UNITED STATES—The NFL has been under major scrutiny in the past few weeks. First, there was the scandal involving Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice, now a new scandal has surfaced involving NFL star Adrian Peterson who is facing major backlash for potential child abuse charges for spanking his son with a switch.
I couldn’t help, but get engaged into this discussion because it was all over the radio this week and appeared all over the media circuit. The question that everyone is asking rather spanking is a suitable form of punishment. I would argue many born between the 1950s and 1990s have an idea of the concept of spanking. Most may have been spanked to say the least. The problem with spanking is the perceived notion that a spanking equates a beating.
That is not the case. People have to understand the difference between the two. If a person is disciplining their child and they make it a goal to do great bodily harm to the child using an object, that is a major problem and a form of abuse. The goal is not to hurt or injure the child when they are spanked. The goal is to let them know they were spanked because they did something that they shouldn’t be doing.
I think if a parent is going to spank a child they have two options: use a belt or to use your hand. With both options, I think a quick swap on the tush with either the hand or belt is suitable. Repeated strikes do not have much effect on a child in my opinion. I was spanked as a child, but I don’t really recall many incidents. However, my brother was spanked on multiple occasions and I noticed spanking didn’t have much of an effect on his behavior. Why is that? Well he continued to act out.
The idea of spanking as a form of punishment for all children is not acceptable. It doesn’t work for all kids. Why? Some respond different to certain forms of punishment. A spanking for some children is no big deal, they come to accept it and because of that it becomes a form of aggression for them to use as they age.
This is not to say that all children who are spanked become violent because that is not the case. However, some studies have shown those who are spanked tend to exhibit more violent and aggressive behavior as they get older, particularly boys. Spanking has just as many negative effects as it does positive effects. I don’t think a single study can say spanking will lead to this or spanking will lead to that, it’s a theory because its all dependent on how the child ‘responds’ to what happens.
I think as a parent, people should have the choice to decide rather they chose to spank their children or not, however, there is a thin line between a spanking and a beating. This is something parents, as well as America as a whole must be aware of. If it leaves bruises and marks, then in my eyes that qualifies as a sign of abuse and it’s not acceptable, not matter what the situation. Spank to teach, not because you’re angry.
By Trevor Roberts