It's OK to spank when.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-16-2006, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Your child runs into the street, or trys to touch fire, or the stove, or yad yada.
How do you deal with this? I know people who would never spank, except in one of these cases. I really don't think any of these needs a spanking. My ds#2 was one to run towards the street, and it scared the crud out of me, but he doesn't now. Mostly I think he learned it was not a good idea because I became so hystrical.
Anyway, I was just thinking about this, due to a conversation I had with someone resently. Who said they would hit thier child if they ran into the street, but otherwise never did. :

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Old 04-16-2006, 07:42 PM
 
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I don't get it either. My son has also stopped running into the street - not because I hit him, but because I would scream and grab him and flip out. I guess my issue is that what does a spanking really do in this scenario? Does it teach your child not to run into the street, or does it teach him that when you are upset you will hit him?
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Old 04-16-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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My father told me I should hit ds when he runs toward the road. I thought I had made my position on spanking crystal clear, but apparently not. I told him, "You don't want to have this discussion with me. I'm not hitting ds. I'm not going to talk about it."

I've heard others on MDC make the logical suggestion that if a child runs into the street, it is not the child who is at fault, but the parent. So it seems pretty silly to suggest hitting a child for something the parent has done wrong.

I've also heard people suggest (again on MDC,) that if spanking taught children to stay out of the street, you could hit them once and leave them unsupervised near a road because they've learned their "lesson" and won't run into the street, because, you know, you spanked them .

Generally I don't discuss it with people often because I see red when it comes to hitting children.
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Old 04-16-2006, 08:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by abac
I've heard others on MDC make the logical suggestion that if a child runs into the street, it is not the child who is at fault, but the parent.
Why is that logical? I don't think the child is "at fault", as I think that's an asinine thing to say about a small child. But, I don't necessarily think the parent is, either.

Anyway...I have some sympathy with the viewpoint in the OP. I don't do it, partly because that kind of situation reduces me to complete hysteria. But, from talking to various people who do this, I know what the thinking behind it often is. They believe that pain is built into us to teach us that something is harmful - if we didn't feel pain when we touched a hot stove, for example, we'd leave our hand there, and suffer a greater injury. So, the thought is that if you spank (most people I know who do it actually slap the relevant hand...eg, the one reaching for the fire) when a child is doing something dangerous, the pain causes them to avoid doing it again. It's not intended as a punishment, ime. I'm not saying it's a good idea, but that does seem to be the basis for it.

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Old 04-16-2006, 10:09 PM
 
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My mom is a big believer in spanking when there's danger involved. It makes no sense to me--I've asked her why she thought it was appropriate to be sending the message that in times of great stress or danger, we resort to violence?

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Old 04-16-2006, 10:24 PM
 
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I can understand becoming emotional when a child does something dangerous and, in the heat of the moment, hitting the child. What I can't understand is deciding ahead of time that hitting children is ever a good idea, and talking about it in front of children.

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Old 04-17-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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... it's between two consenting adults. Otherwise it's assault.

I don't think it's ever okay to assault someone regardless of age. The argument about when it's ever acceptable seems ridiculous to me--it presumes that adults have a natural right to hit defenseless children and that the only dispute is over how they should exercise that right. But if you view children as people with natural rights of their own, it makes no sense.

Is it understandable and forgivable if someone lashes out in anger in a crisis situation? Yes. But is it ever *acceptable* to hit a defenseless child? Absolutely not.
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:43 AM
 
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OK hmm.

Child runs into street, gets the punishment of having insane, hair-flying, screaming banshee parent coming after them. Also has punishment of feeling cars go past and scaring the hoosis out of them.

Child touches hot stove, gets burned.

Child reaches out to touch fire, really, if child has normal nervous system, child isn't getting very far towards that fire, b/c people really can sense heat and they don't like it.


In each scenario, there's a pretty natural negative thing happening, so NO I don't think those cases should involve someone going the extra mile. I mean, safety is a personal issue, one that we should each learn for our OWN sake. Not so that we please others. So the natural and immediate punishment that would happen from each of these situations really SHOULD suffice.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:01 AM
 
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My best answer to the stove situation is that kids don't think stoves love them, so if they get hurt by a stove it hurts, and then it's over...like any other accident they might have, stubbing their toe, etc. (albeit much more painful, and obviously I think it's the parent's responsibility to keep them away from a hot stove). Being hurt by someone you love, and who tells you they love you, however, has to be incredibly confusing for a child.

For me, I think it boils down to this:

I don't ever want my children to associate the love I have for them with me intentionally causing them pain for something they did. No matter what. I just don't want them to think that it's OK to hit someone you love "if __<insert bogus reason here>". The only consequence it teaches them is that if you do something mom or dad doesn't like, or scares them, you'll get hit. That someone who loves you will also intentionally hurt you - AND, therefore, it must be OK for you to do it too, if your little brother takes a toy, or a friend does something you don't like. NOT something I want to model to my children. Period.

I especially, with a daughter, would NEVER want her to ever be in a situation where she thought being hit by someone she loves was OK because of something "she did". Ever. It mus tbe really damaging to a child's self esteem to be taught that they "deserve" to be hit by their parent because of something they did. I can't even imagine.

As someone else mentioned, if spanking "worked", then it would only need to be done once and the child would have 'learned their lesson' - but it doesn't - I don't think I've ever heard of a parent spanking once and the child never having the same issue again. Since children who are spanked, as well as children who are not will eventually developmentally attain self control, why on earth would I intentionally repeatedly hit them if it didn't make a difference in their impulse control? OK, maybe if I hit them enough, they would become scared of me and not do anything while I was around, but the thought of that makes me shudder on so many levels. If anything, spanking probably hinders a child's development of self regulation, because they're not learning the reason behind things, they're just learning that if they do X, they'll get hit....what happens when nobody is around to hit them? Versus a child who is gently guided with explanations and consistent redirection, they are internalizing reasons behind things instead of just fear reactions.

Spanking is just such a short term result, and a really lousy one at that. It causes nothing but resentment in the parent because they're "still not listening" if they have to do it again and again , and resentment in the child because they don't understand how someone who claims to love them can hurt them. Just an all around lousy way to "love" and "teach" your child.

So many ways to get the same result, without intentionally hurting your child...AND preserving their spirit, inquisitiveness, AND self esteem.

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Old 04-17-2006, 09:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by donosmommy04
If anything, spanking probably hinders a child's development of self regulation, because they're not learning the reason behind things, they're just learning that if they do X, they'll get hit....what happens when nobody is around to hit them?
I think that needs to be said again. We need to guide them not punish them.

Doreen
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lisac77
Does it teach your child not to run into the street, or does it teach him that when you are upset you will hit him?
actually i think its worse than that it teaches your child to dear you and hide from you when they make a mistake, and to keep secrets from you because the consequences are so scary.

the damage to parent - child attachment i feel could be more life threatening when they become teenagers
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:15 AM
 
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This attitude comes from the old tradition of "beating the bounds" (I won't explain, look it up yourself if you've got a strong stomach.)

If someone has time to spank, they have time to redirect.
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
... it's between two consenting adults. Otherwise it's assault.
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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The answer I have always given these people is "Why would you want to hit your child when 1) even you don't think it is guranteeed to work (since as pp said you aren't goint to spank once and then leave your child near the road, and 2) swooping them up and having a VERY SERIOUS convesation (if you are calm) or a hysterical parent (if you are not) will work every bit as well to dissuade them from going near the street as a spanking!
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Old 04-17-2006, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Brigianna:

Thank you everyone, I felt like I was the only one who thought that that didn't make since. And you know, I never thought of this, but your right, if spanking worked you would only have to do it once. Yet you never see that.

H

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Old 04-17-2006, 02:00 PM
 
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Yeah, its silly logic. Kids run into the street mostly because either 1) they have no impulse control at that moment or 2) they have no understanding of how dangerous it is.
Hitting them won't give them impulse control! And I guess it could "work" for the second reason, but there are definitely other, non-cruel ways to get them to understand that its dangerous. I'm sure a freaked out mama does the job pretty well! lol

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Old 04-17-2006, 02:09 PM
 
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Lots of great responses already...
but what I have never understood about the arguments for this type of spanking is that if you have enought time to run up and smack them and get them out of harm's way - don't you also have enough time to grab them & hold them close to you? If an adult you loved was in danger - would you punch them in the face to let them know they are in a dangerous position? The argument just isn't logical at all!!
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan
If someone has time to spank, they have time to redirect.
exactly!
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CaraboosMama
Lots of great responses already...
but what I have never understood about the arguments for this type of spanking is that if you have enought time to run up and smack them and get them out of harm's way - don't you also have enough time to grab them & hold them close to you? If an adult you loved was in danger - would you punch them in the face to let them know they are in a dangerous position? The argument just isn't logical at all!!
I don't know anything about all the books and articles about how to spank, all I know is what I've seen in my life. And it's not like what you've described, rather it's getting the kid out of danger, then sitting down and smacking them b/c they ran out into the street and they need to know it's bad. 'cuz, you know, the fear they just experienced doesn't actually tell them that.:
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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I always forget spankers are into punishment not correction. They aren't trying for a "natural consequence."

(By the way, if you're visiting this forum to find alternatives to spanking, you are not a 'spanker' even if you have been in the past.)
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mollyeilis
...rather it's getting the kid out of danger, then sitting down and smacking them b/c they ran out into the street and they need to know it's bad. 'cuz, you know, the fear they just experienced doesn't actually tell them that.:
What fear? DS1 ran into an intersection when he was two, and was almost hit by a van. I ran into the street and scooped him up, and I was terrified...it took me almost three hours to get back to anything resembling normal. He just thought it was all hilarious.

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Old 04-17-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by donosmommy04
Being hurt by someone you love, and who tells you they love you, however, has to be incredibly confusing for a child.
Why? I was spanked occasionally as a child - I never found it even slightly confusing.

Quote:
As someone else mentioned, if spanking "worked", then it would only need to be done once and the child would have 'learned their lesson' - but it doesn't - I don't think I've ever heard of a parent spanking once and the child never having the same issue again.
Why? Does that apply to gentle discipline? If we do something once, then the issue at hand is resolved?

Quote:
It causes nothing but resentment in the parent because they're "still not listening" if they have to do it again and again , and resentment in the child because they don't understand how someone who claims to love them can hurt them.
My mom never resented us because we "still weren't listening", and I never resented her for spanking us.

I don't spank my kids for a variety of reasons, but I'm really boggled at some of the assertions about spanking that I see on this forum. I won't say I particularly liked getting spanked, but I didn't particularly like anything that thwarted me, including redirection. And, if I had a choice between a spanking and several non-physical punishments I received (from another relative, not my mom), I'd have begged for the spanking every time.

Anyway...I'm not promoting spanking. I'm just occasionally taken aback by the degree of contempt for it here. There seems to be an underlying attitude of "nobody who loves their child as much as I do could ever spank" that frankly turns my stomach. Maybe it's just me, but it seems a little over the top.

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Old 04-17-2006, 03:07 PM
 
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I don't get people's logic either. IMHO spanking a child is a result of a parent out of control. I know the few times I have *wanted* to spank (but didn't) it is because I was so angry I was losing control, not my kids losing control, I was losing control. And any other time I've seen a child been spanked (which thankfully is rarely) it is the same thing. And not very often is it a spanking to teach them a lesson like don't run into the street, it was usually a spanking simply because the child did not obey. Spanking is a power thing to me.

I was spanked as a child. When someone is trying to tell me that spanking helps the child learn the lesson and they *remember* and apparently will *never do it again* (ya right) I always say to them:

"I was spanked as a kid and I remember every time I was hit, I remember how scared and confused I was as to why my mom/dad would hit me, not to mention humiliated, but I can't tell you why I was hit by my parents during those times because I don't remember why. All I remember is my parents hitting me, not the lesson. "

I make sure that after the first word "spanking" every other word I use instead of spanking is "hitting", because, simply that is what spanking is, it is hitting your child.

That usually ends the conversation right there. If I have to, I also mention to the "pro-spanking" person I am talking with, that I think spanking is the lazy way of parenting, because I think it is honestly. I might have to repeat myself 1000 times and talk to/redirect my kids about the same thing 1000 times to get something to sink in (like don't run into the road, don't pour water from the kitchen sink onto the floor after I asked you not to, don't tease your brother/sister, throw toys at your brother/sister, don't pull the curtains off the wall please, etc etc you get the point ) but at least my kids will remember that I took the time to redirect them and talk to them, try to understand where they were coming from and didn't just hit them and leave it at that.
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Old 04-17-2006, 03:29 PM
 
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Poking in...

I've heard of people believing this way also. I'm not sure why they think it's okay to spank the child if they do something that is dangerous. It makes no sense.

My miranda loves the street. she's also 19 months old. I'm not going to hit her for running into the street, but I watched the neighbor do it for the same reason to her 2 year old a couple months ago.
she also loves to sit on the arm of the couch.. It takes every bit of me not to scream for her to get off the end of the couch.. I wanna scream because I guess it makes me so nervous. (we have hardwood floors. AKA no soft carpet to break the fall. lol)

I believe in Getting them out of the situation.. if they like to run into the road keep them in the house or build a fence.. If they like the stove, child proof the stove and keep them away from it when you are cooking, ETC.

I also use No's and Time outs. It works. better than hitting the child does.
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Old 04-17-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
Why is that logical? I don't think the child is "at fault", as I think that's an asinine thing to say about a small child. But, I don't necessarily think the parent is, either.
Poor choice of words on my part. I wouldn't fault a parent or other caregiver if their child ran into the street. What I should have said is that it is not the child's responsibility, but the parent's, to keep the child off of the road and out of harm's way.
Quote:
As someone else mentioned, if spanking "worked", then it would only need to be done once and the child would have 'learned their lesson' - but it doesn't - I don't think I've ever heard of a parent spanking once and the child never having the same issue again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
Why? Does that apply to gentle discipline? If we do something once, then the issue at hand is resolved?
I don't think it applies to gd either, but I think the idea is that people use the argument that it's okay to spank in dangerous situations, but not others, because it is neccesary to teach the child a lesson. It is used as an excuse to hit, whereas with gd one doesn't really need an excuse or justification for how one treats their child.
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
My mom never resented us because we "still weren't listening", and I never resented her for spanking us.
You are a very special person. It took me years to get to the point where I no longer resented my father for hitting me, and I was only able to achieve that by empathizing with him. It was not at all easy for me to consider how he must have been feeling as he hit me, and feel compassion for him regardless of the anger and abuse. I was certainly not able to accomplish this as a young child when I was being hit. I think you are the exception, not the rule.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I'm just occasionally taken aback by the degree of contempt for it here. There seems to be an underlying attitude of "nobody who loves their child as much as I do could ever spank" that frankly turns my stomach. Maybe it's just me, but it seems a little over the top.
I don't think that people who spank love their children any less than I do, but I don't think they have the same ability to empathize that I do. It can be difficult in a moment of frustration to stop and consider how one's child is feeling. I think the degree of contempt is directed towards those who believe it is their right and duty to hit their children, not towards those who occasionally lose their temper and hit, but seek a better way.
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Old 04-17-2006, 03:46 PM
 
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My mil said the same thing as what was said in the op. I did some searching on the internet and found this on Dr. Sear's web site. http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/T061200.asp

From the site:

Don't spank. As young parents with our first few children, we believed that spanking was appropriate in life- threatening situations, such as toddlers running out into the street. We reasoned it was necessary to make an impression on mind and body that the child would remember to prevent running into the street again. At the time we concluded that safety comes before psychology. But as we learned more about discipline, we realized there are better ways than spanking to handle even danger discipline. We realized toddlers don't remember from one time to the next, even with the "physical impression."
Any "danger" situation still requires constant adult supervision—no amount of spanking will danger-proof a child when the adult is not there to administer the blows. Any after-the-fact hitting will just be confusing—he won't know why he's being hit. Your job as a disciplinarian is to keep your child away from situations in which his ignorance or impulsiveness could get him into real danger.


There were a lot of other great things said by pp.
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by abac
Poor choice of words on my part. I wouldn't fault a parent or other caregiver if their child ran into the street. What I should have said is that it is not the child's responsibility, but the parent's, to keep the child off of the road and out of harm's way.
Ah - okay. That one just kind of rubbed me the wrong way, because I remember the time my son ran into the road...I was on my face on the ground, having knocked all my breath out, after slipping on the wet grass tryign to grab him and pick him up. I've seen the "the parent is at fault" assertion here a few times, and it always kind of feels like a slap in the face. I was doing everything I possibly could to keep him off the road.

Quote:
I don't think it applies to gd either, but I think the idea is that people use the argument that it's okay to spank in dangerous situations, but not others, because it is neccesary to teach the child a lesson. It is used as an excuse to hit, whereas with gd one doesn't really need an excuse or justification for how one treats their child.
Ah, okay. I've always just seen it as substituting the pain of a swat for the pain of being hit by a car or burned. I'd definitely rather have the pain of a swat! I do think pain teaches us - in fact, I think that's why we feel it. But, I've never seen any studies on parents who only spank in this instance, so I don't know if it really does work, or not. If parents are spanking for other things, then it all gets jumbled together as "punishment".

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You are a very special person. It took me years to get to the point where I no longer resented my father for hitting me, and I was only able to achieve that by empathizing with him. It was not at all easy for me to consider how he must have been feeling as he hit me, and feel compassion for him regardless of the anger and abuse. I was certainly not able to accomplish this as a young child when I was being hit. I think you are the exception, not the rule.
Maybe so. I don't think I'm particularly special. Spanking was just an occasionaly part of the ways things were. It only happened sometimes, for some things and it was used pretty consistently. I don't remember thinking that I "deserved" it, exactly...just that it was predictable. Of course, I've seen a lot of people post about spankings, and most of their childhoods were also quite emotionally unfriendly. Mom was a SAHM, and she baked with us, took us out to parks and such everyday, breastfed (even my brother, in '63), etc., etc. There was never any doubt in my mind that she loved us totally.

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I don't think that people who spank love their children any less than I do, but I don't think they have the same ability to empathize that I do. It can be difficult in a moment of frustration to stop and consider how one's child is feeling. I think the degree of contempt is directed towards those who believe it is their right and duty to hit their children, not towards those who occasionally lose their temper and hit, but seek a better way.
I think my mom felt that it was part of her job as a parent to spank occasionally. However, I don't believe she ever lacked empathy. She remembers being a child quite well, and knows how it felt. It wasn't about losing her temper (she yelled when she lost her temper, but never hit us that I can recall). It was just part of her parenting toolbox. She says now that she probably wouldn't do it, because she doesn't think it accomplishes anything - but she saw it differently 35-40 years ago. Of course, her mother didn't hit, but was tremendously emotionally distant and withheld affection and such for punishment. Maybe viewpoints on this really depend on the overall childhood of the person in question. Mom wasn't hit, but was unhappy. I was hit, but was happy.

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Old 04-17-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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Maybe viewpoints on this really depend on the overall childhood of the person in question. Mom wasn't hit, but was unhappy. I was hit, but was happy.
Yes, you're probably right. My mother occasionally spanked us also, and it sounds similar to how you viewed spankings from your mother. The spankings that stuck with me though are the ones that came from my father, because they were angry and violent and uncontrolled. I know you're not saying spanking is okay, but saying you were hit, but happy reminds me of people who say, "I was spanked and I turned out okay." I don't think people can really predict how a child will come to view spankings after the fact, when they are adults. Some grown children have no issues with it, (although I suspect they have not really dealt with it and are repressing and are therefore more likely to spank their own children,) while others suffer the consequences throughout their adult lives. Others are somewhere in between. Regardless, it is wrong every single time.
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:25 PM
 
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I know you're not saying spanking is okay, but saying you were hit, but happy reminds me of people who say, "I was spanked and I turned out okay."
I can understand why you'd see a similarity. But, I think I mean it differently. I see the spankings as...neutral, mostly. They really didn't mean much of anything, in terms of feeling betrayed, resentful, abused, etc. But, I also don't think they accomplished anything in terms of discipline. They were just part of life. Of course....I don't think I ever really felt that mom was hurting me...it was more "I did X and Y (the spanking) happened and Y hurt". It's hard to say for sure now, but I think I saw it about the same way I'd see a bee sting...I disturbed the bee, and I got stung. It wasn't about "deserving" to be hurt.

On the other hand, I think when people say, "I was spanked and I turned out okay", what they're usually really saying is "I turned out okay because I was spanked". That's a very different mental state than I'm coming from.

I do have to admit to having hit ds1 a couple of times when he was little, and I'm not proud of it...nor was I then. I just lost control, because I was way over-stressed and sometimes I couldn't cope and my little guy got hit. This ended up with both of us sitting on the floor in tears. I don't expect I was exactly creating golden memories for my son.

And, I hit dd one day, too...when she hurt ds2. It just took me by surprise, and I reacted without thinking. I can guarantee that if someone else did the same thing to ds2, I'd hit them, too! Now, I've given myself a sort of mantra ("she hurt my baby, but she is my baby") for that situation, so I haven't hit her again. I can't claim I'm doing that great. Mom hit me more times than I've hit my kids, but I actually think I've hurt them more.

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