Spanks for Nothing

"Damnit, come over here now!"  You better believe I heard those words as a child.  Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t an angelic child 100% of the time.  I was pretty good, but I also misbehaved when I was feeling attention starved.  During those spats there were several ways I would get punished.  My options included a washing of the mouth with a bar of soap, spanking with a wooden spoon, spanking with a belt, or spanking with a human hand. 

Not so delicate disclaimer: This topic is open to anyone.  I don’t want parents to chime in saying some shit like "you have to have kids to understand".  I’m pretty sure all of us were kids at some point in our lives.  I’m pretty sure most of us can remember how horrible it was to be punished.  Everyone has a say on this topic as far as I’m concerned.  [end of disclaimer]

Spanking to me meant I had stepped over a boundary of some point as a child.  When I was a kid the term "time out" was only used in sporting events.  It wasn’t a form of punishment like it is today.  I usually got spanked for unruly behavior.  My fingers tremble as I type this post because I can recall how angry I got when spanked.  I recall the sound of my mom opening the drawer and rifling through it to locate a wooden spoon.  I remember trying my hardest to wiggle away from her grasp to no avail.  Most importantly I remember the sting, the burn, the heartache, and the rejection of the punishment.  I would yell and yell after each crack to my ass. 

It’s for this very reason I believe spanking to be a wrong choice; a wrong choice I will never use on my child.  Before someone gets all huffy puffy about this, this post is about my personal choice based on my personal experiences.  The anger inside me never went away after being spanked.  In fact it usually worsened.  I vowed to get even somehow.  I didn’t really understand what I did so wrong to warrant getting my ass spanked.  In my head, I can still feel the sting from a belt twenty plus years later. 

Were my parents wrong to spank me?  Had they exhausted all their options?  All I can say is that I was an even angrier boy after getting spanked.  I’d usually act out at school by challenging some knucklehead to a fight or calling a teacher names behind their back.  Maybe I’d act out by hurling rocks at passing motorists while hiding in the bushes.  Maybe I’d steal money from my brothers because they weren’t punished like I was.

Hold the CPS phone though.  My parents weren’t abusive the way I see it.  I think they had their hands full with seven kids spanning 16 years.  I’m sure they lost it and resorted to spanking as a way to strike fear in our heads.  It did work, but it also forced me to bottle up a lot of hostility.  Youngs boys aren’t so great at channeling their anger into thoughtful discussions about feelings.  It’s simply not how we operate.

What is the right form of punishment?  I’m not exactly sure there’s an answer to this question.  I can certainly tell you spanking is not a form of punishment I would wish on anyone.  People can go on and on about how children lack discipline these days, but spanking does not equal discipline.   It equals an easy way out and doesn’t address the issue at hand. 

During the time it took me to type this post, I racked my brain to remember why I got spanked as a child.  Sadly I can’t think of one… thus proving a powerful point.   

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About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Opinionated, Storytelling, The Vigilante. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Spanks for Nothing

  1. I pity the fool says:

    I think the biggest thing is that each child is going to be different. And a swat to the behind to reinforce a “no” (said for the umpteenth time) isn’t the same as a beating with a spoon or belt. I know that for me, just a stern look got me to behave, where one of my brothers could probably have been beaten with a tree trunk and it not work for him. So my parents had to adjust their discipline for them.
    I’m not against spanking. There I said it. But what you experienced was more than a spank in my book. Your ass got beat. I agree that you weren’t abused, but you were more than spanked in my opinion. The anger that you still feel about it shows me that it was more than a spanking. Because a good spank is one that gets the point across but leaves no lasting harm for the child (but gets them to behave at the moment in question).
    But this is all just my opinion. I respect yours for choosing not to physcially discipline your child when that time comes. I applaud you and hope that you are successful!
    You and Airam have good posts today.

  2. egan says:

    I Pity the Fool – huh, interesting comment. I’m not really sure you can differentiate the strength. A spank is a spank. I would be willing to bet most adults can still vividly recall what it felt like to be spanked. Are we still talking about “no lasting harm”? Thank you for your opinion though. This topic is about as explosive as talking about the war in Iraq.

  3. Chris says:

    I tok was “spanked” as a child. I put spank in quotes because it was occasionally a broomstick or a flying object as I tried to deflect the punishement.
    I too remember how angry I was after being hit. I also knew that it was going to come becuase I had my moments. I agree with you though that it simply isn’t a form of punishment with any ultimate reward.
    Inflicting fear and/or pain for the mere purpose of doing so, which in effect is what spanking is all about does nothing to instill any values in a child.
    Parenting is difficult and discipline is just one of those areas that really presents a challenge.

  4. I pity the fool says:

    This kind of reinforces my point I made on Airam’s blog about the lines being made fuzzy on a spank and a beating. I personally see a difference, but I don’t think I can really put it into words any better than I did in my first comment as to how I see it differently.
    And, I can honestly tell you that I don’t remember what it felt like to be spanked as a child. I know that I was, though. I’m assuming that it felt like what it feels like if I get spanked today and I’m not sure that that’s entirely a bad thing (oh, wait…that’s kind of going into different territory here, eh?…my bad).
    p.s. I’m not trying to change your mind on this, please keep this in mind. As I said, I respect your opinion on this, but I do have some pretty strong feelings about this subject myself.

  5. Bob says:

    How old were you when the spanking stopped? I found the process of parents dealing with the transition from spank punishment to some new form difficult.
    The transition for me was basically adolesence, which seems like a strange time to stop the spanking especially considering how I was as a teenager. However, if you keep spanking until your child is big enough to spank you that is the point I think spanking begins to earn it’s rep as a bad idea.
    If you child learns that order is maintained through fear and intimidation they might reverse the technique on the parents. Fortunately that didn’t happen for me. This is a damn good post topic, but not good for productivity at work.
    I won’t be spanking either, but I was tempted by my past.

  6. tori says:

    I have never spanked any of my kids, and I know that I never will. I don’t feel like it is the right decision for me. My kids are very well behaved (not saying they never misbehave of course). When we have problems/disagreements, we talk it out. If I feel that they are out of control, they are sent to a different room to cool off and told to come talk to me when they are ready.
    We don’t really yell at our house either. I just feel like it doesn’t accomplish anything. I can’t honestly think of a time when I have even thought about spanking my kids. We just don’t have any issues of misbehavior going on. I am probably jinxing myself by writing all this out, but my kids are pretty sensible, and when I say “do you think it was a good idea to…” they always say no, and explain what they plan to do differently if that situation arises again.
    I was spanked once as a child and I don’t remember it doing anything other than making me mad at my parents. I DO remember what I was spanked for. I sat on the edge of the coffee table at the age of 3 or 4. My kids and I joke about it now because I ALLOW them to sit on our coffee table and we joke that they have to get off because otherwise Grandpa will spank them.
    The rules when I was growing up were arbitrary, nothing ever had the same punishment and I remember everything got me in trouble no matter how hard I tried to not make trouble. I used to get charged money for going into the living room. It was a very unhealthy way to grow up, and I am thankful that I used my experience to show me things I would never do to my kids.
    Spanking is one of those things, and talking down to my kids and treating them as if they are stupid and have no value is another. I treat them as if they are the adult people I want them to grow into someday, and for the most part, they already are those amazing people.
    In my opinion, for my family, my respect for my kids leads to them respecting me and doing the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. I give my kids room to be who they are, and when I say no, they know I mean it because I rarely do. They do what I want because I tell them why and explain to them why I think it should be.
    Sorry this is long. I just feel so strongly that spanking is demeaning, and only leads to acting out. This is my opinion for MY family though, and I respect other peoples opinions on why they choose to do it differently. I don’t know everything, but I do know that what I am doing is working very well for my family.

  7. egan says:

    Chris – I just feel that punishment based on a fear of spanking is a lousy way to do things. I will argue that it does no good for any child and only gives the parent a tension release. Parenting is hard and so is being a kid. Think about the kids, that’s all I ask.
    I Pity the Fool – I’m guessing the punishment a girl faces is much different from that of a boy. In regards to spanking of course. I know you’re not trying to change my mind. Since we don’t see eye to eye on this, please tell me how you think it can be productive.
    Bob – I was probably about 10 or 11 years old when the spanking stopped. (maybe younger) I think much of it was a power struggle between my parents. Oddly enough, once the spanking stopped, I no longer picked fights at school. Imagine that. You make a great point about the timing of it Bob. Great comment sir.

  8. The Scarlett says:

    I was spanked as a kid. The last time I was spanked I refused to cry even though I seem to remember being spanked more than usual that time. I guess after that experience they felt that I no longer could feel the pain or humiliation enough to let the tears fly.
    I don’t spank my kids but I have felt like doing it more times than I care to admit. I resisted that temptation. I guess I now know that words can sting more than the hand. Saying, “I’m very disappointed in your actions” or “I’m ashamed of how you behaved” has resulted in tears not unlike the ones I had after a spanking. But I also make sure that my kids know that I love them in spite of their indiscretions and that I always will – a message I don’t think I ever heard after a beating.
    I was beaten because my parents didn’t know better. I forgave them long before either one of them died. And I turned out okay (I think).

  9. egan says:

    Tori – I love your take on this topic. I think I’m going to raise my kid just like you do. I think there’s much power in our words. I think it’s great you address your kids as though there were adults. Maybe I will have you come out to Seattle to watch Anna for a couple weeks. Make sure to bring cupcakes. I will be in Chicagoland in about a week.
    Thank you for your take on this subject matter. As a parent of four kids, it’s nice to see you can keep a cool head and not resort to spanking. Merci!
    The Scarlett – the memory of spanking still resonates with you. It’s a very powerful form of punishment that sticks with kids much longer than some believe. I’m sure you have felt like spanking them numerous times, congrats for holding off. As you point out, words can bring a kid to tears and teach them a valuable lesson. I know it’s hard work not to spank and I also know it’s tough to bite our tongue in certain situations, but this is what makes us humans. We have the ability to be rational people.

  10. I pity the fool says:

    I think also how girls react to punishment is different than that of a boy.
    How a spank can be productive? I’m not sure if “productive” would be the word I use for something like that. Before I answer, though, let me preface this with while I am pro-spanking, I don’t think it should be the first resort when disciplining a child. I don’t really like violence all that much. I think that if a parent can get through to their children by using logic and talking to them, then great! I think that’s wonderful and truly believe that that should be the way to handle all situation. But each child is going to be different. As I mentioned…what worked for me didn’t work for my brother.
    Now, to try and answer you question. Let’s say you have a child who wants to climb the back of the sofa and try to reach something that is on a shelf that they really shouldn’t be touching and just the situation alone could cause them harm if they fell or if the items on the shelf fell on them. You tell them “NO”, right? Ok, they stop, but then they go for it again. Really? Ok, “I said, no. Plese don’t don’t that because you could hurt yourself.” Hmmm…it makes them pause, but they still go for it. So you try the removing them from the area approach hoping that something else will pique their curiosity and they’ll stop the climbing. Nope, they immediately go back towards the couch and start climbing. So you give them “time out” and once their done with their 10 minutes, they are right back to the climbinb. So you sit them down and you try to “communicate” at how this could hurt them and how it’s making you feel and blah blah blah. Yeah, the kid just looks at you like you’re a fucking idiot just waiting for you to be done so they can go back to climbing. You finish your spiel and then what do you know? Yup, climbing again. So, this time, it’s a “I told you now” followed by a swat to the bottom. Oh. They’re serious about this. Nothing hard – the sound probably scared them more than the feeling. But was it lasting? I don’t think so, but it taught them a few things – you mean it when you say no and they probably shouldn’t climb the couch.
    To me…this situation (which is something that I just recently witnessed with one of my brothers and his 3-year old daughter who isn’t fased by a harshly-spoke word or stern look) is completely harmless and something that would not have been solved without that little smack to the ass. As proved by the events leading up to it. To me, it was more un-“productive” to try to communicate with the turd (a rather cute turd, but that’s beside the point…I’m biased) because she wasn’t learning anything from the situation other than how to just get around the “talking”.

  11. furiousball says:

    It really truly depends on how it’s administered. I don’t spank, nor do I frown on anyone that does… as long as they do it without anger or hurting the child. if you beat your kids when you’re too mad too think, you have no business doing so.

  12. egan says:

    I Pity the Fool – great scenario as I can picture it clearly in my head. You have a great point. I guess I would encourage more persistent punishment with the time out or something different. Maybe a loss of a treasured toy or game for a week. I think we covered this quite well in our chat.

  13. egan says:

    Furiousball – I truly wish I could say I don’t judge those who spank, but I’d be lying. For me it seems self serving from a parents perspective. There are so many other options that don’t involve hitting a child.

  14. BigBro says:

    Alas, why might you have been spanked? Let me count the ways…
    1. sneaking jello
    2. not listening
    3. not doing chores
    4. being a brat
    5. eating girl scout cookies
    6. slamming the door
    and that’s the tip of the iceberg…

  15. Kerry says:

    WELL!
    I can count on one hand how many times I’ve spanked my kids. I can tell you why they got a spanking too! It was for doing things that were unsafe (running and hiding from me in Wal-Mart) or dangerous (running out in the street)… because I wanted to make more of an impression. I wanted them to realize how vitally important it was to listen to me and NOT do those things. Otherwise, I’ve learned that so many other options prove better discipline actions that spanking. Honestly, its amazing how well they react to simply speaking the truth. Telling them why they are in trouble, and what you expect of them and how they didnt do/respond/react, etc the way they should/are supposed to, etc. Grounding them from something has waaaaay better response than any spanking.
    I got so many spankings as a child (I refer to them as beatings because mom was usually spitting fire mad) that I need to borrow y’alls hands to count them on! haha I remember putting a book in my pants to keep her from hurting me. That made her mad too and I got double. However, I cant recall why I got all the spankings. After a while, they don’t phase you and you come to the realization its going to happen… take the beating… it will be over and you can go on and do something else (to get another beating) I mean spanking. lol

  16. *pixie* says:

    My Mom got out the wooden spoon too. Lucky for me it was more of a scare tactic that sent me running for my room. I don’t think she actually USED it more than once.

  17. JQ says:

    I have to say that spanking was a big part of my childhood. I am the youngest of three and I watched my brother and sister get their asses beat…all the time. Much like you my parents would use a belt, a wooden spoon, a wooden shoe, or anything else they could get their hands around. I once saw my mom beat the crap out of my brother with a green tomato stake. When it broke over his head she took both halves and went Bruce Lee on his ass. I watched from the crack in the door. I felt so bad for him, but I knew that he deserved a stiff punishment.
    I got my ass beat red quite a few times as well, but I watched my brother and sister get beat enough that I didn’t get in trouble very often. That and I learned how to hide my mistakes.
    I will not beat my son. I will rationalize, educate and help him to understand what he did wrong. Though let me say that I am not opposed to a swift smack on the ass to put the fear of Dad into him.
    I am saving that for when he is at his absolute worst and will not obey. Then it will just be one swift, not hard—but firm, smack on the butt.
    I really should never have to do that.
    Something else that is equally, if not more detrimental to the health of a child is verbal abuse. My dad is loving and is a good man, but when we were young he had a mean temper and would yell constantly. I think that might be why I am so willing to avoid any kind of altercation. And I know damn well that it is why I sometimes have a hard time with my temper.

  18. Carrie says:

    It’s quite the debate… and I respect your choice in the way you raise your child. I’ve known parents of both opinions but in the end… it’s your decision. And if you’re happy with it then all the best to you!

  19. scarlet hip says:

    Seriously, all my dad had to do was raise his eyebrow. No spanking needed. I think a child needs a healthy fear of his or her parents – and by healthy fear – I mean afraid to bring on their disapproval. I don’t mean they should fear for their lives. I was afraid of my father, but he only spanked me once in my entire life. That was enough.

  20. Trelvix says:

    True memory:
    “Get in the car!”
    “Why?”
    “We’re going to the hospital.”
    “Why?”
    “To find a doctor to take my foot out of your ass.”
    Then he chased me up stairs.
    He never hit me, never kicked me but I went my whole childhood wondering when he might.
    It didn’t leave a mark but it left a scar.
    Recently I said to my teenage daughter:
    “Get in the car.”
    “Why?” she asked.
    “We’re going to the hospital to find a doctor to take my foot from your ass.” I answered.
    She laughed so hard that Gatorade came out her nose. I laughed until I cried.
    Strange what’s in your heart.

  21. Airam says:

    You know I think you’re awesome right? I totally agree with you about the spanking thing. There has to be a better way without your kid growing up with no morals and no respect. I was hit as a kid too and it hurt me more emotionally than it ever did physically … although that hurt too as well. I remember one time it hurt to sit. But anyways. I’m like you. I will never hit my kids because I don’t want them to think that I am so disappointed in them that my disappointment is beyond words and I can only resort to flying fists to get my point across.

  22. egan says:

    BigBro – always glad to have you keep me in check. See I posted the disclaimer about have some less than angelic qualities.
    Kerry – to me it sounds like you enjoyed the beatings/spankings. Don’t worry, I’m not going there. Your mom and my mom must be of the same generation. I remember trying to save my ass (literally) using a book too. Great memories.
    *pixie* – did the sound of her taking out the wooden spoon do enough damage to you? I know it freaked me out and made me hysterical.
    JQ – you sure sound like you faced a wrath of pain in your family at your mom’s expense. I find it interesting how often the mom’s were doing the beating. I think my mom spanked me a lot more than my dad. The green stake sounds like a painful experience. Let’s hope you never have to smack Gideon. I think it will be better that way, but he’s not my child. Verbal abuse is a completely separate topic, yet I know exactly what you mean.
    Carrie – you’re so diplomatic. I like that you didn’t take sides. Well played. You’ve been living in Ottawa too long.
    Scarlet Hip – that’s the key issue, healthy dose of fear. Where does that line get drawn? I guess we don’t know if it’s been crossed until it’s too late.
    Trelvix – hello and welcome to my blog. What color was the Gatorade when it came out her nose? Orange, yellow, or that nasty blue stuff? That’s a good story, thanks for sharing and commenting. Fear of being beaten seems to do the trick.
    Airam – you nailed it. I questioned whether or not my parents loved me after I had my ass beaten. Sure they would say “I love you” after a beating, but it sent a very mixed message to me. I just want nothing to do with spanking my children. It’s not an option.

  23. Amanda says:

    This is a hot topic lately! I just had a post on caning a few days ago.
    My most vivid memory is actually of three ugly purple lines on my hip where I moved and my mother missed my ass. She usually asked us to put our hands out but I don’t know why this time she went for my behind.
    Maybe its because I’m a girl, I don’t know, but I don’t think that the caning had a negative effect on me. It didn’t have a positive one of course but I didn’t end up bottling any hostility.
    Having said that, I definitely won’t be caning my own son because I don’t believe in it. It doesn’t work and it DOES teach the child to hit when something isn’t right. I found this out when my son was about 12 months and started hitting me back after just a couple of smacks from me.

  24. Christina says:

    Egan, I got the wooden spoon treatment as a child, and while it succeeded in making me fear my parents to some degree, it didn’t make me any less angry or less likely to act out. My dad never actually spanked us, it was my mom. I think the threat of my dad spanking us was enough to sober us into contrition, because he was so much bigger than my mom, and therefore, hella scarier. He never actually used his belt, nor did my mom, but he would occasionally gesture to it and that got us right back on the straight and narrow, which I guess was the point.
    I personally won’t be striking my own child, because I can’t imagine willfully inflicting pain on him. Thinking about it, I don’t see how my parents were even able to do that to their children, no matter how frustrated they may have been. That’s not to say I think I had bad parents, I just think the general outlook on this was different 20 years ago.
    Also, want to stir up controversy? Let’s talk Ferber!! 😉

  25. brookem says:

    you and airam are on a roll with these big heated topics. i like that though. gets everyone thinking and all. can i just ditto miss carrie? she said basically what i was coming back here to say. there are probably a zillion different takes on this topic, and im in no position to be judging people for either of their choices- pro/con the spank.
    thanks for bringing up this touchy topic efo- i think it’s pretty cool how open you are about your beliefs. i admire that.

  26. egan says:

    Amanda – I think I may have read a post on your blog which led me to the breastfeeding site you have linked and then I found something on “caning”/spanking. So you’ve tried it and it didn’t work? I know I won’t be spanking because it really bugged me as a kid. Thanks for your insight.
    Christina – ha, funny you should mention Ferber. We did our first cry it out session last night. I had a really tough time not comforting Anna when she was crying. I think we both did, but I came home in the middle of the Ferber process and had to wait until about 45 minutes to see her. I think it has some merit because self soothing is important, but damn is it ever hard.
    It sounds like you and I had a similar punishment upbringing as children. Sure it scared the shit out of me, but I only grew more resentful of those handing out the punishment. Chase will never need a spanking, mark my words.
    Brookem – gee thanks. That really is a nice thing to say. It’s a touchy issue (pun intended) and I see how spanking can happen, I’m just choosing not to allow myself to spank Anna ever. You can ditto Carrie if you want.

  27. *pixie* says:

    I can’t do Ferber. Hearing Gideon cry breaks my heart.
    As JQ already stated, we won’t be resorting to violence as discipline. I’m a sucker and a strong believer in praise and calm interactions so even the slightest raised voice to my child makes me want to punch that person in the face.

  28. *pixie* says:

    Oh, and totally unrelated but JQ was never doing NaBloPoMo, he’s doing NaNoWriMo which is writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

  29. mez says:

    I was spanked as a child – both with a hand and with a stick picked from the fig tree in the back yard. That shit hurt and yes I do still remember being angry about being spanked. I also remember destroying the stick on numerous occassions because I thought it was unfair to be hit with it. Anyway, I wasn’t actually a bad kid, but I did misbehave at home and I was defiant. I was an angel elsewhere though. Bro and I were not at all the kinds of kids that you see these days that run amok in a nice restaurant with the parents not doing anything. Maybe that was due to the spankings..maybe not. I don’t quite know – except that I know that my parents wouldn’t have put up with any kind of bullshit from us.
    I definitely wouldn’t ‘spank’ my child with any kind of object but the jury is still out on whether I would spank with my hand. I think I would if the child was under 7 or 8. But in any case I know spanking is a dirty word nowadays with most parents. And the thing is that most parents I encounter on a daily basis will say that they don’t spank and ALSO say that their kids rarely misbehave because they handle things differently but effectively at home. However, and I’m sorry to say – I might see a different kid at school – one that really DOES misbehave in a really unruly way. Not all kids of course, – all children are different and some parents substitute spanking with something that really IS effective and that’s the key. If you’re not going to spank then there HAS to be something else that really DOES work. Time out doesn’t work for all children and talking about things doesn’t work for all children. You have to find the right thing for your own child but they have to know that there are certain boundaries and if they cross them then they might not get spanked but there will be something that is a big deterrent about to happen.

  30. Tall Chick says:

    OMG Ferber drives me nuts. There’s a reason your heart breaks when they cry like that. Go with it. (your heart)
    Ironically, I do believe in spanking, but there are rules here. 1)it must never be done in anger 2)no foreign objects 3) no more than 3 swats 4)only done for 2 reasons: lying or direct disobedience 5)not used beyond age 6
    And, yes, in some kids it just makes things worse and is not appropriate at all. Depends on the kid. Needless to say it’s been a pretty damn rare ocurrence.
    I don’t believe in time outs, though, oddly. I’m weird that way.

  31. qt says:

    I was spanked as a child. And every day I see kids that I think NEED to be swatted on the behind. Every child is a unique individual and different disciplinary tactics need to be employed depending on that variable.
    I was never “beaten” – at most, there were 3 or 4 swats. Wooden spoons were used, which I actually think did not hurt as much as a hand. Ironically, it was always my mom that did the spanking. And a lot of the time, it was the threat of being spanked that got me to stop climbing an unsafe tree, riding my bike on a busy street, lying, etc.
    I think once your child is old enough, time outs and grounding can be effective. Personally, I would have LOVED a “time out” as a kid, so I don’t think those work past a certain age, either. And I don’t think you should be spanking a 10 year old! But I have to admit, I get tired of stepping around unruly and SO not listening to a word their parent is saying children every where I go.
    I look at the way kids act in public and the way they talk to their parents and I immediately think to myself “There is no damn WAY I would have done something like that or I would have been spanked.” There needs to be consequences, and they need to be unpleasant or how will your (I use the collective “your”) child learn what is appropriate?
    I have never spanked my nephew (he has never been spanked), but he knows that if he does not step to it right after I tell him to do something, there will be immediate consequences, and he will not like them. He is better behaved at my house than anywhere else.
    I respect your choice NOT to spank your child. At the same time, I think a lot of people want to be their child’s “friend”, and I don’t think that is a successful way to raise a kid.
    Just my 2 cents.

  32. I’ve never spanked my son, nor have I ever been tempted. I was, however, spanked quite often as a child and it is that experience that makes me try alternative forms of discipline.
    Like you, I remember what it felt like and I can not – for the life of me – remember even one reason I was ever spanked.
    When my son was an infant, I joined some friends at a Cal football game. Another couple joined us with their two young boys. At some point during the day, one of the boys started acting out. Nothing big, but acting in such a way that his dad was not happy. Rather than ridicule him in front of all of us, or rather than yell, he took his son aside, knelt down so he had eye-to-eye contact, and had a very quiet chat with his son. The behavior changed immediately – and it made such an impression on me that I vowed never, never to discipline my child in such a way that others would over hear.
    Four years later and I have to tell you – our son responds to this. If he starts talking back or acting out and we’re in public or even with friends, we remove him from the room, kneel down and talk to him about his behavior. The behavior changes immediately. It has worked 100% of the time.
    I may just be a lucky mom. But considering that it works for all my friends who use it, I’m thinking it’s more than mere luck.

  33. Tricia says:

    I was spanked, pushed, pulled, hair yanked – you name it. I needed it – I was horrible. Always acting up. Yet, I swore I would never spank my kids.
    There are times I do.
    When the talking to, the positive redirections and time outs do not work. Most of the time, they are spanked for injuring their brother or doing something to put themselves into a dangerous situation.
    My hubby does not believe in spanking. He never has and never will. I love that he can use his words to convey his feelings so much better than I.

  34. egan says:

    *pixie* – the Ferber method isn’t working for me yet. I can’t sit there and let her cry for an hour. That seems so wrong. Ha, would you punch me in the face for raising my voice? I’m nice.
    *pixie* – thanks for the clarification. I was going to bust his ass for giving up so quickly.
    Mez – I have to say your stance on this topic surprises me. I’m amazed how many bloggers who have been spanked say they would use it on their own child. I’m rather perplexed by this, but I guess each their own. I still wince thinking about the pain associated with spanking. Yes, there does have to be some sort of threat. Kids are going to act out at school, I mean they’re there for what 6-7 hours a day. They have short attention spans; so do parents. Thanks for your candid feedback.
    Tall Chick – I really like your rules for spanking. Those are concrete rules and if I were to spank, I might even adopt those guidelines. Great feedback. Ferber method can suck my ass. Ha, listen to me talking tough. I need a spanking.
    QT – okay, I hear this argument often about how kids are acting out so much more these days. Is this really true though? Are we just becoming older or is this really the case? I remember plenty of kids that acted out when I was young. “In my day plenty of kids were out of line”. Just something to think about and thank you for your feedback on this touchy subject.
    Chaos Control – you know this story you shared about kneeling? I think the exact same technique works with parents. I think all too often we forget how to interact/communicate with others and how it can be used effectively with children. My wife knows when I’m serious based on my tone, look on my face, and posture. I imagine kids can do the same. I really love this story and thank you for sharing it.
    Tricia – okay, do you find the spanking to be effective? Does it teach them a lesson or not? Who is the disciplinarian in your family? Man, sorry to bombard you with questions. Words are damn powerful.

  35. Tricia says:

    Spanking is not effective. Thus, why I love how my husband just has to use a strong tone to the children and they listen.
    I asked each boys the question, “how do you feel when mommy spanks you?” They said:
    G: Hurt. Pain. Wait – you aren’t going to try to spank me are you?
    M: Bad. It hurts.
    Do you understand why mommy spanks you:
    G: Yes. To stop doing it.
    M: Yeah. Cuz I was being bad.
    Powerful words there. I need to learn a new way. I don’t want them to hurt – I only want to protect them.
    My husband is the one the children – I don’t want to say fear – but I feel they respect him more. I’m a pushover to a point.

  36. egan says:

    Tricia – thanks for answering my questions. If spanking doesn’t work for your kids, why do you continue to use it? Or have you stopped using it? I just have to know the mindset of a spanker. I appreciate your candor. Have a good weekend.

  37. Tall Chick says:

    Chaos is right. Most times all they need is some direct eye contact, full attention and a quiet reminder that what they are doing is Not Okay.
    But, yeah, you need a spanking. ^_^

  38. Tall Chick says:

    I think I just recommended spaking a monkey.

  39. egan says:

    Tall Chick – ha, you and your spanking monkey jokes. Can you imagine making eye contact with your child, give them a stern warning, and expecting them to follow through? I think you can. I know you do love the term “spanking” though so this conversation is going nowhere.

  40. mez says:

    well, since I’ve started teaching I’ve gotten to know a good 1000-2000 children and let me tell you, before I started teaching I did not believe in laying one finger on a child. It’s not frustration with children that has changed by mind but it definitely is seeing how parents I admire and how parents I don’t admire handle their children that HAS changed my mind on it. Since I specialise in early childhood teaching then spanking does come up a bit in discussions. Also my own spanking childhood might not have had as big an adverse affect on me as it did you – even though I’m with you on hating it – especially at the time -..maybe I have a harder arse than you, or a shittier memory – I don’t know 😉
    It’s not like I believe in a spank-fest every night after tea or anything but proper reasoning doesn’t really happen in children until about 5 – 7 depending on the child. You can’t have a heart to heart with a 2 year old and expect them to understand that their behaviour is wrong because [insert reason] and expect that some abstract punishment is going to be effective for them. Hell I’ve known a good many five year olds who just LOVE time out actually – talk about a reward. It will (hopefully) be effective if the child is older though…
    I do think that one should always reiterate that ‘you are getting punished because…’ no matter what age though because if you do this from a few months of age then maybe understanding will happen earlier with that child. After children can reason then spanking wouldn’t be effective so I don’t advocate using it. I also don’t advocate the bent over a knee when your father gets home type punishment. If the kid is naughty right then and there then THAT’S when punishment happens (a couple of swats if one is being very naughty) – not later.
    So anyway after the reasoning develops then I’m fully down with taking away something they really like instead of a swat to the backside. Even something major like playing in a grand final or whatever. But it all depends on the child. Not all things work for all children – you have to totally psyche them out for their weak spot. MUHAHAHA

  41. mez says:

    (few years of age..not months!!)

  42. egan says:

    Mez – thanks for coming back and answering my questions. I really do see the point you’re making and appreciate your insight. I’m just not for it and never will do it. Too many lingering memories for me. A spankfest after tea, now that would be something worth televising. I can see you’ve spent much time on this topic as a teacher so I’d like to thank you for this great comment. There’s much to consider as you point out; it’s not a cut & dry decision.

  43. Lynda says:

    Ok, I am weighing in late. I remember my brother being spanked as a kid, because time-outs didn’t work for him. I remember being spanked as a kid, but I don’t remember the feelings about it (anger) or what I was spanked for.
    But whenever I hear someone spank their kid in public, it does cause a reaction in me. Almost like a fear type of reaction. Not really sure if it is from my past, or a fear of how someone could be so angry.
    If I ever have kids, I hope not to spank them.

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