It has been said many times that when a child is acting up all it needs is a good spanking, but is that true?
As a child, I am sure just as many others, I received spankings, even the stereotypical spankings at the Catholic school — not from nuns, however.
It was my vow at some point in elementary or middle school to never do the same thing. My kids or any kid would not receive corporal punishment from me.
But then my sister had my niece and for the first four years of her life, I to my delight had to watch and take care of her often when my sister was busy.
Now, my niece did a few things many would say warranted a tap on the hand or bottom, but initially I would never give in.
Eventually, however, I did give in and one day, I don’t remember the exact date, I gave my niece a spanking.
Every time after that day I would do the same until she listened.
On the inside, I remembered my promise never to do to a child what was done to me, but I just ignored it, as I do many childhood promises.
Eventually my sister told me not to spank my niece anymore and I generally complied, but I would still do it every now and then when I felt it was needed.
Then I went to Rancho Framasa, a Catholic youth camp in Indiana to work during the summer of 2012. My understanding of the treatment of kids would forever change.
This camp had a policy against punishing children in any form, physically or verbally.
At this camp I had all sorts of things I felt deserved to be punished happen to me. Kids spat in my mouth — I’m a germaphobe —, disregarded everything I said at times, fought in front of me and said a few inappropriate things. But I was never to punish them.
It may be a little confusing on how to get children to listen when they are doing wrong and not listening without a good spanking or yelling. This was very confusing for me.
But I remembered what this camp taught me: that children could be reached without punishment through redirection or kindness.
I learned multiple techniques on how to get children to listen in a positive manner for instance, redirection or by just being kind.
When I left the camp I made my promise again but I furthered it: I would never hit or yell at a child again.
I was eager to see if my change would last, and I can say for a whole year I’ve been spanking free.
My niece even threw a baseball at my back one day, and it hurt. But to my amazement the thought of tapping her hand or yelling at her did not even pop into my mind.
Since then, I’ve been a radical opponent of corporal punishment, and it made me cringe when I found out almost half of the states in the U.S. legally allow corporal punishment in public schools.
This is the reason I supported SpankOut day celebrated April 30 to raise awareness on ending corporal punishment of children.
There are many I have spoken to who don’t agree with me, and say my children will walk all over me. However, I firmly believe spanking and yelling at children only teaches them momentary discipline and to obey only when physical punishment comes.
But there are other ways to teach a child to behave that have a lasting impact.
It can be confusing when a parent says do not hit or yell at others but does it to their child and gives the excuse “I brought you into the world,” — a very horrible cliché.
If only I could go back in time and stop myself from ever spanking my niece, but because I cannot, I apologize to her now. Sorry, buddy.
Maybe one day my niece will tell her cousin, my child, how I used to spank her when she was younger, but her cousin will say, “No way, my dad would never do that.”
And future son or daughter, I promise I never will.
Raney Johnson is a sophomore journalism major from Shreveport who serves as multimedia editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to rcj...@latech.edu.