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at the risk of starting a fire here, do you think that spanking EVER works?

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
**donning flame retardant suit**

I am a firm believer in GD. We have praticed it and modeled it in all aspects of our lives. Of course there have been times when I have yelled and felt like crap and even spanked once or twice but...

My DD is 3-3/4 and, if you have read anything about us prior, before you know that she is a VERY spirited, independent,energetic, non-stop stubborn child - all of which I see as positive traits in a person, though at times it can be trying on my patience. But for the past few months she has taken to kicking me - and I mean HARD - when she is angry. I have always responded to this calmly and have tried every GD thing I KNOW to get her to stop it.

A few weeks ago we were lying down to nap (she is also the anti-sleeper and on this particular day had gotten up at at 3:45 AM so she was TIRED) and of course, she DID NOT want to nap. I never "make" her take naps - I just tell her then it's quiet time. But this day she WAS napping. Her eyes were half shut, she was yawning and fighting sleep. So she started throwing a fit because she did not want to sleep and turned herself sideways and kicked me - HARD - in the stomach. I was 19 weeks pregnant at that time. That was IT. I grabbed her legs and spanked her butt. Not hard, but enough to get her attention. She started to cry harder and I said very firmly, "YOU WILL NOT KICK ME ANYMORE ELLERIE. AND FROM NOW ON ANY TIME YOU DO KICK ME I AM GOING TO SPANK YOU." Then she stopped crying and apologized for kicking me, and I apologized for spanking her and she fell asleep snuggled in my arms.

A few days later she was having a tantrum about something else and ran toward me. I said firmly, "DO NOT KICK ME ELLERIE" and she kicked me. I turned her over and spanked her butt again. This time though it stopped her tantrum and she looked at me and said she was sorry for kicking me. I thanked her for apologizing and told her I DO NOT like spanking her but repeated that any time she kicked me I was going to spank her.

Later on we had a conversation about what we can do when she is feeling super mad rather than kick mommy. Now, we have had this conversation before the spankings occured, but she still kicked me. She discovered that, like me, when she is super angry she needs space. I told her that's fine - she can have all the time she needs to calm down and it's OK to be angry but it is NOT ok to hurt someone when you are angry. It HURTS. I don't know if she got the IT HURTS part before - i think she only saw it as a way to immediately vent her anger.

She has NOT kicked me since. And as much as I do not believe in spanking I have to say that it worked for this situation. Believe me when I say I tried EVERYTHING to get her to stop kicking me and nothing worked. I am not a believer in punishments and threats. But it is so nice to not have bruised shins and worry about her kicking me in the stomach anymore.

What do you think? Part of me feels bad that I resorted to "violence" to end something violent - but I can honestly say that when I spanked her I was NOT out of control - I was angry the first time, yes, and also protecting the baby - but the second time I saw her heading to kick me and I knew I was going to do it ahead of time - it was not a reaction. I think somehow that with my stubborn headed child this got through to her that I mean it when I say A. Kicking hurts and B. DON'T kick me. What should the natural consequence be for kicking someone - over and over and over and over again, when the behavior does not change or subside with all the conversations and postitive timeouts in the world?

What do you think?
post #2 of 87
the natural concequence for kicking someone in the adult world is one of two things

1: Police getting called and the kicker gets criminally charged with assult

2: the kick-ee takes things into his/her own hands and defends his/herself from the kick-er resulting in a fight.

Other than that I got nuthin...
post #3 of 87
Spanking "works" (sometimes) if what you mean by "works" is "ends an unwanted behavior in the short term". It works, plain and simple, through fear. There is nothing else operating when you use spanking (or the threat of spanking). Yes, fear can certainly "work" as a behavior modification tool.

However, it changes the dynamic between parent and child into strong vs. weak, dominant vs. submissive, master vs. slave. Some people think this is fine. Children's brains think otherwise. Although many adults who were spanked as children come to "identify with their assailants" and actually believe it was good for them, AT THE TIME what they felt was fear, and probably resentment, and confusion. And...the most salient one for me...humiliation. Do these feelings cause a child to "behave better"? Often, yes, until they forget. But the feelings also can cause a lot more unwanted behavior, to say the least.

When I was spanked as a child I actually would think over and over to myself, REMEMBER THIS - REMEMBER THIS - REMEMBER NEVER TO DO THIS TO YOUR CHILDREN. The feelings of humiliation, injustice and rage were so potent I can taste them now.

So you ask the wrong question, IMO.

I don't care if spanking works. It's wrong.
post #4 of 87
Define works.

Does it extinguish unwanted behavior? Sometimes.

Does it lead to a well-adjusted, well-reasoning adult who is able to evaluate the consequences of their actions to themselves and others and to make good choices, and who does not see violence as an answer to problem? Never. Those things might happen in spite of spanking, but they will not happen because of it.



Since the second scenario and not the first is my goal as I discipline my child, then I would say no, spanking never works.
post #5 of 87
I will admit I tried it a little before discovering gentle discipline. I, like other have said, feel it stops the little unwanted behavior issue rarely. Negative attention or belittling somebody over their actions usually has a poor outcome. How many times have you responded negatively to an adult and gotten a positive reaction out of it? Hummm? Doesn't happen does it? Same for children.
post #6 of 87
I guess it depends on how you define "works."

If you're defining "works" as "stopping the behavior in the short term" then yes, spanking "works" sometimes "better" than GD.

If you define "works" as "teaching the child inner discipline so she WANTS to be good" then I don't think spanking "works."

Here's how I handled similar situations with DS when he was a toddler:

I'd tell him to be gentle, or he'd have to go in the crib (in my bedroom, right next to my bed.) If he hurt me, I put him in the crib- he was safe, there were toys in there, and he could still hear and see me, but he couldn't hurt me. I usually gave him ONE chance after being put in the crib to come out and snuggle with me in bed, but after that he was in the crib for all of nap time. A few times he cried himself to sleep in the crib (again, I stayed in the room with him, verbally comforting him the whole time) until he learned that he wasn't allowed to hurt mommy. I even had one of those *gasp* crib tents to keep him from climbing out.
post #7 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
Spanking "works" (sometimes) if what you mean by "works" is "ends an unwanted behavior in the short term". It works, plain and simple, through fear. There is nothing else operating when you use spanking (or the threat of spanking). Yes, fear can certainly "work" as a behavior modification tool.

However, it changes the dynamic between parent and child into strong vs. weak, dominant vs. submissive, master vs. slave. Some people think this is fine. Children's brains think otherwise. Although many adults who were spanked as children come to "identify with their assailants" and actually believe it was good for them, AT THE TIME what they felt was fear, and probably resentment, and confusion. And...the most salient one for me...humiliation. Do these feelings cause a child to "behave better"? Often, yes, until they forget. But the feelings also can cause a lot more unwanted behavior, to say the least.

When I was spanked as a child I actually would think over and over to myself, REMEMBER THIS - REMEMBER THIS - REMEMBER NEVER TO DO THIS TO YOUR CHILDREN. The feelings of humiliation, injustice and rage were so potent I can taste them now.

So you ask the wrong question, IMO.

I don't care if spanking works. It's wrong.
:

I came to post the same thing, but this says it perfectly.

Of course it "works" your child is now afraid you're going to hit her. Does it build a stronger relationship? No. Does it help her learn how to cope in real life? No. Does it teach your child that you love her? No. Does it teach your child you value her? No. It teaches your child that you are bigger and stronger and the way to deal with things is to be the bigger bully.

-Angela
post #8 of 87
I'm all for using GD whenever possible, but I think that in this case, perhaps your child didn't understand the pain she was inflicting upon you and so had a hard time justifying needing to use self-control when it was so much easier to lash out. And you did say that you employed all available options, and you were protecting your unborn child as well.

I just about guarantee that you won't find much (if any) pro-spanking support on this board. And if you do, the odds of it staying up as a post are nil: the mods will remove it because this board does not endorse the use of spankng AT ALL. If you want people to give you kudos, you'll have to go over to Dobson's site.
post #9 of 87
Thread Starter 
I totally agree with you guys - but my DD is not a toddler. She is a very bright and articulate - almost too bright - preschooler.

I think - no, I KNOW her feelings overwhelm her and yes, my ultimate goal in life it to teach her to be able to handle her feelings in a healthy way - and I KNOW hitting is not going to accomplish that. BUT - out in the "real world" if she were to get angry and hit someone, more than likely they would hit her back - even at this age amongst her peers. Anger usually arouses anger. I want her to learn to express her feelings in ways that say "It's OK to feel how I feel and it's OK for the other person to feel how they feel and we can disagree and take some space." KWIM?

Ugh - this parenting thing is SO complicated sometimes and not as black and white as I wish it were. *sigh* this is a trying age and I do subscribe to the philosophy that

I am re-reading positive Discipline again...I don't want to resort to this type of thing as a normal way to "get" her to behave or I KNOW she will do things behind my back to avoid punishment, rather than make the right choices driven by herself. Is there anything I can do to UNDO what I have done?
post #10 of 87
Yes, I think it works in the short term by stopping the behavior.

No, I don't think it's an effective long-term strategy.

I think that there are times where the behavior *must be stopped* before it can be dealt with.

Do I think that the parent-child relationship will be irreparably harmed by a once- or twice- or thrice-in-a-lifetime spanking? No, not in most cases.

Do I think that the occasional spank teaches kids that the way to resolve disputes is through violence? No.

Do I think you should continue to spank your child when she misbehaves? No.

Do I fault you for spanking her when she was kicking you repeatedly? No.

No, we shouldn't hit our kids. But what about when they hit or kick us? Yes, we are bigger, but kids can come at you and really hurt you if you aren't careful. A three-year-old I once had on my caseload as a foster care social worker tore my medial collateral ligament (in my knee) with a well-placed kick. Kids shouldn't be allowed to hit us, either, and you know what? If I knew an adult who kept running up and kicking/hitting me and wouldn't stop no matter what I did, I would probably finally kick/hit that person back. Just to show him/her that I won't tolerate being hit/kicked. Even though I don't advocate violence.

Namaste!
post #11 of 87
Well what did you try that was GD? I do NOT believe that spanking works better than very firm but more gentle methods.


When your child hits or kicks you, you need to adopt an EXTREMELY serious voice. You must immediately hold her arms or legs gently and say in your MOST SERIOUS voice: YOU MAY NOT HIT ME! IT HURTS. (very quiet and very low is the best way to go).

You can explain/discuss later but there is just one message here. "I do not like it when you hurt me. I am NOT happy with you."

This is a message I reserved ONLY for physical transgressions. It "worked" just as well as spanking coud ever have.
post #12 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady
Is there anything I can do to UNDO what I have done?
You say you guys have talked about this since the spankings, right? And you have apologized to each other? Well, leave it at that. Don't continue to dwell on either of the mistakes, yours or hers, because THAT will, I believe, teach her that we are helpless in the face of our past actions and that they will continue to define us far into the future (because "far into the future" is a very short time for a preschooler).

Also, if you act like you have done a completely horrible, unforgivable thing to her and beg for her mercy, that could lead her to feel like a pathetic victim ... "Look how ill-used I was!!" THAT will not help her become a confident person.

Namaste!
post #13 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady
I think - no, I KNOW her feelings overwhelm her and yes, my ultimate goal in life it to teach her to be able to handle her feelings in a healthy way - and I KNOW hitting is not going to accomplish that. BUT - out in the "real world" if she were to get angry and hit someone, more than likely they would hit her back - even at this age amongst her peers. Anger usually arouses anger. I want her to learn to express her feelings in ways that say "It's OK to feel how I feel and it's OK for the other person to feel how they feel and we can disagree and take some space." KWIM?
Okay- assume you have an elderly grandparent you're taking care of. If they hit you- do you hit them back to teach them? Of course not. Why? It's not okay. Hitting another person is not okay. Period.

As to how to make things better- you have to tell your dd that you were wrong and apologize. You need to explain to her that hitting (and kicking) is NEVER right. That you were wrong and should not have done it. There will be some difficult discussion after that.

good luck

-Angela
post #14 of 87
It works but at what cost?

The *only* way spanking works is to create fear in the child.

The child complies because she is *afraid* of you.

This is what convinced my dh to stop spanking. He would say something like, "This is what worked for my parents" or "I respected my dad."

No, honey, you *hated* your dad (I have known my husband since he was 15.) You *hated* him and you *feared* him. You are getting respect and fear mixed up.

Seriously, the only reason spanking ever works is because it introduces the element of fear into a child's relationship with his or her parnts.

It isn't a price I am willing to pay to get my children to behave.

Debra Baker
post #15 of 87
Hmm. If spanking was the best solution you could come up with, well I guess you do what you need to do in a safety situation. For an extreme example, I don't believe that killing people 'works' but there may come a day where I find I need to kill someone (of course I hope not). I think most gd people react strongly to even the occasional spank because it has such finality to it - once you've decided to spank, are you really looking for other non-violent solutions still? Is it a slippery slope once you've started spanking that you'll succumb to the easy answer and use it over and over again? IRL, tho, if anyone else hit you in a way that was possibly going to cause long term damage, you have otehr ways of dealing with it - you might leave dh, call the police on a sibling or parent, etc. Most of the options that we have for dealing with violence and abuse are not ones we would use with our kids. So I guess IMHO spanking may 'work' to accomplish a stop to a behaviour, but it is an expensive solution - it cost your child, your relationship, and yourself, and it is never the best solution. That said, if it is the only idea you have at the moment and you need to defend yourself, I would probably use it, too. It is important that your child knows you are not a punching bag, and that you don't take abuse even from people you liove. I would also keep looking for other ways to deal with it once we were through the moment, and hope to never have to go down that path again.
post #16 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady
I totally agree with you guys - but my DD is not a toddler. She is a very bright and articulate - almost too bright - preschooler.

I think - no, I KNOW her feelings overwhelm her and yes, my ultimate goal in life it to teach her to be able to handle her feelings in a healthy way - and I KNOW hitting is not going to accomplish that. BUT - out in the "real world" if she were to get angry and hit someone, more than likely they would hit her back - even at this age amongst her peers. Anger usually arouses anger. I want her to learn to express her feelings in ways that say "It's OK to feel how I feel and it's OK for the other person to feel how they feel and we can disagree and take some space." KWIM?
Okay, I'm going to say this in the most inoffensive way I can say it while still expressing the depth of my belief . . . .but how did hitting her help her learn to "express her feelings in ways that say 'It's OK to feel how I feel and it's OK for the other person to feel how they feel and we can disagree and take some space.' "? What it showed her, instead, was exactly what you DON'T want her to see -- that sometimes hitting IS a valid solution. The last thing you need to be modeling is hitting -- because that's what she's going to sieze on if that's what she sees modeled. And then, you're right, more than likely she's gonna lash out and she's going to get hit back. You want to PROTECT her from that, not propagate it.

I know you probably know all that already. But sometimes, it's good to see it in black and white, because it can help us remember it when WE are in the heat of the moment.


Another way to think of it is this. I don't believe hitting is EVER the way to solve problems -- EVER. EVER. EVER. So if I'm not going to hit my husband, or my sister, or my coworker, or whoever -- even if they do things that hurt me on a regular basis -- why would I do it to MY CHILD, to whom I bear much more responsibility, and whom I am supposed to love and teach and guide? He deserves AT LEAST as much respect from me as anyone else.

I do think there is black and white in parenting. I don't think it can get anymore black and white than hitting. Hitting -- "spanking" -- hurts children. It "works" because it hurts. If it didn't hurt, it wouldn't "work." Hitting children is wrong. I don't know anything more black and white than that.


Quote:
Is there anything I can do to UNDO what I have done?
No, unfortunately we can't undo what's done. But if it were me, I would try to minimize the effects by going to my child and saying "I know I told you I was going to spank you every time you kicked me, but that was a bad idea and I was wrong. Just like you were wrong to hurt me, I was wrong to hurt you, and I'm sorry. I will not spank you again." And then keep my word. Unfortunately, that may mean she tries to kick me even more frequently to "test the boundaries" so to speak. But I think if I dealt with that without hitting and without hurting, it would go a long way to "repairing the damage."
post #17 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady
Is there anything I can do to UNDO what I have done?
Just apologize. "I'm sorry I hit you. I got angry and I forgot to be gentle. I'll try very very hard not to do that again."

What will hitting her and then apologizing teach her? That hitting is "bad" but people can do "bad" things sometimes without turning into "bad people."
post #18 of 87
Thread Starter 
Thanks for not flaming me mommas.

I did apologize and that was that. No more kicking. No more spanking. No more threats of spanking.

Quote:
Well what did you try that was GD? I do NOT believe that spanking works better than very firm but more gentle methods.


When your child hits or kicks you, you need to adopt an EXTREMELY serious voice. You must immediately hold her arms or legs gently and say in your MOST SERIOUS voice: YOU MAY NOT HIT ME! IT HURTS. (very quiet and very low is the best way to go).

You can explain/discuss later but there is just one message here. "I do not like it when you hurt me. I am NOT happy with you."

This is a message I reserved ONLY for physical transgressions. It "worked" just as well as spanking coud ever have.
I did that for MONTHS. And that works for everything else. But she has a fiery temper like a little lion. I spoke to her. we role played other ways she can express when she is super angry. I left the room and told her calmly I would be in the other room and she could come when she calmed down. I have calmly led her to her room and told her to stay there until she can calm down. I have knelt down and hugged her because she was so angry she felt the needed to kick me to get it out. I have told her firmly that KICKING HURTS. I have shown her the bruises she left on my shins to show her that kicking hurts.

I tell you, NOTHING worked with this issue. I suppose eventually it would have, but kicking me in the stomach is NOT acceptable and the behavior HAD to stop.

anyway...it won't be something I resort to. That's for sure.
post #19 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady
I told her that's fine - she can have all the time she needs to calm down and it's OK to be angry but it is NOT ok to hurt someone when you are angry. It HURTS.
I think you should take your own advice.

Good luck with your daughter.
post #20 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by lckrause
I think you should take your own advice.

Good luck with your daughter.

And I thought this thread would stay snark free...

So much for that.

:
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