Shh…Don’t Talk About Spanking, Someone Might Hear You…

Do I really want to talk about this? No, I don’t because it scares the crap out of me. That was my first thought. When I mentioned writing about this topic to some of my friends and family members, they didn’t think it was a good idea either. Spanking is a highly controversial subject and I could be opening myself up to a lot of criticism from a lot of sanctimonious people.

Disagreement I can handle but I don’t need or enjoy confrontation, hateful rhetoric, or drama–my kids give me plenty of that at home! However, I’ll never be able to escape judgmental people while writing this blog unless I’m 100% politically correct all the time. I don’t want to be so sensitive in regards to what I can and cannot talk about when it comes to parenting that I end up writing about nothing at all. I don’t think it would be fair, just for the sake of making everyone comfortable, to leave out a particular discipline technique that many parents have used in the past and many still use today.

O.K. (deep breath here), let’s do this.

I was spanked as a child but not very often. The few times I was, I learned my lesson and then the threat of a spanking alone kept me from misbehaving. “You three girls were pretty good,” my mom kindly tells me, “nothing like your children. You girls never talked to me the way your kids talk to you.” Yep, I know mom, so please fix them! She can’t though, no one can. She’s given me loads of advice and we have breakthroughs now and then but my kids’ talent for naughtiness remains a mystery to us all.

Even if we’re all out of ideas, at least my mom is still able to soothe me and temper my feelings of helplessness when the kid shiz hits the fan. She loves her grandchildren dearly but even she prefers to love and spoil them one at a time. Who wouldn’t? My kids are charming little cherubs when you give them some one-on-one attention. Put all three together though–watch out. Freakin’ savages.

Although I was spanked occasionally as a kid, it really wasn’t some phenomenal, life-changing event. It was a big enough deal where it sufficiently sucked so I would not be eager to repeat that same disobedient behavior again. The truth is, I had an extremely happy childhood. My parents sacrificed everything for their three girls and we always knew how much we were loved by them. I have a beautiful relationship with both my mom and dad today.

I know that I was lucky and not everyone had it so great. Good or bad, the sum total of our own childhood experiences likely shaped how we currently feel about spanking. I understand that and I am not advocating for or against it. I can only speak about it as it relates to me and my own perception of it.

A spanking was a spanking and it wasn’t unusual for a kid to get one back in those days.

When I was seven years old, I stole a piece of gum from an already open pack at the grocery store and then lied about it. I never would’ve been caught if my younger sister hadn’t been enthusiastically chomping on her piece of gum while riding next to me in the backseat of the car…thanks, sis! We were spanked when we got home, it stung for a minute and then it was over. I’m pretty sure I never lied again and I know I never stole again for the rest of my childhood.

Looking back with all of the benefits of hindsight, I still can’t pinpoint anything about a minor butt-whup that would’ve had a negative impact on my life. In fact, it was likely quite the opposite. I was taught right from wrong and knew the consequences. I was taught moral values and the “Golden Rule.” I was taught how to love and that I was loved. It was that special mix of good parenting along with living in a world that was a little more carefree than the one we’re living in today. I’d say I was a darn-near-perfect kid, right up until my teenage years.

Talking about spanking today, however, is a completely different story.

You have to be very careful because it is not the norm anymore, it’s the exception. Just talking about it is as nerve-wracking as sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to do that jolly thing you do. You have to tread lightly over this subject, like a ninja.

Those parents out there who do spank occasionally and judiciously don’t talk about it. Good parents trying hard to do the right thing in regard to how they discipline their children don’t want to be lumped into the same category as parents that go too far and abuse their children. That is the elephant in the room ladies and gentlemen, and that is why people shy away from even discussing spanking at all.

With that said, I’d like you to consider the most challenging moments you’ve had raising your younger children. Out of curiosity, have any of your kids climbed onto the kitchen counter and pulled knives out of the butcher block to use as drumsticks (and not because you were a neglectful parent by any means but maybe it happened within that split second you permitted yourself to run to the bathroom to pee quick or maybe–how dare you–you grabbed a load of laundry out of the dryer)?

Better yet, has your child ever grabbed the Kitchenaid blender stick and told his three year old brother to put his finger into the spinning blades (miraculously not chopping anything off but causing several bloody slices and serious pain to the poor baby, not to mention almost giving his horrified mother a heart attack)? What was that, you can’t relate? Hmm…here, this next one might be more common… Have you ever tried putting your hotheaded, sassy daughter in a time-out only she refused to go and relentlessly talked back while you tried desperately to drag her 65 pounds of stubbornness onto the time-out rug? If so, did the idea of a butt-smack ever cross your mind as your final recourse for dealing with this type of behavior?

Because of those strong opinions out there and the cult of meanness that is so pervasive in our current society, especially online, I would actually be terrified to admit that I have ever tried spanking my children. I would never say that a smack on the bottom might have been used if the child refused to go in a time-out or kicked his brother in the nuts because his brother wasn’t sharing the Nintendo Switch. Even if spanking would be a last resort to discipline my kids when all else failed or their naughty behavior was so extreme, I will only concede that I’ve entertained the idea.

In any case, I’m guessing that had I ever attempted to smack my kiddos little tooshies, they would probably laugh at me and say it didn’t even hurt. Meanwhile, I’d be holding my throbbing hand behind my back, wondering how it had totally backfired to such a painful degree. My kids might even be smart enough to pad their backsides with wadded up Kleenex and I would walk away confident I had made my point while all along they were just fake-crying those crocodile tears.

Some of my kids are really quick and I might have to catch them first. This could possibly lead me to chasing them out of the door only to bang my knee into the doorframe. I might actually get some kind of hairline fracture or something like that although I wouldn’t realize it until the swelling went down and I was left with a small bony bump on my knee forever. Thank goodness that sort of thing has never happened to me, right?

Let’s say I got lucky and I was able to catch one of the bigger ones. I would bet that it would most likely turn into a ridiculous wrestling match and by that point, all parental credibility would be tossed out of the window. No doubt it would take close to five minutes to get that toosh-target within my sights and chances are, by that time, my energy would already have been depleted and I duly would have lost that disgraceful battle.

I say this because my middle child, now in first grade, is very small for his age but he is a competitive gymnast with a six-pack and unbelievable strength. He likely got his small stature from his five-foot one-inch mama but his mama is not working out at the gym nine hours a week like he is. So, if he knew the thought of me spanking him had crossed my mind, he’d be sizing me up right then and there. A mischievous smirk might appear ever so briefly across that child’s face because from his perspective, game on.

In theory, I’m sure some spankings would hit the mark, but I don’t think the eventual outcome would outweigh the challenges to get there in the first place. I probably wouldn’t feel very good about either and the social stigma associated with it would likely make me feel guilty as hell. My husband is in the same boat as I am, we’re both floating on a pool of uneasiness with this one.

Now, I know many amazing parents that have had success spanking their littles when appropriate and believe me, they have raised kind, respectful, and well-rounded children. I think if children are raised in a home filled with faith, love and happiness and a smack on the bottom is done to teach them a life lesson rather than done out of anger, I can see it being a useful tool. It needs to be a decision that both parents can agree on and carry out in a safe way. If either parent feels wishy-washy about it, it’s probably not going to be the best choice for that family.

For me and mine, the idea of spanking is just too complicated, both emotionally and physically. I am crossing it off of my list and will continue on in pursuit of sanity without it. One day, I hope to find the knowledge necessary to tame my wildlings.

14 thoughts on “Shh…Don’t Talk About Spanking, Someone Might Hear You…

  1. dolphinwrite May 17, 2019 / 8:48 pm

    One of my favorite shows was Supernanny with Joe Frost. As soon as she walked into any home, the children immediately came to respect. There was something in her experience and demeanor that was instantly recognizable. And through her example, many parents were able to learn the patience and timeliness to bring thoughtful order to their homes. Her use of times outs, talks, and shared experiences (Sometimes, kids helping to cook or otherwise increases self-esteem.) changed many lives. Regarding spanking, I received my share. My parents did a good job running the home, taught me things, and gave warnings. Looking back, I know when I received a spanking, most of the time I knew what I was doing that my parents warned me against. I also know that if they knew half the things I did when they didn’t know, I would have garnered more spankings and probably would have been grounded for weeks. It’s difficult being a parent. If parents take the time to really understand, perhaps less spankings would occur: perhaps they could read Joe Frosts books, watch her videos, and even watch “The Dog Whisperer” which reflects so much of how we can improve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyoftumult May 17, 2019 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts! If only the Supernanny could move into my home permanently, for free, I’d be golden. She did get those kiddos to fall in line and it was beautiful. I think the trick is to keep the consistency going when life throws a wrench into your well-organized parenting plan. That’s what makes parenting so hard for me, never knowing how to anticipate those wrenches and how to deal with my kids in that moment. I love the idea of having the kids help with cooking and I just may pick up one of Joe’s books to learn something new. I’m not sure there were any buns in my oven way back when I watched her shows!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rlpolanski May 21, 2019 / 11:36 pm

    When Harry was 6 years old we were at a hotel and I happened upon him in the bathroom (he was completely naked and wet from his bath) standing on top of the toilet tank poised to jump and swing like a monkey from the shower curtain bar. Guess what I did? Yep, I gave him one solid smack on his naked behind and I will tell you he remembers it to this day. I do not think spanking as a regular disciplinary tactic is a good idea- but a well timed wake up call can work wonders.

    I am really enjoying this Cara. I had no idea you were such a wonderful writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyoftumult May 22, 2019 / 1:38 am

      Thank you Raechel! I do enjoy writing but as you probably know, I’ve always been a fairly private person so to put it all out there feels a bit awkward. I’ll get more used to it as time goes on but it sure is nice to hear about other mommies (like you) that have also gone through similar “moments” with their kids!

      Like

    • dolphinwrite May 22, 2019 / 9:41 pm

      For myself, I had good examples, had everything I needed, and often was explained reasons (not always, but enough). Just about every time I was corrected, I worked for it. If my parents knew the other half of things I did, well…. I would wonder. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. And looking back, I probably needed more correction.

      Like

  3. tonyaranumoab June 30, 2019 / 6:43 pm

    Decided early on we weren’t going to spank our kids. For us, it was the right decision. I was spanked a time or two and it didn’t damage me. I’ve heard it said that when a parent has resorted to spanking, he/she has lost control. I always thought, if spanking doesn’t work, where do I go from there? We leveraged privileges to change behavior and that worked well. Our daughters are now 18 and 13. It’s so true that parenting is vastly different than when I grew up in the 70s and 80s. For what it’s worth, I think you made the right choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LadyofTumult June 30, 2019 / 11:09 pm

      Thank you, I think so too. Although, that isn’t to say I’ve never lost control of my kids by using some other form of punishment. I’ll admit, I lose control of those kiddos quite often. Kids can be tricky little things and once you find a way to get that control back, you have to hang on to it for dear life before they outsmart you again. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, it’s great to hear other parents’ perspectives!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonyaranumoab July 1, 2019 / 2:38 am

        Kids are super smart! Us moms can never let down our guard. I will say this: the teenage years are the real challenge. Wow!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. dolphinwrite July 1, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    If parents work together, are consistent, then 9 times out of 10, they will never have to resort to harshness, because a real family relationship is formed and the kids respect their parents. But none of the people I know were perfect children growing up. Even the ones I respect the most told me tales of real rebellion and thoughtlessness, even when they had really great parents and good surroundings. After I grew up and looked back, thinking myself to be pretty decent in my youth, I recalled things that, had my parents known, would/should have resulted in severe punishments. There are times when a parent must do what is necessary so the children grow up knowing right from wrong and the severity of some actions, or thoughtless actions/inactions. Again, with good parenting and care, 9 times out of 10 this would never be necessary. But there are times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LadyofTumult July 1, 2019 / 11:11 pm

      I agree, parents have to work together AND be consistent. That is definitely the goal here! My husband and I have slightly different parenting styles but we keep working on it so it should all come together by the time my youngest is 18!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dolphinwrite July 10, 2019 / 9:04 pm

    One thing I have noticed all too often is the lack of parental guidance. All too many seek to be their children’s best friends rather than being the parent they greatly need. A good relationship, children and parents spending quality time, is important, but children also need firm authority, those who are very clear about respect and honesty. **One of my favorite readings shared a story about a man who worked all of his life, often for months at a time away, but always working to better his country. When he was home, he spent quality time with the kids. Though his time was minimal, there was love and respect in the home. The kids knew the work he was doing was very important. Both parents were caring, hard working, and respectful. Sometimes, it’s what we do, wherever we are, that speaks louder. All the children grew up happy, respectful, hard working, and family people. **Regarding teachers, one teacher, though he/she sees those kids only during days and for one year can positively impact them for years ahead, even changing lives for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LadyofTumult July 10, 2019 / 9:33 pm

      I agree that being best friends with your kids can cause a ton of problems. Unfortunately for me, I’m trying hard NOT to be their friends everyday and it still doesn’t work. On the one hand, my kids are comfortable enough to come to me with any problem they have, which is a good thing. On the other hand, they can be quite disrespectful. I also try to be a good example with moral teachings, being kind to others, table manners, etc. but it doesn’t always translate. I envy the man in your story!

      Liked by 1 person

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