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The Rod Of God


jon_m
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I had a testimony published on the sister site some months ago, and have lurked on here since, reading many inteteresting discussions which I could identify with as someone who was brought up as a christian, but abandoned the faith in my twenties.

 

One of the reasons (but not the only reason) I questioned my faith was the huge control my mother exercised over me and my sisters. She literally used fear to make sure that we did what she said, and what in her mind god intended. I still felt that control after I had left home.

 

She had two main tools - at the time I didn't see it this way, but reflecting now she used these tools to ensure compliance.

 

The first was the traditional heaven and hell scenario - behave well, be a good christian, and you go to heaven, misbehave, don't repent your sins, don't follow the scriptures and you will go to hell. This was the simple choice she preached. She still believes it. We were constantly reminded of it as children, and as young adults. I believed it - for a long time.

 

The second tool was more immediate - to be punished. My mother believed in 'Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child'. I regularly received the 'rod', which was actually a wooden ruler, then later a cane. I don't actually believe she meant to be cruel and honestly think that in her mind it was the right thing to do, because she had been sucked in by the church, and by books she had read on christian childcare. The fact is that it was cruel - it was humiliating, and it was painful. It wasn't the little tap on the backside that could be justified as needed for discipline, it was several strokes administered bending over, and often bare bottomed.

 

Corporal Punishment was common in the UK then. It was still used in schools then, and it is only recently that laws have been passed to limit the use of it in the home. It is not acceptable in the way it was, thankfully. It saddens me to see that Christians the world over still believe they have the god given right to treat their children this way, that beating them is acceptable because the bible says so. It saddens me that books are written and churches advocate this kind of treatment. Sadly some will believe it. Others might be sadistic and just looking for a reason to justify what they are doing - and this is probably as good a reason as any. However you look at it it is a tool used by the church to control youngsters, and if the research is correct an incredibly destructive one. The only good it did me was as another part of the puzzle taht led me to rejecting the church.

 

Jon

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My parents spanked me, and I actually preferred that far more than their other punishments. Man, spanking is over in minutes. Being grounded though? Horrible! My brother and I knew exactly how much disobedience we could buy with a few swats, and I didn't mind that much. I would always choose brief physical pain over my autonomy being intruded upon. My parents would ground me from reading (except the bible), since they couldn't just send me to my room... I would just entertain myself with books. Oh, the boredom! I don't plan to have kids myself so I never have to think about what I would do as a parent, but if my parents had asked me what of two punishments I would prefer, spankings would always have been first choice. Maybe that's what parents should do... give the kid option A and option B and let the kid choose. Haha.

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As Prysm indicates corporal punishment doesn't really work because for it to serve as a real disincentive it has to border on abuse. Prysm didn't like those other punishments perhaps because they were more effective. In my experience loss of privleges and grounding were far more effective. Even with young kids spanking may shut 'em up, but time outs, if properly administered, teach more. Another problem with corporal punishment is that it teaches might makes right. Such kids can run into problems when they try to apply that attitude as older youths and/or adults. Corporal punishment is violence and Isaac Asimov made a very astute observation about violence in his Foundation Trilogy, "Violence is the last resort of the incompetent." That quote could also include lazy. It's easy to reach for a ruler or a cane and spank your kid, but is that how adults resolve issues with other adults? If you don't want your kids to grow up violent then teach them other more creative, more involved and effective ways of dealing with problems.

 

So Jason if you're having discussions with parents who believe in corporal punishment you might ask them how they think adults should resolve disputes with other adults. If their response doesn't include violence then maybe they should start by showing their own kids how adults resolve issues in a more mature way.

 

Steve

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Here's an excellent book on this very subject:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Spare-Child-Religiou...l/dp/0679733388

 

SPARE THE CHILD: THE RELIGIOUS ROOTS OF PUNISHMENT AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF PHYSICAL ABUSE

 

It's worth the read....

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We didn't have timeouts or grounding at home, at least not by the time my mother had been thoroughly sucked in by the church - as a small child we did have cornertime, but by the time I was seven or eight it was corporal punishment, becuase thats what the bible said. If the bible said 'spare the grounding and spoil the child' we would undoubtedly have been grounded.

 

We also were not just punished for what most mainstream folks would regard as bad behaviour - we were punished for not doing what the bible said - punished for not living the 'christian' way my mother desperately thought we should. When I decided I wasn't going to learn the bible passage I had been set as a teenager I was caned for it.

 

I don't think Corporal Punishment is the right way to discipline children, but I think the use of it to enforce compliance with religious beliefs is particularly destructive.

 

I have two sisters - one is still a devout christian. If you ask her we should be greatful to my mother for our upbringing. My younger sister thinks the opposite, and does not give my mother the benefit that I give her in thinking that she was mis-guided and that religion caused her to be the way she is - she thinks my mother was simply abusive.

 

Jon

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:scratch: I was raised by the Corporal as was every other kid in the neighborhood. It never occurred to me to consider myself abused. I've never been jailed for assault or anything else, I gave my kids a total of 3 spankings as described by Dobson and never had cause to give another. My grandson, much like me, on the other hand doesn't think you mean a directive until he gets a swat. He will pull your beard or pester the dog until you give him a tap on the head or the back side. Yelling, removal of privileges, timeouts, negotiations, and all the PC ways of child rearing have little effect. One cuff and heartache for you and for him is over. Sans spankings, the little bugger would have been run over or electrocuted long since.

 

 

 

I say it depends on the kid.

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:scratch: I was raised by the Corporal as was every ot.her kid in the neighborhood. It never occurred to me to consider myself abused. I've never been jailed for assault or anything else, I gave my kids a total of 3 spankings as described by Dobson and never had cause to give another. My grandson, much like me, on the other hand doesn't think you mean a directive until he gets a swat. He will pull your beard or pester the dog until you give him a tap on the head or the back side. Yelling, removal of privileges, timeouts, negotiations, and all the PC ways of child rearing have little effect. One cuff and heartache for you and for him is over. Sans spankings, the little bugger would have been run over or electrocuted long since.

 

 

 

I say it depends on the kid.

 

I think there's a difference between using it sparingly, and using it all the time. Especially caning as opposed to a swat on a clothed backside. Repeated caning = abuse in my book. There are other ways to deal with kids than hitting them. Plus, hitting them only teaches them that it is okay to hit other people...and it's not, that's a crime called assault.

 

I find it extremely sad you cannot find another way to deal with your grandson.

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