I must admit I don’t watch much television anymore. I used to be an aficionado of soap operas; every day after school I would rush home and watch the “All my children” and “One life to live” recordings my sister had kindly taped for me. I find myself bored by the material out there, and have found a good companion in my lap top that enables me to watch “Good Times” along with any old sitcom that strikes my fancy.
Upon watching an episode where James Evans, the father, spanks his youngest son’s guest who had refused to study, I began to think about the act of spanking your children. It shocked me that, although we didn’t see him actually beating the boy, we could hear the beatings loud and clear. The family even joked about which level of spanking he had received, the highest being the one were you couldn’t sit down comfortably for a good while. With the 1970s, came an outburst of parenting books advising parents to resort to alternative methods other than “licks” as we call it in my household. Besides that fact, I was surprised because we would never see this display on television today; if we were to see it, it would be portrayed as child abuse as opposed to being a common and correct way of disciplining your child.
The sitcom, which ran from 1974 until 1979, does make a clear distinction between spanking and child abuse. In the 5th season, the character of Penny was added in. Penny was a young girl whose mother would beat her until she had bruises covering her back, burnt her with an iron and nearly broke her arm. We understood in the show that such treatment constituted abuse, and that it was horrible that any child should have to endure this.
Yes, my parents spanked my siblings and I once and awhile. But we didn’t grow up to be criminals nor have aggressive personalities as many studies indicate. Not to mention, a belt has grazed the buttocks of many of my “ethnic” friends as well, and they, as far as I can tell, are the furthest thing from depressed adults. There is a big difference between beating your children senseless with the first object you grab a hold of and spanking their behinds with your hand. Also, I’m not saying the studies are entirely wrong, but there could be other factors involved in the development of aggressive behavior since children who were not physically disciplined also could also wind up in the slammer as adults [for committing violent acts].
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