A Muncie, Indiana, father of five recently went viral after posting a photo of himself in his driveway holding a paddle and lounging behind a sign reading “Free Ass Whoopins!” The caption on the photo by paddle-dad Dwayne A. Stamper Sr. (seriously, that’s his real name) made it clear he wasn’t offering ass whoopins to just anybody. No, the beatings were meant for children under 13, because, you know, the older ones can fight back. Stamper reacted to the public notice by doubling down on his ill-informed opinions on corporal punishment and demonstrating that in addition to being an idiot and a coward, he’s also an asshole.
Why bring him up at all? Because dudes like Dwayne Stamper Sr. make life harder for dads — you know that squint of suspicion when the kid’s got a bruised arm? — and for kids. Stamper is a bully and the best way to handle a bully according to research is to bury them under a heap of scorn. Here goes!
Let’s start with the backstory. Stamper was in a store when a stranger’s child started crying. This annoyed him because he’s a jerk. Busybody that he is, Stamper (jokingly?) offered his violent services. “I asked (with a laugh), ‘Would ya like me to take care of it?’” he recalls in an earlier post, clearly reveling in his non-existent charm. After being rebuffed by a responsible mom, Stamper says he then doubled down. “I had to put my two cents in and tell them a good crack on the ass with a belt will fix the problem trust me!”
So … two problems there. First problem: It is truly an astonishing tribute to Stamper’s vast insecurity that he couldn’t just hold his two cents or, better yet, shove the pennies straight up his ass. Second problem: This dude is clearly from the “I turned out fine” school of corporal punishment. The thing is, he represents the perfect argument against that sort of logic because, clearly, he did not. He grew into the sort of man who volunteers to hurt children, then brags about it.
And make no mistake. Spanking kids probably hurts kids. I write probably because there are some upstanding and serious researchers (like, three of them) who say it might not. But they are in a minority. The risk simply isn’t worth the reward.
Besides which, that’s not how to react to someone else’s kid crying. When someone else’s kid freaks out, the best thing to do is to show them sympathy. Give them a smile. Acknowledge the frustration. Be nice about it. Do not insert yourself into the situation. That never goes well. No one wants that.
And don’t worry about the kids being soft. They won’t be. When Stamper and I were growing up, parents weren’t soaked in debt, colleges were easier to get into, and the job market was far less competitive.
“Parents if you let your child act this way, you’re the problem with our snowflake society today!” Stamper points out. “You don’t have to beat your child but you do have to show them others in this world don’t wanna hear their crybaby little ass!”
He does kind of have a point on the crybaby little ass thing. It’s true. People don’t like whiners. Society doesn’t look kindly on those who fail to cope with the little iniquities of life — like having to listen to a crying child.
Here’s where it gets weird: Stamper clearly wants to be seen as caring for kids. In fact, he’s using his fame to promote a charity event for a Muncie child living with a disability. That’s awesome. That’s just about the coolest thing an asshole can do. Unfortunately, it means that Stamper is willfully ignoring his own ability to be compassionate when doing so allows him to posture and play the big man. At some point, the dude is gonna have to make a choice: Be nice to kids or be a snowflake whiner threatening children. Hopefully, he makes the right choice.