i read an article a few days ago…well, skimmed it really. usually if i bother to read something it gets my full attention. but this one was one of those “duh!” articles.
the subject of a scientific study the article referenced was whether or not ‘spanking’ is of benefit. there are perhaps some who may come across this post who believe in spanking; who think that treating their children like test monkeys in a b.f. skinner experiment in behaviour modification is a good thing, who quote the biblical line from the book of Proverbs that states “spare the rod and spoil the child”
to the latter sort, my recommendation is this: before deciding to follow biblical advice on this read some of the other exhortations and recommendations in that old testament, like those that state that a woman be stoned for adultery, or that she is an unclean thing for her issue of blood after birthing a child or during menstruation. or the verses that support slavery, slaughter of infidels and seizure of their lands. or that value a male at fifty shekels and a woman at thirty shekels, or that a woman whose husband dies must marry within the family, to a brother who must agree else bear onus.
this isn’t even grazing the surface of the ridiculous advice and admonitions given. really! have you ever read this book? so, no way i go along with the ‘spare the rod’ bullshit, nor should any caring parent.
to the former i say, what’s good for the caged lab rat is not necessarily good for the child. altho, the article in question said that punishing isn’t even good for the lab rat, not for building real intelligence.
it was as to intelligence that the whole ‘spanking’ thing was being called into question. apparently, tests revealed that the I.Q.’s of kids who were routinely disciplined by spanking tended to be lower than those of kids who were otherwise shepherded into appropriate behaviour.
does this really require a scientific study to discover? doesn’t it make sense that if one is convinced through explanations and encouragement to ‘behave’ that they will learn more than if they are merely terrified of the consequence of pain? maybe a dog can’t grasp words, but even they are more likely to learn new tricks if encouraged rather than punished when they don’t!
so why is this something to study?
through the decades, many child rearing type books have been written, most not worthy of having their pages used as toilet paper. among the few that caught my attention were ones with titles like “raising your child without threats or violence”, “summerhill: a radical approach to child rearing” and others. these, and not from some laboratory experiment in pavlovian technique or biblical exhortation, made sense to me. so my children weren’t spanked.
to me it just made more sense for their own well-being if the lessons they learned from me were ones that taught them compassion, that revealed reasons for behaving in a manner that is co-operative and that allowed them to discern for themselves what might be the consequence of their misdeeds. so, duh! of course such an upbringing would encourage introspection and thought. intelligence.
now, that said, i was beaten by my father, badly…and my mother spanked. my I.Q is 147. not exactly a rocket scientist but above normal. still there is not a doubt in my mind that the lessons i learned that have helped me the most in life, didn’t come to me from the fists of my father, nor did the ‘board of education’ that my mother wielded against my backside teach me anything more than the fact that wood hurts skin.
so, yeah…a great big “DUH!” for this oh so not unexpected discovery.