I found this via The Friendly Atheist and I had to post it here, as it was pretty relevant to me: In Court, Christian Parents Claim a Biblical Right to Spank Their Foster Children.
Apparently, these people want to take in foster children and give them a home. Sounds pretty noble, right? There’s only one problem: they believe in “spare the rod, spoil the child” and discipline by spanking. When a social worker who was interviewing them heard this, the response was simple: “No.”
Now, the couple in question did try to compromise; they have said that they wouldn’t hit the foster children, only their biological children. (Yeah, you read that right. Just how fucked up is that?) But still they were told “no”. Of course, the couple is claiming discrimination, but the most horrifying thing is the fact that they see absolutely nothing wrong with striking their children. They don’t see any of the negatives that have been spelled out in published studies. Nope, their kids are just fine. Nothing to see here, move along, you looky-loos!
If it sounds familiar, it is. This has been the one piece of evidence that spanking is a valid form of discipline and not abuse: “I was spanked as a kid and I turned out okay.”
Here’s the problem: I was spanked as well. I didn’t turn out okay.
My mother was pretty darned Christian–she attended a local Kingdom Hall when I was a child–and she was a staunch believer in physical discipline. Her excuse was that she used her open hand and not a belt, like her father had done to her. So to her, she wasn’t beating or abusing me, she was just disciplining me. Out of love. She did it all out of love.
Every time my mother struck me, I hated her. With each slap, I hated her. With each spanking, I hated her. With each and every screamed threat that was lobbed at me, I hated her. Slowly but surely, the love I felt for my mother was eroded and replaced with little more than animosity because of her supposed “loving discipline”. I never respected her, I never appreciated her attempts at discipline, I never thought she did any of this out of any sort of caring. If anything, I saw her doing this because she was a terrible person and ill-equipped to raise a child. All the spankings I received did little more than undermine my relationship with my mother; it may have stopped the unwanted behavior, but at a cost, one that I don’t think my mother can quite understand. Needless to say, I have very little contact with my mother.
The physical remnants are gone–I carry no welts from those days–but the psychological remnants still remain. I have terrible self-esteem. If anyone raises their voice to me, it’s all I can do not to run for cover. I have a deep mistrust for female authority figures, especially if they are blonde. In general, I don’t trust a lot of women at all; I trust men much more, as my father wasn’t abusive towards me. The list could go on, but I won’t bore you with it. You get the idea. In my case, spanking may have discouraged any “bad” behavior but it came at a mental cost. Sure, to some spanking is a great way to discipline their children; besides, they were spanked as kids and turned out okay. So it’s not abuse at all, right?
Hardly. I was spanked too. I didn’t turn out okay.