Trigger warning for Hurts Me More Than You series: posts in this series may include detailed descriptions of corporal punishment and physical abuse and violence towards children.
HA note: These five stories are the perspectives of five sisters, with psuedonyms taken from the seven sisters from greek mythology. They have previously guest-blogged at Becoming Worldly.
My parents were very zealous about raising us right.
They read the Bible, joined the groups, read the books. When I was very young, I was punished in a way that I think was very typical of the late 80’s (and still common now): a slap on the hand, a swat on the bottom. But after the books and the groups, it became more violent, and included hitting us on a handy body part, pinching and squeezing handy body parts, and formal spanking.
My father accumulated spanking implements, and he enjoyed hearing about new materials that could be used to spank his children.
He insisted that it be called the rod, as a matter of respect to him. His favourite stick was a think branch from our woods. He cut it off the tree himself, trimmed off the little branches with a knife, and sanded the nubs down.
It still had most of the brown bark on it, and over time, the sanded nubs started to look shiny and polished from use. It seemed to me that my parents thought that spanking had magical properties. They thought it could be used for anything from attitude adjustments to ensuring instant obedience to helping the memory when we had a hard time reciting the Bible verses we were supposed to memorize.
When my father thought we had a rebellious attitude, he would spank us, and then talk to us about having a better attitude, which was difficult to process, especially on those occasions when we weren’t having rebellious thoughts to begin with. If we failed to respond to a command immediately, or did it with the wrong attitude, or not thoroughly enough, we were spanked. We were spanked until we cried, because they felt that resisting tears was a rebellion of its own (it was). But we became disconnected from our own reaction of crying, so sometimes we would start crying right away, trying to do what was expected, and we were spanked until we stopped the rebellion of crying.
They told us that they didn’t want to hit us, but they had no choice because the Bible made it clear that they would be punished if they didn’t spank us.
Being spanked and hit and pinched made me flinch around sudden movements from my parents, but, you guessed it, I was punished for flinching. I became very fearful, and tried to completely control my behaviour and reactions to avoid being punished. I became a very silent and somber child, trying to show respect and obedience all the time, even though inside I was extremely angry. I learned to try to avoid punishment, not to do things well from any internal motivation, and this was something I have had to learn to overcome as an adult.
I do not support spanking as a discipline method.
I was spanked when I was a kid.
The spankings went on from when I was about 2 to when I was 12. Sometimes the sessions would go on for hours, and they usually took place at least once a day. Even the slightest offense, such as taking an extra piece of fruit, or “having a bad attitude”.
I remember one event, when I was about 8, when my parents decided I was possessed.
This was at bedtime and the beating and praying went on till the early morning hours. Usually I would get a forced hug after a spanking session, along with a prayer and a guilt trip for “causing them this pain”.
I feel that a lot of my social skills were hindered by this abuse, and I think that spanking is an unnecessary and brutal use of force that should never be used.
As a child, I was spanked by my dad and my mom. Most of the time it was for pointless and unimportant things. My dad would spank me until I cried. I don’t mean whimper; he would spank me till I cried loud and in pain. He would spank me with a rod that had the diameter of a quarter.
My dad justified his spanking methods by saying that God showed him that it was time to spank. He once spanked all of my siblings and myself, with the reason that he had to test out his new spanking implements. I got spanked because I baked cookies for my dad as a surprise, but I burned them. I got spanked for climbing out my bedroom window. I got spanked for dropping a watermelon because it smashed on the ground.
The actual spanking didn’t hurt me psychologically. It was the reason and the criticism that the spankings were served under. I was scarred by my dad’s spanking physically; more emotionally though. My dad once beat my sister with a broomstick in front of me because she missed a spot on the floor. That scarred me.
Spanking is wrong in many circumstances. When a spanking is meaningless for no reason, then it is wrong. I don’t know if it’s wrong all the time, so in my children’s lives, I have chosen not to. I can’t justify hitting child, no matter what they did.
I was spanked when I was growing up. And it definitely affected me permanently. I was spanked for everything; it was extremely inconsistent and never for the same things. I was spanked and it hurt. I was spanked anytime my father wanted too. He spanked me so often that I thought it was just the normal way of life.
My parents instilled fear in me at a young age. As a child the one thing I feared the most was my parents; no matter what I was doing ( playing the piano, playing lego, or even playing in the yard ) because anything could set my dad off.
This not only hurt me as a child but followed me into adulthood as I went on to parent my own child.
I developed bipolar as a result of this and multiple other mental issues. It made it hard in relationships because I couldn’t even tell I was being abused for the longest time.
This is only a very brief description of how child abuse affected me forever.
I was spanked by my parents when I was younger. Each spanking wasn’t very long (as I can remember), but it is hard to remember how often I was spanked. I was often spanked with grey patterned tent rods, and I was never spanked for a reason (as far as I know). Each Sunday, we were taught at “church” that spanking was normal and a fine way of discipline so I didn’t realize that the living situation I was in was a horrible one.
Later on in life I got counselling which I probably had needed much earlier but from counseling, I learned so much more about spanking, how wrong it was, and how illegal and inexcusable it was. There are many wrong things about spanking especially when you aren’t given a reason for it. It hurt me physically and psychologically. I will never spank my kids when I have them, hurting them physically won’t be the answer. Kids don’t realize when they’re doing something wrong unless you tell them.
There are alternatives to hurting them.
I am a writer out of NYC I am hoping to contact the author to interview for a piece I am writing. Thanks.
All spanking shows a child is that if you are bigger and stronger, you can hit a smaller, weaker person and get away with it. We never spanked out children unless it was a last resort, and by “last resort” I men when talking didn’t work. In my opinion, spanking creates bullies, and we don’t need any more bullies in this world.
All of the stories above are terribly tragic and I feel for the children who had to go through that. I also feel though that spanking has a place with a parent who is rational, careful, and uses that method of discipline sparingly. I raised my sons as a single mother because I was divorced when they were young. I probably didn’t spank my boys more than ten times between both of them during the whole time they grew up. I am also against using an object to spank a child. When an object is used, a line is crossed. I’d be inclined to call what happened a beating. There are situations where a parent needs to teach a clear and simple lesson to a misbehaving child and other consequences just aren’t as persuasive. I’ll just mention a couple of examples: Your child lies to you about where they are during the day and you find out that at the age of eight, they crossed a busy highway that is terribly unsafe. Your ten year old child gets in trouble with the police for destroying property with his friends. Your seven year old child is disciplined once for stealing and than repeats the behavior indicating the consequence of grounding didn’t work for him. Other parents might still think they can deal with the behavior without spanking. I felt otherwise. In these situations, after I explained my actions I would spank them on the seat of their underwear with my hand until I had a few tears. It was effective and my sons have now grown up and become responsible adults. Sometimes, they even thank Mom for straightening them out when they were young. The comments in this article are appropriate. However, they don’t describe what reasonable parents do.