Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn
I hear a lot of harsh threats to kids (that if followed through with would be extreme abuse) here in KY in the city at stores like walmart, at the park more often hear parents talk through things with kids in a rather pushover way, and among many of my friends they take the kids somewhere private for verbal correction and sometimes spankings (shaming to kids and rude to those around you to do any of that in public). In public I get so flustered with my kids' behavior I'm redirecting them and snapping at them to behave constantly and often have to resort to telling my oldest he's about to lose priviledges like computer time. I do try to keep that stuff to a low voice near his ear so everyone else doesn't have to be bothered by it.
I was also raised that it's more polite to pull your kid off to the side or whisper in their ear or something - more polite for the kid and for the people around. If I need to correct my daughter or offer her guidance, I also get up to go to her or I call her over to me to chat, in a low voice too. I don't yell out commands that everyone can hear, unless it's a true safety situation. I suppose this may be a regional difference from where I grew up, because I don't remember ever seeing my friends get in trouble in front of me or vice versa. I do remember, "You go in the house right this instant," but the content of the scold or spanking or whatever was always private.
But where I live now, there is a lot of public correction - not spanking or yanking so much, but definitely, loud public correction where I get the impression that a parent is first of all trying to communicate to others that they are "dealing with" a situation. The content ls mostly like "Now don't snatch that from the baby," when the kid is nowhere near the baby, to the very mild and unassertive, "Johnny pleeeeease don't do that," etc. This is everyone, park, library, everywhere, across different social groups. I don't know how to explain it at all, but it's like the person is talking to you, but they are talking to their kid. The statements are meant for the bystanders to hear and the kid hearing it is almost a side effect. It's totally different from the frazzled mom who is just yelling out of frustration. The harsh threats mostly seem to be in that camp, "You gonna get a smack if you don't stop that." I don't spank, but I will admit that I have threatened a spanking a few times in a high stress situation. The one that comes to mind is when my DD kept running off from me on a busy road, and I hissed it through my teeth at her. I'm not proud of doing that, but I understand why I did it - in high stress situations, we tend to revert to the patterns we grew up with.
I feel uncomfortable witnessing the public correction where it seems like everyone else is meant to hear. I usually feel embarrassed for the parent doing it when I see it, and also flustered and uncomfortable. Although, I feel more like I get why someone does it in a high stress environment and I am just so confused when I see it happening in what is a more low stress environment. However, I think it really is the norm here and what is considered polite (this is the norm at most of the playgrounds), so I guess I don't need to feel embarrassed for anyone.
As for the main topic - I see butt swatting and head pushing sometimes, usually in high stress environments, and I'm not shocked to see it. But, I grew up in the south and in a family and church culture where spanking/beating/whupping was the norm. I'm actually more surprised when I learn that a family doesn't spank at all and hasn't for generations. Someone has to tell me that they weren't spanked at all growing up before I will assume that is the case.
Edited by cyclamen - 6/4/12 at 3:46pm