I came across your article regarding The Rod and found it rather interesting – particularly the question at the end concerning parents who have used it, since we did use something similar on our children through most of the 90s.
From an early age we used the wooden spoon, and it did its job for a good while. However, when our eldest daughter was about eight, we decided that such a solid implement was perhaps not the best choice for spanking due to the risk of overdoing it when applying the more significant force needed for older bottoms.
Instead, for more serious discipline we sought out an implement which wasn’t a repurposed household object. We thought about using a switch, but besides our garden not having a reliable supply of suitable branches, it had (to my mind) many drawbacks as an implement – the time needed to get one ready, the risk of cuts due to irregularities of its surface and a considerable variation in effect, even between two similar-looking branches.
Then I came across a nylon shaft – it was similar in thickness to the one show in the photo in your article, but considerably longer, closer to 3ft. Of course, this was not originally a ‘purpose built’ implement, but I did fit on a makeshift handle for better grip and filed the business end to avoid possible cuts caused by the tip ‘biting in’ on the child’s buttocks. When I had finished, we had an implement very similar to The Rod.
Due to its extra length, our own rod was not suitable for over-the-knee punishments, nor was it particularly suitable for light spankings, as applying it with just about any any force resulted in a very considerable sting – and, needless to say, in a striped behind for quite a while.
What it was well-suited for was setting a misbehaved daughter’s backside on fire without the possible risks associated with some other implements, much as the advertisement for The Rod states.
This implement was originally intended to supplement the spoon in cases where a more serious lesson was deemed necessary, but after seeing just how effective it was at adjusting behaviour, both with actual use and as a mere threat, the spoon was omitted altogether for my eldest girl, and eventually for her younger sister as well.
What we did see happen, as parents, was that the frequency of corporal punishment fell significantly and our children’s overall behaviour improved remarkably, once it was established that disobedience led to a thorough lesson with our ‘rod’, and that no leniency was to be expected during its delivery.
As I mentioned, all this was a good while ago. Today, as you point out in your original article, there are plenty of options to choose from online. I don’t know if I’d have personally ordered discipline implements from the sort of sites you mentioned, but I wouldn’t judge any parent who does.
I hope that you and your readers will find this interesting!