Thinking About Hitting and Children

30 04 2008

How do we look ourselves in the mirror after putting up with things like this in the headlines day after day?

Legal journey to begin for children removed from Texas polygamist compound

Mea culpa: penitent Pope meets victims of sexual abuse by priests

This week’s —

Police found teenage boy in shackles

How do we continue to hide behind religion and culture and commit these violent crimes against the people we have brought into this world?

Even the sources included in this thoughtful post at Learning Always and All Ways disappoint. It’s OK to hit him if he’s over three and under 12?

What is wrong with the adults that they can’t function any better than this?

We are privileged to have our almost-two-year-old nephew stay with us some of the time. If you’ve ever seen a child this age, you know it isn’t easy. It’s a joy but it isn’t easy. They keep you on your toes!

Our nephew is the sweetest child and he is constantly exploring the world. He is constantly seeing what happens to this when he does that. He climbs. He has no fear, apparently operating under the theory that any time he wants to throw himself, he will be caught.

He experiments with his voice. You know how that goes — first there’s quiet babbling while he plays in the living room and you try to get dinner started, then there’s the blood-curdling scream. You dash around the corner to find that he is just playing and made that sound just because. It’s all learning and wonderful and unnerving and tiring and fulfilling and great!

Another thing DN experiments with is petting the cat. This can be difficult — depending on which cat he chooses and how vigorous his “petting” gets. Or he will pat you on the head. Probably all our fault as we fell into this silliness when he was even littler and now play “sneak up on the other guy and pat him on the head.” And laugh. It’s hilarious, you see.

But then the petting and patting is not. It is hitting. Or worse. . .

And I’ll hold his hand and say, “Easy,” and we pet or pat together. And we’ll do that as many times as it takes for him to get the idea that playfully petting and patting is fun and OK and hitting is not and not something we do.

He’s almost two and he almost gets it. He’s much gentler with the cats and with us than he was six months ago. Today we spent a long time just sitting and watching the cat take her bath!

What the heck is wrong with the adults that they don’t get it?

National Spank Out Day is April 30th. Non-violence toward our children — it’s the least we can do.

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21 responses

30 04 2008
NanceConfer

This is part of the Thinking Homeschoolers series: http://www.odonnellweb.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.NationalSpankOutOrPrayerDay

Please take the time to go read the rest of the posts too. Some of them are just wonderful responses to the prompt to write about National Spank Out Day/National Prayer Day and/or National Reason Day.

Nance

30 04 2008
JJ

Nance saves up I think, and then just awes me when she does post. Featuring the images of the children to show rather than tell, is brilliant imo to make the point, break the broken mindset. This is a thinking problem or a feeling problem or most likely both. We can’t beat it out of folks but maybe we here can help reason it out, and some of y’all elsewhere can pray it out of some?

I second her recommendation that you go read the Thinking Homeschoolers wiki and follow the links for more. Rock on, spank out, pray that the nation can become reasonable and better educated about what really counts in human terms. . .

Last year was my turn to write and link so if you’re looking for more after that, try these:

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

“Homeschoolers Praying to Guns, God, Government As Trinity”

“Parenting Beyond the Stinking Red Herring of Relativism””

“Is Your Love for Your Kids Controlling?”

30 04 2008
JJ

And what lesson does spanking really teach? There’s this very practical “educational” perspective to keep in mind:

“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 2008
Deanne

Great post Nance! (once again, 😉 ) Thank you for linking to my post. I’ll probably get more up today. The link I provided about the laws banning corporal punishment give me hope. They may not be all encompassing or adequate even, but at least it shows a change in thinking that is evolving. And I think JJ is correct in saying that a change in thinking is what’s really needed. New laws won’t guarantee ethical treatment of children, but it helps me hope that this abominable practice won’t be tolerated indefinitely.

[JJ’s note – here is Deanne’s other Spank Out Day post, go now!]

When we are so practiced at denying our own pain, it becomes easy to act as if it doesn’t affect us when we cause our own children pain.
And if we can do that, it is even easier to ignore others’ children who are suffering.

30 04 2008
imperceptibility

Great post. The pictures say it better than I ever could.

30 04 2008
Nance Confer

Absolutely, Deanne. At least we are moving in the right direction.

Nance

30 04 2008
Crimson Wife

The percentage of Catholic priests who’ve ever been accused of pedophilia is *NO HIGHER* than the percentage of clergy of other faiths and is *LOWER* than the percentage of other “helping” professions such as teachers. The centralized nature of the Catholic Church simply made it easier for the paper trails to become public. One study of claims paid by insurance companies for child sex abuse by clergy found a *HIGHER* number committed by Protestant ministers (roughly 260 per year) than Catholic priests (about 228 per year). Both of these pale in comparison to the ~2500 cases per year of abuse by public schoolteachers. By no means is the problem of abuse by those in authority position confined to the Catholic Church…

30 04 2008
JJ

CW writes:
“By no means is the problem of abuse by those in authority position confined to the Catholic Church…”

True. Look at all the homes where Authority is cited to the child, even as the pipe or ruler is wielded. . .

But the Catholic Church (or Church generally, same sacred secrecy in any sect) being set up to make public knowledge of child abuse EASIER to come by than in schools? I can’t imagine anyone would seriously defend that position!

30 04 2008
JJ

Btw, the news today from the polygamy compound kids was that 41 have had broken bones, and some of the boys had been sexually abused, not just the girls. Also a teen gave birth today to the first-next generation of abuse victims there . . .

1 05 2008
Nance Confer

Defending your church because you have a lower rate of abuse? Not a terrific argument.

How sad, JJ.

The way we blithely view these atrocities as part of our evening news coverage is really sad too.

Nance

1 05 2008
JJ

Well, I notice no “pro-life” types are out celebrating such impregnations and births as a good thing, not for the girls and babies, the gods or society — that ought to tell us something.

1 05 2008
lori

The centralized nature of the Catholic Church simply made it easier for the paper trails to become public.

No, the centralized nature of the Catholic Church allowed the Church to not only hide their abusers from their parishoners and from the authorities, but to repeatedly send the abusers to new parishes to abuse again and again. It’s just so easy when it’s all handled within one centralized, hierarchical organization. You never have to step outside the organization and be accountable for your actions. You can hide beneath the cloth of the big tent, so to speak.

It also allowed John Paul II to scoot Cardinal Law (oh so ironically named!) away from Boston to a cushy job in Rome as some sort of twisted reward for his role in the cover up of the Boston abuses.

The centralized nature of the Catholic Church allowed the Church, at all levels, to cover up crimes against children and to ensure that the crimes would continue. Good job defending them.

3 05 2008
Crimson Wife

From an article on a Unitarian Universalist website:

“Another reason non-Catholic churches have for the most part slipped under the national media radar, experts suggest, is that the removal of a Protestant pastor for sexual scandal is often only a local story. A more significant difference in the attention to Protestant and Catholic cases, according to James F. Cobble Jr., executive director of Christian Ministry Resources, is that Catholic dioceses usually have large insurance coverage for their parishes. That increases the likelihood of litigation, and a bigger spotlight on the offenses and the church’s responses….

‘With so many small Protestant congregations, allegations often never move beyond the local church or they rise to the level of insurance claims but are settled out of court,’ Cobble said.”

It’s very easy for a Protestant minister accused of abuse to simply close up shop in one state and open a new church far away. There’s no centralized list of suspect clergy and very little oversight, particularly for “non-denominational” Protestant churches.

3 05 2008
JJ

I see what you’re saying then, CW, about the back-end ease of detection. I was thinking about the front end more, I guess — about the institutionalized opportunity to commit such abuse in the first place.

3 05 2008
Nance Confer

Why does anyone think that arguing about whether one church system or another makes for better cover for pedophiles is a good argument?

Why aren’t all such systems equally and vehemently condemned?

The point, btw CW, of including the recent Pope story was that it was recent. I condemn what that church does and covers up as much as any other form of child abuse. But if there had been a headline about molesting and abusing children in some other type of church that week, I would have used that headline.

As there was. And as I did.

And the larger point has to do with power. Whatever robes the powerful one in the picture may or may not be wearing, the whole spanking, hitting, sexual abuse, child abuse issue is about one human being’s power to do wrong against another defenseless human being.

No matter what religion the abuser hides behind.

And no matter what social convenience outside of religion any parent wants to use to justify hitting. “My parents did it.” “I was doing it to keep him out of the street and safe.” “He’s a real handful!”

And, last but not least, “I didn’t know any better.”

None of these are good arguments to hide behind when hitting and abusing children. And neither is: “Well, those guys do it too!”

Nance

3 05 2008
JJ

Nance speaks for my views on child abuse too. Nothing justifies any part of it personal or institutional. I saw something really sad today on the unschoolingbasics list, about a mom who had to stop visiting a former friend who had recently found some born-again (presumably fundamentalist Protestant) religion and announced she needed to spank her THREE-YEAR-OLD with a PADDLE because the child hadn’t properly greeted their pastor.

3 05 2008
Nance Confer

WTF??!!

Sad? That sounds criminal!

Nance

3 05 2008
Nance Confer

Well, I just posted there and put up the link to the Wiki page on SpankOut Day. Hoping it will help. . .

Nance

5 05 2008
JJ

AUthority abuse is the common thread in child abuse of any kind. And we haven’t tied that crime around the neck of School yet this year, but we need to before we let the thread close. We actually TEACH abuse of authority in our schools, public, parochial or otherwise. That is what “punishment” is all about. Check out this comment from the Bitch Magazine unschooling feature:

The problem with the schools is not that they are socialist but that they are, from top to bottom, authoritarian. Kids are punished for not passing tests. Teachers are punished for not having enough passing grades. Whole schools are punished as “failing”. If kids aren’t learning enough, it must be that we are not testing and punishing enough.

So now we have schools that stop teaching after the big tests are over. Now we have competency tests that start in Second Grade. Now we have schools that lose their funding and all the workers in the community are replaced because a school has not had a “passing grade.”

As long as the state thinks the answer to our woes is to test more and punish more, it doesn’t matter what the economic model is, the schools will continue to worsen.

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

[…] Thinking About Hitting and Children […]

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

[…] Thinking about hitting and children […]

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