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Old 11-28-2007, 11:41 AM   #31
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I was spanked as a kid. It didn't make any real difference in my behavior except to teach me that my mother simply didn't get it. You can hit me all you want, but I'm still going to do any number of things you don't like. I'm just going to be much, much sneakier about it.

If you have to hit your kid, no matter what your reason is, you have a problem. After all, if you want to teach your kid that hitting doesn't solve the problem, then you're going to have to restrain the urge to hit yourself.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:10 PM   #32
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I think spanking's not terrible, and there's some exxageration here about spanking's effects. I don't mind the law. Parents will always find ways to discipline their kids. My parents rarely spanked, probably for me once or twice ever, a few more times for my more "rebellious" brothers. I don't really care one way or the other.

The bottom line is that this really has no effect on real parental issues.
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Old 11-28-2007, 06:59 PM   #33
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It's very difficult to argue against anecdotes, so I shall refrain from that. However, I've seen both sides of the coin in regard to parents who rarely spank, and those who use it as a frequent means of discipline, and I still maintain that the risks to kids who are spanked more often than rarely outweigh any benefits to kids who are only spanked rarely. If a parent needs to spank frequently, there are obviously deeper issues that need to be addressed with regard to parenting skills and child behaviour. If a parent is only spanking rarely, it would seem that the kids are probably generally well behaved, and so the parents are obviously doing something right. I question their need to spank at all, when there are other means that can be used that don't involve physical pain to the child. And, with that, I suppose I'm out of the discussion for the time being.
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:21 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by VintagePunk
If a parent needs to spank frequently, there are obviously deeper issues that need to be addressed with regard to parenting skills and child behaviour.
I agree with you 100% here. Unfortunately, unless they get caught doing something outright abusive by current definitions, most parents in need of such addressing are never going to get it because they won't seek it out.
Quote:
And, with that, I suppose I'm out of the discussion for the time being.
Not on my account I hope, I'm enjoying the discussion.

I should probably try to look up some data on longterm effects of verbal abuse for comparison's sake (though that one's even harder to quantify), but I'm not sure I'll have the time tonight.
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but i can control what other adults do in my house. i can kick them out if they use inappropriate language, make offensive comments, i can refuse to let others use my DVD player if they want to watch inoffensive things. there are a zillion-and-one different ways in which i can regulate the behavior of others whilst in my own home, but i cannot ever hit another adult in my own home (or anywhere) unless it's in self defense.
Well, I can tell you that the one time I was ever spanked, it was for vandalizing some fairly valuable property of my father's and then trying to cover up that I'd done it (through what I knew fully well was recklessness, and not some innocent 'accident'). Had I been an adult, I could have been charged with a crime and required to pay for replacements. Instead, I got a few calmly but firmly delivered sentences about the wrongness of what I'd done, followed by a few quick smacks on the bottom. There was no protracted, withering tongue-lashing intended to verbally nail me to the wall and leave me cowering in shame (like my mother might've done), and there was no arbitrary "You're grounded for a month!" with no logical connection to the nature of my misbehavior (like some of my friends' parents seemed trigger-happy for)--neither of which I would have 'preferred,' not by a long shot. Just something out of the ordinary enough to make me realize that I'd done something pretty seriously wrong this time. Now if my father had been the sort who was always grabbing us and whipping us with a belt for talking out of turn, or hauling off and slapping us in the face and shouting "Shut up!" in public for running around in the grocery store or something...OK, then I could see going, "Wow, he really had some anger management issues that we got victimized for; I mean, what reasonable person thinks it's that big a deal if another person talks out of turn etc." But as it is, I just can't take seriously that there was anything to be distressed about there. My father was a fantastic parent, and I don't just mean that I loved him; I mean that I did and do look to him as a role model of how a really great parent interacts with their children. Was the way he reacted there necessary, no--as far as that goes, he could have done nothing at all, and there would still have been probably at least a 50/50 chance that I would never have repeated such behavior with anyone.

Once again, I realize this is all just anecdotes. (And for the record, none of my own kids has ever done anything that bad, in my estimation.) But the idea that there was anything warranting the intervention of the police there, merely because 'corporal punishment' was involved, seems utterly absurd to me. I certainly don't have a problem with laws against 'spanking' children with belts or whips, or striking them in any way that is likely to cause injury. I could certainly manage as a parent if corporal punishment were outlawed altogether. But I do find the idea of arbitrarily fingering any and every punishment involving physical contact as An A Priori Terrible Thing To Do very problematic, especially when my own experience tells me how many ways there are to damage your children without ever laying a hand on them at all, ways it would be truly impossible to police. And there are always going to be parents who abuse those prerogatives; you will never be able to stop it.
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:40 PM   #35
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Just want to give a to yolland. You've articulated everything way, WAY better than I could hope to.

Angela
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:41 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland



Not on my account I hope, I'm enjoying the discussion.
Not at all because of you, I hope I didn't give that impression!

I just recognize that it's a very heated issue, one that people can't really help but bring their personal biases to. After all, it's ingrained in us that in all but the bleakest of circumstances, our parents want the best for us, and have our best interests in mind when raising us, and being critical of them just seems disloyal, somehow. Parenthood is probably more entrenched in our identities than anything else - more so than our professions, our political leanings, etc. I don't disagree that in many cases, kids who were spanked turn out to be just fine, but I also know that there are many who aren't.

Another point I completely agree with, and what is at the crux of this thread are the inherent difficulties that would go along with legislating these behaviours. Unfortunately, that's out of the realm of my knowledge exactly how such legislation would be implemented, but I can imagine it would create vast problems. I very briefly read that Sweden has enacted legislation similar to this, but that rather than using the court system/criminal model, they use education as a means to teach alternative methods of parental discipline techniques to offenders. I think that would be the preferred method of dealing with something like this.

Eta - Yolland, I'm also interested in the rates of parents who spank who also verbally abuse their children, and also, the directionality of the correlation. I tried to google it, but it seems that it's too specific a question for google, and much to my frustration, I still can't get onto the database of journals I normally use.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:03 PM   #37
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega
But no one said anything to the contrary.
Actually, it would seem that almost everyone on this thread (witht the notable exceptions of Yolland and phillyfan coming to mind)) so far IS saying that there isn't much a distinction between between abuse and spanking.

With apologies to Hinder. . . , a prime example:

Quote:


If you have to hit your kid, no matter what your reason is, you have a problem. After all, if you want to teach your kid that hitting doesn't solve the problem, then you're going to have to restrain the urge to hit yourself.
Spanking is not the same as "having to hit your kid." Spanking isn't about "you pissed me off this time and now you're gonna get it" kind of problem solving (which is the attitude when any kind of violence is always used to "solve problems"). Spanking isn't about giving in to an "urge to hit."

The sad reality is that many parents who DON'T believe in spanking may end up hitting because they are pissed off and lose it. Anytime a parent is lashing out in anger, that's not spanking, at least as I understand it. Even as a kid, I never confused the very rare, "ritualized" spankings I received from my mom (Yolland's description of the spanking from her dad captures almost perfectly what that was like) with slapping my sister or any other kinds of violence. In fact, one of the three times in my life I was spanked by my mom was for hitting my sister. I never hit my sister again and the message my mom wanted to send--that violence against women was a Serious Wrong has stuck with me for life. Ironic, huh.

I'm wondering if these studies drew any kind of distinction between the "kinds" of spanking that went on?
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:11 PM   #38
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I don't think spanking the way Sean describes it is a big deal, but I guess I don't really see what it accomplishes? The only time I can recall being physically reprimanded was when I was about 11 and my dad slapped me across the face. All I learned is that dad *will* go so far as to slap my face. I don't even remember what I did or said that got me slapped, so I don't really see the lesson or the purpose. I'm not scarred for life or anything, I really don't care, just don't see the point....
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:33 AM   #39
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I think asking what the "point" is may be a bit like asking why it's "necessary"...there's really no definitive answer to that, just as there's no definitive answer as to what the "best" alternative way to handle a given situation would've been. In my case, the one time I was spanked, the effect of it was to reinforce for me that what I had done was, as Sean put it, Seriously Wrong--something that could've gotten me and perhaps my parents in big trouble if it'd been someone else's property, something which on top of that I'd tried to cover up. It wasn't a simple question of words, either the easy "Don't do this" kind (I already knew that much anyway) or the equally easy "I'm sorry" kind. Precisely because my father very seldom spanked, and was clearly in a calm state of mind when he did it, I got the intended "point"...Here is something you need to understand was Seriously Wrong; something of a sort you should never do again.

Now if he'd instead been obviously angry and slapped me across the face, yeah, I think all that would have told me is, Wow he's mad, and yes he can hit when mad. For reasons I explained a couple posts back, I doubt that slapping your child in the face is ever likely to convey much of any "point" beyond that. Does that mean one isolated instance of slapping in a fit of exasperation is a sign that parental counseling is needed...I don't know. I guess personally if I ever found myself losing control to that degree with my child, I'd feel it was time for me to talk a counselor. But I'm not really comfortable saying that one isolated incident like that establishes definitively that the parent-child relationship in question is troubled, either.

The value of anecdotes with issues like this, I think, is that they illustrate the extent to which broader, underlying family dynamics play into how we experience various parent-child interactive behaviors. I could think of any number of things that might have made me feel quite differently about that one spanking I got. If my father had also had a pattern of being verbally abusive to me...if he'd been a remote and chilly alcoholic who only noticed us when we displeased him...if he'd been notably biased as to which of his kids got punished and when...if he'd had a pattern of displaying aggression towards my mother...any one of those things, and more, might well have affected how I experienced that incident, because then maybe I would have had existing resentments ('Don't you push me around, you hypocrite bastard') or fears ('Oh shit, what's he gonna do THIS time') or whatever else that might have cast a different light on it altogether. The same is true with words-alone disciplinary tactics, as well as other types; in a family, nothing happens in a vacuum. I would never presume to tell someone who did recall as traumatic a small handful of spankings from their parents, "Oh boo-hoo, just grow up and get over it," because I don't know enough about their family dynamics to make that call.

I'm well aware that there are many parents out there who abuse the disciplinary options they see as open to them. I had several friends growing up whose mother and/or father thought nothing of smacking them in the face and shouting, "Shut up, you stupid brat"; dragging them across the room by the collar then pulling their pants down to lash their bare bottom with a belt; shouting profanities at them until red in the face; or abruptly grounding them for 2 weeks or a month so often that they might as well have locked the front door and thrown away the key. Those kinds of things shocked and frightened me, because my own parents never did anything like that, and it all seemed so menacing and chaotic. I've always assumed that at least some of those tactics already meet legal definitions of child abuse as is, but maybe I'm wrong there. So I can definitely appreciate VintagePunk's well-put point here--if I can appeal to what a great parent I'm convinced my father was as evidence that it wasn't a Bad Thing when he spanked, well, then who's to say that some of those aforementioned childhood friends might not say the same thing about theirs? Because probably a few of them DO say that (and, sadly, probably some of them are now using the same "disciplinary" tactics on their own kids, too).

I guess what bothers me about the idea of legislatively proscribing these kinds of things (well, at least those which fall under the 'corporal punishment' heading) isn't that I see some innately 'redeeming' value in spanking--or any one other method, really--in its own right, so much as the conceit that we can assign some intrinsic emotional-damage cost to it in the abstract, then use that to justify legislation. I do recognize that ultimately, pretty much all parent-child interactions could be said to fall on a continuum, and you have to draw certain lines in the sand for children's sake...I just think you can sensibly parse these things only so far. I guess I would have to look at the proposed legislation in question and see exactly what it says, what it offers in the way of yardsticks.
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:31 AM   #40
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I get very uncomfortable when I see people "spank" their kids in public, and I have seen cases where it goes far beyond spanking in my mind-to the point where I wonder what will happen to the child when they get home. Does anyone else? So if it makes people feel like that when it is done in public why is it somehow more acceptable if it is done in private?

By Laurel J. Sweet | Thursday, November 29, 2007 | http://www.bostonherald.com

After all the jokes, the bitter backlash and the political spin put on a proposal to outlaw spanking, it took one man’s unabashed show-and-tell to unify a State House hearing room in silence yesterday.

“My mother, as a child, was tied to a bed post and beaten, so she in turn beat us that way,” Jerome Frazier, 52, of Dorchester testified matter-of-factly as he pulled from a plastic grocery bag the black leather belt and electrical cord he said he was thrashed with as a boy.

“I was in a gang. I was a terror,” said Frazier, who walked in off the street to offer the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons With Disabilities a piece of his mind.

Rep. Mary Grant, a Beverly Democrat and one of the legislators asked to study what would be this country’s first outright ban on corporal punishment of children, could not hold back her tears.

While she believes “most people are doing just fine by their kids,” Grant said, “we’ve all got to carefully think through” what constitutes acceptable violence in the home.

Kathleen Wolf, the softspoken Arlington nurse who brought the now-national debate to the Legislature’s table, said she doesn’t want to see moms and dads criminally punished for meting out discipline, just educated on alternative methods of parenting.

“We clearly need to specify what implements may not be used,” Wolf testified.

Evelyn Reilly, director of public policy for the Massachusetts Family Institute, urged committee members to do nothing, saying “many” kids “require a measured smack on the behind.”

“This bill is trying to impose a one-size-fits-all encroachment on families,” Reilly said. “You can’t always reason with a child.”

Teresa Whitehurst, a clinical psychologist, mother of two and author of “How Would Jesus Raise Your Child?” said the bill would “prohibit” the wielding of belts, switches, sticks and other paddles on children, where currently no such law exists.

“Spare the rod and guide the child is what I say,” said Whitehurst, who as a kid “was spanked a lot.”

“We’re moving toward being the first nonviolent state in the nation,” Whitehurst said. “Massachusetts is uniquely poised to be a leader in this regard.”

Corporal punishment of children is already illegal in 19 other countries, none of them in North or South America.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:39 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I get very uncomfortable when I see people "spank" their kids in public,
I do too.

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
why is it somehow more acceptable if it is done in private?
It's not.

But neither of these views conflict with my stance on the issue of what I understand spanking (as opposed to abuse such as that described by Jerome Frazier in the article you attached) to be.
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:12 AM   #42
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What do you understand it to be? A problem arises when some people call things spanking that are not-like using belts and electrical cords. Some parents clearly do feel that "spanking" includes things well beyond a light tap on the bottom, and therefore they justify that by calling it acceptable parental physical discipline aka spanking. In some cases it can also escalate from spanking and still not be acknowledged (by those doing it) to be abuse.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:35 PM   #43
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It shouldn't be too difficult to outlaw spanking with anything other than a hand, I would think.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:56 PM   #44
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When does spanking with a hand become abuse?
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:09 PM   #45
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The same way verbal discipline can become abuse...when it's done in reactive anger, when it's done with desire to humiliate or frighten the child, when it becomes a substitute for positive reinforcement and low-key pre-emptive discussions about choices and consequences. But these are the things it's difficult if not impossible to police.

ETA: As far as what's appropriate in public vs. private, I do think that when you get fairly serious misbehaviour from a child in a public place--the sort where one parent might feel a rare spanking is called for, or another some fairly extensive verbal discipline, or perhaps grounding or the like--then in any of those cases, that aspect of it is best delayed until you're in private, so as to ensure a calm and focused parent and a calm and focused child. Obviously it's very important to have a ready-at-hand set of quick verbal intervention tactics you've 'got down' and are thus always prepared to apply reasonably calmly--you should never just ignore public misbehaviour and think 'I'll deal with it later'--but that doesn't mean you can't and, where appropriate, shouldn't revisit what happened with the child afterwards.
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