During a visit with family this weekend, the subject of discipline came up in conversation (with a toddler prancing around, that’s really no surprise). My aunt and uncle, who are undoubtedly big proponents of corporal punishment, were letting me know that Ryan whines a lot. Tell me something I didn’t know.
Disclaimer: To my loyal defenders, don’t worry, I’m used to having these candid and controversial discussions with this family, and for the most part, I can walk away un-offended and even energized.
So my aunt was touting the overall benefits of corporal punishment, while I took an opposing stance, maintaining how I find this particular form of discipline neither comfortable nor conducive, and ultimately, just a lapse in control on my part as a parent. However, to drive her point home, she painted the following picture to illustrate its merits: Years ago, to punish her young son, she told him to go up to his room, lie face down on his bed with his pants down and wait for her to come. The anticipation, humiliation, and finally, execution of a spanking was enough to instantly curb the behavior in question.
I suppose I should take this moment to interject that my aunt is generally very loving and warm, and I love her dearly; but I guess hell hath no fury for a mother scorned. I feel I should also mention that my cousin (i.e., the victim) in this story, is by all accounts, a kind and well-adjusted grown man.
I was completely appalled and horrified by the whole recollection, and stated my case as such. My aunt lobbied that the whole point of discipline is to humiliate, “and since no one wants to be humiliated, they won’t repeat the behavior.” Holy shit.
I argued that the point of discipline is to correct unacceptable behavior, ideally, using age-appropriate logic and consequences (i.e., timeouts/toy confiscation/playdate “groundings, etc.). I suppose discipline, in any form, is humiliating, so perhaps “to what degree” might be the more applicable point of contention in this instance.
Regardless, she did manage to successfully raise three intelligent, (law-abiding), benevolent, and all together gentle children, so I will most definitely admit she did something right. Not sure if forcing them to disrobe and wait for a whipping was one of those right things, but hey, you never know.
For more “Deep Thoughts” from Jess, check out her blog at: jbbailey.blogspot.com