But doesn’t it seem likely that the self-esteem problems caused by harsh spanking would contribute to a country’s malaise, if it was widespread? I thought that was one argument for why we aren’t supposed to discipline that way, because it just doesn’t make for healthy adults – wouldn’t a lot of unhealthy adults lead to an unhealthy nation?
I’m not talking about outright abuse per se, because I know that does cross socio-economic lines. Seems like there are probably limits even in places where spankings and beatings are common.
Or maybe I’m just thinking of a stereotype, poor parents screaming and yelling (and hitting) in an out-of-control manner, while wealthy parents have nannies to help with the kids so they don’t lose it and can stay calm.
Because what keeps me calm with my children isn’t that I’m a better person or anything; it’s just having the time and money to deal with my kids’ misbehavior (and a value system that says I need to do so calmly).
Like yesterday, when my son pitched a fit in a store. If I was a working mother who didn’t have time to deal with it because I had to be somewhere or get fired, I bet I would be more likely to use a discipline shortcut, i.e. a smack, to get him to comply. But because we didn’t have to be anywhere, I could just out-wait his fit, calmly. The pressure’s off me.
I dunno, I just wonder.
Funny coincidence, last night I was talking to a friend about some parenting classes she’s teaching. I believe it’s part of a University research project - my friend is part of a group reaching out to Spanish-speaking families to offer alternatives to spanking. And it’s a whole program, not just “Hey, don’t hit your kid”; it’s a set of practices. So she and I got to talking about it, and apparently parents in Puerto Rico hit their children a lot.