Belts, Cords or Switches: Let’s Stop Hitting Our Kids

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The controversial video of an African American father whipping his two teenaged daughters has gone viral and is sparking lots of conversation, which is always a good thing.  (See video below)

I just hope some of the conversation brings about change and not just more of the same.  At some point we have to realize that everything our parents and grandparents did wasn’t right, and perhaps there are options to physical discipline.

In defense of hitting our children we are quick to paraphrase Proverbs 13:24.

Now before you demand that I turn in my “black” card, hear me out. I’m in no way advocating that children be able to get away with bad behavior. The Bible says spare the rod and spare the child. The verse from Proverbs goes on to say, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

So let me repeat: I’m in no way advocating that children be able to get away with bad behavior. In fact, I’m advocating the opposite.

Like most of you, I have a low tolerance for children throwing tantrums in Wal-Mart and teens rolling their eyes at their mamas.  If you knew me and my two sons, I think you would at least give me the benefit of the doubt on this one. My kids aren’t perfect but they are smart, talented, and well-behaved when they’re with me and when they aren’t.  I have never hit either of them with a belt or my hand—just a pop on the legs or hands when they were babies.When they got old enough to understand what I expected of them, there was no need for hitting. I do reserve the right to retract this statement should they lose their minds when they enter their teen years.

But that’s not where I came from, necessarily.  My mom gave out her share of whippings or “whoopings,” depending on where you’re from and it went on until I was a young teen. If the laws in place today about corporal punishment were around when my sister and I were growing up, my mom even admits she might have been arrested.  I more than my sister, who is a year older, got “taken to task,” usually for showing my mother disrespect.

I don’t blame her for doing what she needed to do to swiftly get my attention and to send the message of what she would and wouldn’t tolerate. That was one way to do it, but it wasn’t the only way.

My dad never laid a hand on us and with his words was able to get the same messages across to us. It may have been the combination of the two styles of discipline that led to us turning out pretty well.  Who knows?  There’s no perfect formula for parenting…a lot of it is, pardon the pun, hit or miss.

But here are my problems with the video:

1.    It’s on video

2.    A father hitting a daughter could send the message that it’s okay for women to get hit by men.

3.    It reinforces the idea that violence is the only way to discipline our children.

Trying another way is not an affront to our culture.  It just might be a way to curb the cycle of violence that we can’t deny.  Again, if disciplining with a belt, a ruler or a switch is your method, that is your right, within reason.  But it should never be out of anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or intended to embarrass or humiliate a child or teen.

The most effective disciplining starts when children are babies and if it’s done correctly and consistently, I promise you children can respond in a positive way without being hit.

But this method is not for the weak or the impatient. It takes a lot of work. My dad told me when I first became a mother that no matter what, you have to say what you mean and mean what you say – whether it’s good or bad.  It takes being persistent in incorporating follow-through.  To make it work, you have to be a real adult, sober, diligent and able to teach by example.  If you start when they’re old enough and bold enough to post videos of themselves simulating sex, I think it’s too late for talking… or beating for that matter.

But that’s just me.  What do you think?

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Originally seen on http://blackamericaweb.com/

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