I’ve been seeing a very disturbing trend happening on Facebook over the last couple of years. Specifically, this trend of parents posting videos of themselves spanking their children. As celebrated as these videos are by the masses, I frankly have a serious issue with them.
First of all I’m not against spanking. I do believe that not everyone should do it though. Some people can’t control their temper and spanking morphs into something more like child abuse. I think too that many times we spank our children out of anger. After all many people don’t see their children as having any rights at all in the parent-child relationship. So if a child dares to challenge or disrespect our authority then we can, if we aren’t careful, act out of anger seeking to teach the child a lesson. In those instances I think much of what we’re doing is more about punishing or hurting the child for daring to disrespect us or anger us.
But discipline, no matter what kind you choose, should always be done out of a place of love and concern for the child. Discipline should serve to do one thing, in my opinion. That is to teach the child that certain actions in life come with severe consequences.
So this whole thing of posting spankings on Facebook bothers me for several reasons. First of all I think most of the time when this is done it’s done because the parent saw someone else do it. That parent probably got a lot of kudos and was celebrated, got a lot attention, etc. I think that spotlight is at least part of the reason parents do this.
The other reason though, goes back to what I was saying earlier. When you discipline a child, are you doing it out of love to teach them a valuable lesson? Or are you just out to hurt the child? When you go to all the effort it takes to plan a certain time you’re going to spank your child, arrange for a friend or relative to be there to video it, edit it and then post it on Facebook, that suggests to me that you’ve crossed the line from discipline for the sake of love and concern to one of simply trying to hurt and embarrass the child as much as possible by making the spanking as public as possible.
I really take issue with that as well as the celebration of it, frankly. I guess we’re so old that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be young and in school. It’s a very harsh, unforgiving environment. Peer pressure, teasing, bullying and ridicule is so hard on some children that it drives them to suicide. Clearly not many parents are taking the time to consider the likelihood that this could happen to their child as a result of having a video of their parent beating them posted on Facebook.
But for me it goes even deeper than that. To me when a parent decides to video themselves spanking their child and then post it on Facebook, it’s no longer about the child at all. It’s about the parent. It’s a very self-serving, careless thing to do in my opinion and certainly not done out of any real concern for the child. If there were concern, that concern would certainly be enough to stop someone from wanting to publicly ridicule someone they love in the worst way imaginable.