Saturday, January 28, 2006

Spanks for the MIMories

MIM had a recent post on spanking, sparking some comment debate which seemed a bit one-sided to me. Don't people "believe" or "not believe" in spanking? It seems like a question of faith to me, rather than a real issue for discussion or persuasion.

My parents were spankers. My brother got the short end of that stick, so to speak, more so than me; I was probably spanked once or twice in my life.

My father was the one who dished out the spankings. He never spanked in anger, and always cried harder than my brother did when giving a "lickin'." My brother was always warned when his behavior would produce a spanking, and given ample opportunity to stop said behavior. If the behavior continued, the threat was followed by the actual spanking, usually fifteen minutes or so after the decree went out, so my dad would ensure he wasn't angry. My brother would be sent to sit on his "naughty seat" when he was small and on the basement couch when he was older to await his sentence. Today, my brother claims the wait was always worse than the actual spanking.

My parents swear that spanking works. After being spanked, my brother's behavior would improve. But my father used to implore my brother not to make him spank him. He would ask why it took the spanking for my brother to "shape up."

They claim I never really "needed" spanking, which is good, I guess. I think what they mean is that I was never so willfully disobedient as to defy them after they laid down the law.

My parents were taught "spare the rod, spoil the child," so see the failure to spank as a sin. My father hated it, though, and I think his attitude toward it made it an effective discipline tool. If it's possible to spank in the right way, I think they accomplished it.

I won't spank Lumpyhead, but I think their discpline structure is a valid one: state the behavior is unacceptable, warn that punishment will follow if the behavior continues, then consistently follow through with the punishment. Lumpyhead will just be subjected to something other than a thwack on the heinie - maybe we'll get a Cher or a Celine Dion album for this purpose? Or would a spanking actually be more humane?

--

When my parents were visiting last week, we were playing with Patrick (Aunt Bob's three-year-old). He dropped something under the couch, and I was on all fours trying to retrieve it for him. Because I was in the spanking (spankee?) pose, my mother asked Patrick if I needed a lickin'. She encouraged him to give me one.

So he licked my sleeve.

I love that kid.

1 comment:

MIM said...

This is a really good post because it brings up an issue that I think my friend felt: She didn't want to believe that her own mother (a spanker), who had recently died, had done anything wrong. In fact, my spanking friend just recently admitted to me that she was more interested in being right, and her mother being right than really thinking about the issue.

As far as whether or not spanking works, if it worked, then why would your brother continue to be so defiant to point that he KNEW he'd get another spanking? In other words, he only shaped up temporarily. Of course, he might have still been defiant even with some other form of punishment. So, again, why CHOOSE to spank (and I applaud you for choosing not to), if it's NOT any more effective than any other form of discipline?

And, honestly, the thing I'll never understand is why it's illegal to hit your spouse or any other adult, but it's okay - by law - to hit your children.