6/2/07

Spanking Where Do You Draw The Line?




Where do you draw the line? Spare the rod spoil the child, is what many parents believe. According to ChildAbuse.com, 61 percent of the parents surveyed say they believe spanking is an acceptable form of discipline. Most parents who spank their children had parents who spanked them, given that spanking is an acceptable form of discipline in their family. It seems parents who themselves were spanked deny their true memory of the occasion. We learn many things from our parents that we do not utilize in our parenting, but it seems spanking is passed down from one generation to the next.

Maybe it is because we do not remember the negative feelings associated with a spanking, and trust that we must have deserved a spanking if we got one.

After all, we did turn out o.k., did we not? This is not to say, that if you spank your child or children you are a bad parent, however after what I experienced not long ago, I cannot see myself ever spanking a child again. Since my doctor’s office was closed, over the weekend I had to go the emergency room for a minor injury.

When I got there were so many people in the waiting area, I had to sit outside in the lobby.
Within a few minutes a pregnant woman, with two small children began walking back and forth to the restroom, her babies struggling to keep up with her long strides.

The woman was walking at a fast pace, more like the pace someone keeps when walking for exercise, not in the company of two small children. Her children toddled behind, the little boy keeping up better than the girl, but both were a good ways behind Mom.

The little girl was having the most trouble, although she was humming a song, and smiling at me every time they passed. Her older brother trailed closer to Mom, although I believe this was due to experience. On the last trip, the little girl's legs gave out and down she fell to the floor, followed by a wail so loud it echoed through the lobby. Some Fireman took notice and the security guard on duty put his newspaper down.

Several people including myself went toward the little girl to see how they could help. This was when the little baby suddenly threw her arms up for me to pick her up. Since I had been smiling at her when she passed, the baby thought I was there to comfort her, in spite of the fact that her Mom was right there. Then the mother grabbed her arm, yanked her around, and slapped her against the head and on the behind in front of everyone!

I will never forget the look on that little girls face while her mother disciplined her.

You could tell her heart was breaking and her feelings were hurt, as she held the look of dismay, fear, and anger in her expression. Her face turned different shades of color and the happy little baby transformed within those few minutes, from gentle and kind to angry and despondent. I could not help but wonder what she was internalizing at that moment. When she is an adult, will she remember the negative feelings associated with that spanking?

I guess this is an extreme example, however what serves as a good example for spanking? The mother at the hospital looked at me as if she had done nothing wrong, and I really think she believed it! She probably grew up in an environment where spanking in all in a days work.

When we spank our children, are we not sending confusing messages? It is confusing, we teach children not to hit their friends, or fight at school, and at the same time, we tell them that we spank them because we love them. Again, where do you draw the line?

Our children receive mixed messages everyday when it comes to violent behavior, so maybe we should be setting a better example at home.

For instance if we spank our children from babyhood on they learn to react with hostility

When confronted with negative feelings, or situations. One of my favorite poems about parent hood is Children learn what they Live, by Dorothy Law Nolte, PhD

Every time I read this poem, I understand why Dr. Nettle has a PhD in her signature.

If it is true that our children learn what they live, parents need to be mindful of how their

behavior influences their children's daily lives.

One of the hardest decisions we make as parents is deciding which form of discipline to use, and when it comes to spanking where do you draw the line?


Poem, Children Learn What They Live

Child Abuse.com

Link to Photo image- Public




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11 comments:

Diamondssaphire said...

Wow...slapping your kid in the head is not what I consider discipline. I was spanked as a child. I have only spanked my son 3 times..in an extreme situation. I think most parents are afraid of the "reproductions" if the spank their kids.

I really like this blog alot and will be one I will check quite often. Please feel free to link to me and add me to your Technorati friends. I will defiantly do the same.

writtentale said...

Wow! What a compliment! Coming from one of my favorite blogs! I did the exact same thing with my son, only in extreme situations. This post was so hard to write, because I did not want to come off like I thought people who spanked their kids were bad, but I wander where do you draw the line? I agree with you that what I saw was crossed the line, but would that parent have thought so?

Thank you so much for leaving a comment , especially on this post.

I will add you to Technorati, and to my favorite links-

Ann

Tracy said...

My parents never disciplined us (my sister and me) in public. We were always taken outside or to the bathroom or something. And the threat of that was bad enough (because we knew what was coming and the shame of other people knowing what was coming) to keep us pretty much in line. However, on those days when we didn't behave ourselves and crossed the line, my parents didn't hesitate to follow through with their promise.

In other words, I think this is something you have to use with caution, but it's not something one has to avoid completely. But that's just my opinion.

writtentale said...

Thank you, Tracy for your comment. It sounds to me like your parents acted responsibly in their choice to use spanking as a form of discipline. This post was so hard to write for fear of offending parents who do discipline their kids in a responsible manner. It is too bad there are not more parents in the world like yours. This article 's intent is to be thought provoking in this sensitive area of parenting. I disciplined my child in the same manner as your parents, but I'm not sure everyone knows where to draw the line.

I'm glad you left a comment, and value your opinion.

Ann

A Nice Place In The Sun

Christy said...

Wow, that was a fantastic post, very well written!

I was abused as a child so I have very strong opinions on not using spanking (pain) to teach children.

I've used time outs as discipline and I have four very well behaved kids.

I believe that if parents decide to use spanking to discipline their kids it should be well thought out, not a spur of the moment reflex.

I have permanent damage done to my jaw that causes chronic pain from years of being slapped. But what it did mentally was even worse.

This article was indeed thought provoking, I think it's great when issues like these are discussed openly.

Take Care! :)

writtentale said...

Christy, I think you are one of the best writers we have blogging today, so your comment is one I will truly value for some time.

I was really frightened when writing this post, and some friends and my son thought it TOO thought provoking!

However, what I saw that day at the hospital upset me so much ,plus I didn't know what do when I got home. Report it? And say what? That I saw a mother disciplining her child?

Where do you draw the line? My hats off to you for surviving such an emotional ordeal. The power of the human spirit to overcome adversity has always amazed me! However, out of adversity comes beautiful things.

Thank you for validating this post! From me and all of the children who have endured and are enduring what you went through.

I bet you have a great group of kids!

Ann

Shy Ritz said...

I was not spanked regularly in fact i can remember the times i did get spanked. I am twenty five now and I can still feel recentful about those situations I did get spanked. I don't agree with spanking kids, I came to decisions a long time ago that I would not spank my kids when I have them.

writtentale said...

Shy Ritz, I thank you so much for your comment.

This post was difficult to write, since you do not want to offend people who have made the choice to spank their children.

However, my question is where do you draw the line? Does spanking really make a difference in your child's behavior or does it make things worse? And if it doesn't work, does it cause shame, resentment, and emotional pain?

It seems in your case you already know the answer. I really respect your decision to not spank your children, and appreciate your courageous response.

John said...

When my wife was pregnant I told her I didn't believe in spanking and would not do it to my kids. I had been slapped a few times as a child but not excessively and I have no scars from it. I just thought that talking to your kids and time out etcetera was the way to go. We have twins and I found myself losing my control and spanking them in the home. I always felt bad afterward and I think I will always regret it. Some people are just better and have more patience with kids. They are 5 now and I don't spank them anymore thank god

writtentale said...

John, Wow! It sounds to me like you are a very good father. Parenting is the hardest job any of us will ever do. I used time out with my son however, I also spanked me a few times and regretted it.

It sounds to me like you have empathy for your children and that is a wonderful quality to have in a parent! They are lucky twins!

Ann

Helmet said...

I was spanked as a child, and I turned out really well. They talk about all this psychological crap, but it is just a part of life. I think this was a great blog, you should think about attending a christian writers conference. You could put on a really good workshop.

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