She had learned from her father, an unkind man, who quoted the Bible about sparing the rod and spoiling the child.
The spanking stopped when I learned that I could run faster than she could, and by the time I circled back to the house, she had cooled off.
My dad spanked me only once. It was a Saturday, and as usual he had on dress pants and a white shirt. I did something that annoyed him, and as I saw his anger rising, I ran, my bare feet hitting the unpaved road in front of the house in Cumberland.
He was gaining on me when he decided it was time for a tackling maneuver. He succeeded, but tore holes in the knees of his pants. I can still imagine I hear the thump of his hand on my backside, but he cupped it so the spanking wouldn’t hurt.
We walked back to the house with me trailing behind him, shame faced. At the house he announced, “I got the worst end of it, but I got what I was after.”
As an adult, did I resent my mother’s behavior? My father’s? No.
Did I follow suit and spank my sons. Yes, until one day I realized how cruel, how horrific my actions were. I cried and told them I’d never hit them again, and I didn’t.
A May 2012 report, Periodic Survey #38, from the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that nearly all of those pediatricians surveyed recommend positive reinforcement for good behavior and non-physical actions for negative behavior such as time out or removing privileges.
Further, research in “Pediatrics” reported by Carolyn Krupa in July of 2012 indicates that “Corporal punishment such as spanking, hitting, pushing, and grabbing are associated with the development of mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorder.”
In conclusion, parenting is no easy task, and at times no matter how sincere we are, how committed we are to the well being of our children, things just don’t turn out well.
Spanking kids, however, is a no brainer. When we spank, we teach them that power belongs to those who are bigger and stronger, that talking things out is not an option, and that allowing our emotional selves to override good judgment is acceptable behavior. Are those appropriate lessons?