How Nancy Stopped Spanking

Response to a public question:
Hi everyone, I have a question. For those of you who spanked, once you decided to stop how did you deal with those situations that had caused you to spank? Also, was your partner/spouse for or against the idea? And if they were against the idea, how did you go about showing/convincing them that there is a better way and it will work if they give it a chance?

You know, honestly? It was really hard. (Not deciding to not spank, dealing with the situations.) Here is my story. (I'll try and keep it short.)

Darin had a worse childhood than I so he was never too happy with the idea of spanking to begin with.

I was one of those Moms who lightly slapped hands that got into a bowl of food as it was passed by the child's seat. I would smack a bottom once with a sharp NO upon finding a child climbing on a counter or getting to close to the street, or any other transgression.

One day, Moly was just about three, Jack was still a baby, and she was in the kitchen helping me. I told her to get her stool and climb up so she could help. She just stood there, looking at me. I couldn't figure out why, so I just repeated myself and said, "If you want to help, you have to get up here, you are too small to reach even with your stool."

She just looked at me and, with tears in her eyes said, "But you will spank me."

I had told her NO and spanked her for climbing so often (she was a climber) that I had really put her little mind in a twist. She wanted to help me, I wanted her to help, she had to get up to my level to help, but had always gotten in trouble for being in the exact place I was telling her to go to.

I made up my mind right then and there not to spank anymore. It took a long time. Many times I would see her hesitate before doing something. And honestly? I never ever thought that a smack on the bottom was any big deal. I was hit with belts, spoons, paddles, once with a dog chain, once with a rubber hose. I thought I was being a good parent.

From then on, I took lots of deep breaths, I counted to ten, it was sheer will power to keep from doing something that was so ingrained in me.

What happened about a year later? Jack was two and ran out in the street, he was inches from being hit by a car, which didn't stop, just kept speeding down the street. I ran after him, and just started hitting. I must have spanked him six or more times. And hard enough that even with a diaper, he felt it. I was crying, and yelling at him. I shook from fright for an hour after. I went to the bathroom and my hair was sticking up, I was sweaty and flushed. I looked like a mad woman. And my little girl came in to me and said, "You hurt my baby! You said you wouldn't hit me, why did you hit my baby?" I try not to think about that. But I did it, and there it is. I hit Moly for just being a normal kid, and I came very close to beating Jack because of my fear. So I take lots of time before I even talk to my kids, because I was yelled at a lot as a child. And I just remind myself of all the times I cried in my room after being hit and thinking how much I hated my parents.

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Note from the editor:
It's difficult to admit things like this in public, but because some moms are willing to do that difficult thing, other moms are spared the pain and guilt of harming their own children, and VERY many children will be kept from knowing what it's like to cry because the have no idea why their mother, who should have been their protector and comfort, went mean and hit them.

I want to thank Nancy and the other moms who have shared their stories in public this way.

Sandra Dodd

If you came straight to this page, there are other accounts and more information here .

Parenting Issues for Unschoolers