Peterson’s decision to use a switch to spank his child is calling into question a parent’s right to discipline as they see fit. Many southern parents agree, spare the rod, spoil the child. Frances Kelly, former clerk, says, "I honestly believe that children should be spanked, not beaten, but to a point they have to know that you are the boss and not them."
Timmicka Franklin, who is on disability, says, "Now beating and whooping are two different things. Now if you beat a child then, no. You don’t need to beat no child, but whoopins, yes."
Many parents raise their children similar to how they were raised, but child development experts say parents should note the distinction between discipline and punishment. Terry Letham, Director of Hope Haven Children’s Services, says, "By punishing that child, fine, things even out. Now, I’ve gotten this feeling out of me, and I’ve inflicted something on them. Where discipline I think comes from a sense of corrective action, trying to make that child understand that what they did is not acceptable."
The Adrian Peterson situation has many questioning the differences between punishment and discipline as it relates to children, but there are local groups that want to know the difference and make a positive impact in their child’s life. Kimberly Gowdy, M.S.U. Extension Agent for Family Consumer Sciences, says, "It’s all about education, educating our parents about proper ways to not allow their anger, their emotions, their frustrations to escalate to predetermined issues of spanking and corporal punishment."
M.S.U. Extension Services offers parenting classes that encoure parents to teach the child good behavior by emphasizing the positive. For example, telling a child what they should do, rather than what they should not do in a situation, advice some parents just don’t agree with. Marion Kelly, a retiree, says, "I believe if you spank a young ‘un when they are little, with your hand, because that way you won’t hurt them and you won’t bruise them, but let them know you mean business."
Tamya Franklin, a 10 year old, says, "I think it’s horrible. It’s not fair to children. I don’t like it."
So the great debate on child rearing continues with still no clear answer about the proper way to parent.