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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:12 pm 
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We've had a short exchange about this in the Parlour, but I was very surprised by the reactions, which seemed to consider this something of a taboo topic.
Well, there couldn't be much better incentive to start discussing it than that, of course. :D

What is your attitude towards physical violence as a means of punishing or educating children, and what are the reasons for your view?

I think it's only fair to give my own views first. I'm partially quoting my post from the Parlour to that end.

I'm only agreeing with what's basically 'standard opinion' here, when I say that any kind of physical violence against children is considered abuse by almost everybody concerned with children nowadays.
I think that even if the violence is not arbitrary (as can happen if a parent is overburdened with having a child or in other ways mentally unstable), but part of a disciplinary scheme, it can only be considered as a failure on the part of the parent. Hitting someone to solve a problem is not a solution, but the 'easy' way out - using physical superiority to force your will on someone weaker. It has nothing to do with education or teaching a moral lesson.

I'm also wondering what kind of misbehaviour could - or is generally seen - to deserve physical punishment.
I've been thinking about this, trying to understand why someone would hit (if not in the heat of the moment) and couldn't think of anything.

The worst things I could imagine kids actually doing would be lying or stealing, and I figured that these offenses needed careful explanation rather than hitting.
The worst offenses I could imagine might happen in really extreme cases, like trying to kill the sibling or setting fire to the neighbour's cat, would rather call for counselling than punishment.

So, what what you see as behaviour to warrent physical punishment?

Another problem would seem to be that physical violence perpetuates physical violence. Children learn that it's ok to hit in order to get compliance from someone. In order to arrive at a more peaceful society, it seems logical to start with teaching children that violence is always wrong.

Also, violence against children seems particularly bad, as they are always the weaker party.
Over here, campaigns for the protection of childrens' rights often make this a focal point of their argumentation.

Nowadays, we even get the occasional suggestion from politicians here to make hitting children illegal.
However, discussion about that tends to ebb out after a while. Personally, I can't decide what to think of the idea.

The constitution guarantees everyone 'physical inviolability' (hope the dictionary gave me the correct translation of a legal term here) as a fundamental human right. Does this only include adult citizens? As a fundamental human right, I should think it includes every human being.

Just like in slow development over time hitting women and employed dependants has become proscribed, it is to be hoped that children will be the next beneficiaries of this development.
On the other hand, it seems unhelpful to me to solve problems within a family by jurisdiction and court rulings. So, I don't know whether such a law would be helpful. To answer this, I'd have to have an answer to the question whether hitting women and dependants has become ostracised because it was illegal or because people came to hold the view that it was wrong.

I'd like to also re-post the story told by Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking and countless other children's classics and a lifelong champion of non-violent education:

A mother had had her patience with an unruly child quite exhausted, and this time her kid had done something that she thought really deserved a whipping. So she told the kid to go and fetch a rod.
The kid was gone for quite some time, and she was beginning to wonder whether it was trying to get away from the punishment. But then it did come back and said 'I'm sorry, I couldn't find a rod - but here's a stone that you can throw at me...'

Of course the mother then realised the error of her ways and they hugged and made up.


For some more clarification: I can understand if a parent hits a child in the heat of the moment at a time of considerable stress or so (unless of course that happens often). This is reprehensible as being a moment of failure, but I am not asking perfect self-control or any other kind of perfection from parents. They are human, too, and have a right not to be condemned for having the same failings as everybody else.
What I'm talking about is a methodical and cool choice of physical violence as a means of 'disciplining' a child.


I'm also aware that I have not even mentioned the whole complex topic of emotional and verbal violence. This is not to say you can't bring it in, but it opens a whole new can of worms that I'm leaving untouched for the time being in order to keep this post at readable length.
However, one might ask whether avoidance of physical violence doesn't rather open the door to emotional violence - and which of the two is worse - if one were to say that a complete absence of violence from teaching behaviour is impossible. Or is it? What do you think?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:54 pm 
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This is such a difficult can of worms. :(
I think that making laws on the subject would be totally worthless. There comes the problem of enforcement, not to mention exactly where to draw the line. Would smacking a child's fingers away from a hot stove warrant prosecution? Or would it require more than that?

I can't even say for sure exactly where I stand on the subject. I don't feel any need to spank my children, however I am not prepared to judge those who do. There are plenty of parents who believe that by spanking, they are doing what they feel is best for their child.

As I mentioned in the Parlour, I was spanked fairly often as a child. I do not believe that it had any adverse effects on me.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:18 pm 
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The problem with talking about this subject is that not everyone is on equal footing; what seems likes a merely straightforward presentation of evidence from someone for whom it's a more or less abstract moral or ethical discussion is going to be for others a commentary on their own childrearing methods. The potential for making people defensive is great, in my opinion greater than any possible gain to be had from talking about it.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:22 pm 
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I think spanking as a ritual, like time out or being forced to do some task, is different than lashing out in mindless violence. Likewise, verbal abuse is different than taking a child to task and telling him what he did wrong in no uncertain terms. It's the simple rap on the hand of the child reaching for danger that most people think of when they think of physical discipline. But it is the monster unleashed that I think of. Knowing that I could not resist becoming that monster is why I didn't take the first step. Rather like alcoholism - it runs in the family, so I don't drink. And in my perfect world, no one else would drink, either. Likewise, I don't hit my kids, and in my perfect world, no parent would deliberately hurt a child.

Uncontrolled violence can be addicting and difficult to resist. It is an adrenaline high that hijacks the brain, whether it is physical or verbal. It does great damage to the child, who is suddenly bereft of an all powerful protector and trusted friend, who is practically God, and instead confronted with an unreasonable and very powerful aggressor who is the Devil himself. In the same body.

When I grew up, and had kids of my own, I had two role models. A dad who blew up and intimidated me into doing what he wanted me to do, and a mom who withdrew passively (not to coerce, but to protect herself from the fireworks). So I had a hard time figuring out how to discipline my kids in a new way. Hubby was raised in a completely permissive family on the surface, but very coercive in its own way under the surface, so that brought its own set of problems.

There is no easy answer.

Ax, I agree with the obvious - that this was started by a childless person - but I think she started it with the intent of understanding the subject better. My post is my view on the subject from my experience. YMMV

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:44 pm 
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Ax has a point, but as this is in a thread of its own, people who feel too strongly either way to accept an opposing opinion have a choice of not going here.

Before I put my 2 cents in my mouth ;) I'm curious - those who were spanked by parents as a routine punishment, how did your relationship played out as adults?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:30 pm 
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I was spanked—rarely, maybe half a dozen times in all my childhood. The spanking was painless; it was the idea of it that mortified me. It was done dispassionately and did not traumatize me; I had and still have a good and emotionally close relationship with my parents. In America back in the early 1960s it was received parenting wisdom that you had to spank your kids sometimes or they would grow up undisciplined and disrespectful.

However, I spanked my first child exactly once, and it felt like the wrong thing to do. I never spanked anyone again. All three kids grew up well-behaved and polite, and we have a good relationship.

One interesting thing is that I never saw any of them hit anyone else, ever, no matter how angry they got. Perhaps it just wasn't in their physical vocabulary. Whereas my brother and I did hit each other in anger occasionally, when we were small.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:41 pm 
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Quote:
In America back in the early 1960s it was received parenting wisdom that you had to spank your kids sometimes or they would grow up undisciplined and disrespectful.


Is there a correlation to that and today's undisciplined and disrespectful yoots?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:49 pm 
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I was answering a question with some observations, Holby, not trying to pass judgment on anyone or advocate any position except the samer one we all hold, that abusing kids is wrong.

My kids and their friends aren't undisciplined or disrespectful, but I have no idea who was or was not spanked other than my own kids. If I had to guess, I would say that parental attention and involvement is much more important in getting that outcome than the presence or absence of physical discipline.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:56 pm 
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:)
Why so defensive? I wasn't inferring anything, just merely asking a question. :hug:

I'll leave this topic with one observation. This subject is just too frustrating for me.

Neither extreme is good.
We as a society tend to overcompensate and take things to extremes.
When a child can succesfully call the police on her parents because she was spanked on the bum for some ghastly behavior there is something wrong.

And the other extreme is worse.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:20 am 
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Ax, I'm afraid I don't understand why this topic should be taboo. I think it is a good thing take a look at childrearing methods. If the topic makes you defensive, don't post.
What would you say if we couldn't discuss racism, for example, because it touches some people closely?
I have to admit that I'm shocked to see that even people who I know to be enthusiastic to discuss all things philosophical and political otherwise flinch from this topic. Can this be worse than religion and racism put together? I feel I need to find out.

The more thanks to those who are willing to discuss.

Yes, this comes from 'a childless person'. This does not mean I can't have an opinion on the subject. Most of you are not lawyers and still have an opinion on the death penalty. You are not politicians and still have an opinion on Bush's policies.
I should like first and foremost to request that I not be treated as though I didn't know anything about the topic because I've not reared children of my own!

narya wrote:
It's the simple rap on the hand of the child reaching for danger that most people think of when they think of physical discipline.


Hmmh, no, I wouldn't think of that when I think of physical discipline - as I said I can understand a parent overreacting at a time of stress - and a slap on the hand to stop the child from reaching for the hot stove isn't meant as punishment.
As I said, what I'm thinking of is coolly and methodically administering physical violence in consequence of something the child has done.

(And wondering what people think would be a behaviour that warrants physical punishment.)

But you and Lily raise a very important question: yes, one problem of the law in question would be where to draw the line. Not only does it seem odd for a child to sue its parents (and it is, IMO, wrong to encourage it, as it would seem to introduce a set of undesirable values in order to achieve a desirable end), but also there's the danger of parents getting in trouble for something that is not meant in a negative way, like the slap on the hand to prevent the child from touching the hot stove.
I think it's this sort of complication that leads to the discussions about such a law not getting very far.

I thought what narya said about 'adrenaline rush' was very interesting and an aspect I hadn't even thought of yet.

I should also like to stress that the method of education depends on the character of the child. Of course, something that may work just fine with one child may not work at all with the next.
So, is there a possibility that there could be such a stubborn child that no reasoning or good example would work with it and it would only respond to physical pain?

Prim wrote:
In America back in the early 1960s it was received parenting wisdom that you had to spank your kids sometimes or they would grow up undisciplined and disrespectful.


I think it probably was everywhere. I don't know when it started changing, I think that the fifties over here were still quite similar to the pre-war years.
And this was because this was the way things were, and people didn't use to change the way things were until this past half century, it seems.
So, I wonder what made them change.
Because I think it is obvious that physical violence is becoming less the norm - visible even from those few posts in here, where those of you who were hit do not use the same methods on your own children, most likely making you the first generation in hundreds of years to break that time-honoured tradition. What happened?

It doesn't surprise me that kids who grew up without violence turn out well, when the rest of the education they get is loving and caring and consistent.

Today's kids are often disrespectful because they don't learn to respect people. They don't learn it because their parents can't be bothered to teach them. So, the question is, how do you teach children?
I think that if the only answer you can think of is 'by beating them', that is cause for concern.
If you believe there are other ways of teaching children something than beating them, then why would you use beating as a means of teaching at all? What does it achieve that other methods do not achieve?

I agree with holby that neither extreme is good. The opposite of absence of violence certainly isn't complete permissiveness. But for me, corporeal punishment is always an extreme in itself, and hence should be avoided.

And this, of course, gets us into the other problem I mentioned at the end of my first post: what courses of action do you have left, and are any of them likely to be worse than physical violence? Is it possible to avoid violence of any sort (physical, emotional, verbal) without being too permissive?

I do, however, have to mention that in view of misbehaving children such as holby mentions, there are indeed even here voices, generally from politically conservative circles, that call for a re-establishment of corporeal punishment.

Lastly, I think that Prim makes a very important point in mentioning the humiliation aspect, which is always present in corporeal punishment, and which, I believe, was also the reason for its abolition in adult society.
I think that physical punishment only 'works' between individuals of different social standing. Only as long as both the master and the servant regarded each other as by nature superior/inferior was it possible for the former to hit the latter without either feeling there was undue disrespect involved.
I think (and maybe this goes some way to answer my own question of 'what happened') we are in a development in which we begin to see children with some respect. Apart from realising their helplessness, it is now the social norm here to respect children as individuals, and that forbids the use of corporeal punishment.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:26 am 
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Frelga wrote:

Before I put my 2 cents in my mouth ;) I'm curious - those who were spanked by parents as a routine punishment, how did your relationship played out as adults?


My parents have changed quite a bit in the last 20 years or so. First of all, they have abandoned fundamentalist Christianity for a more broad interpretation of God. Because of this, they have mellowed considerably. Through my teen years, my relationship with my parents was volatile, at its best. I was one of those kids that other children were warned against hanging around with. I was rude and disrespectful and followed my own set of rules. I can't say for certain that being spanked had anything to do with my behavior, though I did resent that my younger sister was, to my mind, spoiled.
To make a very long story short, I get along with my parents very well, now. It took many years for me to realize that they had my best interests at heart and were just doing what they thought that their religion wanted them to do.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:01 am 
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I'm not going to post, but it's not because I'm defensive. It's because this really IS a topic more sensitive than racism or religion or whatever. Whether they suck as parents or are exemplary, there is no quicker way to alienate a parent in the process of raising a child than to offer advice unasked for. It's barely tolerated from FAMILY. And that's what these discussions ALWAYS devolve into. No thank you.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:34 am 
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hobby wrote:
So, what what you see as behaviour to warrent physical punishment?

The deliberate and symbolic swat on the toddler's well-padded bottom, as I understand it, isn't punishment. It's meant to be a way of communicating that the parent is seriously disapproving of an activity that is definitely not in the child's best interest. It isn't intended to hurt, but to make an impression. That is the only form of physical discipline that I personally feel comfortable thinking about. I think as children get a bit older, there are better ways of communicating that type of urgent parental disapproval, and more effective ways of punishing (i.e., disciplining).

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:03 am 
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Hobby said:
Quote:
Today's kids are often disrespectful because they don't learn to respect people. They don't learn it because their parents can't be bothered to teach them.


I totally disagree with this comment. Kids are disrespectful because their parents didn't teach them. Please...once the child goes to school or have contact with their peers everything changes, even the media has something to do with it. I must admit I was the "school rebel" because it was "cool", it's my choice, not because my parents didn't teach me it's wrong to "annoy" the shool authorities. My parents were very good in teaching what's right and wrong, it's just that I choose to be a "rebel" back then like a few kids in school.

The bottom line is even if you are the best parent in the world your kid could still end up in wrong side of the tracks. We have free will, we often exercise this, irregardless of whether your Mama told you that it's wrong.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:33 am 
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axordil wrote:
It's because this really IS a topic more sensitive than racism or religion or whatever.


That's probably true. Especially because it reflects not only on our own parenting, but on our upbringing. So people get defensive not just for themselves but for their parents as well.

But, again, in a separate thread everyone has a choice of not reading. Or not posting.

I don't think spanking works. I think a consequence only works if it is directly connected to the action, and it is usually possible to come up with one. Or, in other words, if an action has no natural negative consequence, then why should it be punished?

I had a conversation at a dinner party that for me summed the situation in a nutshell. I was talking to a guy who grew up in Europe where he was physically punished in school. He spoke quite jovially about it, and how it was a good idea and a all, and then he said, "Of course sometimes it was worth it to misbehave anyway and just get the punishment."

I was never spanked as a child. I got a few smacks upside the head, nothing that hurt for even a second, but boy do I remember them. I don't recall what I did to deserve it, but I was furious, and always, always looked to get a payback. I could never forgive my parents if they had spanked me - not for the pain, but the humiliation and the sense of being powerless.

We made a choice not to hit our son, and I never regretted it. He is a strong-headed little guy; if I used spanking as a consequence I would have to really hurt him to make any impression, and I can't bear even thinking about it. And that's the rub - light slaps on the bottom are simply not enough of a deterrent.

Then again, he has a logical turn of mind, so it is usually possible to reason with him. Although - and that's the other extreme that I find doesn't work - I don't expect him to agree with me every time. Sometimes he has to do as told, whether he likes it or not.

And it's probably true that kids who are not spanked tend to be freer with their mouth. I'm seeing that already. :help: I try to model a respectful tone of voice for him (With variable success, I admit. I do yell sometimes. :oops:) and demand the same from DH. Beyond that... you know, it's really not the end of the world. Respect is not the same as fear.

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‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:48 am 
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I wish there was an easy and sure way to discipline kids. Reason is great, but kids can have a very odd grip on reason, when they are young. Or when they are teens, for that matter. Praise and "catching them doing something right" is a win-win method, but it only works in some situations. The other ways available seem to be to push buttons on the kids that trigger feelings of fear, loathing, abandonment, greed, pain, or confusion.

Then we grow up to have bosses doing the same things to us, on a (usually) more subtle scale.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:33 am 
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I understand where Ax is coming from, about unrequested advice. But I think it is possible to discuss this at the level of our own experiences and observations with a clear understanding that advice is not being offered.

Ax is older and wiser than I was when my children were the age of his, but I at least remember being astonished at how different my children were from each other. Same gene pool, same upbringing and environment—totally different people. When it came to discipline (actions taken to avert or punish bad behavior) what worked for one most emphatically did not work for either of the others.

So, given that, I would never presume to comment on or proffer advice about anyone else's childrearing methods, short of the kind of situation where anyone would intervene to protect the child. Every parent is different, and every child is different, even within the same family. There is no "principle" that applies to all cases, and what works brilliantly for one set of circumstances could be a horrible mistake in another.

And yet no set of choices are more fraught or more frightening than the choices parents have to make. Of course we defend those choices and are tempted to argue for them with others; to do otherwise would be to admit the faint possibility that we might have made a wrong decision involving a beloved child for whom we are responsible. No, clearly we were and are right. . . .

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I remember being spanked one time. I was hit in the head with a shoe one time as well, but that is another story.

I honestly believe I would have been better off if I were spanked more often or disciplined more.

I think my oldest son was spanked 2 times. I don't think the other three were ever touched at all, exceptin a pat on the bum with a fully loaded diaper. I am not sure what the crisis was that caused me to spank him, but it was probably a situation I didn't know how to deal with or I just plain had had enough.

I don't advocate spanking because I think it is ineffective, but I think there is a very large distinction between spanking and abuse.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:48 pm 
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axordil wrote:
I'm not going to post, but it's not because I'm defensive. It's because this really IS a topic more sensitive than racism or religion or whatever. Whether they suck as parents or are exemplary, there is no quicker way to alienate a parent in the process of raising a child than to offer advice unasked for. It's barely tolerated from FAMILY. And that's what these discussions ALWAYS devolve into. No thank you.


As Prim said, this is not about advice. This is about what you think of physical punishment as an idea. I'd also like to find out whether there's a cultural divide in people's attitude to physical punishment.
I understand what Frelga said about how it affects one on a very personal level, but as she also says, if it does, then it's easy not to read it.
If you don't want to post, then - don't. LOL. But it's a very interesting thing in itself that this topic is taboo for you.


Cerin wrote:
The deliberate and symbolic swat on the toddler's well-padded bottom, as I understand it, isn't punishment. It's meant to be a way of communicating that the parent is seriously disapproving of an activity that is definitely not in the child's best interest. It isn't intended to hurt, but to make an impression. That is the only form of physical discipline that I personally feel comfortable thinking about. I think as children get a bit older, there are better ways of communicating that type of urgent parental disapproval, and more effective ways of punishing (i.e., disciplining).


Yes, I completely agree with that.

Lurker, that's a good point. Certainly, the demands of peer pressure and conforming to what the media portray as 'cool' can overturn many things the parents tried to teach. However, from my observation, many parents today seem not to believe in restricting their children in anything and, if you believe reports, even more children do not know a caring surrounding, with people taking an active interest in what they do and who they are, at all.

Frelga wrote:
Respect is not the same as fear.


That sums it up in a nutshell, Frelga!

I think that what children have to be taught is that being good is good for its own sake. And I think that this is a really difficult job.

Violence on the one hand and total permissiveness on the other IMO are just two easy ways out of it. You can terrorise someone into submission, which is what is done by physical pain, or you can just leave it.

Using violence as a deterrent does nothing to make someone understand why they should behave. They will behave for fear of pain, not because they choose to. The only choice they might actually make is the one you describe: the choice that the offence is worth the pain. A messed up view of morals, IMO.

Quote:
I was never spanked as a child. I got a few smacks upside the head, nothing that hurt for even a second, but boy do I remember them. I don't recall what I did to deserve it, but I was furious, and always, always looked to get a payback. I could never forgive my parents if they had spanked me - not for the pain, but the humiliation and the sense of being powerless.


I'm completely with you there, Frelga. But the odd thing is that, as it seems, people who were spanked do not hold it against their parents, although those of us who weren't and just imagine it, would expect it to be our natural reaction.
So, does that mean this is evidence that physical punishment isn't so bad after all as lots of people think it is? Or is it something else, some psychological effect of experiencing violence we haven't thought of yet?

Quote:
And it's probably true that kids who are not spanked tend to be freer with their mouth.


But that's a good thing, isn't it? It's a lot harder for the parents to deal with an outspoken child, and hard for the child to learn to temper its freedom to voice its opinion with the right tone for it. But on the whole, what we want for children is for them to be independent thinkers with opinions of their own, able to form and express considered views of things - and what better way to train this than not to discourage them from speaking their mind.

narya, yes, a sure and easy way would be nice, but there isn't one. I agree that reason may not always be as effective as one would like, and, yes, that leaves a lot of other ways of equally difficult choices.

Quote:
The other ways available seem to be to push buttons on the kids that trigger feelings of fear, loathing, abandonment, greed, pain, or confusion.


Yes - and that's where, according to some pedagogues, emotional violence can set in. That's usually the point where I go :help: - because the line between acceptable button pushing and emotional violence seems really difficult to draw.

So, is there anything that would constitute emotional violence for you, and is there a chance it's even worse than physical violence?

Quote:
but it was probably a situation I didn't know how to deal with or I just plain had had enough.


holby, that's the situation I said I could understand. Parents can't be expected to be perfect, and there are bound to be situations one doesn't know how to deal with.
But I think that spanking, when it's done regularly either as a method of education or because the parent keeps losing control, is abuse.

Quote:
Same gene pool, same upbringing and environment—totally different people.


Yes, absolutely. That's why there are no sure and easy ways.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:02 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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I'll jump in here.

My own experience as a child. There was physical punishment pretty much expected everywhere, but only if you crossed the line, and dammit, you knew where that line was. I don't think I can ever remember getting physically punished for something I didn't do, cause it was reserved for the last resort, and you had to be both guilty as hell and pretty much have either premeditated or deliberately ignored a rule after a couple of warnings. There was a kind of a pecking order to it. You had verbal telling off, smack on the back of the legs (wearing shorts) which stung a little, smack on the hand, smack with wooden spoon on the hand, and finally, if it was bad enough, Dad was called in for a full spanking of the bare arse.

I think the last option was used a handful of times in my life and never after I was older than 7 or 8. But its was there as a real threat. I knew if I transgressed sufficiently, that punishment was an option. The other options were, quite frankly, harmless and barely even registered. There was certainly no "trauma" involved. In fact, they were often the preferred option. In school, the teachers all had a stick and we were often given the choice between a whack on the hand or 100 lines. Everyone took the smack rather than the lines cause it was over and done in a second. You have to remember, we were kids who would fall down and skin our knees on gravel and be up again after a quick cry to run around and play again. We were tough, to put it bluntly. I think it stood to us in later life also.

As regards physical punishment for my own kids, its certainly there as an option. Its used very much as a threat though and rarely used. We depend on groundings and denial of priveleges for the most part. Given the choice between a smack and having his gameboy taken away would I'm sure elicit the same response from Conor that I would have had as a kid. Smacks were used much more when they were very little simply because you can't reason with someone who hasn't reached the age of reason. Calmly explaining to a 2 year old not to put their hand in the fire is pointless. However, the mental connection between "put my hand near the fire" and "No!" (Smack) is much more effective. I feel the danger outweighs the negatives of the discipline.

I only remember once giving a proper spanking and that was because Cliodhna had left the friends house she was supposed to be in and gone to play somewhere else without telling anyone. She was about 5 years old and it scared the life out of us. Did I over-react? Maybe. Do I regret spanking her? No. She crossed the line that she knew she shouldn't have, and frankly I'd rather smack her than risk losing her to a paedophile because she didn't take us seriously enough. If anyone wants to condemn me for that, feel free. I have no regrets. I cried more than she did, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Oh, and my kids have no tendency to violence of any kind. Funnily enough, each successive child required less discipline. Not because one was "better" than the other, or because we're more relaxed now, but because they had an example to follow in Cliodhna. Once she was taught, the others just followed her example. Of course, being kids, they need correction occasionally, but nowadays its nearly always verbal. But I still think they needed the early grounding.

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