Stop Every Kid-Hitter You Can: Teach ‘Em a Lesson!

29 04 2007

. . .and a good place to start might be to stop calling kid-hitting any kind of love or learning, and to object when others do.

Tomorrow–Monday April 30–is SpankOut 2007 and for once, this is a Snook post that Thinking Parents needn’t give much thought. It’s the Unthinking Parents, those too deeply in thrall with traditional church and school teachings, who need to start thinking. What they need to think about is how they teach all the wrong lessons by hitting — even in the exalted name of education or eternal life, much less from simple ignorance, habit or lack of a better idea.If you know any such folks, please apply any or all of these implements where they can do the most good (and don’t let up until they learn a good lesson!)

Discipline at School: National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools

Religion and Discipline: Spare the Rod…Spoil the Child?

Discipline at Home: The Kindness to Children Index (by State)

As the Stophitting homepage reminds us, good old Dr. Spock WAS ahead of his time:

If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.

– Dr. Benjamin Spock

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23 responses

30 04 2007
unschooled

I almost fell out of the bleachers one afternoon when a fundie Mom threatened her 5 year old daughter with “the wacker” when the little girl started pouting at a homeschool sporting event. The poor kid wasn’t doing anything unusual…just whining a bit and refusing to participate in some activities. Her mother pulled a flat child beating device out of her purse (obviously “the wacker”) in front of everyone. I had never seen anything like it. I’m thinking the woman must be religious to some extent since she seemed to think the threat was, in some sense, a good way to handle the situation. I shudder at the thought of what must go on behind closed doors if she didn’t think twice about airing her abusive ways in front of at least 10 other parents.

30 04 2007
NanceConfer

There are so many threads floating around here and elsewhere that touch on this. All about control and parenting and unschooling and applying principles in real life and . . . I better think some more and see if I have anything coherent to write. 🙂

Nance

30 04 2007
NanceConfer

And self-control and self-discipline — how to leave space for them to grow, how to help kids develop them and how to get some in our own “all grown up” lives.

Hmmm. . .

Nance

30 04 2007
JJ

Since 9-11 I can’t hear a story like that without hearing the Taliban in it. Regress everything to mullahs and mysticism, ignorance and social controls in the name of a vengeful and punishing deity whose mind is known mainly to MEN.

Vengeful and punishing “men of god” can be directly and openly resisted in a fair fight and usually will arouse just that response. But when Taliban Theocracy is enforced through the seemingly sweet, gentle “truth and light” of loving, protecting motherhood divining what’s in a child’s heart and then hitting it with a stick in the name of the fathers (like Michael Pearl and Tedd Tripp) — that’s when my faith in the Constitution is most sorely tested. I’m thinking maybe American freedom should be emulating Turkey rather than the Taliban.

30 04 2007
JJ

Something Teresa Heinz Kerry said on her next-to-last blog tour stop applies to this issue too — heck, it IS this issue, better environments for women’s and children’s health! That is all my issues rolled into one big one, pretty much what animates my life:

We must all continue to investigate, explore, create, write, research, experiment safely, and change our ways so that our children and their children can live in a world of hope, health, and joy.

BTW eireann, I am really enjoying your unschooling billboard bible tour of the South!
😉

30 04 2007
JJ

Something Favorite Daughter had to say about hitting kids as shocking:
“I Can’t Hear You, LALALALA!”

In any movie that old, there are bound to be cultural referents that befuddle audiences of today – things change, they just do, and you can’t stop them.

One scene attempted to show the ‘domestic’ side of the handsome young detective assigned the murder case, he left the precinct and returned home to his white-picket fenced house and his almost painfully adorable wife.

They spend about a minute and a half being so cute, and post-war, and gung-ho, and can-do that you find yourself wanting to kill them. They are like an advertisement for the 1950s – “Got you a nice, cool supper,” the wife, Janey, whispers. “Jellied Tongue.”

Then these charming people proceed to have a rather disturbing conversation.

“Billy has to have a whipping.” Janey announces. “He walked right out of the yard, crossed Stillman Avenue all by himself, and went to the park.”

“Well… I’ll give him a real talking to.” The Handsome Young Detective says reluctantly.
“No you won’t, you’ll give him a real whipping, with a strap.” Janey counters.
“Just a minute, honey…” the Handsome Young Detective begs.
“I know — I know — you don’t believe in whipping a child. Neither have I until now.” Janey interrupts matter-of-factly.

And rightly so! I want to yell at the screen. What is wrong with you? As I sat there, watching this woman attempt to talk her husband into beating up on their son, the thought crossed my mind more than once: you are the DEVIL. . .

30 04 2007
Deanne

Thank you for posting this. I wish I was aware of this sooner. I’m definitely applying for one of the grants to have a “No Spank” event and some education in our area next year!!!! There were so few events listed on their site, and not one in FL. 😦

30 04 2007
JJ

Hey, you know — we could maybe do a blog tour next April, like the one we just did with Teresa Keinz Kerry? Get Doc and Daryl and COD et al, Deanne and the Snooks, School of Thought, Culture Kitchen, Pam Sorooshian’s no-spanking group and enough other evolved Thinking Parents to make a “Healthy Means No Hitting!” online event throughout the month leading up to the Spank Out Day? — who could we get to be the star interview, hmmm . . .

30 04 2007
JJ

Sandra Dodd posted a truth-revealing story that happened to Favorite Daughter a couple of years ago. What it illustrated for us is how spanking either teaches kids to believe in spanking as parenting, or else not to believe in their own parents because of spanking.
Either way, a very bad learning outcome!

30 04 2007
Jo

Good to have you “on board” this year. Great post.

1 05 2007
Don't Miss This NPR Audio Tonight! « Cocking A Snook!

[…] 05 2007 As I listened to Zimbardo’s wonderful radio interview this morning, I thought about kid-hitting! This brilliant experimenter explains so much about unhealthy environments of power and control […]

13 05 2007
JJ

“Deanne and the Snooks” sounds like a pop music group — 😉

29 10 2007
Is Your Love for Your Kids Controlling? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] tend to focus mainly on the horror of all that actual hitting, but along comes Pam to remind me love-as-control is a whole mindset, a parenting meme. There are […]

22 12 2007
If You’re Here Fresh From “Unity-N-Diversity”. . . « Cocking A Snook!

[…] — just chill me to the bone? You betcha, particularly the same week as the much more directly child-protective lessons of National Spank Out Day! (which needs prayer and action too, but these folks had no Capitol rally for THAT, didn’t […]

1 03 2008
JJ

Strange spanking research story via Doc’s new digs, and seeing it just now reminds me if we want to do a blog tour this year for SpankOut Day, we should get cracking!

1 03 2008
Mind Your Head About Home Education and Religion « Cocking A Snook!

[…] easy way you can help is to look directly at the prayer and politics and punishment in a family, if you want or need to know how dangerous they are to our civil liberties and national […]

30 04 2009
Can You Go All Day Without Hitting a Child? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Can You Go All Day Without Hitting a Child? 30 04 2009 Stop Every Kid Hitter You Can — Teach ‘Em a Lesson! […]

3 05 2009
Tasha

Have any of you witnessed a parent hitting their kid (ie a spanking on the butt) in public? Any thoughts on what to say to the parent who’s hitting their kid? I’ve witnessed it twice and I never felt I had the right words in the moment…I think I need a “script” that I can pull out of the brain at the right moment. My husband was with me the second time and made a snarky comment in the hearing of the parent. As much as I want to lambaste these parents, I don’t think it will help in the long run…but I’m at a loss for what would help. Thoughts?

3 05 2009
JJ

Every time I would see it, I’d realize (too late) that I had heard loud build-up and threats somewhere near me first, and you begin to notice the body language even, the way a child is being snatched here and there in a grocery store, say. So I decided the thing to do was intervene, break the cycle, before the actual whacking ensued. That does work, in the sense that I haven’t seen one since — I think I helped prevent or at least postpone several.

What works for me is to think of the mom as the toddler-tyrant or little child at risk of a meltdown. I think about the positive parenting I used with my own loved little ones, to distract or encourage or offer help when I could see them getting frustrated and mad enough to lash out. So instead of making it worse, you do the first silly or funny or kind and sympathetic, or even self-deprecating thing that pops into your head. One time I told a young mom with a smile how lucky she was to have a budding baseball pitcher with an arm like that (the child kept tossing a toy out of the shopping cart to make her pick it up and she was too unimaginative to change up the game instead of just threatening, do you want a spanking??) I said it as I bent down to pick up the toy and made a silly face at the child, then I told her I was a teacher and I really thought the child had a gift, was delighting in the movement. That’s just an example, I think Nance has some better ones.

Of course I honestly don’t know if it has even once shown a spanking parent the light (suspect not) but cumulatively I know it DOES matter how a culture generally reacts. Public opinion is made up of all those little ripples of reaction from each of us, so I want mine to contribute in the right direction and be something I can feel good about instead of regretting, even if I can’t make a BIG difference by myself, you know?

3 05 2009
Nance Confer

I think I have been spared seeing any actual hitting — unless I have just blocked it out of memory. But we’ve all been in those moments at the grocery store. The sort of thing JJ is describing.

The Mom has had it. You can look at her and just see that this cranky kid is the least of the problems on her mind at the end of a long day — or it has just been a normal day, being Mom is hard work (never sufficiently appreciated until you do it). Or the adorable moppet has pulled the “adorable moppet” card just one too many times and Mom really doesn’t want to hear about it any more — whatever “it” is — or clean up the mess one more time or have the only child in the store — probably in the whole world — who makes this much noise when we are out just trying to get something nice for dinner. And now you want ice cream and hate chicken!!!??? Auggghhh.. . you can just see the steam starting to escape from Mom’s ears.

I look at kids in the store. This is, apparently, an odd thing. Because they almost always seem startled that someone looked them in the eye. Maybe we’re not supposed to. Is that it?

Anyway, a smiling look goes a long way to making a looooong checkout line (and when you are the little kid trapped in the cart and nobody is talking to you and Mom is tired and cranky and there are all those delightful things to grab . . . it is a long wait) more bearable. And/or just an offer to unload the cart with Mom so she can tend to the child or comments about remembering mine being this age and how tired they get and we get by the end of the day or picking up the thrown toy — a few times, a dozen times, who cares — so Mom doesn’t have to. Just a tiny break in the building tension, a smile to let Mom know it’s not her fault her child makes noise in public, that that’s OK, that’s all. Just a break. A small thing to let everyone regroup.

I think the checkout people try sometimes too. They have stickers and smiles and they try. Anything to get Mom smoothly out the door. They see the same kids all the time. They remember how easy it was when the child was a baby — relatively 🙂 — but now he is 2 or 5 and a bit of a handful. But they know he will be 15 soon and working next to them.

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and being so tired and stressed — more lately — and we all need a smile, a hand, a reassuring distraction (she’s another Mom, it’s OK that she’s talking to the baby, good I can unload these groceries), once in a while.

Nance

3 05 2009
Tasha

For some reason, (bad luck?) I seem to come upon it, just as the parent is in the act. First time, was in a public bathroom of a restaurant, where I was waiting for my daughter to finish in the stall. Mom pops in with a 2 yr old and starts smacking him. Urrgh! Another woman told her off, but I felt so….inadequate, you know. I wanted to help or make it better or just….I dont’ know…save that little guys behind. I just stared at her (thinking…surely you won’t continue if you’re being watched so closely). Of course, it didnt’ phase her in the least.

Second time I was with my two girls, hubby, and brother’s family walking around Legoland. Came around the corner and saw this father, right ahead of us, smacking his (also) about 2 yr old son. My brain just went crazy, trying to figure out what to say (or if to say anything) and then before I could make a decision, my husband quipped sarcastically “Takes a real man to beat his kid” and we were past them and the moment was over.

Thanks Nance and JJ….I’m going to try the empathetic “Must be having a hard day, huh?” next time I see it…maybe that will stop it, at least in that moment. Ugghh….

3 05 2009
JJ

I have to admit, Tasha, I would have cheered your husband’s retort! 😦

(Maybe two-year-olds are particularly vulnerable to hitting?)

3 11 2011
“Spanking”: This is what’s wrong with it « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Stop every kid-hitter you can — teach ‘em a lesson! […]

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