Mothering Forum banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,876 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister called me today in tears. We have had our (many) differences over the years, the chief among them being our parenting styles. She has two children, six and four, and has been a spanker since her oldest was a toddler. It has always broken my heart to see it, hear about, think about, even know she's doing it, and I have spent many frustrating hours getting nowhere with her on the subject. Until today.

Today my sister says that she will never spank her kids again. That she hasn't spanked either of them for three plus weeks. That her six year old son came to her today and said how glad he was that she'd stopped hitting him, and that he liked her.


So, I've talked with her for several hours. I've directed her to several of the resources in the stickies in this forum and to several books. I've made myself available to her for whatever she needs.

Do you think she can repair the damage she's done? Can she rebuild trust with her children? I know it's going to take a lot of hard work to move into different patterns of communication, and move towards implementing forms of loving discipline. I so believe that she can turn things around, though. I guess I'm wanting to hear from others, maybe former spankers, about what they think. She is convinced that she's destroyed her children forever, and I don't think that kind of thinking is going to get her anywhere that she wants to be when it comes to changing. KWIM?

What can I give her in terms of specific actions to put into place to make sure that she stays out of the spanking mentatlity? You know, solid, tangible things she CAN do in place of spanking? Books and studies and general ideas about why spanking isn't good, and how loving discipline is wonderful, are not going to help her in the heat of the moment.

ETA: I wanted to add that I've never spanked my kids, and while they sometimes drive me nuts, feel that we have pretty good communication and respect. We've been building that from birth, though, so I guess I'm just a little unsure of how to go about changing in midstream.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,922 Posts
I *absolutely* think it's possible to repair the damage done!

Good for her for realizing that it was damaging and STOPPING!

Here is a link w/ some former spankers who now live joyfully with their kids:
http://sandradodd.com/spanking

There's also a link for a Yahoo group on that page. The group is for folks to move away from spanking, I believe. That might be a useful tool for your sister.

You could also invite her here--to post situations where she is having a hard time--where spanking would have been the solution and she's not sure of a new one, you know?

In any event. I strongly believe that it is never "too late" to undo that trust and make amends.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,072 Posts
I believe the number one book to change the family dynamic to cooperation is How to Talk so Kids will Listen. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/038...402249?ie=UTF8 It provides REAL tools to replace the hitting, screaming, shaming, punishments with validation, listening and cooperation.

Raising Your Spirited Child also helped me to understand how ds and my personality were similar (and opposite) and how those traits could fuel conflicts, and how to work with, rather than work against each other. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006...e=UTF8&s=books

Another book which moves from punishments to using principles is Living Joyfully with Children. It helped me to create a philosophy of what I wanted our relationship to be and how to be in relationship more respectfully. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/188...lance&n=283155

We have never used punishments in my current family. But even now at 43, although I experienced all of those painful "discipline" tools as a child, it helps that my mom tries to treat me with respect. The relationship dynamic isn't a static one. We can support our children to get what they want and need, rather than punishing them for lacking skills to meet their needs when emotionally overloaded, imo. We can be partners, rather than adversaries. We will be "parent and child" forever, the sooner the interactions change toward respect, the more the relationship can be cooperative, imo.

Jan Hunt of "The Natural Child Project" web site has many articles that you could print off and share with her also: http://www.naturalchild.org/articles/ And "The Positive Discipline" site can help parents move toward more respectful parenting: http://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/index.html

I believe these all provide concrete new tools for parenting more gently.

Pat
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,072 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdmama33
Today my sister says that she will never spank her kids again. That she hasn't spanked either of them for three plus weeks. That her six year old son came to her today and said how glad he was that she'd stopped hitting him, and that he liked her.
I absolutely believe she is doing a wonderful thing for her family! Look at how her son reacted after a mere 3 weeks without being hit. He came to mommy and told her how glad he was and that he likes her. Kids are such beautiful, forgiving beings!!!! He was obviously ALREADY feeling a positive step forward when it cam to their relationship. IMO the thing to concentrate on now is learning and implementing new tools, and fostering positive relations(which she probably already does, being a spanker doesn't mean she was cold or distant in their relations). For a 4 and 6 year old those memories will quickly fade away to something quite distant. Children live in the moment! You have had some great book and article recommendations. I also really liked Becoming The Parent You Want To Be. Please encourage her to come here and post when conflicts arise she isn't sure how to handle without spanking. She has been spanking for awhile and I wouldn't be surprised if she feels kinda lost at first in certain situations. Best wishes and hopes for your wonderful sister and her kids!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,439 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by scubamama
Here are four articles to print off and place on the front of the refrigerator as support:

http://www.naturalchild.com/jan_hunt...ernatives.html 22 Alternatives to Losing It

http://www.awareparenting.com/twenty.htm 20 Alternatives to Punishments

http://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/power.html 18 Ways to Avoid a Power Struggle

http://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/pdguide.html Positive Discipline Guidelines

These practical tools make hitting children unnecessary.

Pat

these are great, ive bookmarked them for myself
thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,781 Posts
Your sister is wonderful for acknowledging past mistakes and fixing them! That is so hard for most people to do. I absolutely believe that she can repair the damage. Her kids are still young and she can spend the rest of their childhoods teaching non-violence.

She will likely need lots of support though. Having you in her life will be a tremendous support, I would think. It seems to me that, once you have given yourself permission to hit, it is much harder to refrain. So she'll need to soul-search and really believe that hitting is never ok. Good luck to her!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,781 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by kdmama33

What can I give her in terms of specific actions to put into place to make sure that she stays out of the spanking mentatlity? You know, solid, tangible things she CAN do in place of spanking? Books and studies and general ideas about why spanking isn't good, and how loving discipline is wonderful, are not going to help her in the heat of the moment.
.
I think the key is to instill in herself that it is NEVER ok to hit. No matter how annoyed she is with the children. No matter if they dart into the street, paint her bedroom with markers or otherwise put her over the edge. She cannot have any part of herself condoning or rationalizing violence. So that is step one.

As for concrete suggestions: I know time-outs are not favored here, but perhhaps time-outs for HER would help. I know I give them to myself once in a while if I feel ugly words about to emerge from my mouth. I tell Sorin that I am really angry and need to take a few minutes alone. Then I do so. Youl could also suggest that she call you if she feels the urge to hit. Make yourself available to her and then talk her down in a non-judgmental way. Also, identifying preventing triggers is key. If she tends to hit more when she hasn't had a break, for instance, suggest that she arrange for time to herself on a regular basis. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,622 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by scubamama
Here are four articles to print off and place on the front of the refrigerator as support:

http://www.naturalchild.com/jan_hunt...ernatives.html 22 Alternatives to Losing It

http://www.awareparenting.com/twenty.htm 20 Alternatives to Punishments

http://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/power.html 18 Ways to Avoid a Power Struggle

http://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/pdguide.html Positive Discipline Guidelines

These practical tools make hitting children unnecessary.

Pat
Those are some wonderful links!!! Those pages should be handed out to every new parent!!! Thank you for listing them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Quote:
She is convinced that she's destroyed her children forever, and I don't think that kind of thinking is going to get her anywhere that she wants to be when it comes to changing.
You could try reminding your sister that she probably knows lots of people who were spanked by their parents and are friends with them today. My parents spanked, I never felt particularly damaged or distanced from them. Most of my friends my age can say the same thing.

Edited to add: I am NOT in favor of or advocating spanking, I just hate that your sister is torturing herself over something that time will probably take care of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts
i dont think it is ever too late to repair a relationship.

the pastis the past, what matters is how people are feeling now and the treatent they know they can expect in the future.

in fact i think she is teaching her children that it is ok to admit that you were doing something wrong and to change and make it better.

i am sure her relationship with them will now just go from strnegth to strength.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,876 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks so much for the replies! I've been calling my sister a couple of times a day, just to give her an ear and lend some support. I directed her to this board and specifically this thread, and she is starting to sift through it and make a plan. I also ordered a copy of How To Talk for her, and I hope it will help.

That article by Peggy O'Mara inspired me so hopefully it will inspire her, too. (I never knew that Peggy was once a spanker. Wow.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,993 Posts
Hoping your sister is reading this thread.

BIG HUG to you kdmama33's sister!

You can do it. And no you did not "ruin your kids forever". You actually showing them how, even in a difficult situation like that, a person CAN be strong enough to admit their mistake and FIX it too! You are setting a wonderful example to follow.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,093 Posts
oh for sure! it sounds like her heart is in the right place and she's reaching out for the support she needs to change her parenting style to one that feels more right for her and more right for her kids.

my parents spanked occasionally, and while i don't like that they did that, it doesn't outweigh the wonderful parts of our relationship. most of the time they tried hard to meet the ideals in books like How to Talk... in fact when i had my 1st, they mailed me their old copy
i feel for the most part that my brother and i were respected, loved members of the family, and that we all had to be part of the solution when there were problems. if i'm remembering the right Faber and Mazlish book, they acknowledge that a parent may have spanked in the past and may be tempted to spank still... and then give you ways to build your parenting skills so you can avoid it.

another book i've enjoyed is Adventures in Gentle Discipline - it might be geared to slightly younger children, but i thought it also did a great job of going into the parent's mental state and helping the parent cope with not always feeling like the ideal parent on the inside.

good luck to her!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,048 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by kdmama33
Thanks so much for the replies! I've been calling my sister a couple of times a day, just to give her an ear and lend some support. I directed her to this board and specifically this thread, and she is starting to sift through it and make a plan. I also ordered a copy of How To Talk for her, and I hope it will help.

That article by Peggy O'Mara inspired me so hopefully it will inspire her, too. (I never knew that Peggy was once a spanker. Wow.)
Yes, it gives us mere mortals hope


I'm so glad you enjoyed the link. I think I used to have it in my sig. I should probably put it back


Hi, kdmama's sister!!! Welcome to MDC
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
510 Posts
Absolutely, it's possible. I think children innately want to love their parents - people often learn to love and trust their parents despite awful transgressions. When a parent makes a concerned and committed effort to change (for the better) their relationship with their child, kids will notice. They see changes in mommy and daddy and respond with their emotions. Giving away a little bit of your control in order to be held accountable for your actions to your children is a huge step. In my worst moments, when I hadn't slept in days and my daughter would bite me or head butt me, I spanked, like a reflex that I couldn't control, even though I never wanted to - until the day she uttered the words "Not nice mommy". She held me accountable and I was able to better hold myself accountable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,031 Posts
I definitely think its possible- I lived it, though my son was not as old as hers are when I discovered GD. I unfortunately came a little late to the realization that spanking was wrong, but in the 2 + years that I have not been spanking, my bond with my son, which was strong before I started down that stupid road, has grown leaps and bounds. Tell your sister that she is doing a great thing, and both she and her children will be happier for it.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top