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I have posted elsewhere that a large part of what I now think of as abuse was the authoritarian parenting I grew up with, and a big part of that was corporal punishments. I grew up with one parent - my mother, through 1970s and into the early 80s, in England. Corporal punishment of the sort I was getting was legal then - I didn't get beaten around the head, or kicked, or burned, rather I bent over for a walloping across my behind. Until the mid 80s this was still allowed in schools, and I don't think the law changed until the Blair government when some restrictions were put in place, but smacking remains legal in England, but not Scotland.
Not only was it legal but it seemed pretty normal. Then you would commonly hear parents threaten their children and smack them in shops or other public places. And for me I was getting pretty much what my mother had received too. When I was little my Grandmother made me bend over her knee for smacking just like my Mum did, And I know she used the slipper on my Mum, Aunt & Uncle, and my Uncle had the occasional belting from my Grandfather. My grandmother threatened to have my grandfather belt me, he never did fortunately. We went on holiday with my aunt and younger cousins, and she was no different - cousins being told to behave or they would bend over her knee.
My Mum didn't use a slipper, she used a Scholl exercise sandal. You can still buy them, horrible things. After a talking to she'd tell me 'you need to be punished' or 'you need to feel my Scholl'. She would put out a kitchen chair and tell me to lower my trousers and underpants and bend over. She hit me with the sandal and I had to keep still for that. It hurt, it left marks. My mother was single mother - all I had was her, and instead of being the caring mother she usually was she'd be doing her best to inflict pain. Being made to expose buttocks, bend over, and keep still is deeply disturbing. It is not surprising it has left scars, that I can't get it out of my head. It damaged the relationship with my mother, it enabled some other abuse because I couldn't be honest with her and that kind of treatment had long lasting negative impact in many ways.
At the time I accepted it, I knew my mother was more strict than others. I wouldn't have told anyone about it - it was embarassing for me, I didn't want them to know anything about it. I knew other kids who had corporal punishments, it wasn't just me. A whack around the ear, a strap across the hands, a slipper on the behind.
The only time we talked about it later it was clear she thought it was necessary, that I needed a 'firm hand'. A 'firm hand' is a term I remember my Grandmother using too - boys need a firm hand. My mother wasn't, isn't stupid, she was a senior nurse working in radiology. She wasn't otherwise abusive and she wanted me to do well at school, be successful.
Now that kind of treatment is illegal, You can't use a sandal, slipper, plimsoll, strap, belt, cane, wooden spoon to hit a child Its not accepted in the way it was - thank goodness. You can still smack - not sure what the limit on that is. Not sure why we can't move on from hitting children altogether. It won't stop the 'did me no harm' comments. It leaves the door open if a light smack is acceptable what about a harder one? What is abuse and what isn't?
I'm sure there are 000s like me and others on here for whom the physical scars of a 'punishment' healed long ago but the psychological ones are still there.
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I'm sorry you went through that. I looked up what a Scholl exercise shoe was, I can only imagine how painful that was. It is beyond me why we cannot make all abuse illegal. I think the laws are probably different everywhere, but that doesn't change the fact that what constitutes as abuse is probably the same for everyone even if it is more common or normalized in some places. If there is intent to use force, cause harm, or pain, then it is abusive. And you are right. It can definitely leave psychological scars long after the physical body has healed.
So many of us that grow up in abusive and traumatic environments are taught to be still in the middle of danger and freeze. And so often when others thought we needed a "firm hand" what we really needed was compassionate presence and understanding.
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Thanks so very much for starting your own new thread. It really helps keep our forum tidy and directed to the original poster. As for the subject I understand. It is sad how similar our families were in some ways. The language used in our home was 'strict'. Anyway you look at it violence towards a child teaches violence. That is not what we need in our young people. Lets all do better together.
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And yes, you would think with all we know now, that the answer would be simple, it should not be legal to hit children, anyway, anywhere. Yet, whilst we have moved forward in the last 40 years in our attitudes to corporal punishment, this is not the case. At least it isn't 'normal' to hit children with belts, canes, slippers, sandals now. There are those that say that it did them no harm. Perhaps saying that makes them feel more resilient, stronger. There is so much research that says otherwise.
I remember at college, mid 80s, a conversation with a group of us, some saying they hadn't even been smacked, but others talking about belts, gym shoes, and one girl saying how her father was a bully who had beaten her with a belt. I volunteered little - it's never been an easy face to face topic.
The danger freeze, keep still. that when something traumatic happens you don't fight back is something that I had not thought about until recently. I stood still whilst I was molested, I stood still while I was punished.
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