say the bells of st. johns



Spanking (and other milder forms of punishment) has come up in conversation lately, not to mention a very Slate-ish article in Slate about whether or not it contributes to mental illness – so I’d like to go ahead and ask the wealth of interesting parents out there: do you spank? If not, do you use any kind of physical behavior modification at all?

And what did your parents do?

Be honest, and use an anonymous animal name if that encourages more explanation or conversation…


17 thoughts on “say the bells of st. johns

  1. Dawson

    My folks spanked me twice (as a small child of 3ish, not recently). I don’t remember either time but I’d have swatted my kid too in both situations! Once I was playing with a gas stove knob, and once I was ….it embarrasses me to write it even now… evidently hitting our German Shepherd with a broom. Both eminently spankable offenses.

  2. Salem's Little Sister

    I am not opposed to spanking. That being said, Ben, our 8 year old has never “earned” a spanking. If he ever did something to warrant a spanking or if what we use now as consequences stopped working, I would consider it. Ben is a tried and true rule follower and doesn’t step out of line very much. Taking away privileges works really well at our house.
    I got one spanking when I was three for riding my “Ollie” across the speed bumps in our apartment complex. It traumatized my parents and they agreed to never spank me again. I don’t remember the spanking but I do remember my “Ollie!” I was pretty much a rule follower too and also really good at not getting caught.

  3. CM

    Hubby and I agreed not to hit our kids. They are both under 3, so they haven’t earned any real discipline yet anyway. My parents definitely hit my brother and me, mostly slaps on the arm. It worked as far as discipline, although I hated being sent to my room far worse (no tv, no nothing!!) When I got old enough to say it didn’t hurt, it stopped happening.
    My mother used to tell me that her father would hit her and her sister with a belt across their behind, and it was pretty standard in those days (1950s).

  4. Ehren

    My dad spanked me once when a friend and I were playing closer than we were supposed to be to a very busy road. My mom said that it really tore him up and he never did it again. My mom used to sort of swat at us with a belt in such a mild way that my brother and I would just laugh and laugh.

  5. D

    We do not spank our kids, though they probably wish we did as my husband and I are both lawyers and have a tendency to cross examine and demand allocutions for their missteps. (We both know it is super-annoying but can’t quite stop ourselves). On the bright side, I am quite sure neither will go to law school :).
    As for what our parents did, as a child of a 1st generation Sicilian woman, I recall many threats of being spanked with the wooden spoon she used to stir the sauce but only feeling its impact once or twice in my childhood. My husband’s Southern family threatened the use of a switch but never actually followed through with it.

  6. dct

    I remember a lot of threat of spanking from my childhood, but never any actual spanking. I very intentionally swat on the top of the hand for certain behaviors, like unlocking the car door while driving on the highway, things where you have to respond in the moment for safety reasons. You can’t really use time out when they’re in the car seat.

  7. John

    2 boys 4 and 12 – Time outs for the most part but an occaisional swat on the ass if Ben (4) has done something to endanger himself or others followed by a lengthy time-out. (he used a squirt gun to extingguish a open candle recently). My parents rarely hit us.

  8. Tanya

    I’m not afraid to use my real name. I was very, very rarely spanked as a child, but mostly because I was a rule-follower as well. Now, with 2 VERY different boys, I have conflicting emotions about it. General rule is that spankings are reserved for serious, life-threatening offenses (ie. running into the street, messing with hot stove, pushing kids into the pool, etc)The eldest is a rule-follower, so we rarely had any issues. He’s 9 now and we reason with words and priveleges instead of spankings. The 4 year old is NOT a rule follower and is constantly testing boundaries. That being said, the last time he got a spanking is when we found out that he had climbed out of his window onto the roof during nap time.
    As for spanking leading to mental illness… Please. I’m 100% certain that if either of my children end up with mental illness, it isn’t a result of a swift swat on the behind.

  9. sarah

    I was spanked often, the last time at 13 in the front yard with pants down. My brother and I were spanked, sometimes with fly swatter, wooden spoon, other handy accessories, and occasionally a belt. (We were good kids.) Our younger two siblings didn’t get spanked often, and probably have memories like the rest of you, so maybe my dad learned something. I’ve never asked. I don’t have any children, though I wish I did. I can’t imagine giving them more than a swat on the behind when they’re young, but maybe not even then.

  10. A. Nonny Nonny

    When I was seven or eight I dropped a hoe on the backyard brick patio and became so fascinated by how the brick neatly chipped away that I decided the patio steps would be better off as a ramp (my younger brother was an accomplice) so we chipped them all away until my Mom caught us. Needless to say, my father was deeply upset, and he spanked both of us, which hurt and horrified me, but frankly, must have traumatized him, because he never did it again. I remember he sat us down and told us why he was going to spank us before he did it, which just made it worse. But until I saw this post I never really thought about it. Don’t think it messed me up too bad. My mom would ‘pop’ or ‘swat’ us occasionally and we probably deserved it; I remember a few of those. I DO remember, however, getting popped by my first-grade teacher once for something I did not do. Yes, I remember THAT, and so does my therapist, and if I knew how to track Mrs. Johnson down and tell her what she did was wrong, I would gladly do so. (I also remember waiting in the office of my elementary school and overhearing the principal – an otherwise soft-spoken, tall, patrician man in his 50s – spank a young African-American girl with a switch. Yikes. Yikes. Yikes. That memory just really disturbs me.) And to wrap up before I COMPLETELY hijack this thread (which I’ve already done) I don’t have kids and probably never will so I can’t really comment.

  11. Just Andrew

    I was spanked a few times as a kid – probably never after about age 10 (I don’t really recall).
    My wife and I spent a lot of time discussing all this when we were new parents and decided that spanking wasn’t going to be part of our parenting.
    Our boys are now 12 and 10 and I think mostly we’ve just been very very lucky. They are good kids and while they screw up all the time as all kids should, they’ve never done anything that has made me want to reconsider our decision not to spank or use any kind of physical punishment.

  12. Lucas

    Psychological evidence suggests that spanking is an ineffective tactic for changing challenging behavior in children, but conversely also suggests that spanking doesn’t have major negative effects on children’s emotional or cognitive outcomes.

  13. Titmouse

    My parents spanked with a belt early and often. I would get spanked for not cleaning my room or for lying about something, or for… well, just about anything. Though I think it was usually well-intentioned, it was evident that on occasion the spanking was more a function of my father’s anger than of our need for correction.
    I have never raised a hand to our almost-11 year old and don’t intend to. ever.

  14. jersey

    My Dad would hit us with his belt on the bottom. HARD. (Deserved? Probably.) When my brother and I knew we were about to engage in activities that would potentially result in discipline, we would wear extra pairs of underwear to cushion the blow.
    My mother’s weapon of choice was the wooden spatula. Which my sister affentionately referred to as “The Spanker.” Which led to an all-time family story, wherein my sister (5 years old at the time), yelled out in the aisle at the supermarket, “Mom! We need a new spanker! You broke the old one … remember?” Good times!
    As a parent of three, I have elected to not spank the kids – I think there are more effective ways to discpline. Just my two cents. But I will spank them if they go to Duke.

  15. jersey

    For the record, some of the offenses for which we were punished are as follows:
    1. Lighting the guest room rug on fire. With guests asleep in the room.
    2. Trashing our bedroom by dumping knocking over the bookshelf, and covering the books in a full bottle of baby powder with toilet water on top for good measure.
    3. Repeatedly climbing to the top of the roof of the house, then “surfing” on our bottoms, diving onto the deck to avoid falling 15 feet to the ground.
    4. Crashing our grandmothers’ car into a tree.
    By the way, all these stories happened between the ages of 4 and 8.

  16. mairinpgh

    I was spanked just once as a child, my brother 2-3 times. (No mental illness thus far, but they did leave a definite, negative impression). I did attend a catholic elementary school where the sadistic nuns wielded paddles not too different from those used in the movie “Dazed & Confused” – but I was never on the receiving end of those, fortunately. Pure evil. In turn, I have never spanked my 8 yr old daughter; and my 5 yr old son has been spanked just twice by his father. No implements or paddles used, and the spankings were for serious/”life threatening” offenses where he intentionally ignored repeated parental warnings – running into street, playing with handles on hot stove. However, had I been present at the time of the spankings, I probably would have stopped my husband. I find other forms of punishments far more effective (like the threatened permanent loss of favorite toy).

  17. Unsassesy

    A tooth (plural teeth) is a undersized, calcified, whitish form initiate in the jaws (or mouths) of innumerable vertebrates and worn to break down food. Some animals, particularly carnivores, also exercise teeth for hunting or instead of defensive purposes. The roots of teeth are covered nearby gums. Teeth are not made of bone, but to a certain extent of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness.
    The ordinary make-up of teeth is nearly the same across the vertebrates, although there is considerable variation in their form and position. The teeth of mammals have esoteric roots, and this decoration is also rest in some fish, and in crocodilians. In most teleost fish, regardless how, the teeth are fastened to the outer outside of the bone, while in lizards they are fixed devoted to to the inner side of the jaw alongside the same side. In cartilaginous fish, such as sharks, the teeth are attached by cold ligaments to the hoops of cartilage that construct the jaw.

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