January 04, 2008

Parental Spanking

During my daily commute aboard my favourite form of mass entertainment, the SkyTrain, I witnessed a spanking incident between a woman and what I assumed to be her son. There are poles placed at strategic locations throughout the train compartment so that standees may grab hold of them for support during their arduous journey. The child, full of youthful enthusiasm, was using one of these aforementioned poles as a piece of gymnastic equipment, propelling himself around them at greater and greater speeds. While the train was stopped at a station, the boy almost launched himself through the open doors. After each rotation around the pole, the child was told to stop and sit down by the mother, who was getting angrier and louder with each gyration.

As the boy's behavior did not change with repeated warnings, he was given a light smack across his bottom by the frustrated mother. "Stop, you can't do that in front of everyone!" yelped the whippersnapper. "I just did" replied the mother, "That will teach you not to jump around all over the place".

After this comment, the boy went into a frenzy, his pace increasing as he pulled off various acrobatic moves. The mother, face red, yelled "That's it! No McDonald's for you today!".

"Noooooooo!" shrieked the boy, as he simultaneously ceased rotating. "Why???"

"Because" the mother responded.

"Because is not an answer!"

"Because I told you so! Because I asked you to sit down but you wouldn't and now you're talking back."

"Uhhuhuhuhuhuhhhhhhhhhhhh" bawled the boy.

Five minutes of uncomfortable silence followed until the pair got off the train. An "I'm sorry" whimper and a "So am I" response was overheard by some passengers as they exited. In the meantime, I was trying to recollect the exact details of the Guidelines for Parental Use of Disciplinary Spanking that I had read. This useful document had been published by the American College of Pediatricians. Conditions included:

(a) Spanking should be used selectively for clear, deliberate misbehavior, particularly that which arises from a child's persistent defiance of a parent's instruction.

(b) Spanking should always be a planned action (not a reaction) by the parent and should follow a deliberate procedure.

(c) Spanking should always be administered in private (bedroom or restroom) to avoid public humiliation or embarrassment.

(d) Spanking should leave only transient redness of the skin and should not cause physical injury.

(e) If properly administered spankings are ineffective, other disciplinary responses should be tried again rather than increasing the intensity of spankings.

Condition (a) was followed by the mother, although the child was given no prior spanking alert before impact was made. This leads me to conclude that condition (b) was not met and that the mother had lost her cool when she had applied corporal punishment to the rear of her son. Condition (c) was definitely not met! Although I did not inspect the boy very closely, condition (d) appears to have been met. The mother stopped at one disciplinary spank and used the McDonald's maneuver thereafter, as the boy had become enraged at the public punishment and taken his misbehavior into the next level, so condition (e) was met also.

Overall Spanking Score: 3/5