[slight name change because of the fetish traffic...not that I don't appreciate it or anything!]
I’m treading lightly on this one, and trying to be sensitive about it. I’M sensitive about it and hope readers might at least try to be likewise. This is not easy reading. It certainly wasn’t the easiest thing to write.
A few weeks ago, Percy and Jane were out, and Thomas and I were at home. We were fiddling around out in the garden and then came inside. He demanded pizza and I told him it wasn’t time to eat yet. He then goes to the microwave and punches the numbers to make it 5:00. I informed him that wasn’t going to cut it. He screamed and I told him screaming was finished and put him in the brown chair. Then he did something he had never done before; he hit me. He just hauled off and whapped me in the leg!
Up until this point, neither Jane nor I had ever spanked the boys. We both grew up getting a belt (me) a spoon (her) or a switch (me again) but have been using a time out chair (the brown chair), like Supernanny uses. And for the most part it has worked. The next step is to put them in their room for time out. Problem is, starting last month Thomas took to throwing all of his books off the bookshelf and trashing his room.
Thomas hit me when I told him to sit on the chair and yelled “NO!” He and Percy have gotten a lot more defiant this summer.
All this is to say that Thomas’ defiance to me ended at that moment when I gave him two hard swats to his bare bottom. Then I put him in his room and warned him not to clear his book shelves.
Actually, his defiance didn’t end until the next moment, when I walked in and his books were all over the floor which garnered him two more hard swats. I then told him he was going to get more if he didn’t have it cleaned up when I came back. This was a couple weeks ago, and I have since not had the compliance and defiance issues Jane continues to have.
I’m not a big fan of beating kids. The behaviorist in me understands that punishment only suppresses behavior, and does not teach new and better behaviors. But the old style behaviorists knew something the more modern version has forgotten: Punishment works. In fact, the famous Lovaas Young Autism Project (YAP) used punishers extensively in their famous study where so many students “recovered” from their autism. That’s not to say I want a researcher or anyone else spanking or striking or shocking my children. But my parents, Jane’s parents and now me understands that it can be an efficient tool if juxtaposed with good teaching and good guidance.
Jane wanted to accuse me of teaching the boys how to hit, which I said was utter nonsense. They learned how to hit at school from their peers! Actually, I think hitting is more of an instinctual thing, anyway. I was not hitting to counter hitting, I was using it to counter defiance.
Hmmm. That spanking was not my intended focus, here. But now I see where I’m going to be accused of beating on my autistic child or something. The last word on that is this: I believe that part or teaching and parenting kids (NT or AS or otherwise) means turning them into productive human beings. Kids today (and many of their parents) often act like selfish animals. I’m not playing that, and my kids have a very concrete understanding of my authority. I care enough not to condone poor behavior. I’ll do it again if I have to. It’s not capricious and I take absolutely no bloody pleasure in it at all. Ever. But it works. I still get hugs and kisses. But if I tell them to sit on the brown chair, they do it and I do not get this “NO!” nonsense. Jane still does get an awful lot of grief, especially from Thomas. Sometimes she’ll just look at me, and I’ll give him the same instruction she just did (i.e. pick up your shoes) and he’ll do it right away.
Spanking is a controversial topic among parents and I feel somewhat like a traitor to behaviorists who have spent decades developing nonaversive and effective techniques. Not everyone can or should do it. I think it is a decision and a practice for parents to decide for themselves and their own situations. Any practice can evolve into abuse, and it is important to guard against that, but swatting a child on the bottom should not be confused with using knuckles across their face. In our household, I think we do have a good balance between Jane, who is ambivalent about the practice and me, who is cautiously okay with it. Thomas gets the connection between the behavior and the consequence, which is the most important thing. It’s not just about compliance (although that is a big deal) it is about learning some control. The consequences for impulsiveness can be dire, and I’m trying to work on that aspect of his behavior in a way where his life isn’t on the line. At this point, I know he thinks a bit more when he’s trying to decide whether or not to listen to what I’m telling him. I’ll take that.
Comments to this post are closed due to some posters who wish to abuse others and other such foolishness.