I think we'll have this particular thorny issue plaguing us for the next little while as our presumably learned lawmakers battle it out over the proposal to spare the rod in schools. You know the rest of that controversial idiom.
Hand me that rod, baby...
Me, you know I'm a strict disciplinarian. Surely child activists would balk but I'll probably be an infamously monstrous domestic tyrant not seen since Attila raged across the central asian grasslands. I doubt I'd allow my children to run wild amuck around the household - and even less so out of the house. They might be used sparingly as a last resort but canes would still be easily accessible near every main door in the house ( even in the car since uncivilized baboons leaping around in a moving vehicle frequently rouse my ire ). And like my ancestors did before me, I'd be the first to bring my child to the teacher and present them with a light cane, adjuring them to treat the child as their own.
Look, I don't advocate excessive violence in dealing with juveniles but I don't believe that non-punitive approaches works all the time as well.
Spare the rod and resort to psychological approach? In the long run, has that actually been proven to work? I seriously doubt chidren these days are becoming more disciplined and well-behaved. Just look at what positive reinforcement has done to spoiled kids raised wild running rampant in urban communities. Teachers have become toothless, parents have become spineless - so these Home Alone Rugsrats grow up without any authoritative figure to speak of careering madly through the marble halls of suburban malls.
As a child myself, I doubt I'd have listened to positive reinforcement of good behaviour such as praise, love, tokens for younger children, recognition, rewards and treats. Sure I'll have taken the treats ( who wouldn't? ) but I'd probably roll my eyes cynically afterwards as well. Positive discrimination such as removing benefits such as television time and pocket money wouldn't work as well since I'd probably find a way around that in time. Please, I'd probably have scoffed at such pathetically lame-o attempts at ensuring good behaviour.
Teacher : Do you believe you did the right thing?
Little Paul : It wasn't right but I like breaking things.
Teacher : Did that solve your problem?
Little Paul : No, but it was fun. Should I break more?
Teacher : No. That was very naughty. What did the other boy think of you breaking his things? Maybe you should apologize?
Little Paul : Like I could give a shit. Maybe I should punch him too.
By then of course I'm sure the well-meaning teacher would have been driven maddeningly insane - possibly requring intensive psychiatric help. But seriously, how do you deal with that then?
I know what the trained psychologists and counsellors would say. Stick Little Paul with community service, you say? Go tend to a neighbour's flowers and plants as punishment? Come on, have they been watching one Hallmark Presentation too many? That might work with remarkably unimaginative biddable children but have they thought of crazed mischief makers?
No, Little Paul won't be as rash as to uproot all the plants but in the next few weeks, I think the neighbour shouldn't be surprised to find a whole new plague of tenacious weeds growing wild between the beloved rosebushes.
Won't you be searching for that rod by then?