Belts, Cords or Switches: Let’s Stop Hitting Our Kids

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  • The controversial video of an African American father whipping his two teenaged daughters has gone viral and is sparking lots of conversation, which is always a good thing.  (See video below)

    I just hope some of the conversation brings about change and not just more of the same.  At some point we have to realize that everything our parents and grandparents did wasn’t right, and perhaps there are options to physical discipline.

    In defense of hitting our children we are quick to paraphrase Proverbs 13:24.

    Now before you demand that I turn in my “black” card, hear me out. I’m in no way advocating that children be able to get away with bad behavior. The Bible says spare the rod and spare the child. The verse from Proverbs goes on to say, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

    So let me repeat: I’m in no way advocating that children be able to get away with bad behavior. In fact, I’m advocating the opposite.

    Like most of you, I have a low tolerance for children throwing tantrums in Wal-Mart and teens rolling their eyes at their mamas.  If you knew me and my two sons, I think you would at least give me the benefit of the doubt on this one. My kids aren’t perfect but they are smart, talented, and well-behaved when they’re with me and when they aren’t.  I have never hit either of them with a belt or my hand—just a pop on the legs or hands when they were babies.When they got old enough to understand what I expected of them, there was no need for hitting. I do reserve the right to retract this statement should they lose their minds when they enter their teen years.

    But that’s not where I came from, necessarily.  My mom gave out her share of whippings or “whoopings,” depending on where you’re from and it went on until I was a young teen. If the laws in place today about corporal punishment were around when my sister and I were growing up, my mom even admits she might have been arrested.  I more than my sister, who is a year older, got “taken to task,” usually for showing my mother disrespect.

    I don’t blame her for doing what she needed to do to swiftly get my attention and to send the message of what she would and wouldn’t tolerate. That was one way to do it, but it wasn’t the only way.

    My dad never laid a hand on us and with his words was able to get the same messages across to us. It may have been the combination of the two styles of discipline that led to us turning out pretty well.  Who knows?  There’s no perfect formula for parenting…a lot of it is, pardon the pun, hit or miss.

    But here are my problems with the video:

    1.    It’s on video
    2.    A father hitting a daughter could send the message that it’s okay for women to get hit by men.
    3.    It reinforces the idea that violence is the only way to discipline our children.

    Trying another way is not an affront to our culture.  It just might be a way to curb the cycle of violence that we can’t deny.  Again, if disciplining with a belt, a ruler or a switch is your method, that is your right, within reason.  But it should never be out of anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or intended to embarrass or humiliate a child or teen.

    The most effective disciplining starts when children are babies and if it’s done correctly and consistently, I promise you children can respond in a positive way without being hit.

    But this method is not for the weak or the impatient. It takes a lot of work. My dad told me when I first became a mother that no matter what, you have to say what you mean and mean what you say – whether it’s good or bad.  It takes being persistent in incorporating follow-through.  To make it work, you have to be a real adult, sober, diligent and able to teach by example.  If you start when they’re old enough and bold enough to post videos of themselves simulating sex, I think it’s too late for talking… or beating for that matter.

    But that’s just me.  What do you think?

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    43 thoughts on “Belts, Cords or Switches: Let’s Stop Hitting Our Kids

    1. Stop making it ok for the mother to whup on their son if a father can’t whup on their daughter. This is nothing! 5-6 stripes???Oh please…be blessed. I had worse and never went to jail or talked back to any grown up. If my wife call the police on me for whupping my daughter or son like that cuz they did something horrific…she better relocate.

    2. I hate when this site automatically refresh…

      Now when I first came to this story and saw the still image of the video, where the father’s legs were spread, I was like “Oh lawd” lol I wish I could’ve heard clearly what he was saying, but I was holding my breath until he finally stopped.

      The only thing I have to say about the video is that, since those children are girls, it should be mama spanking them or a woman and vice verse for fathers to boys. Men licks are a lot harder & forceful and especially for young girls. I don’t know whose raising them, but whatever the girls did or didn’t do, after that walloping demonstration they’ll know the next time for sure to be obedient! Just my 2 cents…

      To respond to the initial title–No. Some children need their butts whipped. I have three grown children now who I raised by myself. As an adult to child[ren], if you have to say/explain goodwill more than twice or for the benefit of doubt depending on situations, it’s time to bring out the `ole skool switch or that `ole skool razor scrap.

      My oldest is now 27 and he got the most spankings because he was the only child for three years. I had to set the tone for my future two children and they learned quickly that mama meant business! They knew after that first whippin’ they got, when I gave that look, whatever they were doing or asking (especially after I’ve already explained whatever…), they clearly knew better. It was sort of unfortunate that my oldest son had to be the example, but he was a model because he took some of the spankings for his siblings out of love. Nonetheless, all my children thank me today for my discipline and ‘stares’. They laugh today and say, as pretty as I am/was then; I still had the look of ‘6’ft under’. lol They are all respectful and college degreed and doing all right.

      I am in no way bragging, but I am an honored single mother. I know my prayers helped a lot!!! Parents pray with your children.

      • Reading your post makes me more proud than ever that as a single mother, raising four children, that I had children who responded to humane and non violent discipline. My children are all grown now. But even now people often compliment my children on the way they treat others, especially elders. I have grandchildren who have never experienced violent behavior from their parents. And they too, especially my grandsons are always being complimented on their respectable behavior towards others. I was whipped as a child and to this day, I find nothing laughable about it. My children are not now and never were perfect, but they also never did anything that warranted being treated in a way that would send you to jail if you were to get caught treating an animal in the same way. I can’t imagine any child deserving that. Not even yours.

    3. I have 6 kids all different personalities my older daughter got spankings all the time my youngest daughter all you have to say is spanking and she straighten up, my sons, my oldest every now and then a spanking, but my second youngest son that’s his thing he won’t stop acting out until you act out so he get more spankings than his brother, all kids are different some kids you can talk to some won’t listen until you put a lil heat on that butt.

    4. All good comments and idiotic ones aside, please review this video and you will see that this was much ado about nothing. The first girl, barely got any of the licks on her and continued to cry after the few seconds of whips. The second girl went into a corner and proceded to kick off the whips and do nothing but yell bloody murder! The tape is all yelling and a father who is upset and just throwing licks everywhere. Everytime I watch these scared straight prison shows, it doesn’t appear that they are there to ‘play’ with these kids. Try to remember, the devil has rules in hell…if we fail to use some form of discipline with our children, the world is waiting and ready to do so..I have a friend who rarely ever used the belt on her child and the horrible irony is now the girl is intensely drawn to men who beat her – the more degradation, the mistake for love and yet she was loved – just given too much leeway as a child and teenager.

    5. “True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.”—Hebrews 12:7-11.

      To connect the physical discipline of daughters to the abuse of women is stretching it! Putting a child in timeout does not work on ALL CHILDREN. Apply bible council and you won’t go wrong. To questioning it is irresponsible. How many children in Chicago do you think are discipline? Why not address why a child is imitating Strippers? You seem to ignore that fact. We have lost a generation of Black Daughters to this practice and imitating of glorified prostitutes.

      • Best comment here!

        Those girls are 12 and 14. The article I read said the girls told the police they were whooped for sneaking out of the house the night before. Their mother is who reported their father to the police. She now has to deal with two teenage fast-tailed girls without their father. I wonder if she will be complaining to him in jail when she can’t control them or if they become pregnant. Is it safe to say that those so against the whooping these girls received would be the first in line to watch their twerking videos? Or the ones sticking money into their thongs while they grind and perform tricks on a pole? I’m sure you definitely won’t be asking where their parents are after realizing the age of these fast-tails. There seems to be so much concern with how humiliated the girls must be after that whooping, but not about how disrespected they are by the boys they snuck out to see. Obviously, the boys care more about their well being than their father.

        My siblings and I were whooped as kids. I don’t think my parents did the best job when it came to discipline as many times I didn’t understand why my behavior was wrong or dangerous. It wasn’t explained to me. This is where we take what we’ve learned from our experiences and change them with the times. I do remember rethinking certain decisions, the sting of the belt still clear in my memory. It created my conscience. The difference between what my parents did with me and what I did with my kids is communication. I made sure that my kids understood what specifically they were being punished for and why it was wrong or dangerous. It also was not the only form of discipline I used. Today I sit back and watch 3 and 4 year olds pitching fits in the grocery stores, screaming at the top of their lungs to get their way or telling their parent to leave them alone or shut up. Whooping your child may not be right to some people, but my kids would NEVER speak to me this way. They knew there was a consequence for their disrespectful actions. Clearly, I did something right.

        I say whoop a conscience into your offspring WITH LOVE before ‘the man’ beats your offspring WITH HATRED for the lack of a conscience.

        • If you don’t get it by now, it’s probably too late. But if animals can be trained to do anything you tell them to do without obedience being beaten into them, then so can children. You just have to be willing to put in the work it takes to learn how to deal with them without resorting to violence. But then, trying to get that point across to individuals such as yourself would be like trying to convince my grandmother that smoking was bad for her health. She died of lung cancer.

    6. I also have a problem with men beating their teenaged daughters as happened with Creflo Dollar. Fathers are supposed to be the models for how men should treat them. When fathers are beating their daughters,they are teaching them that they should expect the men who are supposed to love them and protect them to beat them as well.

    7. If you only use the belt then yes you are right Judy, but if you use the belt along with the other tools as parent you can use such as talking to your child, punishment, extra duties around the house etc, the belt is a great tool… You can’t use it if you are mad at what the child done, only when you are calm and you are using it to correct a behavior issue to to vent your anger at the child… That is how I raised 5 kids and none are in jail and all are productive citizens…

    8. I think the belt has its place as part of the tools a parent use to raise their child. Granted they should not just use the belt, there should be talking, punishment, extra duties, etc that can be used, but the belt should not be ruled out… And the belt should not be used for every little thing either, also it shouldn’t be used if you are angery, only when you are firmly in control… I raised 5 kids and none are in jail all are productive…

    9. Ok, I watched the video, that was not a spanking by any measure, that was a brutal beating and should not be tolerated. Those kids are going to come back at him with a gun…and where’s the love? Discipline is supposed to be balanced, does this dad ever show them love? I feel so bad for these kids.

    10. All my kids were spanked and one has just finished getting her masters, has a great job, husband and baby. The other has two kids, great husband and a fantastic job, with a degree. Never been in jail, never arrested, don’t smoke nor drink. Raise your kids the way you wish but you sure aren’t going to tell me, or my children how to raise their kids. The End.

    11. Legal Child Abuse in U.S. Schools in 2013! Corporal pain punishment of children K-12 by educators hitting them with implements such as wooden or fiberglass paddles in schools with approximately 20,000 of the over 223,000 schoolchildren hit in schools each year seeking emergency medical treatment due to school “discipline” injuries, remains legal in 19 U.S. states and is used frequently in 13: Missouri, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida, according to data received from the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education and cited in a 2008 report “A Violent Education” by Human Rights Watch and ACLU. April is “National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month” as well as “National Autism Awareness Month” yet proposed Federal Bill H.R. 3027 “The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act” Cost $0, has not been reintroduced, leaving the decision to use corporal punishment, an unacceptable violation of children’s rights, up to individual states who leave the decision to local school boards to ban or reinstate at will, yet Federal Law prohibits corporal punishment in all U.S. prisons. Corporal punishment of children in schools in discriminatorily applied to boys, disabled, low-income and minority students. Federal and state lawmakers will continue to Fail to protect children from legal child abuse until the public demands they abolish corporal punishment of children in schools. dont hit students dot com Check out parenting resources at spare the kids dot com and dont beat black kids dot com

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    13. by commentator Emerald from clutch
      There are several major problems here, but one that really strikes me is that the issues behind the girls’ behavior is never addressed. You don’t solve a problem by suppressing it or beating it out of someone. You solve a problem by…well…solving it. The emotional and psychological needs of our young girls are too often overlooked. Promoting fear, humiliation and violence isn’t going to improve anything. I understand the father was upset, but you don’t teach your daughter to be a respectable woman by being the first man to beat her.

    14. I agree that a parent must parent above all else. Beating out of anger and into submission is not parenting. Many discipline in this manner not because of the bible, but rather a pathology inherited from slavery.

      I believe in spanking a small child to teach against danger, respect for authority, and to guide. You are right in suggesting that by the time they are into their teens they should have been trained, guided and loved enough to know what is expected of them.

    15. This was wrong this was a spanking this was a beating, he should be locked up and have his kids takin aay, a hand spanking on the butt is good but this guy went overboard for twerking, sounds like he was mad at something else he came close to hitting them in the face, he isnt parent he a B**tch.

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    18. BS lady, my mama whipped my butt, I saw a woman beat her son’s butt and still see it today. What message does that send, that it’s okay for women to beat on men? Stop with crap you’re the reason these kids are out of control now.

    19. Imma keep it shot and simple. WHOOP YOUR KIDS @$$. Kids today don’t fear punishment. A Belt is fine. I wouldn’t use a cord or switch.

    20. Probverbs 13:24 spare the rod, spoil the child. When we let Dr Spock tell us not the spank our kids, all the disrepect came in, I feared by parents, not in a scary way, but respect. This is rare in today’s kids, they don’t respect adults or authority, so rather you dicipline them or the police will! This does not mean abuse. But I was spanked and glad for it! I never went to jail, thank you mother and father!

      • Do you obey all of the bible’s verses or just the ones that justify why you think hitting a child is a good idea? What would you say to someone who told you that you should be obeying Ephesians 6:5 thru 9? I never trust people who resort to quoting the bible when trying to prove a point. I am not and never will be glad for being hit. It didn’t garner respect or love for anyone that hit me. Be it a teacher, parent or other children. Now if you want to tell me that you obey your master with respect, fear and sincerity of heart as you obey Christ, then I might just might believe that you think raising a child in fear and violence is the way to raise them.

    21. Nikki, you are absolutely right. Someone posted “children who received spankings in the past turned out a lot better than children of today who don’t receive them.” I think the breakdown of the family structure speaks more to what’s happening to kids today rather than the lack of spankings.

      I am a child of the past (60 yrs old this May) and never got a spanking. I got plenty of love though. And yes, if I so much as rolled my eyes or said “dog” in the place of “damn”, I didn’t get hit, but I got a look that let me know to stop it immediately. As I got older, I was punished for my “crimes,” I was not beat. No phone, no TV, no allowance, no going out with friends to the skating rink or to the movies. It all depended on what I did.

      I am grateful for the parents I had and how they raised me, and that is how I raised my son. My son is a respected law enforcement officer, a decent and kind human being. I thank God drugs or gangs was not a part of our lives.

      Tough love to me does not mean get the tree branch or ironing cord. Nor does it mean grabbing a belt or a smack across the face with the hand.

      And Nikki, I would take it one step further. I cringe when I hear comedians joke about hurting their kids. Everybody should ask themselves, ‘do I want that done to me.”

      We’ve got to stop being so violent. Maybe then we can eradicate some of the violence we force on each other with guns and knives and bring more harmony into our homes.

    22. This op-ed clearly misses the point…it doesn’t even mention WHY the dad was disciplining his daughters…

      The girls were posting soft core porn videos of themselves on Facebook…

      Now, I would not whip a child for some minor infraction, but when your daughter decides to become a porn star in public, that is major…any teen aged girl that makes porn and puts it on Facebook NEEDS a good whipping…

      So, when you say that all corporal punishment is unnecessary, you are just being naïve…corporal punishment is the only way that a parent has to stop their children from doing some things that they ought not do…because I’m sure that the girls got approval from all the boys that they were trying to impress…and the boys approval was more important to the girls than their father’s disapproval…UNTIL dad put some leather on their butts…

      • If you really think that using a violence as a tool for discipline is the only way to keep children from doing things they shouldn’t be doing, then I pray to God you don’t have any children. You can’t go around whacking on children when they do things they shouldn’t, because they are ALWAYS doing something they shouldn’t be doing. That’s what children do. Hell so do most grown ups. Tell me. When they get used to being smacked around what are you going to do to control them?

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    24. I have raised four children. And I cannot imagine using humiliation, shame and pain as a way to show my love for them. I’ve seen people train dogs to do anything they tell them to – on demand without ever laying a hand on them. Yet grown men and women can’t discipline humans without resorting to violence? I don’t believe it. Raising children in a household without violence takes patience, work and belief that your children are worth the extra effort. You are absolutely correct. This is a cruel world. As evidenced by the thousands of cases of abuse suffered by hard headed children at the hands of the very people who should know better, because a good beating is easier to administer than working to find humane solutions to the problems of hard headed kids.

    25. Ms Woods,
      This is the EXACT message I have been putting forth for a number of years. As an Black man, this has not been well received, but the lack of receptiveness of a message does not invalidate the message.

    26. I personally think that there are things we don’t know regarding the video: We don’t know how many other options this man has exercised in trying to get the best behavior out of his girls. We don’t know what their behaviors have been toward him. It’s funny how as a society we are in constant complaint that the father is not in the home and not taking on a role in the life of the children. Then, when he is in the home, his actions are all wrong. Society will also say, when children are acting out, that the parent failed in some way.
      A parent has to establish by whatever means necessary that they have rule, giving children no room for disrespect without thinking about all of the ramifications that come with that disrespect.
      While there are children who respond well to “talk” discipline, there are others who don’t. I suspect that most parents know what kind of discipline is most appropriate for their child. We might disagree with it but are we going to raise that child? No.
      The next in line for a “whipping” should have been the person holding the camera and posting it to FB!

      • It couldn’t possibly be that the reason the child is acting out is because she/he knows it isn’t safe at home? That the person who they should most trust in the world views them as animal worthy of being beaten? I’ve both grown up and seen other friends grow up with parents like these. It wasn’t love we felt at home, it was hatred and that hatred influenced how we saw the world and ourselves. Black parents beat their children the most, and yet our kids consistently have the most discipline problems and will continue to,with fathers and mothers like the one in this video.

      • Sorry to say but, children who received spankings in the past turned out a lot better than the children of today who don’t receive them. Somewhere along the way, those of us who received discipline for things we knew we did wrong (you know who you are) resented discipline and did not pass it on to their own children. Now, the public is at risk due to these children who have been allowed to grow like weeds. I mean, we do more for our plants. We pluck off the dead leaves, we prune, we cut, we water, we feed but, for our children we just feed and water and let them grow. This is why we are in the situation we are in today and our children are out of control.

        • You are absolutely right. I sorely (no pun intendede) resent being hit as a child. And still harbor bitty resentment against any grown up who believed that a good beating would make me a better person. And so you are correct. I did not pass this antiquated wrong headed form of capital punishment on to my children. What I did was take the time and effort to learn a more humane, non violent mehthod of discipline in raising my four children. No violence, no drugs, no gang affiliation, very respectful of others and most inportant, they love and respect me. They are not perfect humans, but not subjectiing them to violence as a form of discipline did them no harm. I’m sure the man in this video was whippped as a child. Look how he turned out. No man should ever hit a woman or a girl. Especially in anger.

    27. Ms. Wood, I’ve been preaching this message for years. I know from experience of the adverse effects of being hit or beaten as a child and a young adult. But no matter how much sense it makes, no matter how intellegent the message, some people will never get it. Massa beating his property into submission should have ended with slavery, but here it sits. I’ve said it hundreds of times. If you don’t know how to use your head instead of your hands to teach your children, You’re not smart enough to have them.

      • Really? – is anyone here a parent? Has anyone ever seen the effects of non-parenting? This has much less to do with massa/slave and much more to do with love and parenting. This is a cruel world either get your kid in line or the Authorities will do it for you – with much worse consequence than a sore bum and a bruised ego. Time to get real…

        • I’m a parent, raised a child without using corporal punishment. She is currently attending her second year in the top university in Canada. Corporal punishment is not parenting. Too often it is the result of the adult venting their anger, frustration on a child. No where in adult society is it permisable to assualt another adult for transgression of rules or lack of respect. It is against the law. Why would we think it is ok to do it to a being that is smaller and cannot defend itself? I only need to look at my brothers to see that coporal punishment leads to more violence, disrespect for authority and trouble maintaining adult relationships.

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