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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start by saying that I love love love my MIL. She is wonderful with my kids, very attentive, and relatively progressive. She has been on board with everything I've wanted to do with the kids from the beginning. She's even really excited about EC and has taken my DD to the potty several times. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
But there is one thing she just keeps mentioning and I'm not sure how to talk to her about it. She is apparently pro-corporal punishment. DH says he has no memory of her actually doing it, and I am 100% sure she would never actually do it to my kids (she leaves all the discipline up to us). But she does mention it with alarming frequency. She's in that "Only under dire circumstances, such as for safety reasons" camp. I'm in that "Never ever ever, under any circumstances" camp.<br><br>
But yesterday, she was playing with DS (3yo), and DS was pretending that the bear he was playing with was being mean. And MIL said "Naughty bear! Do I need to give you a spanking!?" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="huh"> Of course, DS has never heard this concept and looks very confused.<br><br>
DH says he doesn't want to shelter DS from the very real idea that some parents do spank their children. I don't want to teach DS that when you're "bad" that someone can hit you! DH thinks it's just play and I shouldn't make a big deal about it.<br><br>
Since I love MIL dearly and I really like having her interact with my kids, I'm not sure if I should discuss this with her or not. Since I'm sure she would never do it, should I be worried if she <i>talks</i> about it? I'm concerned that my passion for raising a peaceful child and having absolutely no violence in my home is making me overreact. My parents say stuff all the time that I just let slide because, although I strongly disagree, I try to pick my battles.<br><br>
WWYD? FWIW, MIL is incredibly respectful of my wishes when it comes to the kids. I just mostly don't want to make her think that she was a bad parent or that I don't like how she is with my kids.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>InMediasRes</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15464774"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">DH says he doesn't want to shelter DS from the very real idea that some parents do spank their children. I don't want to teach DS that when you're "bad" that someone can hit you! DH thinks it's just play and I shouldn't make a big deal about it.<br></div>
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Whether your MIL talks about it in front of your DS or someone else does, or he witnesses another child spanked by a parent, chances are your DS will be exposed to the concept of spanking and corporal punishment sooner or later. At age 3, as he spends more time outside the home (trips to the park, playdates with other children, pre-school or school in the next few years if that's your plan, extra-curricular sports...), his going to spend more time with lots of other children and families.<br><br>
Since you can't avoid that exposure, I'd address my efforts to deal with situation toward your DS. I'd explain that some parents use corporal punishment like spanking, but that you don't and reassure him that he won't be spanked by anyone. I'd have some of those conversations in front of your MIL, so that she is clear on your views.<br><br>
If you think it's necessary, then yes, have a talk with her and clarify that although you know she doesn't have a problem with corporal punishment, you do and you just want to be clear that you've reassured your DS that he won't ever be subject to physical punishment.
 

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It would depend on your MIL's personality. If she's really sensitive and would get her feelings hurt, I wouldn't say anything in this case. She seems like she's trying really hard to respect your choices.<br><br>
My MIL doesn't agree with a lot of our choices, and I'm sure she thinks we're totally submissive with our kids, but she has a sense of humor about it. If I were to overhear her say this while playing with my kids, I'd have no problem walking over, picking up the bear, and saying (in Mr. Bear's voice), " Oh NO Grandma, PLEASE don't spank me! It will make me super sad AND I won't learn anything but how to react with VIOLENCE. You don't want me to end up in JAIL, DO you grandma??". But that's just me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Unfortunately, your kids will hear about spanking in stories, movies, and from people. I would take control of it by teaching about it how you want them to understand it. I told my dd what spanking was, and that some people believe that it is a way to teach children, but that her daddy and I don't believe in spanking and will never do it, and since she's our child that no one is allowed to do it to her. At that point, I personally found I no longer was bothered by people mentioning spanking, as she had the security of knowing it couldn't happen to her.
 

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I don't know. When I'm playing around with the kids I'll call them a ratbag and then 'smack' their bums. I do it gently and in fun and they think it's hilarious.
 

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I think there is a big difference between talking about spanking and incorporating it into your play. I wouldn't want someone doing that with my child either. It's not in line with our values.<br><br>
If you hear her mention it again, simply state that your family doesn't believe in spanking, not even make believe spanking. You don't have to get into a big discussion.
 

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As she's generally respectful of your parenting, I'd be inclined to go with something like what buttercup784ever mentioned. It's not mean, sets the tone with both her and your kiddo.<br><br>
MIL has done this around us (and not around us too), and dh has always said "hey mom, we don't do that, don't say stuff like that". However, she's not particularly respectful of our parenting choices and all and it's never made a difference <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">.
 

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it's true that he'll probably learn about spanking, but he doesn't need to hear it from his grandma. I'd talk to her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess I should clarify. I'm not opposed to DS knowing about other people spanking their kids. It's just part of the world that he's going to learn about at some point. I just don't want him thinking that this is somehow okay. MIL, for some reason, likes to play like the animals are bad and need to be punished in one way or another. He learned the word "naughty" from her. I really don't want to micromanage their play (and they will play for an hour at a time or more, which is really special for my DS), but I also wish she would stop harping on the punishment stuff when she's playing with him.<br><br>
MIL is somewhat lacking in social graces, but she is very respectful of our choices. I think she would change it if I asked her to, but I don't want to make a big fuss over nothing either. As PPs said, I can teach DS that spanking is unacceptable and that it will never happen to him. Does that make sense?
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>InMediasRes</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15466587"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I guess I should clarify. I'm not opposed to DS knowing about other people spanking their kids. It's just part of the world that he's going to learn about at some point. I just don't want him thinking that this is somehow okay. MIL, for some reason, likes to play like the animals are bad and need to be punished in one way or another. He learned the word "naughty" from her. I really don't want to micromanage their play (and they will play for an hour at a time or more, which is really special for my DS), but I also wish she would stop harping on the punishment stuff when she's playing with him.<br><br>
MIL is somewhat lacking in social graces, but she is very respectful of our choices. I think she would change it if I asked her to, but I don't want to make a big fuss over nothing either. As PPs said, I can teach DS that spanking is unacceptable and that it will never happen to him. Does that make sense?</div>
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I would say just let it go. It sounds like your MIL is bending over backwards to respect your wishes. If you want to find a polite way to bring up spanking, how about discussing a book you read on parenting in her presence, such Unconditional Parenting (Alfie Kohn). That way you could get her involved, and talk about WHY you're against spanking. As far as ds is concerned, I don't think he's going to think spanking is ok just because of the game that they play, but you could play with him using animals too, and try some role playing yourself, so he could see the alternative to spanking.... such as "Oh Lion you bit my leg, are you hungry? My leg hurts." Etc.<br>
I find that my mother often says things to ds that I keep asking her not to, and she just forgets, because she's used to playing a certain way with kids...and it's really hard to just be spontaneous in play and entertaining and keep someone else's rules in mind.
 

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My fil said something one time to my ds about this. He said something like, "M you better stop doing that or you are going to get a spanking." My ds had the most terrified look on his face. I went over to where they were and in front of fil said, "M don't worry, no one in this family is going to spank you. We know that hands are not for hitting." He never said it again. Problem solved.
 

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let it go. if your kid asks what is a spanking, you can tell him that's what some people do to their kids... but your family does not.
 

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When I was growing up, people would hit their kids in public. My mom would hide my face in her shoulder so I couldn't see. I got so I started hiding my face when I saw the signs of someone getting ready to hit their kid. Or rather, since I don't remember it, I'd hide my face in her shoulder and then mom would look around and realize there was someone about to hit their child.<br><br>
I was considerably older than 3 before we had a discussion about how other families think that it's okay to hit people.<br><br>
Who cares what other families do? There is no reason for your child to have the idea of hitting being acceptable put into his head at such an impressionable age. At age 3 the rule should be "hitting is wrong".<br><br>
(Mind you, it might not create a belief that hitting is okay. It might make it so your ds grows up to incorporate corporal punishment into fantasies. I know several people who can trace certain proclivities to similar remarks.)
 

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Well, since she's apparently "respectful" of your wishes. Make it clear to her to be respectful of your disciplining choices. Tell her you already acknowledge her disciplinary choices, but that their not for your family and that you'll like her to stop bringing it up around you, and especially your children.<br><br>
You're right, hitting a child is never right.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ollyoxenfree</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15464802"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Whether your MIL talks about it in front of your DS or someone else does, or he witnesses another child spanked by a parent, chances are your DS will be exposed to the concept of spanking and corporal punishment sooner or later. At age 3, as he spends more time outside the home (trips to the park, playdates with other children, pre-school or school in the next few years if that's your plan, extra-curricular sports...), his going to spend more time with lots of other children and families.<br><br><b>Since you can't avoid that exposure, I'd address my efforts to deal with situation toward your DS. I'd explain that some parents use corporal punishment like spanking, but that you don't and reassure him that he won't be spanked by anyone.</b> I'd have some of those conversations in front of your MIL, so that she is clear on your views.<br><br>
If you think it's necessary, then yes, have a talk with her and clarify that although you know she doesn't have a problem with corporal punishment, you do and you just want to be clear that you've reassured your DS that he won't ever be subject to physical punishment.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that"><br><br>
I have the same feelings about my MIL, she is fantastic, but she's old-school in some ways. She knows I don't spank and it has never been an issue, but I do think I've heard her joke about it. Like, "You better get over here and give me a kiss or I'll have to spank you!" Very loving and joking tone....I never explained it or made an issue of it, and my kids never said anything. They probably didn't even know what she meant!! For all I know, they might think a spank is a tickle <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
At age 3, if you keep talking to your child about how your family doesn't spank, etc. (in awesome 3yo language that explains your beliefs) Your 3yo might just be the one to teach MIL. I could totally see that playing out in our family. If MIL was being silly and mentioned the naughty bear getting a spanking, I could see my ds1 school her in how we don't spank in our family because....<br><br>
FWIW, my kids have never been exposed to the idea of spanking (aside from MIL joking as above) and they are age 3 and 4 now. I recently checked a book out of the library that was on a recommended reading list of classic books. I didn't screen the book first and I just read it to my kids. The book is about "Ping", a duck who gets spanked if he's the last one on the boat. As I read it, I cringed, made a comment about how said that was, but kept reading. The next day, my 4yo ds saw the book on the floor and said, "Mom, let's take that book back to the library." I asked him why and he said, "I don't like all the spanking parts." So, I am happy that I've shielded them from the idea of it for this long, even though I have known all along they would see it or hear about it eventually. I think it's good for it not to be common knowledge until their older so they are still sensitive to the idea.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>buttercup784ever</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15464810"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">" Oh NO Grandma, PLEASE don't spank me! It will make me super sad AND I won't learn anything but how to react with VIOLENCE. You don't want me to end up in JAIL, DO you grandma??". But that's just me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Grace and Granola</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15468929"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The book is about "Ping", a duck who gets spanked if he's the last one on the boat. As I read it, I cringed, made a comment about how said that was, but kept reading. The next day, my 4yo ds saw the book on the floor and said, "Mom, let's take that book back to the library."</div>
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My kids didn't like that book either! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
We've always been super gentle with our kids, but as they get older there's no way to shelter them from the truth of how some parents treat their kids.<br><br>
As far as the life and death thing, when my kids were little I talked to them, explained to them, and sometimes really got in their faces, but I never felt that physically hurting them would help get the message into their heads that cars could hurt them. I know a mother who drove over a doll with her child watching to demonstrate would happens if a car runs over something (it worked!).<br><br>
I think that punishments of any type (physical or not) teach kids to *not get caught* doing what ever it is. We've had very few rules, but they are important enough that I need my kids to follow them even if I'll never find out.
 

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People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual battery if a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.<br><br>
For one thing, because the buttocks are so close to the sex organs, anal region, and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, striking them can trigger powerful and involuntary sexual stimulus in some people. There are numerous physiological ways in which it can be intentionally or unintentionally sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can read the testimony, documentation, and educational resources available from the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at <a href="http://www.nospank.net" target="_blank">www.nospank.net</a>.<br><br>
Child bottom-slapping vs. DISCIPLINE:<br><br>
Child bottom-slapping/battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.<br><br>
Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.<br><br>
I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.<br><br>
There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:<br><br>
Plain Talk About Spanking<br>
by Jordan Riak<br><a href="http://nospank.net/pt2010.pdf" target="_blank">http://nospank.net/pt2010.pdf</a><br><br>
The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children<br>
by Tom Johnson<br><a href="http://nospank.net/sdsc2.pdf" target="_blank">http://nospank.net/sdsc2.pdf</a><br><br>
NO VITAL ORGANS THERE, So They Say<br>
by Lesli Taylor MD and Adah Maurer PhD<br><a href="http://nospank.net/taylor.htm" target="_blank">http://nospank.net/taylor.htm</a><br><br>
Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea:<br><br>
American Academy of Pediatrics,<br>
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,<br>
American Psychological Association,<br>
Center For Effective Discipline,<br>
Churches' Network For Non-Violence,<br>
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,<br>
Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,<br>
Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,<br>
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.<br><br>
In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 

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I would have a problem with it. Around here, you certainly do NOT see spanking out in public. I would have been on alert for it since becoming a mom, and I've never once seen it, not in over 3 years. And anyway, I think I am allowed to "shelter" my 3yo from such things as violence. We'll learn about the bad parts of the world gradually and at age-appropriate times. I know my 3yo would not really process such an idea right now. It just seems unnecessary. If I had someone in my life/my child's life with those beliefs, I'd make it 100% clear they were never to use spanking on my child, and I would ask them to please not discuss it, either, just as I'd ask people to refrain from introducing concepts such as guns or abuse or whatever....<br><br>
OP, I would just ask nicely. Just say you're concerned it could upset your kid, that always works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. We haven't seen her since this last event, so I'm still turning it over in my head. I think I might just let it go unless I hear it again. Usually it is not to my kids, but in the context of discussion with me and what she did with her kids/how she was raised. I think I can have a more non-confrontational dialogue if she brings it up that way. We've talked over many parenting theories and ideas and she's very open to changing her mind, so I'm hopeful.
 
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