Whip It Good

Good for her:

The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a woman’s 2006 battery conviction for whipping her 11-year-old son with a belt or extension cord, holding that she was reasonably exercising parental discipline. . .

The Supreme Court noted that the bruises apparently were “neither serious nor permanent” and concluded that the punishment was reasonable. The court also said that parents have a legal privilege to discipline their child as long as punishment is reasonable and not likely to cause serious or permanent harm.

When I was a young lad–about 4th grade, I think–I remember coming home one day and parroting what my teacher had told me: “I have rights.”  My parents quickly disabused me of that notion, basically telling me that if I wished to continue living under their roof that the only rights I had were the ones they let me have.  My parents taught me respect in many ways, and though I wasn’t spanked often, when I was, it was usually because of something tremendously stupid or dangerous that I’d done, and I remembered the lesson. 

When I go about my daily business, I often see children, sometimes as young as three years old, telling their parents what they are or aren’t going to do.  Screaming in Walmart because they want this toy or that, young girls telling their mothers to f-off because their mothers attempt to enforce a curfew, young boys wearing their pants practically around their ankles because that’s how everybody wears them. 

Digression: while shopping the other day, I noticed a young man in front of me whose (admittedly cute) behind, in boxers of course, was sitting on top of the waistband of his jeans like it was resting on a shelf.  The jeans, of course, were two sizes too large at least, and baggy enough to hold a week’s groceries for his small family.  Oh, yes, he had a wife/girlfriend and child in tow.  The desire to give him a nuclear wedgie was almost unbearable.  If you’re old enough to have children yourself, like he did, you’re old enough to buy pants that fit, or at least a belt.  Next time I may not be able to hold back and you’ll be picking your boxers out of your tonsils.  Fair warning.

Spawned by the 80’s “me generation,” the youth of today have a sense of entitlement paralleled by none before them.  Instant gratification, from fast-food to ipods to the internet, pervades every aspect of our society.  And that sense of immediacy seldom allows the time for in depth consideration of issues, resulting in what we are now: a nation of news bytes.  We think in absolutes, and we demand resolutions to them.  We think pesticides are all bad, so we demand organic food.  We believe global warming is entirely manmade, so we demand electric cars.  We believe any form of physical contact with a child constitutes child abuse, and so we demand parents no longer spank their children.  We think we have a God-given right to drive cars as fast as we want, ergo we demand lower oil prices.  Like Veruca Salt, we want it NOW! 

Admittedly, this sense of demanding what we want isn’t always bad.  Ecoconsciousness, for example, is in my opinion a good thing, resulting in recycling, fluorescent bulbs, and heirloom tomatoes (mm, mm, good.)  And many beneficial advances have come from research only undertaken because of overwhelming public demand.  Like today’s improved lithium batteries, for instance, because we demanded longer-lasting cellphone batteries. 

We defeat ourselves, however, when we fail to allow common sense to overrule, or intervene, because of this soundbyte mentality.  DDT could practically eliminate malaria, but since “pesticides are bad,” we ban it.  “Spanking is child abuse,” we say, so even though the toddlers just tried to touch the hot wood stove, you can’t spank them so they don’t do it again.  You have to let them burn themselves and find out the hard way. 

So I have to let out a small cheer for the lady in Indiana who spanked her child for selling her clothes and went to jail for it.  Sometimes children, even adults, need a good kick in the pants to get them to curb their errant ways.  Maybe even a nuclear wedgie. 




5 thoughts on “Whip It Good

  1. Bless you for this. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who understands that for civilization to survive, discipline must not be ignored.

  2. Pingback: Discipline « The Flaming Curmudgeon

  3. It has never been illegal anywhere in America to spank a kid, and no one was ever arrested for spanking unless it left significant bruises. This ruling changes nothing for normal parents. It simply tells abusers it’s ok to strip your kids naked and beat them black and blue with an extension cord. Thanks to four idiot judges abusers can now rest assured that they can never be held accountable.

    As a child I lived my life in fear of the belt. Not the respectful fear of molesting a bee in the yard, but gnawing dread and mortal terror you would know if you were forced to sleep every night with a deadly rattlesnake under the covers of your bed.

    Being abused does not teach you discipline or make you a good person. It leaves people permanently afflicted with crippling emotional and mental illness. It’s easy to say that being abused is better than not being disciplined at all when you are not the one living with flashbacks of beatings from decades ago that come uncontrollably while working, making love, or watching TV.

    The mother in this case was asked to serve three days in jail for bruising her child during a spanking. This is a very modest price for a parent to pay to ensure that kids who are being whipped black and blue are allowed a day in court. But thanks to the selfishness of one woman and the foolishness of four judges thousands of victims of child abuse in Indiana are now denied any possibility of intervention, and will serve life sentences with trauma related injuries with no possibility of parole or appeal.

    Indiana parents and survivors are organizing to fight this; please write your lawmakers and demand laws restoring the protection for kids that this irresponsible ruling removed.



    Click the link to watch a disturbing video of a spanking that the Indiana Supreme Court has made legal.

  4. Growing up in Indiana the 1950’s, I saw parental discipline part ways with the advent of Dr. (NOT Mr.) Spock’s baby book. I, myself have been whipped like most kids then my age living in a midwesern town of blue-collar workers. I have tasted the wrong end of the principal’s wooden paddle, my mom’s Sock-o paddle (with the little red rubber ball attached), a wooden spoon, a switch off a bush full of willowy switches (I had to go out and pick the one she would use), the belt, a razor strop, a shoe or slipper, a fly swatter, a ruler or yardstick (they would usually break off), a piece of garden hose, a fan belt (dad had lots of tools but used this), a hairbrush, a coathanger, piece of fishing rod, and a strip of floor moulding. I grew up knowing not to use any of these thngs on my kid. I made my son drink 8 glasses of water when he got insolent to his mom once.
    Oddly, I think he never did any of the things to get into trouble that I did. Maybe I just played harder. But out of this hurtful trauma, I learned respect and the fear of God. I also learned that violence begats violence and that anger turns to abuse so fast it makes your head spin like The Exorcist. I saw too many times that people, otherwise reasonable people, wanted me to confrom to their will and society’s expectations and turned to the paddle — violence was the gold standard, the everyday key to opening up that particular door to hell’s hurtfullness — it worked! But at what cost? Are we somehow injured by it all? Or does physical discipline just make us stronger? All in all we survived our childhood disciplines and can now laugh about it — sometmes with a tear in our parent’s eye.
    I guess my take-away is that there are limits to what people will tolerate before they let will you know about it. And its usually a pretty short fuse.

    I think there are too many interfereing laws thanks to the Dept. of Family Services and I don’t think government should stick their nose into proper parental perogatives. Parents have rights too.

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