07-03-2012 11:32 AM
Were you spanked as a child? Do you use spanking when disciplining your children?
07-03-2012 12:23 PM
I was spanked as a child. Infrequently, but yes. I don't think I was unduly traumatized.
No, I have never spanked my children.
I don't even really ever punish them. They learn best from their mistakes when I don't complicate their feelings of contrition with anger, fear or indignation.
07-03-2012 07:38 PM
I was spanked as a child, my husband was as well and frankly the large majority of my friends were too. We actually had a conversation about this at one of our girls nights. None of use feel that we were "abused", and none of us have any mental health issues. I would say we are all strong, successful women. I do think there are different levels of spanking. Are those statistics linked to how often a child was spanked, how hard and how many times? Kind of just general to say spanking is linked to mental health issues.
All that being said - I am not a believer in spanking. Mostly for the fact that I think it is too easy to get lost in your anger, forget how much stronger you are them the kids and because I believe there are better ways to discpline.
07-04-2012 02:15 AM
I was spanked now and then, and I don't feel particularly mentally healthy, but I have a hard time believing there's a connection, for various reasons (mainly timing--I'm pretty sure I was a very happy little kid, and that would have been when I was spanked).
Also, one article I read (not the TP blog) said something (vague) about what they were calling spanking, and it seemed to exclude "occasional smack on bum" (and also exclude severe beatings, starvation, etc.) but be more like grabbing or hitting an arm. I don't think that's most people's definition of "spanking"---although it may be what most people who spank actually do.
I'm also very suspicious of the "strong correllation" between being spanked and mental health issues. I can think of two other explanations that are at least as good (it's not clear to me whether these have been addressed or controlled for): Children who are troubled are more likely to exhibit the kinds of behaviours that they get spanked for (mental illness causes spanking) or parents who resort to spanking are less able to cope with life's challenges and help their children cope with them (same cause for both mental illness and spanking).
07-04-2012 09:20 AM
I agree with your skepticism vs. a causative link between spanking and mental health issues. But the study itself does not claim a causal link:
"[study author Tracie Afifi] acknowledged it's not a causal effect and the study design can't prove the link, but she said the statistical association is clear."
It's the media that is portraying the statistical association as a causative link. I think the most that can be said is that spanking is a red flag for the kinds of problems that are more likely to result in mental health problems. And I think that's likely more true nowadays, when spanking has less social acceptability: if a parent uses physical discipline today despite the prevailing cultural view against it, there may indeed be some serious issues the practice. Whether parental issues or child issues or a combination, it's impossible to know.
07-07-2012 06:04 PM
07-07-2012 09:56 PM
There are a variety of tools in the parenting tool kit. Spanking is one of the bluntest tools, often used by the least skilled practitioners of parenting. I prefer to use the finer tools because I find the results are better. However, I have given my diaper-wearing toddler a not-so-subtle whap on the butt -- just enough that he knew I wasn't happy with him. I wish I hadn't and I told him later that I shouldn't have hit him, but I'm pretty sure that moment of reverting to old-style parenting isn't going to scar him for life. It was one of those times when I was tired and frustrated, and as a result, my parenting skills weren't at their peak.
07-07-2012 10:32 PM
I hope you were over-simplifying here, because you sure seemed to be implying that there are two options for disciplining: discussing, and spanking. My discipline toolbox has a lot of things in iteven though spanking isn't one of them. You're right that discussing doesn't always work. But I don't think the next logical step is to hit your child.