Corporal Punishment and Kids These Days

Jeanette and I had a long talk at Benny’s last night about various issues and things in our past. Mainly I talked about my old Grad nights (I had two in HS, one for Grade 12, one for Grade 13), but we also talked about rampant political correctness. And that’s the topic for today.

In Vancouver, and I suspect in most other parts of the world, teenage crime is way up. That means more shoplifting, more theft, more violent and non-violent crime, and especially, it means more joyriding and other car theft. The other day, two cops fired on a jeep full of teenagers, seriously injuring two of them. This may be normal for some US cities, but it certainly isn’t for Vancouver – but the cops had no choice – the teenagers, in a vehicle they stole, were about to run down the two cops on foot. They had no fear because they felt they could get away with anything. And I think the rash of overzealous politically correct idiots out there are responsible for this kind of thing. Confused? Read on then.

I went to a Catholic School when I was growing up (in Ottawa, we had the Ottawa Catholic School Board, with dozens of public-type schools, but Catholic in nature, because of the large Catholic population). Catholic schools back then practiced corporal punishment – the strap. I figure that, between grade 3 and 8, I got the strap at least 3 dozen times. I think I deserved maybe 60% of them (about 40% of the time I got the strap for biased and religious issues – which I don’t think was deserving). Now today, I don’t think it’s right for a school to dish out physical punishment, but I feel this way because I believe it’s the parents’ responsibility alone to dish it out – not some third party.

I probably got a lot less spankings from my Dad than I deserved. My Dad practiced the three strikes you’re out rule. The first time you did something wrong, you lost your allowance (a meagre $5 per two weeks) and you got a stern talking. The second time you did the same wrong, you lost your allowance, and privileges like TV etc for a while, and got grounded for a week or more. The third time you were stupid enough to commit the same wrong, you got a licking. I was put over my Dad’s knee, and given whacks on my butt from his hand. I can honestly say several things about these episodes.

  • I deserved them all
  • My mom didn’t like it because she came from an abusive house
  • My Dad never enjoyed it.
  • My Dad always used his hand, which caused him some pain too (no belts).
  • My Dad often had welled up eyes after finishing.

As you can probably tell, I am a firm believer in corporal punishment. I feel that following set levels of discipline with children is necessary for responsible parenting and for raising respectful, responsible children. But I also recognize the difference between disciplining and abuse. Lining your kid up against a wall and punching them is wrong. Slapping a child in the face is wrong. Physically punishing a kid for a minor offense (like being a bit late or not doing your chores on time) is wrong.

I believe that corporal punishment should only be used in rare and extreme cases of bad child behaviour, like stealing, repeated lying, abusive language toward parents, beating up your siblings (boy did I get a lot for that one!) and the like. I also feel that the only form of corporal punishment that should be accepted and practiced is a spank on the butt. It’s the most padded area, and trust me… it burns for a while, but you get over it quick. I also feel that if you do this, only your hand should be used – not belts or “switches”… you should feel exactly how much pain it causes, so you don’t go overboard.

But you know what? The PC police started their act in the mid 80s, and all of a sudden, you cannot physically discipline your children when necessary. Parents are genuinely concerned that if they spank their undisciplined children, that teachers, neighbors and family friends will run to the cops or Children’s Services, and cry abuse. Not only that, but kids are aware of this at an early age too and some of them actually hold their parents “hostage” in a sense, threatening to tell teachers that they are abused if their parents try to practice any kind of discipline, physical or not. The PC police have done this to our society, thereby taking the job (and the right) of raising responsible kids away from many parents. And its these kids, who grew up in this environment, who now joyride, steal, etc.. They threaten their parents, teachers and the like, and generally get away with it. It’s simply wrong.

Getting back to the Jeep incident mentioned at the top of this rant, I watched the newscasts, and BCTV interviewed some of these dilinquents’ friends at the hospital. They were mostly girls in their mid teens, and the stuff they spewed out was absolutely amazing. They said there was going to be a “war” against the cops for this. They said they’d steal more cars, actually try to hurt cops, and the like. Sure, it was mostly stupid bravado, but the fact is, they feel they are invincible and protected against any kind of punishment because they grew up in an environment where their parents couldn’t discipline them properly. I bet they even hold the threat of “reporting abuse” over their parents’ heads whenever they do get disciplined, even in a non-physical way.

If and when I have kids, I will practice what my Dad did – proper punishment for the crime. I would never take joy out of hitting my kids – I can’t even fathom that. I’ll probably be just like my Dad, feeling great sorrow at having to actually hurt my children – probably even more… heck, just this past week, I intentionally hurt a person I barely knew, and I felt sad about it. I will not let a school discipline my children with physical force (that’s simply wrong), but I will not let PC zealots tell me how to bring my kids up. I’m pretty adamant about this issue, and I’d go to jail for it. There’s no way in hell that my kids will ever exercise the power to eliminate ANY kind of punishment from their parents, and thereby live a life of wanton disregard for the consequences of their actions. That’s what I see happening today, and I won’t be a participant in it.

Oh and as an afterthought, you know what really makes me sick? How some loser will steal, kill someone, commit other violent crimes, or beat his kids, and then claim “I came from an abused home” when all his parents did was spank his bottom. These assholes feed PC’ers their ammo, and that’s wrong. It’s time for people to take (or be given) responsibility for their own actions, and not blame others. The same goes for people who really abuse their kids, and blame their actions on the fact that they too were abused as kids. My Mom was truly abused by my grandfather, but she never raised a hand against us my entire life. She took responsibility for her actions, and didn’t follow in her father’s footsteps.

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