Inflicting sexual pain on children

Massachusetts wants to ban the practice of inflicting sexual pain on children as a form of punishment, but a conservative “pro-family” group is against the ban.

A proposal in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to ban “corporal punishment” would turn good parents into criminals, according to a family advocacy group leader who battled the same idea earlier this year in California.

“This bill equates loving, corrective discipline with hateful, harmful abuse,” said Randy Thomasson, the president of the Campaign for Children and Families. “Just as California’s proposed spanking ban was stopped cold, [Rep. Jay] Kaufman’s bill should be rejected by lawmakers who respect the sanctity of the home.

Now, let’s be clear first of all that spanking is a form of sexual pain. The buttocks are a secondary erogenous zone, a sexual part of the body. If you saw two little league coaches, and one of them had a habit of squeezing the boy’s shoulders while coaching, and the other had a habit of squeezing the boys’ butts while coaching, which one would raise your suspicions? Why is spanking a prominent theme in many pornographic stories and films? Why is a pat on the backside considered anything from flirtatious to sexual harassment? Why do we have so many euphemisms for the bottom/butt/behind/derrière/etc? Because it’s a sexual zone!

Would it be “loving, corrective discipline” to punish your children by clipping painful clothespins to their nipples? Or by whacking them in the groin? Despite traditional and biblical encouragement of the practice, there is no reason to continue punishing our children by inflicting sexual pain on their bodies, especially sexual pain inflicted by their parents! Other methods work better, and don’t saddle kids with the psychological baggage of parental sexual abuse.

For example, there’s the one-two-three method. You tell the child the rules. If the child breaks a rule, you say “That’s one.” If they break it again, you say, “That’s two.” On the third infraction, you say, “That’s three, time out.” Then the child has to sit in the time-out chair for five minutes. Mom and Dad don’t need to get angry, and in fact, it works MUCH better if Mom and Dad don’t express any particular emotion. Mom and Dad are simply there as the referee: it’s the rules that say the child must obey or get a time out.

Sad to say, when I was a Christian, I felt like it was my Christian duty to spank my kids whenever they stood up in defiance of my God-given authority as a father. (I was taught this in Marriage and the Family class at my Christian college, using Dobson’s Dare To Discipline as a textbook.) Fortunately, we had second thoughts about this whole spare-the-rod thing, due to the negative effect it was having on our kids, and switched to the 1-2-3 method early on. My kids are now excellent achievers, and frequently complimented on their good behavior and remarkable maturity.

As a parent and a realist, I strongly urge all moms and dads not to buy into the barbaric and abusive notion that the “proper” way to discipline your kids is to inflict sexual pain on them. Spanking is sexual, inappropriate, unhelpful, and uncivilized. The 1-2-3 method does a much better job of instilling discipline and self-control in your child, not to mention a more mature understanding of the relationship between choices and consequences. And it does it without anger and without sexual abuse.

Please don’t spank.

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