[email protected]

In a message dated 11/22/2003 7:24:41 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[email protected] writes:
>distance myself. So I turned into this rotten acting, foul-mouthed
>creature. I vividly remember telling my mom to "shut up, bitch" and she
>just slapped the tar out of me, put her hands to her mouth and ran out of
>the room crying.
>I was stunned. She later apologized and so did I. I always, from the
>moment it happened, felt that my behavior played a major part in that
>incident. I had a good mom, a very loving mom that I provoked past her
>ability to cope. I was abusive to her and she couldn't take it anymore. I
>never felt that she abused me.....she protected herself.

I remember a similar incident from when I was around the same age. Yes, I
*did* provoke my mild-mannered father into spanking me. No, it wasn't the
best solution, and he realized it almost right away. (My parents rarely
spanked. In fact that's the only one I remember.)
When I was a late teen my mom and I had a fight where I started storming up
the stairs screaming horrible things to her, when she threw a rather large
coffee table book that she was holding at me. I looked down at her horrified, and
both of us cracked up, then apologized. I don't think we ever had another
out-of-control fight like that again.

The thing about that is, that while we were both out of control and furious,
it wasn't a big adult using the power of size and authority over another. And
my mom didn't consciously throw that book -- pure reflex.

I am not advocating that we start hitting or throwing things at our teenager
-- just that some of these examples are different. As Shannon knew, because
she didn';t WANT to hit her little boy, and asked for help.

Brian, you asked about what if your kid does something totally socially
unacceptable. Lots of people here have met my son Julian, who, at 14 is a charming
and very sweet boy. He's never been a difficult kid, and has never been

One time when he was pretty young and very, very angry he did something
truly, horribly, awfully socially unacceptable. (I won't go into the details,
because he wouldn't want me to. Just trust me. It was BAD!) He wasn't spanked. He
wasn't even yelled at. The enormity of our disappointment and upset with him
was enough for him to really get it. And nothing like that ever happened again.

I work with parents a lot, and I can tell you that the less likely a parent
is to spank or otherwise physically or emotionally punish a child, the less
likely that child is to behave badly. I have seen that punishing and spanking
make kids angry and scared and out of control.


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