Spare The Rod And Destroy The Child

PAY ATTENTION TO THE REALITY YOU SEE ALL AROUND YOU

This is the first chapter in a series of “Fantasy Island needs to be nuked; before it’s too late” posts. When discussing serious issues, it’s scary to see so many African-Americans regurgitate slogans instead of admitting the reality they see all around them. This refusal to recognize reality is why African-Americans are forming a permanent underclass in the United States. The causes and solutions to many of our collective problems are obvious. But we refuse to see them because they contradict the various ideological slogans that we’ve been hypnotically repeating for the past forty-five years (and counting).

STOP USING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH TO DENY THE REALITY YOU SEE ALL AROUND YOU

I know that litigation has made me cynical about many things that people like to believe in, including the stated results of scientific studies. I don’t take those purported results at face value because I know the answer you get is often heavily influenced by how you phrase the original question. This applies to many situations. From cross-examination of a witness at a trial, to scientific studies. See the following article from New Scientist, Most scientific papers are probably wrong.

LOOK AT THE COMMONLY OBSERVED RESULTS OF ADOPTING VARIOUS IDEAS

When modern African-Americans talk that “we don’t spank the children” talk, few people question that posture in terms of the fruit that parenting style has been observed to bear. From the conversations I’ve heard and took part in, people either nod their heads in ideological agreement. With no discussion of the practicalities and problems involved with that particular parenting style. Or, most African-Americans who support the traditional African-American “parents empowered to whoop if deemed necessary” parenting style do so from religious justifications, or a blind following of tradition. Neither of which are what I’m raising when I talk about the issue of corporal punishment.

I’m talking about what are the majority, commonly observed results of this experimental (among us) parenting style. I don’t assume that every newfangled idea always represents progress. And I’m hesitant to discard traditional methods that have stood the test of time in favor of experiments. Especially not when the stakes are so high—such as a child’s future.

I’m especially leery of African-Americans experimenting with untested, unproven practices because our migration away from other traditional human methods (mass out of wedlock childbirth and single parenting instead of marriage; welfare instead of working for a living; and so on) have created a catastrophe.

ALL OUR SLOGANS HAVE EITHER BECOME OBSOLETE OR FAILED

If you look at the results, you will see that all of our popular slogans dating from the 1960s have either become obsolete or failed. Trying to extract further political and economic concessions from non-Blacks in the U.S. has become obsolete in The Age of Obama. Coddling criminals has failed. Pretending that out of wedlock pregnancies and the resulting single parenting are equal to married parenting has failed. Today’s topic, the experimental (among African-Americans) child-rearing strategy of refusing to use corporal punishment, has also failed.

I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE “WE DON’T SPANK THE CHILDREN” PARENTING STYLE SUCCEED IN RAISING DECENT CHILDREN

The topic of corporal punishment (also known as spankings; or as “whoopins” in my childhood neighborhood) came up during an earlier conversation. As I said, every African-American single parent and married couple I know who is doing the “we don’t spank the children” thing either:

  • has already failed; or
  • is in the process of failing

miserably in raising their children.

The children of the parents I’ve known who use that particular parenting style are uniformly disrespectful and out of control as small children, and it escalates as they get older and into their teens. Let me repeat: I have never seen that “we don’t spank the children” parenting style succeed in raising decent children with good character. From what I’ve seen (with relatives and some friends) of this parenting style (among African-Americans) is that it has failed miserably in every, single case that I’m aware of.

I know that many of these misguided people are reacting to the extremes of spanking that they experiences during their childhoods. Things like the humiliation of being forced to select the slender tree branch that would be used to hit them with. Things like spankings that actually inflicted physical pain. I know that my views of corporal punishment are colored by the facts that I can count the “whoopins” I got as a child on one hand; and the “whoopins” I got were mild—they never actually hurt—it was more the shock that my parents were that displeased with something I had done. The whoopins were not the first step. The whoopins happened because I had disobeyed and ignored the warnings that had already been given. I was never slapped, punched, or anything like that. I got either an open-palm tap on my hand or an open-palm swat on my rear end. And this was only when I was a small child. As I got older, punishment became more about having privileges and pleasures taken away.

So, when I speak of spankings, I’m not talking about the extremes of corporal punishment that leaves marks (or “weps” as called in my childhood neighborhood–{shudder}). Or involves hitting children with things like extension cords. {another shudder}

[It’s interesting. When I was around seven years old, there was a girl in my class that showed some of us her “wep” marks, and described being hit with an extension cord. Most of the rest of us thought that was weird, and not what we considered a normal “whoopin.” We didn’t know the word “abuse,” but we concluded there was something wrong with her mother. There were the unfortunate minority of classmates who thought that was normal because that’s what they experienced. They’re the ones who told the others of us that those marks are called “weps.”]

But in adopting the “we won’t spank the children” posture, I believe the people I know who’ve done so have veered too far in the other direction. I’ve talked to several of them about it. They don’t see the connection between their parents claiming the parental authority to spank them if deemed necessary, and them turning out to be respectful, thoughtful, productive adults. They’re totally abandoning a parenting style that worked in their upbringing for a parenting style that’s experimental—at least among African-American. And from what I’ve seen, none of these experiments have worked right. They’ve all been disasters to varying degrees.

One reader who is a teacher commented and said,

It is my experience (teaching Pre-k/Kindergarten) that these children are an absolute pain to deal with.

Yes, I said it.

I have had administrators, and parents upset with me for not allowing a particular child to accompany our class on field trips, participating in special events, etc. I refuse to tip-toe around “Little Man,” and cater to him so he will not disrupt class.

Yes, there is a huge difference between an open hand to the bottom (parent in control), and a closed fist to the jaw (parent way out of control).

I have found that children whose parents subscribe to the “free spirited” school of thought, can sometimes be a danger to their classmates. We have child in our class who throws chairs if his needs and wants aren’t immediately gratified. The school administrator does not want to offend the parents, so nothing is done.

Now because of this situation, we are losing two great students whose parents justifiably do not want their children around this child.

In reply I said,

I agree. In my experience, these children are among the worst children. They are definitely extremely unpleasant to be around.

To soothe my conscience, I (once) tried to talk to a dear friend who is using this “we don’t spank the children” parenting style with her children. Even though she’s married, she basically is living as if she were a single parent. Her husband is a fatherless man who refuses to inconvenience himself to watch or discipline their children.

I gently challenged her to name a SINGLE example of anybody she knew who succeeded by using that particular parenting style. Just one example of where she’s seen that parenting style work right. She couldn’t name a single successful example among any of the other folks she knows who are using that parenting style. Not one. Instead, she kept talking about her grievances with the “whoopin” parenting style that her parents used with her.

Since this is a touchy subject, I left it alone at that point. Unfortunately, all of the behavior traits that I warned her are the observed fruit of that parenting style are escalating in her children. They were disrespectful and out of control when they were small. And it’s only getting worse the bigger they get. I’ll pray for her safety once they become teenagers.

And now that we’re talking about this, let me say this out loud: I firmly believe that there’s a correlation between more African-Americans adopting this traditionally “non-ethnic White yuppie” no-spanking style of parenting, and more African-Americans killing their parents. Now, anyone who’s gone to college knows that correlation does not equal causation. But, I do believe there’s a connection between these two phenomena.

I don’t want to call this “we don’t spank the children” parenting style a “White” thing, because from what I can tell it originated among a specific segment of the White population. Many of the ethnic Whites (including ethnic White professionals or yuppies) that I’ve known don’t play that “we don’t spank the children” stuff with their kids. [They spank their children.]

What I’ve noticed, as you’ve described above, is that these children raised by “we don’t spank the children” parents fly into extreme rages when they don’t get their way. After years of being catered to, they won’t take “no” for an answer. And that dynamic was traditionally a large part of the recipe for a number of White teenagers who killed their parents. Or in the case of some White teenage girls, helped somebody else kill their parents—helped the boyfriend the parents disapproved of. After years of always saying “yes,” the parents said “no” and their child flew into a rage.

Now that I think about it, some of the local news stories over the past few years of African-American men who killed one or both of their parents appear to have this same underlying emotional pattern. African-American parents allow a nonfunctional (typically substance-abusing, or mentally ill) adult Black male son to continue living in their home. And the moment the parents fail to humor one of his demands, he goes postal. I’m thinking of individuals like this creature.

Before African-Americans started experimenting with these overly indulgent parenting styles, there were certain things that we just didn’t do. Killing your parents was one such thing. And it didn’t matter what one’s problem was—there have been African-American dope fiends for what? Almost a century. They didn’t kill their parents. Including when the parents refused to let them continue living in their home, and refused to give them money.

. . . Now that my memory has been jogged about this issue, I recall that there’s a steady “water drip” of these sorts of local cases of Black men killing one or both parents over the years. I was able to track down media links to this case only because I remembered that this individual briefly pretended to desire “suicide by cop” while staging a scene at a local Veterans Administration hospital. He was “distraught” enough to gun down his elderly parents when they finally said “no” to him, but he wasn’t distraught enough over killing his parents to kill himself. And he didn’t push events to the point where the police were required to kill him.

When each case happens, local African-Americans don’t talk about the long-term parental indulgence that plays a part in these incidents. Instead, we focus on the drug use or mental illness angles. Meanwhile, we’ve had drugs or mental illness among us for quite some time—and we still didn’t kill our parents previously.

MY RESPONSE TO A DISSENTING READER

I said the following to a dissenting reader during that conversation,

I have NO problem with disagreement about the means used for lifestyle optimization for African-American women and girls. My line in the sand is with people who are opposed to the very goal of lifestyle optimization for African-American women and girls. Now, very few people besides Ikettes, and Internet Ike Turners will come out and directly say that they support diminished lives for Black women and girls. But if they’re defending the beliefs and behaviors that uphold the status quo of diminished life, it’s the same posture as far as I’m concerned.

I can happily agree to disagree about the means. However, I won’t invest time in debating the goal of abundant life for Black women with people who are opposed to abundant life for African-American women and girls. I also don’t have time to debate with dishonest people who want to redefine degradation as liberation for Black women—like the individuals who characterize so-called “sex work” and modern African-American stripper culture as somehow liberating for African-American women.

In summary, there’s NO problem with disagreement here. And it’s just fine with me if the topic of corporal punishment remains a PERMANENT point of disagreement between me and others. I happily agree to disagree.

This is my policy regarding dissent at this blog. I’m saying what I believe needs to be said.

SOME OF THE PROBABLE MOTIVES FOR REFUSING TO SPANK ONE’S CHILDREN

From what I can tell of the parental motivations that go into this, there are typically several things happening:

The “we don’t spank the children” parents are often focused on their own childhood grievances with corporal punishment. I believe that this is what’s going on with my friend.

Some of them are simply lazy.Policing children’s behavior takes up a lot of time and energy. It’s easier to just pretend that you don’t see or hear misbehavior. And then claim that you’re so-called reasoning with the child, instead of the (*gasp*) “primitive” dishing out of whoopins when deemed necessary. “We don’t spank the children” is often used as a way to put a positive spin on being lazy and inattentive as a parent. This is what I believe is going on with my friend’s husband. His behavior has made it quite clear that he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by childcare at all.

Some of these folks seem to want to be friends with their kids; and don’t want their children to be angry with them.

Some of these folks seem uncomfortable with being true authority figures. At some point in grown-up life, one is required to drop the posture of the cool, rebel kid—and be the un-cool, un-fun, adult in the equation. There are seasons in life. You can’t be the hip teenager forever.

ALL THE PRODUCTIVE AFRICAN-AMERICANS I KNOW ARE PRODUCTS OF THE TRADITIONAL “PARENTS EMPOWERED TO ‘WHOOP’ IF DEEMED NECESSARY” PARENTING STYLE

All the productive African-Americans I know are products of the traditional African-American “parents empowered to whoop if deemed necessary” parenting style. Including the (I believe misguided) folks who are experimenting with this “don’t spank the children” thing. Does this traditional method always succeed? Of course not. But it has a much higher success rate than what I’ve seen of the “don’t spank the children” method—which has a success rate of zero percent among the folks I’ve seen who have used it.

Again, I understand that correlation does not equal causation. There could be a third underlying factor that’s causing what I’ve observed. For example, it could be that many of the African-Americans who are attracted to the “don’t spank the children” parenting style are also people who don’t want to anger their children by disciplining them.

I don’t know. All I do know is that every “we don’t spank the children” experiment that I’ve seen has been a disaster. And there’s no do-over button. The children were destroyed.

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58 Responses to “Spare The Rod And Destroy The Child”

  1. From my observation it’s not so much that the parents refuse to spank their children, it’s an issue of refusing to discipline their children at all. The parents that I’ve seen who don’t spank, but use alternate means of discipline have had children that turn out fine. However, the parents who don’t impose any discipline often do so under the guise of claiming they don’t spank. Those are two different things altogether.

    My son is six years old, and everyone who meets him talks about what a well-mannered and well-behaved young man he is. He’s energetic and high-spirited, but he obeys his elders and definitely knows the meaning of the word “No.” I probably haven’t spanked him more than a handful of times in his entire life, and not at all in the past couple of years. Does that mean we don’t discipline him? That would be no. From my experience disciplining without spanking is actually harder than spanking. Properly using non-corporal means of punishment requires knowing your child very well. My son hates nothing, and I mean nothing worse than being put in time out. Why? Because he has to sit still in a corner facing the wall. He hates being separated from everybody else, and he actually responds more quickly to a time out warning than a spanking threat. He also knows that if he really screws up the Nintendo goes bye-bye. Frankly I think he’d rather be beaten with an extension cord than to have his beloved DS go away.

    I grew up “old school,” and no way, no how am I ever going to let a child of mine grow up to be ill-mannered or disrespectful. I don’t have any anger or bitterness toward my parents for the techniques they used which included “go get me a switch.” My mama didn’t have the luxury of being a SAHM as I do, or the time to experiment with parenting techniques as I have. I would never hit my child with an object, to my mind that’s abuse. But my mother routinely hit us with switches, and on more than one occasion her house shoe. Yet, I never thought of my mother as abusive, and don’t think of her as abusive now. I just see us as dealing with a vastly different set of circumstances and backgrounds.

    And frankly I think it might be far better that people who were abused NOT hit their children, at least until they’ve received some counseling or dealt with their issues. The anger and bitterness they feel toward their parents may well come out as abuse of their own children. Presumably this business of hitting kids with extension cords, belts and the like had to come from somewhere. As a child it was very common to see other kids at my school who had been beaten with objects and had the physical evidence to show for it. I certainly had a few episodes of bearing “weps” myself. I also remember a while back a minister in Georgia was arrested for using corporal punishment on children in his congregation. I remember him telling the reporter that black children aren’t like other children, that you have to beat them to make them obey. I was absolutely horrified, but I know that a lot of people feel that way. Folks with that mindset have no business imposing corporal punishment on others. Many black people are literally “walking wounded” and the notion that they have any business imposing corporal punishment is a scary one. Self-hatred is rampant in our communities with many people who totally lack self-control or any notion of child development or rational notions of discipline. And most certainly the use of corporal punishment requires a great deal of self-control and discipline.

    I do believe that there are many effective ways to discipline a child and I suspect that many of the problems you describe come not from failure to spank, but failure to discipline at all.

    • DeStouet says:

      Roslyn said, “From my observation it’s not so much that the parents refuse to spank their children, it’s an issue of refusing to discipline their children at all.”

      This is something that I’ve noticed. I nursed all three of my children, and what what seems to be happening is a growing number of parents are choosing to parent “naturally.”

      In a nutshell, it’s allowing your child to grow into an adult without saying “no,” imposing limits, or shaming them. (For four years, I’d subscribed to Mothering magazine and read some of the recommended material which all promoted this kind of rearing.)

      With my youngest child, I even tried it. Like you, I had the time to experiment, so I did. I simply allowed him to do whatever he wanted without intervening. As long as he was safe, not in harm’s way and clear of danger, but I found it was too much of a hassle. I was all over the place, like a chicken with its head cut off. I felt like I had no control and extremely helpless.

      After about two and a half weeks (my husband insisted I end it after about a week) I brought the experiment to a close, the day I had a doctors appointment and he refused to allow me to put on his shoes. He was adamant about not leaving the house, but I had an appointment.

      What did I do?

      Forced on his shoes, and carried him out of the house.

      One of the things I’ve noticed about the parents who use the time-out method is that their children normally never stay in time-out. Or if they do, they’re laughing, smirking, or still talking. It’s a game to the child.

      • One of the things I’ve noticed about the parents who use the time-out method is that their children normally never stay in time-out. Or if they do, they’re laughing, smirking, or still talking. It’s a game to the child.

        Yeah, I’ve seen this too. I think, like everything else to do with child-rearing, it requires consistency, and sometimes consistency is darned hard. My son has never left time out. When I first started it he would sit there and scream. But when I made it clear that the longer he screamed the longer he’d be there, he cut that off with a quickness. And yes, it required keeping him in time-out for twenty or thirty minutes, with him screaming the whole time. And yes, I wanted to scream too, but he never did it again. Now I can shut down whatever misbehavior he engages in with a simple look.

        My son knows that if I say it it will be done, even if it’s sometimes difficult for me as well. If I take away afternoon movie time, that means I lose an hour of peace and quiet as well. I let him play video games for 15-20 minutes a day. Usually that’s my tea break, no Nintendo, no break for me. And I think that’s where some parents back down, they’ll change their mind about the discipline because it’s inconvenient. In the parenting game there are some very important rules: Never back down. If you say it it must happen. Be consistent. And maybe most importantly of all don’t let them divide and conquer. I think these are more important than whatever discipline techniques you use. Consistency is key. If they discover that you don’t keep your word they don’t trust you and then all hell breaks loose.

        I nursed my son as well and participated in some of those groups, but I knew natural parenting would never work with my son. Even when he was a tiny baby he was too headstrong for that. He requires a great deal of structure and discipline, otherwise he doesn’t feel safe and acts out until it is imposed. I think that’s the case with many children. If the parent doesn’t discipline that means they don’t care, and imagine how scary that is to a child. His parents are his whole world and if they don’t care then he’s all alone.

    • SweetSoulSister says:

      Absolutely agree with everything you said , Roslyn. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      My grandmother (she’s still alive) was the type who beat the hell out of my mother with a belt,leaving welts,with little provocation. My grandmother once beat ME with a belt, leaving welts, just for saying I didn’t like rain (I’m serious.My mother set her straight about it.). My mother STILL resents her mother for those beatings and my mother is in her 50’s. My mother never hit me (and neither did my father)because of the fear of going overboard, I suppose. I turned out fine, with respect for my elders and certain other authority but, they have to EARN it. I don’t respect anyone or anything BLINDLY. I was taught by my parents to respectfully question authority. I don’t give anything away for free…love, friendship, loyalty, respect, etc. but, I would never be blatanly disrespectful unless I receive that sort of treatment first.

      I didn’t get spanked and yet, everyone always told my parent how very polite, well mannered and kind I was. Some kids just don’t need to be spanked. I was one of those.

      I bought Rock Star a few months back, btw….great read!

  2. DeStouet says:

    Wow! And you thought confronting obesity in the African American community (Flawless) discussion got ugly…LOL!

    First, if I may be so bold and ask you why you felt the need to blog about this topic? Normally your discussions revolve around things that you yourself can relate to but this seems to be unlike you. It certainly threw me for a loop reading it.

    I was 16-years-old when I got pregnant for the first time. I was no where as mature as I am now, therefore my oldest daughter received a great number of whoopins. Six years later, with three years of intense therapy in between, I would give birth to my second child who I refused to whoop. So I learned other ways to discipline her. When I gave birth to my youngest child, her brother, four years later, I’d master the art of disciplining.

    What works for me is this:

    If I tell my child not to do something and he/she does it anyway, I stop whatever I am doing and let them know the behavior is not to continue. If I’m entertaining company, cooking dinner, on the internet, reading, writing; I cease whatever it is I am doing (because if I don’t, my children will NOT listen) and speak my piece.

    If they choose to persist, I stoop down to their level (I am a master at this) look them directly in the eyes and repeat myself.

    Normally, not always, I don’t have to do much more than this. After the second instruction, they are off playing with something else. I’m naturally very serious in nature, even with adults, and almost all children can pick up on this.

    However, if this does not work and they continue disobeying me; I will tap my child on the hand with my open hand. Just a tap, and then I’ll sit them down right next to me until they feel like they can follow my instructions. My son is now four years old, and all I have to do is give him the look…even when we are on play dates and the other children are being unruly. He’ll look at me as if to say, “is this okay.” I’ll give him a look and he’s like, “We can’t do that. My mom said…”

    I think the last time I’ve had to tap his hand he was about three. He pretty much knows me by now.

    This is what works for me and my family.

    I am going to have to agree with you when you say that not discipling your child, and wanting to be your child’s friend is a complete disaster. It’s because of this, I refuse to watch other people’s children, except while the parent is off using the bathroom. I learned my lesson very quickly.

    It’s also part of the reason I’m always up at my oldest daughter school. Because the older these children get, the more disruptive they become. But everything is downplayed and attributed to “children just being children.” I’ve heard that more in the last three years of my life, than I’ve ever heard before.

    My daughter’s principle told me, “children just need to develop thicker skin, because the teasing and name-calling is not going to stop.” She’s right to a certain extent. The difference is, their NOT even addressing it…unless a child starts crying, or admits to developing an eating disorder because of the endless teasing, and name-calling. Then it becomes important, but until then…

    Sorry about the rant 🙂

  3. Roslyn,

    Thanks for starting off this conversation with your thoughtful comment.

    You said, “From my observation it’s not so much that the parents refuse to spank their children, it’s an issue of refusing to discipline their children at all. The parents that I’ve seen who don’t spank, but use alternate means of discipline have had children that turn out fine. However, the parents who don’t impose any discipline often do so under the guise of claiming they don’t spank. Those are two different things altogether.”

    I believe that in theory, these are separate issues. But in terms of how they’ve been observed to play out among modern AAs, they’re intertwined. I notice that the same AA parents who don’t spank their children are also usually the same parents who claim to have the similar ideological reasons for allowing their children to have a destructive level of privacy.

    Since you’re in my age group, you KNOW that the notion of the children living under one’s roof having “privacy” was an ALIEN concept to our parents’ generation. This came up during the same earlier conversation where I said,

    It’s not just corporal punishment. I can name another experimental, modern parenting practice that—from what I’ve observed—has destroyed increasing numbers of children is the notion of underage children being somehow entitled to an adult, self-supporting level of so-called “privacy” while living in their parents’ home, and living on their parents’ dime.

    Discarding the traditional AA parenting style of “As the parents, we’re entitled to see anything and everything that’s in OUR house that WE’RE paying the mortgage for” and “If it’s brought into MY house, it ultimately belongs to ME, and I have the discretion as to what happens to that object” has been a HUGE mistake.

    I have seen over and over again, numerous examples of how this type of destructive “privacy” has enabled children to get FAR gone into negative things without their parents’ knowledge—while still living under the same roof!

    When I was growing up, there was one tv and it was in the family room. My parents controlled the tv. When I was in high school, you either watched what they watched (on tv or videotape), or you didn’t watch at all. And they weren’t watching a lot of tv. If you were watching something, my parents were constantly walking in and out and through the room on their way to other areas of the house. So, to spell out the (invisible to me at the time) protective factor in this: Nobody—including me, my brother, our older cousins, whoever—would have been able to watch pornography while others were home.

    I’m sure my parents would have had the same policy in terms of having a single, FAMILY computer in a common area. There wouldn’t have been the opportunity for small children or teens to dial up some online porn or have lengthy, private chats with online pedophiles because my parents were constantly walking through and glancing at whatever was being watched or done in the family room.

    I’m always amazed when I go to people’s homes and see tvs in almost every room, including each child’s room.

    I’m also amazed at how so many modern Black parents allow their children to turn their bedrooms into studio apartments with phones, computers, tvs, stereos. All they need are toaster ovens or microwaves in there to complete the individual apartment.

    I was not allowed that sort of isolating and destructive “privacy” as a child or as a teenager. The phones (that I had access to) were all in common areas. There was NO such thing as going into our parents’ bedroom to use their phone. All of which meant that my parents were steadily walking in and out of the room during my oh-so-intense teenage phone marathons. And overhearing bits and pieces of whatever conversation. And I knew that suddenly talking under my breath, or abruptly changing the subject would cause suspicion.

    The successful parents I know DON’T permit that destructive level of “privacy” for their underage children. If some other kid is sending sex-texts to their child, they often find out because they go through those phones and hold onto them when the children get home from school. And the children are only allowed to use the family land-line phone when they’re home (like I said, the cell phones are turned in to the parents upon arrival).

    This is how so many inappropriate things have been intercepted, and apparently (God willing) nipped in the bud. None of the mess that was intercepted and dealt with (an aggressive 10 year old girl sending sex-texts to a 10 year old son; aggressive teenage girls calling a teenage son at all hours of the night; and so on) would have been caught if these parents had engaged in the modern AA parenting experiment of extreme “privacy” for children.

    You said, “I probably haven’t spanked him more than a handful of times in his entire life, and not at all in the past couple of years. Does that mean we don’t discipline him? That would be no.”

    Spankings should be relatively unusual events. Folks having to constantly spank their children is a sign that they’ve already failed as parents in that: (1) they don’t have any control over their children; and (2) their children don’t respect them. I also see a lot of this particular problem.

    You said, “From my experience disciplining without spanking is actually harder than spanking. Properly using non-corporal means of punishment requires knowing your child very well.”

    All of that is extremely time-consuming. Especially getting to know each individual child very well. The number of children in a family unit is another circumstance that affects how possible and likely this sort of attention is. When there are multiple children, there’s less time available for all of that.

    This is one of the underlying reasons why most of the people I know who grew up with 4+ or 5+ siblings either loved it, or hated it. I know a lot of folks who grew up with a large number of siblings who are extremely angry about their childhood experiences of growing up in what one person has called “a litter” of children. Chicago has a large ethnic White, Catholic population (many of whom have very large families). So, I’ve heard these complaints of being ignored during childhood because there were 4+ siblings across the board.

    You said, “I grew up “old school,” and no way, no how am I ever going to let a child of mine grow up to be ill-mannered or disrespectful. I don’t have any anger or bitterness toward my parents for the techniques they used which included “go get me a switch.” My mama didn’t have the luxury of being a SAHM as I do, or the time to experiment with parenting techniques as I have. I would never hit my child with an object, to my mind that’s abuse. But my mother routinely hit us with switches, and on more than one occasion her house shoe. Yet, I never thought of my mother as abusive, and don’t think of her as abusive now. I just see us as dealing with a vastly different set of circumstances and backgrounds.”

    I agree with you. My friend realizes that having 4+ siblings made it impossible for her parents to do anything other than what they did while parenting all of them. The reality is that these modern, experimental parenting styles are luxury items.

    You said, “And frankly I think it might be far better that people who were abused NOT hit their children, at least until they’ve received some counseling or dealt with their issues.”

    I agree. I also feel that most AAs CAN’T be trusted to properly implement a no-spanking style of parenting. Every no-spanking parent claims that their children are an exception to this overall pattern of disrespectful children. I’m just saying that I’ve never seen any exceptions to these results in real life. Not when I’ve met the children, and had a chance to observe their behavior over time.

    You said, “Presumably this business of hitting kids with extension cords, belts and the like had to come from somewhere.”

    I don’t understand that. I can see using things to don’t actually hurt (like a soft slipper). I wouldn’t recommend that, but that doesn’t sound so unreasonable to me. Using that other kind of stuff just sounds very strange and unreasonable to me.

    You said, “I also remember a while back a minister in Georgia was arrested for using corporal punishment on children in his congregation. I remember him telling the reporter that black children aren’t like other children, that you have to beat them to make them obey. I was absolutely horrified, but I know that a lot of people feel that way. Folks with that mindset have no business imposing corporal punishment on others.”

    His statement was downright crazy. It’s not about the children, it’s about the bad parenting. Another thing that I notice about so many failed AA parents’ children (including those children who have been taken into child welfare) is that these children have very little loyalty to their parents.

    I’m not talking about tiny children who are easily manipulated by other adults. I’m talking about children who are 9, 10, 11 years old and up. They are totally unconcerned about saying and doing things that they KNOW will get their parents into SERIOUS trouble. I find this pattern quite peculiar. Even most neglected and abused children will have some degree of loyalty to their neglectful or abusive parents.

    Let me be clear: I’m NOT talking about this with a mind toward protecting abusive parents. Children SHOULD tell what people are doing to or around them. I’m talking about something else that I’ve noticed about many modern AA children—their lack of basic loyalty to their parents. And since there’s a lot of single parenting, I’m talking about their basic lack of loyalty to their mothers.

    You said, “Many black people are literally “walking wounded” and the notion that they have any business imposing corporal punishment is a scary one. Self-hatred is rampant in our communities with many people who totally lack self-control or any notion of child development or rational notions of discipline. And most certainly the use of corporal punishment requires a great deal of self-control and discipline.”

    I agree. The sad and disgraceful reality is that large numbers of AAs CAN’T be trusted to do many basic human tasks.

    Expect Success!

    • I don’t get this whole issue of children having privacy, either. We own one television and one computer. Right now the computer is in the guest bedroom, but we plan to move it to the living room when my husband gets some technical goobledygook straightened out. I see no reason for three people to own more than one television and one computer. My son has very limited television viewing time and very limited computer usage time.

      Maybe I’ll understand better when my son gets older, but for the life of me I don’t understand why a child needs a cell phone. Until he’s sixteen he can’t drive himself anywhere and any activities he participates in are adult-supervised. If he needs to call home presumably that adult will have a phone. This is one I just don’t get.

      When there are multiple children, there’s less time available for all of that.

      I totally agree. My situation is a privileged one. I only have one child and I’m with him all day. If I worked outside the home or had more than one child I’d probably have to use different methods.

  4. DeStouet,

    You said, “Wow! And you thought confronting obesity in the African American community (Flawless) discussion got ugly…LOL!

    I know, I know. But somebody has to say these things out loud.

    You said, “First, if I may be so bold and ask you why you felt the need to blog about this topic? Normally your discussions revolve around things that you yourself can relate to but this seems to be unlike you. It certainly threw me for a loop reading it.”

    Well, you can thank a dissenting reader named “C” and her recent comments over at Halima’s blog for this upcoming Fantasy Island Needs to Be Nuked series of posts. *Smile*

    The mantra-like recitation of the purported results of scientific studies that so many of us do INSTEAD OF admitting common sense reality has to stop.

    There are so, so many trendy and FAILING ideas that modern AAs have bought into. “Big and beautiful” Black women. “Fat” as a curse word. This no-spanking thing. The extreme-privacy-for-children thing. And many other failed ideas. We see the devastation that the adoption of these ideas has caused among us. But nobody says anything. In part, because they’re justtifiably afaid of being attacked in a variety of ways.

    I don’t care about being attacked because I spoke the truth. Folks can listen to the truth, or not. If they want to find reasons to discount the messenger, that’s their choice. They can choose self-destruction, child-destruction, and death if they want to. God respects free will, and so do I. I’m going to tell the truth whether such people like it or not.

    To paraphrase the old Jackson 5 song, the life they save by listening to an unpleasant truth might be their own—OR their children’s.

    I’m doing what I believe is my ethical duty (as a Muslim) to speak a truthful word to people who are literally dying AND destroying their children because they’ve bought into some bad ideas. Ideas can literally save lives. Ideas can also kill. In large numbers.

    Expect Success!

  5. Khadija, I am the mother of four children. Each child has his/her personality, so global spanking for offenses resulted four different outcomes–and not all of them productive. The oldest is so obedient that she too can count how many times she has been spanked. Then I have a little pepper who just gets mad when you spank her, but keeping her from her friends after school sends her crumbling in tears. The boy hasn’t had a spanking since he pooped on the floor; threatening to throw away his mountain of Legos will suffice, and if he talks back, soap in the mouth works wonders for a dirty mouth. My last is still a baby so we’ll have to see on that one!

    I think that Dr. James Dobson has a good formula for discipline and I’ve often referenced him when one or more children had lost their-ever-lovin-minds! He has a theory–you only have until age eight to establish your authority with your children, using various disciplining techniques which include, but is not exclusive to, spanking. He believes that once a child reaches eight years old, there is little you can do to detour the path the child is taking.

    Discipline should be comprehensive. I think it’s lazy to impart universal spanking when creativity on the parents’ part would be more useful. And here’s a thought to munch on: If we did a poll of every black criminal in prison and asked if their parents spanked them, how do you think they would answer? Eh, that’s a sucker’s bet.

    • He believes that once a child reaches eight years old, there is little you can do to detour the path the child is taking.

      My mama believed this as well. I can hear her say over and over again, “You have until eight to set them straight.” I don’t know if it’s Biblical or what, but it was dogma to her and I definitely agree.

  6. Christelyn,

    Before I respond to the rest of your comment, I can’t resist saying this:

    You said, “And here’s a thought to munch on: If we did a poll of every black criminal in prison and asked if their parents spanked them, how do you think they would answer? Eh, that’s a sucker’s bet.”

    I say: If we did a poll of every Black criminal in prison and asked if they were primarily raised by a Black woman, how do you think they would answer? That’s also a sucker’s bet. *Smile* Which brings me to a point that I’ll mention next in a general comment to the audience at large.

    You said, “I think that Dr. James Dobson has a good formula for discipline and I’ve often referenced him when one or more children had lost their-ever-lovin-minds! He has a theory–you only have until age eight to establish your authority with your children, using various disciplining techniques which include, but is not exclusive to, spanking. He believes that once a child reaches eight years old, there is little you can do to detour the path the child is taking.”

    That sounds right from what I’ve observed. The people I know who have raised children who grew up to be wonderful adults say the same thing: they say you have to set your kids straight when they’re still small. To a person, they feel that most AAs wait too late to start disciplining their children—typically when the child is old enough to embarass them in public with their bad behavior.

    Expect Success!

  7. **A few words in general**

    Before the expected torrents of rage provoked by this post come pouring in, let me express a few other thoughts underlying this post.

    (1) SHAME on those of you who are parents and know better for leaving it to me—a NON-parent to be the one to say these things out loud! Thank God, there are still a lot of you who know better than to run these modern experiments on your children. But you’re also too cowardly to speak up when you hear other AAs aggressively promoting experimental parenting styles that you KNOW don’t work.

    Y’all ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Your mass silence is part of the reason why several generations of AAs have been destroyed by these experimental parenting styles.

    Y’all see the same things that DeStouet described in her reply to Roslyn when she said, “One of the things I’ve noticed about the parents who use the time-out method is that their children normally never stay in time-out. Or if they do, they’re laughing, smirking, or still talking. It’s a game to the child.”

    You’ve seen this. I’ve seen it too. Most of us have seen this. And yet you continue to say nothing when this topic comes up in conversation among AAs. Not even when you’re operating in the anonymity of online conversations. Your cowardly silence is a disgrace!

    I’m not asking you to fight the misguided folks. All that’s needed is a short, simple statement of reality when you hear madness. Something like, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’ve never seen it work right.” And if they want to argue, just tell them that you don’t have anything else to say, and you don’t want to talk about it anymore.

    If you want the ongoing, observed destruction of AA children by the use of these experimental styles to stop, then you need to start quietly speaking the truth when the topic comes up. Stop leaving it to me.

    (2) I believe that this topic is a good example of how AA women aren’t much more open to correction than AA men. From what I’ve seen, it’s generally the mothers who are driving the choice to use these experimental parenting styles. This also applies to the married couples I’ve watched use these styles. Most fathers (married or otherwise) are not reading parenting magazines and books. (The same way men are not reading self-help books.) Fathers are not driving these choices. They generally go along with what the mothers choose in terms of parenting styles.

    Many good fathers will put their foot down at a certain point with the mother’s choice of ineffective parenting techniques. But this is usually after a couple of failing, lousy episodes have been racked up with the child(ren). The general pattern is that men will start off going along with what the mothers are doing.

    The bottom line is that AA women are the ones primarily responsible for these disastrous choices to engage in experimental parenting styles. I don’t believe that one can honestly blame AA men for this particular mess.

    Expect Success!

    • Y’all ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Your mass silence is part of the reason why several generations of AAs have been destroyed by these experimental parenting styles.

      I’ve never actually heard a black parent say that they don’t spank. Maybe it’s because we’re in the south, but I would be shocked to hear that. I know white parents that don’t spank, but no black ones. Given what I’ve observed in public, many black parents are, IMO, too quick to hit their children and at times in abusive ways.

      As a social worker I specialized in adolescents and coached parents on dealing with children with behavioral problems. Of course, that’s a different animal altogether. Typically those children had already gone off the tracks and I was basically doing triage trying to help the parents get them back before they wound up in the court system. But the problem almost always revolved around the issue of consistency. Children act out because they want discipline. And as I used to tell the parents I worked with, “If you don’t provide it, the state will.”

      • SweetSoulSister says:

        ” Given what I’ve observed in public, many black parents are, IMO, too quick to hit their children and at times in abusive ways. ”

        Very abusive. I’ve also observed this and cringed. Black women not only hit their children in public, they actually cuss them out loudly, and drag them around like rag dolls. Sometimes, these kids are 2, 3, 4 years old. It’s utterly pathetic and I’ve seen it more times than I care to count. It’s a wonder any man other than DBRs would want the TYPICAL (not all) bw to mother his children. I won’t spank, I won’t cuss. I would be the parent who would take away privileges. I’d learn my child’s currency and discipline accordingly. I find hitting children distasteful and imo, it’s a vestige of slavery that’s better left behind.

      • Neecy says:

        “Given what I’ve observed in public, many black parents are, IMO, too quick to hit their children and at times in abusive ways. ”

        ITA and to me that’s LAZY parenting. Too many Blacks just haul off and spank their kids. Black children are waaay too aggressive IMO – especially the girls. Too quick to fight. And I feel its a result of physical punishment they receive as children. No patience whatsoever. Yet these kids still act up. De SToute said a lot of times the kids that get sent to the corner are still smirking, laughing IOW’s acting out. How about the kids getting spankings who after they get the whack, will continue to keep trying thier parents?

        Like I said, spanking doesn’t resolve anything. It’s TEMPORARY for that moment. I see it everyday. That’s it. It only keeps a kid quiet temporarily.

        Like I said if spankings were so effective then why do parnts keep spanking??? One spanking should be enough right?

        I also completely agree with you that kids LIKE discipline. IMO Kids whose parents take time out to teach them proper behavior and punsih accordingly (not quick like temporary fixes like spanking), usually have the most sane even tempered children who know how to behave. And I completely agree (as I wrote in my post yesterday) about CONSISTENT AUTHORITY. If a parent is doing his/her job properly a child from early on knows how to behave. I always can see the difference in good PATIENT BUT STERN parenting vs. loose impatient “spanking” type parents when i am in a restaurant. The kids who are running around acting crazy are the ones whose parents are snatching them up, whacking them on the butt, yelling etc., to get them to do everything to get the kid to sit down, listen and act civilized. If you have to do all that with some small 2-4 year old then you need to ask yourself how did it get to that point. yet I can look at the kids who are well behaved, sitting, and obeying their parents typically the parents are very even tempered, not yelling, smacking, snatching.

  8. Christelyn,

    I forgot to mention: I never said anything about “global” or “universal” spanking. I also never said anything against “comprehensive” discipline or “creativity on the parents’ part.”

    So, I don’t know what you’re responding to when you mention those things. I’m saying that I’ve never seen the “we don’t spank the children” parenting style work in real life. Not once.

    Expect Success!

  9. Neecy says:

    PART ONE

    Hmmmmm. Ironically I find parents who spank to be the lazy ones who are looking for an easy way out of disciplining their children.

    I’m about to get REAAAL UN PC here………

    As someone who received spankings from both mom and dad when I was younger I have to say I hope I do not have to go there with my children (especially if they are girls). I have plainly made up in my mind that no female child of mine will ever receive physical punishment. not even a tap on the butt or whatever. Boys – well I am still on the fence about that. I turned out just fine and so have my friends who have never received spankings. In fact, when I compare myself and other female friends who got spankings during childhood, to those friends who didn’t get them as children, I find that they are a lot more refined, patient and a little more feminine than myself and others. I also question if this is the reason so many young Black girls are typically more aggressive and “fight ready” than other non Blk girls. Non blks typically discipline their children a lot differently than Blks (time outs, count downs, corner etc). I find many use physical punishment as a last resort IF IT ALL. Now I find many Blacks discipline with physical punishment MOST of the time.

    Whether we agree or disagree on whose form of punishment is better or more effective, one thing NO ONE deny is that TYPICALLY young Non Blk girls are not as aggressive and physical as young Blk girls. if you just sit on a bench at a local mall or junior high/high school and watch how the young Non blk girls act compared to the young Blk girls, you would observe the young Blk girls are MORE aggressive and a little less feminine acting. Also, pay attention to how the Non Blk girls handle confrontation with each other compared to the Black girls (On average). The latter group typically fights while the former may use physical confrontation as a LAST resort if at all (once you start going up on the class scale the less likely there will be physical confrontation between the females). I even remember this growing up. The White and Non Blk girls were scared of fighting while Blk girls were ridiculed for being afraid to fight. The Non Blk girls would do everything in their power to avoid a physical confrontation while the Blk girls were ammping up for them. There is a difference and I believe A LOT of the difference stems from how young women of various ethnic or cultural groups are typically disciplined over others.

    Here comes the REAL UN PC part…….

    However, when I see young Blk girls who obviously are being raised in all White settings, and whose parents are probably disciplining them like many Non Blk parents, they tend to act like the young bubbly Non blk girls they hang out with. IOW’s I can tell the difference between a blk girl who has been raised with the blk parenting mentality of spanking etc., and the ones who were raised by Blk parents who disciplined like their Non Blk counterparts. I’m sorry I just have to say it no matter how UN PC that sounds.

    I honestly think my parents spanked me and other relatives and friends got spanking back then b/c to most Blacks it was the thing to do. kind of like perming Blk girls hair at very early ages. Its just something that is and was done, just like spankings. And frankly, no matter what anyone thinks, I would use a spanking as a very last resort. I may do a tight grabbing of the arm or such but no hitting. I believe it makes children (and girls) more aggressive. I believe children respond to authority, (- CONSISTENT AUTHORITY -) and non physical disciplining. If a child is at the point of having temper tantrums and acting out to the point where one has to hit them, then I FEEL you never had control in the first place and that using physical punishment is an easy way out. I think on average the time out and corner kids vs. the spank on demand kids tend to turn out to be a lot more patient and even keeled temper wise than those who always just got some form of physical punishment as a way to control them. Children do not need IMO to be controlled by physical punishment. they can easily be trained and controlled if a parent starts EARLY and puts in the effort to TRAIN their children how to behave properly from early on.

    • DeStouet says:

      Khadija said, “One of several real-life tales about y’all silent AA mothers who know better, but are too cowardly to speak the truth when you hear madness.” I believe their remaining silent was more about the game of oneupmanship than being cowards. At the end of the day, it gave the group of women whose children were developing on course something to talk about. They were probably just thinking, “I’m glad my child is not speaking in grunts.”

      You’re absolutely correct about the way many non-black girls are behaving out in public compared to many AA girls.

      What I’ve noticed though are young non-black girls have absolutely zero respect for their parents (yelling, pulling away from, slamming doors, screaming…in public) or other authority figures. When someone tells them “no”, they can become completely undone. While they are overall all together more polished than AA girls in public, they are in total control in their homes, and everything revolves around their happiness. The relationships between non-black women and their daughters are suffering greatly. In my opinion, the biggest enemy to most of the mother’s in my neighborhood is their daughters.

      At least once a week, one of the mother’s at my oldest daughter school will confess over coffee how she (1) hates her daughter. (2) thinks that her daughter has the power to destroy her marriage (3) thinks her daughter’s attitude has gotten worse since the girl has gotten older.

      • Neecy says:

        De Stout,

        Yes I agree that Non Black teenage girls can be verbally nasty to their parents. But I also found that they on average are still nicer to others. The behaviors that you speak about are generally a reflection on the type of relationship between the mother and daughter solely. They may be rude, and out of line with their moms, but in school they obey other authority figures, and usually avoid those kinds of confrontations with outsiders. I have seen it with my own eyes. And what else do I see follow that – NOTHING (from the mother). they sit and take that abuse, brush it off. THAT is why the girls talk to them that way, because they can. Teenagers are still children. Just children that are a lot taller etc. They still have very fragile minds and such and still need to be CONSISTENTLY disciplined. Some parents stop after a certain age and thus you have disrespectful teenagers. or they spanked them throughout their younger years and now that the kids are bigger they can’t physically spank them without possibly getting into a “fight” so now they are stuck between a rock and hard place on how to NOW punish this teenager. See when they are 2-6 its easy to whack their butts to get them in line. but if you relied on that for most of their childhood OR you simply did not discipline them at all, what do you expect?

        Don’t get me wrong. I am in NO WAY saying non Blk girls at younger ages are sweet perfect angels. Teenagers (especially girls) can be a nightmare if they are not raised or handled very carefully in their childhood. Typically all the issues they carry will come out in their teen years. But I think that has very little to do with them not getting spankings, as it has more to do with their mothers not providing some kind of emotional/mental stability to them OR discipline in early stages.

        They do curse and yell etc. To me typically that is a sign of neglect and the child doesn’t know how to respond other than by disrespecting the parent who was never really there emotionally. OR it could simply be a lack of disciplining AT ALL on the parents part. I believe there are a lot of non Blk parents who don’t discipline or are neglectful and the end result is potty mouth kids who talk back to them. But if you look at a well rounded kids (both Non blk kid and BLK) who were raised by stern, patient parents who discipline in ways that over the long terms benefit themselves, the child and their relationship, typically as adults (and even teens) they are well adjusted. And to me those are the kids whose parents did not haul off and spank them, but rather taught them that for their actions there were consequences which usually result in having privileges taken away.

        Pain to me isn’t enough of an incentive for a kid to stop what they are doing (over the long term). They need to feel some emotional detachment from things they enjoy or look forward to, to really understand over the long term that their actions are going to cost them.

        But overall these young non Blk girls do grow out of that stage – MOST of them do. But the point is they still manage to hold onto their femininity which ultimately works for them in the long term and as a collective. This is something that blk girls don’t ever really have a chance at. Once you start hitting on and yelling at young girls to discipline them, they really have to work hard in adulthood to change their aggressive behaviors and embrace their full on femininity. By adulthood its just too hard to change the way you are. its HARD work. that’s why I say at young ages young girls should be punished accordingly so that they don’t have to work so hard in adult life to change to make themselves more feminine.

  10. Neecy says:

    PART 2

    This may even sound looney, but my cat (whom I have had for 16 years) is a great example of physical punishment (not hard spanking but a hard tap on the backside) does not always work for the better. My cat for reasons unknown USED to be a bit aggressive at times. She often used to run at my feet or ankles and bite them for no reason. She hasn’t done it in several years. The difference? The change in discipline methods. When I was a bit younger and impatient I would smack her on the bottom hard if or when she would try to bite me etc. I found this only made her stop what she was doing temporarily, run off and ultimately made her more aggressive. Whatever pain she felt when I tapped her, wasn’t enough for her to stop altogether biting at my feet and ankles. But I tried a different form of discipline with her since the tap on the bottom wasn’t working and it works PERFECTLY. I do not have to touch her at all. If she gets in “I am going to bite mode” I get down in her face and with a stern authoritative voice tell her “nooooo” and I stay there staring dead in her face repeating it until she walks off. Eventually she walks off (b/c she knows I am in charge). And I make sure that SHE walks away first b/c that shows her that I am in control. Wuhala! She calms waay down after that. Just walks away and later comes over rubbing against my legs as a way to try to get back in good graces. Honestly, I rarely have this issue with her anymore. She doesn’t even run at my feet and ankles to bite like she used to. In the past she would either try to defend herself and bite at me after tapping her OR she’d just run off and hide temporarily only to come back later and do it again. When I used to “spank” or tap her, she would just get more aggressive and try to attack (lol).

    In conclusion, My philosophy now on spankings is this: Its a short and physical reaction to an on going long term problem. Kids are going to act up. its just who they are and how they learn. IOW’s if spankings were as effective as many people believe, then you would only need to do it once and never have to do it again. If the feeling of pain is believed to stop a child from misbehaving or whatever he/she is doing to receive any kind of physical punishment, then children would never misbehave again right? The fact that spankings typically go on for a number of years (most likely until the child becomes big enough to receive other forms of punishment), says to me that spankings are no more effective than other forms of discipline, and in my opinion NOT necessary. Even from my experience in disciplining my cat differently do I see a difference.

    I believe children respond more effectively to having things they enjoy taken away, or even being given the chance to get it under control (counting down) before the ish hits the fan. hauling off and spanking IMO shows lack of patience on the part of parent. And kids need PATIENCE IMo.

    I believe that parents have a very good window of opportunity from when a child is born to establish guidelines with children. The parents who don’t are the ones dealing with the brats and the temper tantrum throwers. Also, notice that certain kids who act a fool with their parents (because they do not discipline them) don’t try that with other adults they know don’t play with that kind of behavior and will discipline them. I have children like that in my family. They know who to try those temper tantrums with and who not to try it with. I also ask – How is it that some kids simply are a lot more well behaved than others (and many of whom I know do not get spankings) while others who do get spankings are always getting spankings. I believe spankings make children MORE aggressive over the long term.

    I do not believe ANY little girl (especially an AA girl) should be receiving any kind of physical punishment of ANY sorts. Boys maybe, I’m still on the fence about that one.

    • Actually Neecy, IMO black girls are more aggressive not because of the disciplining techniques their parents use, but because of a lack of discipline. Children who are properly disciplined do not respond with aggressiveness. Further, black girls are socialized to be aggressive because our culture believes in “loving sons while raising daughters.” This mindset is patently unfair and children do respond to unfairness with aggressiveness.

      More than anything on earth discipline is about love. Unfortunately our culture has a peculiar distaste for, and a lack of love for black women/girls and this is what those black girls are responding to. Their belligerent, aggressive behavior is in informed by a lack of love and discipline in their lives. Though they probably lack the vocabulary to express their feelings, they are afraid and anxious, because that’s what a lack of discipline causes, anxiety and fear. They really want to cry, but experience has taught them that nobody cares about a black girl’s tears so they rage instead. Their anger is respected even as their tears are dismissed and mocked. I saw this time and again when I counseled at Job Corps. I had a dorm with more than a hundred primarily black girls from low SE groups. Their response to simple things like a hug or being told they looked pretty was almost embarrassing. It was clear that they had never received any non-sexual attention AT ALL. When they got that, they did respond in the same way any other young girl does, they preened and tried to replicate the behavior so they received the same positive reinforcement. Our girls are neglected to a shameful degree and they act out because of it.

      Again, discipline is about love, if it comes from any other place, anger, frustration, etc… it is not discipline. I discipline my child because I love him and want him to have a successful life. If he doesn’t learn self-control and discipline from me he is far more likely to end up in the system which is to my mind a fate worse than death.

      As for the cat analogy, hmmm, not so much. I’ve owned animals all my life, and while I’ve often said that teenagers have the brains of an orangutan, (no frontal lobe development, little impulse control) I don’t think the discipline techniques are the same. For one thing, animals lack an ability to reason and understand cause and effect. Presumably, a good parent is working with their child to develop those abilities.

      Again, to my mind it’s not about the method used by the parent. If you choose not to spank that’s fine, but understand that using alternate methods take a lot more time and above everything they must be used consistently. Don’t claim to be opposed to spanking when in fact you’re opposed to imposing any discipline at all. To my mind parents who refuse to discipline are abusive and neglectful. Unfortunately this isn’t punishable by law, but they will have a lifetime to regret their negligence.

      • Neecy says:

        “Actually Neecy, IMO black girls are more aggressive not because of the disciplining techniques their parents use, but because of a lack of discipline.”

        I agree. but IMO that lack of discipline revolves around quick fixes that result in spanking, hitting and yelling. trying to install fear in the child to get them to behave. THAT is a lack of discipline to me. I know Black kids are being disciplined in some fashion, but the kinds of discipline that AA’s typically engage in result ultimately being in a lack of discipline b/c it only reinforces other negative behaviors (such as aggression, fear and insecurity) in these children. They often do not know how to deal with confrontation other than by fighting or using physical force to get what they want. Even when they are not physically aggressive themselves, they still will see nothing wrong in someone being physically abusive towards them later in life.

        “Children who are properly disciplined do not respond with aggressiveness.”

        RIGHT. But in my eyes, the hitting and spanking and yelling are forms of “discipline” or should I say fear tactics that many Blacks use – that result in aggression in many Black kids.

        “Further, black girls are socialized to be aggressive because our culture believes in “loving sons while raising daughters.” This mindset is patently unfair and children do respond to unfairness with aggressiveness. ”

        ABSOLUTELY! That is why I used the comparison of how Non blks typically discipline compared to Blacks and the results I have noticed in the females. maybe b/c as you stated above, more emphasis is placed on coddling and loving the boys and men in our communities, is the reason very little thought is taken into how they are disciplining the girls. Whereas we all know in White and Non blk communities the girls are coddled and protected. They are seen as fragile. They are given the greenlight to be girls and enjoy and embrace it fully. THAT can be why consciously or sub consciously many Non Blk parents choose not to hit or spank as a first method of discipline if at all. So ultimately t it goes back to young Black girls not being seen as fragile or feminine enough to avoid physical punishment – THUS why they tend to be more aggressive and physical.

        Also look at how Black WOMEN respond to domestic abuse and violence compared to other women. if young Black women on average are growing up being hit on, yelled at and spanked by their mother, father or both, then how do they truly see the wronging of being hit on and abused by their spouse or Sig other in adulthood? Stats say that BW are the least likely of all groups of women to report domestic abuse and typically have the most severe cases of domestic abuse.

        “Again, discipline is about love, if it comes from any other place, anger, frustration, etc… it is not discipline. I discipline my child because I love him and want him to have a successful life. If he doesn’t learn self-control and discipline from me he is far more likely to end up in the system which is to my mind a fate worse than death. ”

        Absolutely re: discipline being about love. The idea behind it should be that you want your kid to learn and to grow (not to fear you or fear making a mistake or bad judgement call) and understand the actions/consequences reality so that when they are on their own in the real world they understand the cost they pay for breaking the rules or not following guidelines or authority. That is why they are BABIES who grow and need constant rearing. it really feels good to hear other BW (especially mothers) oppose this belief that they need to enforce physical discipline on their children to be effective parents with well behaved kids. And I am sooo passionate about this topic b/c in my adulthood I have had to deal with nothing but people telling me “:I’m bougie” or think I am White b/c I disagree with spanking kids. FROM my own family nonetheless. its always “Blacks do this” and if you don’t agree then something is wrong with you and you are trying to be something you’re not.

      • Neecy says:

        “As for the cat analogy, hmmm, not so much. I’ve owned animals all my life, and while I’ve often said that teenagers have the brains of an orangutan, (no frontal lobe development, little impulse control) I don’t think the discipline techniques are the same. For one thing, animals lack an ability to reason and understand cause and effect. Presumably, a good parent is working with their child to develop those abilities. ”

        Actually with domestic animals I believe they need and require a lot of the same things that humans do. They need mental, emotional stability, love, attention and affection etc. IOW’s they have feelings too (lol). And the fact is, domestic animals ALSO have some behavioral problems and will also need discipline. Without it they too can be out of control.

        I completely agree with your assesment that animals do not have the mental capacity to understand cause and effect on the same level as a human. THAT is why I found with my cat, hitting her hard after she bit me, meant nothing to her except that i was hitting her hard. So she’d either become more aggressive and try to fight back OR just run off and hide for a minute. Then do it again. However, for whatever reason she responds well to being verbally disciplined. And therefore, she sits there and listens to me and my tone when I tell her NO. She doesn’t run off or hide or fight back she sits there, and then walks away once she gets it. Its crazy. i swear my cat knows the difference just by my tone of voice on if she is in the wrong or when i am being lovey dovey with her. I truley believe animals (especially domestic ones) are a lot more like us than we give them credit for. Dogs are better at cause and effect if they have been trained or been to behavioral school.

  11. mochachoc says:

    I agree with Roslyn. Some parents who decide not to ‘spank’ their children fail to discipline their children at all. Parents who refuse to discipline are wrong.

    Most people who describe their experience of corporal punishment do not talk about the one or two times they were hit on the hand or bottom with open palm. The majority of the adults I know who were ‘spanked’ describe something much more severe in varying degrees and the incidents were far more frequent. Herein lies a difficulty with spanking. Many parents do so out of frustration, tiredness, anger or simply that they don’t know what else to do. Is this the best way to try and correct a child’s behaviour? What if the child repeats the offending behaviour? What do you do? Repeat the spanking, escalate it? What kinds of behaviour warrants a spanking? When I was in school many children received ‘the cane’ and I can tell you they were very painful and humiliating experiences. Often the result was not a change in behaviour. Children became wise in how not to get caught. Another consequence was hatred for the headmaster. I know many people, myself included, who feel the only thing corporal punishment managed to achieve was to drive a wedge between them and the adults they were supposed to trust.

    The issue is whether inflicting pain on children actually works. I don’t think the observable evidence is strong for this. If so, why do parents repeatedly have to spank their children? And why do we have adults who were spanked who are rotten to the core? In addition, I would say most people over say 35 were spanked, we can hardly say they are all virtuous, upstanding, respectful individuals.

    As you say Khadija correlations are just that. The general decline of respect and self-discipline, the rise in individualism and many of the issues you have articulated on your blogs may explain some of the negative behaviour’s we see today. I also acknowledge that individuals need to feel (I hesitate to use the word) fear (as in awe) of a higher authority. Currently there is very little of that.

    • SweetSoulSister says:

      “Herein lies a difficulty with spanking. Many parents do so out of frustration, tiredness, anger or simply that they don’t know what else to do.”

      Or just out of pure laziness.

    • Neecy says:

      Mochachoc,

      I agree corporal punishment and spanking are different. But let’s be reaaal honest here – WHO PRACTICES corporal punishemnt? Honestly? Most people who are using physical ways to control their out of line kids are not doing a slight open tap on the palm or behind. They are whacking the kids to feel PAIN.

      This is exactly what I argue and debate with people who are spanking nazi’s. They never can answer the question of what happens after you’ve spanked them once? If you have to keep spanking them then obivously its not as solid of a punishment. if the afflication of PAIN is supposeldy effective in getting children to stop misbehaving, then why are spankings a continuous form of punishment for parents who believe in them? Spanking is simply TEMPORARY ways in which many impatient parents deal with that immediate situation. If children were so fearful of spankings to the point after receiving ONE they would never do it again, why are there more spankings throughout their childhood?

      I got spankings all the time – yes with belts and switches. it still didn’t stop me from doing what I was doing – ONLY TEMPORARILY at that moment.

      Spanking is a lazy short term solution that makes childrne more aggressive. Although there are no studies on this, I would wager that children who receive consistent physical punishment will typically handle situations and conflcits physically FIRST (look at how Black kids both girls and boys handle confrontation on average vs. White and Non Blk kids). Just my opinion.

      • DeStouet says:

        “They never can answer the question of what happens after you’ve spanked them once?”

        There has never been a time when I’ve had to tap my son on the hand and he still failed to follow my instructions. He cried, yes. But that was it.

        Since I am a mother, and have been involved in this particular debate again and again, though by commenting I’ve broken my vow not to discuss this. (In my opinion, it’s another stupid war between mothers. Like the SAH mother vs. Working mothers. Or the breast feeding mothers vs. those who choose to bottle feed. Except this is spanking vs. non-spanking) I know what is coming next. I could be wrong but you’re going to say, that you do not believe one tap on either the bottom or hand is all it takes.

        Since you are the woman who used the cat analogy, I say to you, that is all it takes. I’ve never had to pop him twice, or three times, or four.

        About your cat you said, “If she gets in “I am going to bite mode” I get down in her face and with a stern authoritative voice tell her “nooooo” and I stay there staring dead in her face repeating it until she walks off. Eventually she walks off (b/c she knows I am in charge). And I make sure that SHE walks away first b/c that shows her that I am in control. Wuhala! She calms waay down after that.”

        What you’ve done with your cat is all that a like me has to do with her child. A mother who is not my child’s friend, comfortable being an authoritarian figure, and a mother who is consistent with her children.

        In my opinion, most people who think that women like me lie about the number of taps we give our children, (after we repeatedly tell them once is enough) thinks so because they are so use to observing children with little to no discipline. It’s hard to believe that children can be trained in such a simple way –without going home and tearing off switches from trees, or using belts, etc.

        • If the afflication of PAIN is supposeldy effective in getting children to stop misbehaving, then why are spankings a continuous form of punishment for parents who believe in them?

          I’ve never hurt my child, the tap on his hand or bottom is to get his attention, not to hurt or injure him. Typically I’d pop his hand, get down to eye level and then repeat whatever direction I’d given him in a firm admonishing voice. For instance I might initially say, “Luke, stop teasing the cat.” If he continued the behavior, I would either repeat myself again, or swat his bottom, get down to eye level and say again firmly. “DO NOT TEASE THE CAT, it upsets her and she might scratch you.” That’s all that it took.

          There has never been a time when I’ve had to tap my son on the hand and he still failed to follow my instructions.

          This was my experience as well. One pop on the hand or backside and he immediately straightened up. As I said, I haven’t spanked my son in quite some time because it’s unnecessary.

          In my opinion, it’s another stupid war between mothers. Like the SAH mother vs. Working mothers. Or the breast feeding mothers vs. those who choose to bottle feed. Except this is spanking vs. non-spanking.

          Don’t you absolutely hate that? I just don’t understand why it has to be a freaking war. Use whatever method is best for you and your family. This is the model that works for us, but YMMV. I don’t understand why people feel the need to get evangelical about it.

        • Neecy says:

          De Stoute,

          Let me be clear the corporal punishment (i.e. a tap on the hand or bottom) is not what I am arguing here. I do not think its harmful to slightly give a stern tap to your child. But what I am saying is how realistic is this? You and I both know many parents don’t take that time to simply give the kids a slight tap when they are out of line. If you say this is what you do and it works I believe you. But MOST are whacking, hitting and using objects like belts and shoes and whatever else they can get a hold of to spank the kid. THAT is what I am talking about.

          Frankly, as against spankings as I am I still would never tell another parent how to discipline their child – even if I was against it. Unless they are crossing the line of ABUSE is only would I step in and say something.

          So please don’t feel I am making any judgment on you or any other mother who chooses to spank. its your prerogative. What I am arguing is this belief that those of us who choose not to spank or hit, that they are bad moms or that something is wrong with that way of disciplining.

  12. **One of several real-life tales about y’all silent AA mothers who know better, but are too cowardly to speak the truth when you hear madness**

    I had an AA woman coworker whose son was around 20-24 months old at the time of this tale. Well, he was still communicating solely with grunts. And this foolish woman thought that was okay. Meanwhile, most little people his age were saying 2-3 word sentences. I knew it was strange, but I was hesitant to say anything. Because I knew I would be angrily attacked by this AA female attorney baby mama.

    It was quite obvious to me that this woman was not reading up on, or keeping track of, widely-known childhood developmental milestones in terms of her son. I could also see that part of the problem was that neither she nor the baby daddy spent much time talking to him. There was very little regular, daily interaction with him from the 2 adults who lived with him, his parents.

    Meanwhile, she was surrounded by other AA mothers who saw all of this and said nothing. Including her so-called “friends,” and her fellow church girls.

    Finally, my conscience bothered me to the point that I (as gently and diplomatically as possible) pulled her coat about all of this. Of course, she became angry and tried to defend the grunting-only behavior. I gently suggested that she take a survey of the other toddlers his age. And see how many of them were saying nothing but grunts, versus how many of them were speaking in 2-3 word sentences.

    She did that. Still angry, and still trying to justify the grunting-only, she talked about how those other toddlers were being babysat by grandparents who had a lot of time to spend with them. Meanwhile, her son was in what she called “daddy daycare.” Meaning, staying home all day in isolation with the no-working AA male who sired him. While the baby daddy played video games all day. And ignored the child.

    Still angry, and still wanting to “prove me wrong,” she finally read up on some child development charts. Well…..she finally got scared after she started reading those sorts of materials.

    She got even more frightened for her son after she started asking the other AA mothers in her circle of “friends” and acquaintances about all of this. Of course, they ALL repeated what I had said. This was the point at which she perked up, put her son in a real daycare, and started spending more energy on interacting and working with her son.

    If I—the NON-parent—hadn’t intervened, nobody else would have said anything. Nobody else was saying anything. Meanwhile, the child was getting older and still only grunting.

    Of course, this woman is still resentful of me to this day. But at least her son is better off because I opened my mouth and said something. She and the baby daddy had him on the road to being unnecessarily developmentally delayed. And nobody else said anything, even though they saw and noticed the same things I saw.

    Maybe this foolish woman would have been quicker to check up on her child’s attainment of various developmental milestones if some of the SILENT AA mothers around her weren’t so consistently silent.

    Sickening.

    Expect Success!

  13. Neecy,

    I agree to disagree. You’re perfectly free to run those experiments if you want to. I’m simply saying that “the emperor has no clothes” and that these “no-spanking” experiments have failed.
    _______________________________________________

    Mochachoc,

    I agree to disagree. I’m not talking about caning. Again, I’m simply saying that “the emperor has no clothes” and these “no-spanking” experiments have failed.

    Now, folks can try to justify and explain away the widely observed failure of these “no-spanking” experiments by arguing that those particular parents didn’t do it right, yadda, yadda, yadda. My point is that I’ve never seen the “no-spanking” parenting style produce successful results in real life. Not once.

    Meanwhile, I’ve seen the tried and tested, traditional methods work. Of course, not all the time. But much of time. Which is much better than the ZERO percent success rate that I’ve seen in real life with this “no-spanking” stuff.

    My conscience is clear because I gave the warning. Folks can do what they want.

    Expect Success!

  14. Neecy,

    I had to re-read your comment to make sure I understood what you said.

    So, in addition to running the (widely observed to have failed) no-spanking experiment, you’re contemplating making solely gender-based—as opposed to individual child’s personality-based DIFFERENCES between your children?!!! [I won’t dwell on the possible underlying resentment of Black boys that might be impacting those thoughts.]

    And you’re comparing disciplining children to dealing with a pet cat?!!
    *************************************************

    **Calling All Proud AA Mothers**

    Okay, here’s a perfect opportunity for all y’all proud Black mothers of 1, 2, 3, and 4+ children to open your mouths and say something.

    I’m going to sit back and see if anybody says anything.

    Expect Success!

    • Neecy says:

      “So, in addition to running the (widely observed to have failed) no-spanking experiment, you’re contemplating making solely gender-based—as opposed to individual child’s personality-based DIFFERENCES between your children?!!! [I won’t dwell on the possible underlying resentment of Black boys that might be impacting those thoughts.]”

      Actually i will NOT spank my kids at all no matter the gender. And i do not believe kids need to be physically punished to get them under control.

      What I was saying is IMO its simply not OKAY in any way to afflict any kind of physical punishment on girls. Boys either. But Boys and girls just like men and women are different. In the long run, I do beileve that boys can handle a little more aggressive punishment (as they get older) than females b/c we live in a world where men typically can handle more physical agggression than women. I believe that by nature males are more physically agrressive on average.

      But overall i say NO to spanking no matter the gender. i am still on the fence as to whether it is as harmful to boys as to girls since women I believe should be handled with a lot less agression and should never receive any kind of physical punishment. THAT is what i was saying.

      If we are rasing our daughters to be feminine, how do we do that hitting on them? Myabe this is why so many Black women view domestic abuse against themselves and each other as not that serious. B/C thier moms were smacking on them from the day they could walk?

      “And you’re comparing disciplining children to dealing with a pet cat?!!”

      Do you have children? When was the last time you raised a child to come to the conclusions you have made? One can easily say until you are a parent you have no place telling other parents how to discipline their children and/or what works and doesn’t work. You and I both as single non parents really can only go by our own EXPERIENCES & PERCEPTIONS to make our conclusions. And neither of ours is right or wrong but different. That is unless you can show some real data on your claims that AA’s kids who got spankings are ultimatley more well adjusted in adulthood than those who didn’t. that’s a pretty broad and general claim.

      As far as my cat. Its not about cats and people. its about the universal ways in which PHYSICAL punishment of any sort doesn’t solve behavioral problems. I used my cat as an example of this b/c even in animals I believe they respond to many things as do humans. Do you agree? i mean, my cat needs to receive attention, affection and emotional stimulation to be happy. She (as do all domestic animals) also needs to be DSCIPLINED in some sort. Why do you think behavioral schools for pets are so common and effective? B/C domestic animals have the propensity to get out of control with thier behavior if they are not TAUGHT how to behave. Many pets have the very same needs and feelings that humans need. So how far fetched is it that they would also respond to discipline methods in the same ways humans do?

      and YES i can say that my cat has only proven further that physical punishment is a temoprary fix to a long term problem. When I changed the disciplined methods, I got better results and control.

  15. DeStouet says:

    Khadija,

    When the spotlight is not on them, many parents who use non-spaking methods will confess that they have little, to no control over their children, especially their daughters. (Boys, are cuddled everywhere so they tend to feel some kind of way towards their daughters more.) I could be wrong, but rarely do they complain about their sons, unless he is being disruptive in school.

    In the last four years, I’ve never seen a non-spanking method of discipline work on a child either, AND many mothers WILL verbally confess it when they think no ones judging them. It’s just how it is. During heart-to-heart conversations many of them will even begin to cry and all of the other mother’s will listen and offer their shoulders. Everyone understands because almost everyone is in the same boat.

    However, I find that most of them just want someone to listen to them, because my four-year-old son is very well behaved, and almost everywhere we go someone notices it and compliments me. Including most of the mothers I get together with after his class. But when I tell them what works for me, they say I’m too much of an authoritarian figure. They all commend me, but many of them are not willing to be consistent in their discipline.

  16. Katie says:

    This is my first time posting, but I’ve been lurking for a while. I rarely disagree with you on issues, but I think you’ve got this one wrong. In my experience, almost every African-American female I’ve known growing up was beaten by their single parent mother. Most of them didn’t turn into violent criminals, but most of them were extremely agressive and at worst UNFEMININE . Maybe years ago it was different, but today, most of the time, beating children is a result of lazy parenting and an excuse to take out ones frustration on children. How do I know this? because I was raised by a mother “hit” me and was “hit by her mother. My mother is a very aggressive, stereotypical “strong black women” and I believe she was that way because she was beaten and saw people being beaten so often as a child. I was lucky enough to have a father in my who was able to be a voice of reason in our family. He often prevented many beatings from happening. His presence kept me from becoming “hard” like so many of the black women I grew up with.

  17. Katie says:

    By the way, children mirror their parents behavior. And I’m friends with met many successful, brilliant and focused (Ivy league grads)people who were never beaten by their parents. Disciplined (as in no TV and being grounded), yes, but beatings, never. Most of them are white and I think that something about how we black people feel about ourselves and our children. So many upper-middle class white parents treat their children like gold (especially their girls) and so many black parents treat their children like burdens. It happens too often for me to ignore it.

  18. Hodan says:

    I love reading your blog and agree with many of your amazing advice shared with us, but on this I disagree with you.

    I understand where you are coming from, but some of your sweeping generalization and the fact that you haven’t even touched on the reality of why children are ‘spanked’ by their parents in the first place is a problem for me. For one, when a parent decides to raise a hand on their child, they’ve declared their failure at discipline and control over the child’s behavior. Hitting your child is in essence an emotional base reaction with anger and frustration. Unless there are parents out there who actually plan a day and an hour ahead of time before they start hitting/beating/whooping their child, most parents automatic reaction with their children is often out of an immediate anger and frustration.

    Now, I might agree with you that there are certain children who actually behaves better with physical discipline, but not every child would respond to the same treatment equally. I know parents who have never hit their children and they came out mature successful and happy adults, the same goes for those who were hit as children and I’m among them. In the same tone that you are arguing against those studies who claim ‘corporal punishment’ never works, neither should you make the sweeping generalization by this statement: I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE “WE DON’T SPANK THE CHILDREN” PARENTING STYLE SUCCEED IN RAISING DECENT CHILDREN!

    The parenting failure in our mainstream culture today has little to do with lack of spanking and more about parents confusing their authority with equality. My mother was never my ‘friend’ before the age of 18. In facts, I knew she was my mother, I feared and respected her more than God himself. I distinctly remember how few times she spanked me, yet her authority and endless lectures on everything from my morality to schooling had more of an impact on me than anything else. She also knew when to back off and give me a breathing space. a simple look or words had more power on me than her hitting me. Consistency is key to parenting your child. As a teacher and youth worker I know that authority and respect goes beyond physically intimidating a child, or hitting them.

    Spanking should never be the measure of what a ‘good’ parent or a ‘bad’ parent aught to be. If that is the only way a grown adult can disciple his/her child, then they have deeper issue than being a parent. Being a parent is a life time job and few can excel @ it.

    • DeStouet says:

      Hodan says, “Spanking should never be the measure of what a ‘good’ parent or a ‘bad’ parent aught to be. If that is the only way a grown adult can disciple his/her child, then they have deeper issue than being a parent. Being a parent is a life time job and few can excel @ it.”

      I concur profusely. That’s the reason I tend to stay out of these discussions because that is exactly what happens. Whether you spank or not (I’m not talking whooping where you leave welts or anything like that) it becomes a measure of how good or bad of a parent you are.

      It’s really crazy.

  19. SweetSoulSister says:

    “And you’re comparing disciplining children to dealing with a pet cat?!!”

    Well Khadija, Dr James Dobson compares disciplining children to discipling dogs. Neecy’s comparison is no different than that.

  20. Crecilla says:

    Khadija,

    Thank you for this post. With regard to this comment about natural parenting:

    “It’s allowing your child to grow into an adult without saying “no,” imposing limits, or shaming them… I simply allowed him to do whatever he wanted without intervening. As long as he was safe, not in harm’s way and clear of danger…”

    This sounds like an extremely ineffective approach to childrearing. While I concede that we can rethink some of the limits our parents imposed on us, discipline must be taught.

    First, as humans, we are ALL sinful – this includes children. Therefore, it is our responsibility as knowledgeable, mature adults to teach them right from wrong. It is not simply a matter of safety — if I steal my neighbor’s water hose, I am relatively “safe” — but I am WRONG!

    Second, the real world does not work like this, so why would a parent “train up a child” in a manner that is unrealistic and will only serve to hinder their child’s impulse control as well as their ability to function effectively and successfully in society? As parents, we are charged with the task of developing responsible, productive members of society. This does not happen by osmosis.

    Third, there are consequences to our actions – we do not get to do what we want to do when we want to do it WITHOUT paying a price. Sure, you can let your two year old color on your walls, cut holes in your chairs, and build mud puddles on your lawn – but your property will be an eyesore and decrease in value (and others won’t want to be around your destructive child). Sure, you can break glass and throw things when you are angry – but you will cut yourself, spend money replacing damaged items, and if you are an adult, you may end up with a domestic case. The lesson of impulse control should be taught to our children so they are able to intelligently weigh the costs of their actions and therefore, make good decisions.

  21. Neecy says:

    “Neecy,

    I agree to disagree. You’re perfectly free to run those experiments if you want to. I’m simply saying that “the emperor has no clothes” and that these “no-spanking” experiments have failed.”

    Khadija, I respect and agree with your views on a lot of things. But this one we have to agree to disagree 🙂

    What data do you have to suggest this?? B/C if you are going by your own personal experiences, then I could easily go by my personal experiences and say I also disagree on the results. Its not about running experiments. You’re saying that “experimental” Black parents today need to open thier eyes to the ways in which Blk parents used to discipline thier kids etc. and so i look back and I compare. Blk kids are NO more well behaved than any other kids past or present. In fact, many would say Blk children are the WORSE and dont listen and are more aggressive than other kids especially when it comes to how they handle confrontation.

    i believe what you are seeing is a breakdown in MORALS and VALUES and an increase in LAZINESS in Black parenting – not lack of spanking or corporal punishment, because more Blacks spank and hit their children as the only means of punishment.

    Go to an all Black junior high or high school and then go to an all White junior high or high school. Tell me who acts more agressive and uses physical ways to handle confrontation?

    I’m using common sense based on this fact: Spankings don’t work unless you are looking for a temporary fix. Period. Even My own cat proved this. if they did, you’d only need to spank your child ONCE to get the message across. The afflication of PAIN in the instance of a parent delivering some kind of whack or belt or whatever to their kids behind and body parts does not keep the kid from misbheaving in the future. As a matter of fact, I have seen many kids become so accostumed to spankings that they continue trying their parents to see what more they can do. Then what?

    I do agree with you that corporal punishment and spankings are two different things. But let’s be honest here. How many parents (especially BLACK parents) use the slight open tap on the hand and butt like your parents did? You and i both know, many Black parents are whacking HARD and using objects to afflict pain on the kids to get them to stop acting out. And the kids don’t stop acting out. They just cry louder and harder or continue doing what they were doing five minutes later.

    These are KIDS. Small people who have no control over anything. This idea that you have to whack & hit on them to get them to listen is ridiculous. it doesn’t take all of that. A smart parent knows that stern authroity and CONSISTENT punishment (not physical) is a way over the long term to get their children to behave properly. And it also helps the child adjust accordingly later in life b/c they will not view physical punishment as a way to solve a problem. TEACHING at early ages what is acceptable behavior and not acceptable behavior is a better long term solution.

    I’m not going to lie. i used to be one of those Blks that always talked about & laughed at how Whites and other Non Blks disciplined their kids. But now I am older and wiser, I see the difference culturally (especially in the females) on what physical punishment results in).

  22. Crecilla says:

    With regard to spanking, Neecy said:

    “if spankings were as effective as many people believe, then you would only need to do it once and never have to do it again”

    This is simply not true. For example, if a young child deliberately throws their plate of food on the floor and receives a spanking, will that child now know not to bite their younger sibling or whack the family dog in the nose? Will the child know not to lie or that it’s not “funny” to paint the carpet? No. (But they WILL know that throwing their plate is unacceptable.) Children learn about what’s right, wrong, and acceptable (or not) through observation, experience, and feedback.

    They must learn to act like they belong in society and not in untamed, kiddie-land. Your statement is akin to saying, if discipline were effective, you would only need to do it once…Not true.

    However, I agree with you that AA girls are often more aggressive than non-AA girls. This may be due, in part, to spanking. But there are much larger sociological factors at play – namely their overall environement. Many AA girls live in racially (and culturally) segregated environments where aggression is not only the cultural norm, but it is a trait needed for safely navigating one’s environment.

    Many AA girls live with a lack of physical protection by their fathers and other men. non AA girls generally have physical and emotional protection from their dads and other men. This will NATURALLY lead to a less defensive, less aggressive posture/disposition.

    Khadija,

    I was spanked and I’m productive and successful, and when my daughter was little (age 2 or 3), I spanked her frequently.

    My girlfriend (intervened) and spoke with me about not being so quick to spank. (My husband spoke with me as well.) While I believe in spanking, I now understand that consistent discipline is very important, and parents should spank “as necessary” as opposed to “automatically.” (Some of this is a holdover from slavery, but I won’t get into that.)

    My 10 year old daughter is very well behaved. I have not had to spank her in many years. But I will say this – when she does something wrong, it does not go unchallenged nor uncorrected and I am very consistent. I also provide positive reinforcement everyday! I tell her how wonderful she is, and she seems to want to “live up” to what I tell her…

    So I say spank, but not too much, and know your child and what is most effective for their temperament.

    • Neecy says:

      “They must learn to act like they belong in society and not in untamed, kiddie-land. Your statement is akin to saying, if discipline were effective, you would only need to do it once…Not true.”

      Right. because any kind of discipline with kids is going to be on going. Even non spanking discipline. But when I pose this question to those who are spanking warriors and anti (corner, count down or time out) they always seem to feel that spanking is the best or most effective way to punish kids b/c it hurts and stops them right in their tracks. Anything else is just letting them get away with murder. that’s just false. Just like saying people who spank their kids are bad parents is false.

      I’m simply here to DEFEND the idea that b/c one chooses not to spank it makes them less of a parent or rather more likely that their kids are going to turn out to be unproductive members of society. I am not here to offend or question or to say that those who use spanking as a form o punishment are crazies who can’t handle their kids. but hey, if the topic is going to be put out there then why not discuss the whole of it?

      Look I was spanked as a kid – OFTEN (yeah I was a heathen lol). Yes with belts, switches. I love my parents to death. They were both great loving hands on parents. but I got spanked. And as an adult I am against it FOR ANY CHILDREN I may have. Yes, I do have views on psychological and/or social aspects of what I believe spankings contribute to, but they are just that – MY opinions. I have no data to back up my views just as no one has data to back up their views that spankings are the most effective ways to discipline kids and if you are not spanking something is wrong with you and something will be wrong with your kid.

  23. Rhonda says:

    Neecy, I agree with most of what you wrote, except boys should not be hit, too. Hitting is cruelty. Spanking is hitting. I am against cruelty towards children.

    It seems that what you wrote is not Politically Correct insofar as this blog is concerned. I found it upsetting, saddening, and disheartening to read the thousands of words that the author wrote (in the post and her comments) to justify her support for physical cruelty towards [supposedly, bad] children–specifically, black children. This post is mean-spirited, full of bitterness, and cruel in its message. I agree with you that all those beatings have produced too many black girls and teenagers who are un-feminine [compared to other non-black girls and teenagers], who are quick to engage in fisticuffs with other girls–and boys! (Of course, I am not saying that un-feminine non-black American girls/teenagers do not exist; it is just that too many of whom I see are black.)

    These “traditional African American” child-rearing methods are holdovers from slavery. For the slave master, it was necessary that the [adult] slave be obedient. Slaves masters considered their slaves, regardless of age, to be children, to be child-like in mind; thus, they should be treated as one would treat a child during those times. Therefore, he believed that he must be always diligent about disciplining the slave, as one would a child. And, we all know that children are born evil, for the bible tells us so. They must be beaten to submit to the will of the parent, for the parent is God’s representative on earth, and God dictates that the child must obey his parents. The slave master says, “If you don’t stay on them then they will run wild. They won’t follow your orders. They’ll break the equipment, so they won’t have to do any work. You’ve got to stay on them, otherwise they won’t work, because they’re lazy. They only understand the lash. And, just like children, beatings will make them act properly.” All obedience to God. The slave master is the parent, and the parent is God’s representative on earth; therefore, absolute obedience must be paid to your master. Serving his (God’s) will is the only purpose for your life. It is this slave’s mentality that so many of us, descendants of enslaved blacks (from both the United States and the Carribean), cling to as if it were a life raft out on a stormy sea.

    For a blog that is considered to be a Black Women’s Empowerment blog, this post (and the comments–by the author and some of the commenters–I have read in some earlier posts) serves the opposite purpose of empowering black women. Beatings instill fear and hatred of the parent in the child. How is that life-enhancing (as is one of the stated purposes of this blog) for black girls, teenagers, women?

    It seems to me that blacks (I’m referencing Americans throughout my comment; although, one of my parents is from the Caribbean, so I know it applies to them, too) are more concerned about raising “well behaved” children. We are so concerned about how we, as parents, will be seen, judged, by outsiders and other family, if our child should publicly display behaviour that is “bad.” What is this bad behaviour? Why is it so wrong for a child to be free, feel free, enough to express herself? So what if a toddler “throws a tantrum”! Who is she hurting by doing so? Oh, I know, she is embarrassing you, the almighty parent!

    I think that this will be seen as un-PC, if not sacrilege, here: You are not special because you are a parent. Your parents are not special because they are parents. No matter what your class-background, or your race, or your university education, or how rich you are, or anything…you are not special. If you were a schmuck five minutes before the child was born, then it is most likely that you are still a schmuck. If you were a considerate, kind person five minutes before your child was born, then it is most likely that you are still a considerate, kind person. You became a parent, your parents became parents, because you, they, schtuped. That is it. Nothing special about that. Humans, and other animals, do it all the time. Most times no impregnation occurs; sometimes, it does. And that is why you are here. There is no miracle of birth, and there is no holiness about being a parent.

    It is the parent’s job to provide for and protect the child. If you hit your child, you have broken that covenant. Also, I agree with Christelyn [above] when she said, “If we did a poll of every black criminal in prison and asked if their parents spanked them, how do you think they would answer? Eh, that’s a sucker’s bet.” Yes, it is a sucker’s bet, because 99% of them will tell you that their parents did not “spare the rod.”

    • Neecy says:

      Rhonda,

      I too was taken aback by the post, but I think its just another point that Black women have different views on things and we are not monolithic and should never be pushed in a corner to be.

      I’m not of the belief that its necessarily bad parenting that results in spanking kids. But I do feel (especially for Black kids and blk females) there are social, emotional and physical implications of the ways in which AA’s typical discipline their kids.

      At the end of the day there are no real stats in this or anything. Just what parents feel is best for them. I don’t jump down a parents throat for spanking their child, but I also don’t feel non spankers should be ridiculed or seen as passive b/c they choose not to use physical punishment.

      Healthy debating is great as long as everyone maintains a level of respect for each other.

  24. ZooPath says:

    No kids yet, just a doggy but I plan on doing the Roslyn thing when we have them. I won’t be a SAHM, but I’ll have lots of support and resources so I’ll be able to enfore a time out if it comes to a battle of wills. However, if a small child is reaching for a pot handle or electrical outlet or running into the street I think a hand tap is in order to emphasize the severity of your disapproval.
    However, most people don’t have the time support and resources to enforce a time out so I would rather the kids be given physical discipline than none at all.

  25. Katie,

    I cheerfully agree to disagree. Thanks for de-lurking! 🙂

    Expect Success!

  26. KM says:

    I completely co-sign with this post!

    As someone who now works in daycare and formerly worked in children’s behavioral health, the parents who consistently disciplined their children (including spanking when needed) where the parents whose children are either the best behaved or the children who made progress in the behavioral health program and were successfully discharged.

    Yes, I don’t have children but I feel sad when I see children acting foolish and being a danger to themselves and others because they don’t understand the word no/don’t understand rules and limits.

    And, yes, there are white non-ethnic yuppies (ones who either have abandoned their roots or never really had roots) who don’t believing in spanking/disciplining but it doesn’t hurt their community the same way that it hurts the black community. There are still norms and consequences for the children/babied adults raised that way that vary from shame for being Helicoptered to getting hit by the full force of the law when they commit crimes. The black community is already failing at combating crime (coddling criminals and claiming racism whenever possible when a black person commits crime). The black community can’t take the strain of undisciplined children.

    And yes, sooner or later, all undisciplined children meet someone or something that gives them the discipline that they are looking for, even if its behind bars.

  27. **A General and Final Reply to All**

    As I said earlier, I did my ethical duty by giving the warning. Folks can do whatever they want. My conscience is clear.

    Before I published this post, I had already decided in advance that I wasn’t going to say anymore beyond a closing comment (and certainly not argue with folks about their “no-spank” ideology) after I had sufficiently stirred the pot enough to produce 2 separate results:

    (1) To hear something that I believe is particularly ill-advised and ill-conceived. I wanted to see if anybody else—particularly you Black mothers out there—would say anything.

    As with the appalling episode with the grunting child, I’ve been disgusted over the years with how so many of you silent AA mothers are so apathetic when you see an AA child being mishandled and their lives stunted by obvious negligence. You can’t blame that on BM. That persistent silence by those of you who know better in the face of Black children being destroyed by ineffective parenting is on y’all.

    (2) To hear some truth that usually isn’t aired being spoken. Well, DeStouet fulfilled that angle with her comment dated 6/21/10 at 9:44 a.m. She said:

    When the spotlight is not on them, many parents who use non-spaking methods will confess that they have little, to no control over their children, especially their daughters. (Boys, are cuddled everywhere so they tend to feel some kind of way towards their daughters more.) I could be wrong, but rarely do they complain about their sons, unless he is being disruptive in school.

    In the last four years, I’ve never seen a non-spanking method of discipline work on a child either, AND many mothers WILL verbally confess it when they think no ones judging them. It’s just how it is. During heart-to-heart conversations many of them will even begin to cry and all of the other mother’s will listen and offer their shoulders. Everyone understands because almost everyone is in the same boat.

    However, I find that most of them just want someone to listen to them, because my four-year-old son is very well behaved, and almost everywhere we go someone notices it and compliments me. Including most of the mothers I get together with after his class. But when I tell them what works for me, they say I’m too much of an authoritarian figure. They all commend me, but many of them are not willing to be consistent in their discipline.

    DeStouet, thank you for saying that publicly. The people who don’t already have ideologically fixed viewpoints need to hear that.
    *************************************************

    Like I said, I’m not going to argue about No-Spank Ideology with No-Spank Believers. That’s as nonproductive as debating religious dogma with religious believers.

    What some of the No-Spank Believers didn’t catch is that this particular issue isn’t about any particular child-rearing fad or ideology with me. Unlike with the No-Spank Believers, these various child-rearing methods aren’t articles of faith for me. All I care about is whether or not the method is generally effective. I’m leery of anything in any serious context that I’ve observed to have a ZERO percent success rate in all the real-life examples I’ve seen.

    And the observed mass failure of the no-spank method is what I raised in this post. Not any fads, or ideology, or religious dogma. I’ve been talking about the practical question of, “Has this no-spank stuff been observed to actually work?”

    Secondly, I believe that the issue of corporal punishment is a proxy for another issue—large numbers of AA parents giving away their parental authority. Or never establishing such authority in the first place. For a variety of reasons that I mentioned at the end of the post (wanting to be “friends” with their kids, working out their own gripes with the way their parents raised them, not wanting to be uncool, and so on).
    **************************************************

    Corporal punishment is not automatically about slavery. For AAs, almost any issue is about slavery. But not for other people.

    I wonder what sort of White acquaintances some of you are around. Maybe this is based on different regional demographics. I’ll say this (and I’m talking about the White lawyers and other White professionals I know well enough to have a good idea of what they’re doing in general with their children):

    In terms of overall patterns, the only White parents (among my peers) that I consistently hear talking that “we don’t spank the children” talk are Jews.

    For the most part, the other ones I know (Irish, Italian, Greek, Polish) are not talking that “we don’t spank the children” talk. [With the Irish-Americans, it’s about 50/50.] If you’re shocked by the sight of corporal punishment, then it would probably be wise to refuse invitations to some of these ethnic events where folks bring their children. I’ve seen some corporal punishment (tap on the hand or hand-swat on the rear end) while visiting some of these people’s homes.

    Most of the White lawyers I know from the above (non-Jewish) ethnic groups attended—and deliberately send their own children to—“rock ’em, sock ’em” Catholic grammar schools. Catholic grammar schools where the expectation is that the teachers (especially the nuns) are going to smack the children’s hands with rulers if they misbehave.

    [The Greek-American parents I know are not thrilled with the different religious education given in Catholic schools, but they like the overall atmosphere of “rock ’em, sock ’em” discipline.]

    I have the impression that this “no-spank” ideology originated from a certain specific segment of the White population. [And then this ideology spread outward into the rest of the population because it was advocated in various parenting books and magazines over the years.]

    I see a whole lot of White yuppies who were not raised like that, and never bought into that ideology. These folks don’t have a history of slavery. Perhaps this is a difference between WASP culture and various other ethnic White cultures. I don’t know. I don’t know many WASPs.

    And with that, I’ve said all that I have to say about this topic. I’m not going to reply to any more comments. Please feel free to continue talking among yourselves.

    THANK YOU to everybody who is participating in this converation! 🙂

    I’m thankful that people are speaking their minds. It’s good to air out some things, so that folks who don’t have fixed ideological positions can hear a range of thoughts about this topic.

    Expect Success!

  28. Truth P says:

    Hey Khadija,Excellent post! this post really stood out to me.I might have mentioned that my aunt,daycare provider,is currently in college studying child psychology and development.I help her study most of the time so i’ve been reading up a whoooole lot on different parenting techniques.About 1 week ago we learned about Authoritative parenting,Authoritarian Parenting and Permissive parenting.

    *Deep sigh* Now Khadija in the book I read,the words in that book were those of child psychologists of course, stated that the best parents are authoritative parents.They are strict,they expect success but they interact with and encourage their children more therefore they get better results in regards to their child improving their behavior.Authoritarian parents were put down because psychologists stated that they teach their children to be violent by using corporal punishment and they have worse results in their child rearing efforts.Permissive parents were bad too because they were neglectful towards their children and allowed them to do anything without any repucussions.

    My aunt and I both disagreed with many of their findings.My aunt and her hubby have been authoritative parents for years and their son still turned out a mess.They didn’t raise him in the ghetto,They were HAPPILY HEALTHILY married BEFORE and after he was born and they are BOTH upstanding law abiding folk.Yet the boy is a mess.In legal trouble mess.NO he’s NEVER been physically abused.YES,prior to this happening he was raised in church all his life AND he has a psychiatrist to talk to.YES,my uncle did do father son things with him very very often such as fishing,going to the gym,and they’ve always taken vacations out of town prior to him ever getting in trouble.And guess what Khadija,The kids where my aunt live, mostly live in two parent family homes.These are suburban kids.I’d say most of them are being parented the exact same way my aunt has parented her son and these other kids have decided they too want to do all manners of foolishness.They are not violent…Yet.Which is why I can tolerate going up to my aunts house but it’s like their parents are giving them alot of lead way to mess up.Somebody’s purse got stolen out of their car the other day,first time that’s happened and there has been talk of someone in the neighborhood trying to sell weed.Khadija these people live in fairly expensive homes and go to a really nice churches and really try to live decently it’s the reason many of them got money to get away from the ghettos they grew up in.This is an upper middle class community.Many of them never imagined that there sons would grow up to become wannabe thugs.In short as someone who is actually studying child pyche I can attest that some of those scientific studies are wrong.I hope you have this up a while.I don’t have the book with me now but could have given you the word for word with statistics on many things they say involving child punishment.

  29. **Temporarily popping back in to respond to a reader’s concern about “spanking wars”**

    DeStouet,

    You said, “Since I am a mother, and have been involved in this particular debate again and again, though by commenting I’ve broken my vow not to discuss this. (In my opinion, it’s another stupid war between mothers. Like the SAH mother vs. Working mothers. Or the breast feeding mothers vs. those who choose to bottle feed. Except this is spanking vs. non-spanking)”

    That’s not going to happen because I’m closing the comments to this post at midnight tonight. I figure that a day and a half is long enough for folks to say their piece. And have approximately ONE-TWO rotations where they’re responding to comments from others, including mine.

    Since made-up minds are not going to be changed, I don’t see any point in letting this conversation remain open for long. I believe that would be inviting a problem. However, I did want some things about this issue put on the table for undecided folks to consider.

    I’m not going to let nasty, deliberately insulting comments through at any time. People can attack me, as I knew they would. But I won’t let that sort of thing through regarding the audience.

    For the above reasons, it’s approximately T minus 4 hours and 56 minutes until I close the comments to this post.

    Expect Success!

    • tertiaryanna says:

      Rhonda
      “Beatings instill fear and hatred of the parent in the child. How is that life-enhancing (as is one of the stated purposes of this blog) for black girls, teenagers, women?

      “We are so concerned about how we, as parents, will be seen, judged, by outsiders and other family, if our child should publicly display behaviour that is “bad.” What is this bad behaviour? Why is it so wrong for a child to be free, feel free, enough to express herself? So what if a toddler “throws a tantrum”! Who is she hurting by doing so? Oh, I know, she is embarrassing you, the almighty parent.”

      Ok, wait – this isn’t accurately representing the original post. There’s already been a clear distinction drawn between a spanking and a beating, and that corporal punishment shouldn’t be the only disciplinary method (or even the first method taken.)

      So this comment is equating beating up a child with spanking. That’s not a fair comparison.

      The second part, why it matters what people think? It does a Black child no favors to be allowed to act as if there weren’t different consequences between them and their non-AA peers. ESPECIALLY Black girls. We already know that Black girls are held against stricter repercussions for even normal behavior. It doesn’t make sense to permit them to act in ways that other people think are wrong for all kids.

      A toddler throwing a tantrum is normal. If that child is at home, allowing her to have that tantrum is one thing. But when a child has a tantrum in public, it’s disruptive to the other people around her. Normal social interactions guide people to punish disruptions, and that’s why parents take their children out of stores when the kids have a meltdown. It’s not the behavior that’s the problem, it’s the location.

      If we teach our children that all spaces are the same, and that there’s no need to respect social norms when in different environments, we’re not liberating them. We’re abusing them. What happens when they’re not little and cute anymore? What happens when the parents aren’t there to shield the child from the reaction of other people in the group?

      Hodan
      “Hitting your child is in essence an emotional base reaction with anger and frustration. Unless there are parents out there who actually plan a day and an hour ahead of time before they start hitting/beating/whooping their child, most parents automatic reaction with their children is often out of an immediate anger and frustration.”

      I disagree. You decide ahead of time what’s the pattern of discipline methods and you stick to it. If you’re reacting to the child’s behavior with inconsistency, then it doesn’t matter if you’re swatting on the behind or putting them in the corner – it’s the lack of predictable behavior on the parent that’s the problem.

      The child needs to learn that Action 1 gets Consequence 1 and Action 2 gets Consequence 2. The predictability is what teaches the child that the boundaries are consistently there.

      Also, the punishment needs to match the behavior. Small infractions get small punishments, but repeated infractions get an escalated response. But corporal punishment might be the small punishment: some kids would rather the church pinch than a night away from the toys.

      But any response in the heat of anger isn’t the best method, whether it’s corporal punishment or a good tongue-lashing. We’re supposed to, as adults, manage our emotions so that we retain self-control even when provoked. So if the parent frequently lets the child misbehave to the parent’s breaking point, that’s not setting appropriate boundaries for the kid, regardless of what the parent does in response.

      “These “traditional African American” child-rearing methods are holdovers from slavery.”

      I grew up in an environment with ethnic non-AA’s and I promise you that they spank their kids, until about 7-8 years old, max. At that age, the child can reason, and they’re large enough that a open hand swat is ineffectual, because they’re can do more than that in normal play.

      I never heard of a no-spank kid until I was an adult, and I did not grow up in the BC.

      I think we can only speculate if the slaves beat their children or just spanked them. We really don’t know if the slaves that were permitted to rear children (not all were) hit the children more or less, based on the knowledge of what true beatings did to the adults. We are assuming that we know, but are we basing that knowledge on the accounts they left of themselves, or of what we, in 2010, imagine they might feel?

      I just don’t like the rationale of “this is what the slaves did” used if we don’t know what they did or why. A cold-hearted guess is that they probably didn’t beat the children, because that’s damaging property. Much the same way that a pregnant woman could be beaten, but not so as to damage the child.

      I 110% cosign on Roslyn’s comment at 9:43, and want to highlight this:

      “Unfortunately our culture has a peculiar distaste for, and a lack of love for black women/girls and this is what those black girls are responding to. Their belligerent, aggressive behavior is in informed by a lack of love and discipline in their lives. Though they probably lack the vocabulary to express their feelings, they are afraid and anxious, because that’s what a lack of discipline causes, anxiety and fear. They really want to cry, but experience has taught them that nobody cares about a black girl’s tears so they rage instead. Their anger is respected even as their tears are dismissed and mocked.”

      I want to highlight that last part. I think that saying that giving a kid a spanking is going to turn them into an abused, or deviant child is totally disrespectful. It’s disrespectful of children who truly are abused. It’s completely disrespectful of the borderline kids, because it ignores what their real issues are, and uses their behavior as a rationale to further someone else’s agenda, instead of addressing the kid’s needs.

      Sweet Soul Sister
      “I don’t respect anyone or anything BLINDLY. I was taught by my parents to respectfully question authority. I don’t give anything away for free…love, friendship, loyalty, respect, etc. but, I would never be blatanly disrespectful unless I receive that sort of treatment first.”

      Respectfully, and I do mean respectfully: there are times and situations where it’s truly dangerous or disadvantageous to express disrespect, even when that’s been handed to you. You should definitely have boundaries, and not be trustful of everyone.

      But I truly believe that if a child is raised without the ability to give some respect before the evidence, it’s going to be hard for them to cede control when they need to. There are times when authority needs to be followed first and questioned later.

      This does require discernment, but it’s a useful skill to assess a person’s reliability with limited information. Or to just trust the process because you’ve been told it’s trustworthy. If for no other reason that people don’t have to prove themselves to everyone, and sometimes will just withdraw their support. Again, I mean no disrespect about you or your upbringing with my comments.

    • Neecy says:

      “For the above reasons, it’s approximately T minus 4 hours and 56 minutes until I close the comments to this post.”

      LOL.

      well hopefully no one feels the need to disrespect another adult. i think the majority of us here at this blog share many of the same ideas about a lot of things especially regarding Black women. There is a certain level of respect we have to maintain for each other. I think this post shows that if anything, Black women are not monolithic and should never be seen as having to be to get along. We’re not going to all agree on everything and i absolutely disagree with you on this topic. But that’s just one topic of many that I have been thankful for your insights on A LOT of issues and still look forward to reading more of your insights on various topics re Black women.

  30. Evia says:

    Whew! Khadija, I’m so glad I’ve lived among other groups of blacks and among whites. I naturally compare and contrast these 3 groups–AAs, Nigerians +other Africans and whites when it comes to any discussion like this.

    I’m wondering how we can discuss “black” people in regards to anything and leave out MOST blacks in the world. The overwhelming “Most” of black people in the world are in Africa, and since Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, let me talk about how they discipline their children. They BEAT the mess out of them when needed. Yep–corporal punishment used on boys and girls. And Nigerians are some of the best behaved people on earth when they want to be. Also, I’ve never heard a Nigerian woman described as unfeminine or aggressive by Nigerian men or women. Never! And let me tell ya, I’ve seen some Nigerian girls getting BEATEN.

    I’m not in favor of violent beating of children; I’m in favor of consistent discipline which may include spankings. I’ve certainly tapped my kids when I needed to get their attention and they are extremely well behaved, well-mannered children. I also talk to my kids a lot.

    People were using corporal punishment prior to slavery to discipline their children. I’m not sure how corporal punishment got connected to slavery except I do remember that a black “scholar” maybe wrote a book about that???? I’d like to see his/her research though. I’d hate to find out that this was merely more seasoning of theories to meet a need. AAs do this a lot.

    I think that when it comes to AA dysfunctionalism, some people tend to usually ‘season their theories to meet their needs.’ All of what we mostly talk about on these sites and blogs spring from the fact that AAs do not have a RUCOSS (reasonably uplifting culture of some sort) in place that is practiced by most AAs. Yes, I’m back to that because until AAs get that (if ever), nothing is going to change for the better with the group of AAs. Only individuals will rise from the ashes–not the bulk of the group.

    And ITA with the commenter who said:

    AA girls are often more aggressive than non-AA girls. . . But there are much larger sociological factors at play – namely their overall environement. Many AA girls live in racially (and culturally) segregated environments where aggression is not only the cultural norm, but it is a trait needed for safely navigating one’s environment.

    Many AA girls live with a lack of physical protection by their fathers and other men. non AA girls generally have physical and emotional protection from their dads and other men. This will NATURALLY lead to a less defensive, less aggressive posture/disposition.

  31. jubilee says:

    Sometimes, no matter what you do, kids have their own mind after a certain age; depressing, but true. The story of the prodigal son in the Bible shows that. i pray that my daughter grows up right. She recieves discipline,she disciplines herself a lot; she actually gets up early, gets good grades,shes a teenager that doesnt even want a boyfriend yet.(she saw her sisters get bummy-no good guys) who are stoners, etc. shes in High School as well

  32. **Popping back in to say thanks**

    TertiaryAnna,

    You said, “Ok, wait – this isn’t accurately representing the original post. There’s already been a clear distinction drawn between a spanking and a beating, and that corporal punishment shouldn’t be the only disciplinary method (or even the first method taken.)

    So this comment is equating beating up a child with spanking. That’s not a fair comparison.”

    Thank you for pointing that out. Some folks have been too angry (at having their ideology questioned) to see that. Although, I will note that I’m happy to see that this conversation is getting back into a less unpleasant vibe.
    ________________________________________________

    Evia,

    You said, “Whew! Khadija, I’m so glad I’ve lived among other groups of blacks and among whites. I naturally compare and contrast these 3 groups–AAs, Nigerians +other Africans and whites when it comes to any discussion like this.

    I’m wondering how we can discuss “black” people in regards to anything and leave out MOST blacks in the world. The overwhelming “Most” of black people in the world are in Africa, and since Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, let me talk about how they discipline their children. They BEAT the mess out of them when needed. Yep–corporal punishment used on boys and girls. And Nigerians are some of the best behaved people on earth when they want to be. Also, I’ve never heard a Nigerian woman described as unfeminine or aggressive by Nigerian men or women. Never! And let me tell ya, I’ve seen some Nigerian girls getting BEATEN.”

    Thank you for pointing that out. You can safely mention some observations about Africans that would get me in big trouble! LOL!

    That’s why I didn’t even get into what I’ve observed about the non-Western parents (some Koreans and Arabs) that I’ve seen up close enough to get a good sense of what they’re doing with their kids. It seems a fair estimate to me that most cultures on this planet are “rock ’em, sock ’em” when it comes to child-rearing.

    “Rock ’em, sock ’em” also includes many of the European-descended White folks that people want to ascribe this No Spank Ideology to. At least that’s what I’ve seen with the (non-Jewish) ethnic Whites that populate the Chicago area.

    You said, “People were using corporal punishment prior to slavery to discipline their children. I’m not sure how corporal punishment got connected to slavery except I do remember that a black “scholar” maybe wrote a book about that???? I’d like to see his/her research though. I’d hate to find out that this was merely more seasoning of theories to meet a need. AAs do this a lot.”

    Yeah…I’m weary of the “if I don’t like something, I’ll automatically ascribe it to slavery” based theories.

    It’s approximately T minus 1 hour and 45 minutes until I close the comments to this post.

    Expect Success!

  33. Karen R. says:

    Children need to learn at an early age that behaviors have consequences. Good behavior is rewarded, bad behavior is punished. Parental authority is to be respected and obeyed. Period. When inappropriate behavior occurs, children need to know that there will be a punishment. In a purely behavioral mod. sense, the presence of rewards or punishment increase or decrease the likelihood that certain behaviors will either increase or decrease. I have seen both parenting styles in terms of spanking and not spanking. My only issue is that for very young children, you cannot conceptualize the child into behaving appropriately. Instructions need to be followed because their very life may depend upon it. If a young child is disobedient to the verbal instructions of a parent, a spanking is in order. For example, if a young child is holding his mother’s hand and breaks loose the mother will yell “STOP.” The child may not realize because of his age that a truck is barreling down the street and his failure to obey could be his death. If that young child knows that failure to obey his mother’s commands based on past experience will result in immediate discomfort to his bottom, he will in fact stop and his very life can be saved! As the child gets older, punishments that do not involve corporal punishment are appropriate.

    I have been reading the Moynihan report recently and although it was written in 1965, the points that he makes are relevant today and they are in many cases prophetic. He states in chapter 2:

    “The role of the family in shaping character and ability is so pervasive as to be easily overlooked. The family is the basic social unit of American life; it is the basic socializing unit. By and large, adult conduct in society is learned as a child.

    A fundamental insight of psychoanalytic theory, for example, is that the child learns a way of looking at life in his early years through which all later experience is viewed and which profoundly shapes his adult conduct.

    At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time. There is probably no single fact of Negro American life so little understood by whites.” (end of report)

    When I think about the public incidents of inappropriate behavior that have made recent headlines, I think about his statement that “adult conduct is learned as a child.” Many children have grown up and have not learned that authority (parent, police, teacher) is to be respected and obeyed. Adults or semi adults act out inappropriately, face tough consequences and the AA “community leaders” have fundamentally dishonest conversations about the precipitating events that led up to the consequences. They say…”all she said was….or….all she did was” but fail to acknowledge the context in which the event took place. We see the headlines…”Black woman faces jail time for cutting the line at Walmart” or “Teen arrested for jaywalking.” Then we hear “I bet they wouldn’t have done that to a white woman” and I think to myself “Really?!! Is that even the point?” So now we are at a place where inappropriate behavior is not called out on it’s own merits, but in relation to racial fairness and equality? That is pure, unadulterated ignorance!!! To know that you don’t know is one thing, but what we have here is to not know that you don’t know, and the consequences for many AA’s have been devastating.