Spanking, the Mighty Wooden Spoon

Okay before you run off and join the lynch mob that is inevitably forming against me, I ask that you at least read my entire blog and understand I am not telling you what to do. This is just my opinion. There will be both sides, heck many sides on this topic. So pour some coffee and a grain of salt.

Now with that disclaimer out of the way let’s get on to a very touchy subject, spanking. Should we? Do you? Were you?

I’ll be honest, I do, or rather I did. I was too. Nothing serious. No paddles, no belts, just a swat or two with a bare hand.

As a child growing up I was on the receiving end of a few spankings. If I am being honest I could count them on one hand. Each and every one of them is embedded in my mind with a memory of why I got them. I can look back and say that the spankings were earned. I would be lying if I said other wise and I’d be lying if I said that there was trauma attached to any of those memories. They were tools used to teach me a lesson. I learned my lessons. To this date I have yet to color an entire wall with permanent marker again, or run with scissors in an attempt to stab my older sister. Lessons learned.

When it comes to spanking there are professional views on the topic and there are personal views on it. I have read both sides defending why spanking is detrimental and why spanking, if used appropriately, can be a useful tool. Personal sides are much more diverse, ranging from “Violence doesn’t solve”, to “Kids need a butt whooping every now and then”. Who is right? Is there a right?

Obviously I am not speaking about the extreme cases where children are beaten and clear victims of abuse. We are only talking about paddling on the behind. So please don’t go there. If that were the case I would be writing an entirely different blog. And shame on me for feeling that I have to clarify that. The point of this article is to discuss in a courteous manner on a topic that can bring some heat.

Spanking isn’t a four letter word. Why do we treat it like a ritualistic ceremony that must be kept private and never spoken of amongst others?

Seriously! I feel as if one must draw a secret symbol in the dirt on the ground in order for me to feel safe to udder the word “Spanking” in public. Why? Is it a sin? If you are a bible reader you will be familiar with the verse Proverbs 13:24 that says something about sparing a rod and spoiling a child. Isn’t that like a golden ticket to swat our kid’s behinds? Not a bible reader? What about science where swatting and batting are used by mother animals to teach their young something all the time? Doesn’t that mean it is just our nature? Wouldn’t that be called an instinct?

Now hear me out. I am in no way telling anybody that it is okay to break out your wooden paddle from your husband’s frat boy glory days and go to town on a kid who refuses to eat their vegetables. I just want you to hear another mother who has lived through spankings and who has spanked and know that no costly or lengthy therapy was needed. I am a believer that each and every child along with each and every circumstance is a unique case and should be handled that way. Do I think a couple of the spankings I gave my kids might have been done in a moment of passion and frustration? You better believe I do but hind sight is always 20/20 and from each experience I was able to learn from what occurred and become a better parent.

I don’t know if there is a set plan you can follow in disciplining your kid. I would love to tell you there is if that is truly what you believe. I know I have my rules and my guidelines for my children and I am pretty sure they will not be the same as any other family. With that we also have our ways to punish. Most of the time consequences are discussed among the parents and then handed down to the offender along with an explanation. The punishment must always fit the crime. However, as I type these words I must admit we rarely have to do any harsh punishment in our house. Most of the time offenses are met with a loss of privilege and even that is uncommon. The threat of what will happen is usually enough, but on those rare occasions we make sure to hit them where it hurts and in our home loss of electronics seem to make a bigger impact than a swat to their rear ends. My son says he’d take a spanking over the internet being turned off any day.

The fact is as parents we have to teach our children right from wrong and we will be responsible for actually disciplining them in some form. I cannot say whether you should spank or not, just as you cannot tell another mom how she should raise her kids. I know that no matter what your belief on this subject is, you have chosen it because you want what is best for your child. You and I may not see eye to eye on this but I guarantee we both want our kids to do right and to follow our rules. We just want to be the best mom that we can and teach the best way that we know how.

So if you are going to take anything away from this post please don’t let it be that I am a child abuser just continuing a sick cycle. Look at it as an article about a mom who was overcome by her animal instinct and fell back on her deeply rooted religious beliefs to teach her young a point. Or you can take it for what it really was meant to be, an article sharing a small portion of my personal experiences and laying ground for a mature discussion on a hot button topic.

Besides lynch mobs are so last year.


  1. Mine was a childhood where I actually suffered by never getting the spankings I deserved. I’m 69, so I grew up at a time when child spanking was practically commonplace. My mum and my oldest sister were my disciplinarians, but the most they ever did was threaten to spank. I was invariably punished by the withdrawal of their affection.

    I needed order in my young life, and that meant that when I misbehaved (such as stealing, lying, being rude and playing with matches), it only stood to reason that I be reasonably disciplined. When I was caught stealing the change from my sisters’ coat pockets, my oldest sister (our mum was away at Teachers College) asked me if I wanted her to pull down my pants and paddle my bare bottom – the threat of a spanking.

    The problem with threatening me was that I hadn’t yet ever experienced a spanking. So, as much as I might’ve feared the thought of being bared and paddled, it had no staying power at all as a deterrent. And it wasn’t the last time I ever stole something.

    Not surprisingly, I had trouble learning the critical lesson of Actions & Consequences. In fact, I was hardly given any kind of meaningful punishment growing up. When I was 14 and played with matches, setting paper airplanes on fire in the basement of our new house, never mind that a real fire broke out only hours later. The fire department had to be called, and we were out of the house for several months while repairs were made. Even though the fire was ultimately said to have started electrically, evidence of my brazen naughtiness had been found. I don’t know how I could’ve been any more deserving of a well-spanked bottom, but for all of that, I never got so much as a smack over my pants.

    To her credit, my mum did say in her later years that she would spank me if she had it to do over again. I expect she’d seen at least some of the problems that declining to spank me had caused.


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