Any time a lively parenting debate comes up about harsh parenting practices, one excuse resonates: My parents… (fill in the blank), and I turned out fine. This is disheartening. It is our job as parents to question how we were raised and determine what we want to do different with our kids. Blindly following your parents’ lead makes you an ignorant parent.
These words may seem harsh because they were meant to be. I fully believe that parents should support and uplift each other. I also believe that it is important to be honest with yourself as a parent if there’s any hope of not screwing your kids up. Sometimes, it takes strong language to provide a much-needed reality check.
Let’s dive right into the spanking debate. Spanking is a hot-button parenting topic in the wake of recent celebrity child abuse arrests for spanking with a switch and a belt, involving Adrian Peterson and Sons of Guns stars respectively. If you take a moment to peruse any internet comments section (at your own risk), you’ll see a clear division in arguments.
Anti-spanking parents believe that it makes no sense to hit a child to teach him or her not to hit. For the record, I completely agree. Pro-spanking parents often don’t have a good reason to excuse hitting a defenseless child. Pro-spanking parents also can’t provide an explanation for why it is OK to hit a child, when the same behavior is considered assault when exercised against an adult.
Most often, you’ll hear this excuse: I was spanked, and I turned out fine.
My parents joked about the way I looked, and I turned out fine. My parents never praised me, and I turned out fine. My parents left me alone to deal with schoolyard bullies, and I turned out fine. My parents never intervened with my teachers, and I turned out fine.
I’m not saying that all of these scenarios are examples of bad parenting, but they are worth questioning. My parents spanked me when I was a child, and I technically turned out fine. However, I don’t think that spanking was beneficial in any way, shape or form. All of the memories I have of being spanked with a wooden spoon involve fear and stress. Spanking made me cling to perfectionism to avoid punishment, but that’s just me.
The whole point is not to automatically do what your parents did just because you turned out somewhat normal. We are parenting in our own generation. We are shaping a new generation. Neglecting to question your motives when you repeat past behavior is irresponsible parenting.