Monday, August 20, 2012

Still Crying: Why I Don't Spank

This post is from a reader named Elizabeth.
_______________________________________________________________

I was spanked as a child and it taught me a lot. I remember one particular incident very vividly, even now, more than thirty years later. I remember screaming and running in fear from my mother, who was chasing me through the house with a wooden spoon. I remember weighing up whether I was more afraid of the dark, more afraid of running outside without permission, more afraid of running onto the road – but I was most afraid of my mother. I remember that she grabbed me around the wrist and I fell to my knees in terror. I remember saying that I was sorry, that I would never do it again. I remember that she brought down the wooden spoon on the back of my legs hard enough to break it. I remember screaming and crying until my throat was sore.

What I do NOT remember is why. I do not remember what the lesson was, what the reason for the spanking was, or what it was that I was promising never to do again. Whatever the reason, it was lost in the overwhelming fear, stress and pain of the moment.

I do not want them to have these memories, or to learn to flee in fear from me. I want to teach them, not terrify them. Most of all, I want them to know WHY. Not just to look both ways before crossing the street because I will spank them if they don’t. I want to feed their natural empathy with others, not whip them into mannered automatons.

I remember very clearly being spanked. I remember what I learned from it. This is why I choose not to spank my own children.

(Please show your support and leave comments for the authors if you can. Remember, this is an open ended series! Please consider writing something yourself, or sharing the project with your friends and followers. The guidelines are listed here, but feel free to write in whatever format is easiest for you)

3 comments:

  1. crazy enough, this is almost my exact memory. except insert a belt, another sibling and a a locked door. i do remember the infraction however, and it was an infraction i never committed and i don't know who ever did it, and today there isn't even evidence. apparently someone had drawn dots on the corner wall in blue/red crayon/colored pencil. faint almost unnoticble dots. and we were taken into the room. and confronted, told to fess up by mom, and neither of us would fess. and honestly i DIDN"T DO IT which is why i didn't fess up. and i got whooped. well she grabbed me first then my brother and i ran and scrambled to unlock the door and i just remember hiding in the closet so i wouldn't get spanked. (new big house). i remember the fear and the rage inside me and my supressing it, i remember the fear and the screaming and the upset. so yeah. i've been there before. you aren't alone. and i agree we shouldn't spank children

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't have this exact experience, but I was spanked. I remember the fear, terror, and anxiety. It was always a solemn occasion, with the parent sitting there, outlining what I had done wrong, then wrapping it up with "and you're going to get a spanking". I can't remember any of the infractions, but I can sure remember the fear and that awful feeling when I would try to say I was sorry and it wasn't good enough, or when I would try to protect my sore bottom from more blows, only to have them order me to move my hands out of the way. I can still feel it to this day, physically and emotionally. I'm 32.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had the exact same experience with my mother. I fled in terror, she had a wooden spoon, she hit me so hard it broke. And like you, I cannot remember a thing about what started it. But the memory doesn't fade. My trust in my mother is very weak. While I do not think she would hit her grandchildren, I don't trust her enough to chance it.

    ReplyDelete