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Is it ok to spank your child?


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#21 Fr Nectarios Trevino

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 10:35 PM

It hurts when one is quoted out of context to attain someone else's preconceived notion. And Rick you have done exactly such by quoting me as saying: "I do not permit such in my presence" to support your argument. Even a half truth is still an untruth. What I wrote was: "And I do not permit such in my presence in my parish." Shame on you.

And the foregoing statement followed the statement about "multiple strikes." Any priest who did not act as a priest and pastorally in the parish for which he has been given responsibility for souls should act to prevent precisely such. And why is that trouble-some to you?...or anyone?

#22 Rick H.

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 12:56 AM

I don't think you have understood anything that I have written Fr. Nectarios. I suggest you read it again. Possibly you should read things here more closely especially before writing such things as shame on you.

As far as the multiple strikes comment above, LOL, again, why do guess this is troubling to me? Forget the parish, forget the 'context' as you say as being "in the parish" . . . if I saw someone abusing or injuring a child anywhere I would intervene. But, again, I would suggest you read things more closely here in order to avoid further confusion.

#23 Fr Nectarios Trevino

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 02:43 PM

There is no confusion here; I read well. I read precisely what you mis-quoted. The facts stand before all to review. The "context" is precisely what I can influence, attempt to control, and bear responsibility for. And beyond that, I pray...and serve God and man the best I can wherever I may be. In my human frailty, I can do no more - except, perhaps, die in doing God's will. I pray He will judge my life in context and have mercy on me.

Context is everything - that is what makes us Orthodox Christians; otherwise we become Protestant, 'cherry-picking' that which serves one's purpose; precisely what you have done. I stand by my "shame on you" - and will pray for you.

What is my background and perspective for saying the foregoing: 22 years as a military officer, two wars, sending people into harms way; a lawyer by education, where precision of law, words, intent, and context are all important; as a professor of leadership; and as a priest responsible for the souls of 500+ people. If you do not subscribe to "context" and "content" and "precision" and "virtues" - then what do you believe that God believes.

I applaud your willingness to intervene irrespective of the environment. I have been in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia - there are many who need your help.

#24 Rick H.

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 03:00 PM

Context is everything . . .




I appreciate you comments about the Middle east, etc., and I like to chase rabbits as much as the next guy, but I guess you know my posts in this thread are in the context of parents spanking their kids (viz. 'Is it okay to spank your child')?

I used an elipsis in my block quote of you above this time, hopefully this keeps me from being charged of 'mis-quoting' you? Thanks for sharing your military career/ background that explains things here very well.

#25 A. Wright

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:13 PM

And, cue rather on topic personal story. :) My mother never really needed to spank me. I was a pretty calm child, and when she told me not to do something, I would stop. (Sometimes I'd ask why, but I was a curious child. :)) Meanwhile, I have a teenaged cousin whom I swear could benefit from going and picking his switch, or a good paddling. As with a lot of things in parenting, it really depends on the child. I don't have children, but just looking at my niece and nephew- they're totally different people. Dear Nephew is very hyper and has to be told to stop numerous times before he does. Dear Niece is much calmer and quieter. As such, Dear Nephew gets swatted more than Dear Niece. His mum and dad do not injure him, but when he does something excedingly dangerous, he gets swatted. Just a couple of random things to add. Continue with your day. :)
In Christ always,
A.

#26 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 05:38 AM

I have spanked my son once, and once I slapped his face. In the first instance I was on my own for the first time in my life and living in a strange, to me, country. In the second instance he did something very wrong and I still believe he deserved the slap. In the first instance however, my nerves were a mess, therefore my reaction to what he had done was at fault, not his deed. Remembering the spanking I still feel a twinge of guilt inside me.

I don't believe that spanking and hitting your children is right. Children are very vulnerable and should be protected. Being protected includes instructing them in the right way to behave. The best way to do this is to set an example.

Having said all that I should say that my mother believed in thoroughly spanking her children .................................. she even used slippers sometimes. I don't think that it traumatized me or my siblings in any way. We were quiet and well-behaved but I don't know whether being disciplined in this way had anything to do with the way we were.


"There has been no official ecclesiastical pronouncement on this matter, but it seems to be a matter of obvious Biblical wisdom that (1) some form of moderate physical discipline is sometimes recommended and called for, but (2) there is a huge difference between "spanking" and violence / physical abuse. Some parents also prefer to resort to non-physical forms of discipline such as "time outs."

The verses to look at are mostly in Proverbs, for instance: Proverbs 13:24 and Proverbs 29:15.

It is interesting to note that "spanking" or corporal punishment has been outlawed in many countries, and that the whole topic has become very sensitive and controversial."

From http://www.orthodoxa...rg/answer/1089/

Proverbs 13-24
He who spares the rod hates his son,
But he who loves him instructs him with care.

Orthodox Study Bible explanation :

The rod is the gentle rod of rebuke, and the father who does not use it hates his own son. But he who loves his son educates him carefully in his natural and God-give virtues.

Proverbs 29-15

Blows and reproofs give wisdom, but a child who goes astray shames his parents.

Edited by Effie Ganatsios, 03 June 2012 - 06:14 AM.


#27 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 05:58 AM

A spanking is not brutally hitting a child all over his body, it is not using something other than your hand, it is not using your full strength on a small, vulnerable body.

When I was at school male teachers in Australia would often discipline boy students using a leather belt. I am truly glad that this is no longer permitted. My husband tells me that when he was at school here in Greece (he is now 73) teachers loved hitting children, usually boys. He just told me that the teacher would ask which student was going to bring a birch rod the next morning to be used for punishment that day, or the teacher would use a ruler, or sometimes, just his hand. The first sounds really strange but he assures me that it is the truth.

What is best? Teachers in Greece are now forbidden to use any form of corporal punishment on their students. A month or so ago, two boys lowered their pants in the schoolroom and showed their genitals to a woman teacher who had previously reprimanded them. She was so shocked she had to leave the room. Unbelievable but true.

#28 Alice

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 10:59 PM

And, cue rather on topic personal story. :) My mother never really needed to spank me. I was a pretty calm child, and when she told me not to do something, I would stop. (Sometimes I'd ask why, but I was a curious child. :)) Meanwhile, I have a teenaged cousin whom I swear could benefit from going and picking his switch, or a good paddling. As with a lot of things in parenting, it really depends on the child. I don't have children, but just looking at my niece and nephew- they're totally different people. Dear Nephew is very hyper and has to be told to stop numerous times before he does. Dear Niece is much calmer and quieter. As such, Dear Nephew gets swatted more than Dear Niece. His mum and dad do not injure him, but when he does something excedingly dangerous, he gets swatted. Just a couple of random things to add. Continue with your day. :)
In Christ always,
A.


Dear A.

You make quite valid points. It really depends on the child...some children just do not listen, especially hyperactive boys!

You sound like you were a really calm child...how wonderful for your parents! :-)

#29 Michael Demin

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 10:47 AM

I'd like to add that one famous priest here in Russia, who often talks about family and education and has a program on TV, several times answered such question in this way: no spanking in anger, no spanking girls, and spanking of boys is allowed only for 12-13 year of age. I may be wrong with the exact age that he mentioned, maybe 11-12, but that was something around this number, i.e. in his opinion, a very narrow gap where it may have a positive effect.

#30 Rick H.

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:45 PM

Aaron,

This is from the link supplied by Effie, this is probably as close to an answer as you will get here to your question about "the Orthodox view . . ." :

There has been no official ecclesiastical pronouncement on this matter, but it seems to be a matter of obvious Biblical wisdom that (1) some form of moderate physical discipline is sometimes recommended and called for, but (2) there is a huge difference between "spanking" and violence / physical abuse. Some parents also prefer to resort to non-physical forms of discipline such as "time outs."



#31 Father David Moser

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 02:30 PM

no spanking girls, and spanking of boys is allowed only for 12-13 year of age. I may be wrong with the exact age that he mentioned, maybe 11-12, but that was something around this number, i.e. in his opinion, a very narrow gap where it may have a positive effect.


I would disagree with this. Corporal punishment is an effective non-verbal means of communicating the undesirable consequences of a behavior and so can be very effective with young children (I'd say when they are toilet trained is a good marker for the how young since that indicates a certain level of control over voluntary behaviors and a capacity for self-denial and delayed gratification). The more reasoning and verbal ability that a child gains the less any form of non-verbal/corporal punishment is needed and the less effective it becomes. I'd say that by the time a child gets to school (about 6 yo) that corporal punishment should become increasingly rare and probably isn't effective at all after 3rd or 4th grade (9-10 yo) and it even becomes counterproductive. At this point other forms of punishment and teaching become much more powerful whereas corporal punishment is seen as "being treated like a child" and thus more likely to induce resentment, anger and rebellion. It might actually be more effective at this point to say to the child - "in the past you would have been spanked for this behavior, but now you are old enough to benefit from the more natural consequences of your behavior as a punishment" This will bring out the desire of the child to fulfill the "adult expectations" and so make it more likely that the learning of new behaviors will be pushed by a positive motivation.

Fr David Moser

#32 George Y

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:09 PM

I grew up very afraid of my father. In fact, everyone is afraid of my father, including my friends who are grown men. It's like wandering into the lion pen at the zoo. They freeze when they make eye contact and try to back away slowly.

All he needed was one look and I knew to stop whatever it was that I was doing, no matter how much fun I was having. I'm not sure how he instills this fear in everyone, but I wish I inherited his ability.

I see the decline in the moral fiber of children because they have no fear of their parents who are impotent to discipline their children. Few people have the ability to make someone's blood run cold with a look. I know I don't. I've helped my sisters with my nephews over the years. Their "no contact" parenting resulted in very rebellious and destructive behavior. My tactic is to point out the consequences of their actions, because they are children and most adults these days seem to lack this foresight.

When my nephew threatened to run away because his parents wouldn't give him money for a new video game, I told him I would give him a ride downtown so he wouldn't need to walk. I drove him to a very seedy part of town filled with vagrants and junkies. I told him I thought running away was a great idea -- it would be an adventure, like camping except he would need to avoid rapists instead of bears. I found vagrant who was rummaging through trash and said to my nephew, "Oh cool, it looks like he found part of a burger! Let's ask him if he'll share some with you. I'll just leave you here and maybe you guys will become buddies. Well, if he doesn't kill you for your shoes."

I know it was wrong to use others' misfortunes in this way, but my nephew never threatened to run away again. How else can you deal with these situations without hitting the child?

#33 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 06:01 AM

George I like the method you employed with your nephew. Our children grow up in a priviliged atmosphere and have little self respect. "Things" are more important to them than their families and their values. Your nephew obviously realized how fortunate he was. In every case of undisciplined behaviour, I believe that parents are to blame because they give their children everything material but have no time to be an example to them.

I don't however agree with your comments concerning your father. Fear is not a substitute for respect.

My mother physically disciplined all 5 of her children. I didn't. The difference of course might be that she had 5 children and I had only one son. I spanked him once and I slapped him once. My nerves were to blame for the spanking and he was to blame for the slap. I really can't see that my brother and sisters are any better or worse than my son. He is a good, hardworking man, just like his father. His father - who incidentally has never disciplined him in this way - is his role model. He was and is an example of what a man should be. The only difference is that my husband is deeply religious and my son isn't. But I leave that in God's hands. He will know when my son will be ready for Him.

Respect and not fear is what we should feel for our parents.

#34 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 01:19 PM

Methods of discipline vary by culture. How North Americans used to and presently discipline their children is different for example from Russians.

The essential point though for Orthodox Christians should be about authority in discipline and what this means. For this is the constant that should remain even if the methods vary.

As a priest I can say that it is the loss of authority in those who have responsibility for others ( to the point of being apologetic to the child about this) which does the most damage to children. It is like watching jelly which needs a setting agent like rennet but doesn't receive it. It is quite clear when this occurs that the person is unstable & unformed in some way. And in little children it is most evident in how chaotic their behaviour is as if before coming to church they had drunk five cups of strong coffee.

When authority then was thrown overboard by our culture this was done in order to achieve a certain image of people which we hoped to instill in children. The question though has not been asked of how much stability- psychologically, morally, and spiritually- we deprive the child of when we do this. Again it's like pouring jelly into a bowl and not putting in the rennet. The jelly appears to be jelly because it shakes and reacts in the bowel according to whatever goes on around it; but because it never sets it lacks something essential to what jelly actually is.

Authority then provided in an Orthodox sense gives something crucial to life. It helps children 'set' properly. It guides adults and lets them know you care for them by providing them a confident direction that is not your truth but Christ's.

Evidently then it is this last point which our culture presently teaches us to feel so guilty about (that there is really such a thing as truth that needs to be presented clearly in the first place) that is largely at issue.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#35 Dimitrios Drougas

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:21 AM

Yes. When you see them do something bad, discipline them accordingly to what they have done. You should never bash a child, that is disgracefull and is a sign of extremely poor parenting. An occasional smack will do no harm at all for insolence.
If you do not see the error, but are told by say, another child, then talk to them about it in a firm but loving manner.

#36 Dan L.

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:25 PM

I was spanked quite regularly as a child. I never thought it was that big of a deal as far as damaging my psyche except for a few times when I was disciplined unjustly. I now have two daughters of my own, ages 4 and 6. I attempted a few times to spank them, but I quickly learned that there are so many more effective ways of instructing my children to do what is right that spanking just seems like a waste of time. I have nothing against it per se, but I have never found a situation where there was not a better method of discipline/instruction. I'm suppose that certain children may thrive under that sort of discipline, but I personally have not met any.

#37 Nina

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 01:50 AM

"We chastise our children, but we really have no right to do so, because we have failed to teach them the proper way... There is no other way but the way of love...we can improve our life and the lives of those close to us with our thoughts. It is my wish that you succeed in this." ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

#38 Zakharia

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:59 AM

I have three small children. One is four, one is two and one is a month old. It seems that the older two have inherited my stubbornness and spanking actually rarely works. Time-outs help on occasion, but I don't really have any clue how to discipline them effectively.


They just take the spanking and then wait til I am not looking to do the wrong thing again, or wait through the time-out. I have very difficult children, and I wonder if it is because they are so young that I can't reason with them yet or if I am just failing them.

#39 Nina

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:59 AM

I have three small children. One is four, one is two and one is a month old. It seems that the older two have inherited my stubbornness and spanking actually rarely works. Time-outs help on occasion, but I don't really have any clue how to discipline them effectively.


They just take the spanking and then wait til I am not looking to do the wrong thing again, or wait through the time-out. I have very difficult children, and I wonder if it is because they are so young that I can't reason with them yet or if I am just failing them.



You are not failing them, and they are not difficult. View them as the gift of God. Think how many people can not and do not have children and you will endure if you think they are being difficult. We were all children and I am sure were difficult at some point or another. I am still lol :)

#40 Anna Stickles

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

If we receive crowns of martyrdom at the marraige ceremony inidicating the what is called for in our marriage, then this is multiplied when we children. I have 6 children. The oldest is 21 now and the youngest 8 but I remember when the first three were the ages yours are now and far and away this was the most difficult period. The attentiveness and patience and emotional control on the part of the parents required is a lot. But we just have to keep praying for them and putting ourselves and our children in God's hands.




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