"Damnit, come over here now!" You better believe I heard those words as a child. Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t an angelic child 100% of the time. I was pretty good, but I also misbehaved when I was feeling attention starved. During those spats there were several ways I would get punished. My options included a washing of the mouth with a bar of soap, spanking with a wooden spoon, spanking with a belt, or spanking with a human hand.
Not so delicate disclaimer: This topic is open to anyone. I don’t want parents to chime in saying some shit like "you have to have kids to understand". I’m pretty sure all of us were kids at some point in our lives. I’m pretty sure most of us can remember how horrible it was to be punished. Everyone has a say on this topic as far as I’m concerned. [end of disclaimer]
Spanking to me meant I had stepped over a boundary of some point as a child. When I was a kid the term "time out" was only used in sporting events. It wasn’t a form of punishment like it is today. I usually got spanked for unruly behavior. My fingers tremble as I type this post because I can recall how angry I got when spanked. I recall the sound of my mom opening the drawer and rifling through it to locate a wooden spoon. I remember trying my hardest to wiggle away from her grasp to no avail. Most importantly I remember the sting, the burn, the heartache, and the rejection of the punishment. I would yell and yell after each crack to my ass.
It’s for this very reason I believe spanking to be a wrong choice; a wrong choice I will never use on my child. Before someone gets all huffy puffy about this, this post is about my personal choice based on my personal experiences. The anger inside me never went away after being spanked. In fact it usually worsened. I vowed to get even somehow. I didn’t really understand what I did so wrong to warrant getting my ass spanked. In my head, I can still feel the sting from a belt twenty plus years later.
Were my parents wrong to spank me? Had they exhausted all their options? All I can say is that I was an even angrier boy after getting spanked. I’d usually act out at school by challenging some knucklehead to a fight or calling a teacher names behind their back. Maybe I’d act out by hurling rocks at passing motorists while hiding in the bushes. Maybe I’d steal money from my brothers because they weren’t punished like I was.
Hold the CPS phone though. My parents weren’t abusive the way I see it. I think they had their hands full with seven kids spanning 16 years. I’m sure they lost it and resorted to spanking as a way to strike fear in our heads. It did work, but it also forced me to bottle up a lot of hostility. Youngs boys aren’t so great at channeling their anger into thoughtful discussions about feelings. It’s simply not how we operate.
What is the right form of punishment? I’m not exactly sure there’s an answer to this question. I can certainly tell you spanking is not a form of punishment I would wish on anyone. People can go on and on about how children lack discipline these days, but spanking does not equal discipline. It equals an easy way out and doesn’t address the issue at hand.
During the time it took me to type this post, I racked my brain to remember why I got spanked as a child. Sadly I can’t think of one… thus proving a powerful point.