Unless you’re a complete ogre, you’re going to have decidedly mixed feelings about spanking your child. On the one hand, you’ve made a (hopefully) calm and conscious decision that they are in need of a particular type of discipline, and in your heart of hearts, you believe it necessary to administer it.
On the other hand, you’re going to hurt your child.
Now, I know there is a school of thought among some parents that spankings can be almost purely symbolic in nature – that a mild tap on the hand or bum can register your disapproval of your child’s behaviour and that will be sufficient to turn things around.
I’m sorry, but unless you have a really hyper-sensitive little one, that’s not going to work. At least, not the second, third or fourth time.
Children are very clever, quick to adapt, quick to learn. The scary ritual of a good telling off, followed by a light dusting of their trouser seat, might impress them once. But when they realise that it doesn’t actually hurt, they will come to disregard such ‘discipline’, believe me.
The uncomfortable truth (in more ways than one) is that symbolism and a dash of theatre only get you so far. It’s called corporal punishment for a reason.
Again, only an ogre would want to beat a child until (to invoke an old cliché) they can’t sit down for a month of Sundays. But a spanking should hurt. It should produce a nasty stinging sensation on the child’s bum that they will feel for a few minutes and remember for much longer. It should be horrid enough that they have no appetite for any more for a very long time.
There will be tears. And mum or dad will have to harden their hearts and continue to administer the discipline until they are sure those tears are genuinely remorseful rather than the customary waterworks.
That may sound awful, I know.
But failing to correct a child effectively inevitably leads to a further, avoidable punishment. As my mum used to say about spanking: “If you make a proper job of it, you won’t have to do it that often.”
She was right.
Contributor: Louise. Originally posted in her blog The Spanking Mum. All opinions are solely those of the original author.