A Difficult Choice

by Kyong
As I plan to have a child or two myself someday, I have been very attentive to the many examples of raising children that I see all around me. I also watch to see if I can detect good or bad relationshiops between parents and children. This is hard to do because it seems that a happy child isnít always a good child, and a troubled child is often quite obedient. I feel I am more confused than ever and I might even have to take a class in child psychology. The point Iím trying to make is that I was raised very strictly, including a lot of physical punishment. I never questioned it becaiuse all my friends were raised the same way. But now I want to know the definitive answer. Is it OK to beat a child? Is it harmful or helpful?

When we were young, we used to get spanked by our parents if we did something wrong. This kept us quiet , polite and obedient. Did it also hurt us and prevent us from developing some aspects of ourselves? Do we all need therapy? Or is spaking the natural way to raise children? I havenít read much about it, but I think most of the worldís parents spank their children. However, spanking is seldom seen in America. In fact, it is illegal to hit a child under 18 years old. The issue can even lead to calls to the police. When I was attending elementary school in Korea,if I didnít do what my mom told me to do, she would hit me with a 50 cm ruler. The next day, there were bruises all over my body. When my friends saw that, they said ďItís okay. I get those bruises when I do something wrong.Ē They used to comfort me, but neither they nor I ever asked it was right for parents to cause physical pain in order to teach their children.

The rule in America seems to be that parents should never ever hit their children. American parents always talk to their children when they do something wrong. And even the children wouldnít tolerate being spanked by their parents. If anybody sees parents spanking their kids, they have an obligation to call the police. On the other hand, American children are very badly behaved. They disrespect their parents and teachers, they use bad words and are not helpful to their parents. This would never happen in Kprea.

I suppose we have to look at the outcome of different ways of raising children by looking at their affects on society. Korean society does seem to be more orderly with less crime and more conformity. In America, peopleís behavior is more individualistic, but there are also a lot more criminals and violence on the street. Itís hard to separate causes and effects. When I think about my future children, Iíll probably be very strict because my parents taught me that, but I donít think I could ever beat a child the way that my mother did to me.