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Challenge: Why is it OK to hit Kids, but not Adults?

Here’s a quick moral values challenge for you.

Can you explain why hitting adults is not OK, earning a prosecution for assault, but hitting kids is sanctioned as OK by various state education systems under the name of “corporal punishment?”

Why is it OK to hit kids, but not OK to hit adults?

17 thoughts on “Challenge: Why is it OK to hit Kids, but not Adults?”

  1. Richard says:

    First of all, let’s make a distinction. Hell, let’s make several distinctions, as they are necessary when someone asks such a patently loaded simplistic question designed to elicit a predetermined desired response. Are you asking if it is ok to hit kids, or spank kids? Are you capable of making a distinction between hitting an adult without legal cause and with legal cause? There is a difference. If you walk up to Joe, who has done nothing, and hit him, any idiot could tell you that is wrong. If Joe walks up to you, and you have done nothing, and Joe begins hitting you, you would be a fool to refrain from defending yourself in order to get Joe to cease (‘cuz you got a “right” to be free from some other fool’s violence). If that defense necessitates hitting him, then right-on-brother, because you’ve got an extension of that afore-mentioned “right” to use “appropriate” force to stop Joe’s attack. So you can see that in certain situations hitting an adult IS ok, unlike Jim above failed to mention (I don’t wonder why) Now, there is a distinction, and it’s easy for any fool to grasp, between hitting a kid in like manner as above, and spanking a kid. Hitting a kid in like manner as above would be to destroy, wound, or kill, which any sucka’ knows is wrong. Spanking, on the other hand, is to cause temporary physical discomfort, i.e., pain, in order to accomplish the following and sometimes necessary tasks: Get the immediate attention of the child before the child engages in some unsafe act to which verbal warnings are not working, such as a toddler repeatedly reaching for the hot skillets on the stove. Provide a disincentive to unruly and insubordinate behavior. After all, the adult can try to reason with the child till they blue in the face, but a child by definition is someone for whom complete reasoning skills have yet to be developed, otherwise why they be screwin’ around? So to sum it up, the original poster had it wrong: it is not OK to hit kids, but it is OK to spank them when reasoning fails. It is OK to hit adults if your safety and right to freedom from violence warrant it. Duh.

  2. Iroquois says:

    What a simplistic question.

    Richard, here, is annoying. In fact, I find him to be unruly and insubordinate. I could show him this blog all day until I’m blue in the face and he still wouldn’t develop any reasoning ability. Reasoning has failed. It’s time to get his attention.

    I say, kick his butt.

    Besides, I’m really sexually frustrated right now. Kicking Richard’s butt would make me feel much better.


  3. Jim says:

    Translation: if I hit kids to show ’em what for, that’s called “spanking,” and it isn’t hitting, even though it involves hitting, because it isn’t, it just isn’t.

    Spanking isn’t something to get the immediate attention of a child. Spanking takes multiple seconds. Grabbing a child and pulling them away from a stove is the way to get their immediate attention if they’re grabbing for a hot stove. Number 2, any parent worth their tootsies knows that you turn on the BACK burner.

    Besides, you didn’t even answer the question as it pertained to public schools, in which I can assure you they don’t have toddlers and they don’t put hot stoves in the middle of classrooms.

    Richard, if you can’t think of anything to make an unruly child behave other than hitting them, you have very little imagination.

  4. Iroquois says:

    I have toddlers in the classroom all the time. Their mothers are very motivated to learn and although children are not really permitted in the classroom, the administration is far away and I just don’t envision myself as the daycare police. I do expect my students to control the noise level of their little darlings, though, so the other students can learn.

    Most of the time this means either distracting them (I got a bagful of non-beeping kid activities at the dollar store) or if they make a disturbance, asking the parent to take them out of the classroom to remove the stimulation of so much activity. Usually they quiet down as soon as they’re outside the door and don’t have thirty people looking at them. One student did want to leave her two-year-old outside the classroom alone for “one hour”. But I think a time-out is supposed to be one minute for each year of age. That means a two-year-old gets two minutes to cool down and a thirty-year old gets thirty minutes. At my age…well, it’s easier if you don’t get me upset in the first place.

    There are two good reasons against hitting children here. One is that it is illegal in this state. The other is that it teaches children to solve problems with violence.

  5. Vynce says:

    kids don’t get all the same rights adults do because they are presumed not to have the ability to properly exercise the responsibilities that come with those rights. one of the rights is the right to trial by jury & a big legal system which, it turns out, psychologically, is not always fast enough to teach children the proper lessons at the proper times. A parent has (or, IMO, should have) the right to determine a child’s punishment & discipline, to the extent that they are willing to take responsibility on the larger scale for the child’s actions (including being held responsible for damages, etc., incurred by the child). A parent typically turns over some of those rights, temporarily, to temporary caretakers, such as babysitters and schools. I believe that an adult should be able to do this without waiving their child’s right to not be hit, but that starts getting complex.

    (an adult can similarly waive their own right to not be hit, by for instance enrolling in a fighting class, or submitting to a dominatrix, or etc.)

    that’s teh resoning, about as far as i agree with it enough to explain it. I don’t think this makes it necessarily right to hit kids, but i have to say that whether or not i believe in violent physical punishment, i think that to an extent and within reason parents must be left room to raise their children as they see fit — there are many boobytraps in this grey area, but fundamentally i think the state must not dictate parenting technique, except to ban abuse. that includes mild, non-abusive corporal punishment, and that includes the right to sign over that power to others. but, by the same token, i think it includes the right to not sign over that power to others, and as such, parents should always be able to “opt-out” of state-run corporal punishment for their children.

  6. Richard says:

    Now where in the world did I say that spanking is the only form of punishment available to a parent? There is a continuum of punishment available to use by a parent, of which spanking is a part of. Duh.

    >Comment by Jim — 1/9/2008 @ 11:27 pm
    “Spanking isn’t something to get the immediate attention of a child. Spanking takes multiple seconds.”
    That’s cuz you’re doing it wrong.

    >Comment by Iroquois — 1/9/2008 @ 10:47 pm:
    “Besides, I’m really sexually frustrated right now. Kicking Richard’s butt would make me feel much better.”

    I’m not surprised you, as a “progressive”, are sexually frustrated right now, because your preferred form of release is illegal in most jurisdictions the world, NYC, Kalifornia and Tijuana being the exceptions (poor donkey). And then to admit your sadism on a liberal website… you’re really a closet neocon, obsessed with torture. NO GITMO FOR YOU!

    >Comment by Iroquois — 1/10/2008 @ 12:25 am
    “The other is that it teaches children to solve problems with violence.”

    A spanking is not violence. Honestly, without sarcasm, I’ll tell you that when I look back I realize and wish that if someone had been around to give me spankings when I really needed, I would have had far more incentive to NOT do some of the most regretful things I’ve done. (I’ll lay no claim to perfection)

    Use the Continuum. If a parent gets results with time out or hard labor, or any lesser response, fine. But don’t discount someone else using spanking if it is necessary, even though you may not be keen on it. After all, isn’t being open-minded, non-ethnocentric, non-judgemental, and accepting of other’s differences supposed to be a liberal ideal?

    As far as corporal punishment in schools, which schools engage in it? I sure never saw it where I went to school. I do have a friend who could have used some corporal punishment when we were in sixth grade. Getting “in trouble” was enough for me on most things to stop my screwing around, but NOTHING worked for him. Principal’s office, suspension, parent-teacher meetings, you name it, it couldn’t stop my friend from being a major disruption in the classroom. I sincerely believe that had corporal punishment been available to the teacher, it would have worked. A spanking with a switch in front of our peers in class, a spanking that truly seared his ass and broke his rebelliousness by firmly asserting the ultimate authority of our teacher over his actions in class and embarrassed him in front of the others. After all, looking back I can see that my friend’s behavior at the time was his way of establishing that he was in charge of the classroom and had power over the teacher, and it worked because he would keep getting more unruly until the teacher, who tried to ignore the behavior (no reinforcement) finally couldn’t keep a handle on the situation, because the behavior interrupted other kid’s learning. Yep, a serious corporal punishment session would have done the trick.

  7. Iroquois says:

    Oh, Richard, you’re so silly. I was just pulling your chain. I don’t really want to kick your butt because of sexual frustration. I want to kick your butt because it’s FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. I need to break your rebelliousness and show you who is in control.

    Some day you will thank me.

  8. Richard says:

    Comment by Iroquois — 1/13/2008 @ 10:53 pm
    >”Oh, Richard, you’re so silly. I was just pulling your chain. I don’t really want to kick your butt because of sexual frustration. I want to kick your butt because it’s FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. I need to break your rebelliousness and show you who is in control.

    Some day you will thank me.”

    I’m waiting 😉

  9. Richard says:

    Chain hauling aside, what is the “proper” response to a child who is directly confronting your authority as parent (or teacher) and acting out of control? When time out, being sent to room, grounding, pleading, ordering, suspending, reasoning, etc., don’t work? In a classroom environment, you can remove the student, but that rewards the behavior by allowing the student to get their desired result, and it shifts the burden onto wherever that student goes.

    To regress to chain hauling, I’d love to go a few rounds with an Iroquois. It’ll help me get my aggressions out. 😉 But I must warn you I never fight fair, and all my physical altercations with womenfolk end in love/hate relationships.

  10. The Animist says:

    ” …a spanking that truly seared his ass and broke his rebelliousness by firmly asserting the ultimate authority of our teacher over his actions in class…”

    Can anyone say “teen confusion”?


    Now say “vengeance”.

  11. Richard says:

    Animist, can you elucidate further on you post # 10? Specifically Teen confusion and vengeance?

  12. The Animist says:

    School shootings happen after emotional damage has happened. The teen is (supposedly) so caught up in their emotions that they don’t think about what happens afterward- all they can focus on is revenge to those that had previously wronged them. I was able to talk a friend out of this, but at the time he was so angry he actually constructed a plan for performing these actions. Fortunately no one ever saw it, and I was able to distract him until the feelings of anger, depression, and betrayal were gone. If the child has no one to stop them, however, they just may go on a rampage.

    His reason for this was that a group of kids (“jocks”) were physically abusing him every day and no one either had the power or the will to stop it. The teachers would simply look the other way (championships were deemed more important than the artistic endeavors that my friend was so passionately devoted to) and none of the other children were strong enough to stop them. I don’t know what the heck he did to stop them, but one day when we were walking home (next-door neighbors) we saw them about a block behind us. He suddenly said, “Lure them into my backyard” or something to that effect. I asked him why, but he wouldn’t say. The jocks started running after us, and he took a shortcut to his porch while I went around the long way. Then I was running through his backyard and I heard “duck!”, so I did, and behind me he came running in between me and the jocks. They decided to go after him (he called them “stupid fucks”) and he led them into his tool shed. I hadn’t ever been inside the shed, because he called it “his special place” and I respected that, but they stayed in there for about ten minutes. During that time I heard what sounded like thumping with a metal object, and every once in a while a muffled scream. I saw smoke coming out through the doorway and I thought it might have been a bomb, but after two last muffled screams he came out of the shed smiling, and then I realized I had never seen him smile like this before: this was a real smile, most of the time he either fake-smiled or just had a blank look on his face. I don’t know what actually happened that day, and I really might not want to, but the next day the jocks didn’t come to school, or the next, or the next, until finally after a week they showed up. Nothing looked wrong with them, but they seemed jumpier and less overbearing, and they stopped beating up my friend. Something also happened with their parents and my parents, like they were trying to figure out what exactly happened, but since I didn’t know, I obviously couldn’t tell them. I still don’t know what he did, and I probably never will because he moved away last summer.

  13. Richard says:

    How does this apply to unruly children in school, vis a vis teacher response? In your story, it’s too bad the proper authorities (school personnel) did not take proper action against the bullies. Funny thing is, most children know what is right and wrong, yet sometimes choose to do wrong. In your friend’s case, it’s good to hear he didn’t go off the deep end, but was able to give the bullies precisely what they had been meting out. I reckon nothing came of the situation because the bullies knew they had it coming, and sure weren’t about to blab about their having their asses handed to them by a former victim.
    I tentatively postulate that your experience bears out my reasoning on the propriety of spanking; children know when they are misbehaving, and are relieved to know that someone (even their victim) has the proper authority and ability to show leadership and punish them accordingly, whether that is corporal or otherwise.

  14. Richard says:

    Apologies for screwing up the italic inserter, html junk and assorted technologies are not my strong suit.

  15. The Animist says:

    I’d like to try and work out alternatives, so as to have actual physical punishment being the last course of action. The experience actually taught me a lot, even though I was only an observer, and I think that if the schools had some sort of solitary confinement or a similar punishment (maybe a room that had a nice big window from which the child could see the others enjoying themselves. Or, you know, they could just let the child grow into the menial laborer it was destined to be. Maybe show them examples of what life is like without education. Send them to foreign countries. Show them how the people in third world countries live as opposed to those in second world and first world countries.

  16. Marcus says:

    Sorry to butt in but, in my opinion, it should be legal for employers to corporally punish their employees for misbehaving.

    1. Juniper says:

      Why, Marcus? Why would you propose that bosses be granted the power to violently attack the people who are working for them? You say you believe that it’s a good idea, but you don’t even bother to justify this brutal attitude.

      Scientific research is clear on this subject. Violent attack destroys relationships and is an ineffective motivation.

      What kind of idiot would bring such a practice into a professional environment?

      Do you think that workers ought to be allowed to rise up and beat their bosses for unethical behavior, or is violence only to be a privilege of the wealthy?

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