My husband and I both come from a military background, where we learned the importance of discipline, responsibility and obedience – so it was probably inevitable that we would be strict parents.
This was in an era when corporal punishment was still permitted in English schools and was also used in many homes, including ours. We raised three girls – Katherine, Lizzy and Andrea.
When each of our daughters started school, we made two things very clear to them. Firstly, if they were punished in school they must tell us so that we could apply a follow-up spanking at home. Secondly, if they did not tell us and we subsequently found out, they would be in much greater trouble.
The first time we received a report of a school spanking was when Katherine was eight. She was a little bit quiet when she got home and as I gently tried to find out what was wrong, she just blurted out that she had been smacked. Now she was going to get another smacking and it was all very unfair.
Once she had calmed down a bit, I was able to establish that she had been chattering to her friend in class. They had been told to stop but persisted and as a result the teacher had given both of them the ruler – two smacks on each hand. The ruler was in regular use by classroom teachers, and more serious offences involved a trip to the deputy headmistress for a dose of the strap.
All in all, this was obviously a fairly minor act of disobedience. Nonetheless, I scolded Katherine about the importance of following the rules at all times, paying attention in class and obeying her teachers. I then sent her to her room, telling her that she would be dealt with later.
At this point, I must emphasise that we by no means had a ‘wait ’til your father gets home’ approach to discipline. I spanked the girls just as much as hubby – in fact, I probably gave out more sore bottoms than him. However, at the time Lizzy was five and Andrea only two, so I literally had my hands full on this day and would not have been able to devote the necessary time to discipline and spank Katherine properly. Also, on this occasion, I felt it would be better if both mum and dad were involved.
When hubby arrived home at about six, we decided we would leave it until after Lizzy and Andrea were in bed. Hubby also agreed that even though it was a minor offence, it required a sound punishment to make clear how seriously we treated disobedience at school.
Katherine was allowed to come down for dinner, but she ate quickly and quietly as me and her father made clear to her she was in for an unpleasant evening. Once the younger two were asleep, we told Katherine to change into her pyjamas and come back down to the living room.
All corporal punishment in our house began with a bare bottom hand spanking. By now, there was no need for any more scolding so I quickly whisked Katherine’s pyjama bottoms and knickers down to her ankles. She stepped out of them, as she had been taught to do on these occasions, leaving her completely bare below the waist.
I pulled my daughter over my lap as I sat on the sofa and after getting her position just right, I began to administer a firm spanking. I didn’t take long until Katherine was crying and kicking, but I spanked on relentlessly for a good two minutes.
Once my daughter’s bottom was a uniform dusky pink, I paused and looked over to hubby who was sitting in the chair opposite. He nodded. Any hope Katherine might have had that her spanking was over was dispelled when I told her get up and go over to her father. That provoked more tears and protest, but nonetheless she did as she was told.
Hubby did not go any easier than me on his little girl, spanking her bottom from pink to a deep shade of red. This was at the stricter end of a standard spanking for Katherine, but of course we had agreed that this was to be more than a standard punishment.
As hubby was bringing his hand spanking to a close, I got up and retrieved two items from the sideboard – a 30cm wooden ruler and a lightweight old belt which we called ‘the family strap’. I first handed the ruler to hubby and he let it rest on Katherine’s by now very red buttocks so she knew what was coming next. Predictably, there were more tears and protests.
Mindful of the fact that there was still the strap to come, her father didn’t use the ruler on Katherine’s backside but instead gave her two rapid fire smacks on the top of each thigh. He did not use the same force as his handspanking but he still left two distinct rectangular marks on each thigh, which provoked more howling from our errant daughter.
Finally, hubby eased Katherine off his lap and she began her ‘spanky dance’ – a post-spanking hopping about and rubbing of her bottom, accompanied by cathartic crying. Normally, this would have signalled the end of a child’s punishment, but on this occasion I had to burst Katherine’s bubble. I reminded her that she had when she was a very naughty girl, it had to be the strap, and this was one of those occasions.
We had introduced the strap about a year previously and had used it only a handful of times. However, we had quickly worked out our technique for administering it. The non-spanking parent – in this case hubby – would sit on the sofa and bend the child in question over the arm of the sofa, using one hand to hold her wrists out of the way and the other to press down on her back, keeping her in position for the beating.
As I already mentioned, this particular belt was quite light and so suitable as an ‘introductory’ strap – it would be ‘upgraded’ in later years when we decided the children’s bottoms needed something heavier.
We had decided in advance that Katherine would receive the maximum for her age at that time, which was eight strokes. Although she had already been quite thoroughly spanked, I was determined to make this occasion a real deterrent for the future, so I drew the strap well back and swung it down on her bare bottom with some force.
Each of the eight strokes provoked fresh howls from our daughter and hubby had to keep a firm grip to keep her in place. At the conclusion of that she was let up, when the ‘spanky dance’ was repeated.
Once Katherine had settled down, we both reminded her in softer tones about the importance of school and told her how we hoped the punishment would not have to be repeated. I then led her upstairs and tucked her into bed.
You may be wondering if Katherine could have gambled and not told us about her smacking. Well, that would have been a mistake for her.
All spankings in school were recorded in classroom punishment books, which the deputy headmistress would examine at the end of each week. We had asked her to inform us if Katherine’s name ever appeared and she duly phoned us on the Friday night to confirm the rulering.
The girls were not aware of this arrangement – until some years later, when Lizzy made the mistake of not telling us about a school spanking. But that’s a story for another day.