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David Baxter

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Spanking: When parents lift their hands
February 19, 2007
By Ben Harder, Los Angeles Times

It's better not to use corporal punishment, researchers agree. But, in fact, people do. Now we're learning the consequences.

WHEN Murray Straus was raising his children in the 1950s and '60s, spanking was de rigueur in the American household. The Straus residence was no exception, with the father of two occasionally reacting to their misbehavior with a swat to the bottom.

But times have changed, and so has Straus' perception of spanking.

"If I knew then what I know now, I would not have spanked them at all," he says. "My research has convinced me that there should be no hitting ? never, under any circumstances."

Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, has long advocated doing away with spanking. And many psychologists and pediatricians also now say that parents should never strike a child. Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) has even promised to introduce a bill in the California Legislature that would make it illegal to hit those younger than 4.

Frequent and impulsive spanking is clearly detrimental, researchers agree. Other kinds of physical punishment, including hitting children with objects, are harmful as well. "Corporal punishment has really serious side effects," says Alan Kazdin, a professor of psychology at Yale University and president-elect of the American Psychological Assn. "Children who are hit become more aggressive."

Yet the mildest forms of spanking have not been proved harmful. "A family that hits once in a while? The research is equivocal about that," Kazdin says.

What the research does show is that spanking is generally no more effective than nonphysical disciplinary techniques in instilling acceptable behavior, that its effects vary from culture to culture and that a greater frequency of spanking increases the risk of negative consequences.

Although some researchers say it can play an occasional role in supporting more lenient forms of discipline, Kazdin argues that spanking should be avoided even if it is harmless.

"It suppresses [misbehavior] momentarily. But you haven't really changed its probability of occurring," Kazdin says. "Physical punishment is not needed to change behavior. It's just not needed."

Reasons not to spank
Spanking can escalate toward physical abuse, potentially injuring the child, and can contribute to later emotional and behavioral problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's also less effective than alternative disciplinary tactics, and it's a hard habit to break, the organization says. Studies have shown that people who were spanked as kids tend to spank as parents, perpetuating the cycle.

During the last decade, a raft of studies showed that kids who get spanked are more likely than their peers to display behavioral and emotional problems later in life. The more frequently they're spanked, the more harmful the consequences tend to be.

In a 1997 study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, for example, Straus and two colleagues found that 6- to 9-year-olds whose mothers spanked them at least weekly were more likely, two years later, to behave antisocially than were kids whose moms didn't spank.

The researchers interviewed more than 800 mothers and asked how often their kids did antisocial things such as cheat, lie, bully, deliberately break objects or act disobediently at school. Taking into account the degree of antisocial behavior that each mother said her child displayed at the beginning of the study, Straus' team concluded that spanking probably contributed to increases in bad behavior seen during the study.

Nevertheless, Straus notes, a "lucky majority" of kids who get spanked suffer no discernible harm.

Another 1997 study also linked spanking to subsequent antisocial behavior, and it additionally found that children who were spanked at the beginning of the five-year study were more likely to be getting into fights at school by the end of the study. (An exception was African American kids, who were less likely to fight if they'd been spanked than if they hadn't. More on that in a bit.)

Since then, other studies that have tracked kids over time have linked corporal punishment to higher rates of children later assaulting their parents and higher rates of boys assaulting their girlfriends years after they themselves were smacked.

Spanking "gives the message that force is a justifiable method of solving conflicts," says Daphne Bugental, a psychologist at UC Santa Barbara. "The child is learning a lesson: If you run into a conflict, use power, use force."

Adds Shari Barkin, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville: "It teaches children that when you're angry, you should hit people." Spanking also appears to have a detrimental effect on the brain. In 1999, Straus found after a two-year study that 2- to 9-year-olds who were spanked developed less rapidly, judging from cognitive tests, than other children.

In a 2003 study, Bugental and her colleagues delved deeper, examining the effect of corporal punishment on brain chemistry in infants younger than 1.

Those who were spanked frequently, they found, showed exaggerated spikes in the stress hormone cortisol when they were subjected to a novel situation, such as being in the presence of a stranger after their mother had left the room.

"They were very easily frightened," Bugental says. "They tend to be more afraid of things generally."

By contrast, she says, "in the children who had not been spanked, there was hardly a blip" in cortisol. Researchers haven't yet determined whether spanking has similar hormonal effects on older kids.

Cortisol imbalances could potentially lead to impaired coping abilities, social and emotional problems and cognitive deficits, Bugental says.

In support of spanking
Spanking has its supporters, of course. A couple of swats to a child's behind has a well-deserved place in discipline when milder tactics fail, says Robert Larzelere, an Oklahoma State University psychologist who has been researching corporal punishment for more than a quarter of a century. Larzelere describes that circumscribed use of corporal punishment as "conditional spanking."

"It's better, wherever possible, to offer verbal correction and explanation," he says. "But then back that up, first with nonphysical consequences, and then, if the child acts defiantly, with conditional spanking."

For example, he says, if a child refuses to sit in a chair during a timeout, then a light spanking would emphasize the need to cooperate with that form of discipline.

"If it's used as a backup for the timeout, then the next time, the child is more likely to cooperate with the timeout procedure," Larzelere says. Parents "can then phase out the spanking.

"I think it's a minority of spanking that fits this conditional definition," he adds. "For [all] the usual ways that parents use spanking ? combining the good, the bad and the ugly ? its outcomes are neither better nor worse than any alternative."

The effects of spanking may depend not only on how and when it's meted out but also on the cultural context.

In a study published in Child Development in 2005, researchers at Duke University interviewed 336 pairs of mothers and children in six countries in Asia, Africa and Europe about discipline and behavior. They found that physical discipline seemed to have a stronger negative effect on children in countries where it was not the norm than in countries where it was practiced widely. Several other studies, including the 1997 one that found differences between African Americans and whites, suggest that cultural differences also influence the effect of spanking in the U.S.

"Spanking may be detrimental in some families but not in others," says Eric Slade, a social scientist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

In 2004, he and Lawrence Wissow, a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, found that white children who were spanked before the age of 2 were twice as likely as other white kids to have behavioral problems in school.

But spanking didn't appear to lead to misbehavior in African American or Hispanic children, the researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics. "In minority cultural contexts, spanking could be more the norm and consequently less commonly perceived [by the child] as being harsh or unfair," Slade says. As long as spanking isn't perceived as unfair, he adds, "it could have a positive and constructive effect ? and establish what the limits are on misbehavior."

Too often, researchers lump all kinds of spanking or even all forms of corporal punishment together, Larzelere says. Whenever an analysis links "spanking" to detrimental effects, he says, "conclusions are inappropriately made about even the mildest form of spanking."

But because researchers harbor ethical reservations about asking or even knowingly permitting parents to spank their children, few experiments have been conducted in which parents were given explicit instructions about how to use spanking to maintain discipline. "There will never be the gold-standard study," says Michael Regalado, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

And researchers disagree in their interpretations of the few such experimental studies to date, which clinical psychologist Mark Roberts and his colleagues at Idaho State University conducted during the 1980s.

In dealing with a few dozen rebellious children ages 2 to 6 ? whose out-of-control behavior had driven their parents to seek professional assistance ? the researchers asked some parents to spank kids who refused to stay on a timeout chair and taught others to briefly confine noncompliant children to their rooms.

In several such experiments, each approach worked about as well as the other, and both worked better than alternatives such as physically restraining the child in the chair.

Although spanking increased compliance with timeouts in those experiments, Roberts adds, it was accompanied by more crying.

"Since spanking demonstrates aggressive behavior to children, I recommend sending children to their rooms instead of spanking them," Roberts says.

Straus infers: "It didn't work any better, and it had an emotional cost."

Larzelere offers the opposite perspective. Spanking, he says, was one of the "best ways to enforce cooperation with the timeout. Even these very difficult children learned to cooperate."

Decline in popularity
Even without a law in effect, the popularity of spanking has fallen considerably in recent decades, at least among parents of school-age children.

"In 1975, we found that two-thirds of parents were hitting 13-year-olds" at least once a year, says Straus, who along with his colleagues has conducted a series of parent surveys. By 1995, that fraction had fallen to one-third. Moreover, in 1999, 52% of parents believed corporal punishment is sometimes necessary, compared with 94% in 1968.

Last month, in Clinical Pediatrics, Vanderbilt's Barkin published survey results detailing about 2,100 parents' disciplinary practices with 2- to 11-year-olds. Parents today, she found, more often reported using enforced timeouts or removing kids' privileges than they did spanking.

However, Straus says the prevalence of spanking among 2- to 4-year-olds has remained basically unchanged. As of 1995, 94% of them had been spanked at least once in their lives, according to surveyed parents. Children in that age range and younger would be covered by the proposed California ban.

But even opponents of spanking have reservations about the proposed bill. Criminalizing spanking could make it more difficult to root out corporal punishment, they say, because the threat of the law could dissuade parents from seeking help to change their disciplinary habits.

"It may drive [spanking] underground, and it definitely won't address the issues that parents need addressed to avoid spanking," Regalado says. "The bill should be framed to help parents who'd like help with their discipline practices."

Parent training programs were expanded in Sweden after that country banned corporal punishment in 1979, and in some other European countries that followed Sweden's lead. "I'd like to see legislation in California and everywhere modeled on Sweden's," Straus says.

"I'm not in favor of a law with criminal penalties," he says. The proposed California law "would do the very thing it wants parents not to do ? use harsh punishment to correct misbehavior."

As for maintaining discipline among Straus' progeny, no law is needed. His past use of spanking hasn't left his grown children with any apparent psychological wounds, he says, and neither of them spanks their own children. "They are among the lucky ones who have escaped the harmful effects," he says.

"If you do it rarely, the probability of harmful side effects is low," he says. But, he contends, the possibility of harm from spanking "is never absent. Since other methods of correction and control work just as well, why put that child through even that small risk?"

Verbal attacks can be more hurtful than physical ones
Most experts warn parents against not only spanking but also yelling at or disparaging children.

Although targeted verbal reprimands may be effective in immediately halting or reducing undesirable behaviors, frequent and indiscriminate reprimands become ineffective and reinforce undesired behavior, they say. Attacking a child's character is particularly counterproductive.

Research on the subject is limited compared with that on corporal punishment, Robert Larzelere of Oklahoma State says, but verbal hostility may actually lead to more detrimental consequences for the child than does even physical abuse.

A study seven years ago on post-traumatic stress disorder found that victims tended to have childhood memories of being often put down or ridiculed. As potentially harmful influences go, such verbal attacks ranked roughly on par with memories of being pushed and shoved, although lower than a history of sex abuse.

In an earlier study of more than 3,000 parents and their children younger than 18, Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire and his collaborators linked both verbal and physical aggression by parents to aggressive behavior, delinquency and interpersonal problems in the kids. The psychological abuse, in fact, was the more harmful of the two.

The only difference, Straus says, is that verbally attacked kids tend to lash out at others with words, while kids subjected to corporal punishment use physical hostility. Those connections applied to both boys and girls, regardless of age.

Researchers led by Michael Regalado of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. found in a 2004 analysis of survey data that 67% of some 2,000 parents reported yelling "sometimes" or "often" at children age 19 to 35 months. An additional 24% admitted to yelling at least "rarely." Only 26% of the parents said they spanked kids sometimes or often.

"More than a third of families feel like they're ineffective with discipline tactics," says Vanderbilt pediatrician Shari Barkin. Yelling, like spanking, is often a symptom of the resulting frustration, she says. "The yellers, they're the ones who feel most ineffective. They lost control."
 

abbiegrrl

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I'm no professional, but it seems that there are many other significant factors that were not addressed. It seems to be of importance that this statement was made...
"As long as spanking isn't perceived as unfair, he adds, it could have a positive and constructive effect ? and establish what the limits are on misbehavior."

I suspect that a large part of the reason for the kids turning out to be dysfunctional, may be more about the context in which they were being spanked, and the consistency and self-control being used by the parents, period.

The information used in the reference materials was taken from a couple of decades ago, if I read correctly. At that time, in the 80's, parents were busily working on getting "things" for their kids, and not so much spending what the kids really wanted and needed: time.

"physical discipline seemed to have a stronger negative effect on children in countries where it was not the norm than in countries where it was practiced widely."
If children are used to being on relatively equal footing with their parents, of course the rare spanking would be upsetting to their little psyches.

Like I said, I'm not a professional, and I would never suggest that wailing on a child b/c they have finally pi**ed the parent off, is a good thing.
Sure, anything a parent does without self-control and rational thinking is going to be harmful. But when a child has crossed certain boundaries, with the understanding of the price that's coming, a calmly applied spanking is not going to be bad.
Of course, this assumes that the parents involved are not drunk, or high, otherwise mentally ill, or otherwise incompetent.

abbiegrrl
 

David Baxter

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This part summarizes my feelings:

Spanking "gives the message that force is a justifiable method of solving conflicts," says Daphne Bugental, a psychologist at UC Santa Barbara. "The child is learning a lesson: If you run into a conflict, use power, use force."

Adds Shari Barkin, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville: "It teaches children that when you're angry, you should hit people."
 

sister-ray

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I disagree very strongly with corporal punishment in any form, my father use to hit me/spank me/cane me , amongst other forms of punishment when he thought I had been naughty, it did me alot of harm, mentally and physically, which took years of healing and some of the psychological stuff still lingers within me to this day. i think it should become an offence to use it, if one adult hits another criminal charges can be brought so why should a parent be allowed to hit a child? its wrong so very wrong.
 
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I don't understand how if an adult strikes or hits another adult they can be arrested for assault and put in jail, but if an adult hits a child it's ok?

I mean it's NOT ok. I strongly disagree with corporal punishment too. I don't think it teaches anything worthwhile except hitting is ok and to be afraid of your parent.
 

Halo

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In dealing with a few dozen rebellious children ages 2 to 6 ? whose out-of-control behavior had driven their parents to seek professional assistance ? the researchers asked some parents to spank kids who refused to stay on a timeout chair and taught others to briefly confine noncompliant children to their rooms.

What I can't believe is that researchers actually asked parents to spank their kids? Who on earth would promote such behaviour and be involved in this type of research as well funding this type of research? It is absolutely appauling in my opinion.
 

abbiegrrl

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I hope my post wasn't taken as in favor of "hitting or caning" children!
I personally was raised by a disciplinarian, and I know my tendency is to spank. I don't usually spank, or threaten to, b/c it is a last resort, for the most part.
That being said, I wonder how a single parent is to raise a 6- and 14-year old boy(s), when they are both HYPER? Just getting them to stand on one place and not vibrate is an ordeal sometimes. I am careful about what they eat, and the older is on meds. But I hate that, and I seriously do not want to have to do that with the younger...
Ok, maybe I should have put this in another board. (sorry)
Any ideas would be more than welcome. I've heard of some kind of light-therapy (??) but there is no one around here who does that, and besides my insurance wouldn't cover it. It sounds like a miracle, but I don't think it caqn help us at this time.
thanks.
abbie
 

David Baxter

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I wonder how a single parent is to raise a 6- and 14-year old boy(s), when they are both HYPER? Just getting them to stand on one place and not vibrate is an ordeal sometimes. I am careful about what they eat, and the older is on meds. But I hate that, and I seriously do not want to have to do that with the younger...

I fully understand that parenting a child with ADHD, especially as a single parent, is no cake walk, Abbie.

I don't think any of us likes to be on medications unnecessarily, or especially to see our children on medications unnenecessarily. But with ADHD, the real danger is the negative emotional fallout for children who are NOT on appropriate medications. What they experience day after day is negative feedback and criticism - from peers, from teachers, from siblings, and yes from parents (parents are human too!). That is one of the reasons that depression is such a common secondary condition for ADHD kids.

Medicating children unnecesssarily simply as a means of keeping them calm and quiet in the classroom is unethical and dangerous. But providing a child with ADHD the appropriate medication to help him manage his behavior and focus his attention is an act of kindness, and the benefits extend far beyond better performance in school.
 

MDH

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But times have changed, and so has Straus' perception of spanking.

Apparently most people's perceptions haven't. Almost all of the people I've talked about it to recently didn't consider "consequences" at all. They appreciated the idea they could just make their kids "cut it".

Nevertheless, Straus notes, a "lucky majority" of kids who get spanked suffer no discernible harm.
I'd be much less inclined to agree with him. It seems that most kids I've met who were hit as children have a much more noticeable lack of independent idea, and tend to "try" to be the "socialized creature" and end up looking cocky instead.

And the friends I have who weren't? One of them edged into a colledge philosophy class at twelve and was over all of the other students' heads. He finished the class before most people did. The rest of these aforementioned friends live enterprising and secure lives without noticeable concern or paranoia about being "the right idea".

Spanking "gives the message that force is a justifiable method of solving conflicts," says Daphne Bugental, a psychologist at UC Santa Barbara. "The child is learning a lesson: If you run into a conflict, use power, use force."

This makes me wonder if there ARE irrelevant, outside philosophies today that encourage the mentality of punitive parenting among the societal majority.

"It's better, wherever possible, to offer verbal correction and explanation," he says. "But then back that up, first with nonphysical consequences, and then, if the child acts defiantly, with conditional spanking."

He's a walking, talking self-contradiction. Either that, or he believes all possibilities end at approximately "chance two", which I believe is a stupidly self limiting outlook.

For example, he says, if a child refuses to sit in a chair during a timeout, then a light spanking would emphasize the need to cooperate with that form of discipline.

I'm sorry, but this is just rediculous. Let's zoom out of his friendly advice for a moment and take a look at the fact that he's openly saying parents should disregard the motives of behavior as just the behavior itself.

By doing so, I think he is very much displacing the need to recognize that children are human beings that behave the way they do for a reason - Yes I know what you are thinking - and it is not an ideological reason like we're used to. But rather, an introversive, human reason that instinctively attempts to keep the emotions and human psyche as an all healthy.

As far as I am concerned, you can either support psychological parenting or not. This guy is taking grass from the psychological side of the fence, in order to make his own lawn look good...

Too often, researchers lump all kinds of spanking or even all forms of corporal punishment together, Larzelere says. Whenever an analysis links "spanking" to detrimental effects, he says, "conclusions are inappropriately made about even the mildest form of spanking."

I think these guys are trying to avoid the point that there is a goal, and that is to do the least amount of harm possible. That's why anti corporal punishment studies went underway, because it was realized from the beginning something was wrong.

And I think that despite the situation or circumstances, Hitting a child obviously does some harm. It's like the rocks on a beach. You might not notice something immediately, but the water is bringing the rock closer towards sand-form with every wave.

That's all I gotta say.

-MDH
 
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the idea of me hitting my child makes me cringe. i just could never willingly hurt them! there are other ways of disciplining them, and it starts at a very early age. they need to learn from day 1 when you mean business. when they are very young, forcing them to sit in one spot may not work very well, because they just don't understand. what they do understand is when you take away something they love, like a toy or stuffed animal. when they hit the terrible twos, this is your time to teach them what you will and won't put up with. they need to learn that you are an authority at a very early age. if you wait until they are older before trying to enforce rules, you're too late. you need to teach them as soon as you can what is and is not acceptable, and it can be done without spanking.
 

HA

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That being said, I wonder how a single parent is to raise a 6- and 14-year old boy(s), when they are both HYPER? Just getting them to stand on one place and not vibrate is an ordeal sometimes. I am careful about what they eat, and the older is on meds. But I hate that, and I seriously do not want to have to do that with the younger...

Any ideas would be more than welcome. I've heard of some kind of light-therapy (??) but there is no one around here who does that, and besides my insurance wouldn't cover it. It sounds like a miracle, but I don't think it caqn help us at this time.
thanks.
abbie

Hello Abbie,

I know how diffiuclt raising a child with ADHD is because my son was hyperactive from birth. He was not on the more severe end of the scale so I found that using behaviour modification was very helpful. I took parenting classes just for parents of ADHD kids and also was the member of a support group. Those are the two best things that you can do for your children.

Don't waste your time with "miracle cures" because if they existed then no one would have ADHD and every professional in the land would be telling you about it and using it to cure their patients.

One of the main problems with using spanking is that you are trying to discipline the hyperactive behaviour out of your child. You can't discipline them to be non-hyper but you can teach them (along with appropriate medication if needed) to be able to function with their disability.

One of the most important factors with helping ADHD kids is being consistent and focusing on the most important issues and letting the rest go because you can't always be on them about everything. Adapt the environment for the child and use rewards. We did not have big birthday parties for my son. It was one or two friends and low key to keep stimulation to a manageble level for him. The more stimulation, the higher the activity level.

Do you attend a support group?

:grouphug:
 

Cavi

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All my parents succeeded in doing by spanking/back handing is make me terrified of both of them...Also it taught me that when I was angry to use physical force...I hear in 3-D people say that kids nowadays are unruly because of not spanking, I disagree completely...RIMH
 

MDH

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I mean no offense to those people, but I think there's an almost religious conviction that goes deep into the emotional and existential roots of people who spank. I think their life is realized by the forces that guide that kind of underlying judgement. I don't think that they even stop to think about it - for them, just like it is for a very religious person - it's easy to live by the book.

Press 1. if that was over your head.
 

Auburn

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Wow, it is amazing what I find when I am just wandering though this forum. I know this is an old thread, but that being said, I am sure I am about to raise the hackles of some folks. I was raised with spanking. But, it was as a last resort, so when used, I completely understood the punishment. There were a few occasions when it was unjustified, and my mom always apologized when she realized her mistake. I never feared my Mom at all. I understood, even as a child, that I had crossed the line.
I now, as a mother of three kids, will use corporal punishment. By this I mean a smack to the bottom. And never with an object, only my hand. And, I have to tell you, it works. I can count on one hand how many times I have had to use it.
I have the most amazing children, they are loving and kind and caring. They understand that there are rules they must abide by.
I think, in this society today, too much leniency is given. There are no real set bounderies for many children. They aren't afraid of any punishment anymore, because truly, there aren't any. Too many parents would rather be "friends" with their children that actually have to make them mind. Manners are a thing of the past, respect is not a necessary thing anymore. It makes me sad to hear the way young kids talk to their parents.
I am very proud of my children. I am told constantly what good kids they are, how polite they are. And yet, in all that, coproral punishment has been used. My kids tell me everyday how much they love me, and what a good mom I am. If I have ever had to spank, we talk about it. I want them to understand the reason why.
I had a father that hit, not for any reason, just because. He was an alcoholic and abusive. My Mom on the other hand was amazing. How she managed to stay sane I have no idea. But, she used corporal punishment as a last resort. And I am grateful that she did. I grew up respecting others, knowing that I had boundaries, and knowing that there were consequences to be dealt with. I find so many kids today have no consequences at all, and that in itself is not healthy.
I think that if we talk to our kids about why we do things we are further ahead. I have never used the "do as I say, not as I do" I want my kids to know that I too have boundries and consequences.
I think the most amazing thing is when my kids hear another child talk to their parents in a manner that is not acceptable and my kids will correct them. My son told his friend he should not speak to his mother like that. How proud was I that day. He came home and told me that he would never speak to me like that cause he loves me too much.
So, in my humble opinion, how I have raised my kids has worked. And here's hoping that they have the same results with their kids. My babies are the most amazing, wonderful people I have ever met, and I am so very proud.
 

MDH

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Wow, it is amazing what I find when I am just wandering though this forum. I know this is an old thread, but that being said, I am sure I am about to raise the hackles of some folks.

Sounds like fun.

I was raised with spanking. But, it was as a last resort, so when used, I completely understood the punishment.

That's because they created the mental environment that made it right. You didn't just magically understand it. Don't tell me they didn't go on about why they thought you deserved it, etc?

To me I've heard the story a million times. It's all just baseless justification.

Perhaps not what I'm getting at is that spanking is GENERALLY bad, but rather it's quite certianly a pointless and thoughtless practice and replaces the communication of the actual issue.

But see in these upcoming quotations how now you attempt to give some sort of point to it by attatching it to completely irrelevant issues... like... Manners.

how smacking someone when they go across the limits teaches them not to go over said limits haven't a clue. I think there's a seperate system that's placed which makes the system of punishment work. An idealistic system of communication which involves violence, savvy?

One which is completely unecessary?

There were a few occasions when it was unjustified, and my mom always apologized when she realized her mistake.

Uhuh. Now if she had to admit she'd done something bad and made a mistake, doesn't that mean she did something wrong anyway? And how did you doing something wrong justify her doing something wrong? And how in an ideal environment does someone doing something wrong in a certian situation put them over someone else doing something wrong too?

I never feared my Mom at all. I understood, even as a child, that I had crossed the line.

What about when she crossed the line. For instance, being bad in order to teach you not to be bad.

Ah, irony.

I now, as a mother of three kids, will use corporal punishment.

This is something I always ask you people. Why do it, when the simple proof is in the pudding that you don't actually need to?.

Because you believe in your mind that you know psychology inside and out and that the simple fact is that manners and nice sentiments are all related to the use of punishment during childhood?

By this I mean a smack to the bottom. And never with an object, only my hand. And, I have to tell you, it works.

There's a lot of things that do and don't work in this society. Why we use certian things over other certian things, I can't imagine.

Why some people persist to use things for reasons other than emotional nostalgia or some form of egocentric dement when it's been made plainly obvious that there are other ways available, I still don't know.

I can count on one hand how many times I have had to use it.

Do you think it's due to that, or some other form of reasoning you may have implemented? Surely, hitting somone alone is not going to teach them something. As one article states here, jabbing someone with a ski pole does not teach them how to ski.

Tell us what else you do than hit them.

I'm interested.

I have the most amazing children, they are loving and kind and caring. They understand that there are rules they must abide by.

So why do they abide by them? Because of spanking, or because there's an actual reason to? (by that I mean one that hasn't been falsely implicated or used as a shorthanded tool by a parent)

I think, in this society today, too much leniency is given. There are no real set bounderies for many children. They aren't afraid of any punishment anymore, because truly, there aren't any.

94% of American Households still use corporal punishment. Almost any American is punished. The reason people are jerks is because they don't understand the social consequences of what they do, and they very likely haven't had their own needs met. In fact I'm almost sure that they're passing on the punishment from other people gave to them.

The only difference between you and them -- is that you, despite not fearing your mother, were still conditioned by fear, period. The problem with punishment is that the only way to maintain control is to maintain threat and fear. That's what supresses many people's actual desires and emotions and forces them to eventually explode (or worse, implode) later on.

Punishment is such a formal and practiced thing in America that kids are bound to think they can do it to other people.

Eventually, when you realize kids are just as punishing as we are, it's all about who the bigger person is and nothing to do with actual formality (Except we as adults try to confine it to formal situations. Kind of ironic again isn't it, putting something so informal and uncivilized into a formal situation. GONNA WORK? NOT BLOODY LIKELY.)

Too many parents would rather be "friends" with their children that actually have to make them mind. Manners are a thing of the past, respect is not a necessary thing anymore.

And let me get this clear, you'd rather be enemies with your children than friends?

Respect is a thing that is taught. Not beaten into people. Believe it or not that's seperate and is quite different. I was not spanked by my mother and yet she taught me the majority of the non-canned, completely honest manners I have now which if you don't mind me saying I think people find completely flattering. So let's not wrap something as irrelevant as manners into "spanking", shall we?

It makes me sad to hear the way young kids talk to their parents.

That's funny! Because it makes me more sad of the way adults treat their children.

Let's put this common fact into perspective:

We're allowed to be jerks when we don't like what our KIDS are doing -- but kids aren't allowed to be jerks to US when they don't like what WE'RE doing.

Face it, all it comes down to adult belief and, which in this case take the completely dehumanizing and demoralizing stance of "we are bigger and we have more rights than you?"

Sugar coated bullying. That's what it is.

If I have ever had to spank, we talk about it. I want them to understand the reason why.

1. This is what causes society's acceptance of mediocity and idiocy. The idea that you can just throw something so completely illogical as a placebo.

2. This is where I have to laugh. You're trying to be logical to your children about a completely illogical behavior. It may make sense to you but it zooms over my head.

I had a father that hit, not for any reason, just because. He was an alcoholic and abusive. My Mom on the other hand was amazing. How she managed to stay sane I have no idea. But, she used corporal punishment as a last resort. And I am grateful that she did. I grew up respecting others, knowing that I had boundaries, and knowing that there were consequences to be dealt with.

All magically due to being spanked! Of course! I see the logic!

you've got a lot to explain to me here.

I find so many kids today have no consequences at all, and that in itself is not healthy.

You mean actual consequences or just knowing that their mom is going to go psycho on their asses if they don't conform to the logic she's set out?

I think that if we talk to our kids about why we do things we are further ahead. I have never used the "do as I say, not as I do"

Okay, well that's good.

I want my kids to know that I too have boundries and consequences.

But where do the consequences matter if it all comes down to being spanked?

I think the most amazing thing is when my kids hear another child talk to their parents in a manner that is not acceptable and my kids will correct them. My son told his friend he should not speak to his mother like that.

I bet that has nothing to do with punishment. I bet that lady responds when her son is that way. She shouldn't really.

How proud was I that day. He came home and told me that he would never speak to me like that cause he loves me too much.

Why did he need to say it? For me it goes without saying because both my mom and I were always confident that neither of us would do anything like that to eachother.

It also goes without saying here that often times children say things in order to socially accept themselves and the people around them. That's a tendency that continues into adulthood and manifests itself in much bigger and more problematic ways as more complex ideas and systems become part of their life. I'm not ttrying to just "explain him away" here but what he said was completely natural. Often times I find that in families I know where the kids were spanked, they were always like that until they lacked the presence of their mother.... Around me, it was all swearing, being nuts and doing what kids do. They don't see anything wrong with it because even with logic (as in avoiding the do as I say formula) it all comes down to being manipulated by the bigger source.

P.S. Swedish people are the nicest I've ever met. The majority says "No".


David, I can't help but wonder as to why you disabled the post editing for any time after 15 minutes... I can't get rid of this merged double post.
 
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David Baxter

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MDH said:
Auburn said:
I have the most amazing children, they are loving and kind and caring. They understand that there are rules they must abide by.

So why do they abide by them? Because of spanking, or because there's an actual reason to? (by that I mean one that hasn't been falsely implicated or used as a shorthanded tool by a parent)

I think this is an excellent point. I obeyed the rules as a child because they were rules and mostly made sense and seemed fair to me. I obeyed my father because I feared him. I obeyed my mother because I loved and respected her and didn't want to disappoint her. The dynamics of my relationship with my mother were far more powerful and far reaching in terms of their impact on me over my lifespan.

I won't go into details here but as a parent I can say that my strongest influence on my children came from a mutually respectful relationship, my willingeness to listen to their viewpoints even when I disagreed, and their desire to please versus disappoint. I think those are the areas where parents can have real impact.

Punishment, even when it seems to work, generally has only a temporary effect based on fear, and fear isn't usually the basis for kind of relationship most parents want to have with their children.
 

Auburn

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Thank you both for your opinions, I do enjoy listening to others. I let my daughter read the posts, simply because I wanted to know what she thought. Since corporal punishment has been used so seldom, I wanted to hear what she had to say about it. I was surprised. Her response was, " I knew I had gone too far, and you already warned me what would happen" Now, I already know that I will hear that she said this because she thought it was what I wanted to hear, but I have to tell you that my daughter is not afraid to disagree with me or anyone. She is very stong, VERY, in her opinions! lol I wanted to know if she was afraid of me. Well, she almost cut me with her look, and asked me if I was crazy. And then she talked to me like she was explaining to a child. Teens are very good at that I have discovered!
So, again, thank you for your opinons, but I think this has worked for us. I am so very proud of my kids and how they are turning out. They are amazing children.
 

David Baxter

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I think I've expressed my thoughts about corporal punishment more than once before.

I think it conveys all the wrong messages. I don't think it's an effective way of managing children's behavior nor of teaching them respect for rules or respect for others. I think the basic message from corporal punishment is that it's okay to use physical force and pain and humiliation to impose your will on another person when there is a difference of opinion.
 

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