The thing about punishment: Parenting has changed over generations

Joey Pail, Staff Writer

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Punishments for bad behavior have changed over the years, and because of it, we have seen an increase in badly behaved and bratty children. You may instantly go and blame the parent, but it’s not always their fault.

New laws on punishment in public have stopped the old way of teaching a lesson and encouraged a new, worse way of punishing. When your parents and grandparents think back to when they were bad, they would think about their punishment as being a good smack on the butt with a belt, spoon or hand. The current law that was recently passed stops this type of punishment in public. This makes it hard for giving children a quick punishment and a life-long lesson.

Laws aren’t the only reason why parenting has changed. With the decrease in children being smacked as a punishment, more parents are beginning to pick up the idea of this punishment being morally wrong.

If you ask a parent or grandparent about their childhood one thing will most likely stick in their heads: the part where they got punished. They may not even remember what it was for, but that doesn’t matter because if they remember the punishment, they were most likely scared to do it again.

“When I was in trouble for something, I did get sent to my room, I lost privileges and I remember a few times I did get spanked,” Carol-Lynn Dubovi said.

Over the years, it has not been the behavior that has changed, but the amount of children with behavior issues.

“From 1990 until today, it seems like there is a higher frequency of kids with inappropriate behavior,” Dubovi said “[Those kinds of kids] don’t care and have an attitude where they don’t care what they do and they dont fear your punishments, but that is still a minority.”

Another reason parenting can change is if there are multiple siblings. In some households kids can realize a difference in parenting and can see the changes it causes on their younger or older siblings.

“[My brother] probably got away with a little more than me, but just because between [my parents] first and second child they learned not to sweat every small thing,” Sophomore Jarrett Boyd said.

Even more, there has been an increase in parents that are convinced that their child is an angel. This has caused punishing to change as well. This belief has made it harder on schools as well because they call in a parent for discipline reasons just to have the parent fight for their child instead of working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“When I was a child, the parent instantly believed a teacher and didn’t even ask the kid and they got punished at home and school, where now parents try to protect their child from punishment, and that might be part of the problem why kids don’t learn discipline,” Dubovi said.

Think of the Luvs diaper advertisement on the difference in parenting. The advertisement states that “By their second kid every mom is an expert.” It’s usually after the showing of a parent being over protective and then showing the same parent with another kid being less protective.

The new path of parenting has led down to the punishment of just threatening and telling them never to do it again. There may be a grounding or two, but there’s no real physical contact anymore and, because of it, children’s brains think that they can get away with anything. This has caused a new generation of bratty kids that make schools work harder to keep them in line, and it stops the normal process of teaching them valuable information for getting a job.

The laws put in place stop the public beating of a child. This law is good to an extent, but should be more descriptive in saying excessive beating is against the law. It shouldn’t be frowned upon to have a parent punish their bad child by giving them a quick smack on the butt to teach them a lesson. Even if the law isn’t changed it’s still possible for parents to give children a smack when they get home. If everything works well they’ll only have to give a look at the bad behaving child for them to start acting good again.

This law was just the beginning of changing parenting. It doesn’t state that it is illegal to punish a child at home, so why aren’t parents doing that? The reason is their morals. A parent’s morals will change by their next kid or by another parent not saying they smack their child. The other parent will feel bad by how they punish and find a way that doesn’t involve hurting their own flesh and blood. These morals are good, but there’s a point when bad should be punished so they don’t do it again.

A common issue is that parents try so hard to be relatable to their children that they lose their respect. Instead of being seen as a figure of authority, they are perceived as being a peer to the child.

“I do think that kids have been acting worse, parents want to be friends with their kids rather than parent them and teach them,” Boyd said.

A smack on the butt might not always be the answer, but a different punishment for different levels of behavior might be a good way to set this up. If a child is less cooperative and gets punished, but then that same day does it again, they obviously have not learned their lesson and the punishment needs to be taken up a notch.

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