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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've all seen the spanking arguments that go on ad nauseum, especially if you've ever had it out on a Christian board. It seems to me that people do always end up pointing out either, "I was spanked and these were the horrible repercussions." or "I was spanked and it was fine; I love my parents and our relationship never suffered."<br><br>
What I rarely see is the point made that whether or not a parent uses spanking is just the tip of the iceberg as far as how effective, loving and excellant a parent they are. There are parents who do sometimes spank and who are in many other ways, respectful and loving and deeply attached to their children. That they spank, or have spanked, doesn't paint the entire picture of their parenting....these are the children who most likely grow up to say they were spanked and (whether or not they spank themselves) don't feel it was destructive.<br><br>
There are also parents who spank, but spanking is just one aspect of the many pervasive ways they show disrespect to their children. It's just one more way to show the child that they are not adequate, that the parent must put them down to feel good about themselves, that the parent is overly fearful of "losing control". I grew up in a home like that. The incidents that stand out the worst as my parents utter failures in a given situation - ironically enough - are not those in which I was spanked. They occurred when I was past the age where my parents generally used spanking anymore. But the major feature of these incidents was the message behind it: that my feelings or my situation was of no importance; having things "look" good was the only important thing; that I had no "right" to offer a reason for my behavior or to explain what had happened - all essentially engendering a feeling that I was of no worth.<br><br>
For as dedicated as some are about the cause of not spanking a child - and that is certainly a worthy cause - I find it surprising that so little is said about the overall <i>attitude</i> a parent conveys to their child. Yelling, sarcasm, disrespect, tyranny, superiority - all these things can harm a child, even if the parent wouldn't dream of spanking. And, at least, IME, these are the wounds that last, that can actually shape the identity of worthlessness.<br><br>
So, what I would like to know is this: do you feel that your parents were overall effective parents? What specific things did they do that you feel communicated a deep, abiding love and respect for you, if you were so fortunate to have that experience? If you feel that your parents were ineffective parents overall, what major attitudes or actions do you feel contributed to that the most? What steps have you taken to change this inheritance with your own family?
 

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I'm sorry but I just cannot see how hitting children can be part of an effective and respectful parenting style no matter how you spin it. the only thing it conveys to me is that if you are too tired or lack the ability or will to communicate properly it is acceptable to assert your dominance over someone who is smaller than you by physically hurting them. I feel equally strong about verbal abuse.<br><br>
My parents were effective. They did not hit us as a general rule although my mom will tell you that she spanked me as a teen and that I was the only one. My parents also wrote special letters to our school instructing them that we could not be paddled or otherwise punished physically by teachers principal etc. My dad when angry would walk around the kitchen shutting the cabinets loudly otherwise he never yelled. we had Serious talks when we were in trouble. Their rules were appropriate they didn't get angry over trivial stuff. usually for me the knowledge that I'd dissapointed them was punishment enough, I was never grounded.
 

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Emerald, I agree with your assertion that spanking is not the only form of disrespectful parenting - sarcasm, verbal abuse, tyranny are certainly other symptoms. I don't know how long you have lurked at GD but since we really don't ever debate the "merits" of spanking (as prohibited by the rules), we do focus on the other aspects that are less spoken about. GD is all about raising children in a respectful, non-humiliating environment. That spanking is not a factor is just an assumption of GD - most of our discussions address the "how to's" for raising our children with respect and deep connection.<br><br>
I grew up in a semi-AP household. I believe that the difference between my parenting and my parent's parenting is that I don't think they ever discussed or agreed upon discipline structure. Certain things they did showed respect, others were simply fear tactics.<br><br>
I deal with the disappointments by seeing that they did the best they could with the few resources they had. They also had a horrible marriage (they divorced 27 years ago when I was 12) and that took up an enormous amount of their energy.<br><br>
I put an enormous amount of thought and energy into my parenting, much more than my parents did (they would be the first to tell you this). I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the methods they used to discipline me and I incorporate the good and toss out the bad. It wasn't all bad, it wasn't all good but I don't ever think "well my parents did that and I turned out okay" - I think that's a cop-out. I analyze each thing carefully.<br><br>
I don't know if this helped....or made sense <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>emeraldangel</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yelling, sarcasm, disrespect, tyranny, superiority - all these things can harm a child, even if the parent wouldn't dream of spanking.</div>
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Definitely. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> I don't think the OP is saying that spanking is an acceptable parenting tool, I think she's saying some people are good parents despite spanking. And that spanking is just one aspect of discipline, and you can hurt your child deeply without ever laying a hand on him/her.<br><br>
I totally disagree with the idea that spanking should ever be used, by anyone. I know some people IRL who do spank, and I know they feel just as strongly that it is sometimes necessary to discipline in this way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Yes, I do think they are disrespecting their child by spanking him. But I don't think they are overall disrespectful parents. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hide.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hide">: I feel kind of icky just saying that, because I feel very strongly that spanking is wrong, always - should never be used. I actually disagree with a lot of their parenting techniques, I think they are overly strict and authoritarian. And I would never defend their choice to spank. But I think they are genuinely loving parents who truly think they are doing the best thing for their children, and while that doesn't excuse their behavior, it makes them better parents than the dad who beats his kids with a belt because it gives him some sick thrill of power.
 

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My mother was very affectionate and my father financially stable. But they spanked and it was part of an overall pattern of control much as you described.<br><br>
I do think overall attitude is important. Obviously, if a parent is being gentle and loving 99% of the time, it is sending a very strong message. If I had to guess, I would say the child of a parent being gentle 99% of the time will be much more willing to forgive a single spanking.<br><br>
But....<br><br>
I don't think spanking fits neatly into any one category. I have noticed that siblings in the same family often grow up to view the discipline in the home very differently. One sibling may praise it, and be equally strict and spank their own children, while another feels damaged by it, and takes great care to be completely non violent with their own children. Why?<br><br>
The truest thing I've read about spanking is that you simply do not know how a particular child will react to being spanked. Some adults will tell you they are not troubled by even very violent spankings as a child, and think it did them good. However other adults feel truly and deeply hurt by any incident of being struck as a child. After all, if a friend or spouse hit you as an adult,<br>
even just once, you may not shake it off so easily. You may not want to shake it off, and the incident might really harm your relationship with that person. Some people feel that as a child, or feel it later when remembering their childhood.<br><br>
I don't think a parent can influence which way a child will view being spanked. Every child is different, even in the same family. I do not think a parent, even a very intuitive and attached parent, can predict how a child will react to being hit.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>famousmockngbrd</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">...I don't think the OP is saying that spanking is an acceptable parenting tool, I think she's saying some people are good parents despite spanking. And that spanking is just one aspect of discipline, and you can hurt your child deeply without ever laying a hand on him/her...</div>
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Well said.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>emeraldangel</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, what I would like to know is this: do you feel that your parents were overall effective parents? What specific things did they do that you feel communicated a deep, abiding love and respect for you, if you were so fortunate to have that experience? If you feel that your parents were ineffective parents overall, what major attitudes or actions do you feel contributed to that the most? What steps have you taken to change this inheritance with your own family?</div>
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My mom was/is a fantastic and effective parent. She has never laid a hand on me in anyway other than to show love, affection, etc. My mom, even when I was a toddler, would sit me down on the couch and hold my hand and talk to me about _____. How it could hurt me or someone else, maybe it could break something (glass, for example) that could cause me to get hurt, whatever. I would know she was disappointed sometimes, but she <b>always</b> tried to make sure that I <b>didn't</b>. She feels, as do I, that guilt tripping your kids into behaving is ridiculous. I know that my mom has respected EVERY SINGLE DECISION that I have made in my life, because it was just that...my decision. She would of course give me guidance...and advice if I asked for it (usually did <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) I have never been grounded, made to feel ashamed or belittled in any way whatsoever. My mom says that I am an intelligent, beautiful woman that deserves to be loved and admired and appreciated. She has always told me this...for as long as I can remember. I am trying my damnedest to make sure that my kids feel like I did/do.<br>
From the day I was born my mom kept me close to her...where she said she knew I could feel her love. I slept in a bassinet by her bed and fell asleep every night holding her pinky finger. I didn't like sleeping in the bed :LOL Anyways...sorry for the ramble but when I talk about my mommy I tend to "run off at the mouth". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Emeraldangel, I think that's an important comment. Not so much the fact that "good" parents sometimes spank, but especially the fact that parents don't need to spank to have a very negative effect on their children. Perhaps here on these boards it's taken forgranted that the reasons for not spanking are also good for not doing any of the other things that put our children down and devalue them?<br><br>
I don't remember my mum ever spanking us and in general I think she was very respectful towards us and didn't use "fear" tactics. I think she punished us sometimes if we did something wrong but it was very much a case of letting us know our behaviour was not acceptable and the punishment would mostly be withdrawing relevant privilidges or going to our room, presumably to cool off. She didn't trust us to know our own limits though, which still gets to me now.<br><br>
My dad had a bad temper, which I have unfortunately inherited <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> , and was also more "traditional" in his discipline methods. He did spank occasionally for fairly serious things though rarely through losing his temper. Mostly I just remember him yelling and how scared I felt. I don't think it affected me too much until I got married....and now if my husband yells, I crack up, way out of proportion with whatever he does.
 

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My parents did spank, but I think they were rather disrespectful otherwise. So let's take the spanking out of the picture and I would say that they were raising children in the manner that they though children should e raised...obedience, quiet, behave well at all times... etc.<br><br>
I recently noticed this when my parents came to visit. My mom would drag poor Goo around, twice "accidently" knocked her down (Goo wanted to do one thing and mom wanted her to do something else, so the physical struggle between the two of them resulted in a knock down, but not purposely...), and then told me that I hated baths. They think it was because I fought it so hard when they dunked my head underwater to get my hair wet! (DH told me, gee...think that's why you aren't a great fan of swimming?).<br><br>
These are things we just don't do to Goo. We sometimes want her to obey, but once we put that into words, it just sounds silly.... KWIM?<br><br>
Dh swears he got spanked once. Most of his growing up was more AP than mine, but it wasn't called that. His favorite memory of disapline was that he was grounded from the TV for a week because he lied about finishing his homework. So, he spent the week trying to build a television for himself...(he was 6 at the time) His parents knew what he was trying and let him because they figured he never could build one and it was a creative way for him to spend his punishment
 

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I was spanked, but I do feel that overall my parents were wonderful loving parents.<br><br>
As someone else here said, they simply didn't put the huge amount of thought, research, and time into their decisions. My mother had very limited resources - somewhat new to the country, very troubled marriage to my Dad, very alone and isolated as a SAHM.<br><br>
I think when they spanked it was b/c they had reached the end of their ropes and had not the internal resources to use other means. I sure didn't like being spanked, and I completely disagree with it's use as a discipline tool.<br><br>
But I say they were wonderful parents b/c of all the good they did. I was told from day one I could be anybody I wanted to be. My bro and I were treated exactly equally, and I was always led to believe that I could do anythign a boy could, etc. Their love is unconditional - they have seen me through good times and bad and never wavered in their love and support (though they didn't always handle it the way I would, lol).<br><br>
I've heard stories of both my parents' upbringings and they were leaps and bounds ahead of what they got subjected to. In the same vein, while I think overall they were great parents, I know many areas where I hope and plan to do better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, so many things well said in this thread!<br><br>
Just to clear up any misunderstandings, I was <b>definately</b> not saying spanking could be done respectfully or a part of respectful parenting! It is NOT! I was saying there are "good" parents who sometimes spank and I don't think the spanking ruins the whole parenting. I do not spank.<br><br>
Craftymom, I'm so envious! Those are all the things I wish were true of my parents, but they just aren't. I have had to realize that I cannot ever have that as a "child", but I can do that as a mother! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
heartmama, I so agree with what you said about siblings having a different perspective on it. This is one thing I simply don't understand at all. My oldest sister is NOT a mother (and I am thankful for it!), but hearing her talk about dealing with kids horrifies me! She definately sounds like a copy of my parents - kids should be little obedient robotic pleasers and if they don't, all hell will break lose! She is ever the observer about how "bratty" other people's children are, when I know she has no clue about raising kids. It's weird.<br><br>
I stopped spanking years ago, and then weaned away from time-outs and now I am working on other more nuanced aspects of how I mother my kids. I raise my voice too often and I have been working hard at removing the sarcastic retorts I heard throughout my childhood. It is hard to revamp these things...but my children are worth it!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>emeraldangel</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><span style="font-size:large;">and now I am working on other more nuanced aspects of how I mother my kids.</span></div>
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I just love that ... I keep re-reading it.<br><br>
It makes me think of parenting journey... how I am constantly learning and striving to be better. Thanks for those words. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 
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