Seeing a child get spanked in public - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-19-2007, 03:42 AM
 
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When you talk about keeping people "tied into those opportunities" -- you're not advocating anything mandatory, are you? I'm all for offering opportunities to new, expectant, and all parents who want to utilize them: I just wouldn't want to see anything forced on people.
I'm not advocating anything mandatory. I'm simply suggesting that if there were most support for parents, it would be less stigmatized to get help and more people would seek it. If it were more mainstream or normalized (like taking birthing classes or whatever) perhaps more people would be receiving information that would help them parent in more gentle ways.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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I'm not advocating anything mandatory. I'm simply suggesting that if there were most support for parents, it would be less stigmatized to get help and more people would seek it. If it were more mainstream or normalized (like taking birthing classes or whatever) perhaps more people would be receiving information that would help them parent in more gentle ways.
Sounds good to me!

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Old 11-19-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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ugh. threads like this remind me why i don't come to this forum anymore.
Hmm. Threads like this are what make this forum so interesting to me. We're all different, and have different preferences -- to the point where my fun is someone else's "Ugh," and vice-versa.

If you don't enjoy heated discussions where people sometimes passionately disagree, there are lots of threads like "Something wonderful that happened today," that don't seem likely to generate as much disagreement.

No reason to stay away from the forum, IMO. In my case, I tend to stay away from the "something wonderful" threads simply because they're not as likely to be interesting to me. It just doesn't seem too hard to me read the title of a thread, and figure out if it's my type of thread or not.

Of course, sometimes titles can be misleading -- and I'm sure I've missed some interesting discussions just because the thread had words like "wonderful" or "This made me smile" in the title.

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Old 11-19-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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This is my kid

Note: not actually my child, but something my child would do and is capable of.
That is HILARIOUS! Even mine aren't that bad (not yet anyway)! I have caught my 3.5 year old trying to climb up the fridge though...LOL

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Old 11-19-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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I hate to even say it because people here already are sterotyped so badly, but I live in south Alabama. My kids are hsed.



***Forgot to quote! Someone asked me where I was from when I mentioned that corporal punishment is still used in our public schools, unless you sign a waiver saying you won't allow it.
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Old 11-19-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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I feel compelled to find a solution to every problem. I think that's a bit of an issue, but anyway. Wouldn't it be nice if someone printed little flyers (like those hellfire and brimstone some religion passes out), but instead make it an informational piece about why hitting children is not effective? I might just do that....

It's terrible that I see abuse enough that I feel compelled to print flyers. To avoid any flames, what I see is typically not the smacking of hands. The kids would probably be grateful for that.
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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Funny, I don't think I've ever actually seen it. People are pretty careful about around here I guess. I might have once like a LONG time ago.

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Old 11-19-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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OK, so I didn't mean to hyjack this thread. Sorry!

( I left a bit of the info out trying to not make it long)


My point was That mom not just smacked her hand but all out full force went at her and knocked her off the chair onto the floor. Then was screaming at her to get up. I don't know what she was saying she was switching languages on me and I couldn't keep up.

Here's my thought and it's only what was in my mind at the time. If this happened in public ,What happens at home. The baby was no more that 2-ish.


I understand the whole at whitts end thing I have been there many itmes. Have gotton many behavioral slapps/hitting/beatings myself. I just don't don't hit my kids.

This kid could have been easly told easy baby lets not hurt the tree. Not slapped off a chair!

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Old 11-19-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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The last time I saw a child get a public spanking I did confront the parent.

background I was shopping with my now 2 yr old at Wal-mart a little boy about 3 was wondering around lost in the infant department,I alerted an employee and we started looking for his parent. We walked around in the area looking finally a woman I saw a women calling "Aaron" Aaron" she spotted us came over took her child by the arm swung him up into the shopping cart and started smacking his bare legs over and over.I saw red and told her what she was doing was inappropriate and uncalled for. She told me in broken english "Who was I to tell her what to do" The employee who helped look pulled me away I was seriously in tears.

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Old 11-19-2007, 09:39 PM
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She told me in broken english "Who was I to tell her what to do"
I am glad you spoke up but I was wondering if that bit was pertinent to the story. People who speak perfect English hit their kids too!
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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I am glad you spoke up but I was wondering if that bit was pertinent to the story. People who speak perfect English hit their kids too!
Oh I agree. I should have clarified better she was yelling at me in broken English. She said "who you tell me how to treat my son? I his mother I hit him if i want too."

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Old 11-19-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post


This is my kid

Note: not actually my child, but something my child would do and is capable of.
: I don't think I'd let my kids do that. Nor would I let them climb on the tables. (we don't have a coffee table) I would let them and help them climb things outside.

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Old 11-19-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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This is my kid

Note: not actually my child, but something my child would do and is capable of.
Here is a couple videos of my DD climbing.
http://s66.photobucket.com/albums/h2...1624310021.flv
http://s66.photobucket.com/albums/h2...1624105093.flv
http://s66.photobucket.com/albums/h2...1624208261.flv
sitting on the table.
http://s28.photobucket.com/albums/c2...ent=IMG006.jpg
http://s28.photobucket.com/albums/c2...ent=IMG005.jpg

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Old 11-19-2007, 10:34 PM
 
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I saw a mom smack a baby's hand at our pedi's office. My dd was in the sling touching the tree leaves and giggling. The other toddler was standing on a chair wanted to touch too. She grabed the leaves and pulled down the branches,and mom smacks her and yells don't touch! Baby cry's . My super sensitive 6 y/o yells ( at the top of his lungs ) at the mom "Don't hit her,she's only a baby!" ** Office worker calls doc and doc files abuse charges. **

Mom looks at me and tells me to mind my own unruly kid. I simply said touch her again I'm calling the police.
I was wondering how that all turned out.

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Old 11-19-2007, 11:04 PM
 
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Here is an article "What should I do when I see someone hitting their kid?" http://www.nospank.net/stang.htm

I try to offer empathy for both parent and child, and in conversation suggest "a couple of books that really helped to create cooperation in our family were "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles" and "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen". Sometimes, just redirecting the adult to having an adult conversation changes the energy, because they no longer feel isolated and socially challenged by the child's behavior. Out of probably 20-25 times that I have initiated contact in a heated parental exchange, only once did I encounter an unwelcomed response. I just listened and was sad and cried later. But, I had spoken up for the child's experience, which I trust at least validated the child's feelings.

The unwelcome incident was when a man slapped a child (about 5-7 years old) across the face while standing in line at the CVS. I immediately spoke up and said "Please don't hit her. Hitting hurts." He declared that "as long as I don't leave a bruise, I can punish her as much as I want". I didn't know what to say further, I felt horrible for the child, but knew legally he was "right". I felt very intimidated by his stance and didn't challenge him. It was a very helpless feeling. (I was alone.) I sorta feel that I would have felt stronger if ds had been with me. Because I would have been concerned about his experience of witnessing this. *I* felt like a child being reprimanded, interestingly. With ds, I feel much more Mama Bear, I guess. I wish I had spoken about how I had felt as a child when I was punished, but I really felt mentally/emotionally threatened by his stature, voice and body language.

EVERYONE has *thanked me* for "helping" prior to this, when the family was obviously overwhelmed and feeling out of control, even those who had been threatening, or had just hit, their children in public. But, I listen to folks nearby, if I hear things escalating in a store, I can intervene. I've walked up to folks and "commiserated" and offered the "helpful book suggestions" on many occasions. I have a forte for intervening in these types of situations. I do it all the time. LOL It gets easier with practice and with no mal-intent.

My sense about the physical "discipline" that I experienced as a child, was that MY perception was validated (finally!) somewhere around 4th grade when an outside Adult! spoke up against hitting children. Prior to that time, my parent's opinion and voice were strongest in my mind about me being hit. So, the emotional manipulation of being told "you caused my anger", "you deserve to be punished", "it's your fault", etc lost some of its power because someone validated MY experience. I certainly am concerned that the subsequent physical assault by a parent may be worse if another adult intervenes publicly. But I believe the emotional abuse of a child being told you "deserve" to be hit, lasts longer than the physical impact.

So, I choose to speak up. My goal is to neutralize the anger, not confront it. And I wish to share tools when someone is open to it. I trust that parents mean well, but people do what they know. And sometimes they have never had models of effective communication and conflict resolution. We are all learning all the time. The book suggestions "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles" and "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen" are well received, although the titles belie their messages of gentle parenting.

The book "Peace Is Every Step" helped me to come to terms with my childhood experiences and place them in context of what my parents must have experienced as children themselves. Understanding leads to compassion. We can choose peace in every moment. But, it is a practice of awareness of the moment, rather than judging. For me, helping parents who are overwhelmed comes from a place of compassion, despite their behavior. It really is the same with children, focusing on the underlying need. I am just learning to help the parent get what s/he needs, AND the child.

I have found that the energy with which I meet folks impacts the message I send. But, when a child is hit, old wounds are re-opened and it IS hard to meet a hitting parent with compassion. And, sometimes, intervening when emotions are already high can push folks over the edge. Certainly, it is a difficult environment for everyone.

Another option is to express concern to the staff in a store about the parents hitting children. Not sure anything would happen, but some staff might well "take a stand" about hitting children. Involving the "authorities" in an institution/business is a suggested way of intervening in the article "What should I do when I see someone hitting their kid?" http://www.nospank.net/stang.htm

Just redirecting the parent to adult-mode, out of "parent/authority", seems to move their emotional energy toward more civil, ime.

Pat

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Old 11-19-2007, 11:19 PM
 
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Here is an article "What should I do when I see someone hitting their kid?" http://www.nospank.net/stang.htm

I try to offer empathy for both parent and child, and in conversation suggest "a couple of books that really helped to create cooperation in our family were "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles" and "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen". Sometimes, just redirecting the adult to having an adult conversation changes the energy, because they no longer feel isolated and socially challenged by the child's behavior. Out of probably 20-25 times that I have initiated contact in a heated parental exchange, only once did I encounter an unwelcomed response. I just listened and was sad and cried later. But, I had spoken up for the child's experience, which I trust at least validated the child's feelings.

The unwelcome incident was when a man slapped a child (about 5-7 years old) across the face while standing in line at the CVS. I immediately spoke up and said "Please don't hit her. Hitting hurts." He declared that "as long as I don't leave a bruise, I can punish her as much as I want". I didn't know what to say further, I felt horrible for the child, but knew legally he was "right". I felt very intimidated by his stance and didn't challenge him. It was a very helpless feeling. (I was alone.) I sorta feel that I would have felt stronger if ds had been with me. Because I would have been concerned about his experience of witnessing this. *I* felt like a child being reprimanded, interestingly. With ds, I feel much more Mama Bear, I guess. I wish I had spoken about how I had felt as a child when I was punished, but I really felt mentally/emotionally threatened by his stature, voice and body language.

EVERYONE has *thanked me* for "helping" prior to this, when the family was obviously overwhelmed and feeling out of control, even those who had been threatening, or had just hit, their children in public. But, I listen to folks nearby, if I hear things escalating in a store, I can intervene. I've walked up to folks and "commiserated" and offered the "helpful book suggestions" on many occasions. I have a forte for intervening in these types of situations. I do it all the time. LOL It gets easier with practice and with no mal-intent.

My sense about the physical "discipline" that I experienced as a child, was that MY perception was validated (finally!) somewhere around 4th grade when an outside Adult! spoke up against hitting children. Prior to that time, my parent's opinion and voice were strongest in my mind about me being hit. So, the emotional manipulation of being told "you caused my anger", "you deserve to be punished", "it's your fault", etc lost some of its power because someone validated MY experience. I certainly am concerned that the subsequent physical assault by a parent may be worse if another adult intervenes publicly. But I believe the emotional abuse of a child being told you "deserve" to be hit, lasts longer than the physical impact.

So, I choose to speak up. My goal is to neutralize the anger, not confront it. And I wish to share tools when someone is open to it. I trust that parents mean well, but people do what they know. And sometimes they have never had models of effective communication and conflict resolution. We are all learning all the time. The book suggestions "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles" and "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen" are well received, although the titles belie their messages of gentle parenting.

The book "Peace Is Every Step" helped me to come to terms with my childhood experiences and place them in context of what my parents must have experienced as children themselves. Understanding leads to compassion. We can choose peace in every moment. But, it is a practice of awareness of the moment, rather than judging. For me, helping parents who are overwhelmed comes from a place of compassion, despite their behavior. It really is the same with children, focusing on the underlying need. I am just learning to help the parent get what s/he needs, AND the child.

I have found that the energy with which I meet folks impacts the message I send. But, when a child is hit, old wounds are re-opened and it IS hard to meet a hitting parent with compassion. And, sometimes, intervening when emotions are already high can push folks over the edge. Certainly, it is a difficult environment for everyone.

Another option is to express concern to the staff in a store about the parents hitting children. Not sure anything would happen, but some staff might well "take a stand" about hitting children. Involving the "authorities" in an institution/business is a suggested way of intervening in the article "What should I do when I see someone hitting their kid?" http://www.nospank.net/stang.htm

Just redirecting the parent to adult-mode, out of "parent/authority", seems to move their emotional energy toward more civil, ime.

Pat

wonderful post. thanks for sharing that!
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:13 AM
 
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I hate to even say it because people here already are sterotyped so badly, but I live in south Alabama. My kids are hsed.
***Forgot to quote! Someone asked me where I was from when I mentioned that corporal punishment is still used in our public schools, unless you sign a waiver saying you won't allow it.
It's similar in Texas, except that you sign a waiver saying you *will* allow it. Or at least it was 10 years ago.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:36 AM
 
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Hmm. Threads like this are what make this forum so interesting to me. We're all different, and have different preferences -- to the point where my fun is someone else's "Ugh," and vice-versa.

If you don't enjoy heated discussions where people sometimes passionately disagree, there are lots of threads like "Something wonderful that happened today," that don't seem likely to generate as much disagreement.

No reason to stay away from the forum, IMO. In my case, I tend to stay away from the "something wonderful" threads simply because they're not as likely to be interesting to me. It just doesn't seem too hard to me read the title of a thread, and figure out if it's my type of thread or not.

Of course, sometimes titles can be misleading -- and I'm sure I've missed some interesting discussions just because the thread had words like "wonderful" or "This made me smile" in the title.
I loves threads like this, too. I like the grittier discussions that make me think. I can understand why folks don't like it, though. I'm ok with some conflict but I know that's a red flag for lots of folks.

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I feel compelled to find a solution to every problem. I think that's a bit of an issue, but anyway. Wouldn't it be nice if someone printed little flyers (like those hellfire and brimstone some religion passes out), but instead make it an informational piece about why hitting children is not effective? I might just do that....

It's terrible that I see abuse enough that I feel compelled to print flyers. To avoid any flames, what I see is typically not the smacking of hands. The kids would probably be grateful for that.
I wouldn't knock your idea to distribute flyers (don't know how serious you were) but I'm not sure pro-spankers would view them any differently than we would view hellfire and brimstone flyers....

I think it's complicated and systemic. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm not sure flyers or being confronted by a stranger will change anything for those families.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:18 AM
 
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forgive me if i've missed it, but does anyone respond to spanking parents with the compassion of prayer? i'm a spiritual person and when i see things like this happening - any conflict between people, for that matter - i send a prayer their way, it goes something like "hoping for the best outcome for all concerned" basically. if it's a clearly stressed mama, i ask if she needs help for a few minutes while she does whatever she's trying to do.

my daughter is only 3 but the moment she sees a child being "roughly disciplined" (those who don't spank can pull hair, pinch skin, hiss threats, etc.) she rushes to intervene! and also comfort the crying child. i didn't teach her this, i think it's just the state of a child's innocence when left to flourish. i think everyone can take a lesson from the wisdom of a child it is very difficult, however, to explain to her why the other children are being hurt

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Old 11-20-2007, 05:30 AM
 
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My sense about the physical "discipline" that I experienced as a child, was that MY perception was validated (finally!) somewhere around 4th grade when an outside Adult! spoke up against hitting children. Prior to that time, my parent's opinion and voice were strongest in my mind about me being hit. So, the emotional manipulation of being told "you caused my anger", "you deserve to be punished", "it's your fault", etc lost some of its power because someone validated MY experience. I certainly am concerned that the subsequent physical assault by a parent may be worse if another adult intervenes publicly. But I believe the emotional abuse of a child being told you "deserve" to be hit, lasts longer than the physical impact.
When an adult spoke up, was it in the presence of your parents? During an abusive incident? I think this is the issue that comes up for me. I totally agree with you about being another voice of truth for the child so that their reality doesn't get internalized entirely. I grew up in very adverse conditions and having other adults in my life who showed me there were other options and made me feel differently about myself made all the difference.

I'm still not sure about the public confrontation of a stranger in a situation such as spanking. I think empathizing and offering help is good, but making some kind of judgmental statement (which of course I would feel with every pore of my being) to the person seems totally counter-productive.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:36 PM
 
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Pat, I really like what you said about having compassion for BOTH parent and child, and trying to address the parents' underlying needs, just we do for our own children who might be hitting or acting out in some way. It makes me so sad, when people act like it has to be either/or: either you have compassion on the child, or you have compassion on the parent, but it can never be both.

The other day, some new neighbor children came to play in our yard. I'd given the 2yo her own water-bottle when she got thirsty, and she'd poured out and played with the water, so when she got thirsty again I ran back into the house to refill it for her.

When I came back onto the porch, the little girl was crying hysterically, and at first I worried that she and my own 2yo might have had an altercation. However, the little girl's 8yo cousin explained that she'd just "popped her in the mouth" for trying to drink out of our water-bottle while I was in the house, because "we're trying to teach her not to drink from other people's bottles or cups."

I hugged the crying little girl, and remembered that my 2yo had been trying to share our bottle with this little girl as I was running into the house to fill hers. I hadn't thought it would be such a big deal if she DID take a sip from our bottle, so hadn't really tried to prevent it. I told the 8yo, "I think my daughter gave her this one, so she thought it was okay."

Well, then the 8yo responded by apologizing to her little cousin, and hugging and comforting her as I'd just done, which I saw as a very positive thing. Of course, I didn't think it was as positive when she offered for the little girl to "hit her back" -- but I think her heart was in the right place!

I was able to feel compassion for the "perpetrating" 8yo, because I knew she was just "disciplining" as she'd been taught. And I think it's really no different, when we see adults doing similar things. If we wouldn't yell at or threaten an older child who's carrying out the "family tradition" of "teaching lessons" to a younger sibling -- why can't we feel the same compassion for an adult who's probably using the only tools she has?

Of course I realize, as Pat said, that seeing things that mirror our own childhoods can trigger emotions that make it hard to respond with compassion toward the perpetrator. If only we can remember that compassion makes for more open and receptive hearts, than does threatening and condemnation!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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My kids love to climb. They're unlikely to get seriously hurt and I think it's a great way for them to explore their physical limits and gain confidence in themselves. I wouldn't let them climb out on a building ledge or something, but a table that's 2.5 feet off the floor? Eh.
We've always let our little guy do the same, as far as climbing goes, but now he's got a broken collarbone and a sling! He fell off our bed (no frame, just mattress and boxspring) when he was playing on it, and I guess he landed badly.

I'd like to say he knows more of his physical limits now, but unfortunately, he is still trying to climb everything (one-armed). I guess not all 15 month olds have a good sense of their own limits. :

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Old 11-20-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post


This is my kid

Note: not actually my child, but something my child would do and is capable of.
Ha ha! I was just about to post that my DD often secretly climbs atop the fridge, and somehow defies gravity by scaling the doorway moldings in our house right to the top. Love those spirited kiddos.

Mama to 2 mopheaded rascals
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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We've always let our little guy do the same, as far as climbing goes, but now he's got a broken collarbone and a sling! He fell off our bed (no frame, just mattress and boxspring) when he was playing on it, and I guess he landed badly.

I'd like to say he knows more of his physical limits now, but unfortunately, he is still trying to climb everything (one-armed). I guess not all 15 month olds have a good sense of their own limits. :
It sounds like it was a fluke thing by what you described, so he probably does know his own limits, but that was an accident. I once completely wrecked my knee, and was on cruches and had it braced... what did I do? I fell off of a sidewalk. And yet, I do it again, because walking on the sidewalk is within my limits, it was just an accident and a fluke. Just to offer my thoughts from the other (somewhat accident prone at times ) side.

You're doing a great job with your DS as he learns Mama! WTG!!!

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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When an adult spoke up, was it in the presence of your parents? During an abusive incident?
Well, it was a long time ago. My recollection is that it was a school teacher doing some "social awareness" discussion about parents not hitting children and "call authorities" if they do. Not sure the context/reason for the discussion. But, when I told my parents that I'd report them to the authorities if they hit me, I was told "You'll just get it worse after they leave." But, just knowing that SOMEONE didn't approve, was the first time I'd ever imagined the possibility. Everyone in my extended family embraced "beating our butts when we deserved it". I know my cousins got it worse than we did. Eventually, one of them violently killed himself with self-hatred.

Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving! Life is what we make it. Now I know that we can create our experience by validating ourself!


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Old 11-20-2007, 11:12 PM
 
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Well, it was a long time ago. My recollection is that it was a school teacher doing some "social awareness" discussion about parents not hitting children and "call authorities" if they do. Not sure the context/reason for the discussion. But, when I told my parents that I'd report them to the authorities if they hit me, I was told "You'll just get it worse after they leave." But, just knowing that SOMEONE didn't approve, was the first time I'd ever imagined the possibility. Everyone in my extended family embraced "beating our butts when we deserved it". I know my cousins got it worse than we did. Eventually, one of them violently killed himself with self-hatred.
I was also abused as a child, and what you are saying really resonates with me. I even told my parents the same thing! That I would call CAS on them. They said I would be removed from the home and bad things would happen. I remember dialing teh CAS phone number so many times after being beaten, and then hanging up when someone answered.

I also agree wholeheartedly that hearing someone, anyone say "It's not okay" was super soul-saving for me, such a strong counter to the messages that I deserved it, that it was okay because I had provoked it, etc. It allowed imagining a world where parents didn't react to children like me in an angry, hateful way. It gave hope that I badly needed.

That is part of why to this day I find it important to say something when I see a parent harming their child. Otherwise in my silence I feel complicit in the message the child is getting that the parent behaving abusively toward them is somehow okay.
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:31 AM
 
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Well, it was a long time ago. My recollection is that it was a school teacher doing some "social awareness" discussion about parents not hitting children and "call authorities" if they do. Not sure the context/reason for the discussion. But, when I told my parents that I'd report them to the authorities if they hit me, I was told "You'll just get it worse after they leave." But, just knowing that SOMEONE didn't approve, was the first time I'd ever imagined the possibility. Everyone in my extended family embraced "beating our butts when we deserved it". I know my cousins got it worse than we did. Eventually, one of them violently killed himself with self-hatred.

Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving! Life is what we make it. Now I know that we can create our experience by validating ourself!


Pat
Thanks for sharing, Pat. It is powerful and very meaningful to hear it from someone who has been through it. Thank you.

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I was also abused as a child, and what you are saying really resonates with me. I even told my parents the same thing! That I would call CAS on them. They said I would be removed from the home and bad things would happen. I remember dialing teh CAS phone number so many times after being beaten, and then hanging up when someone answered.

I also agree wholeheartedly that hearing someone, anyone say "It's not okay" was super soul-saving for me, such a strong counter to the messages that I deserved it, that it was okay because I had provoked it, etc. It allowed imagining a world where parents didn't react to children like me in an angry, hateful way. It gave hope that I badly needed.

That is part of why to this day I find it important to say something when I see a parent harming their child. Otherwise in my silence I feel complicit in the message the child is getting that the parent behaving abusively toward them is somehow okay.
This makes a lot of sense.

I know neither of you is asking for this but I am so sorry you experienced that kind of violence in your childhoods. I hope that at the same time your mothering is giving such a beautiful gift to your own children, that it's also providing some healing to the little one inside of you, too.

Both of your stories have helped to tease out my thinking about saying something that might cause further harm. I agree with you both entirely that having an adult speak the truth and advocate for a child who is being mistreated is very powerful and very important. To me, it's clear that I'd call CPS if it was abusive, but a slap on the hand I might not have said anything...I now feel differently about that. Fortunately I haven't run into this (maybe I don't get out enough), but if I do I will get involved.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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Bumping.


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Old 02-02-2008, 06:48 AM
 
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Wow, I'm shocked that people are saying that they would call police or CPS over a slap on the hand. It makes more sense knowing that the mom in the doctor's office actually knocked the kid off the chair and continued screaming at the kid after that, but the way the OP was written sounded like a little tap on the hand like many people do to teach their kids not to touch things like a hot stove.

For people to be saying they would call CPS over a basic slap on the hand just flabbergasts me. I'm guessing they have never been in the position of being under CPS investigation or being close to someone who has been.

Obviously, the risks vary from area to area and from social worker to social worker, but any time you make a CPS report they do have to put the family under investigation. Any time there is an investigation the child(ren) can be removed, basically almost at the whim of the social worker. It can be very easy for children to be removed from a home with very little provocation. Once a child is removed, getting them back is much more difficult even if they were removed inappropriately in the first place. Even if the child is not removed, a single report can lead to literally years of extreme stress and trauma for the family. I believe that even an unsubstantiated report or a report proven as false results in a record and can make it easier for the family to get in trouble for something off the beaten path like not vaccinating, homeschooling, etc.

Being taken away from their family is so very traumatic to a child in most situations. And, sadly, the rate of abuse in the CPS system is much higher than the rate of abuse in the general population.

The only time I think I would call CPS is if I felt the child was being so severely abused that they would most likely be better off if removed from the home. And, unless it was very severe abuse or sexual abuse, I would most likely try to educate and intervene before doing anything else.

I, too, came from a loving home with parents who used a lot of GD methods but did also spank. I don't feel spanking or hitting is a good parenting tool, but my parents were pretty careful to do it "right" and not cause physical injury beyond momentary pain. Taking me and my siblings away from our parents would have been hugely traumatic and inappropriate for our situation. I would far rather be in a loving home with otherwise wonderful parents who spanked occasionally, then be yanked from my family and sent to live with strangers who may or may not be much more severely abusive.

Plus . . . If you just see a parent you don't know slap their child, how do you know the situation? Maybe that parent is just starting to learn about Gentle Discipline and is really trying, but lost it that time and once they cooled off they determined to do better the next time. Maybe you witnessed the only time in the child's life that the parent ever hit them in any way. Would that be worth tearing apart a family over? Would being taken away from the parents really be helping the child, ultimately?

I remember seeing a conversation here once where a mother had, out of reflex, slapped a child who bit her really hard and wouldn't let go. She hadn't intended to hit the child--it was just her primal reaction of defense and stopping the pain when she was "attacked".

The mother was horrified at herself and felt devastated that she had hit the baby, and told others about it in hopes of helping herself figure out how to keep from responding that way if the situation came up again. I only hope that people here wouldn't be trying to get that mother's personal information so they could make a report with CPS, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone did. I know that if I ever found myself in such a situation this would be the last place I would come for help.

Some people here are so quick to cry "abuse" and talk about calling CPS over relatively minor things, sometimes even things that don't even cause actual pain to a child (like restraining a small child in a chair). It scares me how many supposedly consensual, respectful, gentle, caring people wouldn't think twice about setting in motion events that could destroy a family over something like that when they don't even know enough of the situation to truly determine whether something is abusive or not, or whether it's a pattern or not.

I really like the idea of saying something to the parent to diffuse the situation, offering help, etc. You can disapprove of something a person does and even do something about it without engaging in a response that is completely out of proportion and is likely to do more harm than good.

So many people seem to have the idea that "if in doubt, report" should be their motto. In a world where CPS was truly an agency with the proper checks and balances, enough staffing and funding, worked the way it was supposed to the vast majority of the time, and didn't have financial and other incentives to remove children from their homes (as opposed to helping the families find better ways to interact), that would be fine. But we don't live in that world.

Any time we consider reporting someone to CPS, we should really consider whether we think it would help the child to be removed from the home or not. "First, do no harm" should apply just as much to everyone else in society as it does to doctors.
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