Monday, September 8, 2008

To Spank or Not To Spank...That Is The Question

Okay, I am faced with a terrible dilemma. I mentioned to you a couple of posts ago that D has already gotten in trouble several times in school so far this year. What agitates me the most about this is that although he had a sprinkle or two of behavioral problems last year, he kept his grades up...this year, he's decided he would fuck up in both areas (pardon my French).

So Friday, as I'm rushing home from work, my phone is ringing...this is becoming a ritual. I guess W and D are so popular, their friends must compete for their weekend company. I didn't mind this day in particular, because I wanted to go and have all you can eat crab legs with my friend. So hastily I packed their bags to get them on their way.

Saturday, a friend of mine invited me and my boys to come to a company picnic...lots of food to be eaten and lots of fun to be had. So we went and had a great time! People also came to the house afterwards, so the kids enjoyed video games and also were outside until the absolute last possible moment of the evening.

Sunday, D had a Boy Scouts outing at an indoor attraction venue in the neighborhood...we're talking Euro Bungee, obstacle course, inflatables, bumper cars, Wii Lounge, bowling, and arcade...I mean this place is the SHIT! He and W had a frickin' BLAST!

So, Sunday evening, as we're winding down, I tell the boys to prepare for the school week, you know, minor details, like homework, showers, getting their clothes ready, and letting me sign their daily planners...what in the HELL did I do that for?

I opened D's planner, and to my surprise, there is a LONG ass note in there from his teacher basically letting me know that he was missing an assignment and had acted a FUCKING DONKEY in class on Friday! Oh, Hell. No.

So I asked him WTF...? Do you guys want to know what he said to me? He said, "Well, I thought she called you Friday?" Ahem...let me run that by you again...he said, "Well, I thought she called you Friday?" As reflex has it, I slapped what they call the SHIT out of him, but realized as I felt steam shooting from my ears and veins bursting in my eyes that if I whipped him at that moment, I might have hurt him, so I made him remove himself from my presence and I sat back to cool down...and to ponder...

Now I open the floor to you...what do you suggest I do? If that had been ME when I was younger, I don't give a damn if it was a Hot wheel track, a self-picked switch off the tree, a piece of furniture, a shoe, or any other random object in her reach, my Momma was gone FUCK ME UP! She would (as they say) tear my ass out of the socket! But of course now days, it's taboo to do such and governments think they have a say-so in YOUR household where YOU pay the bills and where YOU have endured teens of hours of labor and gave birth to YOUR children...I digress.

I am going to contemplate this a bit longer, but in the meantime all he's allowed to do is pretty much eat, sleep, shit and breathe...I suggest you guys help him out!


M. Robert Turnage said...

I do not have kids. So all of this can be just me talkin' out my bee-honkus.

It is your family and you can raise them as you see fit.

I only think the government should get involved when the damage escalates to the point of a hospital visit or if the kids are exposed to something insanely inappropriate (for example hard core illegal drugs).

The only thing I would caution against is (and that you did right) is to not discipline out of anger. I know from my experience growing up that I could get away with anything as long as I didn't make my parents mad. It was not so much learning right and wrong as it was learning to read people and play off their moods.

Susan said...

If nothing else, tell him to go to his room and as soon as you calm down he's gettin' his ass tore up. I know I used to hear "You just wait until your father gets home" and he was never mad but he was the whippin' giver and the waiting was worse than the whippin. If grounding him isn't doing the trick you'll have to either beat him or use the threat of yankin' him from boy scouts.

I'd like to take this moment and post to yet again say "Thank god I don't have children." :)

Tera said...

MrT~Yeah, don't want to be sending him to the hospital!!! I was mad as hell too---it's like he knows what pushes my buttons but doesn't care!

Susan~Now don't get me wrong, I love my childred to death, but be VERY glad! :)

Tera said...

Susan, that would be children

M. Robert Turnage said...

I guess what I was saying is that a slap on the face or a hand to the hiney is different from burning or braking something. When disciplining kids, I think some pain makes people remember.

And sometimes it doesn't have to be physical pain. My wife talks about how her dad never laid a hand on her but would either snap a towel or snap his belt and that sound alone made her straighten up and fly right.

And Bill Cosby talks about hitting his child once for lying. "I'm not going to hit you." BAM! "I lied. How does it feel to be lied to?"

I believe your kids are fundamentally good, and they are creeping into a time in their lives where they feel like testing boundaries to see what they can get away with and what they can't. All you need to do is define what boundaries work for you and then enforce them.

Kofi said...

I shudder to think what would have happened to me had I said "Well, I thought she called you Friday."

Not child-ed at the moment, so I'm not sure I'm the best springboard. I guess you should just do what you need to do, as long as no one needs to call Child Protective Services. You're in charge.

NoRegrets said...

How old is he? I personally think spanking might work for a younger age (though I wouldn't personally do it), but as they get older maybe not. There are other things that could be done. My response to his question would have been, well, if that were the case do you think you would have been able to do all the fun things you did this weekend? NO. The trouble is always finding a way that punishes him and doesn't completely punish you as a single parent. But, I'm not a parent, and I don't have any answers that work for you - only you have those answers. I just know it needs to be cut off now before it gets worse - as you know too.

Alan said...

Child pysch is really not my bag. I've tried, and those little teens like to drove me crazy. Plus they can manipulate me better than they do their Playstations.

I'm always about the self. Find out what pushes your buttons and then put some tape over it. In other words, don't let them push your buttons. Mr.T is right when it comes to testing boundaries. "What makes Mom mad?" "How far can I get her to go?" "What can I get away with?"

It's part of them turning into men, this experimentation, but still, you need to have control in your house as The Parent.

So don't answer those questions for them. When they come at you with some wild mess, just stare are them like they came from Jupiter, then lay the law down. The LAW. No compromise, no working it off (unless it wasn't THAT bad of an offense) and mean what you say. No need to get loud and give them the Crazy Mom they're trying to turn you into. Show them lots of love and affection when things are good, but when things are bad, just cut it off and lay down The Law. Not another stroke, not another smile or hug until they make it right and pay the price.

I bet they'll feel that a lot longer than they'll feel a slap.

M. Robert Turnage said...

And watch out with those punishments. Because when I was younger, my parents would threaten me with, "Dress like the Urkel Guy" days when I was disobedient. They would dress me like that Urkel guy and send me to school and the other kids would tease me and make me talk in the Urkel voice and play the accordion.

This worked until one day when I realized I love dressing like Urkel.

And I have never stopped.

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

How I was raised isn't going to be totally reflected in how I raise my children. I got my behind BEAT when I was out of questions asked/communication...just a switch or a belt.

However, I don't think that is the total proper way to do things. I believe in talking first...having that ability to communicate with your children, and set standards. Now, if this doesn't work, then you use other things (i.e. a switch).

heather said...

ok, first off remember there is a difference between spanking a child and beating a child. one can be a very usefull tool in child rearing. the other can get you three hots and a cot and a roomate named helga that you would much rather ~not~ get to know.
our households are made up a bit differently. i have to consider j's feelings about punishment as well as my own. you have the freedom to make your own decisions. but here's the thing. once you make that decision, you have to stick with it. i'm sure you already know, that's a whole fuckton harder than it sounds and what works in theory doesn't always work in practice.
for us, mainly due to j's resistance to physical punishment, spankings or slaps on the hand were reserved for teaching her things that were safety related. such as not touching the stovetop or running into a parking lot. shit that could land you in the hospital got you slapped. anything else resulted in lost privilages. if it were just me though, spanking would be used more often and i think j is comming around a bit. he actually spanked her just last week for mouthing off to me again. (she's not even a teen yet!) just don't spank out of anger and don't lose control. but if you ~are~ gonna spank then spank like you mean it! no half-assed slap on the butt is gonna get your point across. just leave weapons out of the mix though. kids know how to dial 911 these days and you never know which version of child protective services you're gonna get. it'll either be the ones who can't tell that the 10 year old who weighs all of 45 pounds is being starved or the ones who think that a parent who takes all of a misbehaving childs toys away is an abuser. make a list of missdeeds and their punishments. lamenate it and post it on the fridge. tell your boys, this is it. these are the rules. break them and these are the punishments. each offense = greater punishment. AND STICK TO THEM!!! no matter what! got a family outting planned but d decided to act the donkey again? nobody goes or hire a babysitter.

good luck with it. i'm pulling for you.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

all i can say is time out is for football and u should ask thoes that comment if they are parents


Tera said...

MrT~You know, you have really been a help to me today. That's why I reach out to you guys. Thanks Dude!

Kofi~You and me BOTH! And you're right, I do what I want in the confines of my own home. Anybody who knows me knows that I don't abuse my children and have known to be quite creative with punishments, so we'll see how this turns out.

NoR~Hence the slap in the face...I didn't need to ask him that question, because he knew...that's why I slapped him for thinking I fell off the fucking turnip truck 3 days ago!!! And trust me, I get creative...he's 8, so most toys and action figures are still God to him...I have basically stripped him of all things good so that he can understand where I'm coming from.

You made such a wonderful point about me punishing myself as a single mother...that's where I'm always torn, because I don't want to limit myself nor W (who has started Middle school on a GREAT note) to the house because he doesn't know how to act. This is what makes it tough.

Alan~You do make a terrific point there...Hmmm!

MrT~At which point did you realize that I really needed a laugh today? LOL!

BCU~Oh girl yes, I do talk before me, they can probably count on ONE HAND the amount of whippings they've had in the past few years! I am a firm believer in talking it through and trying to get to the root of the problem and execute operation rectify...but there comes a time...

Heather~That's the hardest thing is sticking to the punishments. But this time I is a different beast and while living in my home, education is NOT optional, and they will NOT fuck up! I'm stickin' to my guns, and thanks girl!

BTW...You do realize that you excite me when you use the word fuckton right?

Torrance~Time Out my ass!!! I wish the FUCK...wait, let me pump my brakes. Hell time outs here! I ended up grounding him from everything he owns, I didn't whip him though (other than that slap into the middle of next week). I also called the teacher...I'll be dropping in on brother man a few times per week until we straighten this out. And I will NOT hesitate to embarass in front of friends if I catch his ass slippin'!

M. Robert Turnage said...

This is more for Torrence, but I freely admit I don't have kids and am not talking from experience, but from theory. Listen to the parents first.

You wouldn't want child-rearing advice from someone who dresses like Urkel by his own free will, right?

Tera said...

MrT~Actually, I do appreciate the ALL have brought some things to light today!!! Thanks...Urkel ;-)

Tera said...


Alan said...

Remember, don't let the circumstances turn you into Crazy Mom. Since he's grounded from everything, he'll have plenty of time to make up everything he's fallen behind in. From Minute One until his eyes close in sleep.

Susan said...

It was nice hearing about your child. Hopefully you'll let him out from under the stairs eventually.

....that may have made no sense. I spent entirely too much time watching Lifetime lately.

Tera said...

Susan~Under the stairs would be paradise for him at the moment...seriously. I have about had it with him!

NoRegrets said...

Boy o boy...
Does he need help with academics? Just wondering.
Bring him to prison to visit his future friends if he doesn't get his butt in gear.

Susan, what's scary, is that I got it.

Tera said...

NoR~He missed Advanced Placement by 2 fricking points...I'm pretty sure there's no problem in academics...if you ask me, he's too smart for his own good! Come to think of it, I might just call Kentucky State Reformatory and make that appointment!

Churlita said...

My youngest daughter is the biggest boundary pusher you will ever meet. What seems to work for her is a system of positive and negative reinforcement. If she does well she gets rewarded. If she messes up, she loses something.

I got an email last year from one of her teachers saying she was acting up in class and not doing assignments. First we had a talk and then I took her cell phone away for a week and told her she'd lose it for a month and be grounded for a week from all social activities if she didn't get back on track. Her cell phone is her life.

A few weeks later, I got another email from her teacher saying she didn't know what I did, but my daughter's behavior had turned around and she was a model student.

With my daughter, it's about hitting her where it REALLY hurts and staying on her. I don't know if that helps, but it sounds like your son and my daughter have a lot in common.

NoRegrets said...


Trying to help your day. ;-)

heather said...

fuckton, fuckton.

just in case nor's accent doesnt' do the same as mine.


Cyber D said...

Our kid is 4 and already on the verge of tanning his hide for not calling me "sir". Spank away!

NoRegrets said...


Susan said...


Purely because I sure do love that word.

Nance said...

tera--sorry i'm so late to this one. yikes. i'll be waiting to see what happens.

just f.y.i.--i'm not a fan of the physical stuff when they're older and can be grounded, etc.

Tera said...

Churlita~You're right, they sound a lot the tender young age of 8, drawing is his life. If he keeps up the crap, he will come home to find that he's been stripped of all his paper and colored pencils!

NoR~Oh you had better believe it! I will refer back to your comment often.

Heather~And I totally said it in 2 different accents in my head.

Cyber~You gotta get 'em early!

NoR~The punishment seems to be working and guess who he saw sitting in the back of Math class on Tuesday??? You should have seen the look on his face!

Susan~Say it again! Say it again (In the Whoopi Goldberg hyena's voice on Lion King)!

Nance~I'm waiting to see what happens as well. The slap was all he got this time, but I can't even begin to tell you what might happen if he doesn't straighten his act up...and SOON!