What do you think of this punishment?...

Zel

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Apr 9, 2013
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My ex-wife and I have a parenting plan in which we take care of the children weekly. I get a week, then she gets a week. We have a 10 year old girl and a 6 year old boy.

Recently my daughter told me some news that disturbed me. She said our punishments were nothing, and her mom's were way worse. Apparently she has been making the kids sit in pushup position above a bucket or pot of water for several minutes, and if they can't make it they fall in the water. I confronted my ex and she said she did, and she is quite proud of it too... I also know that she or her husband spanks with objects, usually a belt.

So my question is how does everyone feel about the pushup position punishment with water, and how does everyone feel about spanking with objects. I personally dislike both... but I am curious to see if this is common or not.

Thank you!! :D
 

singledad

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Oct 26, 2009
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If that were my kid, my attitude would be stop, or I file for sole custody.

Spanking with a bare hand is one thing, and although I don't agree with it I could probably live with it under extreme circumstances, but when you use objects you don't have enough control and you run the risk of seriously hurting the child.

Frankly, I don't see the point of such random punishments. What do they teach the child?
 

akmom

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May 22, 2012
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My parents sometimes used a belt or paddle for spanking. I don't have really strong feelings about it, but I do find it barbaric and wouldn't use it on my own kids. I don't think it ever solved anything that couldn't be solved with an ordinary spank, or a conversation, for that matter. I also don't think it traumatized us.

I think 6 and 10 years old is a little young to be doing serious pushups. If they were older, I guess it would depend on the circumstances. Is it a "hold it or drown" kind of scenario, or more of a "I'm sitting right here ready to pull this bowl of water out of the way if you need me to, but let it be just a little more incentive not to drop on the floor and give up before you have to" kind of thing?

It does sound disturbing.
 

bssage

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Oct 20, 2008
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Hi Zel

I dont want to get the whole spank debate going. I "think" I can safely say noone would advise routine spanking as a regular course of good parenting. The pro spanking group on the forum tends to agree. Its not a few times a week a month or to be used as the "go-to" displine. If you like research the debate section. You will find alot of information on spanking and corporal punishment.

The squats you describe I believe will be considered by most as a form of corporal punishment also. I personally would consider this outside the scope of what I believe good parenting. What exaggerates this is the bowl or pot of water. Which just would cause them to focus on something other than what is in need of correction. IMHO making it completely ineffective.

Thats just my opinion on those questions. As far as what you should do. That kinda depends on where you live. And I dont see that mentioned in your intro or post. Some places it is flat out illegal. Some it may have the power to raise a flag with Child services. And some it would mean nothing at all.

My opinion although I do believe there is a place for "harsh" punishment. I believe if it is routine there is a major problem.

Our job as parents many times involve modifying behavior. There are many ways to effectively do this without even coming close to a "harsh" discipline.

I think the Wiki has state by state and country links to the laws of the land. If you plan to report keep track dates and anything to support your claims.

Most common strategies on this site seem to revolve around. (in the order I use)
Active listening
Privilege restrictions

At times a sort of time out which I really use as a cooling of time for them is implemented. At those ages not sure how effective time outs would be. Probably OK for the 6yr old. Even then when they are old enough to have a conversation with. They are old enough to "Active listen"
 

mom2many

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Jul 3, 2008
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Spanker here, and any time an object is used, outside of the hand, it crosses a line for me. Honestly, I would be happy about the situation your children in. At there age's there are plenty of other option that will give a much better result.
 

pancras

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Jan 15, 2013
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You might want to drop a few bucks on a lawyer. If she has marks from spanking, take her to your doctor so he can get official documentation of the evidence. As others said, you may have the power to stop this, without bothering to try to convince your wife and her husband. I am sure you will not be able to convince them, you will need to use any legal force available to you.
 

Xero

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Mar 20, 2008
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Spanking is a personal choice, but I personally am never okay with the use of an object, that just makes me sick. Check your state laws on what is considered child abuse.

http://kidjacked.com/legal/spanking_law.asp

Some states specify that it is illegal to use objects or a closed fist. In Delaware it is illegal to punish your child in literally any way that "causes pain" which would include the push-up thing (try it, it hurts). So it is actually illegal to spank your kids in Delaware.

Anyway, regardless of the actual legal situations, I would personally just call CPS to get information on what they think about all of that. They will give you the best idea of what is acceptable, if you are over reacting or not, and what you should do about it. You'd be surprised about how helpful they can be. You don't have to actually use names or file a case against your ex, unless they recommend that you do. Just call and get info.

Aside from all that, no matter what anybody says, I personally would find a lawyer and push for full or at least more custody. I think that they deserve a more loving, caring, forgiving family atmosphere but that may just be me. And I think you have a pretty good case to go off of.

Good luck!
 

Zel

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Apr 9, 2013
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Thank you for all the responses so far. :D

I have called CPS here in Washington state and apparently it is legal to hit your child with objects as long as it doesn't leave a mark for over 4 hours :confused:. They said the pushups over the water was borderline abuse only because they would have to investigate it further to see if it was safe, and how the children were entering the water etc. He did agree that there is much more efficient ways to punish children that are not so cruel and unusual.

According to my ex they supervise when they punish them this way. We tend to be on good terms, sometimes even friendly, but I worry because she and her siblings were abused growing up. To be frank the pushup + bucket of water punishment was originally her parents idea...

I don't want to rip the children from her, I want to help open her eyes before her own children resent her for the things she's doing to them. She isn't a bad person, just misguided.

So far It appears it is safe to say everyone agrees that holding a pushup position over water for several minutes is not a reasonable or effective form of punishment. It also appears that even people who spank their children agree you should not use an object.

Im glad to hear Im not being overly sensitive towards her parenting, and should be legitimately concerned.
 
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yunihara

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Nov 22, 2010
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I think spanking with an object is a little overboard. I don't have any personal problem with an ocassional swat or two, and by ocassional, I mean rarely. I've only resorted to a smack if they've done something dangerous that they know they shouldn't be doing. And honestly, I think 10 is a little old to be spanking a child. I was whipped with a belt from time to time and that was the "ultimate" punishment. A regular spanking never bothered me, but the belt still bothers me to this day... If it leave marks that last for several hours, I consider it abuse, bruises or not.

As for the push-up thing, I don't know how I feel about it. I actually had to do that in school and really, all it did was make it a contest between me and other boys as to who could hold it the longest... I guess I don't really see it as abuse except the whole water aspect... Having a pot under can lead to all sorts of injuries depending on how they fall, etc.

It does all seem pretty harsh to me, maybe if she is willing, you should sit and have a discussion about it and voice your concerns. Our parents tend to be a little more old school in their parenting approach, and just because we are "ok" doesn't mean there aren't better ways to handle discipline.
 

singledad

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Zel said:
I don't want to rip the children from her, I want to help open her eyes before her own children resent her for the things she's doing to them. She isn't a bad person, just misguided.
Ok, I guess getting her on the same page as you would be better for the kids than simply taking her shared custody away.

How about sitting down with her with the goal of "creating consistency between the two homes". I think there are lots of good arguments to be made for having a shared set of house rules and ways to enforce them. This will then create an opportunity for you to possibly convince her that there are more effective ways of disciplining kids.

It's a long shot, but it might be worth a try...
 

pancras

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Jan 15, 2013
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James Dobson, in his parenting books, advocate always using an object, never the hand. He's a bestselling author of parenting books. His belief is that this preserves the image of a parent's hand as an object of love, not punishment.

I not a fan of Dobson or his logic. Just wanted to point out that using an object is not really that much outside of mainstream opinion.
 

Xero

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I was hit with objects as a child, and to this day there are still several kitchen utensils and other things I won't go into detail about that I can't even look at without feeling a bit of past anxiety and fear. Hitting children with objects is sick and cruel, and I have no respect or understanding whatsoever for people who do it. There is no justification.
 

akmom

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May 22, 2012
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Whoever James Dobson is, I doubt he'd be a best-selling author if he advocated pummeling kids with objects. Whether it's a hand or object, the force behind it should be reasonable. I could love-tap my kids with a spoon, or leave marks with my hand (though I do neither). If you're sporting scars or shuddering about memories into adulthood, then your parents were disciplining out of anger. It's not just that they chose the wrong tool for the job.
 

Xero

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I don't think I could ever label hitting my child with an object loving, caring, or anything BUT out of anger. I'd have to be pretty pissed (and crazy) in order to consider digging through my kitchen drawer for weapons to hit my kid with, since my hand isn't effective enough for the job apparently.
 

yunihara

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akmom said:
Whoever James Dobson is, I doubt he'd be a best-selling author if he advocated pummeling kids with objects. Whether it's a hand or object, the force behind it should be reasonable. I could love-tap my kids with a spoon, or leave marks with my hand (though I do neither). If you're sporting scars or shuddering about memories into adulthood, then your parents were disciplining out of anger. It's not just that they chose the wrong tool for the job.

But that's the sad thing. He IS a best-selling author and considered a parenting expert among more fundamental groups of Chrisitans. He suggest sticks and switches. Many people also support Mike and Debbie Pearl, who support the "spiritual spanking" idea. This means that you smack your kid until they stop "rebelling" which can be anything from crying too much to wiggling. The idea behind Dobson and the Pearls is that in order for children to be molded by the grace of God, you have to break their rebellious spirits. Its all a form of brainwashing.

People claim their methods work, but the only "work" because your kids have pretty much lost their spirits. Its sickening, but people follow their methods (one little girl was subjected to a 7 hour long spanking based on the Pearls' method... who also says that it can take a long time for the rebellion to break. Essentially you spank them, and if they don't act the way you want, you spank them again.. and so on. Anyway, the little girl ended up dying, and I was so horrified). Both these people's first rule of the punishment cycle is "never in anger."
 

akmom

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I'm sure you can find horror stories resulting from every style of parenting. There are people who are reasonable and those who aren't. Not every reader is going to use that advice the way the author envisioned it.

I was once at a playgroup with my older two kids, and there was this one kid running around hitting all the other kids, throwing toys at them, grabbing them and knocking them over. He was just being a wild little animal. And his parents sat there on the sidelines, saying, "No, Bobby. You need to be respectful of others." And sometimes they'd walk over, stop him, and gently say the same thing, while he kicked and screamed and wiggled free without any indication that he listened. Both parents kept talking about this special parenting style they were using, like it was something we should all be interested in. I wonder if they noticed that every other parent there was able to keep their child in check - responding discreetly to the mildest infractions - while their child ran around ruining it for everyone. Some parents occasionally took their child aside for a swat and returned them to the play area when they regained their composure. That is not, to me, a radical breaking of the spirit or any such tragedy. Whatever the strategy is, it does need to work. If it doesn't work, then a more forceful one is needed. I do wonder if those proselytizing parents at the playground ever abandoned that silly strategy they were using, or if it ever worked. They never came back.
 

yunihara

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Well, what I'm saying is that is what the books say to do. Break the spirit. Yes, people take their advice too seriously or go overboard, but reading the books myself, they are pretty terrible. There's this creepy, methodical way of hitting your kids prescribed by these people. I have nothing against a spanking at all, and definitely don't think it will break the spirit, but if it doesn't work, hitting them harder, or more, isn't the solution in my opinion. Harsh punishments like whipping with a belt, really has no place in parenting, IMO.
 

teenage_parent

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my mom is asian. belts, kitchen utensils and other objects were all like the rod of Zeus when she holds 'em.

i know all my cousins (some grew up in Asia) were all hit by their parents. apparently, it's normal there for parents to hit their kids. i guess "hitting" children is not so out of mainstream.

i don't hit my kid and i never would.

but we all don't mind the way my mom disciplined us.