There are many wonderful parents out there whose children have been in my class. The wonderful parents come in all types; alas, so do the not-so-wonderful ones.
One kind of not-so-wonderful parent I encountered starting with my first year of teaching is the Parent Who Spanks. The child gets in trouble at school for hitting other children, and I call home to talk to a parent. When I was a young teacher I thought that of course it was my responsibility to let them parent(s) know what was happening at school. Then you find out the next day that the parent spanked the child to punish him for hitting. Or you find that out with horror from Mom herself (“when he gets home he’s going to get a whuppin’!”), and you suddenly wish you had never told her anything.
The logic of hitting your child to teach them to stop hitting escapes me. These parents probably have had few good role models for disciplining their children, and they probably have few skills to handle these situations. But still.
The next problem, of course, is that I cannot call this parent again when the child hits another, or I will feel responsible for that child getting whupped at home again. And I want nothing to do with anything or anyone who hurts a child.
People argue with me about this, but spanking is hitting. Period. The only argument they ever have is, “My parents spanked me and I turned out okay.”
Really? You’re hitting a child. Did you really turn out okay?
I’ve never said this, but I want to.
Beautifully said, Tom!
I got smacked as a child, doesn’t make me hit kids, doesn’t make me argue for hitting kids either. What does that tell you?
My verdict: occasional smacking that doesn’t cause physical injury and is unaccompanied by any kind of emotional abuse or neglect is unlikely to cause massive problems.
Doesn’t mean I advocate doing it, but nor do I think it’s a surefire way to make a child turn into an abusive psycho when they are older.
Rose, I don’t think I made an argument that spanking children causes massive problems or that it will turn children into abusive psychos. I just made the point that hitting a child to punish him for hitting is illogical. “Tommy, it’s wrong to hit people!” (Spank!) “Never hit anyone again!” (Spank!) What is a four year old supposed to learn from that? Actions speak louder than words…..
I was responding to Tom, not the original post. Sorry.
By abusive psycho I meant someone who hits children as Tom described.