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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Memory is a Funny Thing

I was reading online the other day
and the question posed was "To Spank or Not to Spank?"

You can imagine that this was a heated discussion,
with most people falling vehemently on one side or the other
and defending their position with gusto.

As most kids of our generation were,
Rob and I were both spanked as kids.
Their was the traditional bare-ass-and-over-the-knee humiliation spanks,
the chase-you-with-a-wooden-spoon spanks,
the this-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you spanks
(oh, please, really? wanna bet?).
Let's not forget the fear-inducing
Wait-til-your-father-comes-home spanks!

That was the norm then, of course,
and I would wager to say that that generation of kids
were somewhat more respectful of authority and their parents
than the current generation of "time out" and "let's discuss it" generation.
It may not have been respect earned as much as respect through fear,
but there you have it.

Anyway, this got me thinking about my own rearing of my children.
I was not a big spanker of my kids for several reasons.
First, I wasn't sure of the logic and power trip of using physical force against someone so much smaller.
Second, Rob was NOT willing to spank his daughter and I sure didn't want to be the only one throwing down the hammer.
Third, I know the kind of temper I have and I was truly fearful that if angry enough I could cross the line from discipline to being abusive.
Fourth, at some point they get too big and then what?

However, I was not above a couple of solid swats for each of them in their young lives.
Kate got spanked a very few times, Chris also a very few.
Trey got spanked a few times as well and unfortunately, more often in anger
than the other two. He was the master of button pushing. Even so, I'd say for him it was eight times or less and for the older two, fewer than five each.

BUT, I was curious to get their take on spanking so I asked Trey in the kitchen the other day
how often he believed he got spanked.
"Oh, ALL THE TIME" he said.
"WHAT?!" I gasped.
Surely he was joking.

I mean, *I* was spanked all the time as a kid
and I had hardly ever spanked him!

"Oh, definitely!" he said with pure confidence, "At least fifteen times!"

"No WAY!" I responded vehemently. "Are you KIDDING? I hardly EVER spanked you!"

We argued this for a bit and agreed that when Chris came in,
we would ask him how often he thought Trey had been spanked.
Since Chris (and Kate) seem to believe Trey always gets off scot-free with murder,
I suspected he would call a number even lower than five.

When Chris sauntered in, I silenced Trey with a swift glance
and started my inquisition.
"So, Chris, I have a question for you..
How often do you think you were spanked as a child?"

Chris blinked and considered the question,
then slowly responded.
"Um, I don't know.. about fifteen times?"

I shrieked in protest as Trey crowed in victory.
"WHAT?!" I yelled. "Are you KIDDING ME?"

Chris looked around confused as Trey continued to dance in victory.

As I looked around me, I realized that I was now living the life my parents live-
that what my children will recollect of their childhoods

When I, as an adult, told my Dad that I remember him spanking us ALL THE TIME,
he was shocked.
"Not at all!" he protested, "It wasn't that way at all!"

Dad, I didn't believe you then, but I sure as heck believe you now!


Nic said...

that is pretty darn funny! lol I should ask my kids that question. All though, if I asked them how many times I grabbed them by the hair and got into their faces and threatened a beating it would be a lot higher than the actual smack that they may have received. I too am from the generation where we got our butts beat. At my house it was with a paddle or the belt. But I have to say I do not remember getting it that often-but do remember my older brother the recipient much more frequently. Deserved. lol But with my kids I could not bring myself to use physical discipline all that often. But the threat was always there and grabbing their hair and getting in their faces pretty much got my point across. Ah, the good old

jen@odbt said...

I've been thinking about spanking a lot lately. I think it's b/c I've been butting heads big time with my 10 y.o. and I've told him how much I used to get spanked/belted. I might have to rethink that...maybe my memory is not as good either. Ha!

Purple's Mom said...

Wow! That is an awesome post! And even more so b/c I have been thinking a LOT about this issue lately. I have used spanking from time to time (and felt justified in doing so--probably b/c I was spanked more than a few times (??) as a child)...but it still made me feel defeated and rotten. Then last week we had a "Discipline Panel" at our MOPS group and, oddly enough, listening to one of the women very earnestly and careful go through her explanation and justification of why she spanked her children was what made me re-examine my approach. LOL I am *sure* that was not her intent--at all! But, seriously...have you ever listened to someone try to "reason it out"?? It is quite bizarre. And I am not judging her for it. (I mean, I shared her viewpoint, right??) I was just struck by it. And then I thought about the fact that, as a 2nd-grade teacher, I had managed to maintain effective classroom management and discipline with 28 kids at a time without so much as laying a finger on ONE kid (well I had BETTER not! haha!)--and they weren't even my OWN!
So at that point I decided it was time to re-examine my approach and put spanking on the back burner. "Surely I can be more creative--and effective!--than this in getting my kids to do what I need them to do" I told myself. So, now I am on this quest to raise my kids free of spankings. Not free of consequences. But free of physical hurt or fear of physical hurt caused by me.
Well...unless they run out into the street when a car is coming! Then all bets are off and my hand will fly on its own! ;-)

Gina said...

I have had this discussion with my children too and they all agree that I am a lot meaner than I think I am! The thing that frightened me was how much they think I "scream" at them. Apparently I do it all the time... which is a revelation to me because I don't raise my voice when I am angry. I decided when I was a teenager that I would never be a screamer like most of the women in my family. If anything I get quieter when I'm upset. So I started really paying attention and found that they have decided I am "screaming" if I say something critical, even if I say it in a very quiet voice.

Melissa said...

I wish i could spank my 17 year-old daughter!