Lately I’ve noticed these public service type commercials on a local Toronto TV station that says: “parenting isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t hurt”. It’s an anti-spanking campaign.

This naturally got me thinking because spanking is a common tool used in raising children everywhere in the world. I’m not a parent and I might be wrong but it always seemed to me that children that were never spanked and were instead “grounded” or had a “time out” were more troublesome than their counterparts. Is it just me?

In the Arab world spanking is common. I don’t know many people who were never spanked by their parents. I don’t know if it works or not, but its alternative doesn’t seem to be helping. My mother didn’t hit me as much as my older sisters, I’d like to think it’s because I was more behaved but it’s probably because she got more tired as the years went by. But yeah, I got spanked like crazy for doing stupid things which I never did again.

To be honest a lot of people over here in the western hemisphere slap their kids, they just don’t do it in public. I’ve seen other parents here who refuse to touch their kids or threaten to call the cops on a mother grabbing at her kids in a mall parking lot. You see them in the waiting room of a doctor’s office and their kids are jumping off the walls like monkeys high on sugar, while their mother’s screaming for them to sit down. I’ve seen temper tantrums on public buses that have the heat of a supernova.

A generation of kids misbehaving so badly have inspired TV shows like Supernanny and Nanny 911, all of them about some British Mary Poppins type who helps American families out with their kids. I tune in and out of these shows in between channel surfing sometimes and I constantly notice that in a nation of immigrants only the 4th generation type white families tend to ever show up on this show.

It’s become a phenomenon. Half the show is about the kids going crazy and the nanny shaking her head, then the other half is the nanny using psychological mumbo jumbo to turn the family from the Simpsons into the Flanders, the Adams family into the Von Trapps, but only for a brief 5 minute clip of smiling faces. How long all of that lasts after the cameras pack up and go is questionable. All I know is that we never get to see that family on the show again.

So I leave you with Cartman: the epitome of today’s white fat kid of small town America…


  • I am a mother, and I think the children should be spanked occasionally. The spanking tech. should be the last tool to use with the children. When my child does something wrong, I warn him then I use the â??time outâ? tech. if nothing is working I spank him on his hand and tell him â??I love you but I am angry because you are not listening to meâ?.
    I have read so many book â??supper nannyâ? is one of them, and I believe that spanking is not ok but sometimes things get out of control.

    There is a good tech. I use with my child when he cries for no reason. I tell him â??I donâ??t want to hear crying in thins room so if you feel like crying please go to the other room and come back when you finishâ?. It is working so far.

  • I can count the number of times on one hand that I spanked my son. One time he ran out into a grocery store parking lot and I wanted to impart to him that this must never, EVER happen. A three year old isn’t going to understand “reasoning” about something like this. They do understand that they’ll get spanked if they do it. This is why I either a) only spanked after giving three warnings for him to stop misbehaving in a given way or b) spanked when the situation really merited making a strong impression, such as DO NOT RUN OUT INTO THE BUSY PARKING LOT! It was always with an open hand, always on the butt, and hard enough to sting a little but not to actually hurt that badly.
    I know it’s not politically correct to say so, but occasional spanking (NOT beating) isn’t a bad thing.

  • i once found an old book (late 19th century) about raising children. it also said that unlike the good old days (around 1850, i guess), children today (1890) were out of control–worst behavied than ever before

    then there’s those kids-gone-wild short series of films from the 1950s

    i think every generation thinks that the “kids today” are out of control. kids are just chaotic. sometimes it may be necessary to spank kids, but they still will be crazy at times. that’s just part of being kids. i’m really suspicious that today’s children are any worse than any other generation’s–spanking or no spanking

  • I am all for spanking … granted I would have disagreed with that very statement as a child. Thinking back to my younger years the only deterrent I had as a kid was fear of discipline from my parents, usually in the form of spanking. As I grow older, and somewhat more knowledgeable that fear of discipline was replaced with logic and reasoning. I believe that up to a certain age children need this fear, since fear is a primal instinct that children will understand before logic or reason will ever set in.

  • Spanking is just one way out of many to discipline children. So I don’t find it odd if some parents do or don’t, whatever society they are in. The bigger difference I find between Canada and Jordan is that in Canada it’s such a big deal if you tell off someone else’s child, that only their own parent is allowed to discipline them. But in Jordan it’s normal for anybody to take a discipline role when it comes to kids. Like for example, in Jordan, if a kid is running around and being loud, or if he pushes someone else, anyone who’s old can yell at the kid to sit still. In Canada it’s a different story. I guess that’s the price they pay for being so free 😛

  • lksfadljk,

    I don’t live in Canada, but I wont allow anyone to discipline my child. Many people need discipline these days, I don’t think they are in a place to discipline a child.

  • I guess everyone has their way of dealing with their children. I believe that when a child deserves to be yelled at, he/she deserves to be yelled at – it doesn’t matter who’s doing the yelling. And if they don’t deserve to be yelled at then they don’t deserve to be yelled at – doesn’t matter who’s doing the yelling. Of course, personally, I prefer to completely ignore anyone below the age of 16 as somebody else’s problem.

  • lksfadljk, yeah in Jordan and the Arab world there’s a degree of social discipline and it seems to work well. the reason it might be different from the western world is that its multi cultural. you don’t know where people are coming from, their culture, their standards, their values. in Jordan it’s more apparent because these are all things people have in common.

  • There is a difference between spanking and hitting. Hitting is usually a venting of parental frustration. Spanking is a tool that shows there are painful consequences for disobedience. I use a wooden spoon on their bottom, by the time I walk to the kitchen and back to the place of offense, I am not angry and won’t punish from anger. I explain what rule was broken and give them a chance to appeal if I didn’t have all the info about who was doign what. I spank, they apologize to me and the offended one, then we talk about what could have been done differently. Then we pray together for God’s help to change.

    I have four kids, and we spank for rebellion, the first time, no warning.
    We have clear family rules that serve the whole family. When they are broken, the whole family is affected. We don’t have to spank often. Withholding allowence and more household chores has more redemptive value for our kids after about 10 years old.

    When there is name calling, they get a spoon of vinegar. When they are rude to one another, they must take over a chore of the offended one. If they break something in anger, they replace it.

    How many kids were taking firearms to school in the 1950s? Granted, there are way more factors involved than spanking, but these kids didn’t learn that life has painful consequences and somehow think their rights supercede the rights of others.

    “Time-outs’ can be a way parents don’t deal with the heart of the wrong behaviour; and withhold the emotionally guidence for a child who knows they blew it.

    The author of “Freakonomics” had an interesting bit on parents who spank. He summed it up to say they have to be honest people to admit such ‘unenlightened’ behaviour, which can make them better overall parents, contrary to ‘conventional wisdom’

  • just to clear up a few things here Nas…if i hit you it was because you were a nuisance, plain and simple. and the reason mom didnâ??t hit you as much was because you acted like an angel around her and then acted out behind her back. You were the devil back then. usually you just got yelled at because i was so afraid you would hurt yourself and then i would get hit…it was a u or me situation.

  • So Fad is really Fadiyya?

    thanks, Eyad. I make a lot of mistakes and ask their forgiveness often myself.

    As I thought about the post, I remembered that the current ‘experts’in child rearing were young when rebelling against all authority was the way to be. It didnt’ matter whether government, parents or God Himself, all authority was questioned. Parents today have a hard time being authority figures.

  • kinzi, fad = fadwa, my older sister who unlike most older sisters does not hesitate to pull out baby pictures of me or tell embarassing stories about me to complete strangers.

    and i agree with you, there is an erosion to that traditional sense of authority figures especially when we look at schools today; a topic that i hope to get into in an upcoming post.

Your Two Piasters: