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Alternatives to spanking June 26, 2004 3:07 PM

I think many members could benefit from an Aware Parenting-focused discussion on the ways we work with our children that don't involve punishments like spanking. What works for you? Do you have success stories to share? Methods that work in your family? Have you been challenged by others for not spanking? How do you respond to them? I don't have a LOT of experience yet, since my child is just about to turn 14 months, so I will hold off a little on sharing just opinions and ideas on the matter ... -Kirsten  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 June 26, 2004 3:51 PM

I've gotten alot of help from online, especially from the Natural Child Project. They have these reminder cards that help me not to spank my son. I've put them around our apartment. Ex. of the cards: 1. Find the humor. 2. Does your child need rest, food, quiet, fresh air, exercise...or a hug? 3. Let your child be a child. They work really well. http://www.naturalchild.org/home/  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
natural child June 27, 2004 9:53 PM

The natural child project is a great place to start. They have a book too, I think it is wonderful.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 June 27, 2004 11:36 PM

Redirection is wonderful! You can interrupt their thinking and get them focused on something else. Another tactic is to reaffirm 'What you are doing.. is a 'NO'.. but there's a 'Yes" that you can do right over here. Hold them on your lap and make them look into your eyes. "I don't think you want to take a nap this early, do you?" Child shakes head no.. "Good. I'm happy to hear that. Let's do this *redirect*." Make sure the child has enough of your love and attention that it satisfies what they are truly yearning for and the urge to misbehave diminishes. Give them stuff all along that they get to be 'in charge of'. Teach them responsibility along with the 'in charge of'.. Every time they clamor for more control in the relationship.. find something else they can be in charge of.. along with the responsibility. Supervise to make sure they are following up. If they balk or get frustrated, it's an excellent time to point out that being in charge is a lot of work and being their parent is a loving thing.. *BUT* independence is where they are ultimately headed. The authority of the parent adjusts with the capacity of the child to handle themselves appropriately. It is important for the child to understand that they are not ready *AT this TIME* to be in charge of all the options. Most of the time, this quiets my headstrong children's drive to test me.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
spank or nothing at all....... July 01, 2004 10:38 PM

I was raised where spanking was a must. Not just spanking, but sometimes something bordering on abuse. It was ok then, not like today. I see my beautiful baby and I never want to raise a hand to him, never. But too often I see parents doing nothing. A child is running around screaming, breaking things, hitting, biting, ect... and the parent just sits there. They don't want to spank they say. I think that too often people assume its spanking or nothing, either hit your child or let them behave like monsters. I want my son to grow up knowing respect, knowing limits, not thinking that there are no consequences for his actions. This is something I saw today, and it runs threw me like fingernails on a chalkboard. Sometimes I wish I could calm the child down, then spank the parent. LOL  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Me too, Summer July 02, 2004 6:37 PM

I was also raised under the "spare the rod, spoil the child" mentality. It definitely was borderline abuse. Once, when I was a teenager, my father actually clenched a fist at me. I honestly was afraid he was going to punch me. I decided right then that I was never going to raise a hand to my children. How could anyone want their kids to fear them? How could anyone hit a child?? Anyway, my 18 month old dd is getting very fiesty. She loves to run me ragged. She's in a stage where she likes to hit me...the other day, I held her arms still so she wouldn't hit again, and she head-butted me square in the nose! My mother told me that I should slap her thigh, right below the diaper (so she could feel it). I was like, "tell her not to hit by hitting her back?" What kind of mixed up crazy message is that? If anything, it teaches them to hit more! I just tell her that hitting hurts, and to say sorry and give hugs. She can't say sorry, yet, but she loves to give the hugs! I also tell her to "be nice to mommy" and then she says "awww" and pets my face. My 5 yr old dd is so sensitive, that all I have to do is tell her that she did something that she shouldn't have, and she feels super guilty. She hardly ever acts up anyway, so I rarely have to worry about her. Hopefully her little sister will turn out as wonderful as she did!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Problem Parents July 03, 2004 12:41 AM

When ever my children 'playup' at my Mum's house, her stock reply is that they deserve a smack. If they are crying or whiney and she doesn't know why they are crying she suggests I 'give them something to cry about!' (playing up in my Mum's eyes is not sitting still and not touching anything - if anyone knows any 3 and 5 year olds who can do that for 3 hours at a time then they are some strange kids!!!) I think old-fashioned parents are the problem - not 'naughty' children!!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
I agree, Emma July 03, 2004 7:29 AM

I've noticed that there are way too many children whose parents pay them absolutely no attention. They never play with them. They never actually teach them what is right and wrong. It's like, they are expected to know, and then spankings are the result. It's very frustrating.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
I'll give you something to cry about.... July 03, 2004 10:31 PM

OHHH! I used to hear that all the time. I never could understand it as a child. Obviously I have something to cry about or else I wouldn't be crying! I think I said that to my mom or to my grandmother once. Which ever one, I remember getting slapped for it.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Mom's mood July 04, 2004 1:03 AM

Another alterative to spanking has got to be monitoring my own emotional state. If I allow myself to become too tired.. too lonely from other mom's.. too resentful, whatever.. it certainly does come out in my reactions to the kids. WHen I see myself getting stressed, I see if I can manage it myself.. sometimes I have to ask my husband for some help. Even if it's just to run the situation by him to see what he thinks. My husband's really great that way.. his approach with me really centers me and that helps me respond gently with them...  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 12, 2004 9:31 PM

it is funny kids perception on things...i have 4 boys,14,8,6 and 2 none have been spanked.i grew up in a home where we got "the belt when dad came home" so i know how much it was a nessary thing to NEVER use spanking as a solution.for me at least i feel that it is used more as a quick fix to have the use of a threat ,do you need a spanking or even knowing it was coming was enough to make you stop out of fear. it is not how i want to have my children learn to do or not do something.i want them to make the choice because it is the correct one ,not because they are in fear of getting a swat on the butt.it just makes zero sence to me. as my oldest got older,maybe about 4 time out worked really good,but it took alot of differant time out tryings to find a good way to make it work for us both in a constructive way.even now him as a teenager, it has pulled us together very close and i think has really shown him good communication skills.the deal we have made that works best for us is when a time out is needed for either of us,either i am so mad that i need some time out so i dont say or react verbally aggressive and i need to go sit and think how i want to deal with the situation,or calm myself before continuing the heated conversation,(teens really know how to push the buttons!) or he needs it for simular reasons.it has come to the point where i just say you need to take some time and come back when your ready to talk not fight.or i can say to him i need to take some time away from this situation,i will finish it when i am ready to be calm with you.the rule is though it has to be with in reason.so he cant come back in 2 min attempting to rehash the arguement etc...for him and i it really has helped in that situation.also with other issues of misbehaving i try to find a fitting punishment for the problem ,i actually do that with all the kids.each problem has its own ways of fixing and i feel that a spanking will never teach,words do.so lets say usen hurtwords in anger to some one,i would talk to them about them haven to sit alone and come up at least 3 differant ways they can deal with the situation next time. so they are in controle of the length of the time out,but they have to take time to relax and actually come up with the solution to fix it. these things all work well with a little bit older kids,but my 2 year old sees this and when he does something naughty he goes on the steps for about 1 min then comes and says sorry mama and i talk to him a moment and he goes abotu his way.however a 2 year old is still a 2 year old and will repeat it about 50 more times hahaha. i just feel them knowing why i am upset, or why it isnt ok or what ever is so much healthier and constructive.this has workd well for us. i am sorry to babble on i have a bad tendancy to do that and get sidetracted... be well!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 13, 2004 5:50 PM

Mike, I am curious how you feel that your views on force match with ap-style discipline and other aspects of attachment parenting? -Kirsten P.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Back to alternatives July 13, 2004 6:02 PM

I've found that spanking does nothing but breed negativity. My mother lived in a spare the rod spoil the child kind of household (also a household without much affection)... she wanted better for her kids and raised us to be mindful and respectful, and just a touch of a good healthy sense of respectful "fear". It was just nicer to have a happy mom... cuz if mom ain't happy ain't nobody happy. LOL.. As for me as parent, when my son was younger he was a CHALLENGE. At age 2 he had some heavy duty rage and anger I'd never seen in a toddler before. We had battles and he was a biter big time. I really was at my wits end with him at times. The biting stopped when I finally bit him back... not hard (his bites bruised me and stuck around for days) but just to let him know it hurt.. he never bit again, nor did I. We butted heads though.. yikes, boy oh boy he was a bugger. Then when he was about 4 or so my mom read a fantastic book I recommend to anyone with "problem children" who don't believe in spanking. It's called "What did I just say?!" by... Dr. Donavan I think is the guy's name... I wrote a book review on it, I can post the link if anyone wishes to read it. But the book gave a LOT of great ideas in how to word things for a child, how not to get lip from a child by not introducing opportunities for "lip"... like asking a child "would you put your cup away?" offers them a choice.. a statement "put your cup away" is a direction... given the choice you might get a no which isn't what you wanted, you wanted the cup away... the book goes into detail about a variety of discipline techniques AND consequence techniques as well as positive reinforcement. I started using some of the things in the book and man, it was like a miracle. I still catch myself sometimes but we do a lot of feedback when he's mad now, we've learned to deal with those times, when he used to get violently mad (thrashing and such... like spanking would do what? reinforce the behavior I wanted stopped?) I'd hold him so he'd not hurt anyone or himself... I was afraid my lap would become a prison for him but it wasn't.. it was a safe place he could come to work out his emotions without fear of them. Being angry can be scary to a little guy. But I'm proud to say that he's a great 8 year old. I get compliments on how well mannered and well spoken he is. Of course he's still a kid and has his moments. LOL.. DD is another thing altogether. I think one has to find what works best for the child... one size doesn't always work. Time outs used to work for her, but I've found consequences work better. She hits her brother... I hold her hand still for as many seconds as she's months old. She hates it and doesn't hit again. Same with biting.. I hold her face (no, I don't pinch or cause pain) still and count to myself... she thinks it's funny for 10 seconds, the last 10 she knows I mean business. LOL.. but she won't bite again. Thankfully she's not like her brother was, that's for sure!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Friends of mine July 13, 2004 6:05 PM

Didn't believe me that the tactics in that book worked... they were afraid if they didn't smack their kids around (as they were smacked as kids) that they wouldn't learn. Well, they didn't seem to be learning by being hit or threatened. Their 3 year old actually would tune out their screaming and yelling to the point where he didn't know when they were telling him to do stufff.... they're doing much better with 1,2,3 magic... I think it's called. And with my suggestions of not asking questions but using direct statements with a respectful tone. Another miracle. LOL... I think it's proof that positive attention and knowing how a child thinks (they don't understand sarcasm and things are very literal) can help bridge the gap when it comes to, what I think of as AVOIDING the NEED for discipline. I like that the best.. then one doesn't have to wonder about time outs vs spanking... if the call for discipline can be avoided all together.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Woohoo.... July 20, 2004 11:05 PM

another debate about spanking.......back onto my soapbox. First of all, Mike, spare the rod spoil the child is a biblical term. It has been taken out of context as an excuse for the primative act of corporal punishment. Look at the other biblical references to the term "rod"..."thy rod and thy staff"....we all know a staff is a shepard's hook, the rod is the other TOOL shepards used to GUIDE thier sheep. Shepards DO NOT BEAT their sheep...they simply guide them....the rod was a stick used to GUIDE sheep by gently nudging them. Shepards usually just hold the rod out to point the sheep in the right direction. So when you say spare the ROD spoil the child....you are really saying spare GUIDANCE spoil the child. SHEPARDS DO NOT HIT THEIR SHEEP! Also, as you will see my comments in another thread...if spanking and hitting is so darn effective as a teaching tool...why do we abandon it as adults? I personally think your view about hitting is wrong and I feel a need to teach you a lesson, perhaps I should just smack you around a little and get your head straight. (doesn't that sound absurd coming from one adult to another??). Hitting is about power and control. No one DESERVES to be hit. You hit because you can. Because you feel you have a right over another human being. You don't hit an officer who wrongly gives you a ticket,do you? Why not? She said you were speeding, but you weren't. You don't hit your boss when he/she messes up...why not? What if your children were to hit you for your mistakes in parenting (which we ALL make)? Why is hitting a child okay? What are you truly "teaching" them? I believe you are teaching them that those who are bigger get what they want through force. You said we feel pain for a reason...do you honestly believe that "reason" is so the people who are supposed to love and guide us can harm us? We feel pain to protect us from danger. Hot burning fire=pain=danger, Acid=pain=danger, dad=pain=danger. Is that the lesson you want to instill? I personally want my child to make decisions based on HER choices, not her fear of pain. I think spanking teaches children to fear, not to make educated choices. Spanking teaches deciet, no on likes pain...I would lie to avoid it..so would a child. It teaches that IF YOU GET CAUGHT there are consequences. True discipline teaches children to think and rationalize, not to fear. How will they handle themselves when the fear is not there and they must make a decision based on thier thoughts rather than their reaction to pain? *Climbing off soapbox for now*  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 21, 2004 11:08 AM

Well said, Rodonda!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Oops.. July 21, 2004 11:08 AM

Sorry I misspelled your name, Radonda... my head's been in a cloud the past few days.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Spanking July 21, 2004 12:52 PM

I don't have children but I am the oldest of four girls and have extensive experience baby-sitting and as a nanny. My father was young when I was born and very inexperienced with children. He was angry ALOT and used to spank us all the time. For me personally it was the worst thing he could have done. I was and still am VERY sensitive, spanking was cruel and unneeded. All I ever wanted to do was please my parents. Most of the spaking was done in anger, when my dad was just too tired or mad to deal with us. I began to blame myself for his anger and still to this day have to remove myself from his emotions. As a child you think the world revolves around you, so everything good and bad is your fault. I have issues with dealing with my anger because of the bad example I had. I believe you can have chilren who love and respect you enough to listen to you. Fear NEVER works! They just learn to hide it from you. You need to work with each child and find what motivates them. Because my sisters and I were VERY different. One sister and my dad had a constant power struggle and the only way he could control her was by hitting/spaking her. It didn't work! She just rebelled more and more. So in my experience you can have well-behaved children with out hitting them. Just my two cents and experience!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 21, 2004 6:14 PM

The pro-spanking posts have been removed.  [ send green star]
 
Yay Alice! July 21, 2004 7:42 PM

Hopefully, something as learned however.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Sorry... July 22, 2004 2:53 PM

Sorry for my rant! I know this discussion was old but wanted to add to the other anti-spanking posts!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
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