Abuse and Consequence (Intent of thread restated in post #8) - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sledg
So what I think, really, is that you can't help the child without helping the parent.

… And for many people using certain words [added by ThinkBlu – or conveying a judgmental attitude] shuts down the conversation completely…

I am not talking about standing by doing nothing or pussy-footing around talking in mysterious and subtle ways. I am talking about recognizing that whether or not I think it's the way it should be or the way I'd like it to be, many people do shut down (stop listening) when you phrase things a certain way. I would like to create the chance that they will listen to and hear what I have to say. I would like to facilitate communication. Not give a lecture. If I actually want to help I have to be willing to communicate, to listen and to respond and to say what I'd like them to hear.

wanting to speak in ways that allow other people to receive what I want them to hear. For wanting to allow them to feel heard, for wanting to understand what they need to change. For wanting to have a dialogue. It's so much more important to me to get at the reasons people do what they do, and to give them (to the extent that I am able) what they need to look at things in a new way and what they need to do things differently. I want to also be an example, both by how I interact with my children and how I interact with most adults.
Very nice sledg! I hope you are being understood. I’m beginning to convince myself that maybe I am, that though we may still disagree that we all understand that we are trying to advocate as effectively as we can.

Your post also states…

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I would like to create the chance that they will listen to and hear what I have to say….
Maybe they won't listen if I do this. But I will have tried. And if they aren't a person who will listen…then they aren't someone who would listen even if…
…. I want to also be an example, both by how I interact with my children and how I interact with most adults [added by ThinkBlu – or possibly replace with how I advocate for the helpless]
And to show others who may feel that I am not seeing their message, that maybe I do, I would just like to say that I can see where the above statements apply to all of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
And I guess if it's a person I don't know, some stranger or passing acquaintance or some parent I see at my child's school but don't know well at all, then I think the issue is better addressed by some social activism than by me attempting to sway the parenting practices of a person I don't have any kind of relationship with.
Food for thought. I generally think this too, though I have recently (like in the past day or two) begun to think that maybe there are ways to instantly bond with someone, if your sincere intention is to help. I think some people have a gift for making an immediate connection. I don’t have that gift, but maybe if I work at it, maybe it can be developed.
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#122 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
I don't think you'll find anyone interested in change who doesn't think that understanding the influences behind people's actions is important. Also, "Meeting people where they're at" is a very common advocacy focus from my experience.

However, I disagree entirely and passionately with the assessment made by a quite few people here that labeling hitting children as abuse or violence is ineffective advocacy.

Furthermore, I do not think using this language conflicts with being thoughtful or gentle.
Understood, and while I am willing to entertain that there are perhaps times when labels such as abuse and violence are the most effective vehicles for advocacy, I think more often than not, that not the case. I guess if I were to propose a compromise, I would suggest recognizing that some do take offense (as many here have attested to) and start soft, escalating only to labels if you think that would be more effective after the soft approach fails. I think it possible to go from the soft approach to the hard approach, but once things have been ‘shut down’ by the hard approach, it’s not easy to go to soft.…Or, we could agree to disagree.

FWIW – I absolutely agree that the language does not conflict with being thoughtful or gentle. While I find it offensive, I also find it technically accurate, even thoughtful. I think I was making an unfounded assumption, assuming that if the words were offensive (IMO) that the delivery would also offensive (IMO).

Also, FWIW, the part in my post about “understanding the influences behind people’s actions” (to use your words) from my original post, was not meant to educate or talk-down, it was meant as a defense as I feel that my attempt to understand has been misinterpreted by some to be advocating or condoning ineffective parenting practices.
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#123 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aira
ThinkBlu, I'm in the middle of reading your recent posts, and I stopped to post in the suggestiong that you read anything by Alice ******.

I kinda assume that most around here know about her, but from reading what you wrote, it struck me that you might not, and her writing might help you find what you're looking for.
By the way, thanks. I'll check her out.


Must admit, I'm curious to know what you think I'm looking for...not meant as sarcastic, honestly curious. Feel no need to divulge....thanks again. It's nice to know that someone is seeing my intentions as pure, and not just designed to heat things up.
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#124 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 03:46 PM
 
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Well in response to many previous posts, if I had a husband that hit me every night for spilling my milk, or getting into a t.v. show and not listening or not picking up my clothes, I would consider him abusive. Why is the definition different when it's a child?
It is different because children in mainstream America (not here on MDC, I would hope) are normally considered second class citizens. They're what women and blacks were until recently.

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#125 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Dragonfly
Really, it seems to me that people who claim that saying that spanking is not abuse are, themselves, attributing to children a lesser status than adults.
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#126 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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I was digging through to see where I read something that gave me that idea, but I'm going to be called by DS any minute, and don't have time.

The gist was that I got the impression from a sentence or two that you are sincerely asking about how people who advocate from a child's POV came to our opinions. Not sure I worded that exactly how I really mean, but you get the idea...
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#127 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 08:16 PM
 
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Haven't caught up with reading threads, but happened upon this presentation related to constructing persuasive arguments. The basic premise is that one can argue logic, ethics or emotional imperatives. Each more effective depending upon the subject and audience. The ole' "know your audience" admonition......http://www.public.asu.edu/~macalla/l...hospathos.html

Maybe child advocacy isn't either: tip-toe OR abrasive, but "it depends....."

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#128 of 177 Old 01-04-2006, 08:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ThinkBlu
By the way, thanks. I'll check her out.


Must admit, I'm curious to know what you think I'm looking for...not meant as sarcastic, honestly curious. Feel no need to divulge....thanks again. It's nice to know that someone is seeing my intentions as pure, and not just designed to heat things up.
i think your intention was (known to you or not) that you would present this issue in a particular way (hence not being direct and up front, but convoluted and highly intellectual) and that would "turn on the light" for those of us that get hot about the issue and change our minds about the topic, ie that the medium *is* the message, and we would be reformed.

if you really meant to simply state the fact that you were offended by the way some approach this issue, then you would have done just that. since you did not, i would have to assume that something else was going on for you.

just because you present someone with an intellectual argument that makes sense, it doesn't mean that they will always be swayed by it, or even interested in seeing another prespective.

i hope i'm making sense.

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#129 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by honeybeedreams
i think your intention was (known to you or not) that you would present this issue in a particular way (hence not being direct and up front, but convoluted and highly intellectual) and that would "turn on the light" for those of us that get hot about the issue and change our minds about the topic, ie that the medium *is* the message, and we would be reformed.

if you really meant to simply state the fact that you were offended by the way some approach this issue, then you would have done just that. since you did not, i would have to assume that something else was going on for you.

just because you present someone with an intellectual argument that makes sense, it doesn't mean that they will always be swayed by it, or even interested in seeing another prespective.
I was/am looking for a conversation based on intellect and logic, as opposed to one based on emotion....that is my comfort zone, and that is what 'moves' me, OTOH, I recognize that is not what moves most, so I welcome the emotional arguments as well though I admit, and not proudly, that they tend to frustrate me and I think that much of what is meant to be communicated is lost on me and dismissed as "being emotional". As for being "convoluted" and not being "up front", I disagree. I think my original post did state what I was trying to better understand, though I also recognize that my attempt failed and my message was not clearly received by many.

You have previously questioned why I did not take an "I am offended" approach, and I tried to respond to that in post#93 and I am going to avoid repeating, but I would like to add that I think there is a big difference between the giver of a message being offensive, the giver of a message sending an offensive message, and the reciever of the message taking offense. I don't think I have been in any way secretive about that fact that I have taken offense (in this thread and others) and it generally seems to be directed back as 'my problem'. Earlier in this thread, someone introduced the idea that if someone takes offense, that is between them and their conscience, which in my opinion is a cop-out, and it doesn't address people like me, people who take offense despite a clear conscience. I wasn't looking for discussion about why people take offense to the message, I think that is clear, I was looking for discussion about whether or not people knew that they were being offensive in thier delivery of the message, whether or not they knew they were delivering an offensive message and whether or not they thought it mattered. From the original OP

Quote:
Originally Posted by OP
Do you think using words like abuse and violence to describe non-GD parenting likely would be offensive to parents practicing non-GD parenting?
[added for this post - i.e, do you recognize the message IS offensive?]

If you use words like abuse and violence in talking about non-GD parenting choices, do you care if others take offense? Would you change your vocabulary if you knew you were causing offense? Is it your intent to cause offense?
[added for this post - i.e, do you recognize the message IS offensive? do you recognize that the delivery of the message is offensive? Does it matter?]

Do you think using words like abuse and violence to discribe non-GD parenting styles does a disservice to GD? What do you think the over-all effect is?
[added for this post - i.e, Does it matter?]
IMO, this is pretty clear. *You* can ask why I didn't use different words, but I chose my words very carefully, particularily to try to avoid people taking offense to the questions. In hindsite, I think this topic ironically 'has a lot of noise' in it, i.e., a lot of emotion, and I'm not sure any words or any delivery can make *you* hear the message that I am trying to send.

I think that many of the messengers who deliver offensive messages (IMO) and who deliver messages offensively (IMO) do so without being aware that they are part of the problem when the message is not recieved. They feel justified that their message was "right" or "accurate" or "truth" or ________, and they turn the fact that it is also offensive back on the receiver, stating that the receiver TOOK offense, rather than realizing that 'I (or the message) GAVE offense'. I don't deny that I was hoping (though NOT hopeful) that some might take that message to heart. I have however long ago realized that my technical-manual style of persuasion, never works on topics with emotional aspects (which is almost all topics!) but I did hope (and it has happened IMO) that some others would also weigh in more eloquently on the topic.
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#130 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 08:51 AM
 
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Thinkblu,

For what it’s worth, I appreciate what you’re trying to do and the manner in which you are presenting this issue.

Many on this Gentle Discipline board seem to do their best to snip sentences out of thoughtful posts, paste them react to them with overly strong language and kill the discussion - and it’s really frustrating.

I do think the way in which Gentle Discipline is approached here often clouds the issue and turns people off. I’ve managed to scrap some valuable information out of this forum, but, it can be very tedious, especially when I see a mother asking honest questions, doing her best and being attacked. If someone claims that you were unclear in your intentions, they are being wilfully blind.

YES, I am angered when any form or amount of corporal punishment, (or even stern verbal reprimands) are called “abusive”. My parents were/are EXCELLENT parents, and I’m so thankful that I had them to grow up with. I was only spanked twice in my life, but, if I had done something horrible, say, drowning kittens – as my cousins were caught doing – I would have been spanked for certain. When I hit my sisters, I was warned, when I did it again, I was yelled at and sent to my room. Calling my parents abusive for being what I would call “strict” is pointless because I tune out when those methods are labelled in that way.

BUT, I am here, trying to read the Gentle Discipline Board because I think it’s important to learn some alternatives to spanking before I have children, because I don’t WANT to spank my children, and I want to cut down on yelling. There was a lot of it in my house and I don’t want to repeat it, NOT because I think it was abusive, but, because it was pointless in most cases.

So, I’m glad you posted this, ThinkBlu, it’s addressing a problem I was having with much of the discussion that goes on here.
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#131 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by scubamama
Haven't caught up with reading threads, but happened upon this presentation related to constructing persuasive arguments. The basic premise is that one can argue logic, ethics or emotional imperatives. Each more effective depending upon the subject and audience. The ole' "know your audience" admonition......http://www.public.asu.edu/~macalla/l...hospathos.html

Maybe child advocacy isn't either: tip-toe OR abrasive, but "it depends....."
Thanks for the link.

I agree with this. I myself am “turned off” by emotional or offensively worded or presented arguments. And generalities (i.e., all Republicans, “men really make me made when…”, Christians believe this / Scientists believe that, etc.) all put me on the defense, regardless of my status as a member of the targeted group. OTOH, my college roommate was “shut down” by ‘intellectual mumbo jumbo’. I think given circumstances (i.e., skills of presenter, nature/mindset of audience, etc.) that different styles are called for. I find myself thinking that I am imposing unrealistic expectations on the “offensive”. Why would *they* be capable of effectively delivering a message in a non-passionate way if that is their ‘nature’, when I have thus far in life not become capable of effectively delivering a message passionately?



Food for thought. I know this is kinda trite, but I heard this on the radio this morning (don’t know the context, didn’t hear the whole story) and I thought I would share. The person talking was advocating for the learning of foreign languages, and made a point to the effect that…

while speaking the same language as someone does not in of itself solve problems, it is a good place to start.
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#132 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by phathui5
It is different because children in mainstream America (not here on MDC, I would hope) are normally considered second class citizens. They're what women and blacks were until recently.
Can you elaborate a bit more on this? I am an American and I’m sure that influences my perspective. I don’t know much about American law when it comes to the historical plight of women as second class citizens, but I do know a bit about the plight of slaves, and I know that law was designed to limit their rights and were generally enforceable by all persons of ‘higher status’. I don’t see this as the case with children, quite the contrary (i.e., *you (with some exceptions) have no more rights to discipline my children than you do other adults, I as a parent am legally responsible to provide for my children, etc.), so I have a hard time understanding that argument.
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#133 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Trinitty, (regarding post#130)

Thank you. It’s worth a lot!
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#134 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 11:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ThinkBlu
Can you elaborate a bit more on this? I am an American and I’m sure that influences my perspective. I don’t know much about American law when it comes to the historical plight of women as second class citizens, but I do know a bit about the plight of slaves, and I know that law was designed to limit their rights and were generally enforceable by all persons of ‘higher status’. I don’t see this as the case with children, quite the contrary (i.e., *you (with some exceptions) have no more rights to discipline my children than you do other adults, I as a parent am legally responsible to provide for my children, etc.), so I have a hard time understanding that argument.
Perhaps the equally emotional argument that "children are treated like property" might or might not make the point more clearly. :

The point is that children (as a group or "class" of individuals), by law, have severely limited ability of recourse about how they are treated as compared to other "groups". Just as the "groups" of women and blacks had limited laws available to protect them from the will of the master. Children are "second class citizens" by law still. Not to mention the laws which *limit* children's rights of recourse, ie. you can't sue your parent for restraint of association, restriant of freedom of speech, restraint of free movement and restraint of other Civil Liberties which are endowed by the Constitution to all but CHILDREN! Ageism is the next equal footing upon which I am working to change. The sad part is that ageism is so pervasive as to be invisible. Just as patriarchy was (is). "It has always been done this way." "This is the way it is done."

Not to mention the right to be free from being physically hit. Of all things, how could that right not be remitted to other human citizens of a "civilized" country. We extended it to prisoners, mental patients, the elderly, animals..... Finally women and minorities. But not children. Is this clearer?:

Legally protected rights NOT to be hit by another =A

Prisoners=A
Mental patients=A
Elderly=A
Animals=A
Women=A
Minorities=A

Children do not = A

(oh, but hitting is "an attempt to discipline" "out of love for he who is hit") Can I say Bull**** on-line?



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#135 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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thinkblu, i agree with what you are saying in your post to me.

i live with some who think s a lot like you do and so i recognize what you are saying. i (who reasons in a MUCH different way) was not able to quickly clearly find the reason/intention for your thread, to me, it seemed covert. (not "intentionally blind" as someone so rudely put it)

i recognize your intention, but do think that when approching a very emotional issue, an overly intellectual argument clouds the water (for me). just my opinion.

since this thread ended up being about opinions about spanking and abuse, maybe you could try again with an "*is* the medium the message?" thread.

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#136 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 12:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Trinitty
YES, I am angered when any form or amount of corporal punishment, (or even stern verbal reprimands) are called “abusive”. My parents were/are EXCELLENT parents, and I’m so thankful that I had them to grow up with. I was only spanked twice in my life, but, if I had done something horrible, say, drowning kittens – as my cousins were caught doing – I would have been spanked for certain. When I hit my sisters, I was warned, when I did it again, I was yelled at and sent to my room. Calling my parents abusive for being what I would call “strict” is pointless because I tune out when those methods are labelled in that way.
FWIW, i just wanted to mention that i have heard many times from adults that were abused in the most severe ways, say *exactly* the same thing about their childhoods, parents and how they were "disciplined." why might that be?

i do think that this is significant. i really really do. i think it's really important to think about this and all it's implications.

i can give you example if you'd like.

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#137 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by honeybeedreams
FWIW, i just wanted to mention that i have heard many times from adults that were abused in the mose severe ways, say *exactly* the same thing about their childhoods, parents and how they were "disciplined." why might that be?

i do think that this is significant. i really really do. i think it's really important to think about this and all it's implications.

i can give you example if you'd like.

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 am not saying the parent *intends* the abuse. They too learned (had to *believe*) that pain is deserved as "discipline". This cycle of abuse needs to be broken to change.

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#138 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honeybeedreams and scubamama,

I too think this topic very worthy of further explaination. I was actually drafting up a spin-off topic this morning based on a previous comment that scubamama made about "indoctrination". I think "Stockholm Syndrom" is a pretty well known concept, which I think has direct ties to this topic....If we see someone as having ultimate contol over us (i.e., we are a dependant) and they show some mercy on us (which could be as thin as sparing our life by having not killed us when they had opporitunity) then we begin to see that our actions CAUSE the actions of others and we begin to take full responsibility for the actions of others. (This is the syndrom often sited in conjunction with Patty Hearst and Elizabeth Smart, The Kidnapped Bank Tellers (Sweden I think) and others who defended there kidnappers as compassionate, defying common logic.)

Anyway, unless someone beats me too it (which might not be a bad idea given how my OP's are thought to death!) expect to see a spin-off.

I think it potentially interesting to explore this topic with the idea that abuse is a climate (as suggested by dharamama) and possibly the debate regarding whether abuse is defined by the recipient, by the intent or by some unbiased objective but I it starts getting really muddy....much as this thread did. Why does everything have to be interwoven and so freaken complicated?!
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#139 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 02:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ThinkBlu
Why does everything have to be interwoven and so freaken complicated?!
which is why i think people so often retreat into black and white and moralistic thinking. because it doesn't require much analysis or deep thought and certainly no self reflection.

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#140 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by honeybeedreams
which is why i think people so often retreat into black and white and moralistic thinking. because it doesn't require much analysis or deep thought and certainly no self reflection.
Hear hear! It's easy to defend what you know is "right".
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#141 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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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.

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#142 of 177 Old 01-05-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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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.
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#143 of 177 Old 01-06-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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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!

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#144 of 177 Old 01-06-2006, 05:25 AM
 
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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.
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#145 of 177 Old 01-06-2006, 08:53 AM
 
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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?
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#146 of 177 Old 01-06-2006, 09:45 AM
 
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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.

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#147 of 177 Old 01-06-2006, 10:54 AM
 
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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.
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#148 of 177 Old 01-07-2006, 10:15 AM
 
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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?

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#149 of 177 Old 01-07-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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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.

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#150 of 177 Old 01-08-2006, 02:08 AM
 
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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?

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