DISCIPLINING CHILDREN

EFFICIENTLY AND WITHOUT BRUTALITY

The Bible says... I will probably loose many potential readers right here only because I refer to the Bible. This is a sad commentary on our respect for history. However, since I believe it is filled with common sense and wisdom I will chance losing your attention and refer to it anyway.

The Bible refers to the necessity of beating a child.  Beating is a strong and violent term. It says this will drive foolishness from a child. It says that hitting them with a rod will not kill them. For these statements to be a part of the wisdom of the Bible there must be cases where extreme and sever discipline has to be carried out for the good of all concerned. The urgent need for the extreme discipline of some children must be according to the nature of things, even at times to the point of demanding severity.

Severe, yet not mentally nor physically injurious.

The use of a rod keeps a child from being injured. When a child is hit with a hand it can break bones cause hearing loss, etc. There is seldom, if ever, any harm done when they are spanked on the bottom.

It used to be common for a parent to switch a child with a small limb or shoot. This would often leave some red marks and welts that might last all day. There might even be a few scratches and marks that could be seen on the arms and legs the next day. Very few people thought anything about this.

However, if a child was cut and had any sign of bleeding there was concern. Black eyes and bruised faces were a no, no. This could bring the law or another parent down on that one who had done such a terrible thing. If it happened to an adult child for good reason it might be overlooked. If it was a young child that parent might be taken out and beaten behind a barn by the people of that community. From that point on that parent would be watched. If it happened again the parent might disappear or end up in prison. This is a historical situation.

Many parents made it a practice to spank or switch until the child quit screaming. They would tell them to be quiet and would continue hitting them until the child obeyed them.

Now please understand that this article is not about how we must abuse children. Severity and extreme measures relative to discipline are not to be confused with abuse. (Unfortunately, correct and efficient methods have been demonized and replaced with ineffective mind games.)

Again , I was told by my mother that if I kept screaming she would keep spanking me. I told my children the same thing. She got my attention and I learned to quickly shut my mouth and cry quietly. My mother took care of other children. I remember her spanking one girl and I was telling her that mom would quit if she would quit screaming. The girl quit screaming and so mom quit spanking her.

Are you aware that numbers of people have died because they could not keep their children quiet.

Many times a crying child has revealed a hiding place to an enemy. There have been many accounts where soldiers or rapists have came into a house, cave, or some other hiding place and listened carefully for a sob or a whimper, even heavy breathing - let alone for a crying child. If that child or person was well disciplined they had a chance of saving themselves much pain or even death. I am speaking of reality. These unfortunate things have happened many times. Some mothers have even been known to have smothered their child or an infant while trying to keep them quiet.

So, what is more brutal, my mothers discipline, or the lack of discipline that has ended in the loss of the lives of numbers of family members, especially during war time? In this one example, what some consider brutal discipline could well save the lives of many people.

Numbers of children have died because their parents did not have their respect, or they were unable to control their child during inopportune situations.

Pain is a natural part of life. It cannot always be avoided. I have been stung by bees, yellow jackets, and wasps and have had slivers accidentally run up under my finger nails. I would much rather had several spankings from my mother then to have suffered the pain of even one sting from a wasp. We need to get these things in perspective. I have had many bruises, cuts and burns, even broken bones. Yes, my mothers switch left some welts, yet because of her discipline I am able to handle life's bumps and bruises much better.

When ever I screamed as she spanked me I was insulting her.

My screams were telling who ever would listen that she was killing me. Now when I suffer I do not make such a big fuss out of it. Some people cry over the least little bit of discomfort. They have a very low tolerance to pain. My mother could have helped them. J

Here is a true story of an enlightened modern day mother.

She was very much against spanking. She prided herself in her ability to discipline them without ever having to spank them. Yes, she did have a lot of control over her children. But as good as she was - she could not get their immediate attention or expect to get an instant response. One day she was watching her children playing with a ball in her front yard. She saw it thrown over her child's head and watched it roll between two parked cars out into the street. Her child ran after it and she saw a car coming and though she called to him she realized that she did not have enough control to stop him from getting hit. She screamed but could only hope that he did not get killed, for she knew she could not get him to stop. Why? She had never arrived at that, now needed, immediate response, with any of her methods. She became a convert to spanking while her child was rushed to the hospital.

I used to walk my children across town to their grandmothers house. I noticed how they liked to run ahead and jump off of the curb into the street at the intersection. Oh yes, I had taught them different, but they were still childish and would often forget. Fortunately I was able to get them to stop nearly on a dime by calling to them to stop. I used to have them do things that was probably rather annoying to them, just to see if they would mind me quickly. Sometimes they would just give me a rye smile and say "ooh daddy." However, their immediate response or their compliance to do something peculiar for me, gave me a sense of security. I was responsible for their safety and knew it. I was able to have all three of them setting beside me in the front row of church without any commotion. I have had this same success with other children only to have them go to their parents at the end of a class and start acting up soon after they went to them.

In order to get this control of a two year old I had to take them out and give them a spat on their bottom a few times. Oh yes they would cry and throw a temper tantrum, but uncle Vern was not impressed and they soon noticed this. Usually two times - not over three - and they found that it was much more peaceful and comfortable to set quietly and to play with my keys. (Not even a red mark.) Then when they got bored they would just flop down and go to sleep until bible study was over. When the Amen was said they were wide awake. Unfortunately, when mom and dad arrived they went to them and began walking up and down the pew and giving them a bad time. Do you get the picture? Again - Take note that they did not even have a very red bottom, ever. Just a little extra pink.  J

The Bible gives us principles that work and they are not any kin to child abuse. However, the refusal to adopt them for use in our own family eventually produces a lot of heart ache, and even child abuse as time goes on. This can be seen in our huge prison population.

Your friend Vern Manson

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