By: Kevin Chiucchini, @kevincushingc
On Thursday’s radio show, Armstrong took a break from the hot seat, and his young apprentice naively took his own turn in the chair. Army and I were joined by Dr. John Velasquez, a Clinical Psychologist from San Antonio, Texas to discuss mental illness and the impact it has on the younger generations. We discussed depression, social anxiety and the role social media and technology play in so-called bad parenting. In the second hour, Army and I spoke about discipline in raising youth and whether spanking was an effective way to raise kids.
Most of the callers took offense to my position. I argued that spanking is physical abuse and parents are weak if they need to resort to physical discipline. One caller said, “I don’t say they should be beaten, but a nice whooping every now and again is fine.” I believe that this type of attitude may lead to the “moments” a parent strays from a spanking routine and hits a child out of anger. Almost every caller who supports spanking as a form of punishment justified the behavior by justifying their own parent’s behavior. I further pointed out that just because you do it with a softer touch than your father or mother doesn’t make it okay. Ultimately, I respect people’s right to raise their children in the way they see fit; however, I would encourage all to revisit what they feel is normalized parenting.
It’s a shame for any kid to live in fear of physical violence from his father or mother, and fear does not define respect. Personally, I respect the people I feel comfortable around, and these are also the same people that I go to for guidance and insight. I accept the fact that spanking your child can lead to improved behavior and can be used as a deterrent for bad behavior. I also accept the fact that whipping circus elephants probably helps train them faster. There were a few that lessons I learned throughout the heated and controversial show. First, don’t assume that your advice will be readily accepted, especially if you don’t have the ”.first-hand experience on the topic. The other is that if you indirectly insult half of the callers and listeners by calling their parents weak, you can almost guarantee they’re going to call in angry. A final thought from Father Flanagan of Boy’s Town, “I know that a mother can take a whip to the toughest boy in the world, and he forgets it because he knows that she loves him.”