paddle me. I think that sort of thing is far more dependent on personality and upbringing. Conversely, my friends, as I recall, were never spanked, and they also didn't get in trouble at school.

I do not think children should be spanked, but rather they should be belittled with ironic sarcasm.
posted by tweak at 7:04 AM on January 13, 2005


I wonder why the ad didn't mention the hairbrush? It's a spanking favorite from way back.
posted by Crackerbelly at 7:07 AM on January 13, 2005


Huh? Surely your tongue was planted firmly in cheek?

A little. But I firmly believe that everyone should get the living shit kicked out of them at least once in life. And that children should, at least somewhat, fear their parents and other authority figures. Otherwise, they grow up to be little shits with a sense of entitlement and no understanding of the idea of consequences.
posted by jonmc at 7:09 AM on January 13, 2005


I do not think children should be spanked, but rather they should be belittled with ironic sarcasm.

That's a fantastic idea. Really. You should write a book.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:11 AM on January 13, 2005


Some parental involvement can go too far.

And of course, let's not forget this gem.

How about some rules - discipline by rational people and parents frustrated and/or angry are two different sets. I think it is the parents role, which the variety of responses happening here illustrates. Unfortunately some parents are questionable in their judgement of what is punishment - which crosses that (not so fine) line into abuse.

I personally find this whip revolting and dangerous; also an industry around child punishment is rather disturbing.

Re: the child harness. I think this is the result of parents laziness and is more convenient for the parents. They should be banned.

Disclaimer: I have no children but sometimes act like one on TV.
posted by fluffycreature at 7:11 AM on January 13, 2005


Just like training an animal, there are people who use physical force, and people who use strong commands & body language but also make it clear that following directions will work out better for everyone. There's no need to resort to physical violence to instill respect in children, and there is no reason to believe that physical beatings will result in respect, either (fear is not respect, and some people don't really fear physical beatings anyway).
posted by mdn at 7:13 AM on January 13, 2005


people who hit children are scum
posted by mr.marx at 7:15 AM on January 13, 2005


Thank you HuronBob for bringing common sense back into the conversation.

In short, hitting the child teaches not only that violence mediates problems, but that authority itslef can be justified through force.

The idea of being hit, as pookzilla suggests that children should be content to be controlled through fear.

Is this not a simple logical argument?
posted by themadjuggler at 7:20 AM on January 13, 2005


Tweak, my roundabout point to HuronBob was that whether or not you were spanked is not an automatic indicator of how you will view the use of violence to gain what you want. (Obviously, I was in no way clear on that, so I apologize.)

I think spankings can be very effective for young children (really, is a five minute time out going to make much impact on a three year old with a 30 second attention span?). But those spankings must be delivered when the parent is calm, with the fewest strikes possible, and only on the child's butt. A firm swat on the seat to make the child stop, take notice of what they're doing and realize that it has consequences is a far sight better than just asking them to stop. Over and over and over.
posted by lemoncello at 7:21 AM on January 13, 2005


thanks, mr. marx, for that constructive and illuminating comment. Your royal dictum aside, there is rather wide debate as to where the line between discipline and abuse is.

Having experienced both physical and verbal discipline in my life, I can honestly say that there are upsides and downsides to both. The pain of a slap goes away quickly, but cruel words can stick with you a lot longer.

There's no need to resort to physical violence to instill respect in children, and there is no reason to believe that physical beatings will result in respect,

yes, but threats without something behind them won't get you far either.
posted by jonmc at 7:23 AM on January 13, 2005


Ok Jon. I'll give you that to a certain extent. A good ol' fashioned ass-kicking will toughen one up and teach that life isn't a bowl of cherries. In this context however (I'm only speaking from the perspective of a father of a four year old daughter) it seems to have almost immediate negative consequences which down the line, could have a negative impact overall.

I'm very involved with my daughter in that I dole out the discipline and observe her at nearly every waking moment when I'm not at work. The first time I gave my daughter a slap on her backside, I fucking hated it and she didn't appreciate it too much either. Later, I watched her with her dolls and noticed that she pretended to spank them and immediately I vowed that physical discipline would not be used when teaching would suffice. We do use time-outs and other forms of discipline (no pyramids or leashes) and while we won't know for sure how she turns out as and adult, she sure seems to know how to handle herself better.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:24 AM on January 13, 2005


From the advertisement of The Rod:

Benefits For The Parents: an excellent gift idea.
Benefits For The Children: promotes a loving atmosphere in the home.


I was raised in the Strict Controlling Father Mode. Corporal punishment was inflicted nearly every day (my mother had a fierce temper) with just about anything that came to hand. She finally did stop slapping me in the face, though, after I flinched when she put a hand up to move my bangs.

As a reading, thinking adult, I took a number of parenting classes and came to the conclusion that beating only teaches 1. that violence solves problems and 2. behavior determined by fear of violence is only kept in check as long as there is a deterrence. In other words, it is better to teach your children what is right, rather than scaring them into doing what is right because one day the child gets to big to whip.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:30 AM on January 13, 2005


$.02

May I suggest some reading material?

Also, may I add that many people today are lazy and too self-absorbed to take the time to learn new methods of raising children, thinking that they "turned out okay" and so model the discipline methods of their parents...and their parent's parents and so forth.

I don't spank. A good trick to train your kids not to touch outlets, walk into traffic...is a quick, loud shout. It will scare them more than spanking and won't cause the deep-seeded physical pain association that harbors within our subconscious mind. It is more effective when you don't shout at your kids very often, which you shouldn't.
posted by mic stand at 7:30 AM on January 13, 2005


Kevin: (no pyramids or leashes)

What is a pyramid with regards to discipline?
posted by fluffycreature at 7:33 AM on January 13, 2005


I do not think children should be spanked, but rather they should be belittled with ironic sarcasm.

Oh, and by the way, my mother was the sarcasm master. She loved to inflict her little pointed barbs, that to this day makes me nearly crazy with rage when I recall them.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:33 AM on January 13, 2005


and we wonder why the world is such a violent cesspool. sigh.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:37 AM on January 13, 2005


Kevin: (no pyramids or leashes)

Sorry. My feeble attempt at lightening the mood a bit. This was a reference to the current trial regarding prisoner "discipline" at Abu Ghraib.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:47 AM on January 13, 2005


thanks, mr. marx, for that constructive and illuminating comment. Your royal dictum aside, there is rather wide debate as to where the line between discipline and abuse is.s

you're welcome. btw, I don't need to be constructive, in my part of the world physical "discipline" of children has been illegal for 25 years. why shouldn't it be? beating another human being is ok, just because they are young? disgusting.
posted by mr.marx at 7:49 AM on January 13, 2005


I think Gravy said it best. My parents were spankers who sometimes strayed into being kickers or punchers. I grew up hating and fearing them.

I worked in retail for a while, and I saw plenty of angry parents thwacking their kids for not obeying. Then one day I saw a woman with a kid who wouldn't leave the battery rack alone. The woman said, "Tommy, those batteries are for other people, for their radios or remote controls. We have plenty of batteries at home. If we need some, we'll come back, and you can help me pick the right ones out." The kid thought for a minute and said, "Ok." And he put them down. It made me wish there were more parents like that.
posted by goatdog at 7:53 AM on January 13, 2005


a free paddle??? if it's five swats for endangering someone's safety... shouldn't the children get a turn to grab ahold of the paddle and beat on their parents?
posted by jennababy at 7:54 AM on January 13, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy...

Your comment "behavior determined by fear of violence is only kept in check as long as there is a deterrence" is right on the money. Physical violence will change behavior, but only as long as the threat is there. Eventually kids get bigger, and figure out that they can beat the shit out of abusive Dad...stand back folks, this one is gonna make the local paper.

I stand by my comment that violence breeds violence.. common sense and logic says it does, as does the research (do a google for "correlation spanking violence") if this doesn't bother you, grab the stick and go at it, but don't complain when the world turns out to be a crappy place to live.

There DOES need to be consequences for behavior, but the world is full of natural consequences that do not involve violence or beating and will probably prove to be much more effective in changing behavior.
posted by HuronBob at 7:54 AM on January 13, 2005


Here in Missouri, nearly all schools have corporal punishment. At my wife's high school, students can choose between a few "swats" administered with a paddle or detention after school. Most take the swats. When my wife went for her job interview, there was a cheerleader in her uniform waiting in the principal's office for her spanking...
posted by LarryC at 7:58 AM on January 13, 2005


in case anyone is interested, you can read about the Swedish ban on corporal punishment here
posted by mr.marx at 8:03 AM on January 13, 2005


When my wife went for her job interview, there was a cheerleader in her uniform waiting in the principal's office for her spanking...

Hey buddy, this is a family site...;)
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on January 13, 2005


A cheap alternative to the iRod ...

I though Ivan Rodrigues was a catcher. :-)
posted by nathanrudy at 8:13 AM on January 13, 2005


Why do "consequences" have to mean spanking? Other forms of correction are much more effective, such as taking away a favorite toy or not allowing them to watch their favorite tv show. This is what we do with my daughter (almost 3) and it works wonderfully. I must admit that I have swatted her on the butt once or twice while angry. She reacts with anger back to me (really, how would any of us like it if someone hits us?) but she always accepts the other punishments calmly and hands me the toy. I have to work really hard to not spank her, as I was raised in a household where spanking was practiced. I have come to agree with the philosophy that hitting in anger only creates children who hit in anger. That's not what I want for my child.

I think the key to raising a child who respects their parents and others is to always follow through when correcting their behavior. If you tell them their will be consequences for their actions and always follow through, they will respect you and the limits you set. Kids are master manipulators and know how to get their own way. The trick is to decide as a parent how far you're going to let them go before disciplining them. In our house, my daughter knows that no means no, even when she asks for something multiple times.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 8:15 AM on January 13, 2005


She finally did stop slapping me in the face, though, after I flinched when she put a hand up to move my bangs.

My Mom stopped the occasional slapping when I got big enough to slap back. Usually she just used the "Wait til I tell your father about this" method with the strong implication that there would be worse violence. I grew up believing that my father would, if provoked into anger, kill me. That said, I can only remember him spanking me once when I was really little. I did watch him smash a chair to splinters when he and my Mom were fighting once though. I thought I was getting off easy because I had neighbors who really got beaten by their parents in what was clearly an abusive situation. It didn't really occur to me until I got much older that having a Mom who gets so angry at you for not picking up your stuff that she slaps you across the face is not really the standard in the US. My Mom of course denies this ever happened. I have a fearsome temper [though not a violent one] and a completely irrational fear of angry people which sometimes makes working in a public library a bit of a challenge.

When my friend started teaching in public schools in Mississippi, he said the most disturbing thing to get used to -- way more than the amazing poverty or the pregnant freshmen -- was the expectation that teachers should use corporal punishment on students.
posted by jessamyn at 8:24 AM on January 13, 2005


Proberbs 22:15 -- Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

And the rest is history.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:32 AM on January 13, 2005


Re: the child harness. I think this is the result of parents laziness and is more convenient for the parents. They should be banned.

My son is just over a year, and he's quick and very willful. Just like I was. We also live on a busy street with a park near us. When we walk down to it, I use a safety harness and leash because while he will hold my hand, there are times he will pull away and dart, and the leash keeps him from getting in front of a car.

So fuck you very much for having no children, but assuming you know enough to tell me I'm being lazy. Ass.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:37 AM on January 13, 2005


I think spankings can be very effective for young children (really, is a five minute time out going to make much impact on a three year old with a 30 second attention span?). But those spankings must be delivered when the parent is calm

So you don't want to use time outs because the child will forget why he was punished with this supposed 30 second attention span, but you think it's fine for a parent to wait until he's calmed down to hit the child well after he doesn't understand why he's being hit.

Sounds marvy.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:40 AM on January 13, 2005


There are, in fact, countries where spanking children has been declared illegal. There have been a number of studies showing that parents tend to find alternate, nonviolent methods of disciplining their kids in those circumstances, and the kids tend to grow up perfectly well-adjusted and no more whiny little brats than in countries where it's legal to whack them with whatever for however long you like.

Don't have time to provide a link right now, as I have to run off to work, but to those of you who have laughed at the idea of legislation having any effect, or who have stated that, by gum, children should be whupped every now and then - please, do some research. If you keep the same opinions afterwards, fine, but be informed.
posted by kyrademon at 8:45 AM on January 13, 2005


I can't believe no one has mentioned the belt? I can't recall if it was ever used on me, but I do remember it being folded in half and snapped . . .LOUDLY . . .to get my attention. It was non-verbal communication that I was crossing the line into unacceptable behavior. Like I said, I don't recall if it was ever used on me, but the threat was enough to keep me in line. My parents must have been consistent enough elsewhere for me to believe they would have used

That being said, I don't believe in hitting my kids, although my oldest (10) asked me the other day when she was in trouble for something about school if I could "just spank her and get it over with" cause that would make her feel better. I explained I didn't believe in that and that her punishment would go on and on and on and on, hehehe. Her friends down the street who are 11 and 13 still get spankings, on bare butts, with a spoon that hangs on the kitchen wall.
posted by nramsey at 8:52 AM on January 13, 2005


When I was in school, corporal punishment was allowed, but if parents objected to it they could write a note to the principal. There were all these rules about how it could be done...it had to be administered in the principal's office, over clothing, and I think it was something the student had to opt for instead of something else. I never knew of anyone who got spanked in school.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:57 AM on January 13, 2005


I can't believe no one has mentioned the belt?

My mother used one. It was thick and wide, brown on one side and black the other, with fancy embroidery covering it. When she didn't use it on me or my sister, she actually wore it.

I loathed that belt, and I loathed her.

She hit us until I was thirteen. She came at me and we tussled for the belt. I shouted for my sister to call the police. She managed to get the belt and beat me until I couldn't sit, and then locked herself in her room for several hours crying.

She never hit my sister that day, and she never hit either of us after that day.

She still has a scar on her neck from where I scratched her during the fight over the belt.

If that's effective discipline, I'll eat my desk.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:59 AM on January 13, 2005


It seems sensible to suggest that for very young children pain can be used to condition correct behaviour, on the assumption that this is internalised to produce correct behaviour when older. However, this would only work on very young children, and may not work at all: certainly the behaviorist school of thought (e.g. B.F. Skinner), which would justify the infliction of pain to determine behaviour, appears to believe that pain only results in behavior that tries to avoid the pain, not the behavior that caused the pain to be inflicted.

All said, I can't help feeling we'll look back on this like we do the thought of men being able to impose corporal punishment on their wives.
posted by alasdair at 9:11 AM on January 13, 2005


I'm glad that this is a fairly reasoned and calm discussion, but can we still mine that fucking flyer for the comedy gold that it contains?

Can you imagine the bleak, bleak, bleak life of the child in the home where that flyer is received with anything other than a shudder and/or horrified laugh? Hmmm, how can I improve my childs beatings? Extension cord causing carpal tunnel? Our rod is ERGONOMIC, NON-SLIP and SAVES TIME. 100% OSHA COMPLIANT!

Jonmc,
Having both kicked an ass or two and having had my ass kicked in my life I have to say that some people do learn something from it, other people learn nothing and spend the rest of their lives looking for revenge and never getting it and spreading that pain around even further and every other flavor in between. I learned never to start a fight without the expectation that it will be messy, shitty, 99% of the time embarassing and painful to someone and that that someone could very well be me. I learned that as a grownup, as a kid I just waded in and tried to kick as many groins as I could.


I see no point to hitting children, or rather beating them, I think the hiney slap when they are too young to understand otherwise is sensible though. If we go down the "It was good enough for me, so it's good enough for them" road far enough we'd all be living in huts, toothless, scared of witches and growing rye for some inbread twit who happened to own the nearest castle.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:30 AM on January 13, 2005


fluffycreature commented 'Re: the child harness. I think this is the result of parents laziness and is more convenient for the parents. They should be banned.'

I am assuming, as FunkyHelix seems to, that this is a reference to a harness for the parent to keep hold of their kid such as this one.

I really don't understand the problem with these. My toddler age sibling is commonly installed in one of these for walks with her parents. It seems to me that this allows her to be mobile and inquisitive while remaining safe.

Perhaps this is a cultural thing. In the UK, where she lives, these harnesses are a relatively common and unremarkable sight. However on a family visit to New York there were many sideways glances and even one direct insult regarding perceived parenting skills. But as the standard alternative seemed to be to keep kids immobile in a stroller well beyond their 'toddling' years I really don't get what the problem is.
posted by pasd at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2005


I have to say that FunkyHelix has brought the most truth to this discussion. Thank you....

Those of you that are advocating "spanking" (in any of its beautiful forms!) should read those posts over and over until you understand the terror and fear. Then go look in your child's eyes and tell me you want to see that terror reflected there.
posted by HuronBob at 9:41 AM on January 13, 2005


we'd all be living in huts, toothless, scared of witches

Most of the world population lives that way right now.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:42 AM on January 13, 2005


I mean, live that way. Damn.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:44 AM on January 13, 2005


posted by Witty:

Haha! Yea, fuck them. Fuck Muslims we're at it. Why not?

Sure, why not, provided they are fundamentalists, and share the same sense of religious fascism?

Of course, despite recent events, Muslim fundamentalists still have a lot of catching up to do over Christian fundamentalists in the "be a psychotic, murderous, hypocritical, perverse, sadistic, life-hating, ignorant, fuck headed- asshole" department.

For example, the scores for killing innocent people in the past few years are very much skewed in favor of Christian nutcases, with some 14,000+ innocent Muslim civilians compared to 3,000 dead in the WTC. Our Christo-fascist lunatics killed that many children since 2003. And the best part is there's not even a tenuous connection between the cause of our dead civilians and the response resulting in killing theirs.

That's a tough act to follow.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:46 AM on January 13, 2005


You have my permission to like it.

(As I spank your behind with a hairbrush.)

(That movie scene warped me forevermore.)
posted by nofundy at 9:50 AM on January 13, 2005


On the leash: I was a leashed child, and when I found this out, I asked my mother what she was thinking. Her reply: "Would you rather spend all day walking around like this? [Sticks hand high into air.] Because when you're that little, that's how it is." That pretty much convinced me.

Regarding spanking: If you have to use the spoon more than once, you are not using it effectively. That is, its point is as a threat, not an actual device. My mother was pretty progressive and respected me a lot, even when I was small. I was, however, a tantrum machine. She would try rationality, à la the battery example above, but past a certain point, I was not listening to reason. A glimpse of the spoon though brought me back to reality. However, as she always tried being reasonable first, and always explained the reasons for rules, I respected her a lot more than teachers and counselors who didn't hit me but where authoritarian fucks who thought "because I'm older and say so" was a good enough reason.

So it isn't like "you spanked" is always bad and "you did timeout" is always good. It depends on the context far more than anyone on either side wants to admit. I learned to treat people better from the spanker.
posted by dame at 9:53 AM on January 13, 2005


mr.marx, sorry I missed your posts in my haste - exactly what I was talking about. It's always been baffling to me that some people are so sure of their beliefs that they never bother to find out whether what happens in other places where things are different confirm or contradict them.

Quite frankly, I find parts of this thread ununtterably depressing. What I learned from being beaten was that 1) pain hurts, and 2) sometimes my parents did completely insane and devastating things for reasons I was unable to comprehend. Neither particularly made me better behaved.

Every study on the subject I've ever seen shows that punishment is, in fact, one of the least effective methods of causing behavioral change. But people still seem to treat it like one of the best. Why? Seriously? Why? Are they trying to justify the fact that they were beaten? Are they so enraged by the behavior of children that they want to beat them up? Are they just mean? Or are they just repeating something that they were told - so often, and by so many people, that no other evidence is going to get through?

And why do some people on this thread act like there's nothing other than 1) beating your child, or 2) letting them run around biting the neighbor's cat?

Pain hurts. Great lesson. Think I could have learned it on my own, though.
posted by kyrademon at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2005


Not on preview: Also what psad said regarding strollers. I've seen four-year-olds in strollers in New York. Ick.
posted by dame at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2005


I was spanked as a kid with all sorts of things -- wooden spoons, hairbrushes, books, magazines, and other things I forget.

But when we heard stories of other people slapping their children (open hand, in the face), that was tantamount to abuse.

At the time, I bought it. Today, I don't really see the difference. Why the double standard?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:56 AM on January 13, 2005


Well Fuzzy, what's it to ya?
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:58 AM on January 13, 2005


Ah, nothin'.

It just always boggles my mind when I realize/remember that... that's all.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:10 AM on January 13, 2005


MrMoonPie - Yes, I read the article. Of course paddles are available on the internet, what isn't? My point is, I don't see them at Wal-Mart or for sale by street vendors. I don't get ads for them in my (snail)mailbox. It doesn't seem like a product that someone could stumble upon, causing them to actually consider whether or not they should buy one. I can't imagine that someone who chooses to spank their children would bother looking for a "better tool" for the job. At the same time, I can't imagine that someone who doesn't spank their children would go looking for a tool because suddenly they feel like spanking is a good idea. Based on that, I don't see what difference it will make if a ban on these things is actually successful. What change will occur? Will there be less spankings? No way. Who wins? I tell you who wins, the woman... that's it. She gets to treat herself to a nice little liberal pat on the back, "Job well done. My pointless effort has really made me feel good".

What surprises me in this thread is the fact that some people think spanking is ok, while others don't. Even moreso, it doesn't look like anyone is going to change their mind either. How odd. I figured everyone would be on the same page here. This is quite the unique situation.

So I guess for me:
pro-choice
anti-school vouchers
pro-guns
anti-affirmative action
pro-spanking
{digs in}
posted by Witty at 10:10 AM on January 13, 2005


And to you Reverend Mykeru, sir..... blah blah blah blah blah. Save it.
posted by Witty at 10:12 AM on January 13, 2005


On Topic, I think you (and others on this thread) are totally right, Divine Wino. Violence begets violence. "I was beaten as a child, so I can beat my children" is part of the same slavish devotion to Tradition which does indeed lead to living toothless in huts for thousands of years.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:16 AM on January 13, 2005


Fuzz:
Yeah me too.

Witty:
Sadly I agree, she isn't going to change anything, but tilting at windmills is exceeded only by non-procreative sex as the best useless worthwhile human endeavor.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:18 AM on January 13, 2005


20 Alternatives to punishment:
1. LOOK FOR UNDERLYING NEEDS.
example: Give your child something to play with while waiting in line.

2. GIVE INFORMATION AND REASONS.
example: If your child colors on the wall, explain why we color on paper only.

3. LOOK FOR UNDERLYING FEELINGS.
Acknowledge, accept & listen to feelings.
example: If your child hits his baby sister, encourage him to express his anger and jealousy in harmless ways. He may need to cry or rage.

4. CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT.
This is sometimes easier than trying to change the child.
example: If your child repeatedly takes things out of the kitchen cupboards, put a childproof lock on them.

5. FIND ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVES.
Redirect your child's behavior.
example: If you do not want your child to build a fort in the dining room, don't just say no. Tell her where she can build one.

6. DEMONSTRATE HOW YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO BEHAVE.
example: If your child pulls a cat's tail, show her how to pet a cat. Do not rely on words alone.

7. GIVE CHOICES RATHER THAN COMMANDS.
Decision-making empowers children; commands invite a power struggle.
example: "Would you like to brush your teeth before or after putting your pajamas on?"

8. MAKE SMALL CONCESSIONS.
example: "I'll let you skip brushing your teeth tonight because you are so tired."

9. PROVIDE FOR A PERIOD OF PREPARATION.
example: If you are counting on company for dinner, tell your child how you expect him to behave. Be specific. Role-playing can help prepare children for potentially difficult situations.

10. LET NATURAL CONSEQUENCES OCCUR (when appropriate).
Don't rescue too much.
example: A child who does not hang up her bathing suit and towel may find them still wet the next day.

11. COMMUNICATE YOUR OWN FEELINGS.
Let children know how their behavior affects you.
example: "I get so tired of cleaning up crumbs in the living room."

12. USE ACTIONS WHEN NECESSARY.
example: If your child insists on running across streets on your walks together, hold his hand tightly (while explaining the dangers).

13. HOLD YOUR CHILD.
Children who are acting aggressively or obnoxiously can benefit from holding, in a loving and supportive way, that allows them to channel their pent-up feelings into healing tears.

14. REMOVE YOUR CHILD FROM THE SITUATION, AND STAY WITH HER.
Use the time for listening, sharing feelings, holding, and conflict-resolution.

15. DO IT TOGETHER, BE PLAYFUL.
Many conflict situations can be turned into games.
examples: "Let's pretend we're the seven dwarfs while we clean up," "Let's take turns brushing each other's teeth."

16. DEFUSE THE SITUATION WITH LAUGHTER.
example: If your child is mad at you, invite him to express his anger in a playful pillow fight with you. Play your part by surrendering dramatically. Laughter helps resolve anger and feelings of powerlessness.

17. MAKE A DEAL, NEGOTIATE.
example: If you're ready to leave the playground and your child is having fun, reach an agreement on the number of times she may go down the slide before leaving.

18. DO MUTUAL CONFLICT-RESOLUTION.
Discuss ongoing conflicts with your children, state your own needs, and ask for their help in finding solutions. Determine rules together. Hold family meetings.

19. REVISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
Young children have intense feelings and needs, and are naturally loud, curious, messy, willful, impatient, demanding, creative, forgetful, fearful, self-centered, and full of energy. Try to accept them as they are.

20. TAKE A PARENTAL TIME-OUT.
Leave the room, and do whatever is needed to regain your sense of composure and good judgment (example: call a friend, cry, meditate, take a shower).
posted by dash_slot- at 10:18 AM on January 13, 2005


Out of curiosity, Witty, did you expect metafilter to be entirely pro-spanking, or entirely anti-spanking?

And, just to put forward a possibility, what if the woman is perfectly aware that banning this device will, in and of itself, do nothing, but sees it as the first step in a long march towards a Swedish-style ban on spanking in general, a necessary first tactic to start people thinking about the possibility that child-beating might be a bad thing? Don't know if that's true or not, but it would be a possible sensible reason for it.
posted by kyrademon at 10:19 AM on January 13, 2005


It didn't really occur to me until I got much older that having a Mom who gets so angry at you for not picking up your stuff that she slaps you across the face is not really the standard in the US.

I frequently got spanked and slapped for "having a bad attitude." One of my most chilling memories is when I was being sullen (or something) at sixth grade open house, my mother turned to my brother and said in a almost cheerful manner "Don't worry, your sister will get a spanking when we get home." Great way to change an attitude!

I bring myself to tears when I think of all those sweet four year olds out there who are being beaten by the ones they love and trust the most. The tiny arms being yanked, the innocent faces being slapped, the sweet bottoms being bruised. It literally chokes me up.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:21 AM on January 13, 2005


I was "physically disciplined" as a child. When I was younger, this meant butt sparking or a slap across the face. As I got older (12 or 13), this meant being belted in the mouth, punched, kicked, and--one time--strangled against the refrigerator.
I can tell you than none of it ever instilled any respect for my parents' authority or corrected the behavior it was mean to correct. In fact, it made me more rebellious. Even when I was 4, I just thought my father was an asshole when he would hit me. He would always hit me in anger. I know that some people say they only spank their kids when they are calm and rational, but that seems almost more perverse to me. Who the hell cooly decides to inflict physical pain on someone they love? I think there has to be a better way. Children are a lot more reasonable than adults often give them credit for. Respecting a child as human being doesn't mean you have to let him or her walk all over you. You can discipline without inspiring fear and hate.
posted by apis mellifera at 10:30 AM on January 13, 2005


So fuck you very much for having no children, but assuming you know enough to tell me I'm being lazy. Ass.

What's so difficult about holding the child's hand? Honest question.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:31 AM on January 13, 2005


kyrademon - That's a wonderful dream that she has every right to continue to believe... but it ain't gonna happen. That's all I can say.

...a necessary first tactic to start people thinking about the possibility that child-beating might be a bad thing?

Carefully choosing your words here is important. I don't think there's a reasonable person alive that doesn't believe child-beating is wrong. Spanking is not necessarily "beating", in my interpretation of the terms at least. So the distinction is key to what you believe.

Oh and.... as to my previous comment, I was being quite sarcastic.
posted by Witty at 10:34 AM on January 13, 2005


Thinking on this some more, I have to say that I don't really remember being spanked or getting the mom-arm (when you pinch the back of the upper arm just enough to get someone's attention) very well. But the hate I experienced when she took all my books away--ah, that little spark is well remembered and was far more hurtful.

On preview: What's so difficult about holding the child's hand? Honest question.

C_D, see my and psad's responses above. To a fair extent, the leash is more comfortable and gives the kid more freedom of movement while keeping her safe.
posted by dame at 10:36 AM on January 13, 2005


Oh, I missed that, dame. I don't know if I buy the rational, however. A kid isn't going to complain about holding their arm up if that's what they've always done. Sure, an adult would find it irritating, but perhaps parents are imposing an adult mentality on children too young to care?

Also, there's something about the physical bond of holding a child's hand--I'm sure there's a sense of security with the child as long as mommy or daddy is holding on to them. A leash seems so impersonal in comparison. And there's not really any discipline in the leash. The "disaster area" is limited with the leash, but there's no message to be good; if anything, it's the opposite. Here you go, freedom is yours... psych! Whereas with holding hands, you are giving the child a chance to exercise proper obedience by completely letting go occasionally. If they stray, they're chastized and it's back to holding hands again.

Seems like a better way to teach a kid not to wander off.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:48 AM on January 13, 2005


What's so difficult about holding the child's hand? Honest question.

I do hold his hand. But some times he gets it into his head he doesn't want me to. His hand is very small, and he can yank it away easily. Unless I want to hurt him by holding it in a vice grip, the leash is a safe alternative to watching him dart away and get hit by a car.

Have you held the hand of someone that doesn't want you to? Think of that struggle and add to it you trying not to break the person's hand or wrist.

Personally? He's happier being able to let go, and I'm happier I'm not standing on the corner fighting with a one year old.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:53 AM on January 13, 2005


Ah, I see the sarcasm now, Witty, and feel appropriately obtuse.

Maybe no one's mind is going to be changed. But you never know - when people hear something enough times, sometimes they start to wonder if it's true.

So, just in case, here's a summary page about a variety of studies linking spanking to depression and suicide, anti-social behavior, lowered IQ, anxiety, addiction, and violent behavior later in life:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/spankin5.htm
posted by kyrademon at 10:56 AM on January 13, 2005


I had a harness as a child. I don't remember it, but I was told by my mom. This didn't really faze me until once, when I was poking fun at a friend for his accessory fetish, he replied
"Oh yeah? Well, if I'm Accessory Man, you're Harness Man! Everything you do involves some kind of harness!"
I was dumbstruck. He was right. (I mean backpacking and diving and so forth.)
All I know now is, the sensation of straining for something you can't quite reach on your back really resonates with me.
posted by atchafalaya at 11:03 AM on January 13, 2005


I am always suprised when I hear people say something along the lines of: "I was regularily beaten as a child and it never did me any harm!"

It seems clear enough that it did them a lot of harm: It turned them into the kind of person that thinks it's acceptable to beat children.
posted by fingerbang at 11:09 AM on January 13, 2005


Also, there's something about the physical bond of holding a child's hand--I'm sure there's a sense of security with the child as long as mommy or daddy is holding on to them. A leash seems so impersonal in comparison. And there's not really any discipline in the leash. The "disaster area" is limited with the leash, but there's no message to be good; if anything, it's the opposite. Here you go, freedom is yours... psych! Whereas with holding hands, you are giving the child a chance to exercise proper obedience by completely letting go occasionally. If they stray, they're chastized and it's back to holding hands again.

Sorry for the long quote.

You're right C_D. This does work but I find myself on constant red-alert because my daughter has gotten so agile. She will run like the wind in a split second. On a busy Chicago street, it get tenuous but do-able. We've never considered the leash because of the "dog" conotations but thats just a personal thing.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2005


C_D: See Nursemaid's Elbow. A harness is a good way of avoiding this problem with children who have a tendency to pull away unexpectedly. That said, I grew up pre-harness and it always looks a bit strange to me.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:23 AM on January 13, 2005


dash_slot's list seems to repeat over and over a misconception that many adults seem to have. They seem to believe that all kids are just as rational and verbally oriented as adults are.

It also seems to accept as one of it's assumptions that kids are expected to be participating members of some kind of ideal democratic household. While that may work for some people (and it does work for our house most of the time) if my son has done something clearly against the house rules (watching Yu-Gi-Oh when he knows it's on the verboten list is one recent example) then he's going to be disciplined, and he knows it. Now, having said that, I very rarely spank either of my kids, and never more than a single swat at that.

But, I dont want to go have pillowfight with him where I surrender for him to work out his anger at me over Yu-Gi-Oh. I don't care that he's angry at me over whatever discipline he received (time out, loss of TV priveledges, sent to room, whatever). That's his problem, and he needs to deal with it on his own. It's his fault he's angry, not mine.

What amazes me is how some people conflate any spanking (even a single swat) with abuse and beatings of the magnitudes described above.
posted by Irontom at 11:27 AM on January 13, 2005


Dash_Slot:
Thank you for posting that thoughtful list. There are several things on there that I do with my own children already. I also have given the odd spank on a clothed bottom with an open hand. You know what? It's more the embarassment to my children, I think. They have such personal dignity, and they really dislike knowing that they have done something to displease.

That said, my eight-year-old constantly chases her sister around the shopping cart in the grocery, or whatever store we're in. It's annoying, but once they get the "evil eye" from me, they stop it. At least long enough to get through the check-out aisle.
posted by PossumCowboy at 11:45 AM on January 13, 2005


The only reason people get away with hitting their children is because the children can't hit back. I can understand the swat on the behind when a child is running towards traffic, or some other life-threatening action, but other than that, it's inexcusable.

Why is it that if your neighbor sees you hit your dog, they'll call the A.S.P.C.A., but won't blink when you hit a child?

The whole "Don't tell me how to discipline my kids." thing is bullshit.

I hope that parents who hit their kids get what's coming to them. Like a chair in the face.

Disclaimer: My parents rarely hit me, but I was beaten up and terrorized a lot as a child by peers, so I admit that I have issues. Things are different now, in the sense that I can defend myself with some degree of proficiency.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:00 PM on January 13, 2005


Thanks to C_D and others for enlightening me on some opinions regarding leash pros and cons. It seems like it boils down in the same way as a lot of the sensible discussion on this thread about the wider subject of child discipline, in that it comes down to 'it depends how you use it'.

There seem to be concerns that using a harness on a child might not help instill sensible habits in the child (such as avoiding traffic) or that it doesn't have the same bonding effect between and parent the child as hand holding. These points are fair but if the child is getting taught appropriate habits and gets plenty of bonding opportunities then they don't seem to present a problem to me.

I'm afraid that I can't do anything to deal with the 'it just seems weird' concern. Because it just does, perhaps because of the dog connotations which KevinSkomsvold mentioned. But having seen the practical benefits, to the child and the adult, of the harness and having thought about it and not come up with any serious rational concerns I just got over this.
posted by pasd at 12:03 PM on January 13, 2005


They seem to believe that all kids are just as rational and verbally oriented as adults are.

You are so right Irontom. One thing we did learn from books and experience is that we couldn't expect our kid to have the insight or cognitive ability to understand our well reasoned arguments against doing something. Despite that I still have to catch myself when I get into a debate with my daughter about the right and wrong of something. She has an iron will and I tired easily. It's just easier to take the X-Box away.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:10 PM on January 13, 2005


Is this device being sold anywhere? Can't find it on the Internet. The information about it is coming from the anti-spanking groups. Also, notice who owns Slide’s Manufacturing, Mr. & Mrs. Clyde Bullock.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2005


My experience with corporal punishment?

CATHOLIC SCHOOL

I still fear nuns.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:51 PM on January 13, 2005


If a child needs to be taught about danger, i.e., hot stove, the street, loudly yelling "Stop!" or "Danger!" and making a big scary face, waving arms, etc. is likely to be as successful as a smack. And no teaching at an early age can make a child stove-proof or street-safe; they always need supervision.

Why do people so proudly defend their wish to hit children? Many parents have smacked a butt, but is it something to be proud of?

And while I feel like venting: I really hate when Christians both yammer on about Jesus and then use the Old Testament to back things up. Jesus Christ was a revolutionary whose preaching was at odds with plenty of the Old Testament. When I see Christians citing bits of the OT, I assume that they're cherry-picking the bits of Jesus' teaching and the bits of the OT that they like. Thanks. I feel better now.

On preview, I have PTSD from RC grade school with nuns. *shudders*.
posted by theora55 at 1:24 PM on January 13, 2005


My best friend just sent me a heart-breaking email describing the problems she has been having with her father. He’s an alcoholic, in his mid 60s. He won’t eat anything, take his medication, deal with his bills or his health problems. He is incapable of really taking care of himself. He acts like a petulant teenager. He told her that he hates her today for pouring his vodka down the sink and taking his keys away. He generally refuses to bathe and shits his pants because all he consumes is vodka. Of course, he also refuses to wear diapers. He is completely irrational, badly behaved and unable to care for himself. For those who are pro-spanking, does physical punishment seem appropriate in this case to you?

He exhibits all of the behavior of a bratty kid. He cannot be reasoned with, and he’s making her life a living hell.
posted by apis mellifera at 1:38 PM on January 13, 2005


Why do people so proudly defend their wish to hit children? Many parents have smacked a butt, but is it something to be proud of?

I imagine it has more to do with the action not violating their own sense of right and wrong, and the insult of outside intrusion into what has long been a personal decision (despite the public flogging of a product designed to enhance the action).

I claim the right to raise my child as I choose, but I do not choose this. Good luck to anyone else who might think they have the authority to hit my child, cause that would be a bad idea.
posted by thirteen at 1:52 PM on January 13, 2005


Well, you know, maybe the principles in Dr. Solter's list don't apply to all kids. But it is definitely not about expecting an adult level of rationality in children: it's about detecting and responding to emotional needs. The children I've seen raised by that method are great, don't run into the road (they live on a main road), they are affectionate & intelligent.

Anyway: that comprises one small part of one non-violent parenting program amongst many non-violent programs. They all seem to demand time more than pain, and that's a bonus in my book. A vicious cycle has to stop somewhere.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:25 PM on January 13, 2005


For those who are pro-spanking, does physical punishment seem appropriate in this case to you?

Your example is off topic as it is a health problem.
Your father is sick(medically speaking) and needs proper medical treatment rather punishment. The physical punishment was done by him to himself.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:27 PM on January 13, 2005


Who the hell cooly decides to inflict physical pain on someone they love?

Well there is that whole BDSM thing.
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 PM on January 13, 2005


My parents finally stopped with the physical dicipline when they realized that i would respond in kind, and likely all involved parties would wind up requiring medical attention. I was about age twelve when my mother realized i would hit her back. I wasn't confident enough to stand up to my father until i was a little older, he's a big guy. It was around the same time that i stopped flinching when either parent (or, come to think of it, any adult) raised their hand, either to strike me or for some other purpose. I have a fairly healthy relationship with my parents now, but it comes at a high price.

Not that this was any different than the way most of my peers on the prairies were raised. But i think that the time has passed for this sort of behavior.
posted by psychoticreaction at 3:04 PM on January 13, 2005


We had a harness for our oldest when she was about two. We lived in downtown Portland and San Francisco and she was pretty good at lights and traffic from a very early age, but sometimes she could be... unpredictable, so we tried the harness for a while. One day she was wearing the harness and made a dart for the street, and I clicked the "brake" button on the handle and whee! Her feet flew out from under her and she landed *plonk* on her diapered butt. She sat there on the sidewalk and laughed and laughed. It turned into a game: she'd run away and I'd hit the brake and *plonk!* and laughter. Then my wife was with us one day and I said, "Hey honey, look at this" and *click* and the girl fell over and scraped up her face something fierce. My wife took the harness away.

For those of you wondering about the benefits... quite simply, kids who have lots of freedom but know that their parents will come to their rescue if they get in trouble are happy, competent, well-adjusted kids. Kids who are afraid to try new things for fear it'll turn out to be the wrong thing and they'll get punished turn out to be fearful, toothless peasants in huts (like yours truly).

So, some philosophizin': Most of life's really important lessons carry their own punishments, so you don't need to worry that much about inflicting more; mostly you're better off standing by to brush them off and dole out hugs and advice.

What we're talking about, for the most part, is not punishment, it's conflict resolution: The child wants to do X and I want the child to do Y, and the child does not know what tactics are socially appropriate for the conflict; so he screams and hits and kicks and throws tantrums. This is immensely frustrating, and makes you want to strike the child repeatedly about the head and shoulders, but that won't actually solve the problem. The problem is solved by teaching the child what the appropriate method of engaging in conflict is. You do that by responding positively when the child uses correct tactics and by responding negatively when the child uses incorrect tactics.
posted by hob at 3:16 PM on January 13, 2005


Yup.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:19 PM on January 13, 2005


What hob said. It seems to me that most parental dicipline that i see carried out varies greatly according to the amount of stress and frustration that the parent is experiencing. Proponents of physical dicipline look to me like they're defending their right to blow off some steam by wacking the kids a while.
posted by psychoticreaction at 3:43 PM on January 13, 2005


Can a members provide me a link or place I can buy this device?
Yes I want one, to whip my parents with it.(i jest)

Because I could buy many items in a hardware store that could inflict the same punishment. I don’t think if the authorities were involved I could walk away after hitting my child with a baseball bat though. So why not boycott the hardware or sporting goods stores and also ban those items that could be used as a spanking device?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:43 PM on January 13, 2005


I can buy this device?
Wanted to add, I can not find the device for sale anywhere.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:45 PM on January 13, 2005


Hitting is hitting. My father spanked me when I was younger. It didn't stop me from occasionally acting out, it just made me fear my father and his temper.

I'm sure that there are some kids out there who can take a spanking without becoming unnecessarily fearful but the problem is you don't know which kids those are until after you hit them. And for the ones that don't react well, it's already too late to take it back.
posted by LeeJay at 4:53 PM on January 13, 2005


I was disciplined as a child (smacks, spanks, belt, wooden spoon, ruler, verbally, etc.). I was fairly well behaved and spankings didn't happen often as my previous experiences had taught me to fear my mother's rage. All physical discipline stopped when I was 13 or so. I was as big as my mother then. The last time she tried to smack me I grabbed her arm so hard it left bruises. From then on it was strictly verbal abuse. Although we get along now, there are still issues (in my head, anyway).

On the other hand, I have to deal with the results of "time-out" parenting.

I'm thankful that as a childless person (by choice), I'll never have to choose what sort of discipline my child will recieve.
posted by deborah at 6:16 PM on January 13, 2005


Proponents of physical dicipline look to me like they're defending their right to blow off some steam by wacking the kids a while.

Proponents of non-physical discipline (outside the dash_slot conflict resolution model) look to me like they think psychological punishment is somehow more humane than a smack. Like I said before, from my memories of childhood, time out and taking stuff away was a lot more painful and resentment creating.
posted by dame at 11:48 PM on January 13, 2005


A kid isn't going to complain about holding their arm up if that's what they've always done.

I sure as hell did.

I'm sure that there are some kids out there who can take a spanking without becoming unnecessarily fearful but the problem is you don't know which kids those are until after you hit them. And for the ones that don't react well, it's already too late to take it back.

I think this has been the best argument put forth in the whole thread.

I, personally, got spanked when I was a kid. No implements were used, no bottom was bared, and nowhere got hit except the butt.

There are a lot of people in this thread who everyone, including myself, and people who support corporal punishment, would consider "abused". People who talk about being punched, belted, etc. They have generally said that it just provoked fear and longstanding resentment.

I stand on the other side, experientially. I can't remember being fearful of my parents because of being spanked, and don't feel any resentment against them. However, I can remember some pretty strong and longstanding resentment for some non-physical punishments (not being allowed to play with certain toys/read my books/whathaveyou).

The argument being hinted at (but not stated) that physical punishment just causes fear and resentment, while non-physical punishment doesn't, doesn't seem as universal as is being hinted at. It certainly doesn't apply in my case.

And as for time-outs...Please. I'm sure it works in some cases, but if anyone out there believes it's a universally applicable punishment, they must be crazy. (Note: possible straw man, because no-one has said that. However, it is the vibe I'm getting). In elementary school, my (very, very regular) punishment for talking too much in class was a "time-out": going into the empty classroom next door (note: it was an "open concept" school, so there was no wall between my classroom and the next), and putting my head on the desk until the teacher told me I could come back. All I can remember was that I found you could make really cool starburst patterns by pushing your eyes against your forearm. A timeout was intended as a punishment, but I just found it to be psychedelic funtime.

But, going back to LeeJay's statement:

Basically, corporal punishment is probably very effective and non-traumatizing for some kids, and not for others. But the possible negatives are pretty big and long-lasting. Non-corporal punishment is probably effective and non-traumatizing for some kids, and not others. But in the case that it's traumatizing, it's probably less traumatizing than corporal punishment would be, and, in the event that it's not effective (timeouts, for me), all that needs to happen is that another form of punishment needs to be thought of.

Also, I can't get over the ages people are saying they stopped being corporally punished at. 12?! 13?! That's crazy. If you are going to use corporal punishment, it seems only fair (and sane) to me that you use it at the ages where reasoning doesn't work (2 year old child playing with electrical socket), and once the kid has even basic reasoning functions, you stop.
posted by Bugbread at 8:58 AM on January 14, 2005


Ban on smacking comes into force (UK)

'Reasonable chastisement' is legal:
Parents in England and Wales who smack children so hard it leaves a mark will face up to five years in jail under new laws in force from Saturday.

Clearly, if the mark a paddling/smacking/slapping is not on a visible part of the body (and quite rightly, not even teachers see kids bodies that much), you can get away with this.

Look at the confusion this causes:
NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) boss Mary Marsh said: "...Defining acceptable ways to hit children should become a thing of the past....It should be just as wrong to hit a child as it is to hit an adult."

The measures were passed in the Children Act last November, when the government suffered a rebellion by 47 Labour MPs who wanted a total ban on smacking.

A similar law is already in operation in Scotland.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills said ..."Abuse is abuse and should be prosecuted. We are not going to tolerate criminal violence against children."
Joined up government? Please.


posted by dash_slot- at 5:52 AM on January 15, 2005


My two cents:

It seems clear that corporal punishment isn't for everyone. Specifically, I'm convinced that some parents are too naive, uninformed or just plain dumb to administer it properly. Any parent who "beats" his child, hits faces or other fragile body parts, strikes in anger, strikes suddenly or surprisingly, strikes with fists or strikes with random objects is making a terrible mistake and will regret it later, possibly for the rest of his child's life.

Like so many other complex problems, the dicipline issue must be considered as part of a bigger picture. If a parent's family unit is already broken or abusive, introducing physical contact is just going to make a bad thing worse. But if family atmosphere is healthy, stable and loving, physical punishment would be an effective tool for extreme situations.

Pookzilla's story earlier in this thread about the "Whompin' Stick" seems about perfect to me. He was spanked once. He knew the stick was there. The Whompin' Stick was a very effective reinforcement to his conscience. I imagine that Pookzilla's parents put the stick in a place where the kids would regularly see it. I have no problem with this.

I think the Rod is a very poor product, compared to the Whompin' Stick. It's small, colorless, unimpressive, and probably much more painful than necessary. It looks like it would fit in a drawer. This may be convenient to the parents but it's bad marketing to the kids. A punishment tool should be more bark than bite. It should be scary. Large. Wide. Have pictures of screaming children on it. And be stored where the kids know it's always available. Dicipline is always mental. Whether administered through the ears or the buttocks, it must be administered well.

The site that gives away free spanking paddles (love Joey) has a couple of ideas on it that are new to me. The first is the concept of having the child fill out an appoointment for his punishment, complete with Type of Punishment and Reason. The second is his admonishion to wait a full minute between swats. I'll have to think about these concepts, but right now I mostly like them.

About me: I grew up getting spanked with a belt. I didn't like it but it worked pretty well without any emotional damage, because ultimately I knew my father loved me. Later I graduated to punishment workout "routines" (100 pushups, 200 situps, 25 chinups, mile run and other exercises) that kept me in top shape but didn't improve my behavior. In my late teens, I did "routines" for offenses as slight as forgetting to take out the trash or wash the dishes, and often did two or three per evening. In my late teens, I developed resentment and then hatred towards my father, fantasizing his painful demise. I lied to him incessantly in attempts to escape my constant routines. When he caught me lying, he responded with anger, manhandling me and pinning me up on the wall by the neck. My hatred for him grew until I converted to Christianity at age 18 and forgave him. I moved out shortly afterward.

Twelve years later, I still sometimes have a hard time getting motivated to go to the gym - probably pretty normal. I occasionally spank my dog and send him to his kennel. I don't have kids now, but if I do I think I'm going to use a Whompin' Stick.
posted by Jonasio at 7:06 AM on January 20, 2005


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