A Reader Asks:
Will I spoil my son if I don't spank him?

Gud Responds:

You know, I'm glad that you asked that question, because a lot of people make this issue harder than it has to be. They argue over whether children who are hit by their parents or teachers are better behaved than children whose parents choose to discipline them in other ways. Listen, that's not the point. The question is whether your kid will be spoiled if you don't submit him to corporal punishment. The answer is yes.

I have an army of sub-divine assistants who carry out my smaller missions and do research for me to support my work. You may have heard of them, they're called ungels. Well, it's lucky for you that I had my ungels check up on this matter just last week, and they found that children who are not spanked, paddled, slapped, punched, kicked or otherwise hit by adults do indeed rot at a faster rate than children who are given a good beating on regular occasions. For example, the incidence of gangreen among children who were spanked was only .1 percent, whereas .2 percent of children whose parents and teachers do not use corporal punishment were found to have gangreen. Athlete's foot fungus was found to have a similar pattern of incidence. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't heard it from my ungels, but there you are: your child is twice as likely to spoil if you don't hit him around some.

Seriously, the matter depends on what you believe to be a spoiled child. If you believe that a spoiled child is one that expresses its own opinions and sometimes acts on them, then maybe it would probably make sense for you to beat your son into submission every now and then. On the other hand, if you believe that children's lives are spoiled when they aren't allowed to think for themselves, are discouraged from exercising imagination and initiative, are motivated by fear, and are more interested in what they can get away with than what's the right thing to do, then the surest way to spoil your son is to use corporal punishment to discipline him. Spoiling is relative -- it sounds like you need to figure out what you really want from your son.

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