In Summary
  • I never took this to mean that that my parents didn’t love me. Perhaps because it was done on so few occasions, I realized the seriousness of my infractions, and in retrospect, it probably did me a world of good. I would probably not feel the same if I had been beaten regularly and for less cause.

When I was growing up, it was perfectly natural for my parents to occasionally give me a light whisk with a ruler when I messed up at school, or to give me a hard slap when I came home well past curfew (although this was reserved for the few occasions when I was especially late).

I never took this to mean that that my parents didn’t love me. Perhaps because it was done on so few occasions, I realized the seriousness of my infractions, and in retrospect, it probably did me a world of good. I would probably not feel the same if I had been beaten regularly and for less cause.

Today, globally, this kind of behavior would be seen as quite horribly politically incorrect, as it has become completely socially unacceptable for parents to beat their children. All the evidence on all forms of corporal punishment (from light occasional spankings to regular beatings with a belt or a stick) supports the fact that overall, it has no positive outcomes.

Children who are beaten tend not to remedy their behavior based on their understanding of what is right, but to avoid being spanked. Children who grow up with regular spanking also tend to grow up with more violent tendencies themselves, and are less likely to be able to differentiate between discipline and abuse when they are older.

Beating children is an unspoken norm

Unfortunately, in many schools across the country today, beating children is an unspoken norm. Children are beaten by teachers regularly in many schools (both for misbehaving, and for underperforming), much of it with the knowledge and permission of parents. In many homes, children are beaten at least once a week, often with an implement such as a belt or a stick.

But as a society, and indeed as people, we really do not want to be told how to raise our children by relative strangers, and speaking publicly of these issues is frowned upon.

Even though there is no denying that as a parent, I have felt that urge to give my children a tight slap to knock some sense into them, particularly when they are disrespectful and talk back at me, I resist. Instead, I take a deep breath and try to explain to them where they have gone wrong, and hope that they will (eventually) understand.

I do so not because I am not capable of drawing the line as my parents wisely did, and not even because I don’t think it would do my children some good (it would definitely be a wake up call for them), but because I feel that the slap would be more a sign of my own weakness than theirs.