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How much is too much? I understand that children need to behave but where is the line from discipline to abuse.
Did anyone here fear their father and is so, how did that affect you as you grew up?
I didn't have a father as he died when I was very young. I had little of the stern discipline but I never ended up in trouble with any authorities.
Does fear, either of punishment or restriction guide children's moral values or do they learn from observation?
 

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I ask myself this question
Am I trying to improve a child's behavior, or am I trying to control a child's behavior?

We find that there are more effective ways for us to encourage correct behavior than physical punishment. These methods are always the first ones we use. We are not against physical punishment, but find that it usually only got us kids we controlled rather than kids that controlled themselves.

My parents were tyrants. I know they do not think that - they merely did what their times taught them. Dad was boss. Kids were silent, jump to do chores immediately, and never questioned or suggested. Yes, I was afraid of him - terrified. I thought my mother unjust and uncaring.

I had to work very hard to learn to truly respect them and their efforts on my behalf. They also showed me the way NOT to be, so I worked hard to find other methods that perhaps I might not have without their example. I had to learn to show my children that I love them and am concerned with their well-being, both now and in the future. I was not perfect and didn't learn quickly. Dh's family was also of their time. However, though strict and quick with punishment, they also managed to show the child that they loved them and participated with them in many activities. There is a marked difference here. If kids get only the punishment without the fun, it makes a different life than if they get both the punishment and the love.

A lot of it has to do with the child. Some can be taught easily, others ....well, they like to figure things out on their own.

I think they learn in all the ways you listed. Fear can be a great motivator, but does it leave the parent in a position of influence? Will the child come to a parent they fear for help when they need it?
I have never found something that I can honestly talk to my mom about - that concerns my life.
 

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I heard someone tell the story once that they swatted their child's behind when he was being disobedient and trying to run out in the parking lot at the store.

Someone else observed this and came up and confronted him with your question: "What is the difference between discipline and abuse?"

His answer: "When I spank my kids to save them from a more painful and expensive consequence, it's discipline.

When I pull you out in the parking lot and break your nose for sticking it into other people's business, that's abuse."

:)
 

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The only physical punishment that I have done to my child is slightly pulling the hair on the back of his neck. DH learned this in parenting classes he took when he was younger and it is all that was needed for him (and not very often either). We very rarely have to punish him and he has learned proper behavior by us discussing what is right and wrong and the consequences of his actions. We try to teach him the "Golden Rule" and tell him that he needs to think about how he would feel if what he was about to do was done to him. We show him tons of love and tell him that our responsibility is to raise him and teach him right from wrong and that he might not always like it. I think he is so well behaved because he loves and respects us and we love and respect him. The only fear that he might have is that he will lose some of our respect. Although, DS is 8yo and my only child, so we are able to have a great bond and tons of time together, which helps. Of course, give it 5 years and who knows how well behaved he will be....teenagers are a bit of a challenge!

My brother and I were raised by our mother when my parents were divorced. When my brother became a father he was very confused on what he was suppose to do as a father. I know they took parenting classes and he learned a lot of good things from it. He didn't even know how to "play" with his sons and it helped him a lot.

I will add that I am not at all against spanking a child and definitely agree with the posts above. I just have been very lucky that I have not needed to do it.
 

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Both of my parents used physical punishment.
My father disciplined.
My mother abused.

The difference? When my father smacked me, it was a light swat to the back of the head, or a harder one on the but. I knew what I did to deserve it. I knew what I should have done to avoid it.

When my mother hit me, it was wherever she could reach, often with weapons, spoons, brooms, shoes, belts, lampcords. I never knew what would set her off. I could only guess at what I should have done instead. What was right yesterday, was wrong today. When my mother came after me, I had to guard my eyes, when she was in a mood, she didn't worry about physical damage she might do.

With my father, it was simple, predictable. There was no vengeance in him or fear in me. He felt "Better you cry (from a sore butt), then I cry." (over your tiny coffin because you ran out into the street, touched a weapon, did drugs, etc)

Because I knew that should I mouth off I would feel his 2 fingers smartly rap the back of my head, it was really my choice. If I didn't want to be punished, I could keep my mouth shut. That is discipline.

And also consider a child's mental health. If I scolded DD the way child experts tell me I should, she'd be a basket case. The poor kid would have a mental break down. So usually if she has crossed the line I will (lightly and painlessly) tap her on the head with one finger. And for her, that's all it takes to remind her that there are rules and codes of behavioral that need to be adhered to. If I verbally was after her "DD, get off the arm of the couch", "DD, stop throwing that ball in the house", "DD, don't bring that drink in the living room", she'd be a nervous wreck. So I tap her with one finger and then point and she grins and does the right thing. So you really need to take the individual child's temperament into account. Because what is discipline for one can easily be abuse for another.
 

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Otter, I suspect your mother had a mental health problem. I know I did. Which is why after I hit my dd once, I never did it again. I realized I could too easily get carried away. After I got on a good anti-depressant, I found out where my anger came from. It was never a problem after that, but the kids were too old to spank. I wish I'd had such a good doctor much earlier.

The only thing that spanking teaches is to spank. Discipline is teaching, hitting of any kind is punishment. I chose other forms of punishment & it pretty much worked. Nothing is perfect & every parent/child relationship is different.

I think children learn their ultimate values by observation & the relationship they have with the adults around them.

Even tho I didn't really believe in God as a child, I did as an adult because of my mother's example & exchanges with a few other adults.
 

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Callieslamb, wow you said it for me, too.
The worst part is having to discipline my son around either of my parents. They think I am way too easy on him, but I remember what their way was like. I try to make it work for all involved.
I agree. When my DS was about 2 yo my MIL and her sister said that I was waaaayyy too easy on DS and that he would be a holy terror and never listen to me when he go older. I have heard that MIL was pretty hard on her kids and they got quite a few whippings growing up. Now they are always bragging DS up because of how well behaved he is. They had a chance to raise their children, now it is my chance to raise mine.
 

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I never feared either of my parents but I did fear the punishments I knew they could give if I really messed up. As well as the ones I could get from any of my aunts, uncles, grandparents or even little old ladies at church (a quick pinch on the upper arm HURTS when you aren't expecting it).
 

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BonnieL, yes, she does. She's been in treatment for years now and we now have a good relationship. I won't speak to her about my childhood though.

I'm with watcher, I was never afraid of my Dad or grandparents, but I had a healthy respect for what they would do to me if I crossed that line. Just the other day I saw a ten year old smack his mother and the hairs rose on the back of my neck thinking what my father would have done if I had ever even thought of doing anything like that.
 

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When DS was young folks and my friends thought I was harsh and strict, BUT...
now that he is older, almost 6, I do not have to be. He knows Mom means business. He also has self control and a HUGE sense of self and tons of confidence.
Kids need boundaries and they need the boundaries to be firm. Now he knows the rules and I just don't have to discipline him very often. We get along great and he is happy.
I started when he was about 6 months old. A sharp, "NO" etc.. If it was life threatening like a hot stove etc.. and he did not listen he got a swat on his diaper.
He never, ever had a temper tantrum or threw a fit etc.. I just wouldn't have it. No way. I cut it off at the root.
People were amazed that my kid never threw fits when it was time to leave the park or whatever. He had better not throw a fit! Now I have no whining. No begging. No bull dwaddle. If I ask him to come on and go, he does not make me ask more than twice.
I always explain why I am wanting him to do something etc... He is now a very reasonable child.
I have known people who "raise" their kids in the "mommy is your best friend" way and those kids are a menace. Some of them are going to jail. You could tell by the time they were three. I have known women whose kids hit them and call them names and refuse to listen and throw fits and kick and stomp. It just turns my stomach. They are not doing those kids any favors. Eventually they are not going to get their way and they will not be prepared for how to deal with it and they will have problems.
Funny thing is... those same kids respond to me instantly. I find them quite willing to be obedient. It is like the alpha dog thing. If kids see that there is no one in charge, they will step up and be in charge. That is just too much pressure on little ones.
Another great rule that I follow is "always mean it". I have a friend that never, ever backs up what she says. Of course, her kid never listens. Ever. "Autumn, come back up here." (no response) "Autumn, I said now!" (no response except maybe to glance at her mother.) "Fine. Just stay there then! Catch a cold and then you'll see."
Her mom now has me to call her kid back from the creek. I have to say it once:)
 

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Like others, I wasn't AFRAID of my father, but I sure as heck feared him. I had a healthy respect for the fact that he was the authority figure, and what he said, went.

Some would say he was too harsh with us. There was a razor strap that hung on the back of the bathroom door, and we sure as heck knew what it was for. Every time you went to the bathroom and closed the door behind you, that thing swinging was a reminder. Lots of times I didn't *LIKE* my Dad, especially during those teen years, but I always LOVED and RESPECTED him. His word was law, end of story. Today, I adore him.

I raise my kids the same way. Some say I am too harsh with them, expect too much from them, set the bar too high. While their friends are getting involved in drugs and sex at fifteen and sixteen, I'm happy to be a stern mommy who is assured that they are at home, doing chores, and learning respect and responsibility.

What is the difference between corporal punishment and abuse? Intent and extent. Your intent must be to teach and guide, and the extent must be only so far as is necessary to reinforce what the lesson is. Children remember punishment not because "it hurt" but because of the deeper pain of having displeased or disappointed someone who they love and respect, and who loves them. Some might call this cruel, I call it reality.
 

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Well, I think I've come to some sort of 'epiphany' on this topic recently and I'll share it. This is all my own perspective, opinion, not necessarily fact.

I have three children, DD1 17, DD2 13, and DS1 11. They are all 'good kids' in the relative sense of the word (the comparative group being all kids in Western society).

I was raised in a Christian home in a religion with a covenant bent. My parents wanted me to fear the Lord, and to fear them (mostly in the healthy sense of the word 'fear', respect and reverence and all that).

So, I approached parenting with the idea that my kids would behave A) because I did (example) and because B) they would receive wither negative reinforcement for straying from the path or positive reinforcement for staying on the path. Do you see any issues with this approach? I didn't, until a few weeks ago.

Our paster recently had a sermon on Daniel 1. These young men - Daniel included - were ripped from their homes at a young age (13-16), taken over 800 miles - by foot - to a strange land and asked to do many strange things. Daniel stood firm in the face of the Babylonians, regardless the harmful consequences; and his parents weren't around. From this I concluded that it was important to train my children in the grace of the Lord and to desire to do the right thing, rather than being content not to do the wrong thing.

I recently had this idea tested by my son, and I do not yet know what the longer term effects of my changed approach will be, but I hope that my children feel the love of the Lord through me and that they will desire to do that which the Lord requires of us.

So, to answer your question, I believe that example gives children something to fall back on when they decide to 'handle' a situation, that fear will keep them from doing some wrong things, and that the love the Lord can help them to aspire to do the right things.

Again, just my $0.02,

R
 

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Proverbs 13:24 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)


24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 13:24 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
[NIV at IBS] [International Bible Society] [NIV at Zondervan] [Zondervan]

24 He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

That takes care for the physical whipp'in "wright or wrong" for me.......

It is important to have reasonable expectations and try hard to lead by example. Sometimes we teach, AND EXPECT, our kids to follow a path more narrow than the one we are on now even as adults.

I find that once I discipline my children I become convicted in Spirit by my own faults. It allows me to deal with my kids based on learning, and not out of anger....most of the time :mad: ......we all fall short.


I have good boys, but a healthy respect (or fear) for the old man is not without its benefits....for me and them. :drillsgt:
 
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Both my brother and I were horribly physically and emotionally abused when we were children..my parents ought to have been imprisoned..there would be no question that what was done was hideous in nature..

When I was 12, I was incredibly blessed to have friends who had normal parents..I was amazed..I also had teachers who were loving and kind to me..these parents and teachers went way out of their way to have me learn that I was a lovable child ..many of these people are still alive and are still my good friends..
My brother, OTOH suffers terribly from PTSD, fears of abandonment, etc..I used to cry for him when we were children and I still do as an adult when he has problems..

IMHO, people can have horrid childhoods, yet still come out "relatively" unscathed IF they are exposed to a constant diet of hugs and love from other folks..I was truly blessed to have had that happen.
 

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If it leaves marks or draws blood it isn't discipline it's abuse. However there is nothing wrong with a swat on the butt.

The important thing to remember is that no two kids are the same. I have a brother who you could have beat the tar out of and it would not have phased him in the slightest. On the flip side another one of my brothers if you just told him you were so disappointed in him . . . it would have cut him to the bone.

Also the punishment should fit the crime.
 
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