Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card?

What a new study and the Bible say about punishing children.

Prior to becoming the devout, busybody next-door neighbor on the animated hit "The Simpsons," Ned Flanders was an out-of-control brat whose beatnik parents didn't believe in discipline. To reform Ned, a child psychologist enrolled him in the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol, which included eight months of continuous spanking. It cured his rambunctiousness and set him on the path to becoming the cartoon world's most famously pious Christian.

Indeed, conservative Christian parenting is often unfairly presented as little more than "spare the rod, spoil the child," advice distilled from the Bible's book of Proverbs. Spanking—punishment delivered with an open hand, not a rod—used to be socially acceptable and frequently utilized by parents, even in public. But at some point in the past century, child-rearing books began discouraging spanking and encouraging such new proverbs as "let's all take a 'timeout' so that our anger might melt away, leading to fruitful conversation, peace and harmony in the home."

Some parents have taken the advice to such an extreme that they're hesitant to impose any consequences at all on their children. These include the helicopter parents who monitor their children's every move and the lawnmower parents who mow down any obstacle in their children's path. They, in turn, have spawned a backlash movement of free-range parents who encourage their children to roam freely and slacker parents (see the books "Bad Mother" and "The Three-Martini Playdate") who brag about who's been the most neglectful. It's a parenting free-for-all.

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My wife and I raising four kids right now and the two oldest (7 and 6) are very familar with the University of Minnesota :D.

In my house spanking occurs at different levels. About 90% is a swat on the bottom to get their attention. That happens after I have exhausted all other options and even then it is not severe. The other 10% of the time it is a punishment designed to hurt a bit and it only happens after they fully understand why it is happening.

Most of the time my kids do something wrong and I catch them, they will run to their rooms (since they know that is where they are going), covering their bottoms. At least I know they know what they did was wrong...

Generally speaking, my parenting style is to allow the failures if I think they will be meaningful ones. I try to mitigate some failures if I don't think they will be beneficial.

There is definately something to the permissive parenting going on now. Both the slacker couldn't-care-less parents and the it-will-harm-their-poor-psycies parents. My husband sees it among his public school students who either have absolutely no sense of appropriate behavior, shame or remorse and who think getting a C is terrific---or those whose parents call ever 3 days to find out why Jr is getting a B+ instead of an A in his class. sheesh:rolleyes:

I have nothing against parents who spank...I was spanked as a kid, so was my husband. I don't believe it's necessary however, to raising responsible, good kids. It can be a good deterrent, but it's not necessary. I think that there is a lot of permissive parenting going on...largely because the pendulum has swung the other direction, from ''kids need to be seen not heard'' that was the mantra back in the day...to what you're describing Mrs Sally about parents calling the school, and bullying teachers on behalf of their kids. I think there has to be a happy medium somewhere! lol

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