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Abuse and Consequence (Intent of thread restated in post #8) - Page 8

post #141 of 177
Quote:
Because for what other reason would the provider of all that is essential to (a dependent child's) life, hurt their child ("me"), but out of love?????? This is "damaged" logic or brainwashing to believe that pain is deserved as discipline. And it is believed. And it is repeated. And it is believed. This is the worst possible (emotional and psychological) abuse: To believe that one deserved to be hit OUT OF LOVE!
I want to speak up as one who was spanked who does not believe I deserved it. I also feel my parents were loving parents, despite the spankings, despite their mistakes. I'm sure it does happen where people believe they deserve it, but I am proof it does happen where people do not. Both of my parents were made to pick switches and then stuck with them on bare skin when young. Both of my parents thought it was their job to make their dc behave to society's standards. No one had ever shown/told them otherwise. Their mistakes were much less than their parents. MUCH less. I would not strip them of their humanity and label them 'abusers'. They were not. I agree that abuse is more of a climate. It does not mean my parents were right, they made a HUGE mistake IMO, but I forgive them for not knowing any better.

I also want to state that IMO each person who decides not to spank is contributing hugely to societal change by doing just that. Spanking is much less prevalent than a generation ago and the way people spank is also commonly less physically drastic and hurtful. There has been positive change ALREADY and there will continue to be so IMO possibly until it is extinct in all but the rarest cases, though doubtful while we yet live.

I do want to recognize that some people are TRULY abusive and abused but I do not feel that mainstream parents and their children fall into my idea of these words. HITTING IS HARMFUL. PERIOD.
post #142 of 177
Honeybeedreams,

Please do provide your examples. I’ll do my best to read them with an open mind, as long as you do your best not to call my parents abusers or violent people.

I too know people who were abused by their parents, horribly abused, who would still defend them to others, I’m well aware of the Stockholm syndrome, and I find it very sad. But, to apply it to my gleeful childhood that was sheltered and fostered by rational, loving parents would be a farce and I think it would be a deep disservice to those who did cannot draw from their childhood as from a well of happiness.
post #143 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty
Honeybeedreams,

Please do provide your examples. I’ll do my best to read them with an open mind, as long as you do your best not to call my parents abusers or violent people.

I too know people who were abused by their parents, horribly abused, who would still defend them to others, I’m well aware of the Stockholm syndrome, and I find it very sad. But, to apply it to my gleeful childhood that was sheltered and fostered by rational, loving parents would be a farce and I think it would be a deep disservice to those who did cannot draw from their childhood as from a well of happiness.
well, i'm not going to say that my clients defended their parents, but simply that they did not identify themselves as abused. they said "my parents spanked me or hit me but they loved me and was a difficult child. mostly i deserved it." having been an alcoholism counselor before i was a therapist i heard stories that would make your hair curl they are so terrifying. but two clients stick out for me. both women. one came to see me because she began having intrusive thoughts about her father's battering of her mom after she was married the second time. "were you also abused?" i asked her. "no" she told me. but then went on to relate being spanked, slapped, kicked and punched right up until she was 15 years old and ran away. as a 3 year old she was left alone while her parents went out at night. she slept on the kitchen table becuase she was so afraid of the "monsters." "do you not think it was abusive for them to leave you home alone?" i would ask her. she was baffled. after a period of months we started talking about how one might treat children in a loving and kind manner. she still had trouble saying "i was abused." she simply could not believe it. this was normal parenting as far as she was concerned. after seeing me for 18 months she finally cut off contact with her family (because they were still abusive to her), but her close frineds kept giving her a hard time about it. why? many of them treated their children the same. when she would tell them "i was abused" they would say "it wasn't that bad." why? becasue they were hurt like that too. it's the norm in this culture and we accept it all the time.

finally 7 years later she does not speak to her family or to her freinds that didn't support her cutting off contact with them. she also is honest with herself about how they hurt her while saying "i love you." it took a long time. this is a sucessful woman, with a very high paying job, with many friends and a packed social calendar. you would never mistake her for one of my run-over, down in the gutter alcoholism clients, not in a million years. but she was just as, or more abused then some of them. people would say she had good parenting and a good start in life to be so sucessful.

another client i remember is one who told me these grusome tales of abuse, with a straight face and never batted an eyelash when i said, "how horrible. i can't imagine how scared you must have been." she kept trying to convience me that she really didn't have it so bad. it wasn't until she got a boyfriend with children that she began to suspect that something bad had happned to her. but she still could not say "i was abused." she simpled did not believe it despite having been stabbed and then beaten with a ski pole on x-mas morning for spilling her fathers coffee when she was 7. (among other things)

i was a spanker when i was a stepmom. did i think for one minute that i was abusing my stepdaughter? of course not. i simple didn't have any other tools available for parenting at the time to use. on the other hand, does that negate all the good parenting i gave to a neglected little girl? no, of course not. i made sure she was fed 3 times a day, got a regular warm bath, had clean and appropriate clothes to wear and went to school everyday and had help with home work. i took her to girls scouts and swimming and gymnastics and playdates and made many happy birthday parties for her. the abusive aspects of my parenting did not erase what was good and what was good did not excuse my abuse.

i think it's very significant that those who have been horribly abused will swear that have not been. and that many think that labeling hitting as abuse somehow negates the good stuff, it does not. i had a client that was horribly sexually abused (i won't go into details), but she managed to get through college, become a special ed teacher and raise a son as a single mom. her parents must have done something right, despite the fact that her father mangled her for life. she was very messed up, but she functioned pretty darn good in day to day life. and was a good mom too, not the best, but pretty darn good.

my point is, saying "my parents hit me, i wasn't abused, and they loved me." doesn't mean much (as far as naming abuse) since it's so common in our culture, it's like eating at mickey d's, everyone does it even though it's bad. and coming out and saying "my parents were punitive, it was wrong and it was abuse and i choose another way" doesn't make them monsters. it just means they made some mistakes, like most parents.

what you say about your childhood is not at odds with having been abused. i had a blast as a kid too. my parents loved us tons and tons. they also spanked the crap out of us. only on the butt, never ever anywhere else. but it *was* abuse. and that doesn't take way from any of the fun and love i had as a kid, and it doesn't take away form all the good stuff that happened for me then either.

HTH!
post #144 of 177
so
i disagree will spanking

and this is not a direct response to the cause of affecting change in those who support spanking

but,
as being a mother who has spanked,
and wished she hadnt

i will say that guilt is of little service to the dynamics of change. accusations and hard words did not(could not) not have prevented me from spanking my dc at the times that i didnt. it was connection. connection to my self and to my children. it was breath that gave me the room to move past the tremendous weight of being overwhelmed and feeling powerless. powerless to manage the common task of raising responsible children.

some people do not have the venues open for connection. for those, i can only fell grief and trajedy,and take refuge in a process that is greater than understanding, as i am not an activist, a rescuer. but for those who are struggling through the courageous journey of change and healing, then i have compassion.

i think, for those who are seeking to live from thier heart, it is connection that they need most.
post #145 of 177
Honeybee,

Thank you for sharing those examples, as I expected, they're really hard to read and think about.

If you were repeatedly spanked as a usual method of correction as a child, I CAN see how you would call that abuse, it's for YOU to come to that and to accept that term and apply it to your experience. I'm being careful here because I know someone who was hit/spanked all the time, yet was raised in a "good home" and that person would flip right out if *I* were to call it abuse. If that person wanted to term it that, then, that would be that person's choice.

While I may sound like I'm one of your past patients defending my parents, I really am not, I wish I could bring you with me in a time machine and show you. Since they only spanked me once each, and since my sisters were only spanked once - in a moment of horror and fear for my mother who was scared for their lives - then, perhaps that's what made them decide that it wasn't the best discipline method? THAT cannot be considered abuse, can it?
post #146 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty

While I may sound like I'm one of your past patients defending my parents, I really am not, I wish I could bring you with me in a time machine and show you. Since they only spanked me once each, and since my sisters were only spanked once - in a moment of horror and fear for my mother who was scared for their lives - then, perhaps that's what made them decide that it wasn't the best discipline method? THAT cannot be considered abuse, can it?
i have NO idea, maybe your parents *did* decide it *was* abusive and that' why they decided to stop. i know that certainly happens. and there is nothing wrong with making mistakes and learning from them as a parent.

when my stepdaughter lived with her drug-addicted mom, she was totaly unsupervised. she would be found wondering about outside at midnight by the neighbors. since they lived on a corner, she was almost hit by cars a bunch of times. it took us over 18 months to get custody of her. in the meantime, her father (after trying to reason with a 3 year old) finally spanked her with a belt. she never (that we knew) ran in the street again. was that abuse? we were terrified she would be hit by a car all the time. it was the only time he ever hit her like that.

when it comes to hitting and kids, i'm not sure there are always simple answers.
post #147 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eagle
as being a mother who has spanked,
and wished she hadnt

i will say that guilt is of little service to the dynamics of change. accusations and hard words did not(could not) not have prevented me from spanking my dc at the times that i didnt. it was connection. connection to my self and to my children. it was breath that gave me the room to move past the tremendous weight of being overwhelmed and feeling powerless. powerless to manage the common task of raising responsible children.
Wow. Thank you for sharing your story, you are very brave to do so. And I deeply admire your courage to do the inner work necessary to stop spanking. And you have so summed up what I know in my heart to be true. It's not guilt that helps people change, not shocking people with words. It's understanding and connection, it's compassion and support, it's awareness of both self and other-these are what help the most.

And as honeybeedreams said, there are no simple answers-not to the question of why parents do things that hurt their children, and not to the question of how to help our society change, and not to the question of whether and how we can help individual parents.
post #148 of 177
ThinkBlu hit it on the head. If you really want to change or affect change guilting and accusatory language will get you Nowhere fast. If it doesn't work with our kids than how will it work with adults?

June
post #149 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by immortal ambition
Honestly it sickens me when people dilute the word abuse. Abuse is a strong word (with a real defenition) and not a word that will change meaning with each persons opinions. It does a disservice to those who have truly been through abuse or neglet of some kind.
ITA.

I don't think words like "abuse" and "violence" used in the context of different parenting styles is effective. I think it's counterproductive. And, I think that it diminishes the experiences and realities of REAL child abuse. There is a huge difference between a loving, giving, nurturing parent who resorts to swatting the child's butt sometimes and someone who systematically destroys the mind and self-image of a child through sheer neglect, emotional unavailability, and physical violence.
post #150 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68
ITA.

I don't think words like "abuse" and "violence" used in the context of different parenting styles is effective. I think it's counterproductive. And, I think that it diminishes the experiences and realities of REAL child abuse. There is a huge difference between a loving, giving, nurturing parent who resorts to swatting the child's butt sometimes and someone who systematically destroys the mind and self-image of a child through sheer neglect, emotional unavailability, and physical violence.

Yes, but, Piglet (and others!), what if it is productive? What if using the words abuse and violence is just the right motivator for someone...like me? It is a fact that these words are what make it clear to me. These words and this belief are exactly what have helped me stand up for my child against a culture that thinks hitting children is "ok".

Thinking that hitting my child is abusive does not diminish the abuse of another. And, if you think it does, could you please explain this again?

To me, hitting children "a little" is not that different from sexually abusing a child "a little" or hitting your wife "a little" or swatting an inmate "a little".



And anyway, what is the definition of abuse?
post #151 of 177
I just wanted to talk about something that was on my mind a while back because I'm usually on the other side of this debate. What I think I'm consistent with is that honesty and factually are seldom problematic when it comes with love and good intentions. I know this sounds cheesy but I think it's true. So, whether we're talking about corporal punishment, CIO, formula feeding, circumcision, vaccination...when we advise with love for the parent as well as the child, I think facts are often the way to go.


This goes along with the idea that someone can do something that is violent or abusive without being violent or abusive people. I think this is a clear distinction that is maybe missing from the discussion.


I know that some here think that it is not a fact that hitting a child is abusive or violent but, with this, I disagree.
post #152 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68
I don't think words like "abuse" and "violence" used in the context of different parenting styles is effective. I think it's counterproductive. … There is a huge difference between a loving, giving, nurturing parent who resorts to swatting the child's butt sometimes and someone who systematically destroys the mind and self-image of a child through sheer neglect, emotional unavailability, and physical violence.
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
what if it is productive? What if using the words abuse and violence is just the right motivator for someone...like me? It is a fact that these words are what make it clear to me. These words and this belief are exactly what have helped me stand up for my child against a culture that thinks hitting children is "ok"…. [combining quotes from two posts]…honesty and factually are seldom problematic when it comes with love and good intentions. ...when we advise with love for the parent as well as the child, I think facts are often the way to go.
I’m having a hard time putting my response into print, as I tend to agree…and disagree. Please forgive if response is choppy.

I think you hit on a really key point….love…for the parent and the child. I do however think it different to be in a relationship of mutual love (and hopefully respect) and a casual relationship where you may have love for the other person, but not be in a loving relationship with them, and I think the dynamics are different.

I disagree with your use of the words “facts” and “factually”. What *you* see as factual, *I* do not. But I do see your point and I am willing to entertain that sometimes ‘sanitizing’ a message makes it about as effective as elevator music! I am willing to entertain that there may be times and people for whom using strong vocabulary or delivery may be the most effective method, …..but how do you determine when and whom? And further, is it really required or could a gentle message (delivered with love and best intention) also be effective?

I think that for communication to be effective, the involved parties either need to be on common ground regarding vocabulary, or the involved individuals need to make a conscious (or unconscious) decision to allow the other some latitude, and even then that ‘offense’ creates ‘noise’. And while these dynamics may be decipherable in a close love relationship, they are not with more casual relationships. An example, earlier in this thread, someone put my opinions into print, and then labeled them as “bullshit”. Despite the fact that I started this thread having made a conscious decision to be open minded, knowing offensive things (IMO) would be said, that little jab shut me down. Though I want to think about the point that she was making, and though I want to reply, every time I make an attempt, my thoughts spiral down to insults and sarcastic jabs. I have actually woken several times in the middle of the night, with some “priceless little insult” that my mind has concocted while I slept. In the end, perhaps the dialogue will be effective, but not efficient and I don’t think any more effective that it would have been had the person been more respectful to *my* needs as the intended (or part of the intended) audience. Did this statement come 'in love', probably not, but even if it had (if it could have), I'm not sure that would have changed it's effect.

IdentityCrisisMama – I’m curious. At the time that these words and beliefs helped to make it clear to you, were you (consciously or not) seeking clarification or was it ‘thrust upon you’ in a way that opened your eyes? Did the words come from a resource that had first gained your respect? Did they initially cause offense, or was it more of an epiphany, i.e, “gee, I never thought of it like that before”?

I do think it comes down to knowing your audience and I think that needs to be very clear. If *you* are in a relationship vs. if *you* have been asked to speak to an audience of willing participants, vs. speaking to an audience of unwilling participants, vs. speaking with someone searching, vs. speaking to a mixed audience such as that on this message board, etc. etc. the dynamics change, but I would argue that a respectful message is always the best, and since different people have different standards of what is respectful, the bar must be held very high. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Finally regarding your opinion that it is factual that spanking is abusive…

Your post implies that when a message is delivered with love, and best intentions (and I would add reasonable judgment), that it can be effective even though the delivery may be seen by some to be less than fully effective (perhaps even as abusive, by definition). That is how I feel about spanking, in other words, spanking is not inherently abusive (though granted is also not effective) if it is delivered with love and best intentions and reasonable judgment. And so while in you opinion, to say that ‘spanking is abusive’ is a factual statement, for me it is not, unless you strip the word abusive to mean something like ‘the infliction of physical pain/discomfort’ (by which definition much medical care would also be abusive by definition) and clearly state that so that my mind doesn’t go to all the societal connotations of the meaning of the word abusive. Please note, I am NOT advocating for spanking. My point, while I think you may be correct, I don’t think it worth the chance. I think that if love and intent can make even an ‘offensive’ message palatable and effective, then to keep the love and intent, but remove the ‘offensive’ makes the message (or discipline) even that much more palatable and effective.
post #153 of 177
Thinkblu,

Thank you for your thought provoking post. I do disagree with much and agree with much. Basically, I think that those who use force against a child debase themselves to the audience of force, if only verbally, or through non-violent interventions. (ie. meeting the audience where they are) So, someone who is hitting a child in public, basically opens himself up to the harsh vocabulary of public judgement which includes our cultural connotation that their actions are 'abusive'. In the moment, and within the cultural context of judgment. However, I do agree, that the actions of hitting a child are intended to meet an underlying need of the parent and that by befriending the parent, one has more opportunity to affect change. But once a child *is being hit* in PUBLIC, the action is what needs to cease, in the moment. And if words, harsh or otherwise, redirect the anger, give voice to questioning their uncontrollable anger, or empower the child, that is my goal. To give *harsh* voice to the dissent of the child.

Quote:
And so while in you opinion, to say that ‘spanking is abusive’ is a factual statement, for me it is not, unless you strip the word abusive to mean something like ‘the infliction of physical pain/discomfort’ (by which definition much medical care would also be abusive by definition) and clearly state that so that my mind doesn’t go to all the societal connotations of the meaning of the word abusive.
Abuse-the infliction of physical pain/discomfort against one's consent. Therein lies the difference. And as a critical care nurse, I can attest to much which would probably meet this definition of abuse, tragically. Yes, the cultural connotation of the "wrongfulness" of the action of the swing of your fist, ends at my nose. Or a child's body. Except as is consensually agreed: boxing, football, wrestling, IV insertions, setting broken limbs, surgery, etc. It is only children who do not live in our culture with the benefit of the connotation of violation when their body is imposed upon *against* their consent. Children are treated in the same category as property. Lower than pets. Perhaps almost at the same level of pets, since movie stars are activists for animal rights.



Pat
post #154 of 177
No, children are treated slightly higher than animals still...we still aren't allowed to eat them for dinner

...but Ferber is working on that book probably....
post #155 of 177
An interesting thought I've had while reading this discussion:

We know that societal attitudes can go a long way to improving behaviour. Example, where I live it is illegal to smoke in restaurants and bars and any other public places. More and more the overall attitude to smoking is "it's gross". People give you dirty looks if you light up near them, even at the bus stop. I've seen the smokers becoming more and more aware of this, and taking steps to keep their smoke away from other people, etc. Yet in places where no such laws and attitudes exist, parents openly parade around with lit cigarettes in one hand, and babies in the other. It's not that people are going around here saying "you're abusive! you rotten parent!", but there is just an overall societal unacceptance of this behaviour that seems to really have an effect on what people do.

Similarly, spanking is just not done here. And if it is, they keep it away from the public eye. Again, it's not that armies of GD parents are running around calling spankers abusive, horrible parents. But somehow the message of disapproval has come out (and, I'm proud to say, our own government health organizations advocate against it, both in information pamphlets, children's programming, etc). So even if there are a few who spank, they simply wouldn't have the balls to do it in public. RIGHT THERE this sends a message. I mean, if you don't want to do it in public then you MUST admit that the majority of people don't parent this way, ergo there must be another way of doing things.

So....my question is: how do these changes in soceital attitude come about? When did my city become so anti-smoking (I well remember the furor that arose when they first proposed banning smoking in restaurants - now nobody even thinks about it). How did my city become anti-spanking?

I don't think it was by using terms like abuse and violence.
post #156 of 177
I am completely willing to say that the words one chooses are important but that's about it. I do not find any of the arguments that hitting is not abusive convincing. There is not a convincing argument that using these words belittles other forms of abuse. I am not convinced that using these words is offensive to "most" people and I think that those of you who think that might want to look into the origional message this is sending...ie. "You cant handle the truth". IMO, until we're willing to "call a spade a spade" when it comes to violence, it's going to continue to be overlooked by the greater culture.
post #157 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68
So....my question is: how do these changes in soceital attitude come about? When did my city become so anti-smoking (I well remember the furor that arose when they first proposed banning smoking in restaurants - now nobody even thinks about it). How did my city become anti-spanking?

I don't think it was by using terms like abuse and violence.
Cross post, Piglet

I disagree. I think that things like smoking got banned because people finally admitted that it is deadly! I think that hitting children becomes more an more taboo as people speak out about what it really is. Violence.

I could ask how a culture becomes anti-spanking without these words?
post #158 of 177
This is from the WHO Convention on the Rights of the Child:

Article 19
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.


Note that they use the word violence and abuse and the term "all forms".
post #159 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubamama
I do disagree with much and agree with much.
Well, as I think we near the end of this thread, I am happy to say that I think largely, we are all mostly debating degrees of grey.
Quote:
Basically, I think that those who use force against a child debase themselves to the audience of force, if only verbally, or through non-violent interventions. (ie. meeting the audience where they are) So, someone who is hitting a child in public, basically opens himself up to the harsh vocabulary of public judgement which includes our cultural connotation that their actions are 'abusive'. In the moment, and within the cultural context of judgment. However, I do agree, that the actions of hitting a child are intended to meet an underlying need of the parent and that by befriending the parent, one has more opportunity to affect change.
Well said and I see your point. While I agree that those who use force open themselves up to attack, I still would not advocate that to attack (verbally or otherwise) would be an appropriate or effective response.
Quote:
But once a child *is being hit* in PUBLIC, the action is what needs to cease, in the moment. And if words, harsh or otherwise, redirect the anger, give voice to questioning their uncontrollable anger, or empower the child, that is my goal. To give *harsh* voice to the dissent of the child.
Again, I can see your point. I vote for “otherwise”. I don’t see where using harsh words helps to deliver the message.
Quote:
Abuse-the infliction of physical pain/discomfort against one's consent.
Per this definition, “IV insertions, setting broken limbs, surgery, etc.” would be abusive if the child did not give consent, would it not.?

Quote:
It is only children who do not live in our culture with the benefit of the connotation of violation when their body is imposed upon *against* their consent. Children are treated in the same category as property. Lower than pets. Perhaps almost at the same level of pets, since movie stars are activists for animal rights.
I will attempt to respond to this separately (though I have been attempting for about a week, and I’m not sure I’m very close to having something ‘post-able’.) But I disagree. I agree that children have different rights , in some specific ways, I can see where an argument can be made that their rights are inferior, in other ways I think an argument could be made that they are superior (i.e., right to free education)…..in all, I think they are just different, and IMO, understandably and justifiably different….anyway, watch for more on this if interested.
post #160 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
I am not convinced that using these words is offensive to "most" people
What about to "some" people? How do you differentiate? What do you propose to undo the offense once it has been done? I'm not against calling a "spade a spade", I'm against calling a spade abusive. What is it that can be conveyed by calling spanking abuse, that can't be conveyed with other words?

Quote:
I think that things like smoking got banned because people finally admitted that it is deadly!
I think that part of what is changing perception of smoking is that it has been shown to cause cancer and other lung disorders that I can't spell and partially because of public service campaigns and public policy, not because of statements which put smokers on the defesive. Can we not make an equally convincing argument against spanking with out putting people on the defense?
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