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Friday, October 7, 2011

Researchers Catch Parents Spanking On Tape

Do you remember being spanked as a kid? To parents out there, do you ever spank your kids?

Researchers at Southern Methodist University have captured on tape what’s thought to be the first real-time data of parents using the punishment method and have some surprising findings.

George Holden, professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University told Here & Now’s Robin Young that, “Parents will typically say, yes, I believe in spanking, but I just use it as a last resort. And what we are finding is parents are using it for very trivial incidents.”

While fewer parents spank their kids than a generation ago, research shows that about 60 percent of parents spank their children aged 3 to 11 and nearly 80 percent of parents spank or slap their 3 to 5 year-olds.

Holden started looking at the effects of spanking after he had initially set out to study the impact of parents’ yelling at their kids, and instead was surprised to find how often spanking was used.

On Here & Now’s Facebook page, readers weighted in with a range of opinions:

  • Ron Gaykema writes “spanking is an act of weakness… and it is only counterproductive. Children are taught to solve problems and frustrations by acts of violence.”
  • Gretchen Robinson writes “why would you bring children into the world then hit them?? even if/especially if you’ve been hit yourself. People need to do some critical thinking and not just do as their parents did to them.”

On  the other hand:

  • Paul Zarchin writes “My parents never physically spanked me; they used their mouths with vicious words; wish I was spanked instead.”

Professor Holden passed along some resources he recommends on punishment:

Websites:

Books:

  • Arnall, J. (2010). Discipline without distress. Professional Parenting, Calgary, Canada. Professor Holden says “A sensible and easy to read parenting manual with lots of suggestions.”
  • Holden, G. W. (2010).  Parenting: A dynamic perspective. Los Angeles, Sage. Professor Holden’s take: “This is a research-based book that discusses the problem of corporal punishment of children and how it is associated with various child problems.

Guest:

  • George Holden, professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Listen to that screaming child.  She earned a spanking.  What a wussy society we’ve become.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Listen to the psychologist–”spanking is bad” fits into developmental theory, so it must be true.  It can lead to bad results–can, not must.

  • L R Dunn

    Hitting your child is not the way to go.

  • Guest

    There is a big difference between spanking and beating.  If a parent loses control while spanking or is unpredictable or excessive while spanking, this is actually beating.  An occasional spanking in an otherwise loving and supportive and healthy home environment is, I would suggest, less problematic than chronic physical, or even verbal & emotional, abuse.

    • Sam, Buffalo, NY

      I absolutely agree.

      My thing is, why would you use a fork to eat soup, when there is a spoon available?
      You can finish your bowl of soup using a fork, absolutely.
      But you would achieve better results using a spoon.
      :)

      That’s just the way that I am. I will try different things to see which one works, which one doesn’t.

      If occasional spanking works for YOU and YOUR CHILD, then I am not against it.
      If it doesn’t, or if it is the only or the most used discipline, then that’s what I have a problem with. And I think that’s what the professor was talking about.

    • guest

      no such thing!  Do you think it makes a difference to the child that it is a loving enviornment when they are humilated by the indignity of spanking by their own parents?

  • Jim

    The egghead professor is an idiot! Every one I know of my generation (Baby-Boomer) was raised with physical punishment being a part of the parenting process.  We used spanking with our kids and all are successful in their pursuits and relationships.  I cannot agree with the liberal notions of parenting.  They result in spoiled brats who have an inflated sense of entitlement.

    • Guest

      Spanking is illegal in many countries.  In Scandinavian nations spanking is viewed as egghead behavior.  But if you grew up believing that spanking is normal behavior then of course you think anything else is liberal….spankning just teaches hitting, adults should not hit small children – THAT’s IT. 

  • Benetsky

    Use it sparingly.  And, make sure it doesn’t escalate.  

  • laura plummer

    I worked for two years at the Mass Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Spanking is abuse and it is violence. It teaches children that hitting is a way to deal with anger, or to enforce a point. Children who experience violence in the home are more likely to grow into violent adults.

  • Sue

    I never spanked either of my children so when a physical reaction was necessary it was extremely effective.  My 3 year old somehow got a hold of a steak knife at a restaurant and had it gripped tight in her little fist.  I couldn’t get her to drop it so finally I flicked her her fist with one finger.  She was so shocked that she dropped the knife immediately and then stated crying.  Kids do not need to be physically assaulted, there are so many other good parenting techniques to try.

    • Jjcyspelta

      The professor says he takes a time out himself. That’s fine if you are at home. What to do if it would be dangerous to leave them – parking lot, mall, etc? Also, he said his wife covers the window if kid is threatening to jump. What if there’s only 1 parent present? I’m not advocating spanking or not. His solutions seem limited.

      • Sam, Buffalo, NY

        It is that much more challenging when you are a single parent. Believe me, I know.

        Safety comes first and you do your best.

        Breathing helps. While you are holding your child, while he/she is kicking and thrashing about and screaming. You can breathe and just hold.

        That’s what I do., if we are in public.
        There are of course other ways to diffuse the situation.
        And it doesn’t help if you have a temperament where you get easily tipped off and come off the deep end. But parenting changes you.

        Believe in yourself. Believe that you are doing a good job as a parent. Try different things, read books/articles/online resources. There are parenting classes, often free.

        Best of luck. It is a challenge being a single parent, but there are also upsides. :)

      • guest

        I understand the challenges.  When my son was young I had to leave restaurants, malls and grocery stores many times while carrying him screaming but I did it!  You have to be prepared to be inconvenience.  Just remember, it wont last forever, I promise.  Many times I drove home while my child screamed in his car seat.  Yes, it tests your patients.  Sometimes I would leave earplugs in car for these moments.  I often see parents expecting toooooo much from their children.  We used to take tests runs to places (Mcdonalds, Ice cream shops)  I would get coffee so I could dump it if my child acted up and yes I would throw everything in garbage and leave if this happened.  Whatever you do, please dont expect others to be disturbed and subjected to your childs behavior.  Be prepared to leave at a moments notice.  I promise you do it enough and they will get the message. 

  • Sam, Buffalo, NY

    I have tried EVERYTHING with my strong-willed child.
    Spanking, slapping, time-outs, talking, taking things away, etc

    Spanking doesn’t work on my child. He has high tolerance for pain and simply doesn’t care.

    Time outs work best. Removing him from a situation works. Talking to him also works, but sometimes.
    Being firm, setting limits, following a schedule, redirecting also works, much better than any physical punishment. But I did slap his hand whenever he reached for the outlet or stove. And now he doesn’t touch it.

    I think spanking might work with some children, and they would still turn out ok. Some children wouldn’t turn out ok if there is excessive verbal abuse and physical discipline.

    But please – there is no 1 solution/discipline that fits all situations and all children.
    Every child is different. And every parent is different. And every parent+child+situation is different.

    Parent’s temperament also plays a BIG role in how your child behaves.
    Why would a child behave differently with his teacher(s), parents, grandparents, etc.?
    Because they know how each would react and they want to see how far they can push each person and get away with whatever they want to do.

    NOW, I don’t believe in spanking, I used to. But you have to see how it works and whether it works. And why wouldn’t you try other methods before spanking? Because it’s easier? Because it worked for you? I was spanked as a child, and believe you me, I remember those times, and it doesn’t make me a happier person and I hold resentment against people who have spanked me.

    Thank you

  • Lor

    The professor is perfectly right!  I was spanked as a child but always felt belittled and bullied by it.  As a parent I vowed never to spank my children (which I never did).  I too, used those similiar techniques that the professor speaks about.  My children also grew out all those behaviors.  It takes alot of patients to take the more harder route of dignity and empowerment.  My children grew up in the South were spanking is common place, accepted and prevalent.  I always told them that it is easy for a bigger, stronger person to strike out against a weaker, smaller individual but it is more difficult to remain resonable and dignified when tested. 

    My children are both A students in high school who never had to go thru the humilation of spanking.  I still tease them that I am going to Spank them when things are not going right.  We all laugh about it because they dont know what it is to be spanked (I do).

    • Kabbiect

      I agree whole heartedly! Wonderful response. My five year old son was listening to the program with me and he started to laugh when he heard the word spanking. To my children it means something playful and silly. I had to explain that what they were talking about was much different. It makes me sad to think about how those children were feeling while being spanked. I remember being terrified of spanking when I was little.

      • guest

        yes, when I first moved to the South 19 years ago, I was shocked to see women bring their children into the ladies dressing room to give them a spanking.  It made me want to throw up and ruined my day.  I thought why dont you just leave with that small child instead of making them try to behave while you shop and try on clothes. 

  • Greerjonsdottir

    Thank you for this timely topic! I have a challenging 4 yr old and have been at my wits end. I have spanked him and we both end up crying. I was never spanked as a child and I feel as though we have both lost when I repeat the patternsy parents worked so hard to change. Any advice onresources for creative nonviolent parenting?

    • Sam, Buffalo, NY

      I am reading several parenting books right now.

      “Setting limits with your strong willed child”
      “Love and Logic for early years”
      “The difficult child” – this one is similar to the first one, it talks about the temperament and finding better solutions.

      I have started doing time-outs a couple of months back. My child is almost 2. The first time we did a time-out, it took us 30 minutes for him to sit just for 1 minute. Because every time he got up, I put him back in the chair and his minute started again.

      It was probably one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do in my life.

      There was a time when we went to a restaurant and he was pitching a fit, not wanting to sit in the high chair and on the grown up chair instead. It took me 3 times, taking him out of the restaurant, taking him to the parking lot, talking to him, for him to finally agree to sit in the high chair.

      Responsible parenting is VERY hard, especially if you have a wonderful strong-willed child.

      Hang in there, I hope the books/other resources help.

  • W. Fu

    For everyone who says “I grew up getting spanked by my parents but I turned out fine” (I am one of those), there is another person who would claim spanking result in permanent damage.  Just like everything in life, some people would survive it fine but some could be seriously hurt.  The question is what kind of relationships / behavior we want to consciously cultivate with our children?  Do we really want to leave it to chance whether our kids turn out fine?  I myself don’t advocate spanking but there were a few times when I lost my temper and spanked my children, which I more often than not regretted.  The key reason is that I am not modeling to my kids the right way to handle frustrations.  I am not perfect but I do aspire to do better everyday.  I very much appreciate Professor Holden’s idea of “time-out”; not just for the kids but parents too.  We parents will indeed benefit from having time-out of our own. 

  • Cenath

    What was troubling to me was that what was caught on tape was considered a spanking. Those were not spankings. That was a parent slapping or hitting their child. No advocate of true spanking would encourage that type of behavior for a parent. A spanking is given calmly, removed from the situation, and often times after a little time has passed so that both parties have been able to think about what has transpired. A correctly given spanking teaches a child that there are consequences to bad behavior. A spanking need not always be given, but there are times when it is in the best interest of the child.

  • Sam, Buffalo, NY

    Can prof Holden post some parenting book recommendations?

    Thank you

    • http://www.hereandnow.org Kevin Sullivan

      We have put in a request with Dr. Holden, and will post them as soon as we get them.
      -Kevin, H&N producer

  • homebuilding

    Any amount of time spent in spanking, slapping, or yelling is time 
    NOT SPENT in repetitively and loving demonstration, guiding, and encouraging.

    A sharp retort on occasion or the rare and judicious slap to the butt is NOT the same.

    There are real class differences, here–and poor, frustrated single parents are perpetually over-
    represented in spanking, slapping, and yelling.

    As far as I’m concerned, public television and public radio should have ’round the clock parenting demonstrations and examples, as most ‘bad parents’ have never been exposed to good parenting models and theory.

  • Moving On

    I do not believe in spanking children — physical violence is NEVER ok.   At 44, I still have horrific memories of being spanked by otherwise ‘benevolent’ parents.   It was always my father who did it, on command of my mother, in retaliation for whatever misbehavior I’d done.   In hindsight, I have no memory of what I did wrong — that message didn’t stick — but I do remember — and deeply resent the violent spankings.  That was also a household where my brother beat me mercilessly, a level of socially-acceptable and even socially-sanctioned violence that would never be tolerated in any other relationship.   And yes, I still hold resentment against him for that behavior.   My 7 year old has lived spank-free.  Of course, he acts up, but we use “time-outs” in the same room as us.   It helps redirect his attention to something more productive.

  • Kabbiect

    It’s our job as parents to raise our children to be the very best people they can be. My husband and I were both spanked as children. Neither of us felt that was the appropriate way to “teach” our children how to behave. Both of our children are strong willed, but respectful of us. We do raise our voices and use time out. We discuss “what happened” after things have calmed down. We always remind them they are loved and that as a part of our family they are expected to behave in an appropriate manner. I strongly feel that spanking sends the wrong message to a child. I get a sick feeling in my stomach any time I see a child spanked in public. How can you hurt someone you love like that? I think it should be illegal.

  • Michelle

    I have a five year old and I can count on one hand the number of times I have spanked him and it was always used as follow through as a consequence of a repeated action.  My son is a kind and loving child, he responds to the world around him the way we respond to him.  I do catch myself starting to yell at times and always bring myself back down to have a productive conversation.  I was spanked, hit and yelled at daily by my alcoholic mother and it has taken a serious toll on me as I navigate mothering my son.  I have struggled every year of his life not to yell, berate or hit.  My gut reaction to everything he does is something I DO NOT want to do or think is right.  Spanking your child and yelling at them will affect them in life and it will be a HUGE challenge to them when they become parents themselves.  And before you think, Oh I would never get drunk and hit my child.  My mother never hit me when she drank.   She was bearable when she was drunk because it was the only time she was loving and kind to my brother and I, which created it’s own issues.  We learned when she got home to hide in our rooms until we saw at least two empty beer bottles or we were going to get hit and yelled at.

  • Genputnam

    There is a
    huge difference between beating a child and an occasional swat. Kids today are
    undisciplined, rude, disrespectful, completely lacking in any type of fear of
    authority and part of the entitlement generation. As a kid, knowing that there
    was a paddle in the Principal’s office and consequences for bad behavior at
    home, including spanking, was definitely part of the decision making process.
    There is nothing wrong with a little healthy fear of parents. After all, we’re
    parents NOT buddies. To rule out spanking completely is ridiculous. It should
    be used with thought and in moderation but not eliminated.

    • Mother of 2

      Well, if 80% of children are spanked, and “kids today are undisciplined, rude, disrespectful, completely lacking in any type of fear of authority and part of the entitlement generation,” spanking clearly isn’t working.  I make my decisions based on morality, not fear, and raise my children to respect others because it’s the right thing to do, not because they’ll be beaten if they don’t.

  • Carlton2u

    I’ve often heard parents lament, “They don’t make a manual for (parenting).”  Wrong.  Our libraries and bookstores are full of them.  But there are very few classes for parenting, that would allow for real-time interaction and feedback.  That’s what is needed so that parents understand how and when to appropriately discipline their children.  It is a critical role in our society, and as such it requires as much practice and training as any skilled trade or profession.  Why not be formal about it?

  • Amelesky

    I remembered reading some advice that you shouldn’t send your child to his room. I put my children I a “bold” chair where they sat i in my view and couldn’t move for a designated period. My sister went further and didn’t begin counting the time until the tantrum ended. Then talk about the behavior and why it’s unacceptable.

  • Stephfunnee

    I wrote an essay for an Early Childhood Education class I took in college more than 20 years ago about spanking.  I was shocked by the controversy it sparked in the class when my paper was presented. 
    I was hit (spanked) as a child and I can not see the benefit.  I set out to not hit my own children.  Sad to say I did hit one of my children once.  I immediately regreted it.  I felt the trust she had in me had been challenged.  I never hit her or her sibling again.  Both of my children turned out more than fine – well-adjusted, kind and non-violent.
    Discipline means “teach”, not to punish.  It was not easy and I, too, put myself in time out on occasion.  The bottom line for me – children are not for hitting and spanking is hitting!

  • Guest

    This reminds me of one instance of my husband’s childhood that has stuck with him, that really highlights the impact of spanking. As a younger child, maybe 4 or so, he was playing in the yard with his grandfather, and thought it would be fun to use the hose. He was spraying it around, and sprayed his grandfather. My husband thought they were playing but his grandfather did not and spanked him. It made him sad, and confused and to this day the fact that he remembers that incident and those feelings really highlights how being physically punished can stick with a child long after their actions are even remembered. I only remember being spanked once, the memory sticks with me even though I cannot for the life of me remember my transgression that earned the spanking. The violence stays with the child, the reasons behind it does not.

  • SWmom

    I am a clinical social worker trained in child behavioral therapies and parent training.  I am trained that spanking is not an effective discipline strategy for children.  Personally, I was spanked throughout my childhood in what I would describe a controlled, consistent manner with a lot of love in my home.  I planned to not spank my own children.  I spanked my strong-willed daughter after no other discipline strategies that I could think of curbed her aggression toward me.  It is very important to me to teach my children to respect adults, parents, teachers and other people in general.  I feel that I learned this respect myself through discipline methods used in my home growing up and this respect toward others has served me well in life.  After resorting to spanking my daughter, she went immediately from hitting me about 50 or so times a day to never hitting me again (three years later).  I think there are situations and child dispositions where spanking is not damaging and can be effective.  One needs to have the ability to discipline without emotion (anger) and know the personality of their child to determine (or try out) what might be the best discipline strategies for that child in specific circumstances.  I’ve learned through my clinical and personal experience, as well as review of research literature, that overarching judgements on discipline strategies can be counterproductive in some situations.  I believe that energy is better spent on teaching various discipline strategies/options to parents rather than simply saying, “don’t spank.”  I think it would be great if the AAP came out with a statement on what is supported in child discipline rather than just what not to do. 

  • portlandmom

    My second child behaved very much like the guests “difficult” child. When she started school she turned out to have trouble keeping up developmentally. She eventually was diagnosed with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and Anxiety. We started psychotherapy, Occupational Therapy, tutors, and then eventually medication.
    We never spanked her (although believe me…sometimes I wanted to…some of those years were hard).
    She is now really amazing! She plays the trombone, draws dragons, has a million friends who adore her, is now meeting grade level in math and reading.
    If she had been born to another family who would have spanked her, and shamed her for her behavior, I shudder to think how she would have turned out.
    Spanking teaches children that it is ok to hit as long as you are bigger…that has a long lasting negative effect. 

  • Janethlandis

    I was spanked and verbally abused as a child in ways by one parent that have virtually destroyed my life, and completely shaped who I am as a person. (that part is MY responsibility)  I’ve lost that parent and still feel a longing inside to find a way to earn his love.  His temper was as intemperate as the weather and less predictable.  That’s why it’s left traces of PTSD, that were confirmed when I gave birth to a child with a fatal  neurodegenerative disorder.  I never knew when or why I’d get hit or hurt, or why it was my “self” that was attacked and not my behavior.  I grew-up hearing that I wasn’t good enough, never would be, would only hurt the ones I loved.  When my son was born (1 out of 3 children) it confirmed everything my parent ever said to me.  I carry the guilt of causing my son’s suffering every moment of every day even though I didn’t know I was a carrier for his genetic condition, and neither did my ex-husband.  Parents, please watch what you say, count to 10, put yourself in time-out, all of which I’ve done because I don’t want my children to ever feel the way I do about myself.  They were never spanked or hit by me, nor could I even imagine hitting a child.  You don’t know how sensitive a child is, and I know my parent didn’t intend to hurt me as deeply as I was.  Spanking does nothing to teach respect for elders or parents.  Being an adult and reminding yourself that’s who you are when your children act like children, is vital to keeping their spirits intact, and showing them what a real parent is, someone who CAN either keep a handle on their emotions, or remove themselves from the situation (as long as the child/children are safe) until they DO have control.  Thank you for your research Dr. Holden, and please, keep it up.

  • Hsdeberry

    Spanking is for lazy parents who have no ability to control themselves, and refuse to think creatively and problem solve. My children have never been spanked and they are far from anything that resembles an entitled brat. Instead we teach them to have responsibility for their actions. We teach patience, love, and respect. Spanking or any violence towards children teaches none of these basic human values, and instead teaches hate, anger, violence, and that it is ok to use physical force to harm those who are smaller and weaker, and who rely on you. Certainly not anything I would want to teach any child.

  • kcarmichael

    I was spanked as a child, my siblings and I were whipped with a belt, matchbox tracks, hairbrushes, anything my 4’9 single mom with seven kids could get her hands on. It’s too bad that she did not have resources, the tools and the support to disipline us in another way. I feel so fortunate that I have never had to spank my child, now 10, and I have a partner that I can tag team with when I feel like I may get to the yelling point. But it is so obvious to me that I’m able to talk to my child with respect and she, in turn, respects me. But now as we approach the tween years, it’s a fine balancing act to define moments of respect and equality vs. entitlement and manipulation. I’m committed to giving her an equal voice in our home, as long as she’s not whining when she’s saying it!

  • Tammys

    My 18 year old son told me when he was 9 that we could do whatever we wanted to him, but that until he wanted it, it wasn’t going to happen.  Spanking clearly would not have impacted change in his behavior.  He continues to be a free spirit.  The difficult  boundaries and limits we have set while raising him have taught him the consequences of his behavior and let him know we love him. 

  • Stan

    This guest, as good hearted as he might be, reveals his poor parenting ability when he describes how his own son suffered from such incompetence.  How this man is supposed to be an expert in parenting is beyond me. 

    Spanking aside, does he not realize that allowing his son to throw tantrums for hours at a time means his child spent many unnecessary hours filled with rage?  His friend who said his child was going to grow up to be a criminal had his focus on the wrong person.  The one who was causing the problem the whole time was the incompetent parent.

  • Elizsteele

    I had a similar experience as Guest:
    When I was around 4 years old, my older brother and I were left in my grandfather’s care while my mother and grandmother went shopping.  My grandfather and brother began playing cards, leaving me to entertain myself, which I did by hanging around them trying to get attention.  I finally hit upon a way to get them to “play” with me, by snatching a pile of cards and running with them.  I was delighted when they began chasing me and was laughing when my grandfather caught me, until he began angrily spanking me.  I spent the rest of the day watching out the window for my mother and grandmother. 
    Until that day, I had idolized my grandfather, but afterward I hung around my grandmother and became very close to her.  I never again felt close to my grandfather.  And I never spanked my own child. 

  • RB Mom

    I was spanked by my father as a child, and I was terrified by it. Not to say that I didn’t require discipline when I talked back to him rudely, but he was emotional and overreacted when he was tired from a hard day at work. I look back at my childhood and know that he was a stressed-out young father with a wife and three kids and a house, just trying to make a living. So I have forgiven him for the mistakes he made as a parent. BUT…when my daughter was born 16 years ago, my husband, who was also spanked, and I agreed that we would not include that in our discipline strategy, and we have stuck to that. I did realize though, that it is a choice. I think every parent gets to the end of his/her rope at some point, and spanking is a tempting “solution” – the difference is being able to maintain that self-control and find other ways to achieve the goal. Tantrums were ignored, time-outs were (and still are) issued when tempers flared. My daughter is far from a spoiled brat – a hardworking student who is involved in many activities, and she has actually said to me more than once “I am so happy with my life” (and believe me, we live a pretty modest life, so it’s not about money and possessions). Even in the best of circumstances, parenting is trying and exhausting, but choosing non-violent methods for our children teaches them the lessons they need to learn for the next generation.

  • science?

    I’m curious if the parents who consented to be recorded for this study knew that the recordings would be played on national radio? Were they informed of that before consenting?

    I was also confused how the statement that study’s show that spanking is damaging line up with the study that spanking before age six predicted higher success in adulthood. We told that was because spanking in a loving household does not have the negative impact that spanking in a punitive household has. Well, wasn’t that controlled for in any of these studies?

    This doesn’t sound like science to me at all. It sounds like someone starting with an opinion and finding the “evidence” to support it.

    If we have a ethical complaint with spanking, why don’t we just be honest and say that? Why cherry-pick the evidence to support our claims?

    • http://www.hereandnow.org Kevin Sullivan

      In response to your question about the use of sound of spanking, we only used recordings of parents who gave their consent. 
      Kevin, H& N producer

  • Marges

    Alas, I did spank or should I say hit or maybe threw a shoe at my kids I would loose control It is the one thing I think I will have to answer for when I flat line 
    Lucky for society all 6 of them are not violent at all, although argumentive
    In today’s world I am surprised any one hits their children a time out for all is a great idea

  • Aimee

    I was spanked and I didn’t spank my kids. In my humble opinion, violence only breeds violence. Verbal abuse is really damaging too and many people don’t understand that. So many parents repeat the mistakes of theirs when rearing their own children. Remember what your parents did that made you feel frightened, helpless and terrible, and that most behavior is learned. When you hear a parents’ voice in your head, and it’s you speaking, stop yourself. I blog about raising teenagers at http://www.delaythatfirstdrink.blogspot.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dronzewski Steve Dronzewski

    Good!

  • Jean Smith

    Attestations of survival by the victims of physical violence is not enough. The childrearing via natural and logical consequences class  put me in control and ended the power struggle.

  • mom of 2

    my mother was a kindergarten teacher with a masters degree in child development.   she (and occasionally my father)  spanked me as child, as well as my older brother.  we were spanked for poor behavior or not doing what we were told.  for example, my brother was spanked for reading when he was supposed to be cleaning his room.  i was spanked for picking up sticks in the backyard and not being able to explain where i found them to my mother.  i kept saying “on the ground”.  after a forceful spanking – during which she kept asking me where i got them – she told me the sticks came from trees.  i remember being so sad and scared afterwards.  i was proud of finding the sticks and showing my treasure to my mother.  it still makes my hands shake to write now about the incident.  equally damaging for me, was listening or being present for my brother’s spankings.  he would cry and scream but stand there and take it as i cried in the background for my mother to stop. he and i both were suicidal as teenagers. he went as far as writing a will and sitting in the shower with a gun.  but he didn’t pull the trigger.  he is 41 now and says he has no bad feelings about the spankings.  he does not have children and most would consider him to be socially awkward.  he’s my only sibling, less than two years apart and we have a polite, but distant relationship. 

    my parents did not yell at us or eachother – they didn’t believe in it.  but they did believe in spanking on bare bottoms, with yardsticks and switches from our willow tree.   i became quiet and fearful, which was not the personality i was born
    with. i became a liar – something i didn’t want to be – at a young age in an attempt to avoid punishment. i forged my mother’s signature in the 1st grade when i brought home a bad grade on a worksheet that she was supposed to sign and return.  i wish i could have told that little girl who was me to tell my teacher that i would get spanked if i brought it home.  something tells me she would have understood.  i still trust few people, always believing they have ulterior motives or will hurt me emotionally. 
    as an adult, i have tried to talk with my parents about the spanking and our relationship, hoping to repair us somehow.  my mother denies the incident involving the sticks and still believes spanking is a reasonable form of punishment, as does my father.  i have implored them to promise my husband and me not to spank our children while in their care.  they say they don’t intend to spank; but they will make no promises.  we can’t discuss the issue any longer because they get so angry and defensive.  “you say you were brutalized and had a terrible childhood!” my father will exclaim.  i’ll calmly say, “no.  i never said brutalized.  i said spanked.  and i had a good childhood and many fond memories.  but the spankings aren’t in the fond memories.”
    spanking is a family issue that once started, will never go away.    when my son was born, i would look at the beautiful, innocent, brand new person in my arms and promise him that i’d allow him his innocence as long as possible.  he came into this world (in my care) as a blank chalkboard.  everything i put on that chalkboard will stay.  it may fade over time; but violence, harsh words (i have regrettably said them), and pain i accidently or intentionally inflict cannot be wiped clean.
    unlike my parents (and many other spankers) i can apologize for my mistakes.  i know right from wrong.  i believe most people do.  it’s time to stop pretending that spanking isn’t wrong.

  • Lbroughton85

    I don’t see how spanking as a disciplinary action (not beating) is damaging children respond to pain all the time learning from it most children wont grab a hot stove twice it hurts they learn from the pain

    • Guest

      The difference is that a hot stove does not have the conscious intention to bring hurt and pain to the child. A young child thinks its parents are gods and, when physical pain is inflicted by them, the child is bewildered because it does not understand how the parents who supposedly love them could want to hurt them. It is a tragedy to change the child in this way. I remember this clearly as a very young child, and my feelings toward my parents were never the same. I couldn’t process it. Even though as an adult I can reason through it, the emotional effect is permanent and has been damaging.

  • Jean S

    I’ve always read that if you yell about the act itself– “I’m getting angry telling you to put your toys away again” v.s. “YOU are a slob”, or “I get upset when you speak to me that way” vs “YOU are disrespectful.” Attacking the child’s personal being can be hurtful. Attacking the act itself allows for improvement.

  • Liz

    As violence is not a means for survival in our present-day society, spanking is out-dated and primitive. To grow as a culture, parents must find other means of communicating with their children. Discipline involves much more than simply discouraging negative behavior.

  • http://www.elainespicer.blogspot.com Elaine Spicer

    I, too, would echo many of Professor Holden’s thoughts.  And then offer a spin on “time out”.  If instead of time out, we give children “time in”.  A child is acting out because they need attention…they are stressed by something and probably don’t even know what.  If instead of sending them to their rooms to think about what they’ve done (which they can’t do many times because stress causes confused and distorted thinking)we bring them close to us and say something like “wow, you must be feeling really out of sorts (substitute appropriate words for the child’s age) come and sit by me for awhile”.  Then later when your child is calm and you are calm…talk about the incident.

  • Lisa Murakami

    Well, perhaps they are the extreme minority but my parents really did only spank us for very serious offenses, and it was well-reasoned and explained thoroughly to us; not a result of a lost temper.  I believe I was only spanked maybe twice in my life, and I recall that the first time was for biting my brother so hard I left scars he still has (I was 3, so old enough to know better – and not a habitual biter).  My brother and I both turned out fine – happily married, professionally successful.  I’m glad for everything my parents did raising us, including teaching us that a few very serious offenses have very serious consequences.

  • bright destmond

    MY NAME IS ELISABETH FROM UNITED KINGDOM.
    i want to use this golden opportunity to announce to the entire world, how happy and grateful i am today, shearing this testimony to the whole world. because of the full commitment with my ex after the casting of a spell by DR RAMAN that bring back my ex husband. it all happen after given birth to my first child, i found out that there was problem in my family because of the unusual behavior of my husband which lead to our break up, i tried all i could to bring him back, but all my effort was just a wast of time, the more i try the more things get worst, even when he hard the cry of my baby through phone call, all he could tell me was, *go to hail with the baby*, things went worst than i could Eva imagine in my life, all i was thinking about is how my child will feel when he found out that he grow up without a father, i was so worn out and confuse about life. the most painful thing was the fat that i love my husband so much to the extent that i could not concentrate in anything am doing. after five years of break up, i meet an old time friend, she was my course mate in the university, way back than, she ask me about my husband because she also attended my wedding ceremony, i was crying, then she notice that things went wrong, i told her every thing, she took me to this great DR called RAMAN,when we get there he told me not to worry that if i will let him handle the work that my husband will come back in 48hours, i thought it was a joke because have try three other spell caster nothing came out of it, so my friend told me to let him handle it, then i give him a chance, surprisingly the next 48hours i hard a knock on my door, then i opened, guess who i saw? i say the love of my live, he came with a powerful CAR, and some amount of money just to apologize to me, then i accepted. today we have three children and nothing will break us up again. if you need this DR RAMAN email him on ramansolutiontemple@gmail.com he is the best spell caster. thank you DR RAMAN, once again his email is ramansolutiontemple@gmail.com

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