Posted in Children, Parenting

Spanking Your Child – Is How Much Too Much?

*This post is not to promote spanking or to condemn parents who spank their children. This post is my take on spanking children and how different parents view the limit of spanking their children differently. Your opinion may differ from mine and I appreciate if no judgement is made. This post is to express my view on the topic and what I went through as a mother.

Where I come from, spanking your child is not something too frowned upon.

In fact, most of us grew up remembering our parents spanking us for small and big blunders alike. Does this mean we hate our parents or blame them for the screw ups we did? No. Does this mean we grow up to be parents who spank their children? No.

Spanking may be a term a tad too nice when I talk about spanking your children. Among my friends, we have shared stories about our experiences in getting “spanked” by our parents. Some of us were lashed, knocked, thumped and smacked with almost any object that is within our parents’ reach. Yes, objects. I’ve heard my friends told me they were lashed with belts and cloth hangers, a friend said he was smacked in the back with a Chemistry textbook, another said she was thumped on the head with her brother’s toy truck and even Mohen told me he got knocked with a helmet once.

See what I mean when I say spanking is too nice a term?

Is this enough to be deemed child abuse? To some extent, perhaps. For me, an abuse is something that is done constantly and caused real bodily and mental harm to the child for it to be considered abuse. Many may disagree because abuse can come in the lightest and heaviest form but this is what I think. Am I wrong? Maybe. And having said that, it doesn’t mean that my friends and myself included, did not suffer from bruises for days. But our parents didn’t continue to beat us half to death on daily basis. We get lashed, smacked, thumped and knocked only when we really crossed the line. We get yelled at every day, yes. But not beaten up every day.

Spanking your child is dangerous because it can really physically hurt your child even when you thought you had “gone easy” with him. A child’s body is so vulnerable that the smallest impact can hurt them. And we adults have strength hundredfold of theirs and even more when we are angry.

Fortunately, parents in the current age are more sensitive and aware of parenting behaviors and skills than they were say three decades ago. We greedily read on everything and anything relating to parenting, we gobble up child-rearing information and we exercise all kinds of parenting methods we feel suit us best. And this has led us to the concept of spanking our child and how the real damage goes deeper than just bodily harm when before this, we grew up thinking that our parents hit us because we did something wrong and that’s what parents have to do to deal with us.

This is not to say that older parents from a more traditional background lacked in parenting skills. We learn so much from our parents who back then, didn’t have any websites to refer to, no daily tweets to follow what more online parenting communities to share stories and tips on parenting. How our parents brought us up was a way how they saw fit. Most of us turned out fine, didn’t we? But that also doesn’t mean we can and should follow their style 100%. They made mistakes too, yes. They feel bad when they hit us, yes. But now we have a chance to better parent our children from all the information and things we can find on parenting based on what we feel our parents did right.

I will not pretend to say that I have never spanked my children.

I tried and tried to keep my temper in check but sometimes there were just too many things happening and my kids didn’t listen to me after telling them repeatedly. So I snapped. Even when I spanked them, I know in my heart that it is wrong to do it and their crying hurt me more than I hurt them. My hand is spanking them but my heart is telling me to stop.

And I did.

I know enough not to keep hitting them because it’s not the right thing to do and it will only teach them violence.

I always feel like the lousiest mom in the world when I spank my kids and listening to them cry while I take a time out is the most terrible thing any mom could ever experience. I do not get any satisfaction out of it. Yes it stopped them from fighting or spitting on the floor or smearing spaghetti sauce on the wall but the damage is done. I have hurt them when they are just being children. In the end, no one gets anything out of it. I feel like crap, my kids are in pain and continue to cry. Where’s the resolution in that?

I may not be a psychologist to know that spanking my children will only make them more stubborn, turn them into a violent person and in turn hit each other. This was not what I wanted when I spank my children. All I wanted was for them to stop. But it has; it has turned them into an angry lot with a quick hand to hit the sibling.

Because of this I have tried and tried and practice without fail to stop myself from beating my children.

There were days I felt like lashing at them with the coloring book they left on the floor but I have managed to not do that. I have learnt to talk sense into them and make them see why they are making me angry and what I would like them to do. Yes, there were bad days when I still shout at the top of my lungs but I’m so happy to say that I no longer resort to hitting them. And yes, while I’m at it, I’m still working on my “Screaming Mom Syndrome”.

 

Now, is spanking your child that terrible?

None of the parenting sites I visit condones spanking, for obvious reasons, even though there are a few that offers a better way to do it if you really feel you have to do it. But here are the main reasons that are given that I have personally seen the effect from my own mistake of spanking my children:

  • Hitting models hitting – As I mentioned before, I have seen it with my own eyes when my kids started hitting each other when the other is having an attitude. It showed me that they think that is the way to resolve things, that is how Mommy does it so this is how we do it too. It is beyond scary to see little children hitting each other in the same way you would hit someone and realized, they are mimicking you. As a mother, I can’t tell you how embarrass I am by this when I saw Eros hitting Sophia on the head because she took away his toy

 

  • It brings them down – I notice that when I spank my kids, they become more rebellious. They want to make a point of not being weak, they want to show that they are someone and that my spanking can’t hurt them. I realized that this a call for help to show that they are losing their sense of self and value. Kids are not dumb, I don’t have to tell you that if you’re a parent, so they can feel and figure things out pretty quickly and when they see that I’m always spanking them, they feel that they need to step up to my standards and please me all the time instead of me accepting them as how they are

 

  • They fear you – This is the one reason I hate myself for and blame no one else for it. During the time when I was spanking them over the smallest mistakes, I can literally see the fear in their eyes when they want to tell me something. Sometimes when I talk and made gestures with my hands, they instinctively recoiled because they thought I was going to hit them. How crushing is that when you see and know your own kids are terrified of you? For me, that was the breaking point where I realized if I don’t do something about myself, I’m going to lose my children’s faith in me forever

 

There are many more reasons not to spank your child that can be found on parenting websites. But for me, these three is enough to make me know that I had to stop before I continue damaging my children.

Sometimes I think, was I that way when my mother spanked me when I was little? Was I afraid of her? Did I hate her now for hitting me?

Truth is, I only remember scraps of spanking episodes but I don’t remember the feeling I felt during those episodes. I remember my mother flinging the kiddy plate onto the wall because my sister and I were arguing who had the bigger piece of the cake and ended up dropping the cake onto the floor but I don’t remember being scared at that very moment. I remember my mother lashing my calves with the cloth hanger because I stole her money to buy candies for my friends but I don’t remember hating her for not giving me enough allowance or that I somehow turned into a thief. Maybe my mind blocked it out, I don’t know. But I know that I didn’t and never blamed my mother for the way I turned out as a person now. In fact, I credit her for the way I am for I believe she brought me up well in spite of the beating, lashing, yelling and all.

So does that mean my kids won’t remember that I spanked them? Does that mean it’s okay for me to occasionally spank them on the bottom to remind them of what’s right and wrong?

I don’t know.

Whether or not they are going to remember, I know this much – I don’t want them to fear me now as they are growing up even though there are chances of them not remembering me as a mother who spanks them when they were little.

For some parents, a little spanking now and then is okay. It’s how they discipline their child, by enforcing the concept that “I only hit when you did something really bad”. For some parents, talking about what their children did wrong is a better key than spanking.

I believe at the end of the day, no parent want to intentionally hurt their children, no parent wants to turn abusive. Even though spanking is probably one of the easiest line to cross from disciplining to being abusive, some parents still think spanking their children is acceptable. That is fine for me and may not be fine for other parents.

What I know is, it is always best to avoid spanking at all times no matter how occasional. I admit there will be times when parents will still spank their children even when they don’t want to but as long as the parent is aware and continue to do less of it and in the long run none at all, I believe it is all right.

No parent is perfect but we all want to be perfect parents. This in itself will be our guide in spanking our children less and to stop it entirely one day. We know we wouldn’t want to unintentionally break our children’s bones because of how hard we hit them so we will always watch ourselves.

I’ve been through it and I managed to fight it and learn from my mistakes. Will I ever stop feeling bad for what I have done? I don’t know and to be honest, I don’t think so. But will I ever resort to spanking again even though just a smack on the bottom on a really bad day? I don’t know and to be honest, I might.

But I know now in my heart that is not the person I want to be so I know I will try my best not to be that person again even if it’s on a really bad day.

 

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Author:

A feminist mother of 3 who thinks she can write.

2 thoughts on “Spanking Your Child – Is How Much Too Much?

  1. I think there is a place for spanking but a lot of people take it too far. I’d say to avoid going to far:
    – don’t spank with an object
    – don’t take off child’s clothes (at least leave underpants on)
    – only spank on the bottom, never on the face or genitals
    I was whipped with a switch on my bare penis many times and it was horrible. Never, never abuse your child.

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    1. That is true.

      My mother always say that a little spanking isn’t that all bad because there need to be a way to discipline the children. She always cautioned me to be careful though because it’s easy to hit harder than you intended when you’re angry. And also said like what you said. If you really must spank, only spank on the bottom while they’re clothed and never hit with an object.

      I’m sorry to hear about what you went through as a child. Certain scenarios like that do stay with us until we’re old.

      Like

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