Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Stopping spanking is complicating an already complicated problem

I was watching a TEDxBellingham talk by Robbyn Peters Bennett about spanking the other day and it got me a little riled up.Now, I will put the video here, and I am sure some of you if you watch it before you read the post will be riled up as well. But, maybe not for the same reason.

So spanking is something that I have given serious consideration to, as I was spanked pretty darn hard when I was young and at school. This spanking was absolutely justified, and honestly it did not bother me as I knew it was justified. So when I hear that spanking is a discipline that does not work and is harmful to children, I call bullshit. Truthfully, it was not a deterrent to my naughtiness as a child, in fact there was no punishment that put me off being naughty. I would just say that I preferred spanking over things like detention. But to say it was harmful is just absurd, if anything I would say it kept a lot of children honest in school as they feared the repercussions of their actions.

Perhaps, I should add a disclaimer here that there are certainly parents and other authority figures that abuse spanking. But these people are going to abuse children regardless, so by stopping spanking we truly are achieving nothing and yes I know spanking is banned in most places yet still happens in most places.

So why, do I feel it necessary to address this issue. In one word "Ritalin". Working as a teacher I can remember multiple teachers wanting to put every child that would act up on some type of ADHD drug. The truth is that many times these students were acting up as either the teachers were rubbish, or that the children had no disciplinary action that made them actually suffer consequences without affecting their education. Probation is great, but the kid has effectively achieved what the want, so is it achieving anything?

Let me address the ADHD question as well here briefly. There are certainly children that have ADHD, and for these children the effects of ADHD drugs are a fantastic way to get them to focus and achieve what they normally would be unable too. However, not every child needs an ADHD drug, sometime they just need a diet change to get them off all the sugar and caffeine that they or their parents are forcing down their throat. These dietary problems start with the parents and they need to explore these options if they are in fact good parents.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and there are many ways to raise a child. But the one reality in life is that actions have consequences and that is probably the biggest lesson we should be teaching children. I am not saying you have to spank your children, but do not be so quick to dismiss something that has worked for multiple children in the past.

Perhaps the comedian Russel Peters can make you think about the way actions get dealt with.