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Monday, November 7, 2011

Hitting? Nah, I'll Just Screw With Your Mind Instead

I was having a conversation with my boyfriend a couple weeks ago that travelled to the subject of hitting or spanking kids. He posed the question to me:

Well what if the kid stares you straight in the face and calls you a bitch?

Yes, I'd probably be upset, but I stand firm that there is never a need to hit a child. My dad used to use a belt on us, and I would say that there are only negative impacts from that. It literally did nothing to curb my behavior except that I started putting books in the back of my pants when it was time for punishment. I am actually still a bit angry about it, and find that I take the approach that this sort of punishment is wrong rather than saying, Oh, well, I was spanked as a child and I turned out just fine. Any form of physical abuse is not an excuse to pass the behavior on.

To answer his question I told him the approach I took, and still take, with my niece. To best portray how I got her to behave I will tell a small tale of manipulation and annoyance.

I don't remember what she had lied about. If I remember correctly, and it is very possible that I don't, she was around three or four. The important thing is that this tiny person looked into our eyes and blatantly told us something that we all knew was untrue. I took her into the living room of my mom's house so that I could demand her full attention without distraction. I sat her down on a kid-sized bench and asked her why she had lied. She, being the stubborn little shit that I love, would not make eye-contact or answer my question.

You need to tell me why you lied, I said for the thirty-thousandth time.

Finally my niece burst into tears. Through dramatic and unnecessary sobs she told me, Because, *sob*, I just like lying!!!

Did I continue the conversation after this? No. I immediately made eye contact with my sister who was hiding on the other side of the wall and had to expend all of my energy not laughing in front of my niece so that she would not think that her behavior should continue because I thought it was funny.

I don't know if you have ever giving a small child a lecture, but they do not like it. Their little faces look like they are going through the most excruciating event they will ever experience in their lives. Mainly, it works magic.

So will I hit my children if I ever choose to have them? I hope not. I would rather morph their psyche and their behavioral patterns by making them hate the repercussions so much that they would rather do things differently next time than ever have to go through that experience again.


  1. Always a tricky question. I confess to smacking my boys only a couple of times and one I remember is when my youngest was at the argumentative stage and wouldn't hold hands while we walked along the street.
    This day, he didn't stop as we reached the kerb, nearly walking onto the road and being hit by a bus. Quick reflexes had me grab him and he copped a wallop on his well padded nappy covered bottom. The surprise made him cry and my response. "If you think that was bad, being hit by that bus would be a lot worse" He was a lot more cooperative after that. There is no excuse for child abuse and when a child is old enough to understand the consequences of their actions then there are much more effective ways of discipline. But sometimes you cant reason with a 2 year old

  2. Interesting approach to punishment. I will have to try this out on my sisters kids.


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