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For those of you with kids, did you use any form of spanking for discipline? Seems nowadays many consider it child abuse to strike a child in any way. No wonder we are so messed up.

-- Luke Juarez (, December 21, 2004



-- Board or belt or shoe or hand or mace (, December 21, 2004.

A good romp on the rear can be a very good thing. "Spare the rod, spoil the child." Lord knows I needed few that I didn't get. Course, my mom used a hair brush on me a few times! And why I always pestered her while she was brushing her hair, I'll never know -- not too smart on my part, I'd say!!

-- Gail (, December 21, 2004.

Once my mother was going on and on about something I had done and I said "Shut Up" She smacked me across the mouth. (Not that hard, I didn't fall down or lose my balance---I was pretty shocked. It was the only time I was ever hit by a parent that I recall.

I was much more fearful of their disaproval. It was worse than a slap.

-- Jim (, December 21, 2004.

There are times when a spanking is necessary for children to get it that what they are doing is wrong. If they don't get it, that wrong will probably grow into something much worse. It is best to get things right as soon as possible. After a certain age, spanking is practically useless and of no consequence. By that time, talking and reasoning may work. But, remember, we were all teenagers at one time. Teenagers generally function to other types of stimuli--harmones and peer pressures.


-- rod (, December 21, 2004.

I think I was about 13 when I got my slap.

-- Jim (, December 21, 2004.

My father used his belt on my brothers and I from time to time. I thought that was terribly unfair at the time, but now I realized that I did deserve it

-- Luke Juarez (, December 22, 2004.


tried it. it never worked. other "painless" punishments, such as banishment to a chair [finger on lip! eyes closed!!] for a set period, are far more effective, imho. that does not mean that parents should be deprived of their right to "reasonable chastisement", no way - it's just our own personal approach. truth is, we're too soft to smack - we spend ages apologising afterwards, undoing the whole experience. horses for courses. kids can learn violence no matter how soft their parents are on them.

-- Ian (, December 22, 2004.

Taking all their toys away, removing TV privelages, or not allowing them to play with friends are also good ones that make a better point than just smacking, imho.

There is a time and place for "corporal" punishment, but I use it sparingly. My intent for discipline is to teach, not just prevent bad behavior. If a smack at the proper time will do it, so be it. But if there is a better way, I'll take that path every time. I just pray for wisdom.

-- Andy S (""), December 22, 2004.

I type for a child neurologist occasionally. He's an old Jewish man, lots of wisdom. One of his recommended methods of discipline (for older kids) is stale-bread-and-lukewarm-water while the rest of the family feasts on the child's favorite meal!

For teenagers, another one is NO LAUNDRY SERVICE. If they want their clothes cleaned, then in the bathtub they go, and no dryer service either; the clothes can 'til dry.

One of my favorites, for the child who refuses to get dressed in the morning for school: Bag up their clothes and they can dress in the car! (Usually just threatening them with this works)


-- Gail (, December 22, 2004.

Good tips all Gail. Thanks!

-- Andy S (""), December 23, 2004.

"...stale-bread-and-lukewarm-water while the rest of the family feasts on the child's favorite meal"

this borders on sadism!

-- Ian (, December 23, 2004.

this borders on sadism! - Ian

How did I miss that one!?

I still do like the "no laundry service" and "get dressed in the car" tips.

-- Andy S (""), December 23, 2004.

Depending on the child's favorite meal, it could be just as much a punishment for the rest of the family.

-- Andy S (""), December 23, 2004.

indeed Andy! that occurred to me too.

-- Ian (, December 23, 2004.

Well, when I worked at the day care, we were always coming up with rather "unique" but probably illegal ideas. Such, as a velcro wall that we could attach the child to!! One teacher in our area did get arrested for duct-taping a 14 year old to his desk! (He later got his job back)

-- Gail (, December 23, 2004.

""Such, as a velcro wall that we could attach the child to!!""


you should write a book!

-- Ian (, December 23, 2004.

Things only get worse, not better.

We are mandated by law not to touch any special ed student who is exhibiting tantrums or the act of fleeing the school. We are not to block their escape, unless physical danger presents itself to the student or others. Well, to me, the mere fact that the child is exhibiting violent behavior and running away is enough to grab the child for his own protection. The law doesn't see it that way. I figure that any person in their right mind would detain the child, even if it means attending inservices for detaining such a child in such a situation.What?! are we supposed to let the child run and then read about his death in the newspaper??


-- rod (, December 23, 2004.

And God forbid a teacher should tell a student about "Jesus"!

-- Gail (, December 23, 2004.


What you are said above, I think is one of a number of conditions that lead me out of my early career in education. I was involved in special ed and it wore me out.

-- Jim (, December 25, 2004.

HI Jim.

I hear you. I've been wanting to leave teaching since 1984. It never seemed like the right time to leave. One of these days I'm gonna be a music teacher. Oh.......sorry, I am a music teacher; I keep forgetting. I've been a "teacher" since 1984. Yikes!!


-- rod (, December 25, 2004.


I began as a speech pathologist in 1978 and continued till the flame went out in 1987. People don't realize how difficult teaching is. All they think about is our "unpaid" summer vacation. During my last years, it was summers off that kept me going. Thats when I knew I had to get out.

I'm sure teaching music (a love we both share) can be rewarding, but no less taxing. Kids can always stay one step ahead. (of where you want them to be)

-- Jim (, December 25, 2004.

I would enjoy teaching if it was subject in which I could challenge the students' minds. I basically slept through high school. Everything was about learning things that were already. I hope you understand what I mean. Though the material covered was challenging as far as, "Argh, I didn't do my homework and have no idea what the teacher is talking about," I didn't feel the need to examine and discover anything. Even Psychology was disappointing in that regard. On the other hand, I was never bored. What about that Bob? He's funny.

-- Luke Juarez (, December 26, 2004.

I've never felt comfortable with one person spanking another person's child. But someone has to do it if the parents aren't going to. It would be awkward but I think society would benefit as a whole if we reinstituted such punishments in the schools.

-- Luke Juarez (, December 26, 2004.

I really never saw spankings or any major corporal punishment in any of my schools growing up in the 60's, I know others did, but I guess I was lucky. Did see a few kids yanked out of line and shaken up a bit. I felt horrible and embarassed if I had to stand out in the hall. Even that meant something.

But we had tremendous respect for our teachers, and the idea of crossing them was almost unthinkable. Our parents would not be at all happy with us if we did. We would never talk back, or make smart remarks. (40 or so years ago)

Today---I think parents have to "really" support the teacher. They have to come to the table with at least an open mind that the teacher is right about the misbehavings of thier children. Unfortunately this view is becoming less and less prevalent

When I was growing up, the parent supported the teacher. The teacher was right and you did what they said.

During my years (the 80's) teaching in the Baltimore City Schools, I saw almost an adversarial relationship begin to develop between mor than a few parents and their children's teachers. "My kid doesn't do that..." etc. Kids even used to threaten to sue their teachers. This still happens often with the support of the parent.

Teachers have an uphill battle to gain students respect when their own parents won't back up the teacher.

-- Jim (, December 26, 2004.

That's basically it, Jim. There seems to be a lack of priority in student support by the parents. It could that the schools are so concerned with test scores that they too have forgotten about the individual student. I think some parents are seeing the hypocrisy of the school systems: free lunch, free this, free that, free absenteeism, free prizes, free merits, free discipline, free grades, etc. And for what purpose? The schools have that big test to pass. I think the parents realize that it has become soley up to the schools to get their kids passed one way or another. Why should the parent get involved in such a mess of an education? I'm not saying that any of this is right or wrong, but it is broken. In the Texas school system, it was once a law that plainly stated the responsibility of the student to pass was strictly on the teacher, not the student. Accountability went out the window for student achievement. All the student had to do was to show up for class; the teacher did all the work. Parents caught on to the system.

But, of course, any parent with a sense of purpose would make time and effort for their child. Heck! parents' lives revolve around their childrens' school work. My wife and I spend too much time on school work. That's all there is during the week, but then again, we are both teachers and we both know what our children must do to stay ahead of this mad game. "Leave no child behind"?? ...e ven at the risk of pulling the upper half of the class down a few notches?????

-- rod (, December 27, 2004.

Texas is Test Happy!

-- Luke Juarez (, December 27, 2004.

My kids go our Catholic parish school. However, I am seriously considering homeschooling due to the fact that the school is 20 miles away and its 2 hours a day driving. There is so much good stuff online that you can literally piece together a curriculum specifically designed for your child.

My adopted son is an Asperger's syndrome child, who has a whole plethora of difficulties. He is brilliant, but does not think the way most of his peers do. (Rod, do you know anything about Asperger's).

Any homeschooling parents out there?

-- Gail (, December 27, 2004.

I think TC may be.

-- Andy S (""), December 27, 2004.


ask Jake. and good luck. i have considered it - still considering it, in fact.

-- Ian (, December 27, 2004.

Hi Gail.

Sorry, I don't know anything about Asperger's syndrome. The kids I work with are either autistic or other special ed. issues. I see these kids in a mainstreamed class on a weekly basis (music classes). My wife and I are dealing with ADD issues with my son. He seems to have classic symptoms, but not severe symptoms. They are enough to drive us batty, though.


-- rod (, December 28, 2004.

Ha! Well, it turns out that I do work with kids who have Asperger's syndrome--autism. These kids do very well at recalling melody and lyrics. They are very active with singing and playing of musical instruments. Eventually, my students willingly go up and sing for their classmates. I can't really carry any dialogue with my students, but they will sing with me! I don't know if my success with autistic kids in music is a normal thing, but I have experienced a good number of these kids engaging well with music. I do have to be very careful with the volume levels of the music. Generally, the music has to be gradually introduced at softer levels than usual.

Actually, Gail, this is the first time I've seen the term "Asperger's Syndrome". I need to spend more time with my students' teacher.


-- rod (, December 28, 2004.

That's interesting, Rod, about the music. I didn't know you worked with autistic children. That's super. I type reports from a child neurologist; that's how I learned about Asperger's.

I see the same sort of things with my son that you mention. He loves RYTHYM(sp?). He has a bit of ADD as well, but not enough to medicate him, but likes your's, "enough to drive you batty!"

How do your kids do in math? My son has a terrible time comprehending mathmatical concepts. Does terrific in reading, though, and loves science. He's an interesting fellow to say the least.

I do feel I can teach my kids more in an hour, than they can learn in a whole day at school; that one-to-one thing, and all, but they would miss their friends terribly, so it's a draw I guess.


-- Gail (, December 28, 2004.

Yup, Math is a hassle, but the main problem is the time my son takes to get things done. It is very frustrating. He does everything in slow motion. I don't get it though, he does very well in music and has received high awards in Music Memory (UIL contests at school).

My wife spends too many hours working with my son with school work. My son just can't seem to speed up his perception of time, I guess.


-- rod (, December 28, 2004.

Oh, I can relate to that, Rod. My son needs EXTRA incentive to work quickly. If there is a show on T.V. (which he loves), he can really speed up. That's what is so weird, one night it can take hours to get something done, and then the next night, BINGO, done in 5 minutes. No reason that we can see; just some days the brain works and somedays it is in La-La Land.

I got a math "game" at which my son can play for hours and hours -- HE LOVES IT. It is nothing more than a high-tech flash- card game, but it keeps score, and plays interesting hip-hop music when he wins. It is really pretty cool. When he completes game 1, the thing will institute game 2 at a higher level according to his score on game 1. So it automatically self-adjusts to skill level.


-- Gail (, December 28, 2004.

A story about one of my students I taught for six years.

During his kindergarten beginnings, Timmy (fake name) was introduced to me as being autistic. Timmy was very timmid and easily frightened by many seemingly innocent things: loud voices, music, classroom participation, and on and on. His parents told me not to focus on him nor to have Timmy engage in any activity that would bring him into the spolight. As the years passed, the parents became even more protective of Timmy's condition. They brought all of his teachers into a conference and proceeded to tell us not to bring Timmy into the spotlight as it may prove problematic for Timmy and his condition. I didn't see it that way, so I used the only leverage I had to make things better for Timmy--his dad.

His dad didn't agree with the approach. Perhaps the dad was in denial. Timmy didn't like any kind of physical contact or any attention by authority figures. His dad recounted stories of hugging and rough housing play in order to bring Timmy back to us. That was the open door I needed to take a different approach with Timmy. I went against the mom's recommendations. I made Timmy a performer.

Timmy had this uncanny ability to sing exactly on pitch and remember lyrics faster than any student I ever taught. I used his talent to bring him into the spolight, against his mom's wishes. Timmy made it into the school choir where he performed for his peers, the school, the public, and for his parents. Timmy learned and acted in skits with rather impressive acting abilities. You would have been shocked that he had some degree of autism after seeing him perform. He actually came out of his shell and was not the meek little frighten child his mom portrayed him as. Actually, when he left my school he was rather rowdy and a popular pre-teenage kid. If you looked hard enough, you could still see some of the autistic querky-ness. But, some of the querky-ness has also proved to be what gives him that super talent of tonal recall. I wish I had that recall ability.

The parents never acknowledged my work with Timmy. I guess it was enough just to see them in the audience as they sat all teary-eyed.

I'm guessing that Timmy had a mild form of autism. I have worked with kids that had more obvious symptoms. Their ability to carry on a conversation is very confusing. I have a few students who will try to converse with me using a very limited vocabulary. Our conversations are very disjointed and generally make very little sense. I can only estimate the context of their words with the activities we are engaged in. The thing that really matters is that these kids are engaging with their world with the only words that have. The really wierd thing about all of this is that when we start to sing, they can learn the words to the song. Their teacher and parents will tell me that the kids sing the songs in the room or at home. So, what in the world is going on????


-- rod (, December 29, 2004.

What an encouraging story, Rod! That was great.

My son has the language thing going on as well, but he has a huge vocabulary, and at times is like a wind up "chatty Kathy" doll full of phrases that don't have anything to do with anything. He also has a great tendency to become EXTREMELY frustrated when trying to accomplish tasks.

I will ponder your technique. I don't want to treat my son like he's different, though he is, and that's why I've shied away from "special school district" if I can. He has done wonderfully in the 2 years he's been in school. But boy can I relate to the quirky-ness thing!!

-- Gail (, December 29, 2004.

I'm a teacher in a public school, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I have too much faith in public schools. I'm generally a maverick teacher in a broken system, my opinion, of course. When things don't jive, they will hear from me. I think they will be happy the day I retire from teaching.

My wife and I have discussed enrolling our kids into a private school. I never thought I would be considering such a thing.


-- rod (, December 30, 2004.

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