Spanking vs. Beating: Where is the line?

Most people my age and older came from a household where spanking was allowed. For me, the two-and-a-half years in foster care and the subsequent butt-kickings from boyfriends have me completely “pro-peace.” I am almost incapable of spanking. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tried it out on Jermahl. When I was raising him with his pothead father (who Jermahl was named for so we’ll call him ‘Druggie’ from now on), Druggie said you’re supposed to beat your kids. How else are you going to teach them? Mind you I was 15 when I got pregnant, and I thought, perhaps, there might be a difference from what I experienced and what he was talking about.

So if Jermahl was acting bad, I would pop him on the hand or the butt. Just once. But Druggie would slap him in the face or kick him. And God forbid I protested, I would get the same in kind. Well, one day, I was out with a friend going to the market. Jermahl just broke out into a tantrum in front the Food Lion market it was sooo embarrassing and I was getting mad. I kept telling him to be quiet and he wouldn’t so I popped his mouth. But he fell over and he bust his lip. I bawled in front of that store telling my baby how sorry I was. I probably looked like a crazy person, hugging him and crying.  I will never know if my anger made that ‘pop’ a ‘slap’ or if he just didn’t have the balance (my friend tried to convince me it was the latter), but I refused to spank or pop him for a long time after that.

When he was about 3, Chris (sperm donor #2) and I moved to Houston together. Jermahl was out of control because he had been living with Druggie who doesn’t believe in teaching, just beating. So we tried to just show him love whenever he was acting out. Eventually, it got to be too much, and we decided maybe spanking should be part of his discipline. So we sat him down one evening and told him what would constitute a spanking (screaming, hitting, not listening for the umpteenth time, things like that). Well, Chris’ father used a belt, so he thought we should, too, and I figured, as long we didn’t hit him hard, or directly on his skin, just the idea of it would be effective. The belt terrified Jermahl, though, and it wasn’t teaching him anything but to be afraid of his parents. So we used it about three times and retired it.
I had to come up with more creative ways to punish him. We made him stand in the corner, took away his favorite toys until he earned them back. It all depended on the offense. We found something appropriate for his age that he would understand. But I never spanked him again. Recently, he’s been having trouble with lying. So every time he lies, we have him hold a phonebook up for a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the lie, and how many people he could have potentially hurt, determined the size of the phonebook he was holding up. And I explained to him the reason he was holding the phonebook up instead of being spanked, is that spanking doesn’t teach you anything, it just hurts; but, even though holding up the phonebook hurts, it also builds up his muscles and makes him stronger.

At his house, his dad just gets angry and beats him, punches him, hits with random objects (don’t wory, I’m working on getting him out of there). At school, the kids tell Jermahl he’s a weakling because he doesn’t like to fight. So I told Jermahl, and I truly apologize to anyone this offends, anyone who needs to hit or use violence to get their point across is stunted and stupid, and no one taught them how to use their brain to express themselves, so instead they have to use a fist or a belt or mean words.

Jermahl, who is now seven, remembers the 3 times I used a belt when he was three years old.

I choose to discipline with love and until recently, I’ve been under the firm impression that hitting your child is not love. However, a lot of my close friends use spanking as a punishment for their kids.

One of my girlfriends said, “The corner is all fine and dandy, but my kids will stand in the corner and make fun of me because the punishment means nothing to them. Spanking actually resonates with them and they realize they’ve actually done something wrong.”

Another friend said, “You don’t just start off beating the crap out of them. For my son, when he started crawling around 7 months, that’s when I took 2 fingers to pop his hands when he touched something he shouldn’t. Now that’s he’s almost 2, I pop his butt a few times when he does something he actually knows he shouldn’t. When he’s a teenager, I’m going to punch him the chest. I’m not going to actually punch him the chest, but the sight of my fist coming towards him is  going to hurt way more than when I actually touch him.”

My sister-in-law says that with her 1.5 year-old nephew (whom she’s raising for now), when he touches something he shouldn’t, she says no, pops his hand and moves him. And she does this over and over until he gets the idea.

So what do you do? How do you discipline your children? When do you start? If you spank, how do you know you’re spanking them to discipline and not just because you are angry? Obviously, a punishment needs to happen immediately for a child, but if you are angry at the same time, is the discipline as  effective? And how do you show your child you still love them after a punishment?

I’d REALLY like to hear everyone’s opinions on this this. What is the difference TO YOU between spanking and beating? And should it happen at all?

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Eff You, Too, Miranda

Happy Monday, readers! So this weekend Jesse started his actual job, and we found out that he will be working from sunup to sundown for weeks on end. So pretty much, I’m never going to see my husband again unless he has block leave (the soldiers’ 2-week reward vacation after being treated like a slave). So yesterday, I decided I was going to unpack some more –there isn’t a lot left, just need the time to get to it—and Judas decided he was constipated and had to scream the entire day. He and I were miserable together.* So, I got to ‘straighten’ up my living room, and the rest of my day was spent nursing, comforting, singing to Judas.

DH saying goodbye to Jude before work.

Today, the husband had to be at work 6:30, and today was going to be attempt #2 at cleaning up. I finally got Jude down, and ran downstairs to clean up. I opened my dishwasher to find my dishwasher sucks SUPER-HARD and didn’t wash my dishes. So I’m going to have to hand-wash them. Unfortunately, the water in my new house is lukewarm at best, so I had to call maintenance to get some hot water so I can clean properly. So I swept and mopped the living room, cleaned off the counters and stove and am about to sweep and mop the kitchen when my DS decides his nap is over. Sigh. Well, I guess I can put him in the stroller and we can go check the mail. No one loves me; Jesse got something from the post office, though.

I decided to roll Judas around the house in the stroller while I put things away. I shoved some army gear in the closet, and I’m stopped in my tracks. There is a box from Things Remembered that his ex-girlfriend gave him. I told him to throw this box away. He didn’t. I’m going to assume he just forgot because it was in a pile of crap next to the front door. I look at this box, and I realize, it’s kind of nice. Unfortunately, it has a ‘beautiful’ engraving on it from the ex.

“Jesse,
You Complete Me,
Love Always, Saima”

I’m a jealous hater (only sometimes) and I WANT this box, but in order to keep it, I need to get that chick’s words OFF! So I take it upon myself to get a steak knife and try to pry off the engraved plate. I’m getting excited because surely but slowly, it’s coming off.

I guess it was a spiteful thing to do. I could have just thrown the box away. But no, I had to put my mark on it. And karma decided to put its mark on me. The knife slipped and I stabbed myself in the middle finger. It was pretty deep. So, I bled all over my kitchen. I had to pick up Judas and carry him upstairs so I could rinse the blood off. So now I have a hole in my finger, that stupid box is still on my kitchen counter-engraving attached, and I wasted like 15 minutes of my life being an idiot. That’s what I get…

This was right after I rinsed some of the blood off so it doesn’t look as horrible.

*Side note: If your infant is constipated, and you need to give them some instant relief, use Karo light corn syrup. Just 1 tsp is all it takes. They should some relief within an hour or two.

P.S. I have some pretty awesome stories to share throughout the week, so stay tuned for more.

They All Fall Down

Jude rolled off the bed today while I was a sleep. It’s not the first time he rolled off the bed, but I almost missed it. I was dreaming I was a construction site, so when I heard him tumble…I assumed it was part of my dream for a second. Then I heard his little baby cry and popped up to see my sweet little Judas sprawled out next to the bed, screaming his head off, his pacifier a little ways off. I felt this huge wave of guilt. How could I not make sure he was secure before I fell back asleep?

Don’t worry. I didn’t drop him until the second day he was alive..JK

When Jude was first born, he mostly slept in bed with me. I know that a lot of people say that’s wrong, but even though I’m only 23, I raised A LOT of kids in my time. I know that having a baby and then immediately trying to make them independent is cruel and takes away the security they got from you. So, exhausting as it was, Jude and I spent a lot of time together in the beginning. When he got to be about…3 months, he decided he wanted to be independent on his own. He rolled over. It was cute and exciting. It happened so fast I pretty much missed it.  The second time he rolled over, he was laying on the bed atop a sleeping Jesse while Jermahl played with him and I was taking a much needed shower. That shower lasted all of 3 minutes until Jermahl burst into the bathroom, frantically inquiring about a bottle as Jude screamed his head off. Apparently, Jermahl tried to pick his brother up and…it didn’t go so well. I haven’t been able to relax while showering since.

Aren’t they adorable?

Anyway, Jude’s been rolling more and more now. He’s also been sleeping in his crib except for late night feedings. Last night, I had a nightmare about Jermahl. When I woke up (3:15am), it was time for Jude to eat. So he stayed in bed with me the rest of the night/morning (however you choose to look at it) because nursing makes me sleepy. Yeah, well, even though he was snug in my arm, he managed to turn over and make his way to the other end of the bed. And fell. Of course, I had to Google what to do when your baby falls (even though I already knew), and saw all of the scary signs to look for in print. So when he projectile vomited, something he does at least once a day because he’s trying to sit up, I lost my mind. I got dressed to go to the ER, sat on the bed and stared at his pupils for about 15minutes while I waited for Jess to get home. Then I realized I was an idiot and put on Barney for Jude so I could stare at myself in the mirror… That is why rolling over, crawling and walking weren’t on my list: those are terrifying things. He can roll to his death, crawl to electrical sockets, run through my house smearing my mascara on the walls (Jermahl has done this…twice).  Suffice to say, Jude is okay and Jesse is home from P.T. so he’s playing with his daddy now. That was my morning, though. How was yours?

Jude rolled over to watch T.V.

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