Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is Spanking Abusive?

I was thinking about something this morning. I think it was sparked by Tink's response to my last post, remarking how badly she felt for smacking her DS on the arm. I was thinking about the times I also have used some sort of physical discipline on my DD and how it ate me up inside immediately afterwards. I, like Tink, immediately regretted it and apologized to my DD for not making a better choice.

Let me just say, before I get too far into this....I am neither pro-spanking nor anti-spanking. It's not high on my personal list of ways I'd like to discipline but that is due to my negative association with it in my own past. I respect any parents choice of discipline as long as it's carried out in love and the best interest of the child.

I was remembering my mother and her method of punishment. As I've intimated time and again, my mother doesn't discipline for much. I don't recall the events that led up to a punishment. In my mind, I'm thinking they were smaller issues like not cleaning my room, not taking out the garbage. Maybe just being fresh mouthed. Those types of things. I must have been at least 9 years old because I recall this happening in the house we moved into when I was that age. And I know she did it to my brother as well, who was 3 years older.

What I do recall is the "ritual". I find this pretty triggering to recall and to write about. I'm having to breathe and focus to stay calm but I have butterflies in my stomach. The ritual was this: Go to your room. Pull down your pants. Bend over the end of your bed. Wait. Then in she comes with either the wooden spoon or the black leather belt. Spanking ensues. If you make light of it in the midst, the spankings increase in force. In fact, she once broke the wooden spoon over my brother. Wow, this makes me soooo uncomfortable to talk about.

So I ask you.....in this scenario.....older children, nakedness, impersonal, the anxiety, humiliation and shame associated with the pants down and waiting......I feel like this was abusive. Of course, I'm hyper vigilant about abuse. So I'm not really sure. At the very least, I feel it was inappropriate for kids of our age. I read a little bit on a website about spanking with love and her methods most definitely do NOT fall into the "with love" category.

It never made me fear her. Instead, I still always felt like I had the "upper hand" in our relationship; like I knew I could walk all over her if I wanted to. Sometimes I have real trouble distinguishing what I felt then vs what I perceive today. At the very least, she gave me mixed messages, sometimes turning to me as a peer and other times pulling the parent card. I feel unsettled as I write this. I feel like I've said what I came here to say but I'm not done with this topic. Thoughts &/or perspective would be appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? Of course what you described is abusive! Look up how many nations banned corporal punishment many years ago. They are less violent than America. I ask you to take this experience you had and turn it into something positive to help others. Write your local representative and request corporal punishment be banned. We need to modernize this violent culture.