Liberal dose of the hairbrush

My own story is pretty different to most on this site, as my parents were very liberal, particularly by the standards of the 70s and 80s when myself and my siblings grew up. That’s not to say we were strangers to a smacked bottom, though.

When we were very small, Mum and Dad mostly used what’s now called a ‘time-in’ – if we cried and threw a tantrum, they’d sit with us and validate our emotions, waiting for us to calm down before we had a discussion about what had caused it and what needed to change to be better.

We had frequent family meetings, too – we’d discuss rules and household changes, and we had real input in what happened. We had a lot of say in our discipline and punishments, too.

Since we had a lot of influence on the rules and how the household ran, it was pretty rare for one of us to get into trouble. If we did, both parents would sit down with us in the living room (as a neutral space) and we’d talk. Once we agreed we’d done something wrong and deserved punishment, they’d ask what punishment we thought we deserved. 

I don’t think they started with a set list of potential punishments – I think largely we came up with them ourselves over the years. Since we generally knew we really deserved to be in trouble, we tended to be quite hard on ourselves. I remember very guiltily grounding myself for three weeks when I’d stayed out past my ‘coming in time’ three days in a row, after my parents highlighted how worried they’d been and the dangers I’d put myself in.

I know both my parents got smacked bottoms growing up, and most of our friends did too. So I guess it was fairly natural that we’d end up incorporating them into our disciplinary regime. My brother had a high pain tolerance and after one or two spankings, he never asked for them again because they didn’t really bother him much, and he knew the importance of consequences.

I, on the other hand, rather guiltily almost always chose a spanking, because while I hated it while it happened, I loved how my bottom felt afterwards – a budding spanko indeed!

By the time I was 13, though, I hadn’t been smacked in several years. I hadn’t really been in any serious trouble during that time either.

However, one day I made a series of poor choices which led to me stealing make-up from a local. I was caught, my parents were called and they took me home.

I already felt horribly guilty about my crime, and the conversation at home about it was very short. My parents explained why they were upset and why I should feel guilty, and I in turn asked for a spanking. They were both slightly surprised by my decision, as it had been a few years since I had had my backside warmed, but they eventually agreed. My mother sent me up to my bedroom and promised to be up in a moment to give me my punishment.

Now, the spankings our parents gave us weren’t brutal, but they were very long. They’d sit on our beds, we’d lie across their knee and they’d smack either the seat of our jeans/dresses/skirts, the seat of our underwear or our bare bottoms, depending on how much trouble we were in. There was usually discussion as to what we thought we deserved, and most smackings were given over underwear.

Each smack wasn’t very hard, but we’d be over Mum or Dad’s lap for a solid 10-20 minutes. The punishment would leave the child in question with a burning bottom that throbbed and itched for a couple of hours afterwards. This extended time bent over the parental lap definitely gave us enough time to think hard about why we were there, and encouraged us not to do it again.

So now, at the quite mature age of 13, I was waiting in my room for Mum to come up and smack my bottom for stealing. I knew I deserved it on the bare, and I had already pulled my knickers down to my knees before Mum even came in. As she did so, she picked up a hairbrush from my dressing table, then sat down. This was the only one and only time I had an implement used on me, with the exception of the time I was slippered at infants school.

I almost threw myself over Mum’s lap, yanking my skirt up to reveal my bare bottom as I did so. I was horribly embarrassed and ashamed, and to my surprise I heard myself saying: “Mum, I need you to smack me really, really hard.” She replied simply: “Believe me, love, once the hairbrush is done with you, you’ll never steal again!”

With that she began to administer my spanking. The hairbrush stung and burned horribly, and it took me far longer after the spanking to enjoy it than when I had been younger. I cried, and I cried hard. Later, my sister told me that hearing my spanking had convinced her to never ask for one again, because she was scared of the hairbrush.

Looking back, though, I’m very grateful for the strange mixture of new and old fashioned parenting I experienced during my childhood. I’m very confident, assertive, and good at communicating. I’m also good at working out compromises. Neither my siblings nor I have experienced any mental health issues in adulthood, and we’re all very aware of how to regulate ourselves. As a fully-fledged spanko, I have several very stimulating memories, too!

I never smacked or even punished my children – instead, we found solutions together. For example, when my daughter stole some sweets from the school tuck shop, she paid back the school from her pocket money and spent some playtimes volunteering at the shop to learn the work behind it, and learn why stealing was frustrating and upsetting for staff.

They’ve turned out very well too, as have my unsmacked nieces and nephews. I’m grateful for my childhood – but I’m also grateful that things have moved on, too.

Contributor: Hope

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