My Musing Space: January 2007

My Musing Space

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Encouraging child abuse in North-America

By chance I became aware of this book: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. This book impresses upon parents that if they are God-fearing parents, they MUST discipline their children by heavy handed spanking and/or whipping. And they have to start disciplining the day they come home from the hospital, for such offences as "struggling against a diaper change or stiffening out his body when you want him to sit on your lap" - p. 154. A bit of search led me to the Stop the Rod website, where then I found the above quote, along with tons more, and with quotes from other books that apparently enjoy great success in religious circles.

I agree with one of the reviewers of this book on Amazon where (s)he says that the remark "spare the rod and spoil the child" is in the Old Testament, and those who are true followers of the new Testament and Jesus should realize that Jesus's way is through Love not physical punishment.

How can it be that Jews, who only follow the Old Testament, left the use of corporal punishment behind long time ago? Why is it that Christians in the 21st century turn their backs to Jesus's teachings and dust off some old and outdated idea, turning loving parents into worse abusers of power than prison guards, who by law are only allowed to use physical force when the prisoners' behaviour goes beyond minor offences.

But let us think this through rationally, from the secular point of view. Yes, I am aware of the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada decided to uphold the spanking law, and I actually agree that it was right to do so. Parents sometimes, out of sheer frustration, may administer a quick whack, specially in face of a dangerous situation when there is no time for lengthy explanations. I myself made my son stand still once by using a quick tug and a slap on the bum, to stop him from dashing boldly around at Niagara Falls. If the law stood in full force, a parent theoretically could be jailed for just a slap. But they made the necessary changes to the law, which now states that "corporal punishment should be legally acceptable and must involve only 'minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature.'"

Now let us return to the analysis of these books. Laying the child coldly across your knees and "whipping a 3 year old until he is 'totally broken'" ("To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl, p. 44), and "continue whipping until their crying turns into a 'wounded, submissive whimper.'"(p.46) is definitely not of a "transitory and trifling nature". Therefor, in my opinion, these books do not belong on the shelves or webpages of Canadian book sellers.

Having become aware of this seemingly growing trend, I decided to not let it go without some action from my part. I will first try to impress on Canadian companies, at least those I am aware of, not to carry these books, and I will call the attention of Canadian authorities to the dangers of a possible increase in child abuse as a result of these books. If you care, please, join me in this effort and do the same!


PS Study: Spanking kids leads to long-term bad behavior. Not to speak of possible aberrant behaviour later in life. Doesn't this illustration make you wonder? (From the website Smart Spanking.)