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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Until now,i have not really been a full on gd fan. I kind of rode the fence and believed that there IS an appropriate time and place where (carefully controlled) physical discipline is necessary.
But the other day my husband spanked dd (5) with a belt. I really wasn't sure what to say.I was kind of stunned. I didn't really think he would ever actually do it. SEEING it happen right in front of me kind of pushed me over the edge. I just can't imagine letting that be a part of the way we treat our children. (that being said, I HAVE used a switch on her twice before, but for much more serious offenses, like repeatedly kicking and hitting and refusing to stop after being told and moved to another location.) Watching that though felt like being a kid again and seeing my parents using that kind of retaliation. It wasn't discipline, it was just retaliation. I always said that if he hit my kids, i would leave. But this is confusing. Around here, everyone uses this kind of discipline. People here think that you are a bad parent if you DON'T spank your kids. Thats how I was raised. And it wasn't like it was anything life threatening or anything. She didn't even have any bruises, or whelps. just 3 smacks with a folded up belt. In reality, I probably wouldn't have been so upset, but that it was all because she was playing on this big rock and made her brother fall off. it seemed totally inappropriate to me. He didn't even care until ds interrupted our conversation crying. I am feeling really hostile right now, and guilty, and confused. I don't want to live this way, but I don't know what to do about it.
 

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after spending years spanking my children i saw the light so to speak. i am having a hard time GDing but i have started by saying and promising myself to never ever hit my kids again. i also talked to my kids about it. there is a no hitting rule at our house now. for everyone here me included. after that i am lost. i have ideas, gotten suggestions etc. i am trying though and my kids respect that. things are slowly getting better around here. good luck.
 

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I'm coming into this conversation biased, of course. But I really think neither of you should ever hit your child again. Ever. No switches, no belts, big, little offenses, it doesn't matter.

I want to address your post more fully but the thinking in it is hard to untangle. Why would "carefully controlled physical discipline" which is to say, hitting, ever be okay? Is it okay for me to hit you if you don't get out of my way if it's controlled?

And although of course I am glad your child is all right, the fact that physical damage didn't occur doesn't mean there is no damage. It is damaging. It is not okay to hit people.
 

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If you need additional motivation to stop... My father hit us with a belt. My DH was totally sold on no physical discipline before we even had kids. He took his belt off in front of me one night while we were dating. Turned around to find me cowering in the corner of the bed, totally shaking. I was 33!! But something about the particular sound of that moment brought so much back. Needless to say, completely changed the plans for the rest of that evening and his plans for disciplining children forever.
 

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I'm gonna break from the tradition of this thread.

First thing you need to do is sit down with DH and explain how you feel now. There's a good chance he'll resist but this is they key point. He needs to know that you will no longer accept any form of physical punishment.

Second, you need to do research. Read books on GD and search through the older threads here, basically find ideas and how to implement them. If he's willing, get DH involved in this too as it will help him see it is possible.

Finally you need to get rid of anything (ie the switch) that has been used as a punishment tool before.

Understand that the kids will probably notice the change and theres a chance they'll try and make it difficult for you, but stick to your guns. How ever you plan to deal with misbehaviour, stick with it and keep it up and your dc will begin to see that "no spanking" doesn't mean "I can get away with whatever I want".

Good luck, and I think its a wonderful thing your wanting to change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Originally Posted by LionessMom View Post
after spending years spanking my children i saw the light so to speak. i am having a hard time GDing but i have started by saying and promising myself to never ever hit my kids again. i also talked to my kids about it. there is a no hitting rule at our house now. for everyone here me included. after that i am lost. i have ideas, gotten suggestions etc. i am trying though and my kids respect that. things are slowly getting better around here. good luck.
thanks. I hope that we can find better ways to cope than the ones we were taught as children.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I'm coming into this conversation biased, of course. But I really think neither of you should ever hit your child again. Ever. No switches, no belts, big, little offenses, it doesn't matter.

I want to address your post more fully but the thinking in it is hard to untangle. Why would "carefully controlled physical discipline" which is to say, hitting, ever be okay? Is it okay for me to hit you if you don't get out of my way if it's controlled?

And although of course I am glad your child is all right, the fact that physical damage didn't occur doesn't mean there is no damage. It is damaging. It is not okay to hit people.
ok I really do understand that this line of thinking is hard for most of the people here to understand. And I really do want to find better ways to discipline than these. I agree now. I understand that it just isn't right for us to demand one kind of behavior from our kids and model something else. SEEING him do this for something that I would not even classify as an offense is what made me reconsider my own opinions on the subject.

And to help you see what made me believe that spanking was okay in the past.... you would have to understand how I grew up.

I grew up in a southern baptist household in alabama. My family and every family I ever knew spanked their children when they behaved badly. some more sever than others. My parents used belts, wooden spoons, the little wooden paddles that come with the ball on a rubber band attatched, hands, switches. I was taught from my earliest memories that the bible says that parents should spank their children rather than let them act badly. I was told that all of the criminals of the world were that way because their parents had not disciplined them properly. I read in Proverbs that a father who loves his son will discipline him because a spanking will not kill him, but being without restraint will. I was told that the spankings we got were nowhere near as sever as the ones our parents and grandparents had gotten. I believed that this was not something that should be used as a "cure-all", but that it was the ultimate punishment for very bad behavior, and that as long as we behaved well, we would have nothing to worry about, because there would be no spankings except for when we did something we had been explicitly told not to do. I knew a few families who did not spank their kids. Those kids bit other kids, talked disrespectfully to everyone, rarely ever minded their parents , and were generally very rude and unkind.

I have been in the grocery store with my dd screaming on the floor because I refuse to buy her candy, and when she gets up and punches me in the stomach, and kicks me, I have thought "so all those crazy people who don't believe in spanking would have me believe that it is ok for her to hit me like this, but that it is abuse for me to get a switch and swat her 2 times so that she understands this is unacceptable.?!!!!" Yeah, maybe she learned those tantrums from us as parents (i see that now), but I can see how that could make a convincing argument for spanking. Please try not to judge those of us who are just learning this line of thought. We have a lifetime of bad training to undo, and that doesn't happen overnight.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
If you need additional motivation to stop... My father hit us with a belt. My DH was totally sold on no physical discipline before we even had kids. He took his belt off in front of me one night while we were dating. Turned around to find me cowering in the corner of the bed, totally shaking. I was 33!! But something about the particular sound of that moment brought so much back. Needless to say, completely changed the plans for the rest of that evening and his plans for disciplining children forever.

I have the exact same reaction. I get physically sick around things that remind me of the abuse I went through as a kid. Flashbacks, etc. Even reading the title and the first post in this thread made me feel icky. I think it really surprised my DF when he saw me react that way the first time, but I can't help it.

To the OP: kudos to you for making this decision. I have scars from my childhood that will never heal. I have been able to forgive my dad for what he did because he has apologized and I know he sincerely regrets it.. But I can never forget. I still have nightmares about it occasionally.

And I totally second what MusicianDad said.. You'll be going through a transition period and may be confused as to what exactly to do instead of spanking. It's hard.. Even with as much as I hate what happened to me and am one hundred billion percent committed to not hitting my kids, I have slipped up. I do have the urge sometimes. You have to retrain yourself in a new way of thinking. It will take time.
 

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You're going to need to get your DH on board or he'll keep hitting the kids, even if you don't. Most importantly, both of you need to learn new ways of discplining the children- it's not enough to just "stop spanking"- you need to have positive ideas of what to do instead. "Gentle Discipline" isn't the same as "no discipline".

Also, remember that ingrained habits are very hard to break. If you find yourself spanking again when you're overwhelmed, go easy on yourself and get right back on track with GD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I'm gonna break from the tradition of this thread.

First thing you need to do is sit down with DH and explain how you feel now. There's a good chance he'll resist but this is they key point. He needs to know that you will no longer accept any form of physical punishment.

Second, you need to do research. Read books on GD and search through the older threads here, basically find ideas and how to implement them. If he's willing, get DH involved in this too as it will help him see it is possible.

Finally you need to get rid of anything (ie the switch) that has been used as a punishment tool before.

Understand that the kids will probably notice the change and theres a chance they'll try and make it difficult for you, but stick to your guns. How ever you plan to deal with misbehaviour, stick with it and keep it up and your dc will begin to see that "no spanking" doesn't mean "I can get away with whatever I want".

Good luck, and I think its a wonderful thing your wanting to change.
ok, how do I get dh to stop the belittling and yelling? these seem to be all he knows. (we have had major arguments over this in the past
since although i believed there was justification for spanking (i know this is strange, but in a loving way), i could see nothing good ever coming from shaming, cursing and belittling.) dh seems to fall into this a lot though.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post


You're going to need to get your DH on board or he'll keep hitting the kids, even if you don't. Most importantly, both of you need to learn new ways of discplining the children- it's not enough to just "stop spanking"- you need to have positive ideas of what to do instead. "Gentle Discipline" isn't the same as "no discipline".

Also, remember that ingrained habits are very hard to break. If you find yourself spanking again when you're overwhelmed, go easy on yourself and get right back on track with GD.
Absolutely -- I find that even though I've always said I wouldn't hit that I have had to work really hard at it. My first instinct when I'm super frustrated is to strike -- and I've lost it a couple of times, I confess. And you definitely need a game plan for a new approach because you don't want no discipline, you just want different, gentler discipline. Given where you are starting from, I would recommend Kid Cooperation by Elizabeth Pantley. Its short, practical, and very readable. It also retains the idea that parents have authority, so its not such a radical departure then some of the other GD books. You may get there, but I think people have a hard time going from spanking to, say, consensual living, all in one swoop!

The other thing to be prepared for is that your child will test your new resolve. Be ready for a rocky patch and don't give in to temptation to say "This doesn't work". It does work, but it will take time and experimentation before everyone gets there!

Good for you for being open to change and starting down the road to change!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahwpen View Post
ok, how do I get dh to stop the belittling and yelling? these seem to be all he knows. (we have had major arguments over this in the past
since although i believed there was justification for spanking (i know this is strange, but in a loving way), i could see nothing good ever coming from shaming, cursing and belittling.) dh seems to fall into this a lot though.
That's a hard one. To be honest, I'd be inclined to send him to his room until he learns to act like the adult he is.

The only suggestion I can come up with is for you to interrupt when he starts on the belittling and take over the issue with the children.
 

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Originally Posted by sarahwpen View Post
and when she gets up and punches me in the stomach, and kicks me, I have thought "so all those crazy people who don't believe in spanking would have me believe that it is ok for her to hit me like this, but that it is abuse for me to get a switch and swat her 2 times so that she understands this is unacceptable.?!!!!" Yeah, maybe she learned those tantrums from us as parents (i see that now), but I can see how that could make a convincing argument for spanking.
Not that I think you need more convincing, but just in case, and maybe for your DH, my counter to this is kind of a biblical thang, like, "turn the other cheek" and "two wrongs don't make a right", "whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me". KWIM? You're the adult in the relationship - if she loses it physically and strikes out at you, it's up to you as the adult to show her it's not right to do by NOT lashing back at her. All hitting your kid when they misbehave teaches them is...that hitting someone is OK when they do something you don't want them to.

I'm glad you have decided to parent more gently. The ladies and gents here are a great resource for situational advice, and the book sticky is a great place to start. My personal favorite falls towards the stricter side of GD, Anthony Wolf's "The Secret Of Parenting"...the subtitle is "How to be in charge of today's kids, from toddlers to teens, without threats or punishments" and I think it's a terrific book to bridge the gap for parents who have grown up in ungentle homes to grasp the GD concept.

Congratulations for breaking the cycle.
 

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is anyone here familiar with the book "to train up a child" by michael and debbie pearl? I really don't like this book. Never have. They are my mom's favorite authors though. She gave me a copy of this, and a subscription to their magazine (which i throw out). I was just wondering how you would answer people with that kind of mindset because that is what i am going to be up against. I am pretty sure that my dh will not be the only one i am going to have to convince that spanking is no longer allowed.
 

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Just want to add, that my DH was also raised to believe that spanking was something that just had to be done, and resisted my attempts to convert him until he saw how much better my way worked.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahwpen View Post
is anyone here familiar with the book "to train up a child" by michael and debbie pearl? I really don't like this book. Never have. They are my mom's favorite authors though. She gave me a copy of this, and a subscription to their magazine (which i throw out). I was just wondering how you would answer people with that kind of mindset because that is what i am going to be up against. I am pretty sure that my dh will not be the only one i am going to have to convince that spanking is no longer allowed.
I've heard enough about them to know that the name Pearl, makes me feel dirty.

My own way of dealing with people telling me we should be spanking is more often then not "Different people see different things differently. I for instance, see my child as a human being"

I tend to have little patience with people who try and change my opinions too much though.

ETA: If it's not your Dh then really all you have to do is point out that they are your children to raise as you see fit and make a point that you will be very careful about who you let watch your children so you don't have to worry about someone 'chastising' them in what you consider an inappropriate manner.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahwpen View Post
thanks. I hope that we can find better ways to cope than the ones we were taught as children.

ok I really do understand that this line of thinking is hard for most of the people here to understand. And I really do want to find better ways to discipline than these. I agree now. I understand that it just isn't right for us to demand one kind of behavior from our kids and model something else. SEEING him do this for something that I would not even classify as an offense is what made me reconsider my own opinions on the subject.

And to help you see what made me believe that spanking was okay in the past.... you would have to understand how I grew up.

I grew up in a southern baptist household in alabama. My family and every family I ever knew spanked their children when they behaved badly. some more sever than others. My parents used belts, wooden spoons, the little wooden paddles that come with the ball on a rubber band attatched, hands, switches. I was taught from my earliest memories that the bible says that parents should spank their children rather than let them act badly. I was told that all of the criminals of the world were that way because their parents had not disciplined them properly. I read in Proverbs that a father who loves his son will discipline him because a spanking will not kill him, but being without restraint will. I was told that the spankings we got were nowhere near as sever as the ones our parents and grandparents had gotten. I believed that this was not something that should be used as a "cure-all", but that it was the ultimate punishment for very bad behavior, and that as long as we behaved well, we would have nothing to worry about, because there would be no spankings except for when we did something we had been explicitly told not to do. I knew a few families who did not spank their kids. Those kids bit other kids, talked disrespectfully to everyone, rarely ever minded their parents , and were generally very rude and unkind.

I have been in the grocery store with my dd screaming on the floor because I refuse to buy her candy, and when she gets up and punches me in the stomach, and kicks me, I have thought "so all those crazy people who don't believe in spanking would have me believe that it is ok for her to hit me like this, but that it is abuse for me to get a switch and swat her 2 times so that she understands this is unacceptable.?!!!!" Yeah, maybe she learned those tantrums from us as parents (i see that now), but I can see how that could make a convincing argument for spanking. Please try not to judge those of us who are just learning this line of thought. We have a lifetime of bad training to undo, and that doesn't happen overnight.
I grew up in a similar environment, though I was lucky enough to be a "good" child and was thus rarely spanked. Still, I will not hit my child, and I won't let anyone else hit her either. That just doesn't fit with the kind of person I am trying to raise her up to be.

The correlation between violent criminality and physical discipline is exactly the opposite of what you were raised to believe. I think Gavin De Becker talks about the link between physical abuse of children and the violent adults they grow up to be. In particular, if a child commits patricide, it's virtually guaranteed that there was a history of physical abuse.
 

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It sounds like you truly DO have a lifetime of bad training to undo...good for you! I really sympathize, I grew up in an abusive fundamentalist "christian" household, where my grandmother turned a blind eye to my uncle's sexual abuse, but told me if I saw my grandfather naked after a shower, I would be turned into a pillar of salt like Lot's wife.
DH was raised very similar to the way you were, cutting his own switches and everything. It's very hard for him not to hit our son, but now he tries with all his heart to be gentle.

I just wanted to offer you some support, and give you some links to articles you might find helpful...they helped us immensely:

http://www.naturalchild.org/alice_miller/ Dr. Alice ****** has done some wonderful work in the area of child abuse, and its implications on society as a whole. She refutes the idea that, as you were told, "the criminals of the world were that way because their parents had not disciplined them properly"...she cites studies that show 90% of prisoners were abused as children, and when you account for repressed memories, the figure is probably more like 100%.

http://www.awareparenting.com/articles.htm Dr. Aletha Solter is another fantastic one, and she has a great list of alternatives to punishment that you can even print and post on the fridge!


http://thesacredmoment.blogspot.com/...ce-******.html A little deeper reading, VERY insightful, and will certainly bring about alot of inner revelations for those of us who were abused.

HTH!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahwpen View Post
is anyone here familiar with the book "to train up a child" by michael and debbie pearl? I really don't like this book. Never have. They are my mom's favorite authors though. She gave me a copy of this, and a subscription to their magazine (which i throw out). I was just wondering how you would answer people with that kind of mindset because that is what i am going to be up against.
Smile and nod. Seriously, you probably aren't going to convince your mom for a loooooooooooooooong time that the Pearls' unique form of sadistic child-rearing (and ftr, I HAVE read To Train Up a Child front to back, so I feel informed enough to make a judgement here) isn't the best. And quite honestly, if she has no children at home, I don't feel there is a pressing need to. I'd make sure that she is not left alone with your child, and when around her I would probably deal with discipline issues behind closed doors. She doesn't need to know what you're doing back there.

Just remember that children misbehave! That's what they do! (Adults misbehave, too!! And usually worse, but that's a topic for another post
) No matter HOW you discipline them, they aren't going to be perfect -and if they are, that's when you should start worrying
.

For right now I would focus my attention on converting your husband. Let him know that you aren't so sure about spanking anymore, but the belt and switches are - in the words of Dr. Phil - a huge deal breaker. Then I would start researching the parenting style you are looking to adopt, and as you do try to put it into practice. After all, you can't really expect him to do anything you don't yourself do yet. And as you get more informed and more committed, I would share with him what you are learning and your dd's response to it. For example, letting him know that dd did 'x' and after a time out (or whatever) and discussing it with her her behavior improved 'y'.

There are some great mainstream and/or religious resources for non violent discipline. Those might be a good place to start.
 
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