As a kid I was not unlike my mom's dog too. Except she'd run into the woods and didn't give a damn about our approval or disapproval. In fact her attitude towards our disapproval was kind of like f*** you, I am going to do what I want. Finally we got an invisible fence, and she stayed where we could see her. Hmmm, maybe that's why my parents moved me out of NYC to Connecticut when I was 12. Interesting. Disapproval about school performance worked marvelously on me, however.

I am with you on the swatting thing though. I remember seeing some of my friend's parents swat them in public, and it seemed totally unnecessary and humiliating. And for some reason it always seemed to be about talking out of turn or "back talking." I thought the swatting was pretty trashy.


Just to be clear on the KIND of swatting I'm talking about, I mean when I saw moms belt their daughters in the face in public. I'd probably feel less horrified about a light smack on the hand or a bum, especially after several verbal admonitions were given prior.

David Thompson

"While children may appear to be defiant at times, ultimately, especially when they are young, they want to please you."

??? Where did you get that from?

The Happy Feminist

Personal experience. My own, and my observation of the many kids I have known. Also inference: Small child totally dependent on big adult. Makes sense to want big adult happy with you rather than disapproving or hostile ot you.


Sydney, a belt across the face is not a spanking. A kid old enough for "backtalk" is too old to spank, because he/she understands words, and logical reasoning.

I think whether a kid "wants to please" really depends on the kid, but is probably true of many young kids, if not most. Most kids want to be loved and accepted, and "pleasing" parents usually goes hand in hand with that.

In m own case, though, by the time I was a teeanger, I had given up on pleasing my parents because I decided it was simply not gong to happen. Some kids never give p -- they try all their lives. Others, like me, realize a hopeless case when they see it, and put it all behind them.

Amanda Marcotte

My mom figured that she'd spank us, since when I was a kid where I lived everyone spanked. She spanked me once, ever. She saw the red splotch where she hit me and realized suddenly how vile it is for a person who weighs 120 pounds to hit someone who weighs 30 pounds. Honestly, the way she tells the story, you can tell she feels betrayed by the people who sold her spanking as just another form of discipline. She wasn't overly fond of the idea that parenting is about breaking a child's will. I suppose I'm a lot like her in that regard; I cannot for the life of me fathom how someone can live with themselves while thinking it's perfectly acceptable to abuse your power over another.

Marj (aka Thriver)

Thank you for sharing these resources. I am against spanking. But, I am also for admitting my mistakes. I regret to admit that I did spank my son a few times in utter desperation. As a child abuse and child sexual abuse survivor, I knew I never wanted to hit my child out of anger. So, when it seemed that nothing else was working, I gave my son one swift swat on the butt. I chose this site because of the padding there, not wanting to really hurt him. But I see that this can be humiliating, I regret it and have continued seeking a better way. I am still against spanking. This comes from my personal experience and commitment to breaking the cycle of abuse. It also comes from my desire not to be a "do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do" sort of parent. I'll never forget the neighbor I used to have down the street who used to spank her daughter for hitting her little brother. All the while, she admonished, "I told you, no hitting!" We've got to show our children more coomon sense and more respect.


A kid old enough for "backtalk" is too old to spank, because he/she understands words, and logical reasoning

Kids are never too old to decide that despite words and logical reasoning, they'll do what they damn please. I'm also pretty sure my oldest was backtalking well before she was out of diapers. ;)

Little kids do want to please their parents, HF, but that's not their only motivation in life. And they don't generally sit there and ponder their actions carefully: "Hm, if I steal that delicious cookie, it will disappoint my parents."


I'd have to say based on 23 years in public education that the vast majority of kids don't need swatting or spanking. The teachers I observed with the very best classroom control - this was in the elementary grades - didn't even use sarcasm or ridicule.

That said, a very tiny percent of kids just can't remain in the public school setting. They're more than even the best teachers can handle, and end up in alternative settings focusing on emotional needs. I have a hunch they don't hit them in those settings either, but then I suppose they have a lot more resources at their disposal than parents are likely to have.

Nicole Black

I'm going to have to agree with the assertion that kids ultimately want to please their parents. Two and three year olds want to please their parents 1/3 the time, want to push their parents buttons 1/3 of the time, and are caught up in a a major, all-ancompassing tantrums over random things 1/3 of the time. Their goal in life is not to please mom and dad. Perhaps when they're closer to 6 or 7 years old (I'm not sure--I'm not there yet with my kids, so I'm not really able to comment on that stage yet, and don't remember it all that well to discuss what my motivations were at the young age), that becomes more of a goal for them, but not during their early years.

As for the assertion that they are too old to be spanked if tehy "backtalk", I'll have to disagree as well. At about 1.5 years old, they learn the word "no" and it quickly becomes a favorite. Welcome to the earliest form of "backtalk."

And, kids are NOT, I repeat NOT as simple as dogs. Trust me--I've got a dog. He's sweet and lovable, but he's not all that complex.

When a kid runs away, be it into the woods, in a parking lot, in the mall, etc., you become overwhelmed by a sense of hysteria and fear. Your child is too dumb to know her name, address, phone number, etc., is not yet smart enough to understand that cars can't see her since she's so short and she could get killed, and can't comprehend that certain people don't love her as much as her parents and would happily hurt her, etc.

Dogs are pretty capable. They know how to fend for themselves to an extent, know that those big car-things move fast and it's a good idea to avoid them, have a tag on their collar with their name, address, etc., and can usually find their way home.

There's just no comparison, in my opinion.

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