Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Spanked My Dog and He Turned Out Fine

Puppy wants to come inside
Image credit litlnemo on Flickr
I have to laugh at people who are against hitting your animals to train them.  I whipped my dog like there was no tomorrow...he didn't hate me...he didn't have trust issues with me because of it...he didn't fear me...but he darn sure respected me!  And he learned what his boundaries were and knew what would happen if he broke them...he wasn't abused...he was disciplined...*Repost if your dog got smacked and survived it...God put us over animals for a reason!*

Somehow, I doubt that many of my animal loving friends would repost this, or that there would be a ton of likes every time someone did.  I suspect that there might even be some dissenting voices saying that there are better ways to treat our pets.

Of course, Dobson describes in horrific detail beating his tiny dog with a belt to establish his dominance, and the Pearl's view of animal training is similar.  They also compare children to wild animals often, so at least they are consistent in their desire to beat anything smaller or more helpless.
Yet this Facebook status is making the rounds: "I have to laugh at people who are against spanking... My parents whipped my butt like there was no tomorrow... I didn't hate them... I didn't have trust issues with them because of it... I didn't fear them... But I darn sure respected them! And I learned what my boundaries were and knew what would happen if I broke them... I wasn't abused... I was disciplined... *Re-post if you got your butt smacked and survived it... God put extra padding back there for a reason!*"
Each time I have read it, I have started and deleted responses.  For one thing, I get emotional and it is hard to type an articulate response when your hands are shaking. I know that most people who post this have no idea how this could affect others. 


What bothers me so much?  For starters, the mocking tone.  I have known far too many people who have lasting damage from spanking (including spanking "the right way") to consider it a laughing matter.  I have shared letters from a couple of people who described their experiences.  Their utter contempt for the real abuse suffered by many flies directly in the face of the compassion shown by Christ.


Whether or not they are accurate in their assessment of the impact of spanking in their own family is impossible to say, but from what I have seen there is often a lot of denial.  The pervasive shame and self-worth issues, the anger and lack of ability to create and maintain healthy boundaries are all part of the rotten fruit of spanking that many struggle with as adults.  But, like with smoking, there are some who may not be harmed to the same extent as others.  


The problem is, even if they don't see any harm from spanking in their own lives, they are perpetuating it as something beneficial and even Godly in families that are clearly abusing their children.  Each time they like or repost or make joking comments about kids needing a good whipping, they are reinforcing the idea that it is good and that children deserve to be hit.  And the abusers nod and smile, and their children hear from yet another source that this is right, it is what they deserve and that God wants them to be hit by their parents.  


"Oh, but of course I don't condone abuse!"  "Spanking in anger is always wrong."  "It has to be done the right way."  Cop outs.  Abuse is surprisingly subjective, and the people who do it rarely believe that they are.  They are often doing less to their children than was done to them, so that makes it OK in their eyes.  Anger and depression are insidious, and it often isn't until they stop spanking that they realize how often, how hard or how angrily they were actually hitting their children.


You don't know what is going on in families that look good on the surface.  Families where you are sure that the parents would never be abusive.  Please read Avoiding Millstones.  


Hitting pets is wrong.  Hitting children is wrong.  There are far better ways to teach both. The truth is that both pets and children want to love those who take care of them, even if they are mistreated at times.  That doesn't make hitting them right.  Just because we can be forgiven is not license to be a bully.  If you are against violence towards animals and children both, like or repost.  ;)

26 comments:

Vickie said...

Wish this kind of thing didn't need to be written, but as long as there are people spanking kids, it's necessary to speak out against it. Very well-said.

arwen_tiw said...

I just posted a HUGE LONG angry response to a friend posting a similar cut and paste status. I'm still shaking. I can't decide whether to go delete my comment, or whether to just get rid of Facebook. I'm so done with the "I survived it" mentality - I *didn't* survive it, and anyhow, I want better than survival for my children! *sigh*

Your post could not have been more timely or more comforting today. Thankyou! xxx

Rach said...

Great post. I am appalled (but not surprised) that a status like that is making the rounds. If I see it, I'll definitely link to this post!

dulce de leche said...

Thank you all so much. <3

(((arwen-tiw))) I completely agree--I want my children to thrive, not merely survive!

Mike and Christie said...

I have seen this one on facebook and another one....which is sickening...
" I Have to laugh at people who are against spanking.. My Mom and dad whipped my butt when I needed it. I didn't hate them. I didn't have trust issues with them because of it. I didn't fear them. But I dang sure respected them! And I learned what my boundaries were, and knew what would happen if I broke them. Re-post if you got your tail tore up and survived it."

The sad part is, the person that posted this is SO MESSED up and her kids are messed up terribly. AND she did have problems with her parents and she does have problems with her kids, and NO she doesn't respect ANYBODY....ugh

As far as the dog...James Dobson had this video going around in churches when I was young. I remember him laughing about taking a BELT to his dog and teaching the dog a lesson. It was this big thing where everybody was laughing.... pretty sad. :(

Pippi said...

It wasn't until I realized the extent of really terrific abuse that my MIL's kids defend in her, that I began to understand how people who know only one way will cling to, defend, and believe in it, even when it harms them. Because of that, I never listen to anyone who laughs about potentially hurtful experiences. I believe that they believe they are unharmed. That's just a normal psychological defense mechanism. And it may be true in some cases. But it's just as likely to be Stockholm Syndrome. And what parent really wants that kind of love?
Apparently, many. Maybe it's the only kind of love they themselves know.

Amyables said...

"Just because we can be forgiven doesn't mean we can be bullies"

Amen.

It's important to remember that we are forgiven our faults and our weaknesses, not only by those who love us (including our children), but by God and Christ's sacrifice on the cross. . . that helps me along in my parenting journey every single moment of every single day.

But that forgiveness does NOT enable us to be irresponsible and abusive. Hitting is hurtful, harmful, and abusive. Fact. Not opinion.

Thank you for writing about this! (And I know the feeling of writing responses in comments, just to erase them and then write again and again and again. . . )

dulce de leche said...

Yeah, it is very disturbing to me that Dobson brags about beating a tiny dog with a belt, and he is considered an expert on discipline. :shudders: I added a link to the story (in his own words) that is embedded in a response from GCM that I liked a lot.

Pippi, your comment is so true. :( I have seen such a compulsive desire to minimize and gloss over the harmfulness of spanking (in cases where it was indisputably abusive) and it just continues the cycle.

Cultured Mama Dawn said...

I confess, now that Ella's two, I am finding the temptation to spank grow exponentially. But I also realize the ONLY time I think I should spank her is when I'm royally pissed off. It's happening a lot lately-- she's 2, I'm pregnant, it's a recipe for disaster. But because I KNOW anger (and a sense of helplessness) is triggering this impulse to spank, it helps me see that spanking is NOT the answer. Because it's MY response, not her consequences or need.

dulce de leche said...

Amyables, I love that comment! I need to reread it often. <3

((((Dawn)))) I feel that impulse very often, too. I understand completely. <3

dulce de leche said...

Just saw this great post on the same spanking status from Positive Parenting. :) I love their blog! <3

http://www.positive-parents.org/2011/08/aim-for-higher-than-just-survival.html

Kelly said...

That post from Dobson is disgusting. I feel sick when I think about how much respect he has in the Christian community. :(

Hoping to never come across a status like the one you've posted on, but if I do I'll be responding with this.

Mike and Christie said...

where is the link... I can't find it. :)

dulce de leche said...

The link in blue type where I mention Dobson is to a post from Gentle Christian Mothers. The quoted post links at the end to an excerpt from his book. I can't paste the link from my phone, but I'll try to share it tomorrow.

Mike and Christie said...

Thanks. Did you see the CNN video on the Schatz case? They interview the Pearls! In part 2, Michael Pearl gets a switch to strike the reporter. (that guy is so creepy) Of course he picks a twig size switch...Looked like a piece of grass! LOL I wonder why he didn't use the plumber supply line like he suggests? I think the reporter would have hit him back!

dulce de leche said...

This is the link to the excerpt from Dobson's book. :)

http://www.worldcat.org/wcpa/servlet/DCARead?standardNo=0842336222&standardNoType=1&excerpt=true

Tiffany said...

I really appreciated your post. Not only humorous, but very blunt and pointed.

That status has been posted by an alarming number of my more casual friends. I do not respond, but my heart does ache for their children.

I was spanked as a child. not often, but some. My parents love me very much, and I love them. Did it harm me? I'm not sure... but I also know that my mom held me in her arms on the car ride home from the hospital , not a car seat. Did that harm me? No, I'm still here. But it doesn't make it acceptable for me to do the same with my daughter.

When we know better, we do better.

Staci said...

I recently removed a friend for posting the same copy/paste post that Mike & Christie shared. I thought to myself, "this is my facebook, my place to relax a few minutes and I don't have to read that garbage if I don't want to," so I deleted. And like mentioned earlier, the person who posted was definitely not in a place to say "I was spanked and look how well I turned out." Very sad! Next time I'll post a link to this then remove the friend.

Sarah said...

I so totally just linked to this from my blog... I hope that's okay with you :) <3

dulce de leche said...

I am honored! <3

Ash said...

I was one of those "I turned out awesome BECAUSE I was spanked!" people until I was secure enough (my experience, not making assumptions about others :P) to admit to myself that a childhood of punishment had been hard, and I'd learned to grow in spite of how I was "taught". And subsequently chose not to repeat spanking with my own children.

I think I needed to self-protect through denying damage, because I needed to feel secure and yanking out that proverbial rug was too much for me at that point in my adulthood. It was mind-blowingly healing to finally admit that I'd grown up scared, and would have likely thrived in a more graceful, forgiving environment. :)

dulce de leche said...

Thank you so much! Ash, that is such a profound comment. I think that it is true for most of us. It is so hard to say "Yes, my parents loved me deeply AND they still hurt me, even though they didn't realize it or intend to."

Deftflicker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I was looking for a good answer to that cut and paste post that shows up periodicly on my facebook. It makes me sad that it gets so many likes. I wasn't hit as a child, and I didn't hit my children and they turned out to be kind, compassionate adults who would never considerer striking another person or animal. There are better ways to promote good behavior in children. Hitting them does not earn respect as the post suggests, it actually promotes fear. I read on another page where someone said spanking was okay for children under 3 because you can't reason with them, but they understand pain. What? Yes, they understand that being hit hurts, but then do they understand WHY they were hit by the person they depend on for love and comfort? Call me crazy but I believe the golden rule applies to the way you treat your children as well as everyone else.

Anonymous said...

While it may be difficult to believe, some children, not understanding why they are being punished or disciplined, take a different lesson from such a situation (than what the parent intends). They learn that it is acceptable to communicate with violence. It would appear this is more common with boys.

It is unfortunate, but not all parents are as patient and reasonable as the author's (appears to be). Some do not listen to what the child tries to tell them. Will decide from listening to others what happened and act on that. Or, alternatively, the punishment given is due to their frustrations with other matters, perhaps work, and has nothing to do with the child at all.

It pains me to hear that someone would laugh at anyone who is against spanking.

Anonymous said...

Dogs (outside of humans trying to think they know dogs) bite and snarl their teeth and lay into each other to establish alphas and omegas among themselves. But, a pack of dogs are some of the most loving family groups out there. It's just how they communicate. If not-spanking your dog works, that's great and preferable. But before people need a paper bag to breath into at the thought of "spanking," note that another pissed off dog's teeth hurt a lot more than a rolled up newspaper or bedroom slipper, and dogs and canines in general have some of the strongest bonds in the animal kingdom. Just saying.