For most people, the answer to that question right off the bat would be some variation of “No! Never! What’s wrong with you?!”. It just seems to be an automated reaction to questions regarding physical punishment here in America. It’s a topic of great controversy for me, probably because of how I was brought up.
My great grandparents were first generation immigrants from Italy, so they brought with them what ever they learned as they grew up. So, of course, my dad had the threat of the belt buckle or the wooden spoon as he was growing up (as did his brothers and cousins). I never had the threat of a belt buckle but, then again, I’m a girl so I only was threatened by things like a spanking, the wooden spoon (yet very rarely because my grandmother had the softest heart), soap in the mouth, time out in the corner, etc. Regardless, I did get spanked and I did feel that wooden spoon from time to time just as I know most people my age and older had as well.
The issue for me is understanding one of the main reasons Americans today dislike physical punishment. Not wanting to physically touch your child for fear of their fear of you is one thing, but it’s the “psychological effects” that bother me a little. In just about every psychology class I’ve ever taken this topic is always touched on. There are numerous amounts of articles and studies that “prove” physical abuse is harmful to the delicate psyche of a child. According to such studies, it damages them emotionally; it lowers their confidence; it makes their self-esteem plummet; it causes anti-social behavior; it makes them violent; it causes childhood depression; it delays mental growth; it negatively affects schoolwork; etc.
In general, I call B.S.
If you beat the living crap out of you child then I would be surprised if side effects like the ones mentioned above didn’t turn up. If your child is mouthing off to you and disrespecting you like I see going on with just about every child I see on the street, in my store, where ever…a smack on the butt isn’t going to cause them to take a cannon ball into a well of depression. Spanking your child for spilling milk accidentally will more than likely cause a variation of side effects; spanking your child for throwing his scissors at your head because you wouldn’t let him play in the rain probably won’t…
It’s always going to be a controversy…especially in the United States. I’m 99% certain that the reason I don’t understand why DYFS is called because a young mother playfully slapped her son on the booty because of how I was raised. I think the other 1% may just come from outright disgust of how much we let the younger generations get away with. The scissor incident? That was my boyfriend’s 4 year old brother. I’ve seen things happen in public that make me think “Damn, if I ever did anything like that, I would have been spanked, grounded, and yelled at until my ears bled!”
I was raised to respect people; I was raised to be polite. I was also spanked from time to time when I was impolite and disrespectful and, let me tell you, I’m not anti-social or depressed because of it. My mental development wasn’t stunted (in fact, I spent most of my school time as an “above average” student…until I slacked off in high school ); I didn’t fear my dad unless I knew I was doing something wrong. (My father and I had a pretty healthy relationship…until I hit teen years. Is that a surprise?) I grew up with some people that were raised similar and 1) One was just accepted into medical school 2) They were all very prominent athletes in my high school…aside from one who was in the drama club 3) They were all absolutely polite to teachers, students, friends and got exceptional grades.
I call B.S. Don’t beat the crap out of your children. There is a fine line between punishment and abuse, that I agree with. I also agree that there are ages that children should not experience physical punishment because they wouldn’t understand why it’s happening. What I don’t agree with is that spanking once in a while turns you into a monster that destroys your child with the first contact. Obviously, it worked out for me. Looking at these younger generations…obviously, you need to re-think your actions.
But, in all seriousness, what do you think? Would you hit your children?