Some questions about spanking/slapping etc. your children...

@miamilady (4924)
United States
March 24, 2008 5:18pm CST
I know this is one of those topics that people feel stongly about...and they should! What we do or don't do with our children are the most important decissions that we make in life. I personally am not pro or anti spanking. I'm not thrilled with the idea of parent spanking their children (especially not often) but I wouldn't go as far as to say that spanking a child is abusive. The fact is, some kids really are harder to parent than others. Also, there are many forms of discipline. What is right for one family may not be right for another. My question, for those who do believe in spanking or using other physical forms of discipline is this... How far, is too far? At what point, in your opinion, does physical discipline become abuse? Is it anything beyond spanking? Is a slap across the face okay? A cool old fashioned whoopin'? What if you've tried all these methods and your child STILL misbehaves? Then what? At what point do you think there is nothing more that you can do to "teach" your child right from wrong, or obedience? Just so nobody thinks I'm setting them up or being judgemental, I'll answer the question myself. In my case. I did spank my daugther when she was little. Sometimes I did it when I was angry (many books say it's okay to spank, but not in anger? yeah whatever). Well, in my experience...it didn't help her to behave better. She actually became an angrier child. She became more hostile. The more I spanked her, the more she challenged me. So...I stopped. In my case, it truly didn't help. If I had gone any futher, in my opininion it would have crossed the line to abuse. I chose not to go there. Are my children perfectly behaved? Heck no! They make me nuts on a regular basis! Would they be better if I gave them a good whoopin' when they got out of line? I truly THINK NOT. As I said, I tried it. It did not work for me! On the other hand...My dad only had to spank me ONE time in my life! after that I didn't talk back to him again until I was about 17 years old, and then the circumstances were extreme. To this day, I still am very hesitant to disagree with him and when I do, I am very gentle about how I say things. Was it good that he spanked me that way, since it taught me to obey? I'm not sure...it also caused me to FEAR him. Sure I respected him, but I feared him more. That isn't necessarily a good thing for a child to feel about his or her parent. Is it? I knew when I became a parent that I didn't want my children to fear me. For a while, when they were younger, there were times, when things got wild, that I though FEAR might NOT be such a bad thing if it would cause them to JUST DO WHAT THEIR TOLD. But, that was not a lasting thought for me. That was just a desperate mom wanting her kids to behave. The truth is, if my choice is between having my children fear me or having them challenge me. I'd rather deal with having them challenge me. I want my kids to think for themselves. I want them not to be afraid to speak up. I certainly don't want them to be afraid to speak their minds. Would I prefer that they NOT fear me AND they know when to do what they're told and the right time to voice their opinion? Of course! But, the fact is, nobody is born perfect and nobody always knows when to speak up and when to remain silent. It's a learning process. I could go on, but I think I've made this post MORE than long enough! Til next time!
8 people like this
29 responses
@Rozie37 (15505)
• Turkmenistan
24 Mar 08
I feel that there are times when a child needs to be spanked. I think that the parent should not spank them in anger, that is how it turns to abuse. Communicating with the child is as vital as in any other relationship. I do not feel that a child should ever be slapped in the face. Love hast to be balanced with the discipline.
5 people like this
@inked4life (4228)
• United States
25 Mar 08
I'm kinda on the fence with this issue to be honest. I was spanked as a kid and it had zero adverse effect on me or my siblings. As a parent I have chosen not to go that route, not necessarily because I believe it's a bad thing, simply because I would rather handle any issues by talking things out and trying to remain calm. I have seen kids who are completely out of control that boss around their parents and rule the roost...at somepoint you have to take control as a parent and if that means a spanking (nothing too over the top) then so be it.
4 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 08
My story exactly... I too as a child was spanked, well more than spanked sometimes when my mom was in real anger she used coffee cords on us and let me tell ya they hurt like you wouldn't believe.. Until one day my mom tried it again.. And than my oldest sister went to school and told a teacher... We were being spanked/abused... She was told that one more time that it happened we were taken away from her and she would never see us again... Now with me being a mom and knowing how it really feels to be spanked and abuse I down right refuse to hit my child.. I've had aunts and uncles say he deserves to be spanked for that.. Truth I'd say go spank your own kids.. OF course I will put my son in time out but i will NEVER hit my child no matter what.. The last thing I ever want to see when I do get older is him spanking his own children before me... Because yes I would freak out.. I do when my sister spanks her.. I always ask her what is he learning... Nothing because the fact spanking and abuse is ok... That's just my oppion....
• United States
24 Mar 08
I think spanking and other forms of physical punishment are a matter of discretion. Also probably a matter of trial and error as well...for what works in some cases does not work in others. I think physical punishment should be just enough to bruise the ego but not enough to bruise the skin. Parent and child punishment should remain between a parent and a child, I am not overly fond of this new thing where kids can claim abuse if they have been punished. I don't think any outside party has the right to interfere in the way a person chooses to rear their child. Granted there are cases of abuse, but not every complaint should be treated as abuse. Parents are basically in the damned if they do and damned if they don't situation now. If they try to punish they are abusive and if they try other methods they are lazy parents. So let these judgemental people come up with a way to discipline kids that works without being abusive. I think it is up to the parent how they choose to discipline. The parents should be supported in their decision by all concerned parties or whatever method they use will be a waste of time.
4 people like this
• Philippines
6 May 08
I agree with you. My parents spanked me as well as a kid but not really "often"... I remember, I got the taste of my mom's hand on my butt when I went outside without permission... My parents got so worried and start looking for me.. They saw me with a neigbhor kid so there, I got my spanked in the butt. A lesson learned... to always ask permission where you're going...
1 person likes this
@carmelanirel (21108)
• United States
25 Mar 08
I spank my children, but only when I could not communicate what needed to be corrected, either in they didn't understand, (they were too young) or they wouldn't, (they were rebellious) The spankings were not done in anger, but was 1-2 swats on the fat of their bottom and then they got a talking to about why they got spanked..I always told them why I did this, and they understood.. My son is going to be 6 in May and I can't remember the last time I spanked him, because when done correctly and not abusive and followed up with instructions as to why, i don't have to spank him..I just tell him and if he starts talking back, he now goes to the corner which is enough..
@Debs_place (10551)
• United States
24 Mar 08
I spanked my son a number of times, one particularly stands out. He was just over 3 years old. We had just bought a house and were cleaning the inside. My (now) ex- calls me and says 'Your son is outside walking down the street'. I went out and got him and explained to him that he could not do that, it was dangerous. About 15 minutes later, the same thing happened. I gave him a good lecture and put him in time out. About 15 minutes later - out the door he went for the 3rd time. I had had it, I spanked his butt, my hand throbbed. He looked at me and said 'I am not going to cry and I am not going to let it hurt'. He did not cry, he also did not leave the house again without permission for at least 7 years. (shades of things to come) What he was doing had the potential to be very dangerous - spanking did get through to him. He got spanked when he was placing himself in dangerous situations. He now laughs about it.
• United States
25 Mar 08
I believe in spanking. Granted I haven't spanked my children in several years, but that's because I haven't had to. As far as your question about when is it too much or when do you know it's no longer discipline and now it's abuse. Do my children fear me? I wouldn't say that they do, but they know enough not to cross the line. My kids are well behaved and do as they are told. Sometimes they have to be told twice, but not often. I also have a very open relationship with my kids. They know they can tell me anything and can talk to me about anything that may be bothering them. You are right, not all disciplines work the same for everyone. And everyone needs to find what works for them. My parents spanked me. The only difference is when my parents spanked me there was no talking about what I did wrong. Before my kids get spanked I talk to them about what they did wrong and why it was wrong. With my oldest daughter who is now almost fifteen years old, grounding and taking everything away for a period of time is more effective. Granted, spanking will work the same, but I feel she is getting to the age where spanking isn't the right form of discipline anymore.
3 people like this
@emarie (5455)
• United States
25 Mar 08
Honestly I agree with you totally! I will not say I never spanked my children because I have. and most of those times are mostly light taps. people do have to understand, spanking should be a LAST RESORT in discipline and not the first thing that comes to mind. children are different and are affected in different ways. so what will work for one child will not work for another. my history of spanking, i never directly got spanked but the fear was there. my parents had a paddle and my mother went as far as threating my sisters with a hanger. i head and saw it all, by the time it got to me i was old enough to scream abuse if they used anything more then their hand..and i was even terrified of that.
3 people like this
@karma118 (294)
• United States
25 Mar 08
I've tried time outs, spankings, taking toys away, grounding, etc. Nothing really works for either of my children. I've come to the conclusion the spankins made them more hostile, like yours. I've also learned taking their toys away only made them so mad they would wreck the place. If I confined them to any certain area, that particular area would be destroyed. Time outs seem to help... after an elongated period of time when they finally wear themselves out and say sorry. They don't mean it when they say it, but at least they say it. I'm glad I'm not the only one with these issues.
3 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 08
I do agree with you that what works for one family may not work for another. All children are different. I think I may have spanked my daugher (who is now 34) a total of 2 or 3 times. And by spanking I mean a pop, maybe 2 on the rear! Slapping children in the face is a big no-no. I have to confess, though, that when my daughter was a teen, she jumped up in my face and said some pretty horrible things to me, screaming at the top of her lungs...and I slapped her in the face. It was just an automatic thing...I didn't think about it first. Right after I slapped her, I went to my room and cried! lol I always tried to explain everything to my daughter. I told her why she couldn't do something or why I didn't want her to do it. She was always really good about it. Of course, as she got older, the talks got longer. Once, when she was about 11, she said, "Can I just get a spanking like everyone else?" lol Ok, I am mean, and when she said that I talked twice as long! lol My mother spanked me maybe twice. My Dad was a different story. I got spankings with hands, belts and hickory switches! I hated it. I remember he used to spank me until I stopped crying. So I didn't cry once, thinking he wouldn't really spank me much. Not true. He got really mad and was "going to spank me until I cried." He really had a problem with that. And he was rarely ever spanked as a child, so who knows where it came from? Anyway, talking to (and not at) my child is the way I always chose to punish. It worked. She's grown, a wonderful person and a lovely daughter. I couldn't ask for more.
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
7 May 08
You said some really good things that I agree with in your post. My son, for example, is very difficult to parent. He does not respond to having toys taken away or being yelled at or being put in time out. Sometimes I do have to spank him, but I always warn him first to give him the chance to correct his behavior. I think that is only fair. I think a lot of parents just spank their kids without telling them what they did wrong or even informing the kid that they are doing something wrong. You tried spanking and it didn't work. It's smart of you to realize that you might have taken it too far one day. I think child abuse begins when spankings leave the buttock or thigh area or if they are excessively hard or in great numbers. Also, I think spanking with objects is wrong. My dad used to spank me with a thick leather belt when I was a toddler. It was not fun. The reason that there are no laws written out regarding spanking is the same reason that abortion has not be made illegal in the US. It's strictly a matter of opinion...and not really anybody else's business. There is a fine line between respect and fear. I was terrified of my father, absolutely terrified, but that was because his temper could change at a moment's notice and I could be in for a real beating. He used to slap me across the face and I don't think that a parent should do that. Some parents will kick or hit their kids in the abdomen and I think that should be considered abusive because it could do real harm to the child. For me, a spank on the thigh lets my son know that I'm serious and he stops what he was doing that was wrong. Spanking works with him, where other methods of discipline did not work. I completely believe that not all children are the same, so no one form of discipline will be equally effective for all children.
• United States
9 May 08
Fast forward. There are now in existence, and on the books, anti-spanking laws.
1 person likes this
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
9 May 08
There may be some laws against spanking, but if you don't spank your child in public who is going to know about it? DHS or CPS can not take any measures unless there are visible signs of abuse (bruises or cuts) on a child's body that might indicate that they are being abused by their parents. A spanking is not going to leave any kind of mark behind. If it is leaving a bruise behind, then I would say that the parent is definitely spanking too hard and should be considered as abuse. What is the government going to do to enforce these laws, assign a government official "nanny" to every household to make sure that parents are not spanking their kids?
1 person likes this
@DavidReedy (2411)
• United States
5 May 08
Interesting post. As far as the questions go that you've raised--let me know when you know the truth of those matters, will ya? There's an old adage, both biblical and Shakespeare, I think: "spare the rod, spoil the child"... And as a student of both spirituality and psychology I'm all about Love, positive reinforcement, etc... But, children do need to learn to expect autority, or those disrespectful kids will grow-up into punk pukes. So, where's the line in the middle exactly? You got me. Let me know, when you know. dr...
1 person likes this
@phoenix25 (1543)
• United States
7 May 08
I agree with you David. I don't like to hurt others, either, but there is a time and a place. My aunt raised her kids without spanking them. She would send them to time out and them tell them to "have a happy heart". I swear I'm not making this up. Fast forward about 14 years. Her kids are totally screwed up now and the brattiest brood of monsters that I have ever seen. Obviously, "have a happy heart" doesn't really work...or at least didn't work for her kids.
2 people like this
25 Mar 08
Right this topic will have many different oppionions but my personal view on the subject is, I do not think there is anything wrong with smaking a child - that said it should only be a smack ( anything that leaves a mark in my oppinion is more than a smack) That said i have found that smaking my children doesnt work i have tried the method and it did nothing but make my children scared and that is something i didnt want, I never hurt them but they didnt like it and neither did i. I use other diciplin methods now, but for some families smacking works and as long as it is not more than a smack i dont see a problem with it.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (146314)
• Garden Grove, California
25 Mar 08
the problem is a lot of parents do not stop with a smack they get angrier and angrier and it becomes a beating. if it stopped with one smack that might be okay once in awhile but most people do not stop with one. it becomes a power play and the kid always loses and he becomes the wife beater because he is taught that power gets you anything you want.
@twoey68 (13662)
• United States
23 May 08
I used to think that spanking a kid was the only way to make them mind. I found out when Hubby and I were foster parents that there are other ways. Corner time, grounding, taking away privledges, sentences, all kinds of things. When we first started out we got a little 5 year old girl who didn't like to be told what to do and wouldn't listen anyways. When we got her and she misbehaved the first time, I told her "In this house we have rules, you have to follow them just like everybody else, if you don't you'll go to the corner until you do". For the first week she spent so much time in the corner I think she just about lived there. My Mom came by and told me that I wasn't teaching her anything I told her she was wrong I was teaching her that she was either going to mind me or have very strong little legs. After that first week she figured it out. I got compliments all the time on how well behaved she was and what a changed child she was. We had several kids like that and they all got used to the rules and learned to follow them. I think the biggest thing is to be consistant...you can't punish them one time and then not the next...all that does is confuse them. BTW, I love the line about not hitting a child when your angry, when are you supposed to do it...when your kissing them as they head off to school? **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Mar 08
I don't think a child should be slapped and only spanked if all other routes have been tried. I think and this is only my opinion that when we spank or slap our children we send double signals to them. They are told on a constant basis not to hit or slap. Then we turn around and slap or spank them. I think it is confusing for the children because they are being told one thing and then another thing is being done to them. I also feel very strongly about a child being slapped in the face. As my Mom said that is what the but is for. So that being said I want to say again that this is only my opinion.
1 person likes this
@cadri4n (45)
• United States
25 Mar 08
Wow! You need to be my friend. I feel the exact way! I have a pre-schooler who isn't always esay to handle. It is hard to hit a little one for 'their own good' instead of anger. But you're right, truth is the more angry I get the more I want to throw him accross the room( ok so I'm exagerating) I have done like you, and hit him, spank him but every time I did it, the more he grew angry and distant with me. It was like he held this grudge against me. And I of course had all these feelings of guilt because I saw how hurt he was. In the end, why I hit him wasn't even important and the lesson I was trying to teach him wasn't taught correctly. Again you are right about the fear. I don't want my child to fear me I just want him to respect me. We impose all these values on our children and we are their very first teachers. So.. our biggest rule is do on to others what they do on to you. That being said, wouldn't our child feel like if he gets hit than he can hit as well? Spanking to me absolutely didn't work. My son has been taught since he was very very little what is wrong and right and I hope I can keep imposing those values until he's a grown adult. I just wish more people saw things the way me and you do. Awesome question and awesome response. Thanks!
@winterose (39913)
• Canada
25 Mar 08
according to quebec law where I live, spanking is abuse and a reason to have your children taking away from you. So we as queberers just don't do it, we have to find other means, a slap in the face is also abuse and demeans the child making them feel very little, just think if somebody slapped you in the face how would you feel, so social workers would be on your case in a second if you did it here in quebec, time outs and withholding privileges is what is accepted here. I too grew up in an era when spanking was acceptable, physical punishment is no longer accepted in canada and the united states.
1 person likes this
@jillmalitz (5132)
• United States
25 Mar 08
When my kids were little (diaper-little) I used to give them a swat on the butt. As they got older depending on what they did I spanked with my hand on the butt. Hurt me more than them. When they were 10 to 12 or 13 I would occasionaly swat with an old folded up bet (no buckle on it). It usually got their attention- they were very daring. Or sometimes when they fought with each other, I made them stand in the middle of the room and hug. Boy did they hate that! Sending them to their rooms worked only to get them out of my hair. As a teen my younger daughter still talks about how I took away the phone she had in her room, but left the answering machine! She heard all her friends calls and couldn't talk.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Mar 08
Great discussion! I have been spanked as a child...and I remember every single time...and I know I never repeated that mistake...and I don't see anything wrong in it. BUt there is a difference....between my father's spanking and my mother's. After I became a parent I realized the difference. My father would spank as a punishment after repeatedly warning me...and it worked...I respect him...and I'm close to him and I'm able to talk to him about anything...as long as it's done in a mature way. My mother would spank me when SHE was angry and I was just getting on her nerves (my hormones, her hormones...whatever). After a point, I just learnt to ignore my mother's spankings and didn't bother to even think about it when she did it as punishment. I just rebelled a little more when it came to her. So, did spanking work when my dad did it? YES! Did spanking work when my mom did it? NO! I hope you can see the difference....my dad did it to prove a point...but my mom would take out her frustrations on me. Now that I have 2 kids of my own, I'm not going to say I never spank. My younger one is too young to be spanked...but he might get a light tap sometimes just to show him what's not to be touched. My older son was a sweet and easy child and I really didn't need to spank him till he was 5 when he was influenced by friends at school and no amount of time outs and talking was helping. But it would just be one spank after he crossed the limits. Last year, I found myself spanking my son when I was angry (something I swore never to do)...but I didn't realize it till he started rebelling...and then I saw myself as a teenager with my mom! and I was like 'Oh!my Gosh!...what am I doing?' I've made a conscious effort to stop what I was doing and undo all the wrong....I know it's a slow process and it actually undid all the good work that I initially did. And like you said, it's a learning process.
• India
25 Mar 08
Sandhya, somehow I don’t know why, but I seem to relate to almost everything you ever write here. Just now in my response to Miamilady, I said the same thing about my mom taking out her frustrations on me more than trying to discipline me. and the same thing about how my son is rebelling and how I am scared to spank him. Even I have stopped spanking him, would that really help in the long run? Will I ever get back my sweet angel for whom mom’s every request was like a command? PS: I think all moms are same coz they spend the max time with a child and looking after a child 24x7 is a very very daunting, tiring, frustrating, thankless job. Fathers interact with children for only a certain time in the whole day, so they have a more balanced view of a child’s behaviour. Its more difficult for us moms to keep our cool and evaluate situations neutrally. Also, since a child interacts with the mother continuously, it become accustomed to the mother and loses that sense of fear and awe that it has for the father.
@Hatley (146314)
• Garden Grove, California
24 May 08
the only thing spanking does is cause a child to learn that it is okay to get angry and hit someone. he then beats his kids and his wife. is this what you want, of course not. time outs, sitting in the corner, privileges taken away, grounding, these are humane and they do work. Physical abuse is still physical abuse.there must be respect between kids and parents and parents and kids.you respect your child she will respect you. you do not, you will not be respected simple as that.
@MsEddie86 (236)
• United States
25 Mar 08
I do believe in spankin my daughter but not for any reason, she has to either talk back and then its jus a little pop on her leg, but i really dont have to spank her shes afraid of the belt right now so me jus sayin where is my belt she straightens right up, and yes i believe it is enough and of course she is going to misbehave more and more but i jus take away some things she likes like her disney movies she likes to watch after school and snack time and things of that nature. i hardly have to discipline her because at this moment she listens to me but i'm ready for her when she gets older because i knw how i was as a child, i had a smart mouth and i was a bit rebellious on some things and i know i'm gonna get major payback for what i did to my mom. but she does speak her mind and things but its a form of respect that she knows she must have when doing it. i think thats the only reason some adults call children rude is because they dont know what tones to use when talking to certain people thats all. but yes you are right no one is perfect and kids are goin to behave till they cant behave anymore and once there little light bulbs come one and let them know its time to grow up they'll stop being disobediant and things of that nature and thats when we will see that the spankings and things we taught them when they were younger not to do will show , and it will show how they utilizing the information we gave them too. i could go on myself but my fingers are starting to cramp so i look forward to ur comment back