Semantics and word games

[deleted account] ( 61 moms have responded )

Smacking
Hitting
Tapping
Popping
Spanking
Slapping

I've heard it refered to as all of these at one time or another. Are they the same thing? I often hear pro-corporal punishment advocates say that there is a difference but aren't they all a form of the same thing? Corporal punishment? Do you feel that there are different severities? Has anyone considered that, like everything else, different cultures refer to it differently. For example, in Canada and the US, as far as I'm aware it's called spanking but the Aussies refer to it as smacking. For them, spanking is reserved for a private bedroom or sexual act.

What term to you use and do you agree that they're all essentially the same thing?

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Rosie - posted on 11/20/2010

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technically yes they are the same thing, however some words have more power, others don't. i also think the intent behind the action also plays in how things should be called. plus different cultures have slightly different meanings and it could confuse someone. smacking in the USA means to use your hand and hit on the face forcefully, with intent to hurt and harm that person. so to me, a person spanking their child, which is a form of discipline, not meant to cause injury or harm, is not the same thing as a smack.



just as in all these discussions about circumcision, i hear the word mutilated get thrown around an awful lot. it pisses me off to no end. sure techncially it may be, but then so is tattooing, and piercing-don't hear much about those people feeling mutilated. or the people who have had mastectomies after breast cancer, go ahead and say they're mutilated. cause techncially they are. i believe intent behind an action is HUGE in what you call it.

LaCi - posted on 11/22/2010

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"Laci, there is a difference between making love and being raped...there's not much difference between being physically reprimanded and being physically reprimanded, save for the severity of the action."



So to punch and to tap are the same thing then? Because, from the original post list, they are not all forms of physical punishment. They are actions involving a hand to another person, but I disagree that they are all forms of punishment. The CONTEXT is what determines if it is punishment. Punching and tapping are not the same. As I said before. There are different emotions attached to words, making love and rape have different emotions. Regardless, they still fall under an umbrella of sexual contact.



How about we just put a big umbrella over "verbs" and say its all semantics? Kick, write. Same thing.

LaCi - posted on 11/22/2010

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Is it just semantics?



Make love

finger

blow

fuck

have sex

bang

rape



All sexual contact, but they aren't the same and the word completely changes the meaning.



We could add more to the list involving the words above, poke, pat, pinch-still hand to another person.



So I don't think it's semantics. There are always cultural differences in language, but I doubt the person next to me would think much differently about the words than I do. The person on the next continent, possibly. But those are things we take into consideration when speaking to people. Fact is, there are still different emotions attached to the words, and their meanings completely change in context.

Isobel - posted on 11/20/2010

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or noogies? ;P

I honestly believe that many of us use the words "tap" or "pop" not to minimize or to seem less harsh...but to give an honest level of the amount of force used.

When I tapped my daughter's hand, it didn't hurt her as much as bring her attention to what she was doing that she shouldn't be.

Isobel - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'm sorry Katherine, but there IS a difference between tapping your child's hand to say no and forcing a child to drop their pants for a spanking.

There is a difference in the level of pain, there is a difference in the level of indignity.

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Sharon - posted on 11/22/2010

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lol, no - although I have pulled them by the ear - its amazing that action requires very little force, the ear is VERY sensitive. butt whoopin = "go to my room and I'll be there in a minute" That was done twice for my older son, good god is he ever stubborn. And I smacked his fully clothed butt with a wooden spoon.

[deleted account]

What does an " out right butt whoopin' " entail, Sharon? I have this mental image of you grabbing your child by the ear or arm and dragging them along while smacking their butt? Am I even close? ;)

Sharon - posted on 11/22/2010

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To me all the terms indicate various levels of force.

I've used a smack, tap, swat and out right butt whoopin.

Jaime - posted on 11/22/2010

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I see your point Laci, and I agree with what you're saying. This is what I love so much about debating.



When I talked about all of the listed verbs being about physical punishment I was using them in that context because corporal punishment is what is mentioned in the OP. I agree that tapping someone on the shoulder to get their attention is not the same as tapping a child on the hand to stop them from misbehaving and such...but I was talking specifically about these words in the context of corporal punishment. I get what you're saying about rape and love making both being sexual acts and the context with which they are used is what determines the violence or consent...but, smacking, popping, hitting, slapping and so on are all physical forms of reprimand under the umbrella of corporal punishment.

[deleted account]

sadly there are freaks out there that do see love and rape as the same thing. they are the rapists.

Jaime - posted on 11/22/2010

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I do however, agree with you about cultural context when it comes to how the practice of corporal punishment is received by people. This context though, cannot change or negate the fact that physical force is inevitably being used to illicit a desired behaviour or response from one person to another.

Jaime - posted on 11/22/2010

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Laci, there is a difference between making love and being raped...there's not much difference between being physically reprimanded and being physically reprimanded, save for the severity of the action. I can appreciate that you are offering a counter argument to the idea that semantics is the only thing separating each word listed...but in the context of each word being used as physical punishment in comparison to rape vs. love-making...I'm not sure similarities can be drawn.

[deleted account]

ooh...LaCi good point! I live in toronto. supposed to be one of the most diverse cities in the world so even here I guess the person next to me might not get my context.

@ Jamie-Leigh...agreement here 100%.

[deleted account]

funny. i thought the fighting was me! clueless but figured since it came right after me...glad cleared up! :)

Jaime - posted on 11/22/2010

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Some might argue that each word listed stands on its own and carries a different 'meaning' or perhaps a differing degree of physical force. What is most clearly indisputable, however; is the fact that every single word listed is a verb that coincides with a physical act of violence, abuse or reprimand. The context with which each action is used, is where argument seeps in.

I don't condone the use of either action to illicit a certain, obedient response from another person, but considering the legal standpoint on corporal punishment in some countries, many people will have vastly different opinions about the assertion that corporal punishment is, in fact, abuse of any kind.

In my opinion, physical force is physical force and it should not be used to secure allegience to anyone's personal, moral code of conduct. I have said it ad nauseum that discipline is as much for the authority figure as it is for the child. If we as parents cannot control our actions and our reactions to tense or stressful situations that involve danger or misbehaviour, how then can we expect our children to do so?

[deleted account]

when put that way a tap could mean a polite excuse me mr I tap you on the shoulder because you dropped your wallet. I interpret a tap when used in a conversation like this to be in the punitive way. painful? probably not (at least that is what I am figuring people are meaning). my question is if ou want to get your child's att'n why not say a strong, "STOP." seriously. what I do in childcare. gets their att'n, gives them an opportunity to think about what they are doing and/or us to talk to them about what doing. definitely not same thing to me as the drunk dad beating kid with bball bat, still not comfortable with idea of any negative type touching on a child.

Isobel - posted on 11/21/2010

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That's EXACTLY what I mean when I say "tap" one or two fingers...no pain....just attention grabbing.

There IS a difference.

[deleted account]

To me, Smacking, Hitting, Popping, Spanking, and Slapping all mean the same thing. I do realize that they mean different things to some people so when I read a discussion I try to figure out what they mean. In most cases, in discussions I've seen on here, they all mean hitting the kid with a hand usually on the child's bum or hand.
They could be different levels of severity, but because so many people have differing definitions of the words, they are not good indicators of severity. Like, I have no idea whether "smacking" means hitting harder or softer than "popping."

The only one that really confuses me is Tapping. To me, tapping is to hit someone lightly with only one finger, like tapping them on the shoulder to get their attention before you speak if you are behind them. I don't even associate that with discipline, although, after reading this discussion, I guess it could be interpreted to mean "to hit lightly." I don't know, that one is still odd to me.

Isobel - posted on 11/21/2010

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You have probably made a lot of women look more closely at the way that they word things (and in certain circumstances people should probably add a description in brackets)...but you are never going to "stop" this argument" people will rejoin ever other day to disagree with you.

While I DO agree with you...at some point you need to stop fighting with people.

[deleted account]

semantics no semantics different countty my country I hate them all (except obviously "popping" if it is used as in I pooped the kid in the car seat and off we went or whatever. doing any form of hit/smack.tap whatever teaches them it's ok to do to others and is ok to problem solve that way. even when sticking a finger in an electrical outlet.

[deleted account]

You know that's not what I'm saying, LaCi! I'm just pointing out that different things mean different things to different people and a "smack" isn't necessarily a "smack" by your definition. While there are definitely different severities, they DO all fall under the same umbrella.

LaCi - posted on 11/21/2010

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Dana, at the top of my post it says "to me"



If someone wants to equate spanking with a punch in the face, thats their prerogative. I don't. The OP asks if we believe they're all the same, I was responding to that. I don't believe they are the same, and I believe all words vary in the context in which they're being used. But, I'm not against spanking. i suppose if I were against spanking I'd view the spanking parent no differently than the parent who gets drunk and beat the kid with the baseball bat. Right?

Sarah - posted on 11/21/2010

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I've always thought of a smack as an open hand on the bum.
I always thought a spanking was worse than a smack, to me, a spank was with an object, like a slipper.
Popping I always thought of as punching.
A slap to me is usually around the face.

Guess maybe it's a location thing, I'm from the UK, so seems like they mean different things here than in say, America.

[deleted account]

But that's my point LaCi, and I hate to beat a dead horse but, I'm trying to bring awareness to the fact that while they all have different meanings in YOUR head, the person next to you might interpret them differently. They do all, however, fall under the "corporal punishment" umbrella.

"Slapping is the same as smacking"

Several people have claimed that, but, that doesn't mean it's true......to a lot of people, especially the Aussies, that is just not true. Smacking is the equivelant of spanking to them. At the end of the day they're all forms of physical punishment.

LaCi - posted on 11/21/2010

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Words signify different things. To me,



Smacking makes me think of an angry whack across the face, of course if you add the body part and use it in a particular context it changes. "I smacked him" vs "I smacked his hand" vs "smack that ass" bring up different images.



Hitting by itself makes me think punching. "I hit him" sounds vengeful and violent, like a bar fight.



Tapping is something you do with a finger, or a pencil.



Popping makes me think of punching in the good ol' days. "I popped him one" in the context we're talking about now.



Spanking makes me think open hand to the butt, not hard.



Slapping is the same as smacking.



I don't agree that they are the same thing, because they all bring up different scenarios in my head. Which is why we have a plethora of words that signify similar actions to begin with, they all have different connotations. Punch and smack might both signify physical contact from one persons hand to another person, but they are entirely different.

C. - posted on 11/21/2010

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I've heard them all in reference to spanking. I use 'slap/smack', 'pop' or 'spank' when referring to spanking. I DON'T like the term 'hitting'. It makes it sound like the parents are abusing the child even if they really aren't. When people say 'tap', it makes me think back to 1st Grade where my teacher had this little pillow paddle and she would just go up to you and give you a 'love tap' on your birthday.. She was an old woman and I guess had used that her entire teaching career.. But anyhow, that's what I think of :/



And yes, I do believe there are different severities. Some people know their limits and then others take it WAY too far. One spank with a firm 'No!', nothing more. If it escalates into something more, both parent and child (or all, depending on the number of children involved) needs a timeout to cool the heck off! It should NEVER result in a 'beating'. If it does, then spanking is not for you b/c you (general public) clearly cannot control yourself and should stick to other methods.

Becky - posted on 11/20/2010

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Pretty much what Joy said, except that to me, hitting implies either with an open hand, or with an object. Punching is different. Tapping to me is a very light tap on the hand, with 1 or 2 fingers, no harder than I would tap someone on the shoulder to get their attention, with the intent of making a child pay attention to what I was saying. For instance, when my 1 year old crawls back to the TV buttons for the 5th time after I've gone and pulled him away!

Sal - posted on 11/20/2010

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definaty smacking here, like you said spanking if for consenting adults, popping and tapping sounds like you are trying to play down what you are doing, and slapping and hitting are what happening in a fight, i also think maybe where on the body defines what it is called to a degree, a smack (IMO) is hand or bottom, but if you go anywhere else i would call it a hit or a slap, and a tap is well a touch on the shoulder for example to get attention, something i'd have no issue doing to a strabger who i needed to get to turn around....and i just don't get popping at all, and to the horror or stranger my girls love to be bashed.....tickled that is.

[deleted account]

To me all of those words describe things that are an unacceptable form of discipline for children IMO. Spanking is the only one that has a slightly different meaning, to me that would only refer to hitting on the bum!

Charlie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'd say the tens of thousands of male fans of Kat Von D say otherwise ;)

[deleted account]

I'm a little late getting back to the conversation...I actually got to spend the afternoon with Steve! He got off work early last night and was able to get to bed earlier and wake earlier ♥
So anywho, about the semantics. When I first joined CoM a few years ago and an Aussie Mom posted something about smacking her daughter, and I remember being soooo shocked that a mother would publicly announce that she had smacked her child! I had no idea at the time that in Australia smacking is the same as spanking is here. So for the purpose of understanding what someone else is saying, yes, it's semantics and it matters. But the actions themselves (a few of which, I'm guilty of), are not the best way to handle a situation. The older my son gets, the more I realize how important it is to talk to him and to find other ways to handle him when he misbehaves. I'm by no means perfect, but I am always striving to be better. For him and for me.

I was raised in a voilent atmosphere. I don't use that to excuse any of the times I've spanked my son, but rather to explain it. I had no quality example of good parenting until I was almost a teenager and by that time my parents had already skewed my view. By the time I had my son, although I had long since been "over" my childhood, I still had no point of reference. No personal examples to go by in difficult situations with an infant / baby / toddler. I struggle daily to not repeat the violence. And the few times I have spanked, I know it's not right but I chalk it up as me reverting back to what I know, what I was taught. And in my mind I know to do better next time. Like I'm always saying : progress, not perfection.

Rosie - posted on 11/20/2010

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my dad says that too. what'd you go and do that for, you had such perfect skin....no man wants a girl with ink all over herself.. blah, blah....even though my hubby loves it. he's apparantly not man enough though, LMAO!

Charlie - posted on 11/20/2010

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Swat is onomatopoeia for the action of using a tool such as a belt , stick , chord anything that makes the noise " SWAT" that is why it makes my skin crawl .

Kati i find it amusing when my mother says i have defaced my body LOL .

[deleted account]

In the situation you described, Cathy, I don't think flicking is inaproppriate or abusive BUT, I think it COULD be in other instances. I think intention plays a key role. If a boy walks up to another boy and flicks him in the face then wouldn't you consider it abusive?



Laura, you said, "I honestly believe that many of us use the words "tap" or "pop" not to minimize or to seem less harsh...but to give an honest level of the amount of force used."



While I do agree with you that there are people who are genuinely trying to give an accurate description of the force used, I believe it is subjective, which is pretty much the whole point of this thread. People have already proved my point. Things mean different things to different people and everyone has different interpretations, BUT, they all fall under the same umbrella.



Someone already suggested that "popping" is associated with punching someone in the mouth, which is what I'm inclined to think. If someone says, ''I popped them", unless they specify where on the body they did it, I would assume it was in the mouth.

Charlie - posted on 11/20/2010

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Oh i have a nappy thrasher who yells " no , stop " I've been at my wits end in that moment and really felt the urge to give a tap ( i suppose ) i haven't but believe me i thought about it , i actually just finished readinig happiest toddler on the block OMG it is a life saver i used his method on Cooper just yesterday while changing his nappy and he stopped thrashing and lay down , admittedly i sounded like an idiot but it worked .

No i dont think a distracting tap will damage anyone personally for me its the invasion of the childs body and the sliding scale that is coporal punishment .

Isobel - posted on 11/20/2010

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To be honest, I've only done it a couple of times and I didn't really think about it...it was a snap reaction in a moment of panic. And I don't really feel like an abusive mother so...meh

Charlie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I understand what is meant by a tap , essentially it is meant to be done as a distraction but isn't a loud clap of your hands equally effective , stomp of your foot or a stern "stop"

Charlie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I won't say it is abuse in the definition set by child services but i do think the action is an abuse of power in the same sense as smacking / spanking it is essentially inflicting pain ( even if it is a small sting ) on a small child and removing their rights to bodily integrity , the right not to have your body interfered with in a manner that inflicts pain , fear , infringes on or affects their life or health .

Charlie - posted on 11/20/2010

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Im an Aussie .
Smack
spank
hit
slap is the same
tapping is a milder for but still the same action .
popping , if someone here said they popped someone i would think they punched them .

But yes a spank here is a cheeky thing between adults .

the word swat makes my skin crawl .
Katiiiii whyyyyyyyyyyy haha I'm busting at the seams here but ...........I like mutilating myself with tatts and piercings , it's my lifestyle choice .

*runs away from circ conversation *

[deleted account]

Personally, I think people use words like tapping or popping, when describing discipline to try and minimize what they're doing or make it sound less harsh.



Joy said, and others have agreed that hitting equals punching -- sorry, but I disagree. Hitting is a broad term used to describe a violent swinging of the arm to hurt someone else. Smacking or slapping, spanking -- they could all be considered hitting. Punching is punching. That's my take on it anyhow.

April - posted on 11/20/2010

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I don't care what country you're from and what you call it. I won't be doing any of the above to my son. It doesn't help...doesn't stop the behavior. There is almost always a "next time". It's one thing to pull your child out of harms way, but it is a whole different thing to pop-smack-spank for misbehavior. Then it starts to get really messy. You'd constantly be creating a new rule. If you do such and such...you'll get smacked, etc... It is better to have a positive behavior strategy that can be used for multiple situations. Hope I am making sense...it is so hard to put my thoughts into words

[deleted account]

Okay, I'll try and describe what each of these meant in New Zealand (keep in mind that any form of physical punishment is now illegal in NZ). I'll try to keep it subjective (if that's the word), but bear in mind that I am anti-hitting.

Smacking - a light hit on the hand or bottom.
Hitting - a hit to any part of the body
Tapping - I wouldn't say that this is a word used for punishment in NZ, it's more like "I tapped someone on the shoulder to get their attention".
Popping - never heard of it in regard to punishment. As Cathy said, we would pop a child into their pram or pop a child on the floor - it just means to place them there.
Spanking - probably similar to smacking, but harder.
Slapping - open hand across the face

[deleted account]

I guess my point is that it's subjective. The same words do not mean the same thing to different people. When someone, an Aussie for instance, is talking about smacking a child they're description is different than yours. When Loureen talks about someone 'smacking' their son, she in fact is referring to what we consider 'spanking' but by your guys interpretation, she's refering to someone hitting their child in the face??

These words are subjective and ultimately they all fall under the same category.

[deleted account]

Ditto Joy. Different cultures may use different words, but I won't think differently than what Joy described unless it's explained.

Katherine - posted on 11/20/2010

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Spanking, hitting, smacking, slapping. I think they all fall under the same category. It's all corporal punishment IMO.
I don't think there are tiers or different severities, it's all the same. You are using your hand to hurt someone.

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