Spanking - consistent with AP priniciples?

Geralyn - posted on 06/06/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Yet another post about spanking.... but its particularly disturbing.



http://apps.facebook.com/circleofmoms/ex...



Question to the group: Do you believe that Attachment Parenting and spanking or other forms of discipline are consistent with each other? As evidenced in the link, somehow if you do not spank, then you do not discipline, or what I like to refer to as "shape behavior," and just let the kids run amok. I disagree....

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Brenda - posted on 06/06/2010

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No, because spanking does not make discipline. All it instills is fear. You have to understand your kids, and let them be kids. Most the time, when people spank, they are doing it for things the kid does that is age appropriate. Least that's what I think.

Minnie - posted on 06/07/2010

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Aura: I'm glad you could do more research to rethink your position!



Must disagree on the opinion/debate issue however- yes everyone is entitled to an opinion- but again no one is entitled to have it respected. If someone believes the earth is flat, great, I accept that they have the opinion, but I think it hilarious; I don't respect it. Debates aren't just about stating one's opinions but backing those opinions up with logic.



On the subject of spanking: I think it a matter of human rights and thus do not respect a parent's choice to strike their children. I see it as an atrocity- something no child should have to deal with. There simply are matters in this world too great to just take a step back and say 'well, everyone can believe how he wants to, doesn't matter how his beliefs affect another person.'



Regarding the religion- the verse you are referring to has to do with pointing out sin, and it also is stated to "judge righteous judgement."



So you see, my point about spanking not being biblical has nothing to do with judging or not, but that people need to carry out proper exegis of the Bible if they choose to use it to defend a belief. They can't just interpret it how they want to and pull verses out willy-nilly.

Minnie - posted on 06/07/2010

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Spanking simply defies logic for me.



Aura: if you plan on spanking when your daughter can understand why she was struck, why not simply sit down and talk, problem solve, and come up with a solution together?



How does striking your child promote a trusting bond?



I think we also interpret the term discipline differently- I do not 'discipline' my daughter. No- she achieves self-discipline by learning from my example and from me guiding her. Not by being hit or punished in another way.



Every child is different and every child needs different types of attention and discipline



Sure- I completely agree with you on that. However- every human being deserves the right to personal bodily integrity. Our children have the RIGHT to not be struck. Just because we made them does not give us the right to hit them.

Minnie - posted on 06/06/2010

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Most definitely, I do NOT feel that one can practice attachment parenting and spank ones children.



I belive that attachment parenting is about being sensitive to your child's needs and understanding and accepting his or her capabilities and limitations.



Discipline is something a child achieves, not something a parent does to the child. Discipline is learned through gentle guidance and example.



Spanking is a euphemism for hitting- there's no way to get around it and I simply cannot conceive of how to gain my daughters' trust by striking them when they mess up.

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Minnie - posted on 06/10/2010

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I agree, Julie, I don't really see how any sort of punishment can be in line with AP principles.

We use natural and logical consequences as well. My goal as a parent is to create responsible, compassionate, self-sufficient adults. I don't believe that punishment can help create that.

Julie - posted on 06/09/2010

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Aura, you said that you understood that full AP parents could not believe in spanking as a punishment. I would take it a step further. As an AP parent, I do not believe in punishment, period. The idea of punishment is retribution. I don't believe in that concept in parenting. I believe in teaching them. When I say no, and hold my son's hand after he has lashed out, it teaches him my boundaries but does not make him feel like he's bad. Behavior can have logical and natural consequences, but the motive of the parent is not punishment, it is to lovingly teach positive social behavior, respect, etc.

Aideen - posted on 06/09/2010

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I find as a parent and as a teacher that I can find a way to encourage my children to behave appropriately without even considering 'spanking' any of them. And yes I think spanking would undermine the child's trust in you and this would undermine the relationship which is the basis of AP. I also think children are entitled to the respect given to other people in our lives. My boss would not dream of spanking me if I made a mistake or did not follow her 'rules'. This is both because I have rights and because it would be more effective to explain the rules to me and to earn my respect and trust. I trust (though not blindly) her opinions, judgements and advice and hence I follow her rules. I also wish my children to trust in my wisdom (but not blindly).

It is important to differentiate between defiant or bold behaviour and inappropriate behaviour. A child's inappropriate behaviour is behaviour that they do not realize is a problem. In this situation it must be made immediately clear as to why the behaviour is inappropriate. (For example when a small child says a bad word for the first time they need to be told that it's not a nice word and that that word is not used in our family/school.) They need to be given a reason that they can relate to (and this may need to be a tale rather than a true reason at times). I think a child can forget what is not allowed from time to time but it should not be a regular or ongoing problem. I have witnessed children being both spanked and punished in other ways for such mistakes and I feel this is very inappropriate and unnecessary. To minimise such mistakes both at school and at home I make it clear to the children what is expected of them and anticipate problems they might have (While we're in the library we'll have to whisper so other people can read), I make the consequenses of not behaving appropriately very clear, real and external to myself where possible, (if we make too much noise other people will be disturbed and the librarian will ask us to be quiet and may ask us to leave, I'd be very embarassed. I would have to ask the noisy people to wait outside.), I encourage the children and remind them of the expectations well before things get out of hand (remember to whisper, please) and I calmly follow through with the consequences if necessary.

Defiant or bold behariour is a different kettle of fish! (e.g. Sarah pulls Mary's hair, again) When a child behaves inappropriately and both knows and understands that whatever it was is not allowed, a sanction may need to be organised. I would calmly inform the child that I was disapointed/shocked/ surprised to hear of/see such behaviour. Next, I would stress in these situations that the root of the behaviour be looked at. Was the child seeking attention? was she provoked? Was she frustrated? and so I would always start with a 'why did you...? (she wouldn't let me play) followed by a 'You know that ____ is not allowed...could you think of any other way of solving your problem?' I often find the child needs some help expressing themselves or their feelings and some guidence in resolving issues in a more constructive way. (if someboby won't let you play you need to tell the teacher or play with somebody else. In school the child who's hair was pulled would need to be asked why X couldn't play too but at home that is out of a parents hands).

Spanking undermines your role as advisor in these difficult situations and indeed being overly angry can scare the child and they refuse to share the why....and the root can not be delt with and the child cannot then be given the tools to behave appropriately.

To me this is attachment parenting - connecting with the child's situation/ feelings and supporting them while showing them how to and encouraging them to behave more appropriately next time.

In our house we have 3 strikes:
1. I inform that X is not allowed and explain why.
2. I remind that I've explained about X and tell the child of the consequences if it happens again.
3. the punnishment described at stage 2 is issued calmly.

at stage 1 a spank would be undeserved as the child may not even be aware that the behaviour is not appropriate.
at stage 2 I feel a spanking would be premature as during a conversation at this point the child is encouraged to explore why they still did X when they knew they shouldn't, and the parent is understandibly annoyed that their advise/rule has been broken.
at stage 3 the child is clearly misbehaving/being bold and it needs to be nipped in the bud and the previously disgussed punnishment carried out. I can not see spanking being as calm as would be necessary to maintain this open discussion and encouragement of self examination. Nor can I see it being more effective than other sanctions.

I have found that my own 2 children respond very well to this method and have rarely gone beyond stage 2 on any rules and would occasionly need to be 'punnished' for minor misbehaviours, such as not putting toys away. We did have a stage 3 problem when our 7 year old repeatedly went into a neighbour's house to play, without letting us know that she was going inside. Since she was 'grounded' for this and saw how worried we were it has not been a problem again. I really think even 3 spankings would not have resolved this issue.

I wonder if anyone has looked at disciplining children under these seperate headings...misbehaviour/bold behaviour?

Karen - posted on 06/09/2010

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I really enjoyed reading this thread. Such a nice change from the other groups! Thanks ladies for being respectful and thoughful.

Brenda - posted on 06/08/2010

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Aura: Just a little explanation on where my information comes from, so you don't feel I'm pulling facts out of the air, I'm in a training program to become a school counselor, with a background in psychology. During my Undergrad, we discussed Love and Logic style parenting, which is in use in schools today since most have gotten rid of corporal punishment. :) I am also a member of household with a crazy five year old, and a husband who is a product of a spanking household, where I was not. I have to do a lot of logical thinking with the hubby to explain to him why we are not going to spank. I have a instant reaction to swat when my son does something that I don't like. Over the last two years I have been doing my best to curb that. He has never been spanked, just swatted on the rear or the thigh but even that, when I think of it, isn't the right thing to do. Young children, below about three, typically emulate parents. So between one and three, they are more prone to violent outbursts after being spanked at home. This continues of course into the school situation, where we as counselors have to deal with violent outbursts, then faced with parents who once contacted express that corporal punishment is the solution. It is a horrible cycle that continues into adulthood.

Here are some links, if you haven't viewed them yet, that I found really helpful:

http://www.nospank.org
www.drmomma.org has a bunch of links. There is one on a blog about "I was spanked and turned out fine" which was really good. :)

Geralyn - posted on 06/08/2010

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I do have to say that conversations like this, with this group of moms, is so different from the other communities, because we are all "thinking" and it makes us become even more conscious as to how we respond to our beautiful little ones.

Geralyn - posted on 06/08/2010

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That's the great thing about evolution... or evolving. We can consciously choose to do things differently from our parents. And I could only hope that when my son (the love of my life BTW) and my soon to be here daughter find life partners who together will evolve from how my hubby and I are raising our kids.... Gee, just think, in 2-3 generations from now, we may be pretty close to perfect in our parenting! Lol!



There is an absolute epidemic of depression, low self esteem, lack of self respect, etc. that is plaguing our children and teens, and I am not necessarily linking it to "spanking" but I think that it is related to - let's just call it less than conscious parenting, whereas other parents, including parents who are drawn to AP priniciples, are more conscious in how they are going to raise their children. Its easy to respond as our parents responded, and their parents before them, etc. Its a conscious path that breaks whatever the old cycles are, and allows us to move ahead and parent in a more thinking way... Does this make sense?



I love my parents, and they always had our best interests at heart, but I could never allow for my son or daughter to be treated - at times - how my brother and I were treated. To me spanking or other forms of "discipline" is more harmful to the emotional development of a child than even the physical aspect, unless, like Aura says, the child is being beaten. I don't remember the pain per se, but I do remember the fear, and I don't think any child should be frightened to the point that the child pees his pants.... That is the lowest form of - I don't even know what to call it (partly because the pregnancy hormones have quashed my word recall - lol) - I'll say killing a child's spirit, which to me is the worst thing that a parent can do....

[deleted account]

It is. Even in my "spanking as a last resort" I figured if I tried really hard with other measures, I would never need to have a last resort.

I still don't hold it against others who feel it is necessary. After all, the studies done didn't specify if the spank was done bare bum or a gentle tap for attention. I won't do it, but it's up to other parents to decide if this is good enough.

On the subject of judgment, a PP mentioned that opposing opinions is, therefore, judging one another. I don't believe that is the case. You judge someone when you say their child is probably going to be damaged because of their choice to spank. That is not our place to say, as we don't know each other or each other's children. Again, I'm not saying that I still find spanking okay, but I will not hold another person's choice against them. It isn't my place to decide what is righteous and what isn't, that is for God. In Him I have chosen a gentler approach.

Oh dear, I've gone all religious now! To sum up, it is really difficult to change a belief. I always knew I would not beat my children to such severity as I was. For the record, this was bare bottom with a skinny leather belt, when it was a "spanking", up until I was 17. Many people think my approach is weird. After all, how would I ever survive if I hugged my daughter every time she cried? How would I get the alone time I so obviously need with my husband if the baby is sharing our bed? And my mother continuously stating that she knows it's hard but sometimes I just have to let my daughter cry. How could I possibly expect someone, who so obviously had a distaste for children, to understand why it hurts when my baby cries?

I've gone off topic again, lol! I have a bad habit of that. Anyway, I am grateful that there are more parents out there who chose this "natural" path to child rearing so that I don't feel so alone.

Minnie - posted on 06/08/2010

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It really is very hard to end one method of thinking and go onto another. I know this from first hand experience!

[deleted account]

Thank you, Taralee, for your wonderful words! I take much encouragement from them. I truly work hard everyday to prevent myself from going down that path.

Taralee - posted on 06/08/2010

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On the subject of children's behaviour been the result of a certain type of parenting. This is NOT intended to insult ANYONE....but in my experience some of the worst behaved, trouble making kids I knew in school and highschool and beyond, were children of police officers. They admitted being brought up in "strict" households. The only ones who topped rebellion was the children of military officers. Again, not to offend, I know there are many individuals who are exceptions to this rule. But if corporal punishment achieved it's said goal why would ppl who admit being raised this way want to rebel in such a manner?



Further, Geralyn, I think that ppl who practice spanking and critize us on our method are simply using us as a scapegoat for excusing their actions as being "pro-active". Which is ironic, since we are teaching our children internal discipline, kindness, sympathy and empathy, which will help them to make "good" choices when put in a situation of having to turn to right or wrong.



Aura, my dear, you are a wonderful mommy who is going to turn things around for you LO. You are the strong mommy who will end the abuse that occurred in your childhood home, and make a different existence for your child....BRAVO!! It is exstremely hard to do this, and it is hard to see another way....at first....so forgive yourself for your initional assumptions that spanking was a last resort.....I believe that you would never have gone that far.....because you are committed to making a different life for your LO. You can hear it in your comments! Good Luck!! Way to end a SPIRAL!!!!

Geralyn - posted on 06/07/2010

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Thank you, Lisa, for the correction. We may not necessarily respect each other's opinions, but we respect the right to have one.... This is a bit off topic actually, but I have given much thought to the idea that if we express an opinion against spanking (for example), then we are being judgmental of those who spank. How are we supposed to express an opinion against an action, or an omission (failure to act)? Aren;t we entitled to an opinion, and in fact to express that opinion? If someome doesn't like the opinion, then we have judged them. Hmmmmm. The other thing that bothers me is when people say "You as the parent know best for your child..." That is not true. Any daily review of the news on cnn.com dispels that myth. All parents do not necessarily know what is best just because they had a baby.

I am definitely not debating whether parents who do nothing have children who are poorly behaved. I don't think anyone would support doing nothing as a parenting technique. And many of the comments in other communities in spanking debates are targeting these parents who do nothing - but their comments are usually painted with a much larger brush to include parents, like myself, who absolutely do not support any type of physical or emotional punishment, who instead choose to teach their children through non-disciplinary or non-punishment methods. That is why I asked the question to moms who support AP methods in raising children.

I am not necessarily sure that the ones who are mugging as adults (Aura, its a reference to your comment, but not directed at you) are the ones who were not disciplined as children. I think that it is more likely that the "muggers" - or more broadly put, those who have no conscience as to physically harm others - were raised in abusive homes where physical and emotional abuse was a way of life.

Brenda, I have to agree with you about being resentful as adults after physical forms of discipline. I do not think that I was a "good girl" because I was afraid of being hit. Although I was afraid of being hit.... It was something else - that intrinsic motivation that Brenda mentioned.

[deleted account]

I apologize. I didn't realize that my argument was so poorly executed. I am not offended.

However, you can not possibly be suggesting that it is not a basic human right to have your own mind. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, whether it is backed up with fact or not. Should you choose to tell me that potato chips make you feel good so they must be good for you, I would not argue with you. They work for you, whether I find them distasteful based on the fact that they are soaked in oil is not what matters.The point of a debate is to state your opinion and respectfully respond to another person's opinion.

Having said this, I concede on the association with AP. Having done some research after your latest response, I agree that full practicing AP parents could not possibly believe in spanking as a form of punishment. I have also found related articles about the negative effects on children. I stress that I never said that I would practice this method, only that I believe everyone has a right to their own opinion.

Looking back at a previous post, I noticed that you stressed spanking was not biblical. I take it that you have some religion and will interject, judge not lest ye be judged.

April - posted on 06/07/2010

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no. spanking would be inconsistent. actually, i believe persistent spanking leads to de-tachment in both parent and child. i think it becomes almost a habit if you do it often enough and when something is a habit...you're not really thinking about it.

in my opinion, true attachment parenting means thinking about it. thinking about what when wrong, why it went wrong and how it can be corrected. it also means helping your child to think about what happened, why, and what could be done instead.

Minnie - posted on 06/07/2010

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Aura, it clearly says under the title of the question "looking for honest debate." If you knew you would be bothered by people disagreeing with you and questioning you, why would you contribute?



We are merely debating the concept that a person cannot be AP and spank at the same time- as the community guidelines state- We strive to raise our children in a loving and gentle manner. For me this does not include spanking, not even as a last resort- because we are talking about children here, and there is no 'last resort.'



Why, when you talk about respecting your child, would you not respect my opinion? YOU may not agree with it, but that doesn't mean everyone has to feel the same way.



This is not about respecting my child's OPINION. This is about respecting a human's right to not be struck, to bodily integrity. No one has the right to have his or her opinion respected- that comes when the opinion is backed up with logic and or/fact. It has to be a reasonable assertion in order to have people respect it.

[deleted account]

As I already mentioned, I agree with spanking as a LAST RESORT. I also recall mentioning that I personally would be unable to administer a spanking as I do not want it to lead to further things, not knowing my own limitations. I WILL NOT judge someone who chooses to spank.



"Aura: if you plan on spanking when your daughter can understand why she was struck, why not simply sit down and talk, problem solve, and come up with a solution together": I will try this.



Why, when you talk about respecting your child, would you not respect my opinion? YOU may not agree with it, but that doesn't mean everyone has to feel the same way.

Brenda - posted on 06/07/2010

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From a psychological perspective, spanking is detrimental. Pain should never be the motivating factor for any behavior. Not to mention it doesn't work like people think it does. Inflicting pain on kids breeds things like resentment, fear and anger towards parents that may not show until later in life. Building good behavior in kids has to be intrinsically motivated for it to last. Corporal punishment is an extrinsic motivator and acheives short term behavior solutions. Ever see a spanking parent who only has to spank once? There are more than enough people in therapy today overcoming humiliation at the hands of spanking parents. Spanking doesn't respect the child or the parent, and more often than not, is performed in anger or in a fashion of humiliation and as an example of who has power. Just what I've learned through my own research and training.

[deleted account]

I would never think it was a certain type of parent that had poorly behaved children. I believe it's a certain type of PERSON. The people who just laugh when their child hits them, or ignores the child who is beating up other kids. This is the type of person that has the child that will mug mine later in life. Every child is different and every child needs different types of attention and discipline. I don't think it's up to us to judge each other based on our particular form of discipline unless you are hauling of and punching your baby. We don't know what other people have to deal with. Just because our discipline worked with our child doesn't mean it will work for someone else's.

Having said this, my daughter will be turning one in July and I would NEVER think to spank her at such a tender age. She wouldn't understand why. That and I don't know how she will be later on, but she is extremely well behaved right now. Not even jealous when I hold another baby because I full fill every need she has.

Geralyn - posted on 06/07/2010

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Aura, I am so glad that you can express your opinion in this community, and we really do all respect one another's opinions.

But that just begs the question, as they say... why do people believe that AP parents are not teaching proper behavior to our children? Why do people think that, for example, our AP children get to talk back or continue to be naughty because we do not spank or use other similar forms of discipline? As a matter of fact, because we have worked so hard early on with our little ones and they are so connected, I would gather that we are not going to necessarily have the extent of the issues that other parents have when they reach school age or teen years..... My hubby and I work very hard and consistently on positive teaching of behavior. My son is 26 months, and I have not had one incident where my son needed "discipline"... He is a pleaser, he interrelates so well within the dynamics of our family, any "issues" (and I don't even know what that means...) are worked through together in a positive way. I have read so many posts about spanking or using other forms of discipline with kids under 1 year of age, or at least under 2 years of age,,,, And I have read posts about the "terrible twos".... Yes, children are learning to assert themselves or to communicate (including the biggie - to express frustration), and rather than having that move into a huge tantrum or "act of defiance," we are teaching how to assert yourself appropriately or express frustration.... I always advocate for thinking outside the box.... when it comes to parenting.

[deleted account]

I practice attachment parenting. I also believe in spanking as a last resort. True that attachment parenting is about being sensitive to our children and understanding their needs but it isn't NECESSARY for a child to, for example, talk back or continue doing something naughty when they know that they will get in trouble. Yes, some parents spank willy nilly and that is wrong, but it is our job, as parents, to teach our children the proper way to behave in society. Some children just don't respond to other various forms of punishment.

I don't think this will make me a bad attachment parent. I'm actually afraid to spank my daughter (when she's older, of course, she's way too young now) because I don't want it to lead to worse things (I came from an abusive household and I don't know my limitations with regards to this). Aside from this, I don't find other parents or attachment parents wrong for doing what they feel is necessary.

Minnie - posted on 06/07/2010

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And spanking is NOT Biblical! So sad that believers are taught this over and over by misguided patriarcal pastors.



Do a little research into the Hebrew and the culture of eastern civilizations and anyone can realize this.

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