In Reply to: Re: The bozos at No Greater Joy posted by Jewlz on October 29, 2008 at 18:38:57:
I've been discussing this issue with my son, who now has a three-year-old daughter. Lauren occasionaly throws tantrums--the worst occurred recently over the issue of taking her scheduled nap. According to my son, she had a 30-minute screaming meltdown, which is what I'd call a mega tantrum. (You can't make kids sleep, but it's a good idea to structure a daily downtime. Otherwise, they're inclined to become impossibly cranky little monsters, which is what occurred with the 30-minute tantrum. Structured rest periods are good discipline that reduce tantrums.)
My son wanted to give her a few swift whacks on the butt during her tantrum to make her stop screaming. His wife, a very wise & good mother, said "No way." I totally support my daughter-in-law in this. Whacking a 3-year-old in the midst of a tantrum does nothing to calm the kid down and help her/him gain self control--it just gives the adult a way to release his/her frustration onto the kid.
So I'm talking to my son about this, and he brings up the fact that I spanked him as a kid, and it didn't do him any harm. (By that I think he means he has no resentment that he's aware of or willing to admit. I've told him that I regret ever having hit him for any reason.) He was referencing the "few whacks on the butt" approach to corporal discipline, which is what I subscribed to in those days. I pointed out he was at least 5 years old when these spankings occurred, and they weren't because he was throwing a tantrum. The spanking occurred because he was running around out of control and wasn't listening to me. The idea behind the whacks on the butt was to get his attention so that his energy could be redirected.
I understand the "few whacks on the butt" concept of spanking. I don't believe it was child abuse as I practiced it, but I think it easily could have opened the door to physical abuse if my exhusband or I had been so inclined. As a matter of fact, there was one instance where my ex did get physically abusive with one of the boys--around the age of 7--and I told him point-blank if he ever went off on one of our kids like that again, I would leave, take them with me, and never return. He got the message. After that, he restricted his abusive impulses to yelling at the kids, which I didn't like, but it wasn't abusive. He didn't call them names or demean and belittle them--he just issued threats, which they remember as taking seriously. They were afraid their dad would beat them, and that was enough. Needless to say, they don't have a great relationship with their father today, but that's another story.