Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Child Development: The Dreaded Punishment!

Leave It To Beaver
Do you remember how you dreaded punishment when growing up? No matter how us children tried avoiding it we kept getting punished over and over again! It was like we were a magnet for getting punished! There was definitely something wrong with our dinosaur size brains that kept us getting into trouble. I absolutely remembered the last day I was punished, just thinking about it makes my face feel hot and red!

Thank goodness that those days of are far over for me!

One of our most beloved shows of the 50's and 60's was Leave It To Beaver. This family sitcom was centered around  a suburban family and their two children. Unlike some other sitcoms of that time Leave It To Beaver was a series being told from the kids' point-of-view. That is why the show was and it still is a favorite!

Going back to our theme about the ugly dreaded punishment Punishment could mean different things to different children. For some punishment could mean no dessert after super. For others it could mean a spanking on the tush. No matter how big or small the punishment was, at the end it was a lesson that we could never forget.

For instance in the Cleaver family punishment or discipline mostly meant being grounded, spending the rest of the day in the bedroom, and perhaps taken away television or movies privileges. The picture above looked like a scene when the boys was being instructed by their mom June Cleaver. And by their faces they didn't look too happy.

There were times though when the boys told of some sort of corporal punishment. As a matter of fact both Wally and the Beaver would use the phrase "Dad's gonna clobber you!" (meaning to spank, or hit) when assessing the others misdeeds. And even Ward himself mentioned being a victim of his father's belt.

Although the show mentioned of corporal punishment, such punishment was never seen and it was left to the audience discretion and imagination. After all it was Leave It To Beaver, and not "Give it to Beaver."

Several years before this showed aired there was Benjamin Spock who was a famous American Pediatrician that wrote the best seller book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946. I grew up hearing about this Doctor Spock (not to get confused with Mr. Spock from Star Trek) and his new revolutionary ideas about child rearing. I remembered that not many people liked this Doctor.

So I went ahead and researched this fellow to see what he was all about.

Spock according to Wikipedia was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals. Whereas the previous conventional wisdom had been that child rearing should focus on building discipline, and that babies should not be "spoiled" by picking them up when they cried.

When I read this I thought that it was an interesting observation.

Then I came across Doctor Spock's controversy statement. The statement that made many folks dislike him. The statement was found In the seventh edition of the popular book Baby and Child Care (1998), Dr. Spock said: “Spanking teaches children that the larger, stronger person has the power to get his way, whether or not he is in the right. Some spanked children then feel quite justified in beating up on smaller ones. The American tradition of spanking may be one reason that there is much more violence in our country than in any other comparable nation."

Really?

Was that the case with me? How did I feel when I was being punished? Did I turned out to be a bully? We shall see.

Each of my parents used different techniques when it came to corporal punishment.
Sometimes dad would strike me on the hand. And occasionally when I was a real bad girl he would use the belt. His type of punishment was swift and to the point, and left no permanent mark. We sure had a fear of displeasing dad or making him upset. So we tried hard to avoid getting the leather.

Now mom's way of punishment was a whole different ball game. She would do the ear pull, the arm pinch, and the occasional face slap.

Then came the penitence punishment, where she would make sure that we were truly repentant of our sinful conduct so that evilness won't overpower us. That meant pouring on us holy water while praying over us. Sounds frightful and weird I supposed.

Anyhow, a word of caution though. If you ever double crossed my mom that was when things turned pretty ugly! So it was always important to keep certain things to oneself.

A bit of background information about Mom. She was raised in a very religious household and she had attended a Catholic School. Now you can get the picture of where her style of punishment might have come from.

Yes,  punishment was unpleasant and dreadful at times for me. But I sure did learn my lesson well. And as long as the punishment wasn't like a scene taken from the movie Mommy Dearest or from that movie Precious, which could have left both a physical or a physiological permanent mark, we turned out okay at the end.

In this time and age where stress and anxiety is everywhere corporal punishment have unfortunately escalated into physical and verbal abuse. You just have to turn on the T.V. and hear about it in the news and on reality shows.

But then there are those parents that have left their children or teenagers to fend for themselves. Such parents feel that the best way of training their kids is that they learn on their own. So the kids are left in making their own decisions and feeling like all grown up. At the end they feel like they need no help from their parents, teachers, or authority.

That song "You Are Not the Boss of Me", comes to mind.

Both of  the above cases are extreme, unloving, and highly irresponsible.

On a lighter note, as I look back I am grateful that my parents disciplined me. I know that they were not all the time perfect. At the end of the day I avoided getting into trouble later in life. And I have enjoyed a good and wholesome life as an adult.

I never thought in my mind that my parents didn't loved me. On the contrary I knew that I could come to them when I needed protection and support.

I wanted to share with you an excerpt  from The Journal of Lifetime Living that I found very interesting: “The child psychologists, wrangling over scheduled versus demand feeding, spanking versus non-spanking, have found that none of it makes much difference so long as the child is loved.” 

I  totally agreed with that 100%!

Love should always be the major factor behind a discipline.

Nowadays there are countless experts out there that teach different things. One such person that comes to mind is Supernanny. Both my husband and I enjoy watching this show. Jo doesn't believe in corporal punishment. She believes that good discipline and communication between parents and kids is a must And like the Dog Whisperer where the owner and dog gets trained. Supernanny believes that a successful outcome comes when both children as well as the parents get trained. So far I have seen many successes in her child rearing method.

Back in the seventies many criticized Doctor's Spock's book. They said that he was teaching permissiveness and instant gratification to that generation. Isn't it interesting that that description sounds much like this generation?

I have read that later he took some blame for some of things he taught.

To be fair we can't really blame one person for the bad behavior of everyone's children. I think that every parent have the right to set their own rules of discipline or punishment according to what they think it's proper for their own family.

But then time will tell if any of these methods prove to be successful or not.

One thing that we all can agree on is that this generation of children need all the love and care of their parents.

The children are the future!

I am sure that at the end both Wally and Beaver turned out to be fine and responsible adults.

I love this proverb: “A rebuke works deeper in one having understanding than striking a stupid one a hundred times.”

Thank goodness! Now I know that I wasn't stupid, because with one spanking I  sure got the point!


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Research and Picture taken from Wikipedia. Quotations taken from Dr.Spock.Com. Excerpt  taken from The Journal of Lifetime Living. Bible Scripture Proverbs 17:10 taken from The New World Translation.


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