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Domestic CP - February 2008

Corpun file 20026


The Times-Journal, Fort Payne, Alabama, 5 February 2008

Sparing the rod doesn't seem to work

By Greg Purvis
The Times-Journal

I always know when an infant has been brought into the Times-Journal offices. All normal conversation stops and there is a simultaneous "Ahhhhhh," from people, jostling their coworkers as they crowd around the little darling. Suckers.

I can't recall who said it, but I've read somewhere that God makes little babies cute so we won't forget to feed them and we'll make sure the dogs don't carry them off. Please don't misunderstand. I am not immune to cute just because I'm a man. Who among us could stand up to the juggernaut of preciousness evidenced in oversized heads, constant slobbering, and little sausage-like fingers and toes?

But cute babies grow up to be smart-alecky pre-teens who don't mind sharing their absolute conviction that they are smarter and cooler than mom and dad will ever be. They have it all figured out, and any attempt to save them from a little pain by sharing our own experiences will likely be met with a wall of icy disdain.

Of course, all of this is payback for the anguish we caused our own parents. And the only joy you can take is in knowing our grandchildren will one day serve up this same attitude to our children. Welcome to the wonderful world of intergenerational karma.

But society should step up to the plate and share some of the blame. For the last 20 years, nearly every sit-com on TV has featured teens giving parents plenty of smart-mouthed one-liners. Our children learned to interact with us largely from the idiot box we sat them in front of for hours every day.

Add to this the sudden widespread belief corporal punishment is one step removed from child abuse and suddenly the patients are running the loony bin.

A friend told me recently his 12-year old son had threatened to call child protective services when my friend quite naturally attempted to discipline him after he used a four-letter word.

I tried that same move on my father, once upon a time. He told me to go ahead and call whomever I liked.

Perhaps I am a cynic, but I believe sparing the rod has definitely spoiled the child. Though I am not advocating excessive discipline, I do think a little more corporal needs to be mixed into the punishment. Disagree? Take a walk through your friendly neighborhood megamart. You'll find plenty of cases that may change your mind.

Copyright 2008 The Times-Journal

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