Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dragging today... gonna spank me?

Bill's online work group met again last night in the wee hours of the morning.  When he came to bed, he woke me up.  And It's a grey, misty, kind of miserable morning.  I feel a bit like going back to bed.  I may indulge that impulse, even though I have to take Arran to the vet this afternoon to have his paw checked.  I think it's better after the antibiotics, but it's still not quite normal yet.  It's frustrating, because he needs to stop licking it and won't.  I hate the thought of putting a cone on his head to stop him because it's uncomfortable and cumbersome.

This morning, someone posted this and it was on my feed...

For some reason, I stared at this for several minutes...

I have written about the practice of spanking many times on my blog.  My father was a big proponent of spankings.  It was pretty much the only way he ever disciplined me and, when he did it, he was often enraged.  I don't remember having a lot of respect for him when he spanked me.  I do remember being scared, upset, humiliated, and enraged myself.  

I stop short of saying a spanking is never appropriate.  Sometimes, I think they are appropriate.  The trouble is, not everyone is capable of using this discipline method appropriately.  I don't think it serves as good discipline to whale on a small child's ass when you are very upset.  I still have vivid memories of my dad coming after me when he was furious, grabbing me, pulling me over his lap, and hitting me as hard as he could with his hand.  I guess I should be grateful he used his hand and not a belt or a switch.  

When he was finished, I don't remember him once calmly talking to me or comforting me.  It felt more like an assault than discipline.  And I usually hated him for a time.  

Another problem I have with this method is that some people don't know when to stop.  My father thought it was appropriate to strike me when I was almost 21 years old.  He was drunk at the time and out of control and inserting himself in a situation that was not his business.  I will never forget the look on his face when he hit me in the face and how I felt at the time.  I can't forget the hours of being berated and no one coming to help me.  It still makes me furious.  It makes me want to be violent myself.

Years later, I needed treatment for depression and anxiety.  I don't know if it had anything to do with the spankings directly, except that they made me feel unloved and miserable.  I can't help but think I would have still turned out to be a good person if physical punishments were kept to a bare minimum.  

Now, I understand that sometimes a spanking is effective and perhaps even necessary, especially when you're dealing with a small child who doesn't understand reason.  But when it's used as a primary mode of discipline and isn't tempered with love and kindness, it's not very effective.  Besides, a good spanking lasts a few minutes and then it's over.  Punishments that involve grounding or other, non violent methods require effort.  It's easy to smack your kid, but harder to restrict them or withhold things from them.  That's why I think spanking is lazy and ultimately a poor discipline choice.

I've had friends disagree with me wholeheartedly about this issue.  And since I am not raising children myself, I suppose I can't say whether or not it really works from the parent's side.  I just know how it made me feel when I was a kid.  I'm 43 years old; my father is dead; and I am still angry about some of the shit he put me through at a time when I was helpless.  Many people would tell me to let go of the anger.  I wish I could.  Frankly, I think it's really disrespectful to tell someone to stop hurting or stop expressing their hurt.  It's certainly not very helpful.  

I think people say "let go" because they don't know what else to say.  Or they don't care and don't want to listen.  So they tell you to "get over it".  I can think of other things that are more useful and helpful.  Like, a person could say, "I'm sorry you're hurting."  Or even, "I don't know what to say."   

I read a few of the comments on the above meme.  Not surprisingly, it consists of a lot of right wing bullshit.  One person wrote...

The same people who say oh don't ever spank a child that's abuse are the same ones supporting abortion clinics and promoting the murdering of unborn children and they are also the same ones who defend Islam and it's [sic] wicked evil Christian murdering and child raping ways.

I say that perhaps if more unintended pregnancies were terminated, fewer kids would need to be spanked.  ;-)  If you can't think of a way to discipline your child in a non-violent way, perhaps you shouldn't have kids.   So yeah... maybe some people are alright with corporal punishment and grow up "fine".  But what about people like me?  Am I "fine"?  I still think about this shit with horror so many years later.  It still makes me angry.  I still have fantasies of hitting my father back when he hit me.  Instead, I just offered to press charges.  I shouldn't have had to do that when I was an adult.  He should have been in more control of himself.  He wasn't, and I'm still paying the price. 


  1. My parents only spanked us for serious ssafety issues and as far as I can remember they were always in control of themselves whenever they whacked us. Consequently i don't feel harmed by the practic and think it's probably OK if the parent isn't enraged and has thought about the situation enough to know in his or her rational mind that it's probably the best course of action. I suspect you'd ultimately have more child abuse if parents didn't have spanking in their arsenal for appropriate infractions. I suspect most abuse occurs not so much ritualistically but as a result of parents who are pushed to their emotional limits. Those limits are more likely to be reached if appropriate discipline doesn't happen when it's first needed. Nonetheless, their are some people who should never strike children. Your father was probably one who should have found other ways of dealing with it when a child displeased him.

  2. We had a good discussion about this on Facebook. I found out I have friends who had it as bad or worse. And at least a couple of them feel like I do. Some are even more anti corporal punishment than I am.


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