Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wooden Spoon

So I came across this ridiculous blog post this morning.  It seems to be a spin off from another ridiculous blog post, in which I can only gather that the author talked positively about being disciplined with a wooden spoon.

^ This particular little gem starts with the author laughing at someone for stating the obvious:

“If your parents had to use a wooden spoon on you, then they clearly didn’t know how to parent you.” 

I've posted the link, but you don't really need to read the article.  It's essentially the same as all such articles: Mlah, mlah, my parents taught me respect, mlah, mlah, no talking back, mlah, mlah, slaps-to-the-face and soap in the mouth, mlah, mlah, wooden spoon, mlah, mlah, well rounded, mlah, mlah, still get along great with my parents. It even includes the bonus, optionals: I raise my kids the same way. and this is why kids these days are so entitled.

Great.  Way to keep the cycle of violence going.  It, of course, blames a lack of discipline for society's entitled youth, lumping together irresponsible parenting, like not hitting your kids with things like participation trophies and never giving failing grades.  Time outs fall in there somewhere as well.  Hit your kids, damn it.  Because, you know, you do a disservice to your kids by not hitting them.

Here is my take (I know, first time mum of a baby, I can't possibly have opinions):  Kids and young adults these days are horribly entitled and annoying.  I think this does stem from parents being too permissive and society awarding mediocrity.  I also think this issue is wholly separate from physical discipline.

I also think that the type of people who spout this hit your kids nonsense (It's not abuse, it's discipline! Waaah) probably got hit themselves and to admit that there was something fucked up in that, is to admit that their parents are fucked up, and to realize that your parents and childhood weren't what they seemed can really shake someone up.  It's easier to keep up the fantasy that your parents were the best parents and that your childhood was great, with the minor caveat "My parents weren't perfect, but..."

The comments section of the article is especially telling.  From the writing style, a bunch of 50+ people, talking about how great their lives are because of their parents' discipline. Most of the comments have glaring grammar errors and none provide any evidence that physical discipline did anything positive for them - apart from their own declaration of being well-rounded.

My favourite:

I loved your comment that your neighbor was part of your “disciplining group”. In my home we knew to “mind” our neighbors too. I knew if Mr and Mrs Faulkner said, “mary,put that rock down and do not throw another one”, thatI had better not touch another one. The Faulkners were our neighbors and their daughter. Margie, was my good friend. The Faulkners were black and we were white. But I knew i knew my parents would skin me alive had i not done as the FAulkners told me. Their children would have minded my parents as well. To have sassed them would never have crossed my mind. Oh, that we could be like that today in our neighborhoods. 
Reasons why this person is old: Her friend's name is Margie.  She feels like we need to know her neighbours' name.  She uses "mind" instead of "listen to".  She uses the word "sassed".

Reasons why this person is ridiculous in her dotage: She feels like we need to know the ethnicity of her neighbours, followed by the word but.  They were black, but she still had to listen to them, even though she's white.  Yeeeeeah....

These are the type of people who always come out of the woodwork when an corporal punishment debate gets going.

So here's the thing.  I don't plan on giving my son participation trophies or yelling at his teachers if he does poorly in school.  I do plan on telling him no. I plan on teaching him that actions have consequences. I also plan on teaching him respect by being respectful - to him, to myself, to my husband.

I plan on teaching him that hitting is almost never appropriate, and having the ability to physically intimidate someone doesn't give you the right to - and that if anyone ever lays a hand on him, he has the right to defend himself, and if he needs me to, I'll step in and defend him too.  I plan on teaching him that reasonable adults don't hit - and that his Dad and I are reasonable adults.

And since these arguments always come down to anecdotal evidence (why would we want to listen to actual professionals, after all?), here's mine:

I was never hit as a child.  I was never physically disciplined in any way.  I never smoked, used drugs, got pregnant before I was ready, got in fights or got into any major trouble of any kind.  I only occasionally cut class, and I to this day am polite and respectful to everyone, unless they give me cause not to be.

I know a girl who had loving parents, but was spanked as a child.  She got heavily into booze and pot for a bit, got pregnant as a teen from a one night stand and ended up losing her 4 kids. And just as her story doesn't prove the negative effects of physical discipline, claiming that you're well rounded doesn't prove that it's harmless, either.

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