Friday, November 17, 2006

The Blame Game

Isn’t it interesting that when a child misbehaves on a continual basis people are always quick to blame it on bad parenting? Something that was reported in the media this week got me thinking about how difficult it is to discipline children today.

There was a non-issue in the media this week where Bob Knight, a college basketball coach popped a player in the chin when he was yelling at him because the player’s eyes fell. He popped his chin to bring the players eyes back up. Now Bob Knight certainly is no saint. Coach Knight has a history of questionable physical behavior when it comes to his coaching style. Needless to say, Bob Knight is a very intense, passionate, hard nose coach who steps over the line at times, so when ever something like this happens, the media is all over it like flies on sh*t. At the end of the day even the parents of the player said that they didn’t have a problem with Knights’ behavior towards their son. This incident will go away fast just like most “issues” the media covers.

I was listening to ESPN Radio this morning where Mike & Mike where talking about this non issue. They were interviewing another basketball coach who felt that Knight did nothing wrong. He also said that incidents like this would be a non issue if the media wouldn't be so aggressive in their pursuit for a story. The problem was that it is becoming increasingly difficult to coach and discipline players when cameramen and reporters are at every turn looking for their Pulitzer. Now, I’m not condoning punching, hitting or throwing a kid a across the court to get your point across, all I’m saying is actions such as the above incident should not be a story.

What’s my point? Getting back to my first sentence “Isn’t it interesting that when a child misbehaves on a continual basis people are always quick to blame it on bad parenting?”. It seems that technology today allows for information to circle the globe in the matter of seconds where years ago it would take hours and/or days, and that’s only if the information was worthy of being shared. All you need to do now is click send. If you want to play it safe and hold on to your children, practice no contact parenting because if you don’t the consequences are a bitch.

Parents today are hesitant to discipline (put the kid over their knee) their children for the fear that someone including their kids will report them to CYS (Child Youth Services) or some other organization that is charged with keeping a watchful eye on our children. If your child is at the make-up counter in your local department store taking a tube of lipstick and applying it to a $2,500 Armani coat, make sure not to discipline the child with a tap on the bottom because you might find yourself being interrogated. Remember, there are cameras everywhere, especially at the mall. Society has put the fear of god into parents. They are constantly reminded through public service ads, literature, the news, their superintendent and their physician that they stand the chance of being reported if they discipline their kid. If your kid has a couple of bruises on his leg, I can assure you that you will be getting a phone call from his school or questioned by the physician if noticed. No parent wants this or needs the headache so they just decide to abandon discipline and hope that putting little Tommy in “time out” will do the job. Oh by the way, little Tommy is all grown up now and lives in a BIG HOUSE where he eats 3 square meals a day, gets free cable TV, enjoys pumping iron 4 hours a day and gets to wear these very fashionable orange jumpsuits.

Beating a kid is wrong and should not go unnoticed, but giving your child a smack on the bottom should be perfectly acceptable as long as it doesn’t happen daily. Bill Cosby used to say that his father used to come home and announce “Let the Beatings Begin”. That’s probably a bad thing.
Technology advances (Video, Internet, the speed of how fast information travels) along with these much needed organizations (we truly do need them) who have inadvertently tied the parent’s hands behind their back (no pun intended) are also to blame for the unfortunate disregard that today’s youth has for society.


Anonymous said...

Very good point! I myself see alot of young kids today have no respect,I know when I was in school , we always had to think if what we did was worth the strap....I grew up ok, well I think I did anyway ;) Smacks on the bottom when needed is not a big deal.


Kim Ayres said...

Smacking your child is illegal now in the UK, but to be honest I have never raised my hand to my children, ever, and never will. My children are well behaved and I do not tolerate bad behaviour from them. Smacking doesn't work as a form of discipline. It might work as a shock tactic the first, and maybe the 2nd time, but it fails to be effective very quickly, so then the smack has to get bigger, harder, more frequent. But even if taken to the stage of frequent beatings, it still doesn't stop a child misbehaving.

Holding the child steady, creating eye contact (the chin-up thing by the coach is to be applauded, not reviled, as eye contact is all important) and talking firmly to them until the situation is resolved does work, but it also draws slightly more attention to you and takes slightly longer - and in the middle of a department store we all just want to get out of there as quickly as possible.

But if you don't care about the audience, and concentrate on the child then you get the results that work and incidents when you're out become less frequent.

All smacking ever does is teach your child that they have to obey you because of the threat of pain and/or violence. So what happens when they are at school and want their own way with the other kids, or if they have younger siblings? - they learn that violence,or the threat of it is the way to get what they want.

You can't fight fire with fire and you can't fight bad behaviour with violence without setting yourself up for long term problems.

Your child wants your attention, and desperately wants your approval - connecting with them and letting them know when you approve and disapprove of their behaviour, firmly but without hitting, is the most powerful form of discipline.

So endeth the rant :)

jotcr2 said...

Will let you know in a few years. Too young at this parenting game to pass comment.

Jessica said...

Great point! There was very few times I was ever spanked by my parents. One time my mom has told me about was when I was around 3 and I ran out into the road. She grabbed me and gave me a swift little smack on the rear, nothing to hurt me, just for me to realize I shouldn't do that.

BStrong said...

opeoimqkSara – I can only remember being smacked once as a child and that was when my father heard me speak back to my mother. I learned my lesson that afternoon. It’s quite funny because I can remember it clear as day. It wasn’t a hard smack but it kind of surprised me. It took place at the bottom part of our steps in our hallway. The point was made. I think I turned out ok as well.

Kim – It’s illegal, even a little slap on the bottom? I like your points and they certainly have merit. “It might work as a shock tactic the first, and maybe the 2nd time, but it fails to be effective very quickly, so then the smack has to get bigger, harder, more frequent” I think that’s where the problem comes into play.
I wish I can say that my son is a perfect angle, but he’s not. The saying “when god created you and broke the mold” doesn’t apply to me; it was used one more time for my son. Thanks for the rant. At least yours are interesting.

Does this have any relevance?,,2-2006510018,00.html

Jotcr2 - Good luck. Read Kim’s comment. He brings up some very legitimate points.

Jessica – I still think a little “love tap” is ok every now and again.

Kim Ayres said...

That article doesn't surprise me. The problem is not smacking, or the lack of it, but on a lack of conection between parents and children. If kids don't spend time with their parents and don't learn how to deal with the world, then they will take their cues from their peers. So the school bully has more influence than anyone else.

Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

So very true...if the child knows what is expected and knows what consequences they may face will help in the department of discipline.


Anonymous said...

I can only remember getting a smacked bottom once too and it was warrented I guess :p My Brother and I ( we were 5 & 6 ) were with another kid on a train track over looking a freeway and the kid dared me to throw a rock, well I was stupid as a kid and I did :p Cops took us home and I got my bottom tanned...I also grew up respecting my elders and find it so wrong to hear how kids talk to grown ups today.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to you. Great article! But, I still have to wonder if many parents out there are just plain clueless. It requires brains to actually think as deeply as you do. Not sure if many parents out there are on this level.At least not the ones I see. Wish they were and maybe our society would be on less prescription drugs for things such as ADD or ADHD. for thought. Again. love your blog! - Morgan's Mom