Tuesday, February 12, 2008

weigh in

on the Hot Topic

I saw something on Good Morning America yesterday that I wanted other opinions on. It was a story of a little 8 year old boy who had got in trouble at school. As punishment, his mom made him stand on a corner in front of the school holding a double sided sign. On one side, it stated that he was rude to his teacher and that he was sorry, and on the other was a statement about making better choices. He was shown with tears rolling down his face while holding this sign for three hours (read whole story here).

The story goes on to say that the original story (aired last Friday) had generated a lot of viewer feedback; some from people who applauded the mother for taking a strong stand with her son and others who felt it was degrading and embarassing for the young boy.

And I'll throw another question in the mix: Do you believe in spanking?

I would love to hear your opinions on the subject. As before, please be courteous in your comments and open to other's thoughts. You might want to read the article and/or watch the video before you weigh in, as there's a lot of information to take into account.

link of the day:


MightyMom said...

this actually isn't new, or it isn't the first I've heard of it before. So, as the mom of 3 special needs kids I'll weigh in, but won't tell how much I weigh, deal?

1) YES, I believe in spanking. appropriate spanking, not beating.

2) I'd applaud the mother. 3 hours isn't a long time to be in "public" time out which is what this amounts to. You have to get the kids' attention and if you let rudeness and other disobedience slide at 8 then it will only be 10 times worse by the time they're 18.

Heather said...

I think the embarassment factor in punishment is a huge motivator. I remember distinctly the last time I was spanked - it was in front of a friend. I never did anything (or got caught!) that deserved spanking again because I was so embarassed! I will spank my child if I feel that it will improve the behavior.

Three hours might have been a little long for that age, but I think the punishment was effective, not only for this child, but for others.

Jamey said...

I didn't read the article or watch the video because honestly the story breaks my heart. I don't know what this kid did or how bad it really was and maybe this punishment was a last resort for his mother. I know that I would never do this to one of my kids. I have forms of punishment that work and I pray that they continue to work and that I never feel pushed to even think about something like this. That does NOT mean that I judge anyone who would do this. All kids are different and all parents are different. I think that everyone knows their own child well enough to know if this would be appropriate or not.

I do have a very difficult child with some special needs who we have had to resort to some "creative" types of punishments. But again I cannot ever imagine doing this.

I also do believe in spanking. NOT beating...but spanking. If I spank one of my kids it is right at the moment they did something wrong and it is a swat or two. It's not a "you were naughty and you will pay for it later" kind of thing which my dad did to me as a kid. That caused a lot of anxiety in me as a child and if my kids deserve a swat they get it right in the moment. I don't believe in spanking or punishing them in front of their friends. I think kids are mean enough to each other at school and don't need any leverage by seeing a friend disciplined.

I'm not sure I answered the question, but that is my opinion in what I would do. I think this mom probably did what she thought she had to do and it's not up to us to judge or tell her how to parent unless of course it comes down to some form of abuse or neglect. That's another topic because some people will tell you that they think this is abuse.

MammyT said...

I, too applaud her. She nipped it in the bud. As a teacher, I always started the year off "tough". When the kids discovered that I really meant what I said and that my classroom rules were to be followed, they settled into a routine of good behavior that enabled us to have a lot of fun with learning. (I was a music teacher.)
James Dobson said that you must discipline a child as soon as he/she puts her little toe over the line. I agree. It saves a lot of time, tears, and anguish to just draw the line and keep it. Lines will change as a child matures and must be carefully monitored.
If a child can obey on the count of three, he can obey on the count of one. If he knows you will wait until "3", he'll go to 3 every time. Why not just get it over with.
The boy in the article may experience a few hours of shame as a consequence for disrespect for authority -- or - he may endure endless years of shame in prison because he never learned to respect authority and broke the laws of the land.
Take your pick. And use your time wisely with your children. Teach them quickly and surely and you'll have a lot less trouble and so will they. I have 5 children and they all make me immensely proud with what they have done with their lives. The above philosophy was my guide in raising them.
Tough love is tough!

Angie said...

I applaud that mom. If you think about it, most forms of school punishment are forms of public humiliation and that is why they may work. No one wants to get in trouble in front of everyone. In my son's Kindergarten class, one misbehavior causes you to get up and move your clothespin from the green light to the yellow light. No kid wants to get up in front of the class to do that. That is why it is effective.

If we let tears and puppy dog eyes crumble us, then no punishment will stand and we will show no steadfastness and consistency and follow-through.

I do believe in spanking at age appropriate levels. I have a 6 year old and I think I have only spanked him once in the last 6 months for something. I have a 4 year old and he is spanked more frequently. Spanking is one of those punishments that is quick, abrupt and gets attention from the child right away. Like that mother did with her child on the corner (with his being only 8, though, I hope she was nearby). Punishments need to grab the child's attention and I believe in being radical and harsh enough to change a recurring behavior or to have a child never repeat something that was so bad or so dangerous you can only pray there is a ONE TIME. Those ONE TIME crazy things are what I usually spank for.

MammyT said...

Diana, I think this is so important that I have put a post on my site linking to this discussion. thanks for watching for the important stuff!

Melissa said...

I'm not sure what to think... on one hand, sometimes the creative punishments get the best results... on the other hand, if we teach through humiliation, they learn to humiliate... I don't know. I'll think on this some more...

jennifer said...

I have been painting but will give a few of my own thoughts, then I will come back and watch the video.

I do believe in spanking.

But I do not ever believe in humiliation. I am not sure if this case the factor was humiliation, so I am making a comment based on some personal experiences.

Now I had the misfortune of having a step father that resorted to humiliation and *beatings*. Yes beatings. If he were doing today what he did to my siblings and I in the 70's he would be in prison.

He loved the humiliation factor and in turn created step children who like to be on the outside of activities looking in, but not too involved for the shear recollection of every single day of my life until he died, when I was 12.

It takes great energy and a loving spouse to overcome these things, and you know what? You really don't ever get over it, you just learn to live life seeing things much different than most others.

I am sorry I missed yesterday, as busy with the painting, but I am going to read your post. Thanks for hosting this every week, as it is truly an inspiration.

MammyT said...

Talking about humiliation, I think it is much more humiliating for a person to grow up into a rude, obnoxious or criminal adult than to endure a little public "time out", as we call our little corner time nowadays and get it out of the way for good! I understand that the mom is right next to him, is that right?

Pam in Colorado said...

A few months ago, a boy was made to stand out on our main highway through town with a sandwich board on him, with an apology to his Mother for mistreating her.

I know the older sister to this boy. He was in the habit of being rude and disobedient to his Mother and nothing else had been a deterent for this misbehavior - until he had to spend a public hour getting attention for his choices.

She told me that this made a huge difference. Was he embarrassed? Yes! humiliated - probably not. Either way, he was accountable publically and this helped him make different choices privately.

In our society we are worried about short term embarrassment rather than the long term ripple effect if someone is allowed to act in a manner, or treat others in a way, that is harmful to one or both.

What one is allowed to get away with in youth will be magnified in adulthood. Some people change their ways on their own, most need a wake up call to put enough external pressure on them to make internal changes.

I'm not sure the 'why' behind 3 hours. Perhaps it would have been effective to have him out there the hour that kids are arriving to school and the hour they are going home. That way they all see that there are consequences to behaviors and perhaps they could be the next one standing there.

I would have my child make a written and verbal apology to the teacher, and a verbal one to the class, as they were the ones most effected by the boys choices in the classroom. (in addition to the time out publically)

I did this with my daughter when she threw a huge fit in the public library. She wrote apology letters to all the librarians and had to hand the note to each. She had never thrown a fit like that before and you can bet she has never done so since. We do not know the reason it happened this time, but I was not willing to wait and see if it would reoccur. We stopped it by making her responsible and accountable the first time. This was when she was 6. She is now 8 and remembers the incident. She is not bitter about it, she is better for it. She'll even tell you so.

Do I believe in spanking? Yes. For blatant disobedience. When the rule or expectation is known and a stubborn heart chooses to act against it, then absolutely.

My youngest two are 7 and 8now. I believe my 8 year old has had a couple of swats for insulance this past year. My 7 year old, none. They received spankings when they were younger as often as they chose to act out to get their way, when they knew better.

My three oldest received spankings longer. I think partly because I was not as diligent in correcting their poor behavior more quickly, that count to 3 vs. count to 1 mentality. I learned. Now my youngest know that the line is the line and consequences occur immediately so they make different choices, usually.

We have other ways to discipline as well, and based on personality type, behavior exhibited... the discipline is chosen to be the most natural consequence to the crime (so to speak).

Where a spanking may deter one, a word or a look may be as strong a deterent to another. My now 16 yo son didn't mind spankings, but hated having a prized possession taken away. My one daughter hated spankings and hated losing books. Depending on the behavior we could choose which was most appropriate. My other boy despised spankings and could be turned away with a warning most times. Spanking were rare with him, but they did occur when he chose to push things farther than usual.

Long term character is more important that short term embarrassment. If one seeks attention and is willing to do so in a negative manner, than a natural consequence may be to help him get attention in a manner that he would not like to have again.

Just my opinion.

Heidi Jo said...

not knowing all the facts, and certainly not interested in reading all the stories to get the media's presentation of the facts, i will just say this:

in a culture that has made mice out of parents, and in a culture where we witness via the media numerous examples of abuse, neglect, negligence and disregard for children...it is nice to see that there are still parents who believe in raising and YES disciplining their children when necessary.

as many before me have stated, if done for the purpose of changing a rotten attitude or behavior then kudos to the mother. the teacher, school and media should applaud her active role in parenting---although i am sure that they will not, as public schools & the media have decided for us that they are better able to parent our children.

melody is slurping life said...

Holding my thoughts for the moment, but wanted to say this is certainly a thought and conversation provoking post. Enjoying reading others' thoughts.

And BTW, thank you for your prayers and thoughts. :)

Huckdoll said...

I think that sign thing is way harsh.

I don't know if I believe in spanking, but I have spanked one of my two year old toddlers once.

She was faced with a decision (in rage) to bite her sister or not. We were all watching and gave her the choice. She knew the consequences and she decided to take a chunk out her sister's arm.

She got a spanking and she's never spanked again. She was shocked and stunned and saddened. But it seemed to work.

I hope I never have to give another.

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

I do believe that if you spare the rod you spoil the child.

I'm not sure on the sign idea. I feel it is a touchy area when you might be crushing a childs spirit by humiliation. At that childs age I think standing in front of his class and teacher to give a verbal apology may have been enough...not sure.

I've witnessed a teacher crush my child's spirit and it's a horrid thing. When you work very hard to mold your child and then have them broken through humiliation it's just wrong. I know this is a different twist from the story, but close to my heart.