To Spank or not to Spank

That is the question. Our society is coming out of an era when children were spanked and disciplined for doing things that are wrong and not doing things that are right. Spanking a child with your hand or an implement was the norm. Years ago, school teachers and principals were famous for “paddling” the children. The motto was “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Spanking was society’s effort to control bad behavior in children, and I’d say it worked for the most part.

Many of these efforts to discipline children were based in the scriptures. Proverbs 22:15 says “folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him,” and  “discipline your son, and he will give you peace: he will bring delight to you soul,” 29:17.

I raised my daughters with discipline, using the rod on them when they willfully disobeyed, and I espouse the biblical view on discipline. However, I was taught to spank them in love, which I interrupted to mean don’t yell and scream at them, but explain their wrongdoing in a loving voice. I also believe the spanking should not be too hard, just enough to get the point across.

Psychology books are for and against spanking, depending on the author and subject, but I do not believe spanking is child abuse. I believe it is correction, but it should be used after all other efforts to control the child have been explored.

Each young mother must make her own decision about whether to spank her child or not. Many mothers don’t spank their children, and I believe in general, children have not benefited from this standard. There are some very patient women who can handle screaming tantrums, and the hysterical behavior of undisciplined children, but I never could maintain my calm during such “fits.” I basically had to spank my girls, because I had no idea what else to do.

Please believe me I am not championing violence towards children, but I know from experience that out-of-control children can destroy property and offend people when left to their own devices. They can become tyrants, demanding everything their parents can give them and then some.

If someone doesn’t teach children not to run amok, throw things and take things that belong to other people, how will they learn? Unfortunately, women are now afraid to discipline their children when they are in public and the children know it. The children know they can do anything they want and their moms and dads can’t touch them if they’re in public. This has resulted in many unfortunate temper tantrums in malls and stores.

Author Laurie Ann Smith of Canada, who was abused as a child and is now a speaker on child abuse, believes the same thing I do, that spanking is not abuse. It is a wake-up call to get the child’s attention. Beating is abuse.

Child abuse is wrong, but correcting a child who is willfully disobeying is “training him up in the way he should go”(Proverbs 22:6). How many of us have been to a home where there are children who have not been disciplined? Usually we can’t wait to leave, because the children have taken over the home. They run, scream and play, often tormenting adults and other children.

Sending children to their room used to be a valid form of discipline and is not abusive. However, today children have so much electronic equipment in their rooms (televisions and computers) that they can happily entertain themselves for hours, so there is often no hardship involved in being sent to their rooms, and the child doesn’t learn anything about his behavior.

I think modern women of the 21st century honestly believe their children are good at heart and would never willfully hurt someone else, but this isn’t scriptural either and is not borne out by experience. Most children are extremely selfish and want their way all the time. If we do not curb this unfortunate behavior, when they become teenagers they do whatever they want. This method of no discipline can lead to some very nasty teenagers who do whatever they want.

So my point of view on this matter is that it’s better to spank a child than let him or her become a tyrant. What do you think? Do you think it’s abusive to spank a child?

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A Taxing Interview

Last week I gathered our tax records and drove to see my accountant, Wade. Wade and I have been friends for years and we always catch up during tax season. I sat down in his office, which is nicely outfitted in arts and crafts movement furniture. I placed my records neatly on the customer side of Wade’s desk, and waited.

“How are you doing Nancy?” he asked as he came in briskly and took his place on the other side of the desk. We exchanged pleasantries and then he slid the records over towards him and began checking them out. He likes to make sure he understands what’s what.

“Is there anything new I should know about?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m deducting business expenses for my writing. I’m writing a book.”

“All right,” he said as he began reading the list of expenses I had made. “What’s the name of your book?” People always want to know the name of the book I’m writing. Sometimes I’m almost too shy to tell them, but since I’ve known Wade for so long and he has never transgressed on our friendship I told him.

“It’s called Multiple: Surviving Child Abuse, a Journey through Insanity.” I know this title is mind boggleing, so I waited to see his reaction. He stopped trying to read the report and was thinking. I could almost see the wheels turning in Wade’s head and I thought he was probably wondering what to say, so I continued.

“I have Multiple Personality Disorder. I was sexually abused as a child and I have more than thirteen personalities!” For some reason this always takes people by surprise. After a very long pause, a pregnant pause, Wade looked up from the paper.

“You’re not a serial killer are you?” A simple question, but why do people assume that if you have multiple personalities one of them is a serial killer?  Fortunately, Wade smiled as soon as he said it and we both laughed.

“No, none of my personalities are killers.” With this pertinent information in hand, Wade stopped perusing the tax records and began questioning me at length about my illness and my book. We spent ten or fifteen minutes talking about being a multiple and writing a book.

My point in telling you all this is, that the public really needs educated about Dissociative Identity Disorder, aka Multiple Personality Disorder. That is the reason I wrote my memoir. I want people to know about what happened to me and how I discovered my “alters,” so that possibly another child might be saved from the same fate.

I want people to find out how crazy I was for the first fifty years of my life, although I was never a serial killer, and how shocking it was to discover my other personalities, which I found when I was in a mental hospital. I also want people to know that there is help out there and that “mental cases” can live fairly normal lives if treated. I’d like to get the word out there so that other people with multiple personalities can get help.

The statistics are rather revealing. Safe Horizon.org published a statistic on their website stating that there are 3.6 million reports of child abuse in the United States every year and that six million children are involved. Please be vigilant and call the Child Abuse Hotline if you think a child is being abused. The number is 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Did You Celebrate Multiple Personality Day?

I am so embarrassed. I missed Multiple Personality Day, which was March 5th. I hope I have not lost any readers because of my memory lapse!

Did you celebrate? Are you a multiple or a single-minded individual? I’m sure many of you had great celebrations with cakes, gifts, and balloons, but what about those who are not multiples? We could call them indivisibles, with liberty and justice for all. I think that’s what we should call them.

My guess is that most multiples had no idea it was Multiple Personality Day. Most of us try so hard to appear normal that we forget everything else.

Some parts of me realized this special day was during March, but my overall presiding personality, Control, wanted confirmation in black and white. Unfortunately I was not able to find the information I wanted on the internet, but I did find a great video on multiple personality, which I presented in my last post.

Since I have mentioned Control, I will describe him/her/it. Control was created in the eighties, when I became a married middle-class woman living in a small university town. My third husband kept coaching me on how to raise my two daughters from previous marriages. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to do it right.

“You have to be consistent,” he said. Well, if there’s anything a multiple can’t do, it’s be consistent. An untreated  multiple has little chance of being consistent. Some of us can’t remember what we did yesterday, much less what significant lesson we were trying to teach our children.

So I created Control, who has no feelings, no gender and no past. This personality was the perfect entity to run a complex household. He/she kept track of holidays (unlike Nancy), car pool schedules, grocery lists, Doctor’s appointments, church responsibilities, cleaning schedules, laundry and meal planning and execution. (I don’t actually execute my meals, I do cook them!)

Control handled all of the above without getting upset. Most of my other personalities can’t do that, because they get upset if there are too many details. They get overloaded and then, wham, they change into someone else!

So that is my excuse for forgetting Multiple Personality Day. I hope you were able to have a nice celebration anyway! Did anyone do anything special?

Dr. Colin Ross explains Multiple Personality Disorder

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them