Sunday, April 17, 2016

One last spanking post...

I'm going to write this post and, I hope, will be done writing about spankings for a long while.  Yesterday, I wrote about the case of Georgia mother Shana Perez and her son.  Perez had allowed school officials in Jasper County to paddle her son for hitting and spitting because she had recently had legal trouble due to her son's unexcused absences in school.  Perez's son had been reported truant and Shana Perez worried that if she took the alternative punishment and allowed the school to suspend her child, she would end up back in jail for allowing him to miss another day of school.  Now she's in the news because she's claiming she allowed the officials to spank her child under duress.

I posted about this case on Facebook and a very lively debate ensued, with most people opining that the school had every right to paddle Perez's son.  The people debating with me are mostly in the local military community.  Many of them have conservative values, especially when it comes to discipline.  One guy, who has been a military police officer, commented that corporal punishment is not allowed in local military quarters or in schools run by the Department of Defense.  Spanking children is illegal in Germany and has been since 2000.  So technically, any American living in Germany who uses corporal punishment as a mode of discipline toward their children is breaking German law.

If I really wanted to open up that can of worms again today, I could write a new post about how spanking in Germany is illegal and all Americans who spank their kids while living in Germany are breaking the law.  But I don't really feel like getting into an argument.  Instead, I want to write about a point I brought up yesterday that seemed to surprise a couple of people.  I think it's something that very few people think about when the topic of spanking is mentioned.

Say one of your adult married female friends tells you one day that if she comes home late or mouths off at her husband, he turns her over his knee and spanks her.  Your friend explains that her husband spanks her the same way he spanks their children and for the same infractions.  What would your initial reaction be?

A quick Googling of the term "domestic discipline" turns up many hits.  There are many blogs written by people involved in domestic discipline relationships.  Based on the number of blogs I've seen,  DD seems to be quite common and even popular these days; though for obvious reasons, few people talk about it openly.  Basically, a domestic discipline relationship consists of one person acting as the "head of the household" and another being subordinate.  It's usually the man who is in charge and it's his job to maintain discipline over everyone else.

For many people in DD relationships, maintaining discipline involves giving and receiving spankings, the same kind many parents give their children.  In some relationships, the second in charge, usually the wife, will even get "maintenance spankings".  The husband will spank his wife at an appointed time each week, not because she's done something to "deserve" it, but to encourage her to maintain a submissive attitude.

When I introduced this concept to my thread on spanking, one commenter seemed flabbergasted by it.  She said the practice of spanking wives is akin to "domestic violence".  However, the definition of domestic discipline involves two people who are in a fully consensual relationship.  Both parties are adults capable of agreeing to such a lifestyle and they both embrace it.  Although a lot of people seem to think the concept of domestic discipline has to do with kinky sex, some adherents have said they do it for Biblical reasons.  When I have asked religious people about this, most have generally responded with outrage.  And yet, there are people out there who think the Bible commands males to discipline their wives as they would their children.

While I might think it's wrong for a man to spank his wife (and for the record, I don't really...  not if she's an adult who consents to it), an adult woman has many more tools at her disposal to combat abuse if the spankings become excessive.  For one thing, an adult woman is usually physically larger and stronger than a young child is and can take more physical punishment.  For another, an adult woman can call for help if she needs it.  A woman in an abusive relationship may find it very difficult to leave because of the nature of abuse.  However, an adult is always in a stronger position to get help or get out of an abusive relationship than a child is.  An adult doesn't have to worry about being sent to foster care.  An adult can make his or her own decisions, find a job, and live independently, while a child cannot.

Many people can't wrap their heads around the idea of an adult woman willingly participating in a domestic discipline relationship.  They think the woman must be sick and a victim of abuse.  When I have read about this phenomenon, a recurring theme I have noticed is women explaining that the spankings make them feel safe and secure... even loved and valued.  My guess is that the spankings take them back to childhood, a time in life when most people don't have anything to worry about but growing up.  For some, the spankings might represent attention from a parent that they didn't ordinarily get.  For others, they represent erotic feelings that came out during the punishment.  Some women describe the relief of being able to cry and releasing pent up anxiety after they have been spanked.  There's also a "rush" that can happen during and after a discipline session.  When a person is in sudden pain, the body releases adrenaline and endorphins which can be intoxicating and even thrilling.

Most adults seem to think domestic discipline is weird and wrong.  Yet many people think it's perfectly okay for parents to spank their children.  In fact, most people who are in favor of corporal punishment think small children are the best candidates for spankings.  Older kids, who are not nearly as defenseless, usually don't get spanked as often.  People say it's because other punishments are more appropriate, but I think a large part of the reason why older kids don't get spanked as much is because they are more able to run away and/or fight back.  They are also more likely to report the spanking to someone else who might alert authorities.

Why is it considered "abusive" for a man to spank his adult wife, but it's "good parenting", particularly in Christian circles, to spank a small child?  If I were to ask around, people would probably tell me that the wife is an adult who is responsible for herself, while the child is still being raised and the adults are responsible for the child's discipline.  Okay...  so why not exercise a little self-discipline and come up with an effective training method that doesn't include hitting, pain, and humiliation?

Most parents spank their kids because they themselves were spanked.  They still love their parents and think they grew up unscathed, so they figure spanking is a harmless practice.  Spanking is a quick and often short term effective punishment that also allows the parent to address his or her own anger and frustration.

"But I never spank my child in anger!" some parents will argue.  I doubt that is always true for even the most patient parents.  But let's say it is always true.  Then that means your small child with a short attention span must wait for you to calm down before you resort to physical punishment.  By the time you get around to it, does the child still remember what the spanking is for?   Maybe, maybe not.  Why not just put the child in his or her room and take some time to calm down.  You might find that five minutes later, the urge to strike will have passed.  Then, instead of spanking your child "after you've calmed down ", you might find another way to teach the child right from wrong.

When I have written about this topic before, I have pointed out that I can't say spanking is never justified.  Some kids really do respond to it.  Everyone is an individual and for some kids, spanking is not traumatizing.  It's kind of the same thing as a pregnant woman who drinks.  You will hear many anecdotes about women who drank alcohol throughout their pregnancy and had a baby that was perfectly fine.  You will also hear about pregnant women who drank and had a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.  Everyone is different and responds differently.  Every parent takes risks and no one is perfect.

One person said there is no "one size fits all" method to raising kids.  I agree with that.   For some adults, domestic discipline is a source of happiness.  For some children, spankings are essential for good behavior.  I'm not even saying that I support anti-spanking laws.  I think they'd be very difficult to enforce.  My original reason for bringing up this topic is that I think corporal punishment in schools is inappropriate.  What parents do in their homes with their own kids is generally no one's business unless what they are doing puts their child's health and safety in serious peril.

I just thought it was interesting that many people think husbands spanking their adult wives is abusive and sick, while the same adults think mothers and fathers spanking their young children are being good parents.  To me, it seems to be an odd contradiction in logic.

5 comments:

  1. As far as domestic discipline is concerned, I don't really get it but don't see the slightest thing wrong with it happening in any other consenting adults' relationships.

    Where corporal punishment and kids are concerned, I have mixed feelings. Abuse is obviously wrong. The idiots who knock their children around on a regular basis are pond scum. Yet I haven't been impressed by many of the people I've known - kids or adults - who told me, or whose parents told me, that they've never even once been whacked. Corporal punishment is probably best used very sparingly, but in some cases the only way to teach a child not to run into a busy street, other than letting the kid run into said street and take the consequences, is to provide a bit of pain as a consequence. Yes, you can try your hardest to hold onto the child, but it's a good thing if the kid doesn't automatically bolt for the street the second he gets loose.

    As far as the mother of the spitter/hitter who also has attendance problems, the kid is probably a lost cause unless someone gets him under control soon. The mother's best bet would be to stand with the school consistently as long as the child is being treated fairly and is not being punished for what objective evidence clearly shows is someone else's misdeeds. (The kid is probably NEVER going to admit guilt, and if the mother thinks she can take his word as gospel in every situation, a prison cell may as well be reserved in advance.) The kid's only chance in life is for the mother and the school to work together. The mother presumably had her chance to do things her way for the first five years or so of the kid's life, and she screwed things up miserably. Perhaps spanking isn't the answer, and counseling of some sort is most definitely in order, spanking notwithstanding, but it probably doesn't hurt to give corporal punishment a try in this case.

    I have little sympathy for mother in her claim of coercion in regard to the consent for her child to be punished corporally. It may be that her circumstances caused her to feel powerless, but she, either directly or indirectly, created those circumstances. Ultimately, adults must take responsibility for their actions or inactions. In ten to twelve years, it's not unlikely that this same mother will be saying that the confession her son made to the police officers or assistant district attorney was similarly coerced.

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    1. Unfortunately, our society is such that anyone can make a big stink over controversy, which is what that mother did. She doesn't appear to be a great mom, but not knowing her personally, I don't know. I have no crystal ball, so there is no way to know how the boy will turn out. I still think school officials shouldn't be tasked with hitting him if he acts up. It's not their role.

      I also think that consenting adults have the right to do as they please within reason. My point is that many adults think spanking kids is okay, but spanking gown women is not, it doesn't seem logical to me.

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  2. i do think schools should use corporal punishment, even when legal, only when the kid is a repeat offender and what he or she is doing to others is much, much worse than what he would receive via the corporal punishment and when nothing else the parent or school has done seems to have made even a dent in the rate of misbehavior. what happened to you should never have happened.

    On the other hand, if a kid hits a teacher, I think schools would be a better place if the teacher could hit the kid back. The way it presently stands, the teacher would be arrested unless he or she could prove that he or she had legitimate cause to fear for his or her life.

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    1. Violence begets violence. ;).

      I think maybe school should be more of a privilege than it is.

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