Is spanking criminal?

[deleted account] ( 176 moms have responded )

While I realize we're all here working towards positive discipline, I've also concluded that we don't all feel the exact same way about every issue, so where do you stand?

Should spanking be illegal? Across the board, no exceptions? What are the exceptions?

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Jaime - posted on 06/03/2011

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Criminal...no. Abuse of power...yes. Parents shouldn't spank in anger...ever. And the flipside of that is that if parents are calm enough to deal with a situation without spanking, then there is no true need for spanking. It's not effective in teaching a child the difference between 'good' and 'bad' behaviour...it merely teaches a child to 'behave or get a spanking'.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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Now, I'm no expert but do you think it's possible you are being overly strict and they are rebelling?
There's obviously a lot of other issues going on there as well and it's probably contributing to their acting out. They are probably experiencing a lot of stress over the divorce, the new boyfriend and siblings etc. Have you ever considered family councelling?
These are all huge changes and stress for kids to experience and may be contributing to their overall behaviour.
Do they get enough attention from you now that they have to compete with the boyfriend and new siblings? Do you spend one on one time?
Do you think it's possible they're bugging you because they just want some attention from their mom?

Charlie - posted on 06/07/2011

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Stephanie said : I think anyone who can spank their kids when they *aren't* angry has far more problems than ones who spank only when angry. Isnt that cold blooded?


I COULD NOT agree more !

Jaime - posted on 06/06/2011

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PBS isn't exclusively a discussion community. Debate IS allowed. The OP asks whether or not spanking should be criminal and the majority of comments recognize that, while spanking isn't an effective form of discipline, it is not a criminal offense at its base. FAF, you are welcome to post your comments and you are free to argue that this is a bias discussion, but we are all aware that this is a non-spanking community discussing a question about spanking...so that point is redundant and ipso facto it is moot.



Humans belong to the animal kingdom, but we do not share every aspect of "animal nature" with other animals. We are closely related to monkeys, but I don't imagine there is one of us, in our adult lives, that flings poo or masturbates in public...all day long. I wouldn't raise my animals with physical discipline, so I'm most definitely not going to raise my son that way either. Children have a right to bodily integrity and the repeated use of spanking can often lead to latent emotional/mental trauma...I can speak from experience on that one. This is not a discussion to deliver harsh judgment upon those that choose to spank. Spanking IS legal in many countries, including my own (Canada), but I simply do not agree with it. You'll find though that society is starting to disagree with it as well, and there is a definite shift in the focus of discipline as being balanced between parent and child. We can't parent effectively if we have no self-control because the entire purpose of teaching and instituting discipline is so that kids will learn appropriate behaviour and be able to control their actions. We're aiming for pro-active...not reactive. We were all raised in a reactive era and it's a bitch of a habit to break, but it's possible. Spanking is not 'wrong' at its base, but it's certainly not effective and it definitely won't give children the mental/emotional tools they need to understand 'right' from 'wrong', instead they will continue a reactive cycle and perpetuate the already-existing problems that CAN arise from repeated use of spanking. Spanking should not be criminal because we have a long way to go before parents are able to see the true merit in positive discipline, but there should definitely be resources and opportunities available for parents to learn and improve on their own self-control so that they can create new habits of pro-active communication...and much more effective discipline strategies.

JuLeah - posted on 06/04/2011

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More then passing another law that will be broken, objected to, have to be enforced ..... why don't we TEACH parenting classes in high school. Why don't we make parenting classes part of the medical care women receive when they first learn the are expecting. Why do we have follow up care, espically for first time mothers, that includes paretning methods.
There are many different methods and I am sure one to fit most belife systems.
Spanking, it can be taught, is not effective unless your goal is to shame, confuse, create distance, and encourage disception.
I mean really, how many times do we have to do a study on this?

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Sally - posted on 01/08/2013

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NO! Different discipline methods work better for different children. While spanking is not the ideal, for a few kids it really is the best way to get their attention so they notice better methods.

Katie - posted on 01/05/2013

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NO. I spank my child. I do not beat him. However when he is being unruly and it is the last resort, yes I most deff spank him ON HIS BOTTOM. I also use other tactics such as the corner, time out chair and groundings even at 3. I have a friend who does not spank her children and they are completely out of control. They have no respect for her AT ALL or anyone else or their children. I also have a friend that I think spanks to much. Her child is very good but already resents her and it is obvious. It is a fine line. But I don't think the government should be the ones telling us how we should and should not raise our children. They have taken so many rights away from parents as it is to the point of children growing up with no respect/fear of their parents. Some children just do not need it. I have met children like that "gifted". That is a very small percentage of children. Most who have no discipline turn out to have no respect for their parents or others. Sorry if this offends anyone but this is my opinion and was asked to respond.

Joanne - posted on 05/05/2012

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Not illegal. But, it just shouldn't happen. Plain and simple, it's hitting your child and scaring them into obedience. Not the way to be done. Communication works better.

Shannon - posted on 03/28/2012

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we are not ones to spank but sometimes i feel it is nessary when you have tryed everything elses. my son is a special needs kid he has ocd angxity and major anger issues and he hates to be told no. when we disaplin him he gives it right back to us like he is our equle he says well you do it. i think with the way kids are going now no respect for adults we have gone the other way and let them have the control i admit i have spanked him after he has tryed to hit me and called me names . i dont like it but at that point what do you do.

Tabitha - posted on 10/27/2011

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I honestly don't believe that it should be. There are some of us out here, me included, that were raised with the "When we get home I'm getting the belt/switch/etc" There are times when that's the only thing that works (at least the threat of it anyway). There are times where I Have had to spank my kids for something that was massively huge. There was an instance when my daughter decided to go over to the neighbor's house while the kids were out in the yard playing. It took me 45 minutes to track her down (we lived in a pretty big neighborhood at the time). When I found her, I not only dragged her back to our house, but I tore her butt up because she knew that she wasn't supposed to leave the yard nor go into anyone's home. Scared me to death, and she got the point - Finally. This wasn't the first time this particular infraction happened but it was the Last.
Sometimes after trying everything else - it's the only thing that works. (should I expect hate mail now? lol ;) )

Merry - posted on 10/19/2011

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The bible actually doesn't say that phrase.
I think rods were used to guide sheep right? If you used a rod to hit a sheep you would loose your herd! So using the rod I'd interpret to mean guide. Not hit.

Jennifer - posted on 10/19/2011

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No I don't think it should be illegal. The Bible actually says spare the rod, spoil the child. I do not spank in general. I do not think it works for every child. For my toddler I have given him a swat on his hinie if I have to get my point across right away, for example running in the street. I do not ever spank my older children, there are more effective ways of discipline for them. I think if we made it illegal a lot of good parents and children would suffer. I find with my toddler counting works, if I say 1,2,3 now (not yelling), he straightens up and stops inappropriate behavior or picks up his toys. That's just my take on it, I'm sure most of you won't agree.

Angela - posted on 07/19/2011

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Said it before say it again I don't think it is ever okay to spank any child yours or anyone elses! I never seen spanking work as a good way to teach discipline where I could do the same with out spanking. In fact all I think it does is threat the child with bodily harm... you can do the same as no ice cream and go to time out.... but the idea of causing physical pain as a tool goes beyond my comprehension.

Merry - posted on 07/19/2011

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It's like where do you draw the line, is it ok to spank your niece or nephew? Is it ok to spank your step children?
How about adopted children?
Or is it only ok to spank kids that are biologically yours? Can dads spank?
It's just too many variables to try to define who can or can not raise a hand against a child.
So the only solution is to say no one can spank.
No child deserves to be hit.

JuLeah - posted on 07/19/2011

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Illeagle across the board. If I were to 'spank' a neighbors kid I'd go to jail, or my neighbor for that matter. I'd go to jail if I 'spanked' their dog, but my own kid I can beat????

Teach parents how to parent. Teach parenting classes in school, health, child development, what foods are actually good for you .... parents who lack skills hit their kids. Parents who know better don't. It's simple, but passing a law won't be enough, it will be a statement, but won't be enough.

It has not been that long that child abuse was even illeagle. Sexual abuse of a child became a federal crime not that many years back ... so we are moving in the right direction, but still lacking education

[deleted account]

No exceptions.It takes time and effort to always make sure you teach positively and react positively but its well worth the effort.I feel we can ALL do this.



You really have to want to better your ways of discipline/teaching etc.If you want to stop, i can tell you all.It is hard work and can be very challenging but so rewarding to see how well your children react with positive discipline.:-)



No child deserves to be spanked IMHO.You can raise children without raising a hand.I like many of you have taken the time and we put a lot of effort into making sure we never raise a hand or revert to how some of us were raised.



I would love to see a day were no parent raises there kids by raising a hand to them.It would be a small bit of heaven on earth in my eyes anyway.lol.

Jaime - posted on 06/13/2011

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Also, I want to point out that even though we are primarily a group of anti-spankers, that does not mean that we don't use negative discipline from time-to-time. This is about us ALL learning to improve our methods and create an overall positive outcome from behavioural situations. Brandy I hope you'll stick around and join some of the discussions, because we'd be glad to hear what you have to say :)

Jaime - posted on 06/13/2011

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I echo what Stephanie and Jenn have said, Brandy. Please don't hesitate to start a conversation (no matter the topic). At the core of this group, we aim to provide support and advice. It's obvious, yes that we don't agree with spanking as a method of discipline, but we're not here to try and convert you...we want to offer you some more tools to put in your belt and try out. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Jenni - posted on 06/13/2011

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@Brandy- This thread has kind of taken on a life of it's own in the last few pages. It's turned into helpful tips on alternatives to spanking. I think a lot of us 'anti-spankies' do not agree that it should be illegal but think education is the key. So that's what the last few pages have become about. We do not wish to judge other parents on their methods, it's obvious our community doesn't agree with spanking and we may even argue the demerts of spanking but that does not mean we think parents who spank are bad parents. We only want to encourage other parents to try different methods of discipline. Or at least be open minded to them and understand there are other effective measures of discipline out there you can use. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up spanking as a last resort. Just that there are other methods you can try foremost.
As Stephanie pointed out I have given lots of useful tips to different behaviours in the last couple pages. You can also start your own conversation or question about a topic you wish to learn more about.

[deleted account]

Have you read all of Jennifer's posts on this thread? She has posted alot of great information about positive parenting and ways to deal with your children other than spanking. What is your goal? Im asking so that maybe we can specifically target your needs or situation. Also, what language are you talking about?

Brandy - posted on 06/13/2011

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dana i did join this group to learn what types of alternative methods are use in discipline but im really starting to question if that info is even available here. i already know that most of the moms on here disagree with spanking and yelling and i dont really care about that, btw what is with the language?

Jaime - posted on 06/13/2011

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Michelle, no one here is going to chastise you for your choice to spank or your previous methods involving spanking. I'm glad you share your story with us and hope that you will find this community useful...even if it's just to vent your frustrations :)

Jenni - posted on 06/13/2011

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@Michelle- Well, we're here to help not judge in this community. I hope you will feel welcome here and safe to talk about anything. So let's get you started and dispell a few misconceptions on positive discipline.



Many parents think positive discipline revolves around time outs and this is far from accurate. Time outs are only a very small tool we use to discipline. Any 'punishment' (ie: timeouts and spankings) when used as the primary tool of discipline and not directly relating to the behaviour will quickly become ineffective.

Our goal is not to control our children or make them obey but to develop their critical thinking skills and ability to make positive choices for themselves.



We prefer not to use 'punishments' because punishments only teach children to obey the rules of their parents rather than fully understand why they need to follow those rules. Which can lead to power struggles, breaking rules when the parent isn't present, and lacking the ability to make positive choices for themselves in any given event.



So we strive to teach and guide rather than to punish and control.



Timeouts are often used by parents as a punishment to make children obey rules. I use them for an entirely different purpose; to teach my children how to calm themselves down when they're experiencing negative emotions. It's when we feel negative emotions, we make bad choices. For a toddler that may include hitting, biting, pushing, taking a toy away from another child, breaking objects or toy throwing. So we use the time out not as a punishment but to teach our children to go somewhere quiet to collect themselves before they make a bad decision. Because I try not to treat time out like a punishment, my children have learned to put themselves in time out without being asked. Anytime they feel angry or frustrated they will retreat to a quiet area like their room until they are calm and return to talk to me about why they are mad, upset, sad, frustrated.



In order to reach this goal you have to first teach your child the appropriate language to express feelings. This is a very important tool for a toddler to learn. If they learn the language to express their emotions they will opt to use their words over becoming physical. You can do this by expressing your own emotions into words, putting his emotions into words and other's emotions into words. You have to do this on a regular basis. In your case it also sounds like his hitting has become a game to him. Time outs will effectively address this issue but it will take time, patience and consistancy (it took my son a year before the hitting stopped but I also began at 18 months which is a bit too early for TOs to be effective). This is how I believe time outs will be effective to his hitting:

1) They ignore the behaviour (he won't get the reaction he's looking for from you)

2) Immediately stop the behaviour (do not give a warning for being physical) and immediately remove him from the situation before anyone else is hurt further.

3) Teach him to calm himself down

4) Be receptive to the simple lesson you teach him at the end of time out. For hitting that can be: "We don't hit, hitting hurts. We use our words when we're (mad, frustrated) and say "I'm really mad right now".

You have to do it every time and immediately the moment he hits. Avoid yelling. Think of it like this; if someone were yelling at you, your fingers probably go in your ears the minute they start and you start singing, 'la la la la'. People just don't respond to being yelled at. It may work at first but eventually that's all your son will be doing to you. For some reason it is very effective to get down to your child's level, make eye contact and speak in a low, clear and firm voice.



So far, I like 123 (magic) what you were refering to when you count to 3 but it is very important that you only use when listening is imperative! Don't over use it or it will lose it's effectiveness. I believe it's ok to use time out if they choose not listen. But again, reserve it for important issues and not every little infranction. Always try to find an alternative to using time out.



Use natural consequences. Children learn more from natural consequences directly related to the behaviour. They can be parent influenced, examples would be:

If you don't ask me politely, I won't comply.

If you yell, I can't hear you.

If your child rips a book- It goes in the garbage

If your child throws his favourite underwear in the toilet- he doesn't get to wear them until they're washed

If you child is jumping on the couch and you've warned him not to, he falls off and gets hurt- natural consequence

If your child refuses to pick up his toys- they get thrown in a bag and given away to needy children.

An older child who swears, has to write an essay on why they shouldn't swear and how it affects others around them.



Avoid power struggles. Two is an age of "I do!" and independence. So pick and choose your battles. Try to only concentrate on two important issues: Safety and Respect. All the rest are not very important at this age.



For safety, let's use your example of running into the road. We want to teach our children *why* they shouldn't run into the road. I personally think 2 is too young for them to understand or start teaching road safety. I started around 2.5-3 years for my son. Before that I took safety measures like keeping him in the stroller, carrying him, teaching him to hold hands... if you have a 'runner' don't be afraid to use a toddler leash or keep him secure in another manner at all times. Once his language is more developed you can start pointing out cars to him on the road, "See the car, see how fast it goes. We have to becareful not to get in the car's way or it might hit us". Point out vehicles whenever you're walking with him so he begins to pay attention to them. When you're waking make a point of saying: "We're at a road now, we need to stop. Now look that way (point) and now look the other way (point). Do you see any cars? No? Ok we can cross the road now." Or "Yes. There's one, ok we have to wait."



Because 2 is such an independent age: offer him choices (limited to 2 choices) over the little things in his life and when he's making a bad decision.

"Do you want to wear your red shirt or the green one?"

"Do you want peas with your dinner or carrots?"

"Should we buy bananas at the store or apples?"

In the case where he is making a bad decision, let's say he is refusing to take turns with another child:

"You can either give Angie a turn or we can put it away and find a different toy to play with".

"You can either play with your crayons properly or we can put them away."

This allows him to feel he is ultimately making the decision for himself rather than being told what to do.

The more you force and pressure a toddler, the more they will push back and refuse.



Keep him busy! A lot of undesirable behaviour occurs when a toddler is bored. If your son is anything like mine and is very active, he may require an outdoor activity once a day to burn off some of that extra energy. If he starts acting out, find him something to do or sit down and play with him.



Model behaviour. Children learn the most by watching adults in their life through their actions, not words. You can encourage this by role playing while you are playing with him. Teach him social graces through play. Model manners for him. If you feel yourself getting angry or upset tell him you need to go take a time out to calm yourself down and put yourself in time out. ;)



Understand that most of those undesirable behaviours children experience are just phases they will outgrow and completely developmentally normal. All they require is guidance through these developmental struggles and they will pass.

I have to stress, toddlers do not act out or engage in forbidden behaviours because they are wanting to be naughty or disobey. They do it because that's how they are wired, to experiment with cause and effect. It is how they learn about the world around them and should not be punished for it. They are not bad kids and you are not a bad parent. We've all been there, are there... so keep your chin up and stay positive. Toddlers mirror our moods. If you're angry, yelling or in a bad mood, your toddler will be too.



It's better to ignore negative behaviours and encourage the positive ones. You want to be at the point where you're doing more praising than chastising.



Be proactive in discipline not reactive with punishments. Prevent situations rather than react after those situations become out of control.



Anyways, here's some pointers to get you started. If you have any additional questions feel free to ask at anytime. We're here to help and discipline is a passion of mine. Sounds weird I know, but through these methods I've learned to make discipline fun rather than a battle of wills. ;) It doesn't have to be a chore or a struggle.



Try my child temperment quiz for additional ideas for helping your child based on their individual temperment:



http://www.circleofmoms.com/positive-beh...

Michelle - posted on 06/12/2011

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i have to say that i was at wits end with my son and had started spanking him, then i saw that he was hitting kids at daycare i had come on here and posted how horrible i felt and how it wasn't working only to be cut down by a whole bunch of people for hitting my son to begin with. Any ways im at the point now where he doesn't get hit but i do a whole lot of yelling in its place. And i really have found just recently that time out can be pretty effective but i have to put him in his room and close the door for two minutes, now i can usually say to him 1 2 u wanna go in time out and he responds mostly. If he is doing something dangerous and we are out like running from me into the middle of the street you can bet i would pick him up and give him a swat on his but, i only resort to that for something that is serious and dangerous. But i haven't seen much difference in his behavior since i stopped hitting his butt. But i grew up being abused AND YES there is a huge difference between being ABUSED and DIsciplined... Im not getting too far with either technique but i don't think i would resort back to hitting him instead of using time out because from what i have seen is that the wack is done and over with in a couple of minutes hes good but when i say you wanna get whacked on ur butt he laughs in my face when i tell him one two three ur going in time out it usually makes him do what i want him to do so overall i would use the time outs but i don't think making hitting criminal should happen i think its all up to parents to decide how they want to treat their children and if people were more like me when something wasn't working and really tried to fix the problem instead of using the same method over and over until it gets to the point of abuse out of frustration then it would be a better thing but most people aren't if they hit and get a laugh they hit harder and more and i have seen that and i don't agree with that at all

Jenni - posted on 06/10/2011

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Our method of getting kids to listen is to take them to a quiet, undistracting place. Get down to their level and make eye contact and tell them what we expect of them. It works wonders with my preschoolers. For an older child like your 11 year old you could take him to his room and sit with him on the bed and have a talk. Anywhere quiet where they won't be distracted by television, other siblings... somewhere intimate.



I wouldn't recommend using soap, it contains chemicals.



"This punishment still has advocates today, even though its use has diminished considerably in recent years in favour of discipline methods that are not considered violent or humiliating. Additionally, soaps and detergents can have potentially harmful results, especially if swallowed, including vomiting, diarrhea, irritation of the lining of the mouth and digestive tract, and in rare instances, pulmonary aspiration. A teacher in Rochester, New York was suspended in 2004 for washing out the mouth of a student for using vulgar language, but was reinstated after parents and family members of her students signed a petition supporting her actions.[1] In 2009, a mother in Palm Bay, Florida and her boyfriend were arrested for washing her daughter's mouth out with soap after taking the child to the hospital because of vomiting.[2]"



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washing_out...



I would suggest using time out with an explanation after that those are naughty words and he ought not to use them. They hurt feelings and are disrespectful. It takes time and consistancy. My son struggled with hitting for a year but time outs worked and he hasn't hit in 6 months now (he use to hit multiple times a day at 18 months).

At 2 they lack self control which factors into it being difficult to stop themselves or show much restraint. Any method as long as used consistantly will eventually work but i'd opt not to use soap or hitting.



Also eliminate the source of the bad language. Is he learning it from his older brothers? I would suggest having them write lines or essays about why they shouldn't use those words and how using those words affects others including how they affect their younger brother.

Yalana - posted on 06/10/2011

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I may be showing my age here, but do any of you remember that 80's movie "Moonstruck" with Cher, when she slaps that guy and yells, "Snap out of it" at him? Well, for me, the tap on the bottom/cheek is my "Snap out of it" shpeal. When it is used excessively (as in the days of slavery with whippings), then yes, it is abusive. Any child psychologist will tell you kids are self-centered beings who will zone out when they don't want to deal with reality (I believe kids were the original inventors of the "Happy Place"). Rather than knock my kids' heads off, I will lightly swat their bottom or tap their cheek to snap them out of it. I can't use too much force anymore do to my progressing osteoarthritis in my hands and shoulders. In fact, last night I weighed the choices of spanking my 2 yooungest for calling each other nasty names or having them hold a piece of soap in their mouths for a bit. I opted for the soap (Lava soap seems to work best), as it was my youngest son's first time with this type of reprimand. My 5-yr-old brought down a few small pieces that I had broken off of a bar a while ago and had each one sit at the table and hold a piece of soap in their mouths. My youngest spit his out after a few seconds and started crying loudly that he didn't want to call his brother names anymore. We'll see if this worked!

Yalana - posted on 06/10/2011

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JL - we tried the 5 mins of no tv, but we ended up cancelling the cable anyway because they would get up early on school mornings to sneak in some tv instead of getting ready for school. My tv has a lock-out code, but the tv was given to me without a remote and what the original code was. I wish I could've figured out what he code was so that we could change it and just block the kids out. Unfortunately, i would do this when we lived with their dad and they would sit in front of the tv and stare at the gray "locked out" screen for hours. I guess that was better than no tv to them! lol! But my main reason was because my oldest would hurry through his homework just to rush to the tv, even when it was turned off for study time. He would do his work incorrectly and would waste most of his time sneaking back and forth from his work to the tv trying to sneak a peek. Unplugging didn't help, he'd just plug it back in and turn it way down so that I couldn't hear it, disconnecting the cable from the box didn't work, he'd just reconnect it. And blocking out channels never worked, he'd just sit and stare at the blank screen. When he couldn't have tv, he'd beg us incessantly to DVR all of "his shows"...and it was quite a list. I did it to help take away the distraction so he could work on bringing his grades up. He did bring 2 up, but we were in agreement on all 4 coming up to earn some things back. I'm hoping to get them into soccer this fall if we are still living here then. His first grading period grades will determine whether or not he stays on the team. I am a huge advocate for having good grades to play sports, and my boys know this. I had my oldest explain to his coaches of his basketball team why he wasn't going to be with the team anymore. I feel that having them explain why helps to teach them responsibility for their own actions. My bf will do this with them if I go out and they do something they aren't supposed to. He will have them tell me what they did when I come home rather than he telling me for them. This way, they have to 'fess up to what they did and maybe feel some remorse about it.

Yalana - posted on 06/10/2011

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Thank you, ladies! I appreciate the words of encouragement. My bf and I were just talking about this when he got home from work this morning, among other things. I let the boys have "Speak freely" time whenever they've been talking to their dad on the phone or if I want to know what's on their minds, esp. after my bf and/or I tell them some kind of news. I make sure and let them talk about their visits with their dad, and I reassure them that if he does do anything to them to hurt them, they need to tell me as soon as possible. I've told my oldest that his 2 younger brothers need someone to help look after them and that he needs to be their voice when their dad does or says mean things to them. Although my 5-year-old is developing his own voice, my 4-yr-old is still the kind to keep quiet if threatened. All three haven't been to their dad's since Christmas. The boys have told me that he likes to put down my bf every chance he gets, and my oldest figures that his dad is just jealous. He says his dad will spend much of their time with him grilling them about my personal life, and my 2 oldest have point blank told him, "Dad, it's none of your business." He has resorted to buying the boys with trips to the zoo and museums, movies, toys, and other materialistic things. My bf will treat the boys to movies and toys, but only if they've earned it. I find it sad that the boys see right through their dad's actions, esp. when my 5-yr-old asks me, "Why didn't dad take us there when we lived there? Oh, yeah...he was drinking and watching movies in the bedroom all the time." He thinks that the way to his kids' hearts is to buy them whatever they want...this from someone who used to blame me for his and my parents' lavishing of gifts on the boys. I've tried to do my best to enforce the rules that were made when we lived with their dad but were never enforced by him. They were used to this lack of enforcement. Now that things are being enforced, it's freaking them out. I know it's going to take a little longer with the oldest since he did go through it the longest. He also knows that how his dad treats me is wrong. I have made it a point to let him talk about how he feels about what he has seen. He relates to my bf, as he has seen his dad abuse his mom. My son sees that my bf does not treat me anything like that. I have not seen or heard of my son hitting or being mean to a girl. My bf has expressed some concern over how he will treat his new sisters, but I tell him that if he sees him treating me with respect and love, he will do the same. My son would fight his dad whenever he would start hitting me. He asked me when my bf and I first started talking over a year ago..."Mom, did he ever hit you in high school?" Of all the guys I've dated (and that's not many), my bf treated me the best...the reason why we broke up was from my mother's influences. He never cheated on me, talked down to me, hit me or anything negative. I was surprised to hear he still had feelings for me after all the time we were apart. I've had bf's who cheated on me, accused me of cheating, and I married one who ended up abusing me. He has been cheated on and abused by his daughters' mother. We started out helping each other through our divorces and found that we have so much more in common. When the boys have asked me why we no longer live with their dad, I tell them it's hard to teach kids the right way to treat people when you live with someone who treats people so badly. They are very slowly starting to use their manners again out in public, but they were allowed to "forget" them with their dad that it has been harder to keep them mindful of their manners at home. I know I have my work cut out for me. I know they see me as a witch at times, but I tell them I do this to help them become better people.

Jaime - posted on 06/10/2011

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Yalana, I don't have too much more to add that Jennifer hasn't already covered, but I wanted to stress the importance of short, simple and immediate consequences (t.v goes off for 5 minutes) as opposed to long-term or distant consequences (losing t.v. for a week). The reason I bring this up is because you asked a couple of pages back how positive discipline could help in the situation of your son's grades dropping. Instead of taking away t.v., cable, games, etc...it might be more effective to disrupt his 'play/entertainment' because he has less chance of adapting to not having these luxuries and therefore he will miss them that much more and want to obtain them again. When kids go without t.v. or other such amenities for long periods of time, they adapt to the alternatives in the environment...or they wait until they are at school and borrow their friend's toys, etc. The point of a consequence is not to punish the action, so much as it is to teach that the action has resulted in the removal of a privilege for a period of time. Shorter periods of time are far more effective because kids have a short attention span. The other thing is dialogue. Talking to your boys is excellent, but it's not just about you doing the talking or leading the discussion and telling them what they did wrong. Something called 'ask, say, do" might be more useful in situations where your boys have said something or forgotten to do something. Ask them "what's wrong with this picture" and give them a chance to figure it out. Then discuss the problem with them and let them tell you how the situation can be fixed and then give them the opportunity to do it. Something as simple as forgetting to hang up a coat, put boots and backpacks away after school can be consequenced quite effectively without any kind of punishment at all. It doesn't sound to me like your ultimate goal in disciplining your boys is to want to punish them, but you also have to look at your expectations of them. You mentioned that their biological dad is a bit of an ass and you are worried they will turn out like him once they live with him...but you can't allow that personal fear of yours to dictate how you discipline them. Give them more credit that their upbringing in your home has taught them much more about respect and courtesy than the irresponsiblity their father so aptly displays. Time-out is an effective tool for helping to diffuse negative emotions. This also doesn't have to be about punishment. I know that you've said that you don't use spanking for every infraction, but it's possible from what you've said about your family that you can weed out spanking altogether...even as a last resort.

Jenni - posted on 06/10/2011

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Awesome job Yalana... getting them away from the situation with their father. Do you know of any incidents that have occurred since you split, on his visititations? Because if they ARE still being abused by him, they should not be left alone with him.



It sounds like you've exhausted all possibilities for school with him. I know it's disappointing if he is to fail a grade but it may be for the best in the long run. Just keep up the good work with staying involved in his school work. If you aren't already, have designated homework time every day. You don't necessarily have to homeschool, but sit down with him at least an hour a day and go over his school work with him. Although, homeschooling doesn't sound like a bad idea. The bullying is probably factoring into his indifference about school as well. I mean, who can really learn when they are being picked on in class? I would entertain the idea of homeschooling.



I'm glad your kids are happy about your new arrival and I forgot to say congrats. ;) I still think with all the changes to their family dynamic, overall the situation does cause stress. Not necessarily 'bad' stress, but stress of adjusting.



I'm glad you found a man who can model how a man should treat his wife. With repsect, love and dignity. It's great that your kids realize this too and that you talk to them about how their father's behaviour is unacceptable. I would still be concerned, particularly with your oldest... with being bullied by his father and at school, those are red flags for perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Keep him involved in theropy and make sure the abuse isn't continuing at his father's.



I know you have a fear of if you let loose at the reins things will spiral out of control. But you can't expect your boys to be perfect. They are only human, and kids at that... that are still learning and who haven't had the best role model in the past. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes and too much pressure breaks the camel's back. I am a very strong believer in encouragement and guidance rather than pressure and punishment. Of course, a household can work with both methods but it's best not to be at either extreme. You have to find a common ground.



Keeping talking to those boys about what they've experienced! Again, great job being so involved.



To me there are three golden rules to parenting:

Consistancy, Patience and Involvment.



Just keep in mind the abuse they witnessed and experienced. These boys, especially your oldest (with the bullying at school)... sounds like they need activities to boost their self-esteem. I know you mentioned scouts are there any other activities they're involved in?



We all experience struggles in every family. Your philosphy is one I've always had; how can you know what good things are if you don't experience bad things.



Like I've said; it sounds like you're doing all the right things. Although you know I don't agree with the spanking. ;)

There will ALWAYS be behaviours our kids engage in that we aren't going to agree with. Once they grow out of one, another will replace it. We just have to roll with the punches and stay consistant in guiding and disciplining them. They will never be 'perfect', they will always have their faults and struggles. They are human, like us. As parents we need to concentrate on their assets and strengths. Encourage those, shed light on them, strengthen them while gently guiding them through their struggles. Concentrate on what makes your children good people. Don't concentrate on their weaknesses so much.



Respect- I am a strong believer in that you have to earn respect, you can't force it. You can't force love and you can't force respect. I believe spanking/hitting does not earn you respect it earns you fear and compliance. By violating their bodily integrity, you are not showing the respect. Respecting out of fear is not respect, it is compliance... there is no emotion behind it and there is no meaning. If a man hit his wife every time she didn't show him love, she would probably show him affection out of fear. She would NOT truely love him just because she is mimicing the actions of love. Does that make sense?



Responsibility- the more you force it, the more they will reject it. Instead make it rewarding and fun.



Compassion- Model the behaviour!!! It will come in time.



Manners- Model the behaviour, do not comply if manners are not used.



Being positive while disciplining makes kids want to do these things. Being negative is forcing them to do it. Which means they will run into problems when you're not around. When the fear of being punished is not imminent. They have to truely want to do these things of their own accord. That is what Pos. Disc. is all about. Encouraging our kids to understand why these things are important and wanting to do these things on their own rather than forcing them to do it through fear of punishment.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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Yes, I did try tutoring, and the tutors told me what I already knew...he knows the work, there just isn't any force in nature that will make him DO the work. He was spoiled by his second grade teacher doing the written part for him that now, several years later, he still thinks that someone should do it for him. My bf has been having him do some of the chores around the house to help me out, but in a way I feel that in allowing that, I am undermining myself in my "It's my responsibility, I have to do it whether I like it or not, therefore I will do it" philosophy. I do want my kids to learn self-sufficiency and domestic skills, but I'm fighting with myself in getting them to do what is my responsibility...maybe that's my upbringing coming out in me. I was "scarred" more by having to raise my brother (who is almost 7 years younger than me) and take care of the house while my mom did her thing while we were growing up than I was about being spanked. When I wasn't raising my brother, my great-grandma was raising us. We spent most of our time at her house next door than at our own home. I remember more times of my mom yelling at me for not watching my brother when it was her responsibility to parent than I do being harshly punished. Boys have a different mentality than girls...we do what we need to do to stay out of trouble...boys will do something bad, then try to get out of trouble. I have seen this with my own boys. They know what they do is sometimes wrong, but they will do it anyway and try to weasel their way out of punishment. I knew that if I even thought of doing something bad, it would be quite a while before I would be allowed out of the house. My mom's methods were a bit...different...than many moms. I was never allowed to explain anything, talk about my feelings without being told I was wrong for it or that my feelings were stupid, or be allowed to voice any concerns without being slapped in the mouth. My mom expected too much of me at such a young age. I do not expect my oldest to "raise" any of my other children, but he tends to feel the need to be a father figure to his brothers. I try to get him to stop, telling him it's not his responsibility to parent them...just set a better example by thinking about his actions and their consequences. I try to provide a better example by taking care of my responsibilities and not complain about it. I suck it up and do it, as if I had no choice. I try to tell them that life isn't always fair or just...you learn to deal with it and don't let it get to you. If you can't take the bad stuff in life, how can you take the good stuff? I have made it a point to make sure that my boys understand what love is and that love doesn't mean being hurt by someone who claims to love you. This is one thing they have learned, as they are the most lovable boys I have ever seen. They will even say they want to teach my bf's daughters' brother that because he has been hurt by his mother so much. I know that some things are sticking with them...I just sometimes wish the stuff that is really important in life (respect, responsibility, compassion, manners) would also stick.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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It's funny you mention the baby, as it had been my boys who wanted me to have another baby, esp. my 5-year-old! They are thrilled to be getting a sister, and they are happy that my bf is her father. they've even begun to talk as if his daughters and their half-brother are their siblings, too! I went to the Goodwill store the other day to find some yard clothes for them to play in, and I had picked up a shirt that my middle son liked, but said, "We can give that one to Hunter when he gets here! And those dresses could be for our new sisters!". We have been very forthcoming about what is going to happen. They know why the girls and their brother were taken away from their mom, and that the brother took the most abuse from the mother. I hope we never have to spank any of the kids at any time. I'm not a believer in the "This hurts me more than it hurts you" way of thinking. I think my parents thought that way, that's what prevented them from disciplining my brother. I have also noticed that boys will attempt more tactics at getting away with things than girls. i wouldn't have dared to do some of the things my brother and bf did growing up because I knew I would have had my head handed to me. My brother on the other hand, could get away with anything. I also don't believe in singling out one child. I will dole out the punishment to all involved. If one messes up the bedroom and no one takes responsibility, all occupants of said room must clean it up. My boys share a room right now because I had to find a place to live in a few days time, so I had to get a 2-bedroom place. My youngest is good about putting his dishes in the sink after he has eaten, but my oldest still follows his dad's actions...leave it on the table and mom will get it. unfortunately, I have seen my ex and his brother do this at my ex-in-laws' house every single time we were there...irked me to no end. In my parents' house, you cleaned up after yourself. Your dishes were your responsibility. I refuse to remove their dishes from the table or search their room for dirty laundry. If it's not in the hampers by the machines when I do laundry, it does not get clean until you find it and bring it down. You miss the last load, oh well...better luck next time. I adhered to my parents' teachings, in spite of our lax relationship as of current. My bf is the same way. He and his dad do not get along, but he learned to respect himself and others...being in the military helped that, too. I moved to the area that I'm in now because I know there are parents here who do not coddle and spoil their kids and who genuinely care about how well their kids are doing. My bf and I were spanked as kids and we're not hardened criminals for it. We try not to do it often, but are not against doing it when it is deemed necessary. I don't do it without warning...I will give them a chance to correct their behavior, then spank if they refuse. Usually, my bf can get them to correct it. I asked him once what he thought I was doing wrong. He told me I wasn't doing anything he wouldn't be doing if they were his kids, but it's my voice. I get asked by telemarketers if my mommy's home when they call. I don't think I have a very youthful sounding voice, but what I hear coming out of my mouth is apparently different than what others hear. I tend to speak of experiences before I resort to physical discipline to help my sons see that if it can happen, it most likely will. I'm trying to get the "Oh, that'll NEVER happen to me" mentality of their father out of their heads. I tell them I never thought I'd marry someone who would abuse me physically and verbally, but it happened. I've even had to play the "If I were as stupid as dad says I am, would I be getting A's and B's in school right now? Would I have even gone back to school?" They agree that no, I wouldn't have and that we'd probably be stuck in his house forever. I admit, I am stubborn and so is their father, but my stubbornness got us out of that situation...their father's stubbornness is earning him enemies and death threats from the guys he works with and, as I believe, will ultimately be the straw that breaks the camel's back one day in his personal relationships with his parents, his kids, and his life.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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Stephanie-yes, my bf and my son were friends before we decided to become official. My bf and I have known each other since high school, and my boys enjoy hearing about what he was like back then. My son has also pointed out that he notices a big difference in how my bf treats me vs. how his dad treated and still treats me. Yes, my ex was very controlling. By the time I had moved the boys out, he was no longer giving me money or the freedom to buy food for them. The last thing he did to my boys was pin all 3 of them against the wall and scream and spit at them. My youngest doesn't remember much about it, but my middle one says that because of that, he doesn't want to talk to his dad anymore. My oldest remembers it well, because i was the one who had to push him off of them. I've had my oldest talk to a therapist about the abuse in conjunction with the bullying issues. I was told by the therapists that the bullying bothered him more than the abuse, because he has seen me fight back against his father. He knows I will not just sit back and take it. His father was controlling in the fact that he dictated where he wanted me to get a job, how I needed to be more like the people he grew up with (whom he HATED with a passion...go figure), and that I needed to be the person he wanted me to be because I couldn't think on my own intelligently (and I was the one who did better in school than he did..again, go figure). His biggest issue was with the photo albums I had from college. I loved taking pictures of my friends, and I have had more male friends than female friends, probably due to the fact that I hung out with my dad's younger brothers growing up. One night, it got to him so badly that he brought all my albums to me and went through every picture that had a guy in it and asked me 3 questions: 1) Who is he? 2) How do you know him? and 3) Did you ever sleep with him? If I answered yes to the third, he would pull the picture out and tear it up. If he wasn't satisfied with my answers to either of the other 2 (regardless of my answer to #3), the picture would be torn up. Right before i left him, he stated that he has never been able to control me. I politely asked him whatever made him think he could? My bf has known me about 20 years and still sees in me what he saw in me all those years ago. My ex only knows what he wanted to know about me, and that wasn't much. My oldest has repeatedly said that he is glad we don't live with his dad anymore. He hated it when his dad would hurt me or blame me for things going wrong when it wasn't my fault.
I have been told by therapists and parents that he would most likely do much better academically if he were homeschooled. He knows his father is very much against this. I don't spank him as much as I used to, partly due to my arthritis and that he is getting older. It's not a daily happening. I'm more likely to crack him across the mouth for talking back than spanking. he has been spanked by me when he was younger for things he no longer does, such as throwing his toys at others and tearing the sheets off his bed when he gets mad. Those things haven't happened since we left his dad's house. I spank the younger ones more for things like blatant disobedience, destruction of property (their own or others), or something serious such as physically putting themselves or their brother(s) in danger. I have asked my boys about their feelings toward my bf. They have expressed approval of him in that he has done things with them and for them that their dad never has. My middle son says he is more of a dad to them than their own dad. They don't like being made to do chores, but they know if they do them for my bf, he will treat them to some kind of fun thing. He takes them to the creek near our place and helped them to build a dam out of rocks. He has even helped me to give my oldest a little more independence in letting him ride his bike with friends around the neighborhood. My boys listen to him more than me...maybe it's a guy thing, I don't know. I don't think it's because he's "new"...he and I were talking before I got fed up with my first attorney and left my ex. We didn't become official until he came back from his trip out west last fall. My boys knew that we were close because they saw how his being away affected me, and my oldest would quite often say that he wished my bf would come home to us. He said he didn't feel like doing his schoolwork because he missed having my bf around to have fun with and to ask for homework help on (he's better at some subjects than I am, and vice versa). When my bf came back, my son started doing his schoolwork, his homework, and started helping out around the house. That is, until their father began to sneak down to their school and take them out of class for several hours each visit. I don't know what he would say to them, because the principal would never tell me. The boys would tell me they spent most of the time with him telling him they like it here and they didn't ever want to go back up there. I'm sure their dad was putting things in their minds like he did when we lived with him. I've asked my sons if they want to talk to someone about how they feel. My middle son asked, "Why? We have you, mom!" I think the boys have adjusted very well to everything. They will ask where my bf isat least once a day, mostly when he's at work. I have had my oldest evaluated for learning disabilities and such, and 2 doctors have said he has nothing wrong. I'm a believer in the fact that every kid learns differently, and that just because a child learns differently, it does not mean that there is something wrong with that child. I am book smart. My brother learned by tearing something apart and trying to fix it or put it back together. My bf is both. My oldest will find one thing and concentrate on that one thing for a very long time and ignore everything else. I was raised that you did what you were told when you were told to do it, and you did what you had to do first whether you wanted to or not, THEN you could do what you wanted to do. I've been raising my boys that way, but they continue to fight it. I had no choice growing up but to do my schoolwork, no matter how boring it was...I had to suck it up and get to work. While I admire teachers who teach today for actually having the patience to deal with some of these kids today, I question some of their methods. My son has had teachers who would do his written work for him and just have him verbally give them the answers, and some that would give him chance after chance after chance to get it done, taking away recess/lunch/gym/music/art/etc. That's giving him too much, in my opinion. When I was in school, you either did it or you got an F and trouble at home if you had parents who cared. I tested the waters in 2nd grade by not doing a math worksheet. What it got me was an F on that sheet, a spanking at home and grounded from tv and all civilization other than the bus ride to and from school for 2 months...never did it again. My boys know that if mom has to spank and aggravate the old arthritis, it must be really bad. I've been trying to not use it as a crutch like some people do, spanking for looking at someone cross-eyed. On average, i may use it a couple of times a month altogether. I do not tolerate backtalk, and I will swat them on their cheeks to end that. I don't get a lot of back talk, mostly they ignore me when I ask them to do something or to stop doing something they know they aren't supposed to do. I recently started to combat their fascination with swear words toward each other by breaking off little pieces of soap and having them sit a piece on their tongue for a few minutes. This has stopped the older one, and the 2 younger ones have started to realize that mom does what she says she will do. Although the progress has been slow due mostly to years of no back-up, it is starting to take effect. I tell my oldest that if he misbehaves like he does at home out in public, I will not hesitate to give him a good swat on the behind. He looks at me at first as though I were joking, but then asks if I would really do that. I ask him if he would be embarrassed by it, and he usually says yes. Then I say that he will then know how embarrassed I was about his behavior. He has had another 11-year-old tell him that he needs to start acting better, especially around his brothers, because they will do what he does. I think this may have hit home for him. I have told him that I would like to start spanking less and complimenting more. I do "catch" them being good and I will point that out to them and each other. But with many kids, esp. today, being good isn't fun...being bad is.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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Well Yalana, it sounds like your doing all the right things. I am a little concerned about the spanking considering what they've experienced with their father. Considering the situation with the abuse, (and honestly, I don't view a spanking as a last resort always constitutes abuse, it is an abusive behaviour but I wouldn't consider it an abusive home) but considering what they saw happen to you and what they've experienced at the hands of their father. I am highly suggesting, you put an end to it. I can see that when parents use it purely as a disciplinary measure it is not alway overly detrimental. But I would fear that your boys having seen their father treat you the way you do and not being told it is never right to hit... you condoning the hitting by modelling the behaviour is ultimately going to have some really scary consequences for those boys.



You need to tell and show them it is not right under any circumstance before it's too late and they continue the cycle of abuse that they learned from their father. If that hadn't been your situation, I wouldn't feel as strongly as I do about putting the spanking to bed. But I think it would be very helpful to your boys if you explain to them that hitting is wrong under any circumstance and that you shouldn't hit them either.



Maybe instead of just taking my word for it you could talk to their theropist about it. I'm sure he wouldn't recommend it in your situation.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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I've always made it a point to let my kids talk about how they feel about anything. My oldest and I talked about the possibility of divorce 2 years before it took place. I wanted him to know that it would never be his fault or his brothers' fault and that his father and I still love them no matter what...we just couldn't get along living together and being married. He didn't want us to divorce, but he knew onhis own that things would not get better. he knows his dad is an alcoholic and is abusive. He was in therapy because of bullying issues at the schools he had been going to. He was in therapy at the school this past school year. He was asked repeatedly about the divorce, since it is still fairly new. His therapist told me his response, and I wasn't surprised by it at all. The therapist said, "I asked your son how he feels about the whole divorce issue. he said, 'I'm glad we don;t live up there anymore, because the people down here are waaaaaay nicer than up there, my dad isn't here to hurt us especially my mom, and my mom is happier, so we're all happier." I know this came directly from my son, because he is fiercely loyal to me because he knows I will take care of him until he's on his own. He just has had too much of his dad's "Your mom's stupid" theories engrained into his head over the years and it has been hard to undo that. He likes my bf, but is afraid his dad will hurt him or me for it, because his dad will take potshots at my bf any chance he can. His dad was raised by people other than his own parents and did not get the parenting of his own parents. My 5-year-old will tell his dad how it is and is not afraid of him anymore, whereas my oldest will walk on eggshells around him just to keep him happy. I tell him he does not have to do that. He knows how his father is. He knows that his father will start screaming like a little girl if he spills water on the floor, but will laugh if he throws a baseball through a neighbor's window. His dad claims that a housekeeper once abused him (she tried to scold him for doing something wrong, and his parents fired her for it...explains a lot to me, anyway!). S for puberty, I've been talking with him about that for quite a while now. He's still outgoing, talkative and generally happy when I'm not saying no or asking him to do a few chores. I've talked about hygiene and moods during puberty so that when it does happen, he doesn't freak out on me or anyone else. My bf has offered to talk with him about things I either know little about or that I am uncomfortable with, but we both agreed that "the talk" should be done by both of us together and with his dad, too. We are actually surprised that he hasn't asked about his half-sister yet, since he has indicated that he knows my bf and I are in the same bed and that we've "done something." (his words, not mine). I think he is progressing normally into puberty a little early, as he has shown an interest in certain aspects of females, mostly out of curiosity. My bf has been open to allowing my son to ask questions of him and myself as well. He has a lot to deal with, having seen his dad hurt me several times. I have let him talk about this and I believe that it has helped more than taking him to some psych. He knows that I will listen to his concerns/worries/gripes/compliments anytime. My middle son has seen this and will spontaneously volunteer his feelings on a whim. They know that I am trying to keep them safe, happy and healthy. My oldest has already formed his own opinion of his dad, and my middle one had his before the oldest. My youngest son has been the one to adhere more to manners and respect than the other 2. His older brothers will pick on him, yet he still shares his stuff with them. I make a note to point this out to them. They see that this kind of behavior is very acceptable to me and my bf. I think they really want to be better, but their dad's influences have been a very hard habit to break. I hope that in time, they will stop thinking like their father does of me, and start to remember what we've taught them. Plus, as I get older, my arthritis doesn't like it when I spank them :s

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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If your ex is abusive towards the kids. I would revisit your custody agreement and fight for supervised visitation.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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But... it doesn't sound like the spanking is working in your family either?

I am in a different boat than you. Through my personal experience I have known families who don't spank who's children are very respectful and successful and I have known plenty of parents who spank who's children are completely out of control, jobless, aggressive and disrespectful.

It sounds to me like spankings are not working in your family because there are so many underlying issues. You said your ex was abusive to you and your children. Well, those sort of things leave scars on kids and contributes to their emotional, behavioural issues. I'm not going to say a spank as a last resort does that... but if your ex was handing out beatings on them... well, that could be a be a big part of the problem.

I honestly think these problems must run deep and the best route to take would be to speak to a professional, one that specifically deals with victims of abuse. A family theropist for you and your boys would be best along with some one on one councelling for the boys.

You have to get to the root of the problem in order to fix it and by the sounds of your story... that root runs deep. It is probably a combination of the abuse they suffered by your ex and how they witnessed him treating you (was he controlling? are they treating you as he did?) and all the huge changes being made to their family dynamic.

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Wow Jennifer, you are amazing. When I read your posts I realize these are my exact thoughts but no way could I 'verbalize' and articulate them the way you do. Great job! And great job reaching out to someone and genuinely trying to help.

Yalana- How long have you been with your bf? Did you son have a friendship with him before he became a parental figure? Maybe it's hard for him to accept that this man who is not his father is taking authority over him. Maybe it would be better for the bf to take a step back and let you deal with your son's behavior while he (the bf) concentrates more on building a trustful relationship with him rather than being a disciplinarian or punisher.
Also, have you looked into possible other causes for his behavior, like a learning disability, depression or bipolar disorder, anything in that arena? Although I dont know you I feel that it's safe to say that something more might be going on with him other than rebellion. Something is really effecting this poor kid and smacking him is not the solution. You have to find the root of his problem and then take steps to diffuse the issues.
Jennifer is much better at this than I am but I wanted to throw some thoughts in there. I'm glad that you're taking the time to talk and read in this forum and hope we can help.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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I do give them attention. I will spend time with them one on one, not every single night but I will take one of them with me when I go out to do errands. My bf will do the same. He makes a trip into town usually on Saturday and will alternate which boy goes with him. I will do the same thing. I tuck them all in at night, as my bf works nights. I listen to them when they voice concerns or have something to talk about. I've found that my boys have a lot more in common with my bf than they do their own father. And I have been told that I am too hard on them...and these are usually the same people who are telling me this as I watched their children beating up some helpless kid behind their backs. I had a former friend call services on me, only to have been witness to her oldest molesting one of her twins. My response was always, "No, I don't think I'm being hard enough, because my kids are starting to remind me of yours, who, btw, are beating up that kid over there as we speak." I used to live in an area where parents aren't parents and kids are allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want. I do not abuse my kids as my ex-husband abused me and my boys. He would take my oldest out into the garage and belt him if he thought my son's math grade wasn't coming up soon enough (usually a week was all he gave my son to bring it up). I try to use the life experiences of myself and other people to make my son realize that if it can happen to someone else, it can happen to him, too. I have never been so harsh with my spanking as to prevent him from sitting or to cause marks or bleeding. That's not me. My bf was raised more strictly than I was. We don't spank for everything, and a good spanking is reserved for serious issues, such as repeatedly disobeying and blatant disrespect to anyone. We swat their bottoms to snap them back to the real world when they've taken their minds elsewhere, and we take things away as a general start. He does the same thing with his daughters when he is visiting them. His oldest will grab things out of her sister's hand and he will take it back and give it back to the younger one and tell the older one, "No". If she tries it again, he will tap her on the hand and say, "No" again. Usually, twice is all she needs...for now. My experience with kids is this will suffice until they catch onto the whole idea and begin to test the waters with other methods. My boys have known kids who can get away with murder, even with a school principal. My oldest has begun to try these "techniques", having been told that they work. I have to keep reminding my son that although these may work with those kids' parents because they've been doing it for so long, they will NOT work with me and that I know all about these "techniques", because I saw kids try to do them when I was younger. Back when i was younger, parents were stricter than me. I grew up with kids who did not dare to step one toe over the line, and there were some who could rob a bank and not even have a finger pointed at them. I just don't believe in this "passive parenting" idea, and I feel that since discipline has pretty much been done away with, things are only going to get worse.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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That is excellent you've been so involved and creative with his education. I imagine you've talked to him about the divorce... what does he say? How does he feel?
You may be right, it may just take some time for him to adjust to his 'new' life. How long ago was the divorce?
mmmmhmmm and I suspect puberty is coming into play too. Is he unusally mopey? Introverted?
oooo and a new baby as well? Oh boy. That is A LOT for an 11 year old to adjust to.
I think he needs extra mom time, big time! Do you talk to him about all these changes and how he feels?

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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Always, every time, yes, and yes across the board. Both me and my boyfriend did. We even called my bf's brother, who just graduated from college last year with a degree in math to help US help my son! He has no interest in the computer other than to watch Legos Star Wars on YouTube, he hates math (I don't blame him, but I suck it up and do it), he loves to draw, which the only problem I have with that is when he draws instead of doing what he should be doing first such as schoolwork. His father and I took him to natural history museums several times when he was fascinated by dinosaurs, I would look up stuff with him on the computer and at the library about dinosaurs when he was younger, same thing when he was wanting to become a praying mantis grower, and he's been to zoos and other places of interest for him. Now, he just wants to draw all the time. I admit, it has become a sort of therapy for him in dealing with the divorce and especially how he doesn't like the fact that my bf and I stand side by side in regards to discipline. He does not think ill of my bf, as he says he wouldn't mind if we got married someday and he became their stepdad (officially). He just isn't used to having 2 adults doing the parenting. Granted, it may be too much to expect an 11-year-old to adhere overnight...I don't believe I have expected that. I do expect that something I've been teaching him since he was able to sit up and crawl to be adhered to as he gets ready to enter his teenage years. And we all know that when there are younger siblings around, they will act like the oldest sibling, making it more difficulty to teach them right. I just hope that my oldest one begins to adhere to things again before my bf and I have our daughter in 2 months, before we get my bf's kids and we are all living under one roof.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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I'm glad all that works for you. It's been tried here. I still tell them the consequences of breaking a rule, and they break it anyway. I say no, and for me it's the end of the discussion. For them, it's a cue to pester and bug until someone somewhere caves. My boyfriend says no, and it's the end of the discussion for him as well. His daughters are 2 and 1 and he's only recently been able to start taking part in their upbringing due to their mother having lost custody of all 8 of her kids. Their mother had been diagnosed OCD at age 10 and uses her obsession with having clean carpets to "discipline" her kids for getting them dirty. Her method was to forbid the use of the bathroom for urination, bowel movements were to be held until arrival at school, no meals until the carpets were clean, any "discipline" needed outside of the home entailed being verbally ridiculed (loudly), and bitten. We know that if we adopt the girls' older half-brother that we will have our hands full teaching him how a family is supposed to be. He is 5 and will need much more attention, education, and proper discipline. I know I can't adjust our routines to accommodate the other parents'. My boys hardly see their father anymore even though he technically has custody (mostly out of spite for me). My stepdaughters' mother is deadset on getting my boyfriend back into her life and home and will use the kids to try and manipulate him to no avail. There are some very headstrong people in this world, kids included, who convince themselves at whatever age they do it, that adults are not going to "rule" them, let alone parents. They are so strong-willed that they may never learn the lessons they should have learned as children. As much as I love my boys and want them to grow up to be good people, all 3 are extremely headstrong in fighting against discipline.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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Do you do homework with him?

Check his homework when he's through?

Peak his interest in things he's studying by taking him on field trips?

Googling things he's studying? Try science experiments with him?

Having him write stories?

Have him practice extra curricular math?

Hire a tutor?

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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Yes, I can see that being very difficult when both parents are not on the same page. It is imperative that they are. I tend to be a little more strict than my husband but we have discussed it and whenever there is something we don't see eye to eye on, we discuss it in private after the kids have gone to bed. We then try to find a compromise. It can be an adavantage when one parent is more strict and one more laid back. If you are both willing to compromise, a common ground solution is usually the best for all involved. Unfortunately, I can see that being an issue in a divorced family and all though I may not have answers for you in that category, I believe there are other moms here who can give you some helpful tips.

I do have a step daughter. My husband's daughter from a previous relationship. We tend to be on the same page as her biological mother for the most part but of course there will always be things we don't agree on. We have to understand that we cannot change our house rules to accomidate her mother's as we have other children. However, we have had very few issues with it. My SD is very well behaved and only requires a 'chat' about a forbidden behaviour and it is rarely repeated. She is eager to please.
My son on the other hand is more strong-willed and independent. He requires more 'creative' disciplinary measures. ;)

You can only control what happens in your house, not his. I know that's got to be tough but it doesn't sound like he was very supportive when you were living together either.

You could start off by setting up clear rules for your household and explain the consequences for breaking each rule. Devise appropriate consequences depending on the defence. Talk over the house rules with the kids.

I would also suggest giving them reward charts to *earn* their priveledges. Much like we have to work to earn our priviledges (incentives) at work. You could do it in the form of allowance or video game/computer/tv priviledges. They have to earn by doing chores.

I think simplifying the rules is one of the best approaches. Your house rules could look something like this:

No disrespectful behaviour including- back talking, yelling, name calling, shoving, etc.
When I say No, end of discussion (try not to say no for every little infraction, it will lose it's meaning... stick to the important behaviours)
Safety- no horseplay in the house, etc
and whatever other issues you think need to be addressed in your household.
Remind them this is your house, not dad's house... different rules for different houses.

If they break the rules they can lose tv time that night. Stick to your guns.
Stay consistant!

Try not to tackle every little issue with them at once. This might be overwhelming... start small and working your way up.
Avoid unnecessary power struggles and give them choices in their life over the small things. Give them a sense of control.

Have family discussions. Arrange a special time to sit down as a family once a week and discuss issues in the home. Ask for their imput. If there was an especially stressful issue that week. Talk about it with them. Tell them what would have been a better approach, a better decision (also make sure you talk to them about this after they make a bad decision and they are calm, what could you have done instead?) TALK TALK TALK.

Don't be over critical. Concentrate on their positives. If someone was constantly putting you down... would you want to try harder to achieve positivity? Or would you feel defeated and like you're no good, so why bother?

Anyways... I got loads more... but just to give you an idea of what we practice.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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I do the same things...break a toy, throw it away with no replacement...make a mess, clean it up...these do not work for every child. I have always done my best to enforce these rules since they were small. It worked for a while with my oldest when he was the only one, but after a while his father would "intervene" and tell him he didn't have to do anything he didn't want to. I had him cleaning up his trains and even earning money based on how many trains he would pick up so he could buy himself other train things, usually no more than a few cents per train based on size. I still use the consequence method with the backing of my boyfriend, but they still insist on doing things their way, as they did with their father. The older they get, the more they do it. "Positive discipline" is an oxymoron when it comes to raising kids. There is more than one meaning to discipline, the one we use to teach our kids to be better people through choices and actions, and self-discipline. Since many kids don't get self-discipline until they join a martial arts class or the military as adults, then we are responsible for teaching them that their choices and actions have consequences, either good or bad. My oldest son was failing 5th grade, and we took him off the basketball team, barred him from having friends over, took away the computer and cancelled the cable, and pulled him out of scouts much to the disappointment of my father. We said that if he brought all his grades up to C's, we would start to give him back everything we took away. This did not motivate him. He only brought up 2 grades reluctantly and stated he didn't care about school anymore. To this day, he does not have back anything we took away from him, and he couldn't care less. How does "positive discipline" work here?

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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I'm so glad to hear that your children are part of group who don't act like heathens! There are so few kids like this anymore! I've tried talking with them about what they did wrong, and it seemed that I was the only one who saw anything wrong with what they did. Their father was absolutely (and still is) no help. he would either let them get away with it and undermine me (in cases of serious issues) or completely fly off the handle and pin them to the wall or shake them or throw them down (in trivial issues). Now that we are divorced and the rules that should have been enforced all those years are being enforced, my boys continue to act the way they did before. Kids are super intelligent when it comes to manipulating discipline. We as parents have to be a couple of steps ahead of them so that we don't just throw our hands up in the air and give up. I say no a lot myself, but they think "If we bug her enough, she might just give in." They've been trying this for years and it has yet to work, although they constantly try it. I've heard it all..."You always say no"..."That's so unfair!"..."We never get anything (to which I reply "You'll get it when you've earned it")". They know that somewhere along the way, they will find someone who will get sick of being bugged (usually their dad or my parents) who will give them what they want. Then they expect me to do the same. I am unrelenting as well, but this only seems to excel their intent of breaking me. Now that I have my boyfriend to back me up on disciplining, they find they have another roadblock in front of them. Unfortunately, this has not deterred them in their efforts to continuously disrespect me and my property or others' property...or even their own. I am fighting their father in court for custody because I know that once they go to live with him, I will lose my boys in more ways than one forever. They will become the abusive, paranoid, disrespectful, ill-mannered adults their father is and always will be. I'm also afraid he will teach them to be more manipulative when it comes to turning on the "charm" to gain someone's trust before he turns on them after getting what he wants. I don't spank on an hourly basis, just when the need warrants. I was spanked more than my brother, who needed it way more than I did. I have more respect for people and have better manners than he does and my parents have regretted not disciplining him as much as they should have. I just hate seeing kids acting as if they were raised by themselves. Thank you for being a parent to your kids and not letting them be like too many other kids today. I admire parents who aren't afraid to be parents.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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positive discipline does not mean we are 'coddling' our children. It means we are treating them like human beings. It means we are giving them the credit that they deserve and not treating them like mindless animals. It means we have other solutions to discipline without using corporal punishments.



We use natural consequences or punishments directly linked to the behaviour (with as little parent intervention as possible). An example of this would be the one I gave above. If they ruin a toy, rip a page from a book... it goes in the garbage. If you make a mess, you're expected to clean it up. If you don't ask nicely, you don't get what you're asking for until you can ask nicely. If you raise your voice to me, I cannot hear you and will ignore you. If you don't eat your dinner, the rest of the family will enjoy dessert but you wont. If you take a toy from another child, you will be expected to give it back. If you can't share, the toy will be removed until you can figure out who's turn it is. If you choose to use profain or derrogatory language you will write lines apologizing and explaining why those words are hurtful to others.



All these things can be taught without spanking... but explaining clearly what you expect of the child, modelling behaviour, natural consequences, reward charts, time outs, your voice, passive discipline, understanding your child's behavioural development and more tools us positive discipliners use.



I have known plenty of parents who spank with disrepectful, emotionally unfit, socially inept etc. children as well.... it's a two-way street.



It is not the method of discipline we use that creates these things in children. It is the *lack* of discipline, involvement and consistancy that can occur in both methods.



To me spanking in any situation is unnecessary. And if hitting our children is unnecessary and the same results can be achieved without hitting.... wouldn't most parents want to choose the latter?

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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hmmm I think we have a lot of misconceptions here on positive discipline it does not equal permissiveness. For one; my children are far from spoiled. lol. They don't get their way, they don't get toys when we go shopping or candies or the like. If I say 'no' I mean it and I do not cave in. I am an unmovable stone. My kids at 3 and 4 know this already and do not tantrum over not getting their way. They may whimper a little but nothing lasting longer than 30 seconds and no full blown tantruming.
Just because I don't add insult to injury doesn't mean my kids get their way.
My kids respect our property. They do not break toys or books because they know they will immediately be thrown in the garbage and not replaced.
My children have never wrecked anyone's home or property. If they make a mess, they clean it up. My children don't even argue with me when I ask them to clean their room. They are expected to clean up a room before they leave to play in another and they do this all on their own 80% of the time and may I remind you, they are 3 and 4. Otherwise I just have to remind them once.

My kids do not yell or hit. They express themselves with their words. Have since they were 2.5 yo. ;)
They say "May I, please, thank you" after every request and everytime they receive something. I won't comply when manners are not used. I also model the behaviour myself.
My children are often complimented on their behaviour.
But enough bragging about my kids.
Again, positive discipline does not equal permissiveness. I simply don't have to hit them to get the same results as you do from your children.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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Also, I feel discipline is what parents teach their children. Punishment is what happens when that person does not adhere to the discipline their parents taught them as children. I have yet to meet more than a few children who genuinely feel remorse for doing something bad or making a wrong choice. Only those who have been well disciplined and not coddled actually showed remorse for something they did. My ex-husband's method is to blame someone else for it or downplay the incident. There are some things to not get all up-in-arms about, but the things that are serious need to be treated as such, and the minor incidents just need a stern verbal reminder. Excessive use of spanking would most likely lead to more problems later, but what is right for each child should be determined by their respective parents. We are the parents! Today's children need to be taught that we are the authority figures until they are out on their own, not their bestest buddies.

Yalana - posted on 06/09/2011

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When a parent uses extreme measures (such as electrical cords) to punish a child, then that is abusive. A hand or thin wooden paddle is acceptable in my book. I was spanked as a child, and I have more respect for others and their property than these children who grew up with "Spare the rod, spoil the child". I will swat them on the bottom to bring them back to reality when I am trying to discipline them and they start zoning out. Children were the inventors of the original concept of "Find your Happy Place". My boys will look at me, but have this look in their eyes as if I had just spoken to them in a foreign language. My oldest, who is 11, will get a finger tap on the cheek to bring him back to the real world. If the offense is bad enough, I will spank them a couple of times, regardless of age. With the oldest, it's more of an embarrassment for him since he is so much older than his brothers. Passive parenting is the reason we now have so many more spoiled children in this country than when we were growing up. My ex-husband would reluctantly spank our boys then blame me for even having to use the tactic. My boys saw this and have tried to use that to their advantage. My boyfriend and I believe that discipline does not begin with "We don't do that in this family". Good discipline starts with respecting one's own property and showing the same courtesy toward others. Kids are much smarter and catch on faster than we did. They let us think they are being good, but once we turn our backs, tongues are out and middle fingers are up at us. I have seen it so many times how parents are oblivious or act clueless as to their own child's behavior. Manners have gone out the window and respect has been removed from the dictionary of life.

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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To answer the question I asked: there are stipulations in my country- you can not use a tool to spank and you cannot spank under the age of 2 or over the age of 12.

I'm not sure if these laws are followed but they exist. I think it is effective at sending a message to parents and they would be more likely to practice corporal punishment carefully. At least the law abiding citizens.

[deleted account]

ok well maybe i used the incorrect word so u can switch discipline to punishment if it makes more sense

Jenni - posted on 06/09/2011

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I do enjoy disciplining. ;) But I also don't believe in punishment or punishment with little parent intervention (natural consequences). I enjoy treating disciplining as guiding and teaching my children. I believe it is possible to discipline without punishing. I believe children naturally feel guilty for disappointing or making bad decisions. I believe in concentrating on their positives and guiding them through their struggles.



I love disciplining my children!!! I feel it's very important, challenging and can be a lot of fun.

Disciplining doesn't have to be a negative thing. ;)

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