N Y TIMES REPORTS THAT THERE IS A BRUTAL MOVEMENT IN THE US THAT LEGITIMIZES CHILD ABUSE IN THE NAME OF GOD
Author Frank Schaeffer reported that one story involved child abuse as a judge whipping his daughter with a belt on a You Tube clip that went viral. The other involves books by Evangelical leaders on rearing children that advocates spanking and even beatings.
What some people don’t know is that in the Evangelical movement of home schooling, tightly knit church communities and the cult following of many of the big time leaders and authors, physical child abuse and punishment of children has been glorified for years.
Books written by Evangelical authors advocating physical punishment or child abuse include, “To train up a child”, by Michael and Debi Pearl, who are being tied into several deaths of children killed by parents alleged to have used the Pearls “methods”, in preaching the value of spanking. In 1977 James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family, wrote a book called Dare to Discipline, whose alleged purpose was to get parents to beat their children. Beating was the way God allegedly wanted mothers and fathers to discipline children. Keeping women down is also a Dobson theme along with child beatings.
Going back to the judge, it was no coincidence that the judge was mercilessly beating a young girl. Women must submit to men according to Evangelicals. Nothing is worse than a rebellious woman. There are other books written by Evangelical authors advocating spankings and beatings,
Some of the ways spankings have been advocated and administered by the Evangelical authors and their followers involve the use of belts, paddles and switches from tree branches or something similar. Some have advocated spanking until a child collapses in tears into a parents arms. In one book it was recommended switching a 7 month old on the bare bottom or leg 7 to 8 times for getting angry and if the baby is still angry do it again until he gives into the pain. The switch for an under 1 year old they recommend is from a willow tree or a 12 inch ruler. I am sure that not all Evangelicals favor physical punishment as advocated in the above books.
But what is spanking? The dictionary definition — to strike especially on the buttocks with the open hand — leaves a lot to be desired. How hard? How many times? Is it a joking swat to the bottom or a euphemism for a belt to bare flesh? Researchers have specified further that spanking is done with intent to discipline and that it does not leave a mark or bruise. But this still leaves a lot of questions unanswered in regard to child abuse.
Regardless of the exact definition, more than 100 studies agree on this point: Spanking is not only ineffective, it has negative outcomes. “Parents have no way of seeing the damage done,” explains Straus on a recent video. “Because it doesn’t show up for months — or years — later.” The official statement on spanking from the American Academy of Pediatrics puts it like this: “The more children are spanked, the more anger they report as adults, the more likely they are to spank their own children, the more likely they are to approve of hitting a spouse, and the more marital conflict they experience as adults. Spanking has been associated with higher rates of physical aggression, more substance abuse, and increased risk of crime and violence when used with older children and adolescents.”
“The line between discipline and abuse is a gray area, and it’s also sort of fluid because a parent might begin with using what they consider appropriate or reasonable discipline. But in the course of seconds, it can easily escalate based on a child’s reaction or a parent’s rage,” he said. “It’s easy to inadvertently cross the line, wherever it is.”
Hurting your child or any form of child abuse can also harm the parent-child relationship by infusing it with pain and negative emotions, he said. Children who are spanked are also more likely to be more aggressive toward others because they don’t know any other way to behave. When physical force is combined with derogatory or emotionally abusive comments, the damage can be even greater.
Now I am not advocating that spankings be eliminated totally. The Bible does say, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I do believe the punishment should fit the crime or misbehavior. If you feel a spanking is warranted I would suggest showing a greater amount of love towards the child after the punishment has been administered. I would also suggest that the punishment be applied when you are not angry and that it not draw blood or leave bruises.
Beatings of women and children does seem unusually cruel in my mind. I am sure that some of you readers have strong views on the above and would love to hear from you.