I absolutely promised myself I would not weigh in on serious parenting issues. I defiantly swore to myself I would not start writing about social parenting issues just because stuff like that gets more clicks and might get picked up by web sites like Huffington Post or Time. And I confidently declared myself too lazy to wade into issues of that nature because of the research and facts that might be required.
Well, I’m about to break all those promises and declarations in one post. Of course it would have to be as hotly contested an issue as there is among parents. No point in starting with something easy like when should you put your kid in a real bed, or when should you start potty training. No, I’ve decided to jump into the deep end, put my head in the lion’s mouth as it were and talk about spanking.
Let’s set the boundary first. If you think what Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson did to his 4yr old son is in the same universe as spanking, you are a toothless moron. Your opinion has zero validity and is not welcomed here. If you think or have written a statement saying parents who spank are “total scumbags” you are a f*%$#ing idiot and you should cancel your subscription to Frank’s Place immediately, un-follow me on twitter, and de-friend me on facebook.
Ok that’s it. Boundaries set. Let’s move on.
Sadly the issues in that third paragraph have been happening all over social media since the pictures of Peterson’s battered, bruised, and scarred son hit the internet. Mostly coming from the dad blogging community but not exclusively. When a brave soul ventures out to say they spank and believe it has helped in the discipline of their child, that poor bastard is drowned out by all the righteous parents that walk among us unwashed masses.
I’m not sure why or how parents who believe in spanking are being lumped in with the brutality by Peterson but they are. One bright lad went so far as to say if you have to spank a child to get them to obey or alter their bad behavior you should not be allowed to have children.
My response to that is simple. If you are too dense, or more likely too immature, to discern the difference between spanking a child for correction and assaulting a child with a weapon through anger, you are the dangerous parent and you are the person who should probably be held childless.
It was amusing reading what all these moral high-grounders wrote about never even thinking about hitting a defenseless child, not wanting to use superior strength and size to intimidate someone who can’t stick up for themselves. You know because Adrian Peterson whipped his child bloody, anyone who spanks must be as bad, anyone who does that is a neanderthal and a heartless parent of questionable ability. Christ, I can’t even type that without a pain in my side from the laughter. Instead they would much rather reason with them and then deny the child something they covet, like video games or their freedom in order to illicit proper behavior.
It’s laughable and somewhat cute that these perfect parents think mentally and emotionally controlling a child in that way is any less intimidating than spanking. Hey hippies, you think Johnny is not being intimidated when you snatch his X-box from him? How do you explain the relevance of his X-box to his bad behavior? Unless he used a controller to brain his sister or used the power cord to string up the cat, the X-box has zero relevance to the situation. So all you’ve done is substitute the X-box for your open hand on his backside. You think he values your parenting acumen when you imprison him in his room on a sunny day or embarrass him by putting him in a corner? Can he reciprocate by taking your iPhone? Better still, can he stop you from taking his X-box, or grounding him, or shaming him in the corner?
Spoiler – no he can’t. Congratulations you progressive model of non-spankiness, you just mentally and emotionally intimidated your child with your superior force, size, and strength. In fact you’re so skilled at bullying you didn’t even have to spank his bottom to make him mad, have him cuss you under his breath or wonder if you still love him. That’s efficiency.
But the question isn’t about bullying efficiency is it. The question really is what bullying tactic is better or worse. In my opinion it is relative to the situation. Now stand back cause comments like my previous sentence triggers an avalanche of the data people.
Data people is the group of people, parents and non-parents alike, who will flood you with links to surveys and studies and research that basically says your experiences are totally false and you must be a liar.
So it would go down something like this. You see a discussion about how barbaric and heartless and incompetent parents who spank are and you jump in to say your experience was not like anything they are describing. Then the data gang will sing you the song of their people: “THAT’S ANECDOTAL. THAT’S NOT DATA. SHOW ME DATA TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM! YOU’RE A SPANKER AND MUST BE STOPPED!” Usually sung to the tune of Happy Days Are Here Again. (Free Frank’s Place T-shirt if you video yourself singing that and post it to the Frank’s Place Face Book page.)
Okay, a lot out of tune with that song. First off, who the f*#k are you that I need to support my claim? Second, it’s not a claim, it’s what happened, told in first person, ya know like personal testimony. Third, and I can’t stress this question enough, yeah it’s anecdotal but so what? This is one of those moments where anecdotal evidence, in other words your personal experience, weighs more than “the data”.
I don’t need some jerkweed in a think tank telling me the data says I’m wrong when I can clearly see from the experience right in front of me that I’m right. Anecdotal is not a synonym for wrong. Data is not a synonym for correct.
Let’s not get in the weeds too much, but the “data” is not exactly accurate either. Dive into any one of the surveys or studies and most of the time you’ll find they don’t differentiate between open hand smack to a child’s kiester and striking a child in any other manner. But that’s a huge distinction. Punching my son in the mouth is a far cry from smacking his bottom.
Lastly on the data, read through the groups of people studied and you’ll see an erie trend toward one race of Americans. No surprise there really. It only proves statistics on any subject can be bent or twisted to fit the answer of the question being asked. Hence the importance of your experience or anecdotal evidence over “the data”.
Now in fairness I saw several meaningful offerings on why guys could never spank their kids. They ranged from not being able to look at their sweet child and raise a hand, to being an abused child themselves. All completely valid and heartfelt, and all completely anecdotal. Are those dads weak-minded fools because they can’t bring themselves to spank their kids. Of course not. They are caring, loving fathers who through their experiences chose to discipline in another fashion that suits their situation. Mind blowing isn’t it; grown men making parenting decisions based on their experience and gut feeling instead of a freaking data sheet created by a grad student at Tunnel Vision University.
Hey man, spank, don’t spank. I advocate neither. You know why? Cause it’s none of my damn business how you discipline and parent your kid. Your opinion on how I do that is as irrelevant as anything I can think of.
I don’t advocate any parenting styles. I just parent my kids.
The rest of you are on your own.