Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Fine lines of Corporal Punishment

Yes I am going to touch on this subject, why; because I consider myself to have parented in a fare manner and I wanted to express my observations.
This will not be about judgment but instead on shining light on topics that require more discussions and understanding and better options for resolutions.

Corporal Punishment is defined as a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offense, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behavior deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with the open hand or with an implement, whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings. (Wikipedia)

Some people will never understand or respect when someone says it's a cultural thing and how can we expect them too if it is not part of their culture or household experience.
I mean how can we understand taking a branch or wire or hanger or whatever and hitting a child? 
But if that is the case how can we understand the cutting off of someones hand back in the day when they stole? Or the saying an Eye for an Eye?

I think we can all agree that hitting as a big picture is a poor choice. The problem now is how do we talk about this, how do we teach, how do we moving forward know better?

Disciplining children is not a one size fits all and it does vary in homes and in cultures. 
It is very disrespectful and ignorant to believe or state otherwise.

I also took it upon myself to Google the phrase "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child" and came up with some interesting views. I point this out because for those in our society who believe in following the Bible to a T there are some conflicting views on that in it self. I am sure the Internet is loaded with much more than these 2 links I am going to share.

So I have pointed out Culture, Religion and Life Styles...3 things again one size does not fit all.

In some homes or even cultures the concept of  Timeout is a joke. Yes I said it. I am not speaking for example for all Spanish or Latin people but I am speaking for a few.
The concept of having a small child sit still for a few minutes so that he or she grasps what wrong was done and expect them not to do it again is silly.
Now isn't that being disrespectful? Aren't I undermining the use of someone else's belief system?
I never used Timeout, to me it is a joke. I use and have used the technique of taking things away. I am not going to sit there or monitor you while your suppose to be learning something. I have things to do. That to me is a waste of time.

The same thing goes for talking back or back talk as some refer to it as. In most Spanish or Latin households you will never have that. I am speaking about my culture. I am sharing my truths.
When I was about  6 or 7 years old my Aunt bought some color pencils and other school supplies to send to some family back in the Dominican Republic. She packed them away and I went into the bag and took the color pencils. I was angry that she hadn't bought me my own set knowing I loved to color so much. In my mind she was never going to notice or see until she was away and by then she would or could think she misplaced them. Well that evening she went to look for something else and questioned me on the pencils I said I didn't know. My mother came in pulled me by my ear and forced me to tell the truth and hand them over.
Then to top that off she poured some rice in a corner and had me kneel on it in my underwear with my hands on my head. I was in that corner for about 1/2 an hour but in my mind I think it was more.
Was that Corporal Punishment? It may have been but I never stole anything else again after that.

When I was in my early teens I was on the phone and my mother made a gesture with her hands for me to get off. It was the scissor motion which means"corta ya" or "cut it". I guess I was feeling myself and turned my back on her and sucked my teeth. Next thing I knew there was a slipper across my mouth. I didn't need to hang up after that, she did it for me. I never sucked my teeth to my mother or to anyone ever again, same goes for turning my back.

Where I come from parents give you one look and one look only. They ask you once and only once. They don't negotiate when it's time to leave a party or whether or not they will buy a toy or when it's time to go to sleep. In other homes they will talk to the child till they are blue in the face. Differences.

I survived those incidents. I don't consider them abuse I consider that was what my mother knew at the time. She didn't behave that way with my other sisters and I didn't behave that way with my own daughter when I had her. I am aware that there are cases where certain methods did leave life long scars.

It's a combination of things lack of knowledge, repetition and condition. But to bring down harsh judgment instead of starting conversations and providing better tools serves no purpose.

Older generations all used some sort of hitting method. Wait till your father gets home is a great example. Some dads got the belt and those who knew better decided to take things away. It's all about education.

I don't have a problem with spanking I do have a problem with beating. If we are aware of the difference and of the options in between we can make better choices.
In the 19 years I have been a mother I spanked my daughter about 3 times as a child and slapped her once.
I regretted slapping her for 2 reasons, one it hurt my hand and two it left a brief mark in her face. When I saw that I felt terrible that I had disrespected her face and that I handled the situation poorly. She was about 8 years old and I have never used any of those above mentioned methods since that
day. After that any time she required what would be considered punishment I took something she loved away and because she didn't like that she tried her best to stay on the straight and narrow.

This young father who is in the news now is just one of many fathers who chose the extreme way to discipline. Who grew up with certain values and perhaps didn't adjust them to better suit the needs of parenting their children today. They still may not know better to do better. You don't correct their ways or especially his way by just taking him out of a game or games. You correct the behavior by education by teaching him or them better ways to discipline than taking a switch or belt or whatever else that could cause severe damage to another human being.
This is on the news because he is a Football player but this happens every day in many
neighborhoods in many towns in a variety of cultures and races and homes.

So is it just cultural, is it just race, is it just religion, is it just men or is it just women?
I say it's a blend of all of the above and the sooner we address it, the sooner we acknowledge it, the sooner solutions could be bought to the table.

We live in a society that jumps on the band wagon for a brief moment and when it is no longer a "hot topic"we move on to the next hot thing. But what we fail to understand and why we continue to repeat these mistakes is because issues of poor behavior just don't go away because the camera is off.
Every day a child is hurt, a woman is beaten, the color of your skin causes you to be abused, your sexual preference brings upon bullying the list is endless.

illustration by

Let's stop being a society of watchers and become doers. Teachers, Community Leaders, Church members, Volunteers lets join together and talk. Lets start programs and after school activities that address the different types of abuse and how to better deal with it. Parents, lets sit and talk with our kids more and lets set proper guidelines in our homes for what is and is not acceptable and lets come up with productive ways to discipline poor everyone.

What are your thoughts? Did you grow up with spankings being the norm or did your parents use Time out? Start a conversation.

Always stress free xo


  1. Not sure if this went through:

    First of all, I know you got your butt whipped for sucking those teeth and turning your back...cuz I would have. My sister and I were raised by our grandmother so you know she didn't play. There was a tree in the yard where everyone got their wasn't a tree branch but it could have been especially when we had to take a bath afterwards with those welps on our legs and thighs.

    Hubby and I had a discussion last night and we talked about how slave masters beat slaves yet gave them food and shelter, telling them that they were loved and protected according to their bible, and our culture naturally adopted it.

    Yes, I spanked my sons when they were young and the time I punched him in the chest scared the hell out of me, he was gasping for breathe.

    Parents should never strike out in anger, and time out don't mean diddly. We were hit in school, by neighbors and our parents so we learned how to respect elders, adults and those in authority...spare the rod spoil the child...

    The world has changed, children are raising children and there are no more big mamas, grandmothers or respect for authority, therefore, the rules on discipline must also change...but if a butt whooping is necessary then a butt whooping is necessary.

    I will not negotiate with a 2 year old as I have seen several mothers do in stores, just pinch that shoulder blade or swat that butt and it's not illegal according to the law-people should read up on it.

    1. I hear you loud and clear. I just feel more conversations need to be had. I mean with babies having babies you are only going to repeat poor cycle of discipline as well. As for me that slap with the slipper was enough for me geez :)

  2. Wonderful perspective on this topic from you.

    1. Thanks Jovina, I really put a lot of effort and thought into trying to be as balanced on my views and observations as possible. Thank you for support, visit and comment :)

  3. You definitely succeeded. I hope your post gets people thinking.

  4. You’re awesome Mari! You beat me to this one.... I had a post all cued up on the same topic. And for the same EXACT reason - Peterson's parenting/discipline techniques being judged via the media. Now I can cancel it because YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD with this one!
    My GOD when I think about the things that are considered “abuse” today, I wonder if every (Black, White, & Hispanic) parent in generations past would have been jailed and fined? And WHO would have been left to bring up all those poor children who not only got “whipped” with a “switch”, but also had to get the switch they got whipped with?
    And worse, do we prefer to allow our children to do and say and act however they want, and then turn into ADULTS that do and say and act however they want? Doesn’t anyone think that might be what’s contributing to increase in the problems in our society today that seem to all boil down to overindulgence, a warped sense of entitlement, control, and LACK OF DISCIPLINE? What do the media and law pros THINK is the root of things like stealing, violent crime, and rape (for example)? I’ll bet psychologists, sociologists, theologists can provide some clues, not the least of which just might be some of these things mentioned.
    Case in point - I recall Jamie Foxx’s Oscar speech when he said his grandma (I think) told him “ACT like you got some sense”! He did and the result… he’s an Oscar winning actor!
    I DO believe we should give our kids the world… just not everything IN it.
    *Rant over. Sorry to take up so much space. :-( *

    1. Nikki you are welcome to come here and speak your peace xo. I just want us to TALK about these things because we are lacking communication. You make great points indeed I bet if some of these "adults" out here who are so out of line had a spank here and there they would behave differently for sure. Thanks for visit and comments xo


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