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J: Jungle Book

After seeing The Jungle Book last night at the El Capitan (review coming soon), I knew I had to somehow use Kipling's The Jungle Book as my "J" for the A to Z Challenge. Please bear with me as I use some latitude to discuss "Child Abuse Prevention Month".

In Kipling's The Jungle Book series, Mowgli runs away to be with the monkeys and after being rescued and brought home by Baloo and Bagheera he is subsequently spanked.

When I was a child in the 80s there was little to no talk about spanking. You would see a mom spanking a child in the grocery store and nobody would blink. Nowadays, I imagine many people would see that as "child abuse" and might even call the cops on that mother. And who among you remembers teachers using wooden paddle to punish for bad behavior? Now of course there is a "time-out chair" but it wasn't too long ago that corporal punishment was the norm and spanking was an acceptable choice for parents.

But now there is a raging debate about whether spanking is in fact child abuse. CNN contributor, Navarrette says spanking is common sense whereas a Texan mom was arrested and sentenced for sparking her child. What do you think??

In Kipling's children book, Mowgli is spanked (given "love-taps") as punishment for running away and disobedience.
Bagheera's reasoning for the "love-taps" is that "Sorrow never stays punishment" and that "(Mowgli) has done mischief, and blows must be dealt." In the early 1900s when the book came out, there was little discussion about this scene but you'll notice that none of Disney's The Jungle Book films show any such "love-taps" nor this specific scene of mischief being done either.
Bagheera and Mowgli in the 2016 The Jungle Book. (c) Disney.
So what do you think? Should parents be worried about possible probation and sentencing for spanking their kids? Would Kipling have included these "love-taps" in his book if he lived now?


I am opposed to spanking because I believe it is never a good thing to teach a child that violence is acceptable. I can see giving a kid a swat on the butt to get his/her attention but a formalized spanking is too calculated. But that's just me.

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Joy said…
It's amazing how divisive this topic has become over the last decade. thanks for visiting and sharing, Kathleen!
Lori said…
The panther calls it a severe beating. I've never thought that spanking teaches a child anything but fear and defiance. Why not take the time to discuss the error with the child and make it a teaching moment. Also if someone hits their child in public, what do they do behind closed doors. Parenting is a difficult and sometimes isolated job. Parents need support and guidance when stressed to the point of hitting their child. That's a big part of prevention.
Joy said…
It is interesting because the panther thought of them as "love-taps" and the boy saw them as a severe beating.

Thanks for visiting and sharing your opinion!
There is a musical version of the Jungle Book in Hungary (it is very good), and it has an entire song about the educational values of slapping children. Sung by Baloo when he is teaching Mowgli to box... XD I was never sure if it was supposed to be ironic.

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
The Multicolored Diary
I work on a youth crisis line and was shocked when a law came out that it was okay to spank provided it was not with an object, given out of anger, below the neck between the ages of 2 to 12. How confusing that was! I agree that it does instill fear not respect and as they get older, then what? Parenting is the most important and most difficult job in the world and the most rewarding:)
betty said…
Interesting question. I came from a family with no spanking, husband was basically in a relationship with his parents that could have been called abusive physically; he did get lots of spankings during his young ages, they stopped in high school when basically he told his parents enough is enough is enough. His parents in their later years did ask for forgiveness from him and his brother, which they did forgive them, but the impact was so bad on his brother that he chose not to have children because he was afraid those tendencies might come out in him and he did not want to do such behavior. Hubby did not spank the children, raised his voice a bit more than I thought was necessary, but then I had times like that as well. Neither one of us spanked our children. Why? For me because I wasn't raised that way and more than like for my husband because he was raised that way and he saw the detrimental effect it had on him and his brother.

Linda Jo Martin said…
A swat on the bottom is a way to get the attention of a child that is way out of control and not capable of calming down enough to listen. It should be a last resort and parents need to understand their limits. To that end, I believe there should be a lot more pre-parenting education in the schools, to give young people the understanding and tools of alternative, more mature means of discipline for children. As it is, many people rush into parenting without knowing how to handle children without frustration and violence. The government is quick to take children away from parents, but isn't doing a thing to make sure that pre-parenting child discipline education is in place. I admire people who have cooperative children that never frustrate them or act out to the point of a spanking... but please don't judge those who are dealing with children who frequently display outrageous and out-of-control behaviors. Those parents need your understanding and support as they cope with the most difficult challenge of their lives. I wish child welfare meant the training of parents and not the destruction of viable families.
We were spanked as kids, and there's nothing wrong with us.
A good, old-fashioned spanking helps to instill discipline. But it must be done with the correct intention and attitude. That's what I think.

...and now The Bare Necessities will be ringing in my mind the whole day.
Writer In Transit
Seena said…
I did get a few spanks and a kid... and it did not really bother me so much. But now there seems to be a lot of debate about its effects.

#AtoZChallenge - K is for Kicks
Nilanjana Bose said…
Ooh, thank you for the post - I loved Jungle Book!

I was given 'love-taps' - judiciously at home and school, when I overstepped limits. Most people of my generation faced some form of physical punishment. If care givers, parents don't spank as an outlet for anger, then I don't think it does any lasting damage. I have never been able to bring myself to spank my child though, because of what I read and heard. I might point out that where I live the concept of physical abuse, especially child abuse is not as hard and fast as the West. Parents are freer to discipline their children as they see fit, schools are a different matter altogether, teachers are barely allowed to raise their voices, let alone hands or 'paddles' A thought provoking post.

Best wishes,
Ninja Minion, A-Z 2016
Anna - Alina said…
I've reading this many - many years ago. Actually I already remember nothing about this;)
TheCyborgMom said…
I think there is a huge difference between a swat on the bottom and spanking and beating. Personally, I think there are better, more effective ways of handling disipline.
Joy said…
This is been very interesting to see everyone's opinions! Thanks for sharing Katie!
Joy said…
Haha; its funny how everything gets blurred when you see the films, read the books and enjoy any other form of media.
Joy said…
Thanks Nilanjana! I am not yet a parent but having been given "love-taps" as a child and not turned out any worse for the effort I am loving everyone's feedback. :)
Joy said…
Same here, Seena! Thanks for sharing!
Joy said…
Haha that song is very contagious. :P
Joy said…
Plenty of parents definitely need some training :P
Joy said…
Very interesting! Thanks Betty!
Joy said…
Wow. Wow. :o
Joy said…
I cannot wait to be a parent... Most rewarding job for sure. :)
Anna Tan said…
Oooo I want to watch Jungle Book now! :)