When does spanking/impatience/harshness with a child become grave sin?
#1
For example, say your child is being disobedient, and won't get ready for Mass or school or something else, and you're trying to get them to listen, is a spank on the bum OK?
Obviously, any desire to hurt or inflict actual pain upon a child is a serious matter. (Correct me if that's inaccurate). I also don't believe in sending a child "to their room" for an indefinite period as if they're in some sort of prison. "Time out", sure, but usually for only a few minutes. And then followed-up by some dialogue about how we love him, and that we just want to make sure he's being the best boy he can be.
But, if it's just to more or less startle the child into listening, is that morally acceptable?

The problem I have with it -- and this is purely subjective -- is that it seems contrary -- when I do it at least -- to charity.
I can't help but feel that I've at least committed a venial sin when I'm impatient with my son, or, when there's serious disobedience (e.g. Physically controlling him by taking him firmly by the hand or arm, or by a spank on the bum, etc).
Usually once I do it, I'll follow up a few minutes that I'm sorry I had to do that, and I love him, but it's very important to be obedient when Mommy or Daddy ask him to do something good.

Let me be clear: I find physically harming a child to be utterly abhorrent, and, if it's bad enough, should no doubt be reported to the authorities.

But when does spanking/harsh discipline turn into grave sin?
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#2
I don't see how spanking a kid for being unruly is sinful.
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#3
(11-15-2019, 09:19 AM)FultonFan Wrote: For example, say your child is being disobedient, and won't get ready for Mass or school or something else, and you're trying to get them to listen, is a spank on the bum OK?
Obviously, any desire to hurt or inflict actual pain upon a child is a serious matter. (Correct me if that's inaccurate). I also don't believe in sending a child "to their room" for an indefinite period as if they're in some sort of prison. "Time out", sure, but usually for only a few minutes. And then followed-up by some dialogue about how we love him, and that we just want to make sure he's being the best boy he can be.
But, if it's just to more or less startle the child into listening, is that morally acceptable?

The problem I have with it -- and this is purely subjective -- is that it seems contrary -- when I do it at least -- to charity.
I can't help but feel that I've at least committed a venial sin when I'm impatient with my son, or, when there's serious disobedience (e.g. Physically controlling him by taking him firmly by the hand or arm, or by a spank on the bum, etc).
Usually once I do it, I'll follow up a few minutes that I'm sorry I had to do that, and I love him, but it's very important to be obedient when Mommy or Daddy ask him to do something good.

Let me be clear: I find physically harming a child to be utterly abhorrent, and, if it's bad enough, should no doubt be reported to the authorities.

But when does spanking/harsh discipline turn into grave sin?

When the punishment hurts them more than it hurts you. 

Clearly I'm being a bit silly. Wanting to cause pain and pain being necessary are very different. This surely is a sliding scale that depends on the child in question, the child's age and the issue. Having more than one child in the mix impacts that too, if A sees B getting a light punishment not only is B likely to do whatever again A may well do it also.

Here's one to look at: My wife received a call last week that our youngest (13 year old boy) got detention because his teacher was trying to restore order in the classroom and told everyone to sit down and be quiet... my own flesh and blood said "no, you". I don't know who was more stunned, my wife or his older siblings. He's past the age that we've ever spanked by several years but this is so far beyond what's ever been considered acceptable in our family that I briefly considered it. I didn't spank him because he'd get over it too fast. He's grounded until Thanksgiving, no electronic entertainments and he has to write an apology to his teacher and his mother (for making it look like we're raising feral fruitbats).

There's the problem with corporal punishment, eventually you're going to have to resort to stocks and public flogging. Keep in mind that until a person is about 25 he's biologically insane.
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#4
Spanking on impulse or out of anger is probably abusive. That being said, some kids need additional incentive to obey your rules, which should be judicious and consistent. I spanked my kids when they were young and weren't too adept at reason. It was infrequent and deliberate, usually after a brief calming down period, for both me and them. When they got old enough to be able to reason things out, I stopped spanking them, around 8 or 9 years old. It wasn't necessary after that.

I don't think it's sinful to discipline your children, in fact I think it's a sin not to. You just have to make sure you're doing it for their their good and not to appease your own anger. Willing the good for their sake, so to speak.
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#5
Different forms of discipline work for different children.
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One grandson, all we had to do was look at him crossways and he settled down and did what he was supposed to do.  He was not necessarily cheerful doing it, but "it" got done.  Time outs can work for this guy.
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Another grandson wasn't phased by anything, including spanking.  So, since spanking was ineffective, no spanking.  What works for him?  If he doesn't do what he is supposed to do he can lose TV for the day (they get 1 hour a day on school days), he can lose video games for a day(again, 1 hour max a day, approved games only) or, for him, we walk away from him, we isolate him, we don't interact with him - works like a charm and for some reason, he feels like he is a big boy now.  This child is quite headstrong, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing, you just have to find what works for each child.  Time outs are ineffective, walking away does.
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I don't believe in spanking young children because they just don't understand.  Then, when they get to be older, about 3, a single soft pat on the bum for dangerous behavior only, and only if telling them no, showing them why something is dangerous, lots of distraction,  etc doesn't work. This is only if they continue to do the same dangerous thing over and over (like climbing over the porch railing ). Some children are easy and reasonable, some children are headstrong and defiant and a big part of your job when they are young is to keep them safe.
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#6
Don't spank when angry, that's key. In general, if the child's reached the age of about 4 ro 5, (my opinion) taking away privileges is far more effective. Punishment should never be done in anger. If you're angry, tell the kidd to go to their room, then work on cooling down yourself. When you're calm, that's when you discipline and always from the standpoint that it's because you have an obligation to do so--before God--in order to show the kid what's right and good.
Oh my Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.--Fr Dolindo Ruotolo

Persevere..Eucharist, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Confession. You will win.
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#7
(11-15-2019, 07:54 PM)JacafamalaRedux Wrote: Don't spank when angry, that's key. In general, if the child's reached the age of about 4 ro 5, (my opinion) taking away privileges is far more effective. Punishment should never be done in anger. If you're angry, tell the kidd to go to their room, then work on cooling down yourself. When you're calm, that's when you discipline and always from the standpoint that it's because you have an obligation to do so--before God--in order to show the kid what's right and good.

There's something we should be aware of, with children who don't have the use of reason (and in some respects we're talking about everyone under 25) the more time that passes between the act and the consequence the less effect the punishment has and the more severe it must be in order to be of any use. We're a lot like dogs in this respect, there's about 3 seconds to take corrective action before you have to escalate the severity in order to maintain a connection between the bad behavior and the punishment. If a couple of minutes have passed the only connection the punishment will have is to you. Whatever else that may be, it's our biology and psychology, both of which come from God.
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