Domestic Abuse and Corporal Punishment

September 22, 2014

Communities and governments don't raise kids, parents do. I am disturbed that Adrian Peterson was charged with felony child abuse because some marks appeared on his child's legs from a branch that was used to discipline him. I got my butt tore up as a kid and on some occasions the belt would incidentally leave marks and small cuts on my butt or my legs. I did not feel like I was abused or my parents didn't love me. I got hurt much worse playing outside with my friends and don't feel some minor scratches and cuts from getting my butt whipped had any real impact at all. I guarantee that there are many adults, young and old, in our society who had their butt whipped with a belt or switch and are no worse off for it because their parents loved them. Every whipping or spanking I received was not only love, but tough love, shown to me from my parents. I am disgusted by the self-righteous media reporting and the semantic dissection of what constitutes, spanking, whipping or abuse. What is equally ridiculous is the overly-educated’s gospel-like reliance on so-called psychological studies that shows that spanking and whipping is not an effective means of discipline and teaching and that it teaches a child violence. I beg to differ --- It was extremely effective. I would venture to say that there are literally millions of Americans, Black, White, and Hispanic who received discipline via spanking or whipping who are not violent and don't support the conclusions found by most of these studies.

 

Human beings are far too complex creatures to segregate the effects of parental discipline into one size fits all psychological box. All of these studies are anecdotal in nature and can't effectively measure the love variable when this type of discipline is administered by hundreds of millions of parents past and present. Belt discipline, administered with love was a consistent part of my entire childhood --- I have no doubt that my mother and father loved me. I am not naive to believe that there are not parents out there that abuse their children, like breaking an arm, punching, slapping their children or verbally thrashing a child unmercifully. In those situations love clearly is not present. I am not a proponent of slapping children in the face. The debate around corporal punishment revolves around personal, subjective views and perceptions, many times based on one's upbringing.

 

I give most parents, including Adrian Peterson, the benefit of the doubt that they love their children even though they spank or whip them. Just like some adults learn lessons by different types of pain and consequences, so do children. I remember on numerous occasions my mother giving me a few whacks on my butt when I would see a very small piece of paper on the floor and would walk past it without picking it up.  She was trying to teach me attention to detail and to correct a wrong that was within my power to change. You may not agree with her disciplinary method, but it was effective. My mother was a spare the rod, spoil the child parent in accordance with biblical teaching. Of course she did not spank on all occasions but it was a part of her child-rearing philosophy. I would have to conclude that God in his infinite wisdom knows more about child discipline than Joe Psychologist, so I ultimately defer to him.

 

I provided numerous types of parental discipline to my daughter Kea, including whipping her little butt sometimes.  After age 11 or so, she was a well-behaved kid and responded fairly easily to us being disappointed in her when she got out of line.  There are kids who simply don't respond to that type of corrective influence and a belt may be needed to get the message across. Kea is a morally-stout, non-violent law abiding citizen like her father and mother, not to mention an honor student in college. Kea's criminal justice class, which consists of a racial diverse group of 18-25 year olds, discussed Adrian Peterson whipping his son. Many of the students admitted they had been routinely whipped with a switch or belt at a young age and didn't feel that they were abused. A white female student actually mentioned that more kids need that type of discipline. These are non-violent college students with no criminal record. Assertions that loving parents using corporal punishment teaches children violence is simply not valid. To the self-righteous parents out there who somehow think they love their kids more or are smarter than the millions of parents who use corporal punishment, you are shortsighted. There are millions of successful, law abiding people, including leaders of countries, doctors, judges, lawyers, police officers, philanthropists, humanitarians and more who received corporal punishment. To equate Peterson to Ray Rice's gross domestic abuse of knocking his wife out cold is utter nonsense and epic overreach by some media organizations. What is also overreach is the premature feeding frenzy for Goodell's resignation by the National Organization for Women and others.

 

I have zero-sympathy for Ray Rice's current plight of losing his job and endorsements after delivering a Tyson-esque knockout punch to his then fiancée and now wife Janay. This absolutely barbaric conduct and violence against a woman he claims to love and has borne his child is worthy of the punishment he is receiving. Rice appears to be in denial of how reprehensible and gross his conduct is. He knocked his wife unconscious and casually dragged her from a hotel elevator without showing any feeling of desperation or regret. Rice's continued lack of sincere contrition has caused the public and NFL to circle the wagons of criticism against him. However, Roger Goodell did not knock out his wife or condone violence against women, making this witch-hunt for his resignation completely unwarranted and dead wrong. Those who reason that his lenient suspension is an implicit approval of domestic abuse is unfair. 

 

Goodell is the chief executive for the privately held National Football League, which has broad discretion to punish or not punish Rice in accordance with NFL player misconduct rules. While we can agree that Goodell's discretionary punishment was not stiff enough, we certainly cannot argue that he trumped NFL policy to show favoritism to Rice as there was no mandatory NFL misconduct rules directly related to domestic abuse. Goodell has no legal obligation under state or federal law to act one way or the other. Is any other corporation or business obligated to fire or suspend an employee if they were convicted of domestic abuse? I believe this witch-hunt for Goodell's resignation is self-righteous pandering to public outrage over the video and does a disservice to the women's right's movement. Goodell admitted that he got it wrong, and implemented new NFL disciplinary rules for players who commit acts of domestic violence, yet there still remains a blood thirsty witch-hunt for his job.

 

Given Goodell's history of handing out stiff punishment for misconduct, I have a hard time believing that he is capable of viewing the shocking events on the elevator videotape and not imposing a sanction greater than two games. All we have thus far are parties stating that the tape was sent to league headquarters and Rice's alleged statements that he directly told Goodell he punched Janay, yet no direct proof that Goodell personally viewed the tape. Goodell claims that Rice's version of events were inconsistent with what was on that tape and therefore invalidated the initial two game suspension, warranting a new indefinite suspension. If information surfaces that Goodell lied about viewing the entirety of the tape prior to imposing the two game suspension, then a conversation can start about him resigning. As Adrian Peterson's mom aptly stated, she spanked and whipped her child because she loved him. Let's not confuse administering loving corporal punishment with assaulting a spouse, breaking a child's arm, or shaking a baby to death.

 

 

 

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