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becoming 04-22-2003 07:22 PM

I have a serious problem. My husband and his family are pro-spanking. I am most definitely NOT. I have tried to explain to my husband how much better off our son will be if we discipline him positively, but it's like butting my head against a brick wall. He says that if Chase is not spanked, there will be no consequences for his actions, and then he will think he can "get away" with anything. I tell him that the whole point of positive discipline is so that your children don't have the DESIRE to "get away" with things -- they know what is right and wrong, they know why those things are right or wrong, and they want to do right. He thinks it's a crock and won't hesitate to tell me so. His parents (especially his stepmother) are also constantly saying things like, "Too bad you can't spank kids in the middle of the store anymore" when Chase is acting up in a store. They KNOW that I am against spanking, so this, to me, is blatantly disrespectful to me. But that is not so much a problem as my husband not even wanting to give my views a chance. He thinks spanking is the ONLY way. How do I convince him that, by spanking, he is going to drive our child away from him and cause him to be less of a person than he could be?

-edited to add: As of right now, my husband and I have been disciplining in our own ways -- me distracting and explaining why things are wrong, him spanking (swatting, I guess you would say) and moreso yelling than discussing. I am afraid of what this confusion will do to our child and/or his relationship with his dad, but I absolutely refuse to spank him, so unless Chris decides to change, I guess this is going to continue.

youngnhappymamma 04-22-2003 07:31 PM

man, this is a tough situation!! I feel for you.
I would highly recomend reading some Love and Logic books. the general L&L parenting book is Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay. The book I recomend you get right away are Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay and Charles Fay. Check your library or we bought ours from Barnes and Noble. They are so wonderful and explain so simply and logically and convincingly how your child needs logical consequences for their actions or else when they get to be teens when their mommy and daddy aren't there and really no longer can control them like a young child they will make all sorts of wrong choices and decisions. That's not a very good's hard to describe. PM if you would like to know more specifics. It is just so awesome and loving and easy and even fun. It does not make the parents the bad guy....the poor choices are the bad guy. I think that a person like you describe your dh to be would even agree with it as using this philosophy has alsmot immediate results and it even explains in a very non-judgemental way why tactics like spanking don't work but actually do the opposite of what you wanted to accomplish. Please go and get a copy!!! And good luck. Pm me if you want.

OnTheFence 04-22-2003 08:36 PM

For the record I am against spanking. So much so that before I got married that I made that part of our agreement. Your son is getting mixed messages and I imagine in time you will see what the effects are.
I would tell your husband straight up that the swatting, popping, and spanking ends right now. Tell him that you are not going to tolerate him hitting your child just like you wouldnt tolerate him hitting you. Make it clear that you find his way totally disrespectful and that he is only detracting from the parenting style you have chosen to take. Advise him to read some books and give him a reading list. So what if he calls it bunk, tell him the hitting gives. He will either agree to stop or tell you he is going to continue -- if the latter is the case, he would have some serious consequences to his choice.
Frankly the fact that you have allowed the hitting to go on this far will make it even more difficult for you to put your foot down and put an end to it. Someone is going to have to give, and it needs to be him, since his ways is wrong on so many levels.
I'd tell your inlaws that on no uncertain terms are they to lay a finger on your child or you will file a report against them with DHR/CPS. And if they do, do it. My inlaws are big prospanking but they do not even discuss it in front of my children because I told them before I had children that if they ever touched my children in an inappropriate manner they would only see them in pictures.

I'm sure this sounds really harsh but I'm the mama bear.

lilyka 04-22-2003 11:16 PM

My dh and discipline differently (although we are both trying to implement more of the Love and Logic stuff) and isn't hasn't adversly effected the kids. The just know there is a way mommy does things and the way daddy does things. Anf they respond to each of us the way our style dictates.

EmmaJean 04-23-2003 12:20 AM

I'm so sorry that you're in such a bind. It's hard to stand up for what you believe when everyone around you is so discouraging. Being a parent is hard and you need all the support you can find!!

Fortunately, I was able to convince my dh about spanking being inappropriate. My change of mind came directly as a result of some of the things I read here at MDC.

I would have a serious talk with your dh about where his beliefs about spanking come from. Just from him own experience? The way some passages of scripture are interpreted? Thinking that everything is a power struggle with kids and you have to win? For me, there has been real fear about there being real consequences for behavior and thinking that spanking is the only one. He probably thinks that you are being very *permissive* if you don't spank.

I really suggest that you guys choose one book to read and discuss together. My dh is NOT a reader, but maybe you could read in the car or after dinner, before bed, whatever. And then be able to discuss it, and make it clear that this will be a "safe" time for him to talk openly and honestly w/o your judgement or putting his ideas down. I think he really needs to educate himself on, first, child development so he can know what to expect from your child, and second, the different styles of parenting and where you guys fit in. Then you can talk about how you are going to set and "enforce" the rules at your house--aka what other options there are than hitting. It alse would really help to get some "success stories" from people who don't hit their kids so you can both see that it can work!

are both good websites with LOTS of articles and research. the nospank one is very in-your-face, so be prepared to be educated!!

Good luck with this, and please let us know how things are going. You really really really should get this worked out with your dh ASAP so that you can be unified as things get tougher down the road. Choosing not to spank takes lots of guts and really makes you think and work as a parent. But don't you think it's worth it?!?

We're all behind you!

becoming 04-23-2003 12:50 AM

Thanks for the advice, ladies. I have ordered a book on Positive Discipline by Jane someone...Elsen maybe? My DH has agreed to read this with me & at least give it a try. We are going to try to talk openly and listen to each other without judging or getting defensive.

I will also try the books and websites that you all have recommended. The first book suggested seems really great.

I forgot to mention that DH is only home two weeks out of the month (he works offshore and is gone for two weeks, then home for two weeks), so that throws another kink in things. Just about the time I feel like I've got a handle on positive discipline, here he comes in the door wanting to spank. Argh. It's very frustrating.

Here's hoping the books & websites work!

Hikaru 04-23-2003 05:19 AM

Just wanted to say that I sympathize with your struggle. I think in my Dh's case he's just not questioning the way he was brought up. I was brought up the same way....I totally agreed before our son was born that kids need to be hit sometimes. I've worked hard toward gentle, positive discipline, but I do get frustrated because I've made an effort to learn to do things differently from my parents but I don't see my husband making that effort. If your Dh is anything like mine, giving him an ultimatum and telling him to read parenting books will just alienate him or make him more stubborn about not changing his parenting techniques.
For some of us, the issue of discipline is an ongoing struggle (as are many other things in marriage.) It is not something that can just be solved by making one statemeent or telling him to read something. What has helped with my Dh is to keep telling him why I think hitting is inappropriate, and to actually physically step in when necessary at those times when I think he's going too far with our son. Presenting a united front is an ideal that some of us have to create gradually.

big hugs, becoming (((( )))))! You are very brave to admit your struggle. Know that you are not alone.


zzmommy 04-23-2003 11:33 PM

Becoming - I know how hard it is to differ in opinions of discipline - you're the one who deals with the kids all the time and are in a groove of working together with them and then your husband comes in and is harsh and you have to put the pieces together again when the kids react poorly and act up even worse. My husband was pro-hitting too, he says his parents hit him and it taught him to behave and respect them - I say bulls*** - he has a ton of issues with them and life in general but is not at all at the point of questioning his upbringing, but anyway, when our 3 year old ds was a baby I told him no way in hell would he ever hit him or I would report him to dhs. He has not ever hit, but he has been very rough and I have been at the point of thinking it might be easier to be a single mom, but we've kept talking about it and I keep trying to educate him on all the stuff I've read - and the good news is he's very recently starting to change and implement some of the positive discipline strategies, and it has really helped his relationship with ds. Hopefully when your dh actually tries positive discipline and sees the immediate results and improvement in his relationship with them and their behavior, it will open his heart to them and he will want to keep learning and working on it. I'm so glad he's willing to try! Good luck!

alexa07 04-23-2003 11:41 PM

Try to read and have your DH read "The Secret of Parenting" by Anthony Wolf. This book is not as AP as some mentioned but the author explains why punishment is simply wrong and (important for your DH) not necessary. DH may find its viewpoint more in keeping with his own and thus may be more likely to win him over.

untomySelf 04-28-2003 04:35 AM

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