I’ve been reading Maman for years, and was happily surprised to see your post about troubled teen schools. I didn’t go to one but my family went thru family therapy organised by a similar place – and yes, it included spankings.
My parents spanked me when I was really little, usually just one or two swats on the heiney. My big brothers were real troublesome and six and nine years older than me, so when they started getting in real trouble I was still pretty young.
We went to a weekly course that lasted 18 months – and cost many thousands of dollars – to try and fix them. It didn’t work – sadly, my eldest brother passed away a few years back in a drug incident – but it gave me a lot of spanking stuff to think about.
Most of the ‘therapy’ was nonsense – holding one another super tight for long periods of time while staring into one another’s eyes. We spent three weeks doing this – each session lasting about six hours on a Saturday, mind – being taught to scream in the yard if we needed to get our feelings out. Weird!
The spankings came about three months into the ‘programme’. They recommended it for kids aged three to 13, so just me and my middle brother were eligible – I remember my older brother was thrilled that he got to stay home and actually have a Saturday for once.
These sessions were mostly long lectures on the benefits of spanking, and how it softens a child’s soul. In the second week, though, families were sent home with instructions – to give all eligible kids a good sore bottom to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.
When we got home, we were sent to our rooms. My brother was fighting and yelling, but I went quietly.
My parents spanked me first, presumably because they thought it would be easier. The instructions were to hold me real tight for 10 minutes, forcing eye contact, before baring my butt, bending me over their lap and spanking my backside hard ‘until the child softens and admits defeat’. The non-spanking parent was to stand and observe the punishment being given.
Afterwards, the children were to be sat, still bare- bottomed, on a plain uncushioned chair and made to write a journal entry about the experience, how we felt, and the lesson we had learned from our spanking. I think little kids who couldn’t write yet had to draw a picture instead.
I got spanked like that until I was 13. It always hurt very much but although I was red and sore afterwards the spankings never left me bruised or anything. The spanking didn’t really fix misbehaviour in the long run, but I did always feel better after I’d been done, and the strategy did sometimes help me tell my parents about important stuff – I’d write it down in the journal entry, they’d read it and we’d have a conversation afterwards.
My longest spanking was when I was 10, a few years after we completed this bullshit program. I just decided not to give in. Mom and Pa had to swap places because Mom’s hand got too sore from spanking me. I wriggled and bucked, Mom’s hand pressing into my back as her other smacked my butt again and again, but I didn’t cry and I didn’t relent.
I never spanked my own kids, although my wife and I do like to play spanking with one another. We definitely didn’t engage with any bullshit troubled teen therapy programmes when our eldest had some issues!