Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Joys Of Punishment

Tipped off of a comments conversation that I had with Alan on my own blog, I had to bring this past my Tribe for comment.

My stubborn Humanling pulled a stunt that can be read about here. She's going to be ten in January. I understand that our curiosity never wanes, unless we are status quo (which I highly doubt any of this group is - right or left brained) but judgement is of course, invited to the party.

After I noted that Humanling was ok from her escapade with Time Travel to when she was two and was legit for an act like this, I was just angry with her. But we went on with our merry lives and there was no punishment since I was happy to have not had to carry her struggling to breathe body down a winding fire escape where surely I would have banged her head and my elbows numerous times, further pissing me off.

How were we all punished as kids? Boopila, Mama Monster & Whatupwit - are you comfortable with sharing punishment tactics here? Views of course, you don't have to admit to the child slave labor that they obviously deserve sometimes. =)

Humanling has a worn out tread in the carpet from the Go To Your Room episodes. It wouldn't be as bad but she's like a horizontal buoy, treading straight back out after a moment, "Can I come out now?" Things have been taken away and she's been put into an airspace with no other beings.

One morning, her mouth was brimming with piss & vinegar and we were in a hurry to get out the door. It was winter, because I remember that I was wearing cotton gloves. She spat some bullshit out at me within a one foot facial range and I couldn't find my happy space. So I gave her a light (and I seriously mean light - and WITH a cotton glove on) back tap to the mouth. It was like a nerf slap.

Wouldn't you know she went to school, told the first adult she saw and I got a phone call at 2:30 that afternoon at my desk at work. I had to sit in a corporate room of people who would love to have been on a feeding frenzy of gossip had they heard any of the conversation. The nurse from her school called me. When I answered, she said "We had a hard morning this morning didn't we?"

If I've any connection to a violent and explosive nature, this would surely be the way to set me off.

I've now got the nurse from the school who knows nearly nothing of my life or HL's life, on a leg up about to serve me. And I can't do a thing. I'm at work. And she's got the ability to transform my words into something unlawful and threaten my situation.

She mentioned to me that it was 'fortunate' that there were no bruises and that HL, when asked, said that this never happens.

This woman has no idea that everything that I do is for the child. And seriously, 97% of my life belongs to this beautiful and sometimes tinged with evil, little girl. She sleeps with me at night (I keep her close due to possibility of seizure activity - which I work on eliminating with a strict diet), almost everything she eats is whole food, chopped, cooked and served by me. Her dad has approximately eight hours of time total with her during one of the earth's rotations of the sun. I'm not complaining. This is my life and I love every bit of it.

I was humiliated. I cried all the way home that day. I called my mother. Yes, the big guns. I actually had to call my mother and talk.

Alan, this is the big Why of how Humanling lived without incident after her stint as Doubting Thomas on the quality control of the Krazy Kitty bead people. She will never get a spank ever. Because then I will be the single mom who had her kid taken away for abuse.

I live in a small town where you can't tie your shoe without someone you know sticking out of the laces.

I got the spank. The belt. The peanut butter glass jar thrown at my head that dented the wall because I ducked. The sturdy plastic rolling pin with roaches inside (read: weed bits, not indestructable insects). I'm not complaining at all. My parents split up when I was nine. They did what they thought was right. Or my mom did. My dad was scary on his own optometric powers. And only once did he ever give me corporal punishment, which was so bad that I completely passed out and my mother never again shared with him any Top Level bad deed that I'd performed.

I didn't run to any adult to share. I was keeper of secrets. I intuitively knew that this would not be playground information.

My story isn't dramatic...I'm sure its way more Candyland than many many folks out there.

So what are your views? How were you handled as a child?


The Neighbor said...

I was spanked at a young age. I would say that HL is probably reaching an age where I would find it inappropriate. I would move towards more emotional punishments - she has interests or hobbies - these would face restrictions in my view - no TV for example. No internet. No phone calls. Grounded. These are the things that worked on me.

Eventually all it took to punish me was my parents' disappointment. The grounding thing persisted for many many years as the fallback - until I was an adult, basically. It worked pretty well, overall, but at one point I was grounded for something like 7 months straight. It would seem that I developed my smartass attitude patiently and persistently. Anyhow, it gets to the point where it's just the status quo, not really punishment.

But yeah, temper is a hard thing - I yell like mad at Myrtle sometimes, and then I wonder how the hell I'm going to deal with kids one day, should that happen. Valium, probably. Spanking, no belts involved, from age 2-7 or 8. Then reason and restrictions.

Well, I hope. Once they learn to push my buttons . . . who knows?

Boopila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan said...

I'm of two minds. In the one, I'm really extremely glad I sparked this discussion back at Dawn's place. In the second, I hate that I made Dawn second-guess herself.

So I'm going to confess something, and not for the first time, but for the first time to you guys. In fact, the first time I blogged about this, I was rebuked by my Childhood Bud's sister, who I call Childhood Bud II. She is a single black mother who raised two girls to perfection. You will know one of her daughters in a few years from the entertainment industry.

But I had said the following in my blog; "I wish I were raised by a white mother."

Now, I think I've made a lot of blanket statements in my day, and this one was pretty stupid of me to assume there would be some inherent improvement from black to white, and Childhood Bud II called me on it.

But there are also facts that I see in the streets. For some reason, we ethnic folk think it best to intimidate our children by fear to control them. Force them to respect us by sheer domination of will. And I don't think we put it in such elaborate terms. I think we just do what our mommas and our big mommas did.

So what I've seen in the streets follow the following pattern;

Black mother: "Boy, didn't I TELL you to get the hell AWAY from the candy?! NO you can't have one!! You think money grow on trees?! YOU got a job?! Then NO. I SAID NO!" *slap!* You get on my DAMN nerves!! Always want what you can't have!!

White mother: "No honey, no candy. Come on sweetie, we have fruit at the house. Come on Gregory we have to hurry now. You want to catch the Power Rangers right? It's starting in ten minutes. We just might make it. Come on, we can have grapes and strawberries when we get home. We don't need candy."

I harbor this inside of me. Primarily because my mother was the black mother, and I always notice other black mothers when they do the same. And I often envy the white children who's mothers use persuasion instead of threats. Who uses terms of endearment instead of verbal abuse.

But it's a child's POV I'm using, and I'm immature on this level. ALL white mothers aren't June Cleaver and ALL black mothers aren't Penny from Good Times' mother. Some white mothers are Joan Crawford and some black mothers are Michele Obama.

Clearly, it just takes some education and practice to parent in a way that doesn't eff up your conscience.

But one thing I do know. From experience. Children are resilient. Children can recover from our parents' mistakes. Even when they were psychotic and bipolar. Your mistakes will be understood in time, and even moreso if a mental illness isn't fueling them, and they will be overshadowed by the love and devotion you pour into your children every other second of every day of every week of every year that you live. And when you pass on from this life, they will miss you and beg God to give you back.

So rest yourselves and enjoy your children. You are highly favored among women.

Mama Monster said...

As a child I was time outed, spanked, whipped with a belt or switch, made to write 1000 times "I will not whistle at the table.", stood in the corner, grounded, given chores and more.

I wasn't that bad really!

As a mother, I really philosophically believe in minimal punishment. I'm all attachment parenting and even sympathise with the "listening to children movement" (which basically doesn't believe in punishment at all- look it up; it's interesting).
However, in reality I can't really get by without punishing my kids. For one thing, they are really really smart and really really curious... and sometimes, their desires are at cross purposes with mine. So I have to thwart them. Sometimes this takes the form of punishment (as in, "You got paint from the shed and painted the refrigerator?!!! You must be punished!")

I usually use timeouts or "go to your room"s. Sometimes, mostly with Baby Monster, I resort to small spanks when nothing else is working at all. Punitive chores work well and "losing privleges" is also effective (as in "If you don't stop that right now you're going to lose your playground privleges."

The biggest pitfall of all of these methods is my own inconsistency and follow through. Would that I could keep it all straight in my head, lay down the law and carry out the punishments even handedly. But in reality, it all comes out a bit random... sigh.

P.A. GIbbons said...

Nice to have met you on my blog about going to the Buddhist retreat.

When I read this post, I had a flashback to the time something similar happened to me. My son had ADHD and had refused to take his medicine that morning, had tortured the cat and was hitting his sister w/a hairbrush. I had lost my temper and pulled him by the ear and made him take his meds. I was pissed at the craziness I had to go thru at 7 AM. My son told the school nurse (whom I knew for years) who in turn called CPS and an investigation was launched. I am a teacher no less, and it was one of the most humiliating things I went thru. I was cleared, thank GOD, but I never forgot it.

I was beaten as a child, whipped nude till I was a teen, verbally abused. Then I married a man just like my father.

So it has been a long journey, I am healed for the most part, and have married the most gentle of men. But it was a long and painful trip.

I have two grandchildren whom I would never touch...but that is because now I have a big tool box to help me out.

Hugs to you fellow Scorpio!

Alan said...

By the way, that picture is tripping me the f^ck OUT.

Whaupwit said...

Remarkable restraint Shades with both HL & the nurse, in my opinion. I have no point of reference for how to handle older kids, but I can feel my blood boil reading that post.

I had no idea what a ‘time out’ was until I reached college. I had plenty of berating, chores, humiliating chores, push-ups, Army style PT, room inspections, loss of privileges, grounding, pinches, pressure point exploiting, spankings, smacks, slaps, and even coming close to blows with my dad (thank sweet bejeezus I didn’t…. he would have friggin killed me!). I have to agree with FB – the disappointment card trumped all.

Boopila and I lean hard on time outs. Spanks are not out of the question, though they are reserved for serious matters, mostly of personal safety and safety of others. There are certain lessons that will not wait for reason to reign.