Hitting children doesn’t teach discipline; stop doing it

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Recently, in South Africa, a court ruled that it is now illegal for parents to hit their children. Apparently, a father disciplined his child after catching him watch pornography on their tablet. Is this ruling fair? Should parents be allowed to hit children? Let’s get into it.

Conversation surrounding the story and the comments underneath this thread, as expected, revealed how much the black community believes in hitting children. I happen to disagree with this as it does not teach discipline – it actually teaches the opposite.

I grew up in a household where I was beaten many, many, many, (did I say many?) many times. I was what some would call a “bad” kid. Hardly, if you ask me – more like misunderstood. And I think many children are misunderstood.

I think adults don’t take the time to understand kids. They don’t sit down and have enough real conversations with them. It’s always a parent-child interaction and never an eye to eye interaction.

In some ways, I’m thankful for those beatings, or floggings as my father would call them and how it is quoted in the Holy Bible. But I don’t think they did much good other than to increase the pain tolerance on my bottom. Ha! I still did the things that I was beaten for, so what good was it?

This method of “discipline” is a pattern passed down from one generation to the next. My mother and father were beaten, their parents as well and so on. Some would argue that this is learned behavior from slavery when the master would beat the slaves. I can see that. Either way, it is learned.

But is it right? No. And is it effective? I think not.

I believe it teaches people at an early age that hitting is okay. That when you’re mad at someone, the solution is violence. I’m sure domestic violence can be attributed somewhat to being beaten as a child and accepting abuse is learned in adolescence as well.

It’s probably why there’s so much violence in the black community today. I’ve observed black women, and this is no diss to them, but they seem to be the most violent toward children. At least, in poor neighborhoods or “the hood”. They yell at kids and hit them consistently.

Black Mothers

I watched a mother and daughter this summer at a hotel where the child was rocking back and forth on a chair. The mother told the child to stop, albeit not that sternly, so the child kept rocking. When the child finally fell, the mother smacked the child on the arm.

To me, this is a child being a child. Black parents consistently restrict their ability to explore. Black mothers say to a child, don’t do this, don’t touch that, sit still. All of these things prevent a child from exploring which curbs learning. Then you wonder why they end up with low intelligence or acting out in adulthood when they finally have freedom.

That little girl that fell is my cousin. When interacting with her I noticed something. Love and affection were foreign to her and she was violent. When I went to hug her she looked at me funny or when I spoke softly and asked her questions she looked at me funny. It’s as if no one ever cared about her as a person. She’s used to be talked down to.

I could tell it intrigued her. When I first went to approach her, her first reaction was to raise her hand to hit. I didn’t tell her “NO, don’t hit!” Instead, I gave her a warm look as if to say, “I just want to love you”. It was all body language. She lowered her hand slowly and gave me a hug. For the duration of our reunion, she would always stare at me. As if I was strange to her. I was different.

I watched the other mothers and grandmothers. They had similar interactions with little girls and boys. Hitting, yelling and screaming. The men were the opposite. Usually more kind and patient. I didn’t see one man hit a child or even raise his voice. The men seemed to enjoy their time with the kids whereas the women looked at the children as if they were a burden. The children took to the men more. (This is not to say that men can’t be or aren’t violent towards children)

Another bad habit within the black community is to call kids “bad”. They’ll say things like, “badass little boy”. The subconscious ramifications are catastrophic. You’re affirming in a child’s mind that they are bad. So, why would they endeavor to be anything more than bad?

I never call my kids bad. I’ve done the opposite and speak highly of them. I call them angels and good kids. Black mothers love to throw their kids under the bus with friends. Talking down on them and speaking down on their mistakes. It’s like the thing to do. This is devastating to a child mentally and emotionally. The one person who’s supposed to have their back just kicked it in.

Stop doing that mothers! Stop gossiping with your friends about your children. Your friends don’t care about your kids. You need to! They may have “bad” kids but you don’t need to make your friends feel better by putting down your own children. Don’t fall for that trap. If your friends can’t enjoy your triumphs because it makes them insecure, they don’t deserve you. Find new ones.

Moving on, I believe that the bass in a man’s voice can make children listen more consistently but I think it’s beyond that. I do believe it has much to do with patience and caring. I think the women spend more time with the children which drains their patience. Also, I’d like to add that these are southern or southern raised women.

I wonder if 100 years ago the blacks of the north raised their children with more patience and less violence than the blacks of the south. Surely, the southern blacks learned their behavior from the uncivilized rednecks and slavery. But were the northerners much different? I don’t know but I would assume so.

Children in the hood

When you look at children in “the hood” they have adapted to violence. It’s almost a prerequisite to be able to fight. If you can’t fight, you’re not respected and will be abused. The physical violence is bad but the verbal violence disturbs my soul. The way we speak to each other is so abrasive.

You have to be quick and witty to survive. Love will get you killed – and I mean that metaphorically. Love or kindness is looked at as a sign of weakness. The black human in “the hood” has devolved and become animalistic. Fighting for survival instead of inventing and creating.

At any given moment you have to be ready to bite someone’s head off because, during the course of the day, someone’s going to try to bite yours off.

I believe all of this starts with the parenting – the environment. When all a child observes is this unrefined behavior they mimic and adapt. There are no manners.

My kids

People ask me how I raised such well-mannered children and my response is “I treat them like adults.”

When my son does something absolutely silly or ridiculous, I don’t give him a mean or angry look. I look at him like I’d look at someone my age that just did something stupid. He smiles, realizes that it was wrong and the lesson is learned. No crying, no yelling, no hitting.

When we go to the store, and he starts touching stuff and acting crazy I don’t tell him he’s wrong and say no. I simply mimic him in an exaggerating way. He laughs, his siblings laugh, mom laughs and I laugh. He sees how ridiculous he looks and stops. Everyone has fun and he learned his lesson. The behavior immediately stops and no one got hurt. Instead, we all got a good laugh.

Now, there are times where you have to discipline your children. But hitting is not one of my methods. Instead, I like to resort to something more refined – passive isometrics. Isometrics is the kind of exercise where one holds still in a certain position for a period of time. Yoga is one form. It hurts like hell after a few minutes.

I’ve martial arts background so I know the many ways that we were taught discipline, so instead of hitting, I use these. One is the horse stance. This is going to burn the hell out of your legs.

horse stance

The other is the plank. Everyone knows how much a plank hurts if you’ve ever done them. But the one that really burns is making the child hold their arms out to the side. This alone with make a child scream and cry as if they were being beaten. And the next day, they feel it too. A reminder!

This is how I discipline my children and it works. When I tell them to do something, then later they defy that order, it’s isometrics time. After the second time caught, the behavior completely disappears. This actually teaches discipline where hitting does not.

There are added benefits. One, the child will be in better shape. Childhood obesity is out of control! Kids don’t get nearly enough exercise. Exercise is boring and hard which becomes a great way discipline to discipline children.

childhood obesity statistics

The second benefit is learning stillness. The child must learn how to deal with the pain mentally through the acquired skill of stillness. This serves as a form of meditation. I have twin boys, and the last time I disciplined them, one of them closed his eyes and zoned out. I thought to myself “damn, if he masters meditation to get over the pain, how will I discipline him then?” 😂

I was supremely proud to seem him enter meditation all on his own. This is a valuable lesson which will carry him throughout life. When life gets tough, meditate. This is a lesson we all need to adopt.

Final Thoughts

Hitting doesn’t teach discipline. I believe that if you need to hit then you are not using your intelligence or creativity. Sometimes I don’t discipline my children right away. I’ll wait a whole week to come up with a viable solution. Often, we discipline immediately as an emotional reaction but emotional reactions are usually the wrong reaction and are not proactive at all.

Do children need a bop on their head like Rafiki did to Simba? Yes. On rare occasions, a pinch or two to get the point across may be needed. Am I contradicting myself? Perhaps. But I don’t think we need to full out beat a child with objects like belts, shoes, and switches. That’s abuse if you ask me.

rafiki hitting simba

Let’s be more refined in the way we speak to each other. Each mother-father interaction is observed by the children. Often the bad behavior a child exhibit was learned by you two. I’m very mindful of how I speak to their mother and try my hardest to use refined language and not to yell. Am I perfect? No. But I try my best.

The best way to teach a child is by example. Be what you want your child to be and they will be that. Too often parents ask of their children what the adult themselves are not capable of. I believe it all starts with self. Make a better you and you’ll make better children.

The black community must unlearn this behavior if they want to start raising a productive society. Upper echlon people act accordingly. Hitting is not upper echelon. It’s barbaric. Be a more refined people.

Please share in the comments below other ways to discipline children.

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“The price of knowledge is pain”- author unknown.
That being said, corporal punishment works for some, when it’s clear it’s a consequence, and performed in a calm, measured manner, sans anger, with clear warnings…not “beatings”, like we got.

I also wanted to applaud and thank you guys for a refreshing take on things. I’m white, and aside from briefly(measured in weeks) trying racism on as an adolescent, I’ve always let a person’s character speak for them. Born & raised in the South, to an underage, unwed mother. God knows I could have easily been a racist chucklehead. Fortunately, my mother never taught me to be racist, and never let me believe I was stupid. Anyway, I wanted to say thanks, because after devouring your articles, I feel vindicated. Even though I live by the golden rule, I was actually beginning to buy the leftist rhetoric and question myself. I started to wonder if my ideal that everybody should do for themselves was wrong. I possibly was about to ruin all the brain power I used to come to terms with a statement I was told once…”You are exactly where you want to be in life”. Anyway, you have reaffirmed my faith that a person should be held accountable for their actions, and never be denigrated for pride in standing on one’s own feet, or expecting the same of any other capable person. I wish you all success in prying your kin out of the iron grip of the leftist trap. Good hunting to you.

This thinking is why a few generations back crime was a fraction, kids feared being disobedient or disrespectful to their parents, and children became mature productive adults much soooner.

Can’t argue facts. Welcome to contributing to the problem.

Interesting article, something that is quite controversial especially in right wing is being against beating children as the default corrective punishment, how many times i’ve heard “yeah i’ve have been beaten many times when I was a bad kid”, well so do I, but the thing is that, if you have been beaten many times, it’s likely that you had repeated the same wrong thing two-three-four times, meaning that it’s only a temporal solution or doesn’t even work at all, in my case, it was bad grades, and started to get good ones not because of the beatings, but because I finally snapped out that I should have done at least the minimum to get decent grades since the beginning.

Kids obviously doesn’t have fully developed senses, but they are doing something because they are curious and it’s likely the first time or they weren’t even warned-punished until sometime, the kid from first paragraph could have just discovered what was porn and the father already gave a unecessary punishment.

Good article. And i love the idea of passive isometric punishments.

My only issue is the idea of waiting long periods of time before implementing punishments. While I understand the intent of not acting out in immediate anger or frustration, I do think it’s important that the punishment quickly follow the infraction. Children do not have fully developed brains, and as such, long term thinking is more difficult for them. Imagine seeing your dog pee on the carpet and waiting a week to say “Bad dog.” The dog would have no idea what you’re talking about and would be utterly confused as to why he’s getting punished. By implementing the punishment directly after the infringement you create a clearer link in the mind of the child between the bad behavior and the negative consequence. So yes, let’s make sure we’re not punishing out of anger, but let’s also make sure we make the connection between action and consequence as clear and direct as we can.

Waiting long periods has advantages but not the go to every single event.

Did you just compare kids to dogs? No, you can’t do that. The intelligence level isn’t equal.

I wait long periods before my kids even know they made an infraction. Then I surprise them when they least expect it. The shock element is very effective.