Did corporal punishment make sense when it was popular?

Like, there seemed to be a time just a few decades ago where it used to be seen as acceptable to whack a kid with a paddle or belt every time they misbehaved. Even as late as the 90s I recall people scoffing at the idea of spanking being abuse.

I think nowadays the consensus is that spanking is indeed abuse and that there are better ways of raising children. But I don’t see these ideas as being so profound that they wouldn’t have been thought of 50 or even 500 years ago. So if our current views on corporal punishment are so superior, why was it so popular back in the day? My only conclusion is that it simply had to have made sense somehow, but I can’t put my finger on it.

My thoughts are, people simply didn’t have that many choices as to who they wanted to be back in the day, and group survival depended more heavily on people taking on societal roles that they otherwise wouldn’t have if they weren’t beaten into it. But that’s just my guess.

I have yet to see the 3 year old with appropriate reasoning skills to understand consequences in the abstract. Most 3 year olds I’ve seen understand the concrete consequence of a swat on the butt.

For the 10 year old, a flick of the finger to the back of the head serves a similar purpose.

But today it seems to be okay to just let kids do whatever. The reason being, they’ll figure it out eventually. Somehow back then it seemed more important to reinforce certain decisions or mistakes with pain, but I don’t know why.

It’ll depend a lot on where you look. I raised my kids using concrete consequences for certain behaviors. By the time they were 6, they had a good understanding that their behavior had consequences; and by the time they were 13, I’d say that they had good impulse control.

I totally got whacked as a kid, was Asian

I believe the issue with spanking was that it some cases it led to more severe punishments when the simple smack with a hand wasn’t enough. That escalation led to using other objects and eventually entered more abusive territory.

Interestingly, the impact on the psyche has a lot to do with cultural norms - if everyone gets swatted with a hand, or a sandal, then it is less perceived by the child as abuse, however the more rare it is the more negative an impact it has on the child.

Another interesting thing is that higher income individuals are more likely to use physical punishment to teach lessons than lower income individuals.

****All of this is based on my recollection of my wife telling me things she learned in her graduate program. My memory has been known to be faulty, and no audit of the underlying textbook has been performed by me to confirm these recollections prior to me spouting them out all over the internet.

Got a link?

I think the idea is you can reinforce consequences without consequences needing to involve physical violence.

I don’t think reinforcement is needed at all. People’s actions already have consequences.

My experience was kind of like running into that kid Ryan in the Russell Peters vid

Natural consequences are not always (or even usually) immediate or easily traced back to a specific action.

Sure, but that’s not what I quoted where you claimed people just let their kids do whatever.

Not spanking <> letting kids do whatever.

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Also, back in the day, a natural consequence was more likely to be “you’re dead now”. Corporal punishment is probably not the most healthy or effective in the long term, but it is pretty quick.

That’s my guess. I think for the most part punishment leads to pretty lousy outcomes but back in the day those lousy outcomes were better than death.

I’m kinda a wuss, but there are some adults who I’d really like to beat the shit out of, yet it’s illegal :frowning:

i think we are living in one of the highest living standards in history, and thus we have the luxury of putting all our focus on our kids. 100 years ago peeps were too busy dealing with survival to care about their kids psychological state

What are you now?

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when i meet asians, they don’t seem like the child beating types, but then you and others claim otherwise.

Are higher income parents more likely to punish in general?

Like if low-income parents are working two jobs and not around their kids as much then there wouldn’t be as many opportunities for spanking.

No data. Not even sure if that’s right. It’s just a theory.

Undoubtedly true. Like anything you’ll get desensitized to it.

When I was 9 I moved from a state that did not allow corporal punishment in schools to one that did.

First time a kid got paddled in my new school, I was deeply shocked. That simply didn’t happen in my old school. I didn’t understand the legal reasons why… just that I had no idea teachers were still paddling students as it never happened at my old school.

But by around the semester break when I heard the unmistakable smacking sound echoing from the stairwell I was just as much a part of the buzz as everyone else on the playground/cafeteria/bus… Who was swatted? What did he do to get that punishment? Which teacher did it? Which teacher observed?

I never got paddled at school. I think I had to write “I will not talk in class” 200x for talking in class once or twice (imagine, if you can, me not being able to shut up). But that was about it. It was still very shocking the first time it happened and I was quickly desensitized to it.

I don’t think it was allowed in public school when I was a kid and I went to public school. I heard recently that they beat kids in the catholic schools on staten island though.