Spanking is a controversial issue. Some people view it as a violation of the child’s right. While others support physical correction as a way to curb a child’s behavior. No matter what you believe in, it all boils down to parenting.
I’m NOT a parent, a child psychologist, or a clinical counselor. But I speak regarding the issue of spanking from the point of view of someone who grew up receiving physical correction. And this someone is no less than me.
Let me share with you how spanking helped shaped the person I am today.
I was born and grew up in an actively practicing Catholic environment. My two older siblings and I did get spanked (many times, indeed!) when we were children. But never did we accuse our parents of abuse or violation of our rights. Not because they were our parents. But because we knew exactly what they were doing and their actions were clearly explained to us.
When I was about 6 years old – or perhaps younger – my father told me something like, “I love you because you are my child. But I cannot tolerate bad behavior. You must be punished for every severe wrongdoing.”
My parents believed in what Scripture teaches about disciplining a child. For them, it’s a way to curb our behavior and shape our character.
Beat them with the rod, and you will save them from Sheol.
I got spanked repeatedly when I was young. My most habitual offense was defying some house rules. Two of those rules were:
- No one (referring to us kids) should leave the house without notifying or asking the parents’ permission, and;
- Young children should take a nap every after lunch.
I hated these rules so much because it means losing some “valuable playtime with my friends”. So, I’d slipped out of my room and meet my friends farther from home.
Let me clarify: I got spanked many times, NOT beat! There’s a huge difference between the two actions.
In all those spanking episodes, however, I can’t remember suffering from any bruise or injury. What I got, instead, were the temporary reddening on the smacked parts of my body. And I was not hit on sensitive parts like the head or the spine area. Rather, I was hit on my butt, legs, and hands.
As I recall now, the repeated physical corrections I received then were as nothing compared to what I’ve become today. Had it not been for the strict rules at home, I would still have been the hard-headed and disorderly person that I was. I’m proud to say that spanking did produce a good member of society in me.
My stance on physical correction
Spanking was the last recourse my parents had to employ on me. It was always my mother who executed the spanking. While my father was the “lecturer”. Shortly before the spanking moments, he would lay down the reasons why I should receive the punishment, reminding me of the house rules over (and over) again. Although sometimes, the “lecture” came after the action since my father was often out at work when the spanking episodes took place.
Considering today’s reality of misbehaving youth, I obviously support spanking as a good form of discipline. It’s important to instill in young people’s minds that behavior must be shaped so that they become good, respectful, and law-abiding citizens in the future. And it worked on me and my two older siblings. We learned early on the essence of respect for others and good manners.
I know that my stance on this issue would elicit strong reactions from the human rights advocates, behavior specialists, and child welfare groups. I respect them for that. But then, each person is entitled to his own conviction. And this is what I believe in.
… for the Lord trains those He loves, and chastises every son He accepts. Perseverance is part of your training; God is treating you as His sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him?
Being raised a Catholic, I firmly believe in what Scripture teaches. Not because my parents influenced me so. But because I understand what it means by heart.
The people in Biblical times must also have deemed it necessary to constantly remind the succeeding generations about proper behavior. The Holy Book repeatedly admonishes parents about child discipline throughout the Old and New Testament.
I don’t blame those who are against spanking, viewing it as a dangerous, violent, and ineffective method of discipline. But as a child who grew up on physical correction, I categorically say spanking is helpful.
Difference between spanking and beating
I acknowledge that there is a very thin line between spanking and beating. But here are where the two issues differ.
Spanking doesn’t injure the child. Neither does it causes him humiliation nor violates his rights. My mother must have known this well because she did not leave any bruise or serious mark on me.
A warning also precedes every spanking. My parents clearly set the house rules. And every time I seriously erred, they would remind me of these rules over again.
It’s normal for kids to go through different phases of rebellious attitudes. For my part, I used to talk back, defy rules, and lie. And even if I was aware of my limits, I still tried to cross the line, hoping to get away with it. Sadly, I was always wrong. For my parents were diligent in following through on their word of warning.
Whoever spares the rod hates the child, but whoever loves will apply discipline.
On the other hand, beating inflicts injury on the child. And most often, it comes without warning. It is unpredictable, too. A child does not know when and what causes his parents to set off. There are no particular house rules or a set of consequence for any wrongdoing. A parent can beat his child when he’s angry. The angrier the parent, the more intense he inflicts pain. And since the beating is unpredictable, it causes the child to be constantly fearful. And here is where the danger comes in. Because of the traumatic experience, a fearful child is likely to develop a sense of violent behavior, which he might carry through adulthood.
Now, having said all these, I would like to inform you that spanking is not as harmful as some people believe it is. Rather, it can be a good form of discipline. Parents only have to stay within the limits of discipline so as to not harm the child. If spanking worked on me and my sisters without harming us, so would it be on your children, too.