Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It is time to quit pampering our kids...

Spare the Rod and spoil the child.

Growing up in the 40’s and 50’s that phrase was used by my Mother when ever she saw a child misbehaving and it’s parents ignoring it. It was a given that you spanked your child. Children were to be seen and not heard. Children addressed grown ups as Mr. or Mrs., NEVER by their first name. If they were a close family friend then it was Aunt so and so or Uncle what’s your name. NEVER EVER by their given name. Children also were told to not interrupt. You could not pat your parent on their knee and say Mom, Mom, Mom until you were recognized. NOPE. You were told to sit until asked to speak. Emergencies excepted of course. Families all sat down to eat dinner together, and manners were expected to be used. I remember getting a fork stuck into my elbow if I forgot and leaned on the table. Your free hand was kept in your lap, and you ate with one hand, and chewed with your mouth closed and did not EVER talk with your mouth full!

Children were expected to be polite when visiting, and if you misbehaved, you knew there would be consequences to pay when you got home. You were rarely disciplined in public, unless absolutely necessary, and the fear of “waiting until your Father gets Home” was usually worse than the actual punishment.

Yes there were stories of children that were beaten not spanked, and there were cases of children so abused that they were taken away from their parents. That was not the case in our neighborhoods. We were a military family, and we lived in a very close community, and the behavior of the family was watched very closely. If the children or Wife was unruly, The military would call the serviceman onto the carpet, and tell him to make sure his family was kept out of trouble.

Teachers would send notes home with a misbehaving pupil, and if that note was not answered, then the teacher would ask the parent to come in for a conference. Policemen knew by name the “bad” Children, and where they lived, and they were there to watch over the good kids on their long walks home.

We Knew that any wrong move would bring a spanking. I for one, did not get many spankings, because I feared them, so I behaved as much as possible. Phyllis, on the other hand tried anything and everything, and usually got caught and punished. I remember her getting into trouble almost every day.

Mom would spank so hard she would hurt her hand, so she switched to a ping pong paddle or a pancake turner. Dad was rarely the one to administer the corporeal punishment.

As we grew up into the 60’s, less and less children were getting spanked, and more and more were rebelling and running away from home. By the time I graduated from High School Psychologists were starting to put forth the theory that children were rebelling because of they way they were treated growing up. That spankings were not the proper way to discipline a child, that reason and logic were the right way. Rewarding your child for doing something right was much preferred to punishing your child for doing something wrong. My generation was the first to fall into the trap of treating your children like grown adults instead of letting them be children. We allowed them to dress up and wear make up way before their time, and we gave them things with out making them earn them. We spared the rod, and in my humble opinion, we spoiled our children.

There is nothing wrong with spoiling your children, as long as they know that misbehaving is nothing to be rewarded for. I admit to spoiling my kids. I gave them anything I could, but not to reward them, but to show them the love I had for them. I also spanked my children when they needed it. I was also a military wife, and my husband was rarely home, so the disciplining was up to me. I spanked hard also. But one of the things I never did was use a paddle, or spank anywhere other than the back of their legs or their fanny! That was fair game.

My children did not grow up with the manners I had growing up, and I blame myself for not taking the time to teach them. I was too busy working full time, to get the things that they wanted. Just like the rest of my generation.

Now we are working on the third generation of no spanking, and both parents working full time just to make ends meet. This leaves their children to raise themselves with the help of violent video games, and mindless television. You see them driving their brand new cars at high speeds through town, while talking on their cell phones. You see them cutting into lines in the parking lots, and running into stores while you sit and seethe. You see them yelling obscenities at other drivers, and causing accidents. You see them pushing other children around and laughing at it. You see them shoplifting items and then bragging about it to their friends.

There is more and more being reported about out of control kids. It is time to rethink the negotiating and logic that was applied to unruly children and go back to corporeal punishment. I am not in any way shape or form condoning beating your child nor any form of child abuse. I am speaking of spanking a child for not behaving. We need to start teaching manners and civility to our younger generations. We need to teach them that there are consequences for their actions, and not just in front of their parents, but all through their lives. That any time they put their needs and wants before the good of society, that the consequences will have to be paid. We have raised three generations of ill-mannered Americans. Is it any wonder that we have a bad reputation in the rest of the world?

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