Thursday, December 30, 2004

My Vote is to Spank the parents

Posted on Thu, Dec. 16, 2004 Sometimes it’s hard to tell who needs a spanking worse, adults or kidsBy WARREN BOLTONAssociate Editor.
WHILE GOOD parenting can overcome peer pressure and get children on the right track, bad parenting can ruin them for life.
Some parents do more to guide their children in the wrong direction than any gang, peer, movie or CD ever could.
And then, there are times when parents trying to do what is right get tripped up by some of our strange laws.
Consider these recent stories from around the country.
Florida parents Cat and Harlan Barnard went on strike, moving out of their house and into a tent set up in their front driveway. Why? Because their 12- and 17-year-olds refused to do their chores. The dishes and dirty laundry would pile up for days and the parents got tired of it.
Cat Barnard, the mother, said she and her husband had tried “reverse psychology, upside-down psychology, spiral psychology.” Smiley-face charts didn’t persuade the kids to do chores. Neither did withholding allowances or a trip to a psychologist. Nothing seemed to motivate the children to be obedient.
What’s the problem here? It seems someone needs a good spanking to get them in line. And maybe the kids need one too.
I can’t even begin to imagine my mom, or any other old-school parents, moving out of their houses because kids won’t behave. Something has gone terribly wrong when the parents lose such control that they can no longer stay in their own homes.
In my mom’s house, there was no begging children to behave or do chores. The only begging would have been on the kid’s part: “Please, momma don’t whip me.” But oftentimes, she didn’t have to go that far. She was strong, consistent and no-nonsense. You simply didn’t challenge her.
What’s happened to today’s children? Nothing, really. Children haven’t gotten out of hand; the parents have.
If the Florida case isn’t wacky enough, what about the recent Washington Supreme Court ruling that undermines parents who would reel in wayward kids? The high court ruled that state law prohibits parents from eavesdropping on a child’s phone conversations.
The case reached the supreme court because of a purse-snatching. A 17-year-old boy was convicted of the robbery, in part on testimony from his girlfriend’s mother. The mom had overheard the boy talking about the crime while on the phone with her daughter.
The daughter was talking on a cordless phone in her bedroom. the door was closed. Her mother, who was in another room, pressed the speakerphone button on an extension. As she listened in, she took notes.
Washington state law prohibits intercepting or recording conversations without the consent of all parties. The court ruled the daughter and boyfriend had a reasonable expectation of privacy on the phone. “The Washington privacy statute puts a high value on the privacy of communications,” Justice Tom Chambers wrote.
The boy will get a new trial, and motherhood got shafted.
My mom’s policy on privacy was pretty simple: Children didn’t have any. She owned the house, the bed, my clothes, the phone. She owned me. There was no such thing as clutching the phone and going into a back room. Five minutes was about as much as she allowed on the phone. She always said if we talked any longer than that, chances were pretty good we had started lying to the person on the other end.
The shameful part of the Washington court’s decision is that it gives children too much rope, rights and room to rebel, as if some parents aren’t far too lenient on their own.
Some parents give teens rooms on the back or upstairs with their own separate access, allowing them to come and go as they please. Parents have no idea sometimes what their kids are watching on television — or who they’re watching it with.
As long as we were under my mom’s roof, we were under her strict control. As I’ve written before, in my mother’s house everything was subject to “search and seizure.”
She knew our every move. We couldn’t lock doors in the house without her asking, “Why is that door locked? Open it.”
The final absurd story comes from the Big Apple. It’s about children’s wear that parents are rushing to buy from a store called Lil’ Ricky’s in the Upper East Side of New York.
Among other things, the store sells infant clothing with dirty phrases printed on it. We’re talking about T-shirts and onesies with “B— Better Have My Bottle” and “Sir Craps-a-Lot” printed on them. The clothing line is produced by San Francisco-based Babygags. What kind of parents would want that kind of filthy language on their baby’s clothing?
Probably the kind of parents who would use just about any language around their children.
We rightfully give children a tough time about being disrespectful, hard-headed and self-indulgent. But if we look closely at how they are reared, we might find that grown-ups play a key role in helping kids become what they become.
Some parents spend little time with their children or fail to give them good guidance. Others work so hard to give their children what they didn’t have — material things — that they fail to give them what they did have — love and discipline.
And a good down-home spanking when they need it.
Reach Mr. Bolton at (803) 771-8631 or wbolton@thestate.com.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN! I agree with everything said in this editorial. I was raised the same way - we only had ONE phone in the entire house, and it was in the kitchen, and had a very short cord...no privacy at all. And guess what?...I survived.
I also raised two respectful children, without having to spank them. (Spanking is for grownups!) Oh, I gave an occasional smack on the hand when they were very little, to prevent touching a hot stove, or something breakable in a store aisle, but for the most part, our kids were sensitive, and wanted to please us. They did well in school (one is on a FULL scholarship to college), were well behaved in church and other public settings, and more importantly, were well behaved at home, when no-one was watching. Whenever they are home, we still get a good night kiss, and an "I love you" before we go to bed at night.
They are by no means perfect - both have made serious mistakes, and paid for those mistakes, either monetarily or by loss of privilege. But the point is, you can raise decent human beings today, by letting them know what is and isn't acceptable behavior, and by making THEM face the consequences when they screw up. Too many parents jump in and try to protect their kids from life - just as too many give in to demands, do their homework and term papers, and pay for everything the kids want - cell phones, cars and gas and insurance and vacations. How are these kids going to make it on their own if everything is done for them?
Parents need to wake up and make their homes adult and marriage centered, instead of child centered. They would be doing their children and the world a huge favor.

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