The below is an example of how not to write an article from OCN's The Sounding. An opinion piece cloaked as the Orthodox opinion, the pericope periscope of Scripture to only look at the lines you want to look at while ignoring context, condescending speech "Most parents mean well, It’s shocking to see how many educated Christians, something from the dark ages," and overreaching assumptions on the motivations of others in the discipline methods they use on their own children. Normally I don't post the entire article as their general preference is for me to just use the first section as enticement, but my comments extend throughout the article.
(OCN) - Spanking does not work in raising children. In my opinion, it should be eliminated as a strategy for controlling misbehavior in children.
Why? Because I believe spanking destroys trust and is a quick fix that doesn’t solve the problem, teaches kids to be sneaky, shames the child, and is an insult to the intelligence of humanity. Back this up with facts. With numbers. With patristic quotes in context.
But what about “spare the rod, spoil the child,” you ask?
I’m not advocating letting kids run wild with no discipline. I just believe there are far too many choices available for any parent to feel the need to spank their child.
Not all adults who were spanked as children end up struggling to cope as adults, but many of them do. And many of them missed valuable life lessons they could have learned without the quick fix of a smack on the behind.
Most parents mean well when they spank their child for misbehaving, but the child rarely gets the message the parent intends to give.
The whole “I’m doing this because I love you” just confuses the child. You don’t hit someone you love. The earlier we teach that to children, the better. This applies to all forms of discipline. Any of the forms of disciple she mentions below will feel "unfair" or "cruel" to a small child at least some of the time.
A parent’s anger at a child’s misbehavior is a ticking time bomb from the moment the parent lifts their hand to strike the child. This assumes that all spanking is prompted by anger.
What lesson did he learn? All discipline is in some way pedagogical, but is that always the chief goal? Sometimes behavior is simply dangerous and redirection or a cessation is the immediate goal and not a lesson.
That you’re bigger. That you aren’t to be trusted. That she needs to hide better next time so she doesn’t get caught. Again, another assumption. Please back up with something beyond your own emotional response.
It’s shocking to see how many educated Christians fall into the trap of doing what their parents did because it’s what they know. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. I find a lot of what other parents do surprising. Does that mean they are "fall[ing] into the trap" of something?
I can attest that plenty of kids who are being raised in a spank-free home are not spoiled in the least. In fact, kids who are spanked are more at risk. Acccording to University of Michigan School of Social Work researcher Elizabeth Gershoff, the more kids are spanked, the more likely they are to engage in delinquent or at risk behaviors. Great. Link to the article so we can read the full findings. If we look at peer reviews of her findings we find a very difficult causality to establish. For example, the APA states: "The evidence presented in the meta-analysis does not justify a blanket injunction against mild to moderate disciplinary spanking," conclude Baumrind and her team. Baumrind et al. also conclude that "a high association between corporal punishment and physical abuse is not evidence that mild or moderate corporal punishment increases the risk of abuse."
Here are a few tactics parents can employ to discipline their children without resorting to spanking:
Think about it: It’s against the law to hit animals, prisoners, and other adults. Why is it okay to hit kids? See how spanking is now equated directly to hitting.
- Loss of privileges
- Natural consequences
- Prevention through quality time, and intentional parenting
So many parents think it’s their right to spank. To me, it’s something from the dark ages that should have been extinct long ago. Now spanking is archaic; not a very strong argument in Orthodox circles.
Just like the Ten Commadments exhort us to honor our father and mother, we should also honor our children by disciplining them with as much love and respect as possible.
As Orthodox Christian parents, we can serve our children better by exercising restraint when we’re tempted to strike our child. Now spanking is equated to a lack of restraint.
We can take a breather (time out works for adults too), remove ourselves from the situation if necessary, and remember the golden rule:
Matthew 7:12: Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
If you wouldn’t hit your neighbor, don’t hit your child.