Originally Posted by hakeber
Okay - I think I slipped up in communication there. It was the spanking that I was talking about when I said it was mostly an attempt to get our attention, not an attempt to shame. My mom's mom was really big on shaming kids, and mom never did anything with the deliberate attempt to shame us. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "liked" being spanked or wasn't scared or upset. I was scared of mom, just because she spanked us sometimes. I was upset when I got spanked. But, I'd have rather had a spanking any day than feel as if I'd disappointed her. It wasn't about some kind of "I'm such a bad kid - punish me" thing - spankings were just relatively minor, clean and over with quickly. The times that she made me feel as if she was disappointed in me weren't usually about attempts to discipline. It was a communication style that went wrong and didn't work out...and it hurt like hell. I never really received spankings as violence, in the sense you're talking about, which makes this whole discussion...wobbly. If the definition of violence is more about the person on the receiving end, and I perceived the "I'm sooo disappointed in you" vibe as being more damaging, etc. than a spanking, then which was more violent?
I don't necessarily think either was more violent than the other. They were both violent in equal ways but for YOU the result of the shaming was more effective in terms of controlling your behavior. If you had been a different kid you might have seen the physical as more violent.
I think the shaming (which term I also dislike as I do think it carries a connotation of intent on the "shamer's" part, and that intent wasn't there, but this conversation is hard enough to have in a coherent fashion online as it is, so I'll go with it) was more painful and hurt more. I never said I thought it was more effective. It actually tended to make me feel like crap, put up a defensive shell, and be a complete bitch in many ways, for at least a few days. Spankings (which were, admittedly, administered at a much younger age than most of the shaming) were direct, to the point, and effective at what they were used for, which was getting my attention. .
We don't have to use the word violent if it has a bad connotation for you. We can call it controlling, or effective, or manipulative. None of those sound too good...how would you prefer to describe it?
I'm okay with "effective". That's what they were. It certainly sounds better to me than "violent". I don't find spanking, at least as it was practice in our house, to be particularly controlling and it's never even registered with me as manipulative (maybe that's because I've crossed paths with a handful of master manipulators, including my ex, and not one of them would have ever laid a hand on anyone in anger or discipline - I simply don't equate a swift smack on the butt with manipulation).
I'll have to read some more about Ghandi, I guess. I haven't read up on him in a long time.
Not a bad idea, he was an interesting person.
I'm not exactly arguing any premise. I've just been here for six years, seeing one "fact" after another about spanking. Most of them didn't hold true for me or most of the people I knew (and, as I say, in the time and place I grew up, most kids were spanked - not a lot, and not in the "go cut yourself a switch" method, but it was fairly universal). It's very frustrating when things are repeatedly stated as fact, about something I've personally experienced and those statements just aren't the way it was/is. I have no problem with being anti-spanking, but being anti-spanking based on a bunch of flawed assumptions, and then applying those flawed assumptions to all spankers bugs the crap out of me.
Okay! Now I am following you. I agree with that as well. I know there aren't many studies that prove spanking is bad. I don't put much stock in studies anyway. I know what I know because I know it.
I saw your other post where you criticized your phrasing here, and I get that, but I also get what you mean. I tend to come to my conclusions based on things other than research (although I've done a lot of that in some areas over the years). Once in a while, I'll come across research that really challenges my belief/knowledge about something, but it's not usually the way it works for me. I find myself rethinking things for other reasons than research, most of the time.
Now, see....at six (okay - not quite - he's six next month), ds2 is less self-confident and self aware than ds1 was at age two. (He's possibly even less self-confident than I was (and I was nowhere near as self-confident as ds1) and not even close to being as self-aware as I was. I can't speak for dh or my ex, although my ex can remember taking care of himself and his sister at age six, because his parents had a multi-day opium hangover, so his upbringing issues went way beyond spanking, in any case.) DS1 was able to clearly articulate his needs at age two. And, ds1 was spanked (although not often - spanking was always my last tool in the box, yk?). DS2 has no self control, or very, very little. We discuss feelings and needs and how to meet them and try to teach self-awareness. I've had more discussions about these things with ds2 than with ds1 and dd1 combined. In the meantime, ds2 isn't being hit - but dd1 is. I'm just not so sure any of this is accomplishing anything, and as time goes on, mere compliance and good behaviour starts looking pretty good.
Well, I don't mean to sound rude, and I know this might sound condescending, but if you didn't practice it with your other kids and you have only really been practicing it yourself for 4 years, and you are only practicing it with one child, and the other child still occassionally does get spanked, well, I just mean people study these techniques for YEARS and YEARS and are still figuring it out.
I think we're confusing each other. Practice what? Discussions about needs and how to express and meet them? I've practiced that with all of my kids, right from the get go. I practiced it with ds1, as well. Yes - we have used some punitive measures, including spanking when he was little (his last spanking was...12 years ago? Maybe 13?) and the one (or two) grounding. I've done less of it with ds1 and dd1 than with ds2, because with ds1 and dd1, it worked - they responded to it from the beginning and I didn't have to have discussions that involved much beyond, "so, what's wrong, and why are you so mad at so-and-so"..."oh, I can understand that - I think my feelings would be hurt, too", etc. etc. With ds2, it doesn't work that way. We talk and try to listen and figure out what's going on, and help him label emotions and recognize cues that he needs sleep, food, etc. It doesn't do anything. That's why I've had more discussions with him than with his two older siblings combined, not because this is a new approach for me.
It's not a science that can be implemented without flaw. It takes learning and practice and relearning from the parents' end, and so obviously there is going to be a lag in such a situation. Couple that with a child who for lack of a better term has a young or challenging spirit and you may have a more long term project on your hand. How adept are you at applying the NVC techniques on yourself, or your partner? If you are still struggling with identifying your own feelings and needs (I still do at times and I have been at it for a long time with certified training courses) you probably should expect more bumps in the road, ya know? I don't mean to sound all "I'm so smart and you're such a noob." at ALL. I'm just saying, it takes time and do try to have patience and keep practicing with yourself and your partner and your older kids all the time. Model in front of the little one, and every chance you get, not just for the negative, but for the positive stuff, too...you seem really happy and relaxed, why is that? (I find identifying positive feelings and connecting them to needs being met lay the ground work for identifying the negative feelings (plus it practices the skill when the body and mind are not stressed).
I've never studied NVC techniques, as such. But, from what I'm gathering here, I've been using them most of my life. My feelings are often mixed, but I can recognize when that's happening. DH...not so much, but he tries, and he does work with ds2, as well. (No - we're not always patient. The frustration level with ds2, on the part of everyone around here, gets pretty high on occasion. Even dd2 sometimes tries to avoid him, which is just heart-breaking to see, because it crushes him. He adores his baby sister.)
Your first son could be tempered like you or me, one smack and the message is clear, wanting to please (I had friends like you described of your DS, too).
DS1 was/is a people pleaser. But, it was also simple limit/boundary testing. If it got to a point where I'd spank him, he understood that he'd reached the boundary, yk? DS2 doesn't...get boundaries.
Your DS2 sounds more like my niece. The more you threaten violence the more aggressive she gets. You hit her, and she WILL hit you back. You yell at her and she will rage in your face.
I honestly don't know if ds2 would hit me back. That hasn't been an issue. The time I hit him (you know...I seem to recall there was another one - within the last year - can't recall the circumstances, though...I've had to fight it down more than once, so...I'm not sure...), he settled down almost immediately. He doesn't generally hit/hurt people out of a reaction to threatening or being hit himself. We still haven't figured out his triggers. A few of them are straightforward - basic "I want that and she won't give it to me" type stuff. Some of it? Not at all. When he first started this stuff, he'd never been threatened or hit or anything like that. He did get yelled at a lot for a couple of months when he was...just over two, I guess. I was in late pregnancy, exhausted, miserable, and he was being incredibly difficult and dd1 was also going through an awful phase, and I wasn't coping very well. But, the crazy-making behaviour started before that. It's been going on for a solid four years.
No fear of authority or search for firmer limits...not from any age. And talking to her about what she wants or needs is a nightmare...no Ruth, you don't need to pinch your sister until she bleeds...that is not the need, that's a feeling, you are feeling really angry and hurt? and you want her to feel angry too? No? Okay...etc etc ad nauseum....aye aye aye! It could go for hours, and by then the need is we're hungry and tired...can we just go to bed? My MIL and SIL think hitting and threats and yelling are the answer. I just can't follow the logic that goes...when she is "bad" and we punish her physically, she turns right around and does it again in your face so then we ignore her...and next time (which will probably be tomorrow) we'll do it all again.
Okay, so what's the logic of me continuing to try to monitor his behaviour, talk to him, work through things, etc. when that's not working? If there's no logic to spanking a child when that doesn't change the behaviour, then what's the logic of not spanking a child when that doesn't, either? I'm not saying I want to spank him, but the approach we're using is NOT working. In the last two weeks, he's punched his older sister in the face at least eight times. He's tried to bite her. He's hit his little sister. And, there is no rhyme or reason to it that can be detected from outside. (I do know there's reason for it inside him - but we can't find it.)
I do not think my MIL has ever babysat for my niece and not threatened to or actually smacked her bum...six years later and no improvement. But when she stays at my house, we just don't have that issue. She responds better to respect and firm limits. We don't hit, bite or scratch. Simple. And we stay on top of her like white on rice monitoring her every moment...she seems to like that. She wants you involved and in sight. It seems to give her sense of security. She is a sweetheart when you keep her active. Leave her alone for a minute and all hell breaks loose.
DS2 isn't exactly like that. He can be a complete sweetheart (sweetest kid I've ever met, in some ways), but he can also be a raging animal. And, it's not "if we stay on top of him, he's fine, but if we leave him alone, and all hell breaks loose". Sometimes, he's happy to play alone for a while, and even wants to do so. Sometimes, he can sit and play Lego with dd1 for an hour or two (I recall one day when they played with a PlayDoh ice cream maker for three solid hours - heaven!!). Sometimes, he'll sit on the couch and read board books to his little sister for 10-15 minutes, then play with her for a bit. Keeping him active is great...to a point. Then, he gets tired and balks and wants to sit and watch tv or otherwise be entertained. He's really, really difficult to figure out.
Maybe not. But, it also wasn't necessary. I could have pulled her off without smacking her. It was sheer reflex in response to ds2 being hurt. (He was under two months old at the time.)
True. I was going to say as much, but I didn't want to point out the obvious...should have could have would have...we all have been there and wished we could undo something. That's not the same as choosing it and choosing it again if you could do it all over again.
The aftermath isn't evidence of much, imo. He was already on a complete rampage when I held him down. About the only thing that changed as a result of my holding him down is that he would have punched me in the stomach or something, instead of cracking me in the head, if we hadn't been in that position. And, yeah - it was conscious oppression, although I probably would have said "suppression". It was hold him down or have him seriously hurt someone.
huh...okay, You said the after math was him screaming that you had hit him and he was very upset that you had and and he did not understand why. That's what I meant. You didn't mean to hit him but he certainly didn't seem to be processing that then...I am sure now things are different and he could understand that given a rational conversation.
Oh, sorry - I thought you meant me hitting him as the aftermath of me holding him down! (This kind of conversation is really hard by forum!) That incident was...a year and a half ago, or two years ago, maybe? I can't remember if I was still pregnant with dd2 or not. But, I suspect it would go down pretty much the same way if it happened today. He doesn't understand the way people react to him at all. He did get that I was sorry I'd hit him, even though it was hard to explain that I didn't mean to. But, he didn't get that he'd hurt me. It wasn't even on his radar. And, it still isn't. He had a major meltdown a couple of months ago when I took him out of a house where dd1 was having a playdate (he wanted to stay, but he wasn't invited). During that meltdown, he knocked something off the girl's bookshelf, tore all over their house trying to hide, punched me, slapped me, tried to gouge my eye, and sunk both hands into my throat with everything he had (it hurt for the rest of that day and all the next day). And, the final conclusion was that "nobody likes him" because I made him leave and wouldn't let him ride sideways in his car seat.
Anyway, I'm going way off topic. DS2 has been amazingly frustrating to deal with, for a very long time. And, talking to him and trying to make note of the positives and helpling him label his emotions and needs and such hasn't made a damn bit of difference. The only real improvement in the last four years is that a year and a half or so ago, he finally quit peeing on my carpets multiple times a week (sometimes multiple times a day)...which is actually huge, but...yeah...he's kind of exhausting.
I think that an instinct to protect ourselves applies, no matter who is doing the damage. As I said, I didn't even know that I'd hit ds2, until he told me. I have no conscious memory of doing so. It was an instinctive attempt to protect myself from something that was causing me extreme pain. The fact that the cause of my pain was my child wasn't even really on the radar at that point. I was in pain - lots of it - the headache from that encounter lasted almost two full days - and I lashed out at the source.
I'll give you that. But I still contend that pushing someone off of you is A) not the same as spanking, not even in the same ballpark, and B) still a violent act that we should do our best to avoid if we have better skills.
Pushing him off of me probably wouldn't have been that bad. I didn't,though. I really hit him. His cheek was red.
Rather than push my DS out of the way when he is a being a PITA and hurting me, I should recognize my own limits sooner and walk away, ask for him to leave me alone, demonstrate my NVC skills, stop the action and say "Mommy has had a long day. I am tired, hungry and I need some personal space for a little while. Please hang out with daddy or read a book for ten minutes so I can recharge, and then I promise I will help you/play with you/etc." But often I don't do that and then it is too late I snap...and again, I have been at this for a long time and I still am not an expert.
Well, I didn't mean to hit him at all, so I'm not sure what changes I could have made. But, leaving him wasn't an issue. He was hurting his sister, and if I'd walked out, he'd have just gone after her again. Believe me, if "please do X for ten minutes" was an option with this kid, I'd be using it...to save my own sanity, if nothing else! (This is part of what I was talking about upthread when I talked about how one can just leave an abusive partner - I couldn't just take dd1 and walk out and leave ds2 in the house alone to cool off, yk?)
Hierarchy wasn't valued in our house, but we were still spanked. This is part of what I mean. I see a lot of assertions about what's going on in homes and our culture with respect to spanking, but they just don't match up with what I've seen and experienced, yk?
I don't understand this. How can you not value heirarchy but use spanking...what was the spanking for then? I don't understand. Can you clarify what the purpose of spanking IS if not to establish and implement the heirarchy of control...were the children in your home allowed to dole out spankings to mom and dad when they misbehaved? I want to believe you, but I can't imagine a situation in which spanking is used to demonstrate or support or institute egalitarian values. Can you explain what you mean?
hmm...I was interpreting your use of "hierarchy" a little differently than you meant it (thinking of the very authoritarian "you do what I say NOW" kind of environment, with a "head of the house" and stuff like that). Yes - the adults were in charge (well, mostly mom, because my dad was very passive). Spankings were definitely used to enforce the rules and make sure things were done the way they were supposed to be done. But, the rules themselves weren't just about mom and/or dad being in control, yk? They were about everybody having consideration for each other, and keeping everybody safe.