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My parents used to hit me as a child, but did that mean they were bad parents?

Updated on October 9, 2011

My parents (especially my father) would sometimes hit me as a child. It is never a good feeling is it? I would feel awful and its not just the physical pain of it - emotionally too, you feel so down and depressed. My father would sometimes use his belt. The provocation for him usually was the fight between me and my brother (we never got along). We would create quite the ruckus and he'd sometimes just lose it and let loose. However, I could see that my father never enjoyed or preferred beating us. He'd usually regret it and quite often make up for it by bringing us some goodies. My cousins were worse off than I was - they'd get beaten quite frequently by their father. Their father believed beating was the best way to discipline kids. My father, on the other hand, didn't believe in beating, yet couldn't control himself the odd time that we got rowdy.

I personally never viewed my parents as being bad parents because of the beating. But, I always felt the beating could've been done without. There were many times when I was hit for no fault of mine so the sense of injustice would linger afterwards. If my brother was the instigator and I was the victim and my father didn't see the incident, he'd hit us both. Perhaps, he thought that he was being fair by dishing out punishment to both. But, obviously, the innocent party would feel done in by. I respect my father enormously and he's been a great guy, but this is one part that I wouldn't replicate with my own child. I wouldn't smack my kids for sure. I would let them know their boundaries but in a nonviolent way.

This is a tough subject and there are differing views. Some parents think smacking is fine and feel they shouldn't be judged upon or viewed as criminals by others who don't quite agree with their methods. Others view smacking as lazy parenting and choosing it as the easy way out rather than sit and talk with the child and let them understand by persuasion. I personally think as long as the hitting doesn't cross the limits and can be categorized as physical abuse, it should be left to the parents to choose the way they want to discipline their kids.

My father wasn't a bad parent. He provided for us and loved us very much. Today, I respect him a lot and love him for all the things that he did for us. I do remember those episodes when he occasionally beat us, but since it was rare, I personally didn't get affected by it much. I don't hold any grudges against him but I do wish that he could've held back and not given in to hitting. I don't think hitting makes any difference anyway. I don't think it makes kids better disciplined for instance. If it is overdone, I think it could end up with the kid having a grudge against you. They might perhaps respect you less as a parent, if the hitting was really bad and affected them at a much deeper level.

Copyright © Shil1978® 2011 - All Rights Reserved


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    • Dancilla profile image

      Priscilla 5 years ago from El Paso

      It is true what you say in the hub. My parents used to spank me but when I was a bad little girl which wasn't much of the time. Most of the time they would pinch me, and I would kind of make it known which would of made my parents just talk to me after awhile. But overall, I turned out to be a good girl because of the discipline that they gave me. Great hub.

    • profile image

      kjo1 6 years ago

      I am currently an adult trying to figure out if the relatively infrequent times my Dad hit or choked me(once) constitutes abuse.He also burned me once with a just-blown-out match, as a "joke" the rest of my family tells me I'm making too much of things and that he wasn't proud of losing control, but he was never an abuser. I am confused,then and now.

    • profile image

      Aaron 6 years ago

      I think hitting should be allowed unless they over do it because some kids never learn through words like me

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To Shil1978: Many parents are not adults, but childish. The adult parent is calm, reasonable, and would never stoop to physical punishment if he/she is angry. Your father simply was immature and needed to grow up. Many parents exist in the child state where everything must go their way and they become easily incensed if they do not get their own way or if things goes awry. The adult parent can handle life's stresses and does not expect everything to go his/her way. I am totally against physical punishment because it is abusive.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you, SpaceAge, for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image

      SpaceAge 7 years ago

      I was working on commenting when the system auto submitted the page, & took it away from me. It was long, & I'm not retyping it.

      I was trying 2 say that this should b overcome. I learned 2 let go w/ God's help.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Hitting vs spanking? Hmm... okay. :-)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Kim, I feel the same way as you! I don't think of my specific situation as abuse as well, though others disagree! However, no one knows my father more than I do and I stick to the fact that what he did was not abuse.

      Most people think spanking is more acceptable than hitting!! Some people differentiate between the two and quite rightly so. Hitting is a step further than spanking, which is generally viewed as a relatively milder thing.

      Thanks for stopping by and visiting Kim - always wonderful to hear your views :)

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      I was spanked as a child and yes it was horrible but I did learn a lesson. I knew it wasn't abuse. And my mother always explained to me her reasoning. I told her that I would most likely spank my children too if it was called for. There are alternative methods of discipline but sometimes there is a time for spanking.

      Great Hub. I just had to read it when I saw the title.

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      helpthee 7 years ago

      A parent is never justified in hitting their children. Never.

      A parent can appear good in many respects, but in reality, if s/he can't control his/her temper, then how can they be an example for their child? How will it help the child mature? I agree with Windtraveller, it doesen't take much to hold the anger in and constructively teach the child what is/isn't acceptable without resorting to violence.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      WT, it is difficult to blame one's father, especially if you know him to have been a good father in every respect, except for losing his temper every once in a while.

    • Windtraveller profile image

      Ivonne Meeuwsen 8 years ago from The Netherlands

      I don't believe people are good or bad, most of us do fair to middling.

      However I don't buy your excuses for your fathers loss of temper: however much you may feel he was justified, I don't think there's ever an excuse for an adult to lash out to a child in anger. How much would it take for you to take the belt to your children?

      I guess what I'm saying is that I believe what he did was wrong and abusive, and this doesn't make him a bad person, just human like the rest of us.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thanks babarushe. I feel similarly. I don't hold any grudges against my parents either and I think they did it for my good. But, I would take a different approach towards parenting. I don't think hitting should be the way to go!!!

    • babarushe profile image

      babarushe 8 years ago

      My Dad is a Mel while my Mom is a choleric by temperaments.

      My Dad was calm and will always lash you after a thorough explanation of your crime.

      But my mom was a bit "harsh" in her approach to child discipline.

      We didn't understand it then especially mu siblings but now we do.

      Yet, I consider them the best parents ever.

      Shil1978, this is a good thought.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      You are right eovery, there is a point beyond which it becomes physical abuse and outside intervention becomes necessary. However, in my case, it wasn't anything close to serious, except for those rare instances. I just guess parents of the older generation thought differently. I know my cousins got a far rougher deal. However, I find that parents in today's times are far more sensitive to issues like these, which is heartening. Appreciate your insight and perspective eovery - thanks :)

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Shil, I am sorry you had a ruff time as a child.

      Shill, you may get a lot of difference in the feedback here. So I will start and first and make it as painless as possible

      At important to please make sure this trend does not continue in your generation. I am not againsts a few light spankings, but to losing control and hitting needs to be stopped. This is abuse and Social Services can step in and take the children away. I want to not only stop people from abuse, but also the sorrow of possibly losing their children.

      My wife and I has learned that grounding works a lot more efficient with our children.

      Keep on Hubbing