A question for parents who DO believe in spanking...

@miamilady (4924)
United States
March 27, 2009 8:39am CST
If you believe in spanking or other types of "corporal punishment" (as some call it), where do you draw the line? When does it stop being "discipline" and when does it start becoming abuse? How do you know you haven't crossed that "line". How far is it exceptable to go to physically discipline a child? Where to you stop? Where do you draw the line? How can you tell the difference between acceptable physical punishment and child abuse? What seperates "you", the parent who is physcially disciplining your child and "them" those who take things too far and are actually "abusing" their children? Looking forward to your comments. Just to let you know, I have physcially disciplined my own children. I'm not here to judge. I happen to ask MYSELF these questions and I'm wondering how others answer these questions for themselves. For the record, although I admit to having spanked, I don't think it's the best way to discipline a child, but I also don't judge those who do. I'm just looking for some honest answers and also hoping to make some people "think" about these questions as well.
6 people like this
22 responses
@MsTickle (25065)
• Australia
28 Mar 09
I think it's when adults have "snapped" and have become so angry that they have lost control that it becomes abuse. Hitting anywhere but on the bottom or the hand, with no force, is abuse. Yanking impatiently and forcefully at their arms or clothes is abuse. In these modern times I also think smoking in the vicinity of children is abuse, using bad language or being hateful or hurtful towards others in front of the child is abuse. Lying to kids is abuse..."if you don't come here right now, I'm leaving...bye". Letting kids stay up too late is abuse. Letting kids watch age inappropriate TV or other media is abuse. For older kids, speaking to them in a mean, nasty or judgmental way is abuse and be careful of this one because it will backfire on you real quick!
2 people like this
@chertsy (3804)
• United States
29 Mar 09
I do believe in spanking. I think when you go from your typical spanking on the rump to other parts of the body it becomes abuse. I also believe when you spank more than is needed and harder it becomes abuse. I have two kids, and with my oldest neither does the typical punishment or spankings work anymore, mainly because she's older. My youngest is just now old enough to be punished with things taken away or a spanking if it requires it. Honestly, she's 7 years old and has maybe 4 spankings here or there. She does better with me raising my voice and explaining in a calmly manner. I don't judge anyone on how they raise their kids, mainly because they are not my kids. So I don't know what is best for that child. It doesn't mean that I wish some would step up and do a better job. It's not hard to see which ones that have good parents to the ones that don't.
1 person likes this
@chertsy (3804)
• United States
1 Apr 09
As a mom and a military wife, a lot of times I'm mom and dad. It's hard a lot of times, but I wouldn't be a parent if it wasn't hard. With my oldest that's 12, she has extreme high goals for her life. At her age, I just wanted to join the Air Force, but later joined the Navy. This child wants to join the Air Force Academy, so she can later go work for NASA. I'm very proud of her, not many kids at that age even think about what they want to do after they turn 18. I agree they want to be adults, but are not just ready yet, mentally. I think a child can be raised with either the mother or the father not in their lives. It's hard, but it can be done. Oh I know I can get through it. I made it this far.
• United States
27 Mar 09
I dont "spank" either of my children never had to. Time out works for me. I have poped the hand for my youngest trying to pull stuff off the table or something like that but never left a mark or anything. I dont beleive in spanking i never was "spanked" when i was a child well i was never disciplined as a child. However my children know when they've gone to far and know when they are doing wrong. But the Time out thing works for me because they will cry and act like your killing them when they go to time out. For my children you dont have to touch them just say okay lets go to time out you need a min to think about what you done wrong and they will drop to the knees and cry to try and get out of it but dont work i usually just pick them up and take them to there room and put them in the chair and they sit there until the timer gos off and then when they get up they say Im sorry for what they did. So i dont do the spanking thing its not for me.But i do think you have crossed a line when you leave a mark on a child or your hitting them just to be hitting them.
1 person likes this
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
27 Mar 09
Timeouts worked on my daughter from the age of 1 to the age of 3. Then they stopped working. That's when I tried spanking. That didn't work. That's when I had to become more creative and start taking away privilegs, toys, etc. It's been a learning process for me.
@nanajanet (4436)
• United States
27 Mar 09
I do not believe in hitting a kid for hitting sake or out of anger. Once in a while, to get their attention in a dangerous situation, a smack on the hand or buttocks may work but I grew up where there were spankings, but not as much as some, and all it did was make me angry, not compliant. I think consequences are more effective. I raised two children who were fairly well-behaved and I never spanked them.
1 person likes this
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
27 Mar 09
You're reaction to spankings as a child are very similar to what I found my daughter's reactions to be. It just made her angry and actually MORE defiant.
@jillmalitz (5132)
• United States
27 Mar 09
When my kids were little they used to get bottom spanks. They did not like it but a few pops on the butt got my point across. As they got bigger sometimes spanking did not phase them. When they fought among themselves I made them stand in the middle of the living room and hug each other for a set period of time. Later in junior and senior high schools they had things taken away. I took their phone but left the answering machine. That drove them nuts.
1 person likes this
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
27 Mar 09
On the radio yesterday, they were talking about things that parents did when siblings were fighting... ONe person said that she was tied to her sister by the wrist with a string. They were laughing about it...I think she said, in her case, it worked. I have a friend who made his son and daughter hold hands around an oak tree? Not sure what the motivation was to keep holding hands, it was probaly either hold hands or get your butt whooped. I'm not sure how effective that one was. I feel like if I tried to force my two children together like that, they'd probably beat the tar out eachother! I'm still trying to figure out how to teach them to get along! With my daughter, taking away privileges has worked (to some degree) for a long time now. She values her cell phone and before that, she valued her computer time. When I need to see results (clean your room now!) I take her cell phone away. I resort to this less frequently as she get older.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
28 Mar 09
Yes. I think it is necessary to think about these questions. That is whether, it is necessary to discipline a child by meting out corporal punishments. We were disciplined that way. My mom esp. used to beat us quite a lot. So much so, that I had once expressed to her that I often thought whether we were her own children or or step children? For we had read several sad stories of ill-treated step children right on from Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and the like. I have had as a lesson in my Hindi textbook in school, a short story called "Binda" by Mahadevi Verma. This was a very touching story of a step child. My father had beat us(me and my sister) only ONCE. He never believed in corporal punishment, but did subscribe to the adage: Spare the rod and spoil the child. I must say the art of parenting has undergone a sea change over these years. Change in attitudes to parenting have been happening esp. in the last century. I had once only beat my son when he was just 2.5 years old for he threw a metal bolt in anger at my Dad, his grandpa, which hurt my Dad, to bleeding.Even punishing my son thus was really a very sad thing for me. Other than this incident I had never beat my children. I have a son and a daughter. Well, son is past 20, now. So, the question doesn't arise. My daughter is 10.5 years old and I don't remember, having ever beaten her. My wife pampers my children as well as, very rarely beats them - but no where near severe like my mom. We were influenced by Dr.Wayne W. Dyer about parenting. I do not as yet know how good it has been to take that psychologist's advice. The funny thing my wife herself is a practicing successful Clinical Psychologist. In sum I feel, while corporal punishment need not be there there is a need definitely for strict disciplining by meting out some kind of punishment, where denial of love or some such consideration is a must.
@CJscott (4183)
• Canada
29 Mar 09
You are right this is a very difficult question to answer. And I think it is such because what is TOO far is dependent on the situation. When my son hits me, I hit him back, the exact same way he hit me, to show him how it feels. and aside from that, I have spanked him twice so far. Once was out of total frustration, and it hurt me a lot emotionally that I had to be that much like my parents. And the other was more an attention getter, for those both times on the butt with an open hand. I got too many wooden spoons broken over myself to use anything other then my hand. And I think that if I were to leave a bruise it would be WAY over the line.
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
27 Mar 09
My kids are all grown up now. But I am a firm believer in spankings. It was reserved for very serious offenses. It was never the first thing that was done. I spanked after repeatedly talking to the kids. When they were toddlers and were stubborn about something they got a swat or two on the bottom. If they kept reaching for something they were told no about then they got their hands swatted too. When they reached about the age of eleven then the spankings stopped and grounding came into effect. I will confess that I once slapped my granddaughter ( I was raising her)when she kept ragging on her brother and refused to stop. I had no thought of hitting but suddenly my hand met her mouth. I felt so bad about it but I didn't let her know. She listened very good after that.
@sandymay48 (2031)
• Canada
27 Mar 09
Hi miamilady..I do beleive theres a difference between spanking and child abuse. Spanking as a punishment should be controlled and not done out of anger or frustration..If you can take the time to talk and tell them they are getting a spanking and explain what they did, and not repeatedly hit them, then its a controlled spanking. When a child reaches a certain age or maturity where spanking is not an option and you just smack them or if you keep hitting out of anger, then it becomes abuse.
@Arkie69 (2156)
• United States
27 Mar 09
I was whipped as a child and people now days would call it abuse but I thank my Mom for every one I got. Mom would usually use a thin switch that was limber. There is no way she would have hit us with anything that would have bruised us or broken any bones. She would set our buts on fire though and they would sting for a little while. She would always whip us through our cloths. She would not have hit our bare skin. You must inflict at least some pain or you will only make matters worse. A child must have something to reflect back on before they will even try to control their own actions. Many a time I have started to do something and I would think Mom would whip me if I did it and then I wouldn't do it. This kept me out of a lot of trouble. I spanked my girls but I was very careful to do it a certain way. The way you get a child ready for a spanking is about as important as the spanking. Tell them it hurts you to spank them and make them feel as bad as you can about it. A child must be taught it was what they did that caused the spanking. What you use to spank a child with is also very important. About as good as you can get is a plastic fly swat. It is light and stings real good but it will do no physical damage. Never use anything that you could really hurt a child with. Never spank with your hand. Your hand is much too heavy and can easily hurt a child even if you don't mean to. Never spank a child's hand or you can break a wrist. If you are going to spank then do it on the but cheeks ONLY. This time out and sending a child to their room doesn't work. Never raise your voice to a child. Make them have to listen to hear what you say especially when you are correcting them. Teaching them to hear every word you say is very important. If you don't they will naturally learn how to ignore you. It is also very important that all adult members of the household are on the same page with this. If one spanks and the other pets it doesn't work. There never was a day that I wasn't absolutely certain that my Mom loved me dearly and As I got older I knew the correction was for my good. I have seen my Mom whip one of us kids and then go in her bedroom and cry. A child must have something to reflect back on. Art
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
i believe in a butt spanking with your hand only when all else feels , but at some point thats not going to work so you have to come up with new ideas because you cant just keep spanking them if it no longer works. i dont think you should hurt your child in any way because all thats going to do is teach them to hit or hurt someone then they may listen, there is no reason ho punch, throw or any other major thing to there child,
1 person likes this
@laglen (19779)
• United States
27 Mar 09
I spanked my daughter from about 3 years old til about 8 years old. I would never do it out of anger, if I was angry, I would send her to her room until I was under control. I would do it not to hurt but to get her attention. I also popped her in the mouth for being lippy, by this, I mean a quick smack but not painful, just to get her attention. I think that when you are out to inflict pain, that hits on the abuse side. When I spanked, it was strictly on the fatty part of the butt.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
My DD is only 10 months, so we haven't gotten into the spanking phase of punishment. We have smacked her hand back from when she reached from something that she wasn't supposed to be reaching for. And you know what? She learned that the stove is hot and the dog's toy is not something she should grab for when the dog is playing with it. The dog's jaws are powerful enough to shatter my daughter's hand. In any event, I don't think that a swat or two across the butt is abuse. When you use a belt and leave a mark, then you have a problem. When you get home from work and your child runs in fear when you take off your belt, that's abuse. When your child cowers in the corner every time you get up to walk out of the room, that's abuse. Discipline alone is not abuse. It's something that more kids need. A swat on the butt or even a few swats on the butt is not abuse. It's a way to get your child's attention and make them both fear and respect you. Being fearful of you as a parent is not a bad thing either.
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
27 Mar 09
"When you get home from work and your child runs in fear when you take off your belt, that's abuse. When your child cowers in the corner every time you get up to walk out of the room, that's abuse. " Good examples! "Discipline alone is not abuse. It's something that more kids need. A swat on the butt or even a few swats on the butt is not abuse. It's a way to get your child's attention and make them both fear and respect you." Okay, I pretty much agree "Being fearful of you as a parent is not a bad thing either." I don't entirely agree on this one. I FEARED my dad (although I was only spanked once). I did NOT want my children to FEAR me. I DO want their respect, but I realize it's challenging to gain their "respect" without instilling SOME fear. I'm still working on that!
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 09
Maybe fear the parent wasn't the best way of wording it. How about fearing the consequences from the parents if they screw up? I work with juvenile delinquents and I see it all too often when I come down on them or another officer comes down on them or even the judge or a jailer. They simply lack respect for their elders and don't really care. It's those kids that need to be fearful of their elders.
@Darkwing (21588)
27 Mar 09
I never went any further than one slap on the back of the calf, or on the back of the hand of my kids. I just don't believe in repeatedly smacking them on the bottom, beside the head, or anywhere that might damage them. A stern talking-to or something they like to play with being taken away for a period of time, has always been enough for my kids to understand that I'm serious. They seem to have grown quite well from a little bit of discipline anyway, and are caring, loving men with their own, well-disciplined families, now. Brightest Blessings.
@Darkwing (21588)
28 Mar 09
Wow... that's disgraceful, my friend. You're not going to learn about life in general from that sort of treatment. It makes me cringe to think that parents can vent their anger in this way, on defenceless kids. I'd like to horsewhip and kick them back but that gets us nowhere. The strangest thing is, I've come across a lot of people who were abused badly, in different ways, when they were kids, and you know what? They all grew up to be the kindest, most caring people I've ever had the pleasure to meet! It makes me so sad to think what they went through when young. I abhor violence in any size or form, especially when it's kids at the other end of it.
@winterose (39914)
• Canada
27 Mar 09
well it is not a question here in quebec, it is forbidden by law to spank a child, if social workers find out about it you can have your children taken away from you. My son is 32 I used to spank him on his bottom with my hand never a strap or anything like that.
• Canada
27 Mar 09
It was illegal here in nova scotia too for quite a while..Even teachers are taught what to look for and I think it got out of hand. It is now ok once again to spank a child up til a certain age. How are parents supposed to learn to be "good" parents if the rules keep changing? Im glad my kids are all grown. They got spankings, not beatings and they are all fine.
@DavidReedy (2411)
• United States
13 Apr 09
Very interesting discussion. I look forward to some answers. I'm not a parent, so perhaps not qualified to answer/give an opinion in this area. I am a student of psychology, and do look forward one day to being a father. I'm also the first to admit that I can only shrug my shoulders--I'm just not sure where I stand exactly. In an ideal world, there'd be no hitting/smacking/spanking, on the other hand we've all heard "spare the rod, spoil the child" and i think we're seeing a lot of that reflected in our world today. There's never an excuse for outright abuse, but you ask the most poignant and fantastic question when you ask just where is the line between punishment and abuse? Great post. It's a given that human beings learn on a reward and punishment continuum, we, for better or for worse, need both to better steer us on our path and teach us consequence for our actions.
@cjsmom (1423)
• United States
31 Mar 09
I personally don't like to spank but I have done it in the past. The only times I've spanked my kids was when they were in imminent physical danger or have gotten completely out of control with their behavior. I first explain, if I can, that they will be spanked if they don't stop and why; if they're going to be hurt by what they are doing I will tell them, but if they don't I will spank them before it gets to that point. Then I will explain why I had to spank them. Usually it works if they like to do sommething; I will take it away and explain why and when they can have it back. I remember my mom spanking us kids and I didn't like it at all. She would get brutal though, with extension cords, hairbrushes and metal hangers. We were in fear of her and did our best not to do anything wrong. You want your children to love and respect you, not fear you.
@paula27661 (15898)
• Australia
29 Mar 09
My daughter is seven years old and I recall smacking her on the leg twice since she was born. Both times I smacked her, not only did I feel horrible but if I remember correctly that method did not work. I have not smacked my daughter since and I found other methods more effective. I fear hitting a child in anger and to cause physical pain to the little person you love the most does not sit right with me.
@savypat (20245)
• United States
27 Mar 09
As a child I had a very abusive parent, she was hardly ever physical but emotionally and verbally she was terrible, punishment went on for weeks and made me swear that I would never hold on to anger that way. A few good pops on their bottoms and some time off then that was the end of it. My children were never made to feel that anything they did today would be held over them for weeks. But they were taught that all things we do have consequences and to take responsibility for themselves. I have never asked them how they felt about the way we enforced the rules. But they all raised their kids in a similar way.
• United States
27 Mar 09
Ok I don't spank, haven't in years probably only done it a dozen times between my 3 kids, and they are 9, 8 and 6. But I do think there is something to be said for the generation where mom would say wait till your father gets home and dad would come home grab the belt and give you a whack. Kids were certainly better behaved and more respectful then than they are now, and because it was after the fact there was no anger, obviously this works better with older kids who know why they are getting spanked, but anyways. A firm tap on the hand or the bottom isn't abuse, it might not be the most effective way to punish but that depends on the child and each child is different. On the other hand I am a finger tapper, when small children touch things they shouldn't because at that age it seems that they need something to go along with the "no" to actually get the message.