Spanking != Shouting

Spanking Does Not Equal Shouting:

Via the Sage of Knoxville, another of those pieces from the New York Times on how hard it is for the upper class to feel good about themselves while raising children.

Many in today’s pregnancy-flaunting, soccer-cheering, organic-snack-proffering generation of parents would never spank their children. We congratulate our toddlers for blowing their nose (“Good job!”), we friend our teenagers (literally and virtually), we spend hours teaching our elementary-school offspring how to understand their feelings. But, incongruously and with regularity, this is a generation that yells.

“I’ve worked with thousands of parents and I can tell you, without question, that screaming is the new spanking,” said Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, which teaches parenting skills in classes, individual coaching sessions and an online course. “This is so the issue right now. As parents understand that it’s not socially acceptable to spank children, they are at a loss for what they can do."
A bit of advice on that: screaming is much worse than spanking. Screaming demonstrates lack of control, and the breakdown of authority.

Spanking a child is a terrible thing to do in anger, but it can be effective if done calmly and without passion. A father might order his child to report for a spanking in quite placid terms. He might likewise order his son to do pushups -- a time-tested means of corporal punishment that benefits the body as well as the soul. A mother might wield the hairbrush dispassionately when the child has pushed the limits too far.

In each of these cases, the authority of the parent is obvious and explicit. Accompanied by a calm explanation of why the child is being punished, it makes the clear case that you are exercising a distasteful duty out of long-term concern for the child's well-being. You are on their side, even if that means right now you must do something you'd prefer not to do.

Screaming at a child cannot be done dispassionately. It makes you look like a fool to other adults, but far worse is how you look to the child: out of control, undisciplined, lacking the power even to control yourself, let alone anyone else. Not only is your authority not obvious, but acting out in this way calls into question whether or not you merit authority. I wouldn't follow someone who blows his top and screams at people; would you?

Louis L'amour once wrote of one of his characters that he 'could be ruthless with others, because he was ruthless with himself.' That model commands respect, and respect is what is most necessary in parenthood. To lead, you have to have it. To have it, you must deserve it.

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