Before you get started reading, take a look at the video below.
The video features a woman who calls herself “Carmel Kitten.” She’s developed something of an internet following among urban men because of the way she performs a mostly-urban club dance called “The Twerk.” As you might have guessed, “Twerking” encompasses a woman suggestively moving her backside in a manner that mimics sexual gyrations. Apparently, this dance trend (and those women who perform it with the most sexually suggestive movements) has developed a cult-like following among urban youth and young adults. The above video featuring “Carmel Kitten” demonstrates how, and to what lengths some women will go to debase themselves in an effort to gain a sense of notoriety and recognition performing this dance (I guess it never occurred to her while she was in the library to pick up a book as she was demonstrating how tactless and classless she was showing herself to be).
Also—as you might have guessed—many of those who either like this particular dance or routinely objectify (i.e., sexually) the women who perform it see nothing wrong with doing either. However, there are some parents who find the dance so sexually suggestive and self-debasing that they are willing to do whatever it takes to instill in their children how unacceptable it is. Enter, Greg Horn of Dayton, Ohio. The 35-year-old father of two teenage girls rose to semi-notoriety—or rather infamy in some circles—this week when a video of surfaced online of his reaction to his daughters posting a video of themselves twerking on their Facebook pages. The video has since gone viral, and has been seen by more than 2 million people (LiveLeak.com). According to reports, Horn had instructed his 12 and 14-year old daughters to line up in against a wall (not shown) and began to whip them with a piece of a cable television cord. For some, the video of the father’s choice in disciplining his daughters for their actions elicited calls for his head on a platter for his act of brutality ("UPDATE: Ohio Dad Seen Whipping Daughters in Viral Video is Arrested"). Other applauded the father’s actions. The video is posted below (WARNING: Some might find this video disturbing).
In the video, the teenage girls were heard pleading with their father, crying and apologizing to her father, “I’m sorry daddy!” The video was apparently taped by the mother of the teenage girls. Their mother alerted the local police to the incident, and to the existence of the video. Horn was subsequently arrested, and has been charged with child endangerment and corporal punishment, authorities said on Thursday
Granted, the father got a little carried away, the daughters were way out of line too. And with all due respect to those who don’t agree with spanking as an accepted disciplinary measure for unruly children, it’s a sure bet that the father of these two young girls was thinking his daughters might be perceived as being the next “Carmel Kitten” when he opted to whip them. More so, one would think that given the negative image and notorious reputation that black males have for being deadbeat dads and/or absent fathers that his obligation to discipline his children as he saw fit would be applauded by more individuals.
The truth of the matter is that spanking is perceived far different and with more acceptance within the black community than among other ethnic communities in America, so there is clearly a cultural element at work here when a father chooses to discipline his children in such a manner. Statistics bear this out; 85% of black men “endorse spanking” (“Attitudes Toward Spanking”). Being an African-American male myself, this is a reality that I can attest to. In fact, as a Generation-Xer, most everyone I knew received spankings/whippings for bad behavior; “beatings” were reserved for the most egregious of behavioral transgressions. The same holds true for many, if not most Baby Boomers before us. These groups include most of the people who run this country—legislators at the state and federal levels, judges, Fortune 500 CEOs, and a host of other policy makers. What’s more, many adults (around my age or older) who were spanked as children often defend the practice. Many will tell you that they suffered no long-term negative effects, and agree that in many cases, spanking was needed. For the most part, very few instances of what we endured as a generation could be construed as “abuse” (ignoring the fact that in today’s often unforgivably soft social climate, nearly anything constitutes “abuse” to a child).
Most of us adults come from a generation of kids who received direct parenting, and were spanked when it was needed (and yes, for some of it it was needed). We were seldomly ever "abused" (I say this lightly because of what constitutes "abuse" today by those irresponsibly dedicated to a child's welfare). What's interesting is that kids today, who are part of the "time out" generation, seem the most undisciplined and most disrespectful. There are more apt to engage in actions and behaviors that those of us from previous generations wouldn't even dream of.
2 Washington 5th Graders to Stand Trial for Rape and Murder Conspiracy") There is nothing wrong or "harmful" with a good swat on the butt to let a child know who is in charge.
In fact, and at the risk of sounding anecdotal, during my years as a youth counselor, case manager, and teacher, I have seen dozens upon dozens of bad parents—more than I thought were around—who were and are a lot more effective in hurting, abusing and scarring their children emotionally and psychologically than parents who engaged in whipping them (and yes, the overwhelming majority of my cases were those who didn’t spank/whip their children). Spanking, as a supplemental tool under the proper parenting structure shows a child concern by parents…far more than the neglect that I saw witnessed firsthand from parents who not only didn’t spank their children, but engaged in patterns of neglect and emotional abuse that leaves them needing a therapeutic solution to their resulting stunted emotional development than spanking.
My point is that spanking, used in conjunction with direct parenting (that includes talking, listening, showing concern, and being attentive) is just as much—if not more—effective a tool in effective parenting as most of the pseudo-emotional “tools” that New Age overly-liberal child-rearing “experts.” What’s more, used early with direct parenting that includes concern for the child’s welfare, spanking will usually become less needed as a child grows under the proper supervision and concern by a parent. I know this because most of the issues that I dealt with regarding “abuse” were related to emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or just growing up in an environment where the parents were apathetic to the fact that their children had needs beyond simply food, clothing, and shelter. In all my years working with children, I only had a single case where a child experienced physical abuse related to whippings. The opposition I find to cases like the Dayton father all seem to be based on emotional rather rational foundations.
To a reasoned thinker, a rational transaction is that the 30 (or more) seconds an openly disobedient child experiences at the business-end of a hickory switch or belt by a concerned parent is a small price to pay to avoid the far longer-lasting and crippling of their self-esteem and egos caused by debasing themselves as the next “Carmel Kitten” or internet "Jackass" wannabe. Most parents who spank their children do so with the foresight of staving off the potential damage to their children of their life prospects by becoming prosecuted criminals who failed to receive reinforcement of the difference between right, wrong, and knowing their roles as children, not adults.
To those who think is an exaggerated statement, I offer up the following news item from yesterday’s airing from ABC’s “Good Morning America: Weekend Edition.” It showcases the recent arrest of teenagers who carjacked and kidnapped an 86-year-old woman who was simply trying to help them, locking her in the trunk of her own car as they rode around for 2 days. It provides an illustration of how badly young people without direct parenting—and maybe the benefit of occasional spankings—can damage their lives (and others) more than the “abuse” of whippings.
Parents concerned about ensuring that their children grow up to make the right decisions should ask themselves whether or not it is worth the short-term pain a child might feel from a spanking is worth the pain of visiting them in prison or in a cemetery plot. Do we limit our parenting to just "talking" in the hopes that children might understand the verbally-communicated consequences of their actions, or are we up to using whatever it takes to ensure that our children aspire to be the next internet-based, attention-seeking media whore that others will not respect because of the image they chose to project?
It is not society's place to tell another parent how to discipline their children. The fact that there are still parents in America willing to impose a little hurting on their children in order to save them from a great deal of hurt from consequences of unlearned lessons later in life—regardless of how those of us without the brass pair to do the same judge them—should be applauded and lauded, not condemned. For those who fail at least consider the larger picture, a spanking might be the difference between your own grandmother being locked in the trunk of her car or being killed on the spot by an unruly child without guidance.
See also: "To Spank Or Not To Spank? (Hell Yes!)"