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.