Spanking issues


New Member
Little brief history, my oldest son, he's 11 was having a ton of behavior issues. His dad and I are divorced for 5 years. He has been living with me since the divorce but due to his behavior I felt like he may do better if he lived with his father. He was running away, hitting me, lying, leaving school just something every single day! So he's been with his dad now for 2 months and his dad's form of punishment is spanking. I am not a spanker, I have tried it but it did not ever work for me. I knew his dad would spank him, but I thought it's either he has a "fear" or he was going to be in jail soon.

But now it's bothering me so much, his dad tells me when he's in trouble and if he got a spanking. Tonight is another one, he got into trouble at school, arguing with- teachers, and had to have the note signed and he tried to sign his dad's name, then lied about it. His dad told me he spanked him with the belt tonight.

My feelings are so emotional about this. It is sickening to me to think of my son getting hit with a belt (even though I did as a child, and am fine) but I don't feel like it's helping him. He isn't as bad, but he also doesn't have brothers/sisters to fight with and whatever.

He is in counseling, individual and family, he was diagnosised when he lived with me with bi polar and ADD but now at his fathers and new docs they think it's purely BiPolar (BP) or a mood disorder, but not on medications to "get a fresh start" His dad doesn't really like the medications thing.

His father said the spanking is helping because he's doing things now that normal kids do, hide grades, forge name and all, instead of violent outbursts, tearing things up and all.

This is so hard for me.


Well-Known Member
I can't tell you what to do, and I don't know what state he's in (it's important). This is JMO and what I'd do, without even thinking twice. First of all, I don't believe hitting an eleven year old is ever a good way to change behavior. But if my ex hit my kid with a belt, I'd either make him stop or call CPS (and, yes, I'm serious). THAT to me is abuse. Bet it left a nice bruise. I'm sure some people will think it's okay, but I don't believe in any spanking if a child is mentally ill and to use a belt can make a violent kid even worse.Can you get custody again? Your son doesn't sound like he's doing too well with Dad, and, frankly, I'd be afraid to entrust him in the care of this man. He sounds like he has no understanding of the child. If the kid has bipolar, not medicating him can cause the cycling to spiral out of control. Hugs and keep us updated. (PS--Your hub is deluded if he thinks all kids do what your son is doing. They don't all do that.)


New Member
The issue is the doctor my ex is taking him to says he doesn't know if it's ADD or BiPolar (BP) for sure. He took him off all medications but zoloft to see how he behaves without being on it and do a new diagnosis and medications.

Ex husband doesn't believe he has any mental issues, he just believes he's lazy, and does it on purpose. And at times I believed it too, we have been told he has so many different things and nothing has worked great so you start to wonder if they know what they are doing.

He does not have custody, we never changed anything legally, this is a trial to see if he could help him. He (my ex) says he spanks at last resort, he does grounding, rewards and whatever, but if it's serious things he gets a spanking.

They are in Indiana, I live in New York. I am moving there to Indy in June.


Well-Known Member
Well Im gonna disagree with MWM. I dont think spanking an 11 year old boy with a belt on his rear end a few licks is gonna scar him for life. Might teach him not to forge signatures though.

Huge difference in a few licks and a beating to me...but thats my opinion.


Well-Known Member
Hmmm. I think it can him one angry kid who thinks the answer is to hit. Especially if the hub won't medicate him, I'd want him back. I would never allow a belt to my kid. Agree to disagree, but I STRONGLY disagree with this. I'd put a stop to it yesterday. To me, that's beyond a spanking, and I'll bet he keeps forging..and worse. I'm betting ex just wants it to be ADD and Zoloft without a mood stabilizer, if it's a BiPolar (BP) kid, can make the kids worse. I don't know what else to tell you. Do what your gut tells you to too. Hugs :smile:

saving grace

New Member
I do not believe in spanking EVER FOR ANY REASON. Its abuse and violent and doesnt teach the child anything except that Daddy is bigger and can hurt me and now I am afraid of the one person in this world who is suppose to protect me.
There is huge controversy in this world about spanking and there is a huge violence problem with our youth. I wonder why.

Please speak to your EX and see if there is some alternative to spanking that can work with your son.



New Member
I think that if he IS bipolar, and he is not on a mood stabilizer .....well the moods can swing, and he can be irritable and have behavioral issues due to the disorder. If he is bipolar, being on Zoloft alone is not going to help him. If he is ADD, the Zoloft is not going to help him either. If he is put on a mood stabilizer and it works, the chances are that the moods and behavior are going to improve drastically. I don't think that it is right to not try a mood stabilizer and then spank him when he is out of control. It is important to have empathy for those with mental illness, and without the correct medications very little will be corrected by hitting him with a belt.


I agree with Grace wholeheartedly. I don't believe in spanking any child EVER, diagnosed disorder or not. If a child hits and then gets hit in response, what exactly does it teach the child?

My three kids with mood disorders, who are on mood stabilizers and improving tremendously, don't lie, hide grade or forge signatures. They don't have violent outbursts anymore either. medications, in conjunction with therapeutic interventions, have made a world of difference in their lives.


Crazy Cat Lady
I can tell you that therapeutic intervention did NOTHING until they started getting my medications straightened. I just wasn't capable of acquiring coping tools before that.


New Member
I'm also against spanking any child for any reason. If I am to the point that I feel like spanking my kids than I am too close to losing control myself, and I need to back off. Where I live, taking a belt to your child would be considered abuse.

My difficult child had alot of isues with aggressive behavior for a long time. He could be very difficult to manage. Understandably, husband (now dex) had a hard time bringing him under control without losing control himself. Many times I had to get between them and break it up for fear that somebody was going to get hurt. Once, husband shoved difficult child who was being sassy, and his arm went through the screen door. difficult child was not hurt but months later it came out at a family therapy session. Long story short, this relatively minor incident led to a visit from CPS.

My theory is how can you teach a child not to be aggressive by hitting. I don't believe that hitting a child is an appropriate form of discipline under any circumstances.


New Member
Reading this brought tears to my eyes. :frown:

My mother was hit with a belt growing up...she still talks about the shame and hurt she felt (feels) from it. What did she do to me? She spanked me with a "guaranteed never to break" thick plastic comb...and I still remember the anger, hurt, and shame I felt (feel).

If your child is mentally ill, physical pain and "fear" is not going to make him better. :frown:


Active Member
I also got hit with a belt when I was growing up. It was on very rare occasions and really, didn't hurt physically, it was just the embarrassment of it all. Did it make me a better person? I don't think so. Did it scar me for life? Not physically, but I would have been happier without it.
My mother generally only hit with her hand, after extreme provocation and generally not past a certain age (about 10). I remember her threatening grandchildren with a wooden spoon but the threat was enough, she never had to use it. She's the one who taught me to threaten with a bright red fly swat - you rarely have to use it and when you do, the thing is so floppy you can't do any damage. I mainly used it in the car when kids were misbehaving BADLY - the fly swat would reach. But mostly I just had to brandish it and the kids would start behaving. And because this punishment IS so toothless, it's pointless to use it once the child is about 6 (a lot less, in our case - I stopped even threatening the fly swat, when the kids were about 4).

A smack should not be designed to hurt, it should be a rapid reminder only. Once this stops working, you don't use it. If you can use something else, you should.

Despite all that, I don't think smacking or hitting with a belt is productive. In fact, it looks like smacking is about to be legislated against in Australia. We already have strong laws against anything approaching physical abuse, but this could soon be extended to include ALL forms of smacking.

In this situation it boils down to - is this producing a genuine improvement in the boys' behaviour? If it is, is this improvement also connected with teaching the boy that hitting is how you assert your authority and get your point across?

His father says he's using hitting only as a last resort, and that he's using other discipline techniques mostly.

How is your son when you talk to him about any of this? How is he in school? Can you talk to his teachers and ask their opinions on whether he is making progress? You need an independent eye on this, to see if it is as bad as you fear, or if (against what a lot of us may be feeling) the child is actually benefiting from this treatment.

The problems with reporting this to CPS - you're not there, you really aren't a witness. It could be worse than you fear, but it could also be nothing. And because this could turn custodial, CPS could read things into your complaint that aren't necessarily there.

I'd so some independent digging on how difficult child is coping, in general. Talk to the doctor. Talk to the teachers. Talk to difficult child & ex-husband. You'll be in the area in June, if you can wait that long to step in.

Basically, I think you need more info.



Active Member
Ongoing spanking in a child of this age might produce a short term result but will in the end produce a very angry child. I also had a parent who thought they could get results using physical punishment and when I got old enough and strong enough I started fighting back. I seriously have my doubts that a parent could be administering a physical punishment to a child of this age without anger which only escalates things.

You really have very little in the way of choices with this one. Son is living with ex and ex isn't going to change his stripes because of your input. You can bring him back to live with you, you can live with the knowledge of it and be unhappy, you can report him to CPS, or you could suggest that son take up the issue with his counselor who in most states would be legally required to report abuse or maltreatment.

Does dad participate in family counseling? Are you present for those sessions?


New Member

I just wanted to say that I had exactly the same issue as you. My son is 11 and has ODD/ADHD. My ex husband and I have joint custody on a weekly rotating basis which worked just fine and suited our son, however, as he grew older, my ex found it increasingly difficult to cope with some of Lew's behaviour and began smacking as a form of discipline. I am totally against smacking as I cannot see how using a form of violence against a child with enough problems, is going to teach them how to develop self control when the parent is not showing it.I raised my concerns via letter to my ex on a number of occasions, at our meeting with lew's psychiatrist and eventually with social services when he finally went too far and used a trainer on lew's bare bottom. My ex now has a caution on his record for actual bodily harm and this is deemed to be a category one offence...sadly for him, he is a lawyer who works within the public sector so it has made him learn a harsh lesson. I would not let your ex use smacking with a belt to go on Im afraid as one day your child may turn to you and ask you why you didnt put a stop to it. Good luck x

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
You're between a rock & a hard place. Our difficult children have definite disorders/illnesses that make it difficult, at best, for them to connect the dots. How does a spanking relate logically to a difficult day at school?

I'm making no judgments on the spanking issue - everyone has made a point here as to "abuse" issues & such.

I'd be more concerned with the lesson difficult child is learning. An outburst at school should be dealt with at school - taking it home, generally, does no good. It's beyond our difficult children frame of reference - most likely they have forgotten the incident & will be confused over the punishment.

I hope you can find a balanced way to find appropriate consequences with your ex for your difficult child.


New Member
Thank you everyone for your replies. I have decided to have a talk with his father and tell him how I feel about it. I also and going to request that he ask the psychiatrist about a mood drug he could try for a bit to see if there is a change.

He's only been there for 2 months and it seems he is better in some ways, such as the suicide thoughts, the depression and the violence. But the lying is the same as well as the school issues. But I think it helps that he's not around his siblings to fight with.

My ex is usually pretty good about talking to me about this stuff and keeping me very involved as it was the only way I would allow him to even try this. If I can talk to him AWAY from his wife then I think he will really listen. If she is there for some reason he has no input or opinions, he only agrees with what she says.

I will see him Sunday.


Well-Known Member
And would your difficult child tell his dad if he felt suicidal? I know my kids are more open with me than their dad. Does your ex let his wife hit your kid too? Is she nice to him? Good luck with your meeting!


Well-Known Member
His dad told me he spanked him with the belt tonight.

That's not "spanking". That's abuse.

I was not one to spank the kids, but I know people do. I think that used judiciously it's not any worse than losing your temper and yelling. Not that losing your temper and yelling is good.

I would worry that your son will feel like you abandoned him to be abused. My son tells everyone that I beat him half to death, when in fact I never raised a hand to him, only threatened to.

I guess my advice to you wold be to ask dad to allow you to help him find better ways to discipline when the school has concerns. by the way, I feel that the school should deal with their own issues, not put it on parents, but that's another story. Ask if you all can meet to discuss this, and be frank with them about the "spankings". But not behind his back. If he really thinks it's the right thing to do, he shouldn't object to your openly discussing it with all concerned.


Well-Known Member
That's a good idea. One way to tell if the parent knows he's being abusive is if he won't tell anyone about it. Hitting with a belt IS abuse. It's against the law. Yes, it used to be okay to abuse kids--some of us think it's not abuse--but legally you aren't supposed to strike a child's bare :censored2: with a hard object that leaves bruises. This man does not know how to handle an angry child, and I don't care if it's his last resort. There are people out there, like me, who would turn him in if the child said, "My father hit me with a belt." He could end up in serious trouble and in my opinion there isn't one thing it's doing good for the boy. This teaches nothing. If you hit an adult with a belt, you'd be charged with assault.