The Journey Starts Here

Welcome to my odd sense of humor. Not always for the faint of heart.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The new age of spanking

Perhaps this post will upset some people.  Maybe not.  I debated posting it because I truly have a hard time with how people react over things today.

When I was growing up, I was a kinda small.  Not like today, where I am overweight.  Being born two months early left me sickly and small until I hit puberty.  My first day of school, I was to small to climb the steps of the bus.  When I hit puberty, I outgrew more than three sizes in one summer.  Regardless of the fact that I was a small child, one of the things I lived in fear of was getting a spanking.

I was to very different, despite being small, than most boys.  I did things I wasn’t supposed to do.  Some of those things were pretty stupid and I could have gotten hurt, or hurt someone else.  When I got caught, depending on what I had done, I would get spanked.  Nothing put the fear of God into me more than my mother saying, “wait until your father got home”.  With those words, I knew I was in deep doo.

At the time, I hated that.  But now that I’m grown, and adult (on some days), with a child of my own, I realize that those spanking taught me A LOT.  Like, depending on what I did, there could be some very real HARD consequences to my actions.

Recently, a woman in Texas was charged with a felony of charge… for spanking her two year old.  I have no idea what the child did, but the woman spanking her hard enough to leave “red marks” and her grandmother took the child to the hospital to be checked out.  The grandmother then turned in the mother (her daughter-in-law) to the police.

I’m not here to judge this woman’s actions.  Could it have been overblown? Sure.  Could the woman have beaten her child to hard? Sure.

But what the judge had to say shocked me deeply.  His words were, and I quote:

You don’t spank children today. In the old days, maybe we got spanked but that was a different world. You don’t spank children — you understand?” the judge told the defendant.

Really?  WOW!

I am a believer in discipline for children.  How else will they really learn right from wrong?  How else will they learn that there are consequences to their actions?  Simply saying “No, no Johnny, that is something you don’t do” is not enough.

So after thinking about his for awhile, I think I can understand what a kids future will be like with no TRUE discipline.

“Little Mike, having only ever been grounded or told “No, No” during his formative years, enters High School.  He is told to do something by his teacher that he doesn’t want to do.  So the throws a tantrum, much like he did when he was two, because after all, that most often led to him getting his way.  But this is a different world, not the world of his overly doting parents so the teacher tells him to go to the principals office.  Of course, this makes him even more angry, so he hits the teacher and is arrested.

Of course, he does a little time in Juvie and gets out, and goes home.

Mike’s parents urge him to do something with his life now, he is an adult.  He refuses because he would rather play video games and drink and do drugs.  It’s not like his parents are going to do anything right?  Sure, they might ground him, but that’s all good, because he has a TV in his room and his game systems.  If they try to take that away, he will throw a tantrum.  And get his way.

Finally, one day, Mike gets a job.  Finally.  Everyone is happy.  Mike is happy, because now his stupid parents are yelling at him and threatening to kick him out, and his parents are happy that he is finally doing something with his life.

Mike moves out.

One day at work, Mike’s boss yells at him for screwing up something that will now cost the company money.  Instead of apologizing and learning from his mistake, he throws a tantrum.   He is promptly fired.

Now Mike can’t pay his bills.  He loses his place and his parents won’t take him back because honestly?  He is a pain in the butt to deal with.  So he ends up on the street, homeless, hooked on drugs and alcohol.

He gets high or drunk and kills someone in a fight.

Now he is in jail, on the tax payer’s dime.

When in court, the judge asks him “why did you kill this man Mike?”

His answer, because he has no clue, having never been taught that there can be HARD consequences to his actions, answers  “because I wanted to”.

So the judge gives him the maximum jail time.  Life in prison.

The judge can’t understand how this could happen, the parents can’t understand, and society can’t understand.

I understand.  Spank your kids when they need it, ok?  Teach the little beauties that if you do something wrong, there could be serious consequences to their actions.  Don’t teach them that a tantrum will get them their way, and hey, don’t let this go to prison on the tax payer’s dime.



  1. My mother always had peculiar ideas about things, one of them being that you weren't supposed to use your hand to spank, you were supposed to use a "switch" as she called it. She would send us out to get a long, thin branch to bring back to the house. Woof, that was a long walk home. We'd try to find the flimsiest "switch" possible, but it didn't matter. Some of them were deceptively strong, and the thinner one's have a sharp sting to them. Some times she used a wooden spoon, until I hid that in the back of the oven. For three months, no one could figure out why the house smelled like burning wood every time someone turned the oven on.

    Despite all that, I agree with what you're saying. Corporal punishment shouldn't be lumped in with abuse. Spanking is a corrective measure, meant to be used with a sober frame of mind. Abuse is inflicted out of sheer uncontrolled anger and malice. Abuse isn't about punishment; it's about someone losing their temper. When I was a kid, people understood that there was a fine line between the two. You don't hit your kids, but you do spank if necessary.

    However, I do think it's something that should be used sparingly, and as a last resort. It's a serious thing, and you have to be sure your anger isn't factoring in. But I think the possibility needs to be there, because at some limit there has to be the idea of physical force behind the other forms of punishment. If you ground an even half-way intelligent kid to their room, sooner or later they're going figure out that they can just walk out of the room if they want, unless you're willing to back up the grounding with force if the kid pushes things to that point. If you feel confident that your kid won't figure that out, well congratulations, you got a pretty dumb kid.

  2. I think you make some great points as does Bryan in his comment. As a little girl, I lived with my grandma and she too went with the switch approach. I rarely got spanked but the real punishment was in the getting the switch. My own kids got an occassional swat with my hand. (both turned out to be fine adults) Now, I will never be the one to swat my grandkids as I will leave that up to their parents. It does seem that any form of spanking by today's standards is considered taboo. If I were a parent and felt the need to apply a swat or two, I would be careful where I was.

    In the case of the mother leaving marks enough that a child was taken to a hospital, that is going to far. The judge saying never to spank is also too far on the other side of the spectrum.

  3. @Cheryl: I absolutely agree that it's wrong to spank a child to the point that it's necessary to take them to the hospital, but we have to remember that this was due to a judgment call by the grandmother. It's possible that she grossly over-reacted and just didn't like the fact that the kid was spanked, period. It's also possible that she was justified too, and the kid did have serious injuries, but given the fact that the judge was against spanking completely, which means he probably would have ruled the same either way, it's hard to tell.

  4. You guys are great. For me, it wasn't a switch. It was either the hand or belt. I can never remember getting hit so hard that anyone as ever concerned. The worst part was knowing I was going to get it when Dad got home.

    I agree that if the mother actually hit the child hard enough to really REQUIRE a hospital visit, she deserved what she got. However, I'm very concerned with what the Judge said. I think he was out of line and it bothers me that he would say what he said.