Dana Sheets wrote:
What is the fundamental lesson we teach when we strike children to modify behavior?
This is an excellent point, and one which I wrestle with constantly.
(And I still am undecided)
I think partly it teaches them from at least a base level;
The strong make the rules, and there is a hierarchy of governance, ruled by threat of violence.
(Which of course is a paradox because I raise my child to question everything and everybody.)
Except the screaming big ape-like creature named "Dad" that waves his arms and howls at her when she is bad.
My main impetus for physical disipline is this:
I myself grew up about a poor as one can get, lived in a neighborhood which I saw things I should have not at my age, and I realized from early that the sad, unabashed reality of life is; fiercely competitive, cruel, unfair, impartial, unfeeling, and it really can be "kill or be killed" (mostly figuratively) when attempting to rise above one's meager conditions.
(I should add, and there is also ALWAYS someone waiting to take from you what you have struggled so hard for)
My daughter is taught to know full well that she is the daughter of warriors, (Her monther and I both) and thusly realizes (hopefully) that she is as well.
As I see it, the cold, hard truth is that no one but your family and close friends gives one rat's a$$ about you or one's children, and in fact, while one is busy making plans to move up, others will do everything they can to rip you down.
Life isn't a fairly tale,(Heck, The Bros Grimm is some pretty sadistic stuff) and those who succeed in this life are those who are strong, make themselves strong and have the tools to deal with life's battles on a daily basis.
(And if they can conduct themselves with honor in their battles and help up those they pass along the way, all the better, as such is the way of a warrior.)
I tell myself that physical violence can teach a child that there can be physical consequences for life's mistakes, (Especially when they are due to sheer laziness or lack of attention) and by extension at least mentally, perhaps the connection regarding the seriousness of an action could lead to death.
I often look back on my many many errors in life and wonder with awe just how in the hell I'm still alive today.
I won't let my child take the same dark roads as I took.
For an example, my daughter has told me that she wants to be either an Engineer of Scientist in the Biomedical field.
But, she does have many obstacles ahead of her such as
1. Being a female in a male dominated field
2. Being a minority (Japanese-American)
3. Needs lots and lots of Math (Not her strong suit)
4. Massive, relentless competition for the top paying positions and opportunity due to overseas markets.
Oh yes, Americans are not just competing against themselves these days, but also people from other countries who are leaner, hungrier, more disciplined, in some cases smarter, and willing to work for less money.
Think the job market is stiff now? Wait until China fully becomes the economic tiger that it is now emerging to be.
America is going to be in for a shock quite soon I imagine.
So as I see it, it's essentially the World VS. my Daughter, and the World is not taking prisoners, won't allow tap outs, and is and carrying a crowbar and aint afraid to use it.
If using physical discipline and threats when necessary as a tool in my parenting arsenal to help push her to reach her full potential, and battle all of the obstacles in life to help her dreams come true is teaching her violence is justifiable, I can live with that. (At least I tell myself that)
One day when she has achieved her goals and dreams and is living in a mansion and designing new and better products to enhance her fellow humans, she may thank me for not selling her out by being too wishy-washy, and instead being the kind of parent who kicks her butt when she needs it.
(Then she'll toss my withered, decrepit a$$ in an old age home.)