The Belt...

[deleted account] ( 42 moms have responded )

I know we've probably all had our fill of corporal punishment debate, but this happened in my community today, and I wanted to hear thoughts because the reaction from my community is so different from what I expected.



My community is in an uproar today over a man arrested yesterday for spanking his 11 year old son with a belt. The spanking left bruises from the boys butt down to his knees.



If you read the comments at the bottom, you will see that the people of this community are overwhelmingly in support of the father! They feel he did nothing wrong and that he should be able to punish his son any way he pleases.

Having taken part in several conversations about this event today with various members of my community (J had BB practice & Demo tryouts, so I was surrounded by parents all day) I can say that the comments pretty accurately reflect the entire community. Of the 40+ parents I spoke with today, I was one of only 2 who thought the father had gone too far, and that other person happened to be a non-spanker like myself.



I thought this was interesting because on HERE, even most of the pro-spank community feels using a belt is "crossing a line" of sorts.



So I am wondering a few things:

First, if you spank, do you consider using a belt abusive?

Do you think the school over reacted by calling the authorities, or is the investigation worthwhile?





Second, is the demographic of my community so much different than the rest of the world?

In YOUR communities, do you think that the majority of parents would say that the father's actions were acceptable, or do you think they would think his actions were unacceptable?



Here's the link so you can read the article and the comments to get a feel for the way my community reacted.



http://www.wyff4.com/news/30651315/detai...

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Johnny - posted on 03/10/2012

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I would be devastated if my child ever ran away from me in fear. For me, that would be a huge failure.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/10/2012

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I couldn't imagine spanking my 17 month old boy. He is too little, way too little. He is learning by exploration, it is best to redirect and explain in a calm voice at their eye level. I would fear I was encouraging him to not trust me and think that I don't love him more than anything... However, I don't agree with any form of spanking. Meh.

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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"I'm saying that she will use more common sense and I can use more communication with her at that age, she will be very understanding. If I go on rambling why it is bad to touch the stove, she will probably (very likely) stop listening at this age." Many adults lack the ability to use common sense for starters. She will not learn the dangers of anything if she is not taught. You don't need to ramble, a simple "No, that's hot/dangerous (or whatever), you could get big owies." will more than suffice.



" When she is 3 to 5, she can be reasoned with. She will know right from wrong. Bad example I know." I have a 3 year old, they're not so easy to reason with, at all.



"For instance, If she runs away from the car while I'm putting groceries in the trunk, into possible traffic. She will do that now because she doesn't understand the possible dangers, if I spank her and tell her not to do it again, she will listen but if I go into rambling about 'you could have gotten hit by a car doing that....' she doesn't understand, but when she is older, she wont be running into possible traffic and wont need to be spanked for doing anything wrong." Older children most certainly do run into traffic, children and teenagers are driven by impulse. They may know it's dangerous, but on impulse they run out for whatever reason. Again, you don't need to ramble. "No, that's dangerous, a car could hit you and give you big owies." That's not rambling, it's a short, simple statement. If your child has ever fallen down or hurt themselves in any way, she understands owies (or whatever you call it), so she *can* understand that running into the road could result in big owies.



I'm very glad you have chosen to not spank as it sounds like it was not so appropriately. But based on many of the things you have said, the reasonings behind many of your statements that you have given, I would seriously consider some sort of professional help. This is not said out of judgement, I do not know your story, this is said out of concern for your child and your relationship with your child based on the things you have said here today. If you're offended, that's ok I guess, but I could not think myself a good person if I kept quiet out of politeness.

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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Brittney, if last time you spanked your daughter was because you lost control, then you really need to make a decision that you will not use spanking as a discipline method, ever. Because it is spanking when out of control that can easily cross the line to abuse. But once you take spanking OFF the agenda altogether, and make a conscious decision to do so, then when you are out of control, it isn't an issue any more, because you just don't spank, period.

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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"I was talking to my neighbor who is a state judge and he told me it was, but only to a certain extent. I asked him to what extent and his response verbatim was "It depends on whose courtroom you are in."



That goes right back to that question....where is the line? And the fact is, it is subjective. To me, the belt, alone, crosses it, bruises or not. But to ALLOW the bruises and not consider it abuse just totally leaves me cold.

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[deleted account]

To respond to the original post: Yes, I do think use of the belt that leaves welts, bruises, and visible signs of a beating is cruel.



In my own part of the country, spankings are an acceptable form of punishment.



In my own home: Yes, if I need to give an open hand swat to the rear, and always over pants/underpants- I have no problem doing so. A single swat does the trick. In almost every instance it is because my son is ignoring me and I am not going to repeat myself 500 times, "Matthew clean your mess, Matthew clean your mess, Matthew clean your mess." My swat on the butt is more like "Now I have your attention. Do what's asked of you." I have never beaten my child and a swat on the butt over underpants/pants has never left a mark. This works for my child and I know that everyone runs their home differently.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/11/2012

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United States



The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that corporal punishment possesses some negative side-effects and only limited benefits, and recommends the use of other forms of discipline to manage undesirable behavior.[57] A 1996 AAP Consensus Conference [81] concluded that spanking should never be used under 2 years of age, may be effective for preschoolers when combined with verbal correction, and should not be used in older children and adolescents. The National Association of Social Workers "opposes the use of physical punishment in homes, schools, and all other institutions where children are cared for and educated."

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/11/2012

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Interesting



Opponents of corporal punishment sometimes argue that spanking constitutes "violence" and is therefore by definition "abusive". Some psychological research is held to indicate that corporal punishment causes the deterioration of trust bonds between parents and children. It is claimed that children subjected to corporal punishment may grow resentful, shy, insecure, or violent. Adults who report having been slapped or spanked by their parents in childhood have been found to experience elevated rates of anxiety disorder, alcohol abuse or dependence and externalizing problems as adults.[62] Some researchers believe that corporal punishment actually works against its objective (normally obedience), since children will not voluntarily obey an adult they do not trust. Researcher Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph. D., in a 2002 meta-analytic study that combined 60 years of research on corporal punishment, found that the only positive outcome of corporal punishment was immediate compliance; however, corporal punishment was associated with less long-term compliance.[63] Corporal punishment was linked with nine other negative outcomes, including increased rates of aggression, delinquency, mental health problems, problems in relationships with their parents, and likelihood of being physically abused.



Opponents claim that much child abuse begins with spanking: a parent accustomed to using corporal punishment may, on this view, find it all too easy, when frustrated, to step over the line into physical abuse. One study found that 40% of 111 mothers were worried that they could possibly hurt their children.[64] It is argued that frustrated parents turn to spanking when attempting to discipline their child, and then get carried away (given the arguable continuum between spanking and hitting). This "continuum" argument also raises the question of whether a spank can be "too hard" and how (if at all) this can be defined in practical terms. This in turn leads to the question whether parents who spank their children "too hard" are crossing the line and beginning to abuse them.



Opponents also argue that a problem with the use of corporal punishment is that, if punishments are to maintain their efficacy, the amount of force required may have to be increased over successive punishments. This has been claimed by the American Academy of Pediatrics,[57] which has asserted: "The only way to maintain the initial effect of spanking is to systematically increase the intensity with which it is delivered, which can quickly escalate into abuse". Additionally, the Academy noted that: "Parents who spank their children are more likely to use other unacceptable forms of corporal punishment."[65]



The American Academy of Pediatrics also believes that corporal punishment polarizes the parent-child relationship, reducing the amount of spontaneous cooperation on the part of the child. The AAP policy statement says "...reliance on spanking as a discipline approach makes other discipline strategies less effective to use".[57] Thus, so it is alleged, it has an addiction-like effect: the more one spanks, the more one feels a need to spank, possibly escalating until the situation is out of control.



A 2003 review of available research into parental punishment concluded that "strong evidence exists that the use of physical punishment has a number of inherent risks regarding the physical and mental health and well-being of children".[66]

Tracey - posted on 03/11/2012

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I would hope that after 11 years of parenting the adults would have thought of more creative (non physical) punishments. I find that witholding computers / TV / mobile phones / pocket money, grounding, having to do extra chores is very effective.



In UK you can (I think) legally smack your child with your hand but not hard enough to mark the skin.



From a school's point of view we have to note anything suspicious regarding a child from bruises, to stories they tell us and if we are concerned we pass it to the child protection rep who decides whether to call social services.



I would be interested to know what punishment the people who support the father feel is unacceptable.

Krista - posted on 03/11/2012

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Sorry to insult you, Emily. That totally was not intended. I'm actually pretty much a "hick" as well. It was a thoughtless choice of words.

Stifler's - posted on 03/11/2012

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Using a belt is just wrong. My parents used to use it or a wooden spoon blah bah blah "a good spanking never hurt me". It disturbs me greatly when I see some of my friends who spank spank their kids even with an open palm none of them use a belt. And they're not leaving bruises. I do think it's abusive. If I was belting my husband for doing something and leaving welts and bruises, that would be assault and battery. Why is it ok to do it to little children.

Karla - posted on 03/10/2012

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Also, for any parent who has any interest in improving their discipline methods here are the books I recommend. (Workshops are helpful as well - they give you a place to practice a better way.)



My kids are older now, but back in the day I got a lot of help from these books:

"How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

"Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

"How to Really Love Your Child" by Ross Campbell

and

"Raising Your Child, Not by Force but by Love" by Sidney D. Craig

Karla - posted on 03/10/2012

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I'm not reading all the comments... I'm kind of sick of this "debate," but I'm perfectly willing to answer the questions in the OP.



Yes, I think the belt is abusive, especially if it left bruises, etc.

In my area it is illegal to use force on minors that leaves bruises. Parents may use "reasonable force" but it cannot leave bruises.



I'm going to guess that in my community it would be about 50/50 on agreement with that father's actions, though I have no idea.



I will add that parents who think that father's actions were reasonable, or who would use the same amount of force, should beware because the law is specific and when the child realizes this they will report their parent and Child Protective Services will get involved; as they should.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/10/2012

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I have to add that I saw a kid get spanked a couple weeks ago and it definitely reinforced my aversion to spanking. I wonder if this guy saw a video of himself beating his kid if his opinion would change.



Was so sad. Little boy at the airport, no more than 3. He was on our flight. It was really late and I'm sure he was just tired. His mum was smacking him on the butt in front of everyone. It made me really uncomfortable. That was the first time I ever saw a spanking in real life.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/10/2012

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It's illegal here and I'd like to think most people are glad that is so.

Emily - posted on 03/10/2012

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Kelly & Krista e, I feel a need to address your comments since I feel they are quite personally insulting. I will be the first person to defend a persons right to state their opinions. But there are obvious sterotypes in your remarks. My husband is a proud "hick" & "redneck". But uneducated or stupid he definately is not. He has a bachelors degree in natural medicine, is 1 semester shy of an A.S. in computer science, is LPIC-1 (Linux Professional Institue) certfied, a Linux system administrator, & owns his own company. The idea that being redneck or hick makes you stupid or uneducated is akin to racism, homphobia, etc.

Now, as for physical discipline: My husband was physically discilplined as a child. Yet neither of us believes in physical discipline. We believe that violence only breeds violence. And lets be real, spanking is inherently a violent act. We do not want to teach our kids that violence is an effective or acceptable way to solve problems. It only causes more.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/10/2012

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I have said this before and will say it again for the sake of hoping Brittney learns something from this thread.



The "prime time" for emotional and social development in children is birth to 12 years of age. Differing aspects of emotional and social development, which incorporate higher capacities, such as awareness of others, empathy and trust, are important at different times. For example, the real "prime time" for emotional attachment to be developed is from birth to 18 months, when a young child is forming attachments with critical caregivers. Such development provides the foundations for other aspects of emotional development that occur as children grow.



Children are emotional beings just as we are. Although, they cannot comprehend things anywhere near the same level as an adult can. It is insensitive to think you are not hurting their growth if you spank. However, it is not too late to change your ways. It is never too late to realize you have made mistakes (the sooner the better though). It is an important part of your growth as a mother. We all make mistakes but we try our best to recognize them and fix them, enhancing our growth and experiences.



I suggest, Brittney, at looking into resources (even if it is your own research on spanking and other "positive" disciplining methods) and correcting your behaviour before it does spawn out of control and become very detrimental to your daughter. Even yourself as a mother.



ETA: If you think a toddler is hard, you're in for quite a ride honey. They are EASY, compaired to the remaining years. Best to get a hold on things now or you may never get a hold on her later, when she is much bigger....

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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"A child who is 11 doesn't need to be spanked because he will definitely remember being spanked and hard. My daughter will not remember being spanked when she is older."



Ah, gotcha. So we only hit them if we think they won't remember it when they are older.

[deleted account]

Brittney, are telling me that by the age of 5, your child will know exactly how to behave in all situations and will not need to be disciplined? Or are you saying that at 5, you will switch to some other method of discipline?



If it is the latter, why switch when she is 5? Why not sooner or later?

Johnny - posted on 03/10/2012

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Yes Kelly, it does sound archaic. Our assault laws were amended 30 years ago to allow charges to be pressed by the crown (recommended by the police) even if the victim does not pursue the case. This was mainly to protect female victims of domestic violence.



To be completely honest, I had no idea that kind of violence was still legal anywhere in North America. I always thought of that as an issue in more "backward" and uneducated places. Like Yemen or Afghanistan.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/10/2012

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Resemblance is uncanning eh' Krista! I guess I know which faces to keep my children away from... ;)

[deleted account]

Krista, They DO don't they!! I started to write something like that, but I couldn't find a nice way to put it....



The commenters on these news articles always seem "hickish" and uneducated to me, so I don't give them much thought. That's why It surprised me so much when I spoke to parents in our social circle who are mostly college educated, professional people, and they had the same view (though a bit more eloquently expressed) as the uneducated commenter people.....

Krista - posted on 03/10/2012

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And yeah, the ignorance in that comments section is blistering.



Sorry, Kelly, but they DO sound like a bunch of hicks, talking about how they were all whipped with hickory switches and turned out just FINE.

[deleted account]

Johnny, I'll ask him about adult law tomorrow if I get the chance. It's funny because I brought that up in a debate here recently, but it totally slipped my mind today.



I THINK (but am not sure) based on some of the cases I've seen heard here, that in adult law whelps, marks, and bruising IS legal, but the victim has the right to press charges. In the event that charges are filed, a judge or jury (depending on the plea) will decide whether the defendant was abusive.



With a kid, the state files criminal charges, but in the case of an adult being abused, the state cannot file charges unless the victim does. This leads to a lot of women dropping the charges against their abusive partners because they know a jury in this area would probably side with the defendant.

[deleted account]

Yea, I find our laws sickeningly archaic too. I did not know until today that bruising was legal, but I was talking to my neighbor who is a state judge and he told me it was, but only to a certain extent. I asked him to what extent and his response verbatim was "It depends on whose courtroom you are in."



I was genuinely surprised at the reaction from my community. I really expected more parents to feel this guy was out of line with his kid. I know that non-spankers are a very rare breed here, but I did not realize "how far" these parents were going with their kids....

Johnny - posted on 03/10/2012

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But on the issue of it being legal to leave bruises and welts, wow. Is it legal for men to do this to their wives as well? Is adult assault law more permissive?

Johnny - posted on 03/10/2012

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I am glad she is not afraid of you. I am wondering how you gauge the success of the spanking if she just runs away laughing? Is the lesson being learned?



I do believe that discipline starts from birth, BUT it needs to be developmentally appropriate. For example, discipline for small babies might be about something like biting while nursing and would involve removal from the breast at the first nip. Natural consequences. Not punishment.

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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That's terrible Kelly. They are allowed to leave bruising? I can't even imagine a punishment that would bruise a child.

[deleted account]

Brittney, The kid in this article was 11 years old. His parents had been using corporal punishment on him all of his life, but at 11, in their eyes, he still needed to be spanked.



Why do you feel your child will be too old to spank at 5 years? What forms of discipline do you intend to use once she is 5 years old? Why do you not use the same forms of discipline now that you will use when she is older?



Btw, here it is legal to spank with a belt, and it is legal to leave whelps, red marks, and even some bruising. The legal line here is blurry because they draw the line at "severe bruising" and "excessive force" which is open for interpretation.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/10/2012

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Spanking is NOT discipline. It is called corporal punishment for a reason... Do you think those here that do not agree with spanking don't discipline? If so, you are saddly mistaken. Quite the contraire. I am a very strict disciplinary, I just do not see any point in physically punishing them. It can cause serious negative outcomes. There are soooo many other methods that work as well. Having a short fuse or not taking the time to react appropriately is a cop out. You are not putting as much into yourself or your child that is deserved. She is 17 months for goodness sake. She deserves a lot more than to be hit. End of story.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/10/2012

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The report stated that Wofford asked, "Is this about me (whooping) his butt last night?" and went on to say "Well, I was too hard on him, but he is bad."



hmmm I wonder why he is bad! Maybe defiant from being beat!

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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The laws in the US are archaic. And they are becoming more archaic by the day.

Johnny - posted on 03/10/2012

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It has also been a long time since the belt was legal here. Nationally in 1982.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/10/2012

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Nope, makes me sick. As Jenni said, it is illegal to use any implement in Canada. You are only allowed to spank, only with an open hand, only on the bum and it cannot leave a mark. Between age 2 and 12.



I for one am very happy the father was arrested. In my community the parent had better hope the police get to them first. I honestly do not think anyone would be accepting of this type of action where I live. I think they would've beat him themselves.



The poor boy. I can just imagine how he feels. Heartbroken, enraged and untrusting. So sad. My heart goes out for these children.

Johnny - posted on 03/10/2012

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Where I live this is clearly illegal. I suspect that a small minority would echo the comments of the people in your region, but generally, that is not considered acceptable behavior. I would say that it is a cultural thing. Some people believe that we own our kids and they are pretty much ours to do with as we please. Some people are not so bright and think that the only truly successful way to parent is with corporal punishment. When you combine that, you get comments like those.

[deleted account]

If it leaves bruises... it's abuse. Plain and simple. Whether you use an object or not... if you hit your child hard enough to leave a bruise... it is clearly abuse.

Jenni - posted on 03/10/2012

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I think I'll stay away from the comments. I may choke on my own vomit.



It's illegal to use a belt or any other implement in Canada. Open hand only. Only on the rear. No marks. Between the ages of 2-12.



I couldn't see my community being in support of the father. I remember my mom telling us of stories of "the belt" being used in her youth. I've only heard historical use of this practice. Bruises, welts, marks or not.... this practice is illegal here.

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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Where I live, a belt is abusive by law. You cannot use anything except an open hand. But even then, if it leaves marks? That's abuse even if you DON'T use and implement. I don't know ANYONE who spanks with implements (and I do know some spankers). So I'm not sure than I know too many people who would agree with this. But then, it's not something I talk to a lot of people about, so who knows?



From what I read, 80% of people believe spanking a child is ok. I am not sure what percentage of those people believe spanking with a belt or other implement is ok, I've never looked that up.



Interesting post.

Jodi - posted on 03/10/2012

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I can't believe people are in support of this. Beating your child (and a "whoopin'" or a "whippin'" is a beating) is illegal. Leaving bruises, that's just wrong. If you want to spank your child, go for it. You want to beat your child, better bet your bottom dollar I'll turn you in if I find out. This is a clear case of abuse, no child should receive bruises from a parent, or anyone.



I have spanked my daughter before, absolutely never left even a red mark, I cringe to think how hard I would have to hit her in order to leave a mark, much less a bruise. It's just wrong.

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