Punishment

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
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This area of the boards is expressly for support and help for those who are currently in or have survived abuse or assault. It is also for those seeking information or discussion about abuse or assault. Please make every effort in this space to be supportive and sensitive. Posts in this area may or do describe abuse or assault explicitly.

This area of the boards is also not an area where those who are themselves abusing anyone or who have abused or assaulted someone may post about doing that or seek support. We are not qualified to provide that kind of help, and that also would make a space like this feel profoundly unsafe for those who are being or who have been abused. If you have both been abused and are abusing, we can only discuss harm done to you: we cannot discuss you yourself doing harm to others. If you are someone engaging in abuse who would like help, you can start by seeking out a mental healthcare provider.
emily233
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Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Hey everyone,

so I spoke to Jacob in chat about how to ask my parents to stop punishing me the way they do and he suggested i ask here. My mom's response is "if you act like a child you get punished like a child". And i'm not really sure what else to say to them. Idk how to tell them that i should just be grounded or do extra chores if i break the rules.

Sorry if this is a stupid topic but any ideas?
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Michaela »

Hi emily233 and welcome to the boards-- we're happy you're here!

Jacob filled me in on what has been going on. I am so sorry that your parents have been treating you in ways that are humiliating for you and that they have continued this behavior despite your attempts to talk to them. You deserve respect too no matter your age or if you act out in ways your parents feel they want to punish.

Before we talk about ways to move forward, how have you tried to approach this conversation with them before?
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Michaela wrote: Sun Aug 21, 2022 8:53 am Hi emily233 and welcome to the boards-- we're happy you're here!

Jacob filled me in on what has been going on. I am so sorry that your parents have been treating you in ways that are humiliating for you and that they have continued this behavior despite your attempts to talk to them. You deserve respect too no matter your age or if you act out in ways your parents feel they want to punish.

Before we talk about ways to move forward, how have you tried to approach this conversation with them before?
well I've told them how i feel and that it makes me mad at them and like not exactly ashamed, but kinda. I guess i've only had these conversations when everyone is already in a bad mood or mad at each other, but thats kinda the only time that it really matters or when i want to bring this stuff up. I dont like talking about stuff thats hurtful or embarrassing or is going to make me or them upset when everyone is happy or having a good time you kno?
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, emily.

Often, when we grow up with people who abuse us, we learn to operate within the cycles and patterns of that abuse. We also -- understandably! -- are usually trying everything we can to placate those folks, or not disrupt whatever they want, because we know that doing so can lead to more abuse.

Do you feel like this is a conversation that even has the potential to go well for you, in any circumstance? For instance, have you ever had anything else where you have been able to tell them what they're doing isn't okay that resulted in a change of their behavior?

If not, and especially since it sounds like the only times it feels like you can bring it up is when they are already activated, I wonder if we might not want to explore some other options, like reaching out to an extended family member for help, or a teacher or counselor at school? I know it sucks to even think about telling others about something you feel ashamed about, but I do want to remind you here that these aren't your actions, you know? Any shame here isn't yours, but that of the people doing this to you. <3
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Heather wrote: Mon Aug 22, 2022 12:13 pm Hi there, emily.

Often, when we grow up with people who abuse us, we learn to operate within the cycles and patterns of that abuse. We also -- understandably! -- are usually trying everything we can to placate those folks, or not disrupt whatever they want, because we know that doing so can lead to more abuse.

Do you feel like this is a conversation that even has the potential to go well for you, in any circumstance? For instance, have you ever had anything else where you have been able to tell them what they're doing isn't okay that resulted in a change of their behavior?

If not, and especially since it sounds like the only times it feels like you can bring it up is when they are already activated, I wonder if we might not want to explore some other options, like reaching out to an extended family member for help, or a teacher or counselor at school? I know it sucks to even think about telling others about something you feel ashamed about, but I do want to remind you here that these aren't your actions, you know? Any shame here isn't yours, but that of the people doing this to you. <3
i guess that makes sense about wanting to placate ppl. My bff says i always try to please everyone so maybe thats a bigger problem for me. but i also don't know if they're actually like abusers - they're mostly super nice and loving but i guess abuse is anything that makes u unhappy. idk.

and yea i've had lots of conversations with my parents where i've said what i wanted or needed or wanted them to change and they've changed the rules or their behavior or stuff. But it's been stuff like allowing me to stay out later or getting tutoring or going to a dance. usually they like listen and it works out. but this is like different because they're just like blah blah bla you know the rules and consequences and it was your choice and i guess thats true.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Heather »

Abuse isn't anything that makes you unhappy. Here's a piece on our site that explains what it is in long form: Blinders Off: Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault.

The tl;dr, if you don't have the spoons for the longer piece, is that abuse is when someone uses what power they have over someone else to control them in some way, and is also doing something that intentionally causes some kind of harm, be it physical, emotional or otherwise.

It does sound like you might be able to talk to them about this, but to have a productive conversation, it will need to be at a time when everyone has a cool head, so you're going to have to rock that boat some. Can you ask if they can set a time with you to have a talk about the spanking? We can brainstorm with you about how to have a conversation about it, if you like.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Heather wrote: Mon Aug 22, 2022 2:12 pm Abuse isn't anything that makes you unhappy. Here's a piece on our site that explains what it is in long form: Blinders Off: Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault.

The tl;dr, if you don't have the spoons for the longer piece, is that abuse is when someone uses what power they have over someone else to control them in some way, and is also doing something that intentionally causes some kind of harm, be it physical, emotional or otherwise.

It does sound like you might be able to talk to them about this, but to have a productive conversation, it will need to be at a time when everyone has a cool head, so you're going to have to rock that boat some. Can you ask if they can set a time with you to have a talk about the spanking? We can brainstorm with you about how to have a conversation about it, if you like.
thx heather! i read most of that article. It does mostly make sense. i guess what confuses me is that there's some stuff that seems like it would be called abuse that's legal but maybe that doesn't matter right now.

i guess i can set up a time to talk to them. Maybe on wednesday when my dad is back home from his work trip. Or maybe its better to just talk to my mom idk. Do u think i should tell them what i want to talk about or just say i want to talk about something when dad gets back on wed? I'm worried my mom will be like well what do u want to talk about and i wont know what to say.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Mo »

Maybe if your mom asks what you want to talk about, you could say something like "I'd rather wait until you're both here so we can all have just one conversation together." Do you think she'd accept that without pushing for more information?
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Mo wrote: Mon Aug 22, 2022 3:26 pm Maybe if your mom asks what you want to talk about, you could say something like "I'd rather wait until you're both here so we can all have just one conversation together." Do you think she'd accept that without pushing for more information?
yea i think she'd be fine with that. Maybe i'll ask her tomorrow so its not so far off. then i just gotta figure out how to talk to them later without them getting mad. i mean i don't really think they'll get mad but idk
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi emily233,

I think asking her today so there's not a big gap between the ask and your dad being home is a sound call!

When it comes to having the conversation, one thing it can help to remember is that while things we say can certainly influence other people's reactions, it's ultimately their choice in how they respond to your talking about this. You know your parents better than we do, so one starting place for brainstorming this conversation is: in the past, when you've had similar conversations that have gone well, did you use certain approaches or frame things a certain way that they seemed really receptive to?

I do want to address the comment you made a few replies ago about the article Heather shared. You're right that not everything that matches the definition of abuse is considered illegal. Spanking is a really good example of that, because in spite of us, and many, many, many other organizations, researchers, and people who work with youth explaining all the detriments of it and that it's abuse, it's hard to get it treated as such. That's for a lot of reasons, including the ways in which most cultures view young people's relationships to their parents. That sucks, and I wanted to acknowledge that you were picking up on a genuine issue when getting people to treat abuse by parents as, well, abuse.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Sam W wrote: Tue Aug 23, 2022 6:53 am Hi emily233,

I think asking her today so there's not a big gap between the ask and your dad being home is a sound call!

When it comes to having the conversation, one thing it can help to remember is that while things we say can certainly influence other people's reactions, it's ultimately their choice in how they respond to your talking about this. You know your parents better than we do, so one starting place for brainstorming this conversation is: in the past, when you've had similar conversations that have gone well, did you use certain approaches or frame things a certain way that they seemed really receptive to?

I do want to address the comment you made a few replies ago about the article Heather shared. You're right that not everything that matches the definition of abuse is considered illegal. Spanking is a really good example of that, because in spite of us, and many, many, many other organizations, researchers, and people who work with youth explaining all the detriments of it and that it's abuse, it's hard to get it treated as such. That's for a lot of reasons, including the ways in which most cultures view young people's relationships to their parents. That sucks, and I wanted to acknowledge that you were picking up on a genuine issue when getting people to treat abuse by parents as, well, abuse.
thx Sam. I asked my mom yesterday if we could talk when my dad gets home tonite and she didnt ask about anything she was just like sure is everything alright? and I just said yeah I just want to talk so we're all going to talk later.

i guess in the past I've just sort of convinced them of stuff by saying that im older and like i'd compromise by like if i'm allowed to go a dance i'd be home by like 9pm or they could pick me up. It's always like a compromise but i guess thats life. And maybe ur right that i should tell them that its abuse and that most ppl agree that its abuse even if its not illegal. And in some countries it is illegal and i could possibly get them in trouble.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Heather »

Just to toss in a maybe-middle-ground to start with for this conversation, how about framing this as spanking at your age feeling like something that is not at all age-appropriate for you? After all, usually at this age, parents aren't toileting you anymore, and are allowing you more privacy when it comes to your body. Engaging with your bottom rolls you back to that, and it sounds like they mean to, saying it is "treating you like a child," and it just isn't appropriate to treat the body of a 13-year-old like it is a toddler's body. Doing so absolutely adds an element of humiliation (spanking generally is all about that period, but that's a larger issue and probably won't help you get far with them), and humiliating someone isn't really providing a consequence of your behaviour.

You might also give them some suggestions of ways they could address something like you did that were actually more appropriate and were not about humiliation: like paying them for any damage caused, cleaning up a made mess, or losing privileges of doing leisure things if and when you haven't made the contributions to your home you're responsible for or don't come home at the time you agreed to.

If something like that doesn't work, or they don't seem to get it, that might be a better time to go a little deeper and tell them that spanking is considered abuse by many people, and that's why it isn't even lawful in some states or nations.

What do you think?
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Heather wrote: Wed Aug 24, 2022 2:19 pm Just to toss in a maybe-middle-ground to start with for this conversation, how about framing this as spanking at your age feeling like something that is not at all age-appropriate for you? After all, usually at this age, parents aren't toileting you anymore, and are allowing you more privacy when it comes to your body. Engaging with your bottom rolls you back to that, and it sounds like they mean to, saying it is "treating you like a child," and it just isn't appropriate to treat the body of a 13-year-old like it is a toddler's body. Doing so absolutely adds an element of humiliation (spanking generally is all about that period, but that's a larger issue and probably won't help you get far with them), and humiliating someone isn't really providing a consequence of your behaviour.

You might also give them some suggestions of ways they could address something like you did that were actually more appropriate and were not about humiliation: like paying them for any damage caused, cleaning up a made mess, or losing privileges of doing leisure things if and when you haven't made the contributions to your home you're responsible for or don't come home at the time you agreed to.

If something like that doesn't work, or they don't seem to get it, that might be a better time to go a little deeper and tell them that spanking is considered abuse by many people, and that's why it isn't even lawful in some states or nations.

What do you think?
yea i think that makes a lot of sense. thats a good way of putting it "it rolls you back to that" and yeah i guess that must sort of be their point even though they have said it's not the point in the past and my mom has been like "i don't like this any more than you do" (which is CRAZY). It's like they think its just as bad for them as for me. I mean i guess humiliating someone does sorta work as a consequence because all consequences are humiliating i guess but really not all the same.

I don't really understand their perspective even tho i've asked them about it before and they just say like stupid one liners or they're just like "blah blah you know the rules and consequences emily"

I think i probably need to come up with a list of other consequences but idk because like I was already grounded last weekend. One of my friends gets fines from her parents so i think you're right about that one. i do get extra chores and get grounded from my phone or tv sometimes too so idk.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Elise »

Hi there Emily, I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with this at the moment.

Yes, sometimes people choose consequences that are primarily made to shame/hurt the person doing the thing, however not all need be like this. The type that Heather are describing can be about acknowledging that you did something that needs to be put right and healed, and be connected to the thing that happened.

If you think this kind of line of discussion might work with your parents, as it did with some of their boundaries you discussed like going out and getting tutoring, you could suggest that you’d like to try consequences more connected to making things right and connected to the actual boundary broken/hurt caused, so that you can contribute to making it right and not doing it again. Using their own words can be useful in this kind of situation, so “rules” and then explaining “consequences” connected to them.

For some examples:
Say you broke someone’s kindle in anger (not that you might, but as an example) - this might look like apologising, saving up money to fix it or get them a new one/contribute to that new one, and not being able to access a similar device of your own until that was done or an agreed period of time, and perhaps committing to trying an activity that could help you redirect your anger response for a period of time. As opposed to the current strategy, this helps you fix the harm, and experience having a similar thing to the person who can’t use their device any more because it’s broken.

Does that sound like something your parents might be willing to listen to?
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by emily233 »

Elise wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 3:58 am Hi there Emily, I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with this at the moment.

Yes, sometimes people choose consequences that are primarily made to shame/hurt the person doing the thing, however not all need be like this. The type that Heather are describing can be about acknowledging that you did something that needs to be put right and healed, and be connected to the thing that happened.

If you think this kind of line of discussion might work with your parents, as it did with some of their boundaries you discussed like going out and getting tutoring, you could suggest that you’d like to try consequences more connected to making things right and connected to the actual boundary broken/hurt caused, so that you can contribute to making it right and not doing it again. Using their own words can be useful in this kind of situation, so “rules” and then explaining “consequences” connected to them.

For some examples:
Say you broke someone’s kindle in anger (not that you might, but as an example) - this might look like apologising, saving up money to fix it or get them a new one/contribute to that new one, and not being able to access a similar device of your own until that was done or an agreed period of time, and perhaps committing to trying an activity that could help you redirect your anger response for a period of time. As opposed to the current strategy, this helps you fix the harm, and experience having a similar thing to the person who can’t use their device any more because it’s broken.

Does that sound like something your parents might be willing to listen to?
yea that makes a ton of sense. And for the most part thats what happens in my house, like coming home late means an earlier curfew or bedtime or like some consequences are like grounded from my phone or from my friends or stuff. But idk what to tell them they should have done for a consequence last weekend because I know they'll be like "well u were already grounded when u broke the rules and were disrespectful and we weren't getting through to u and blah blah blah". But like it's not like I enjoy being grounded and I already had said sorry and said i would do extra chores so idk. That's pretty much what they already said.

my friend thinks i should get them to compromise since that kinda worked in the past but I dont want to compromise or even know how. I guess i should just say what i already said again and hope they listen this time and maybe say how i feel. my dad didn't want to talk last night since he got home late but we're going to talk before dinner today. But I'll def say "I'll contribute to making it right". I like that line.
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Re: Punishment

Unread post by Emily N »

Hello fellow emily!

Maybe you’ve already had this conversation with them, but here are my thoughts:

If they feel like they “weren’t getting through to you”, you could describe that spanking does not help you understand why what you did was wrong, but only intensifies your feelings of frustration/alienation/choose your own word.
If you want someone to behave differently, enacting physical punishment and humiliation is actually extremely unhelpful. It’s more effective to treat people with respect than “like a child”. (As an aside, there's actually a concept in psychology about how positive reinforcement/rewards are way more effective for getting someone to change behavior than punishment is.) If you are already grounded for something else, instead of spanking, you could suggest that they explain to you why they are upset and give you time to apologize or have a calm conversation with you after you have both had time to cool off.

I hope your conversation goes well tonight, we are all rooting for you!
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