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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Suffer the Children

posted by on September 18 at 15:20 PM

Apparently Mars Hill Church is bringing a speaker to their West Seattle franchise who advocates spanking—as often as possible, on bare bottoms, behind closed doors (to avoid prosecution!)—beginning in infancy. Otherwise your kids won’t be properly submissive. And submissive is just how the youth pastors like their kids.

An adult survivor of spanking-in-childhood is organizing a protest.

Via West Seattle Blog. And here’s the first thing that comes up when you do a Google image search on the word “spanking.”


And here, for Charles, is the fourth. And here, for me, is the fourteenth.

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An adult survivor of childhood spanking? I too am an adult survivor of being raised by a person.

Posted by meks | September 18, 2008 3:30 PM

But if we don't start spanking kids early, how are they every going to grow to be adult spanking fetishists?

Posted by spalding | September 18, 2008 3:36 PM

I was with you until the "Adult survivor of childhood spanking" part. It doesn't resonate as being awful and it only serves to humorize the point that spanking is bananas

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 18, 2008 3:39 PM

Re: Your picture for Charles:


Posted by Paul Constant | September 18, 2008 3:39 PM

The speaker will be at the Ballard location. He'll be on video in West Seattle. But Westsiders are organizing . . . there may be torches and pitchforks.

Posted by arborheightist | September 18, 2008 3:41 PM

I don't have a problem with spanking - I have a problem with parents who don't know how to do it right. We all have our stories/examples, so here's mine in a nutshell:

I got spankings when I disobeyed a direct parental order, lied, or otherwise did something I knew was wrong (or failed to do something I knew was right). When confronted with my transgression, I was sent to my room. My parents then prayed together to determine the right punishment (and calm themselves). After a few minutes, Dad (usually) came into my room, explained what I had done wrong, made sure I knew what the right choice should have been, then meted out the punishment. By the age of 12, I was no longer doing the things that warranted that type of punishment. (And Dad was plenty big enough, still is, to whoop me past 12yo.)

The key here is that I was not struck in anger, and was always told why I was being punished. Consistency is vitally important, as spanking should ultimately be a corrective action, not punitive. The goal is to let the child know that actions have consequences, and if you don't pay attention to what you are doing, and right vs. wrong, the world will jump up and smack you around.

Only time I was ever smacked upside the head, and it was more of a slap, was when I insulted Mom's cooking as she presented it to the dinner table. Dad was furious that I would treat Mom in such a fashion- that's a line you just don't cross. It was a much more serious offense than simply not taking out the trash or the like. I never tasted that meal, and I never forgot the lesson.

When I see parents in the grocery store smack/spank their kids for being fussy or unruly, I wonder if I may have had the best parents in the world. Sure didn't seem like it at the time. ;-)

Posted by Sir Vic | September 18, 2008 3:50 PM

"Ted Tripp, author of Shepherding a Childs Heart, will be speaking at Mars Hill Church on September 19th and 20th. Mr. Tripp advocates physical punishment for babies as young as eight months old. These painful spankings are to be inflicted for actions such as taking off a hat, or squirming during a diaper change."

Posted by Sandy | September 18, 2008 3:52 PM

Ah spanking, the punishment of the unimaginative parent.

For goodness sake people, I and my siblings were excellently behaved children who did well in school and mostly stayed out of trouble. And our parents never spanked us. Everyone I know who's parents used corporal punishment had issues.

Posted by dwight moody | September 18, 2008 3:53 PM

It is interesting to note, that since the anti-spanking coalition won that war, the behavior of kids in public has gotten worse and worse.

But not bare bottom...that's kind of gross.

Posted by michael strangeways | September 18, 2008 3:57 PM

strangeways, you bring up an excellent point; strangers should be allowed to deck children they find annoying.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 18, 2008 4:00 PM

I find it interesting that looking at both web locations none provided an address for the Mars Hill Church in West Seattle. I would think that info would be in BIG BOLD letters. Hmmm guess it's not that important.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | September 18, 2008 4:04 PM

never spanked here (though i was slapped once in a way not too dissimilar from vic's story above). my parents did come up with creative and effective means to punish me, so i don't think spanking is necessary (as this speaker probably does). with plenty of friends who were spanked and turned out okay, i'm left thinking spanking should be allowed if administered properly. and just as some non-spanking punishments could be child abuse, so could some forms of spanking.

Posted by infrequent | September 18, 2008 4:04 PM

From what I can read online, looks like Mr. Tripp suggests that the biblical way to discipline your child is to pull his or her pants down, slap him or her on the butt, and to keep doing it until the child agrees to be "sweet".
Ah God, why didn't I study to become a therapist when I was in college? These kids are going to be so magnificently screwed up.

Posted by --MC | September 18, 2008 4:06 PM

The bare bottom thing is fucked up. Sounds subconsciously sexual.

Posted by Jen | September 18, 2008 4:09 PM

The problem with spanking children, is that they're not old enough to properly appreciate it.

Posted by lusk | September 18, 2008 4:37 PM

To clarify one thing:

This guy is speaking at Mars Hill BALLARD. And it is being satellite-televised to four other branches including WS, according to the Mars Hill link I pasted below. West Seattleites in the discussion forums on our site are organizing a protest there and I believe others are organizing protests outside other branches.

But the guy himself will physically be in Ballard:

Posted by WSB | September 18, 2008 4:41 PM

When I was in (public) grade school, if your parents signed a waiver, the schools could use corporal punishment on you (this was in the 80s). I still remember my 5th grade teacher had a paddle hanging up over the door....

I'm assuming schools don't allow that anymore.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | September 18, 2008 4:50 PM


The behavior of children has gotten worse? That sounds like something Socrates or Confucius would have said 2,500 years ago.

Kids today are the same as ever, my friend. It's just you getting old. I know: I'm getting older too. Sigh.

Posted by elenchos | September 18, 2008 4:57 PM

Thank you, elenchos.

I was spanked when I was very little, and I just got worse and worse, learned to lie to my dad's face about it, etc.

My mom made him stop when I was about 8 or 9 (my sister never got touched). It took about five years for my parents, teachers, therapists, etc, to work on me to where I was a social person again after he stopped. I'm not talking about beatings either, I'm talking about over-the-knee, sitting-in-your-room-waiting. It fucked me up, because I am someone who has ALWAYS thought over everything ad nauseum, and I took the spankings extremely personally and it eventually led to me shutting down.

There is no "right way" to spank, if your kid is just someone who gets fucked up by spanking.

Posted by Kat | September 18, 2008 5:22 PM

There are studies regarding the effects of corporal punishment. The results: more acting out, more violent outcomes. Essentially, it teaches kids to be violent. Certainly there are those who do not become violent. The point is that there is a greater tendency to be violent. The earlier they start, the greater the psychological damage. The misconception that adults have (beyond memory existing in the service of the ego) is that children are able to cope with spanking, the way adults deal with pain.

Posted by LMSW | September 18, 2008 5:50 PM

It is the part about spanking infants that I find so horrifying. (especially as a parent) Infants really do not have any concept of right or wrong and it isn't like they are trying to be malicious. Not to mention when a baby is squirming, crying, making noise it is the only means of communication they have.
The whole concept of spanking bare-bottoms behind closed doors is also very very creepy. When you spank, it means you have lost control of the situation.

Posted by gfrancie | September 18, 2008 5:53 PM

I got paddled in Middle School, back in the Dark Ages in Texas. All it did was annoy me, and inculcate a deeper level of scorn for the mental defective who hit me, and also a deeper level of empathy for the poor unfortunates who got paddled a LOT (usually for no discernable reason except maybe Negritude).

But the Jesus People love paddling. My Jesus uncle used to whap his baby's bottom for CRYING, which is just about the stupidest thing I have ever witnessed.

Posted by Fnarf | September 18, 2008 5:57 PM

the reason you stopped stealing candy and drawing on the walls with crayons was because you became no longer a little dumb baby. do you really think you'd be drawing crayola murals today if your parents didn't hit you?

discipline little kids like you would discipline a severely retarded adult. unless you would slap them in the perinium too.

Posted by jrrrl | September 18, 2008 6:08 PM

Jeez, you people were messed up by a swat on the ass? Sheesh, when/where I grew up you came from one of two kinds of families A.) beat you with the back of a hairbrush OR B.) beat your backside with a wooden spoon. My family was a hairbrush family. And none of us grew up warped or thinking we're abused. All of us have seen the product of non-whacking families and generally think they're out-of-control monsters. Most of us have decided not to have children because spanking is now considered child abuse and all of us would be "abusive" if any kid we brought into the world acted like the nasty, spoiled terrorists that are running around now. We've seen parents held hostage by their "darling sons" & "precious daughters" and have decided to opt out of that crap. Which is too bad, because we're all intelligent, college educated, and successful and can afford them. I guess the Sarah Palins of the world will have to do our reproducing for us.

Posted by No, I'm not maladjusted and I don't have a fetish. Why do you ask? | September 18, 2008 6:11 PM

That being said, I think the Mars church is fucked up, creepy weird.

Posted by No, I'm not maladjusted and I don't have a fetish. Why do you ask? | September 18, 2008 6:13 PM

I recommend that everyone advocating a "kinder, gentler" corporal punishment read any and everything by Alice Miller ASAP. The problem with "bratty" kids who don't get spanked is not that they don't get spanked. They are most likely being raised by overly permissive (and therefore neglectful) parents who are too self-absorbed to notice their children's behavior, good or bad. Spanking is abusive. Period.

Posted by Acolyte | September 18, 2008 6:23 PM

Acolyte, sounds like you weren't spanked as a child enough, but you WERE dropped on your head. Spanking is NOT ALWAYS abusive. Period. My parents very occasionally spanked me if I threw a tantrum. What's important is that you explain to the child what they did was wrong and WHY it was wrong, and to NEVER spank a child in anger. Pain is a primal effective tool to imprint in a child that doing wrong = pain. This psychological treatment has been proven to work for thousands of years.
It's cunts like you Acolyte, that try to regulate people based on your flawed "morals" which are the reason for all the problems with behavior today. You are WRONG. Shut the fuck up.

Posted by Angry Man | September 18, 2008 6:41 PM

ALL the problems in the world today? That seems unlikely.

Posted by Fnarf | September 18, 2008 6:54 PM

Angry: your sunny disposition speaks volumes about your idyllic childhood.

Posted by Acolyte | September 18, 2008 7:19 PM

Holy shit, the quote from the speaker is IN-FUCKING-SANE. Babies? Eight months? For TAKING OFF HATS AND SQUIRMING?!

I live in Ballard and every time I go past Mars Hill I curse out the hipster fundamentalists. Giving my neighborhood a bad name.

Posted by leek | September 18, 2008 7:21 PM


Sounds like they want to create Stepford children. Scary.


A study came out recently that showed negative consequences of spanking children. Those children often grow up to have fucked up ideas about pain and violence and associate it with sex.

In short, it's not harmless.

Additionally, I've been taught not even to hit pets as punishment. They don't learn to stop doing whatever it is they did wrong, instead they learn to fear you. It's ok to treat children worse than dogs and cats? Christ.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 18, 2008 7:28 PM

I am one of the people that will be protesting the teachings of Ted Tripp this weekend. I have read most of his book and find the passages about ritual spanking on bare bottoms in private alarming. Our protest will be non-confrontational and offer alternative inforation about other methods of discipline. This is not about Mars Hill, only the HOUR long talk Tripp will give about spanking.

Posted by Zenguy | September 18, 2008 9:41 PM

To the person that complained that there was no address to the Mars Hill in West Seattle: it is in the West Seattle Blog...most of the posters are in WS as well, the church is VERY prominent and does not really need pointing out and we just figured if they did that they could google it.

Posted by Zenguy | September 18, 2008 9:48 PM

@15 ftw. Spanking should be for consenting adults only.

Posted by willendorf | September 19, 2008 5:57 AM

Ok.. practical questions...

if you are spanking your child regularly..what are you going to do when you really need to get the point across because what they have done is truly dangerous to them?

this is one of the sticky wickets that no-one wants to talk about. For many parents, the answer is to escalate what they "know" works... with belts or sticks or paddles or whatever else is at hand. That's where things get very illegal.. and children get truly warped.

The second sticky wicket is that if you are using the intimacy of placing a child over your lap while you spank them on bare bottoms.. and giving them comfort and affection after... even if you aren't sexually aroused in by the process.. and some are with predictable consequences... you are teaching your children that affection and comfort follow physical pain...

this is probably not what you meant to teach them if you spank your children. an occasional spanking sticks out in a kid's mind... it gets attention. the systematic practice of spanking just becomes background noise... habit...

thanks to those who reminded me that i need to post the addresses of both churches where i know there will be protests on the West Seattle Blog forum. I will get to that this morning. and for those drama junkies among you .. sorry.. no torches and pitchforks.. just a few signs and information that will help parents find other christian resources for parenting advice.

Posted by JoB | September 19, 2008 8:07 AM

"Violence is the last resort of a limited mind." I don't remember where I heard this, but I do remember that the first time I heard it, it really made me think.

As a child, I can remember cowering in my room, in fear of my stepfather coming home, awaiting my punishment. I must have been about 5, because I wasn't in school yet, and I had spent the entire day fearing his arrival. I don't think this is the best way to develope a healthy, loving, open relationship between parents and children.

Assaulting (and let's not pretty it up by calling it spanking, it's assault) a child for spilling juice or breaking a vase, or creating a little work of art on the walls with their crayons, is punishing them for making a mistake, having an accident, or not knowing any better. And that's wrong. Teach, don't punish.

If you were at the office, and a co-worker, and fully grown, cognizant adult, spilled coffee on your report, would you hit him? No? Why not? Because he'd hit you back? And also because it's wrong. So why is it okay to hit our children? It's not, and it's that simple, period.

Oh, and the old "never hit a child in anger" argument really pisses me off. So what, you think about it, let them sit in their room anticipating it, and then, with love in your heart, go in and start inflicting pain on them. That's cold. And fucked up.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I read a magazine article about consequences, and how instead of spanking, you should use consequences, and you call them consequences, not punishment. I don't want my child to fear me, I want her to respect me, as I respect her, and I want her to know that she can ALWAYS come to me, with any problem, and know that I will help her as best I can, and not judge her or hurt her.

I suspect that current bad behaviour exhibited by today's youth, is a result of negligence, not a lack of spanking.

@Angry Man - get some therapy. Your parents seriously messed you up.

Posted by Charm | September 19, 2008 8:50 AM

Jesus. I got spanked and I'm the most average person I know. Some people here are real pansies. These are probably the same people who want to install V-Chips in their kids' heads. So a kid gets spanked sometimes! God almighty. Get the fuck over yourselves.

Posted by MBI | September 19, 2008 8:58 AM

I was spanked once and only once. With a wooden spoon, after I had been told to stop whatever it was I was doing. I was given a slow count of three, didn't stop (I honestly don't remember the transgression, but I'm sure it was serious), and was swatted once, on the butt. My mother never, ever got to three again.

Same with my brother. Mum got to three with him ONCE, spanked him, and never had to do it again.

Yes, there is a possibility that spanking leads to fucked up kids. There's also the possibility that not spanking leads to fucked up kids. The part that needs to be done is explaining WHY the kid is getting spanked, and making sure the kid understands it.

Posted by Beth | September 19, 2008 9:16 AM

Uh, Dan, you started this. As a father, what is your take on spanking as a form of discipline for children?

Posted by Charm | September 19, 2008 9:41 AM

all spanking fucks up kids... all religion fucks up kids... republican ideas? they fuck up kids. sugar? fucks up kids. tofu? fucks up kids.

Posted by infrequent | September 19, 2008 11:22 AM

Mars Hill is moving more and more towards cult status. The women of the ploygamous Mormon sects in both Arizona and Texas are remonstrated with the injunction to "keep sweet" if they disagree with their husbands or any other man in the sect. Corporal punishment follows any refractory behavior. It has been reported by women who have left the sect that they are trained in this from infancy and thus learn to be docile and keep a smile on their faces at all times.
Do any of you remember how the Mormon women in Texas always spoke so softly and smiled continually at the reporters interviewing them when their children had been seized by the state? I found that disturbing.

Posted by inkweary | September 19, 2008 12:02 PM

Does anyone else think this guy is probably a closet pedophile?

Creepy as hell.

Posted by sepiolida | September 19, 2008 2:07 PM

@Charmed: Amen to everything you said!

Unspanked brats don't need spankings, they need discipline (which by my definition is "teaching with consequences") Parents who have too much stress and not enough time, who are uninformed, or who just don't care use corporal punishment (teaching kids to use violence to solve their problems) or do nothing (teaching kids to be brats). Of course some kids so treated grow up to be good decent people in spite of the lack of real discipline. I have three kids who have never been spanked, but have most certainly been given consequences and all three are well-behaved.

Posted by snoozn | September 19, 2008 3:08 PM

So what if I got spankings but also several other disciplinary punishments for different transgressions? Did my parents only kinda not care? Dear God, you people are panicky idiots.

Posted by MBI | September 20, 2008 8:19 AM

It is interesting to me that of all the posts I have read on this, NOBODY actually attended to see what the guy actually has to say.

I did. Some points I'd make based on various comments above.
- Tripp says that parents should not attempt to instruct and correct at the same time. Instruction should be something that sets context for kids. You can't discupline a kid for poor behaviour (via spanking or any other means) if you haven't spent time helping that kid understand what good behaviour is.
- I didn't hear him directly advocate that people spank their babies in the way that is insinuated. If you are a parent you will know that you could see blatant, cognitive disobedience in your kids before they were walking or talking. His point was there isn't necesarily a fixed age when this occurs, but that you should discipline (appropriately) as soon as you see that behaviour, regardless of age.
- the whole naked butt argument is a side track by nut jobs. He said that there is no point spanking through diapers or heavy clothing (and I know that I stuffed comic books in my pants when I was a kid). When I was listening to him I believe he just said to get down to underwear.
- He was VERY strong on not hitting in anger. I think for a lot of kids who were spanked, this is where violent behaviour is taught. I think that when the spanking is deliberated and explained and comes as part of a previously discussed set of consequences and is given with love, then it elicits a completely different response. I know it did for me.

Overall I felt this guy was not crazy and came across as an extremely solid, balanced and loving father and grandfather. As near as I can tell anyway :)
There was a lot of value that I got out of what was said and my guess is that of the 6hrs of the conference, maybe 15mins was spent on the spanking piece. I would certainly not consider anything he had to say as abusive or unlawful or unloving.

Posted by bright_line | September 22, 2008 11:57 AM

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