Today is National Spank Out Day. EPOCH-USA and the Center for Effective Discipline works toward educating and legislating away physical abuse of children, a.k.a. spanking, corporal punishment, swatting, or whatever term makes easier for so many to justify hitting children. Their website has information about alternatives to hitting children, information related to various religious views, and statistics by state regarding the legality and incidence of hitting children in schools and even daycares. I have a list of links along the right side of my blog to other parenting resources that offer alternatives to hitting (and so much more). There is also a yahoo group/email list run by Pam Sorooshian for parents who want to discuss alternatives to hitting.
My husband could go to jail if he hit me, even if he had "tried everything else" and I "still wouldn't listen!" Why children are not afforded the same protection from abuse that full grown adults are given, why there is not shock and disgust and *rescue* when we encounter a child being hit, is completely beyond my comprehension. And yet...
We went to a children's museum yesterday. My daughter was playing at a water table when a woman came up and hit a toddler 2 or 3 times for climbing on the table (this was the third child I had seen hit in a time span of about 30 minutes). My daughter looked around at me like "Do something!" Do you know what I did? Nothing. I know that what that Mom did is so acceptable in our society that *I* would be the one perceived as stepping out of bounds to intervene; but, by choosing to look the other way, all I did was condone what happened. Here are two articles (that I will certainly be rereading and thinking about) by Jan Hunt of the Natural Child Project: Intervening on Behalf of a Child in a Public Place: Part 1 Is It Our Business, and Intervening on Behalf of a Child in a Public Place: Part 2 What Can We Do.
I do have a story that makes me smile and gives me hope. We have had the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss since Riley was a baby. Near the beginning of the book, there is a part where it says "Some are sad. And some are glad. And some are very, very bad." The illustration on the "very, very bad" page shows a big, angry-looking, red fish hitting at a surprised-looking smaller fish. I had always seen it as an adult fish punishing a "very, very bad" fish until my kids told me one time what they saw in the picture: a big, red, "very, very bad" fish hitting the little fish.