Spanking and Abortion

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Back in 1967 my maternal grandmother, who was a formidable lady, visited my family.  While there she saw my mother give me a well earned slap.  I was 10 at the time.  My grandmother called my mom a savage.  My mother, also a formidable lady, responded that if she did not discipline me when I was young, I would be the savage after I grew up, respecting nothing and no one.  Wise woman my mother.

My bride and I used spanking sparingly with our three kids when they were  younger, along with other disciplinary techniques.  Spanking was usually reserved for repeated disobedience, or the children engaging in activity which could be dangerous to them.  I am biased of course, but I think that our kids turned out rather well.  In regard to being a parent, discipline without love can descend into mere brutality.  Love without discipline is a sure and proven path to producing spoiled adults.  Giving neither discipline nor love to a child is simply catastrophic.

The Washington Post has a story that advocates banning spanking:

George Holden envisions a world without spanking. No more paddling in the principal’s office. No more swats on little rear ends, not even — and here is where Holden knows he is staring up at a towering cliff of parental rights resistance — not even in the privacy of the home. When it comes to disciplining a child, Holden’s view is absolute: No hitting.

“We don’t like to call it spanking,” said Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University and head of a newly formed organization aimed at eliminating corporal punishment in the United States. “Spanking is a euphemism that makes it sound like hitting is a normal part of parenting. If we re-label it hitting, which is what it is, people step back and ask themselves, ‘Should I be hitting my child?’ ”

For centuries, of course, the answer to that question has been yes for a huge majority of families. We’ve been unsparing of the rod, spanking our children just as we were spanked by our parents. And there’s precious little evidence to suggest we feel much differently today. While the percentage of parents who say it’s okay to occasionally spank a child has declined marginally in recent years, that “acceptability level” still hovers between 65 percent and 75 percent nationally.

And surveys that measure actual behavior reveal even higher rates of moms and dads willing to whack. Depending on how you ask the question, most surveys show that between 70 percent and 90 percent of parents in this country spank their kids at least once during childhood. In 2013 America, spanking a child is about as common as vaccinating one.


But Holden and a growing number of children’s advocates still believe the time is right for a serious effort to end corporal punishment. For some in the burgeoning stop-hitting movement, the goal is nothing less than a total legal ban on spanking in all settings, as has been passed by 33 nations in Europe, Latin America and Africa (soon to be 34 when Brazil becomes the largest country to outlaw spanking in final action expected this year).

Go here to read the rest.  Some of the comments are a hoot:

You mean you’ll continue to bully and intimidate your child in the privacy of your own home. Hurting a child is inexcusable behavior. You have to be pretty dumb to not be able to shape a young person’s behavior with resorting to force. Hopefully when your kids grow up they’ll pay you back with some elder abuse.


Freedom to bully and beat a human a quarter of your size. Yeah… I would happily expand the prison system for apes like you.
Spanking teaches just one thing, big people can hit little people, but little people can not hit big people.
What I find truly bizarre about this, is that I would assume that most of the anti-spanking commenters are pro-aborts.  It is alright for a mother to kill her child in utero, but the State must ban all spanking of kids?  This article underlines the morally chaotic times in which we live in which people can argue simultaneously that a constitutional right exists to kill kids prior to birth and that the State after birth must intervene to prevent parents from exercising any physical discipline over their kids.  This would be funny if the consequences of all of this were not so lethal in millions of lives destroyed by abortion and millions of lives destroyed by parents who abdicate their responsibility as parents to the State.


More to explorer

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Hate Crime

News that I missed courtesy of The Babylon Bee:   WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a statement to D.C. police given Tuesday, senator and presidential

PopeWatch: Cardenal

  Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge.  Pope John Paul II shaking his finger at Ernesto Cardenal, Culture Minister for the Sandinista government


  1. What can one expect from children that never bothered to grow up?

    Don’t like authority, consequences, responsibility, obligations… and nobody else can be allowed to make them feel bad.

  2. My 2 cents or so, from my own experience. Some kids really need to be spanked, and some situations almost demand it. With other kids the practice simply does not work. After about age 5 or 6 it doesn’t really work in our family (6 kids, all male). Best punishment for older kids: if I make my older kids write lines, or copy something out of scripture, it’s like I pulled out the thumbscrews. (Not that I own any thumbscrews….)

  3. You’ve got to love the unreality of the comment about “hurting” a child. Children hurt all the time. They don’t get fed the moment they want, they don’t get the toys they want to play with, they have to go to bed when they don’t want to. That kind of stuff “hurts” children more than a swat across the fingers does. A hurt-free environment doesn’t exist, because children (and all humans) are a bundle of unsatisfied urges. Once you accept that, then you can have a real-world conversation about the reasonable middle ground between pampering and beating. Unfortunately, in our legalistic society, we want to quantify everything, and the golden mean is notoriously difficult to define. It’s easier to overreact and make something illegal.

  4. When I was in high school in the early Forties, I was guilty of stretching the rules a bit too far. For that, I received three backhand swats from a paddle wielded by a teacher who was also a tennis pro. That taught me the most lasting lesson in all my school years – That self discipline was better and much less painful than enforced discipline. And if I could, I would thank that teacher for lifelong self- discipline.

  5. Agree completely, and I feel very strongly about this topic. Ther is no question that this, and the ultimate in chid abuse – abortion – will not diminish until abortion is ended.
    My children were smacked when they needed to be – after repeated warnings, they were challenging our (my wife & I) authority – which is normal for healthy children. My boys rarely needed a slap after they were around 5 or 6. Then they got to 15 – 16. Both of them at different times challenged my authority over them – both of them got a good “biff”: which reminded them who was the head honcho of the house in which they were living, at at whose expense they were fed and clothed. Several years later, they have both recalled the incidents, and , in their own way (;-) ) thanked me.
    My daughter was an ideal child, right up till she was about 10. She contradicted and swore at her mother – so she got 1 fairly solid slap from her father. She cried for most of the day, because her daddy hit her for the first time in her life. She recognised her fault, and then continued to be the perfect daughter, even in her teenage years.
    I have also slapped 1 or 2 of my grandchildren whom I love dearly – and they love and respect me in return. In NZ we have a law which forbids smacking. If I had been reported for what I had done, then I would recieve a fine, or a stretch in prison. This law was introduced by the well meaning and deluded progressives who wre trying to prevent the child abuse in this country, which is arguably the worst in the developed world.
    So what has happened? NZ still remains at the top of the heap for child abuse – many children die, or suffer terribly physically and emotionally through child abuse, because those for whom the law was introduced couldn’t give a stuff about the law. The Green Party intrduced this bill supported bt the Labour Party – all radical leftists. They have done nothing, however, to propose how the continuing problem is to be addressed. While child abuse continus unabated, and a problem with youth delinquency and crime grows as they are now unable, legally , to be disciplined, its time for responsible and sensible parents to reclaim their God given authority over their children.
    In a un-binding-on-the-government refendum voted in favour ( 85% of the populace) of rescinding the law with a sensible compromise was denied by our current (so called) conservative government, many are being drawn toward a more conservative government.

  6. Watching my 3 boys, I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t a more violent society precisely because we look down on “violence” so much. I do think there comes a time with spanking doesn’t work anymore, but physical punishments (let’s not call it discipline, okay? It is punishment) of a different sort are okay. Take my oldest son’s “performance” tennis class–if the kids don’t “perform,” or don’t behave, there are pushups, “b*tts up,” extra runs or sprints, etc. My son doesn’t understand why these sorts of things are not used in the Christian school he attends. My other son, the one who gets detention, has no respect for the way punishments are doled at school because there is a “procedure” that must be followed–letters home, dates for detention to schedule etc. Punishment should be done immediately…not two weeks later after the infraction is forgotten.

  7. Holding a child in a kind of straight-jacket, occasionally, until he/she stops struggling against the parent initially requires more time but in the long term is much less time consuming than repeated hitting. Because it is much more personal, it is also more effective. It demonstrates deep caring for the child, which the child remembers for a lifetime.

  8. *snort* Swatting didn’t work on my sister, but “time out” did. It’s a lack of attention, which she loves. (Part of why swatting worked on me is because it was embarrassing.)

    Being the absolute center of attention that being held “in a kind of straight-jacket” would require would have backfired. Quickly.

  9. Watching my 3 boys, I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t a more violent society precisely because we look down on “violence” so much.

    Absolutely. This extends to referring to this kindergarten kid killer as a “shooter” rather than a murderer.

    To your point–“violence” is many times the proper solution to violence.

  10. I was spanked when I was a child. It wasn’t quite abuse, but it wasn’t pleasant, and it’s not something I would ever consider doing to my own children. My mother would make my sister and I “pick switches” and would then hit our bottom and legs with them for a period of 5-10 minutes. It made me angry and afraid. I was not a particularly difficult child, nor was my sister, and there were certainly other, more effective methods of discipline available. My mother spanked us less because we needed it than because she is a protestant fundamentalist who believes that to spare the rod is to spoil the child, as per the Bible.

    Part of the reason I’m Catholic is so we don’t have to take such a literal — and destructive — reading of every line in scripture. I mean, there’s a Psalm that celebrates bashing the heads of your enemies’ babies against rocks, but I don’t think anyone thinks that would be okay. Context is important.

    I’m anti-spanking and pro-life. I’m glad your kids came out fine, and I don’t think that every parent who spanks is a bad parent; I am aware that my mom was on the extreme end of the spanking spectrum. There’s no need, however, to resort to ad hominem attacks, e.g., those who oppose spanking are all pro-choicers who want babies to die, so we can ignore their point of view because obviously they don’t really care about children!

  11. “There’s no need, however, to resort to ad hominem attacks, e.g., those who oppose spanking are all pro-choicers who want babies to die, so we can ignore their point of view because obviously they don’t really care about children!”

    No ad hominem was used by me Becky, merely speculation that the commenters to the article in the Washington Post likely were both pro-aborts and anti-spanking, judging from their tone and the fact that the Washington Post is an uber liberal paper. As I am against the banning of spanking by parents, I would also be against a law requiring spanking. Each child and parent is different and what works in one situation may not work in another.

    My mother who believed in spanking and slapping and hugging was an Irish Catholic with fiery red hair and a disposition to match both in the warmth of her love and the fire of her wrath! She died 28 years ago, after her second bout with breast cancer, and I would give a fairly high sum to be on the receiving end of one of her slaps just one more time.

  12. “As I am against the banning of spanking by parents, I would also be against a law requiring spanking. Each child and parent is different and what works in one situation may not work in another.”

    My sentiments exactly.

  13. Lynette Burrows penned an article for Human Life Review a number of years ago on this very subject. Her angle was a report on evaluations of the effect of the legal ban on spanking in Sweden in 1979. She said it took quite a bit of ingenuity and legal footwork to persuade public agencies in Sweden to cough up the data, but when released it revealed the frequency of child seizures by social welfare agencies in Sweden (using the United States and Germany as baselines) was truly massive and that the effect of the ban (and perhaps its purpose) was to empower social workers. When you see the term ‘children’s rights’, recall that what it means is ‘the prerogative of the helping professions’.


    Just a thought. One can confuse the trouble which originates from a mother or father whose punishments address not the behavior of the child but the parent’s own inner turmoil with the trouble which originates from the mode of punishment itself. You do not correct the first problem by ceasing to spank, you merely change its expression from spanking to verbal rebukes &c.

  14. There’s no need, however, to resort to ad hominem attacks, e.g., those who oppose spanking are all pro-choicers who want babies to die,

    I have some 1st and 2d degree relatives to whom I could introduce you. These people are not in Mr. McClarey’s imagination. They live and breathe.

    so we can ignore their point of view because obviously they don’t really care about children!

    I can introduce you to a proximate relation who cared and cares very much about his daughter. He simply has no respect for the viewpoint of anyone outside the small subcultures in which he lives and works, including his father and his father-in-law.

  15. “The vast majority of parents I know are anti-spanking and pro-life.”

    You must run with an unusual crowd David. If people wish to not spank and are also pro-life that is fine with me. I have not usually encountered that juxtaposition.

  16. The vast majority of parents I know are paranoid about anti-spanking loons accusing them of child abuse and getting their children taken away. THAT has been true since I was a little kid!

  17. Not to me… most of the people I know who heartily endorse spanking are very pro-contraception and pro-abortion. They see kids as a burden, to be avoided after one or two. “I’m gettin’ the shots after him…he’s too much, I tan his bottom and he still acts up… no more for me.” That is a typical sentiment. Kids are seen as time and resource stealers, ruining life, deliberately doing “bad” things (as opposed to what is really happening most of the time…going through a developmental stage, where they need talking and guidance, not red bottoms from hands and switches…yes, my dad did the switch thing…had to go out and pick the switch from the tree outside that he would spank me with). The other motto is “Spare the rod spoil the child…. if I don’t hit her she’ll grow up to be a spoiled tramp”. Stuff like this is said about kids starting from before the kids can even pull themselves up onto their own two little feet all the way up til the kid is too old to be spanked. Nevermind that a real shepherd prefers to use a gentle nudge of a staff to guide a stray sheep back. A rod may be thrown towards a sheep straying too far, but it is meant to startle the sheep back to the fold, not to hit and hurt the sheep. I have a daughter who turned 22 today, a 19 year old son, and a 21 month old son. I have seen these patterns ever since my oldest was born, in several parts of the country as my husband and I moved around because of his career in the Marine Corps. I met few people who would try guidance and communication before resorting to hitting and strong non-physical punishment. Those that did rarely had to resort to physical punishment. There are parents that are extremely permissive, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about seeing the child a person, another human being created by God, and treating him or her with respect. It doesn’t mean never saying no, or anything like that. The vast majority of parents I have known that spanked saw their kids as either burdens to carry til adulthood or possessions and extensions of themselves, not their own persons. Anyway, that has been my experience.


  18. As Donald says, you are around an incredibly strange crowd.

    In many ways; depo is a really odd choice for sterilization, being an ongoing expense and having a 3% failure rate when used “typically”…unless one is living on the gov’t dime, in which case it’s a low-commitment and low cost means. Those who choose to sterilize on their own dime either get their tubes tied (if single) or have a vasectomy. (if married)

  19. Ah– military. That explains it.

    NOBODY with a hint of sense, not even the dumbest of my Marines or the drunkest sailor, is going to let someone they have less than total confidence in see them swat their kid. It’s like handing out a golden “please, destroy my life” ticket. Even utterly innocuous yelling (along the lines of “honey, hurry up! We have to go!”) will bring out the obnoxiously abusive controllers if they know they have a handle. There’s a reason most folks I know don’t want to live in the toxic environment that is base housing– it only takes one jerk to destroy your life, and if you’re on base they know you’re military.

  20. “I am talking about seeing the child a person, another human being created by God, and treating him or her with respect.”

    Agreed! And that respect, when my kids were younger, sometimes required spanking. I think I am in good company in regard to that belief, judging from this passage from Hebrews 12:

    “6 For whom the Lord loveth he chastiseth: and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons. For what son is there whom the father doth not correct? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards and not sons.”

  21. Dumb Marines? Thanks so much. And we have lived both in housing and in the community. He retired 15 months ago. It is, I said, in many communities around the country, and not just military people. Depo was one example….any method would do for most. That was just the most recent I heard by a mom at the playground, talking to a friend. Most of the women would prefer non-surgical methods (although they were not adverse to pressuring their husbands to get “snipped”)

    Toxic environment in military housing? I have had harder times in civilian communities.

  22. Dumb Marines and drunk sailors are stereotypes. And most military housing communities I have been in have been supportive communities, not toxic.

  23. Davida- being a stereotype does not mean that they do not exist. It means that it’s a broad generalization. Perhaps you should go re-read what I said before you work yourself into a tizzy of self-induced insult.

    How nice for you that the environment in base housing was conductive to your preferences; that makes, oh, two out of hundreds of folks I’ve spoken to about them.

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