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So tell me when you see a child being spanked or other physical discipline being used

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

What do you do? Do you say anything or just walk away? Do it depend on the age of the kids involved? I know that a friend of D.S. is staying with a family that aren't his biological family because of the kind of punishment inflicted.


We haven't talked about this in forever and I thought it would be a good thing to get talking about since kids are out of school and some parents are out and about more. Lemme know what you think! Should you M.Y.O.B or say something?

post #2 of 14

I just feel sad. I mean if its too extreme I will say something. It hurts my heart. I grew up being spanked and all that jazz very often and it was really hard living in fear (my situation was many times a week though over very ridiculous things)

post #3 of 14
It makes me feel sick and I want to hurt the parents. It really only happened in front of me once and I seriously got so angry. It was at my WEDDING PARTY. These folks had their poor little girl out till 10pm and of course she was having a tantrum. Then the dad spanked her. I wanted to punch him in the face. I didn't do anything. :'-(
post #4 of 14

So tell me when you see a child being spanked or other physical discipline bein

I have family members who spank their kids and I just quietly mind my own business. :/
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I hear you on it making you said and angry, I totally agree. I am just never sure what to do. How do you explain it to kids? It's one of those really tough conversations.

post #6 of 14
I would flat out tell my kid that it is wrong, and that he should never let anyone hit him even me.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input everyone! I would love how we can turn something like this into a learning opportunity with our families.

post #8 of 14

Legally there's nothing I can do about it. I just make a point to tell my children that what the parent is doing is not acceptable in our home and more specifically, why. I tell them that that is why we go through our (often tedious) conflict resolution process, so that they not only learn now how to solve problems with words and kindness rather than hands and cruelty, but that they learn to respect others' bodies and respect their own bodies enough to never let anyone hurt them.


And if the person hitting their kid overhears it, all the better.

post #9 of 14
I mind my own business, but I do tell my kids that I won't ever spank them or let anyone else spank them, so they don't have to worry about it. It can create anxiety if a child hasn't seen it and stumbles upon it at Target or wherever. That's where we first saw it. My daughter was little then and unaware of the concept and freaked out when she saw a mom spank her kid. She started crying and freaking out and asking me why someone would hit their own child. It was a scene, but that's the kind of kid she was (and still is to some extent but she's older. The intense and dramatic nature changes a bit as they age.) I wonder how the mom who spanked felt by my kid's scene.
post #10 of 14
I am fairy confident that my son would try to stop the spanking, even though he is only three. He is the type that would speak up and tell the parents to stop. I wish I was more like him!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

That is the sweetest thing!

post #12 of 14

Well. I am on the fence here. I'm very anti-smacking (spanking?). Very much so. I cannot imagine hitting my own kids, actually.


BUT but but. Its the lesser of two evils thing for me. Kids are hard, difficult. They tantrum just when you really do not have any more to give. Generally, when you're around those skeptical about breastfeedingslingAP etc is exactly when they decide to act like the world's worse reared kid. I do recognise that, having grown up with seriously crunchy parents, in a crunchy circle of friends, I also have quite a long perspective on this.


I think the thing for me is that, except in a case of real, obvious, sadistic abuse, 95% of the time parents do have their kids interests at heart. I don't mean that they can't lose it and hate their kid in the moment, but that actually, I think most parents don't truly want to inflict pain on their kid and a lot of smacking is a loss of temper. Yes some of it comes down to anger management, but some comes down to extreme stress and parents, like anyone else, flipping. I have to be honest and say, I've known parents who have hit their kids in the moment who are really, really good, your proper AP types, who are just under stress at that moment. They needed support to get out of the crisis and belief from others that they could get back on the AP wagon, because their biggest critic in that moment was themselves.


So would I say something? Maybe. But I would approach it from the perspective that the parent hitting was just at the end of their tether. I'd try to support them. Say the wedding party. I've been there, I've let a kid too young stay up too late and dealt with the tantrum. You learn, or I did. I didn't hit but I have really good support compared to an awful lot of parents - in particular, support for our way of parenting and educational choices. You need support in those situations. I think offering support, communicating to the parent that you can see they are stressed, also communicates very clearly that you don't think this behaviour is ok, that you think they are behaving this way because they are stressed. That you regard it as abnormal and a sign that things must really have come to a head. I also think that it might suggest to them that they need to look after themselves better, which I think is at the root of a lot of angry parenting-a failure to self care.


I don't agree with smacking/spanking as part of a discipline program, that's something else. Actually maybe intervention might be good, because I think it could be helpful for a parent who considered smacking ok to realise that it was not socially acceptable. TBH I can't see anyone here (UK) being open about smacking their kids anyway these days, it wouldn't happen in a public place without considerable tutting. Real sea change from when I grew up.


I think in a situation where a parent has really lost it with their child the priority is to do what you can to make sure that that doesn't happen again, and the best way to do that will depend on the situation. But I also feel strongly that the best way for a person to get better is for them not to be seen as some kind of abusive monster but someone, not at their best, with the potential to 

learn to control themselves. Because I think that that is the best way to get someone to change, to show you believe they can.


(sorry the reason I've used smacking/spanking is that I'm in the UK and I don't know for sure that spanking is actually the same as what we call smacking. Smacking is fairly light hitting, open palm, would not leave a mark or cause a lot of pain. Not that that's ok, but there are matters of degree here. Also, like I say, I'm living in a country where its now rare for someone of childbearing age to argue that smacking is a reasonable form of discipline) 


To be absolutely clear, I don't think smacking is ok, not at all. I'm interested in ways to stop it happening and I think support and understanding in the context of it being unacceptable is best.


ETA I have to say, maybe this is just me but I wouldn't be too worried about my kids. We model non-violent conflict resolution. They know its not ok to hit (though they do at times). If it was a fairly ok situation, I'd be more concerned that they saw that the appropriate response to someone angry and out of control is, providing its safe for them, compassion and empathy, not judgement. But my kids are that much older, I suppose.

Edited by Fillyjonk - 8/12/13 at 7:01am
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
  Because I think that that is the best way to get someone to change, to show you believe they can. 

I love that!  Very well put.

post #14 of 14

If my son is with me, I will stop and process what he is seeing. I will tell him that he should never let anyone hit him and that we would never hit him, either. I would ask him how it makes him feel- and tell him how I feel about it. If the other parent or kid overhears, all the better. 

If it is extreme, I will intervene. If it is "regular spanking", there is not much I can do.

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