I grew up in a small, very conservative town in Cumbria, England in the 1980s, and most of the children living there got very regular spankings. In my own house, spankings were almost a daily event, and my parents had three varieties of this kind of discipline.
The first I guess we could label the ‘stand-up’. We’d be grabbed in place and given a couple of hard spanks on our clothed bums. It stung a bit but was mostly just a reminder to behave. As I said, these punishments were near-daily and weren’t intended to change behaviour permanently, just to stop naughtiness in its tracks.
The second type of discipline we called ‘a smacking’. This was the traditional smacked bum experienced by millions of children. We were put over Mum or Dad’s knee for this. The smacks would normally be applied on the seat of our underpants or knickers, though for more serious cases it was sometimes on the bare bottom. We would be given enough spanks to turn our bottoms pink and make us cry.
This was the main type of punishment in my home and I got one probably every week or so. When my siblings and I got to about eight years old, these smackings typically stopped being given with the parent’s hand and instead a wooden spoon was used.
Finally, there was what was always referred as ‘a proper smacking’. This punishment was reserved for more serious crimes, such as when my big sister was caught cheating in her 11-plus [a now mostly defunct secondary school selection exam – Ed].
These spankings were always given on the bare bottom. The child concerned would be bent over the arm of the sofa in the living room with everyone in the family watching, and a wooden hairbrush was applied. I only got one or two of these ‘proper smackings’ each year, thankfully.
I was never a very stoic boy and would weep and wail during a spanking and of course do my best to avoid them.
By contrast my big sister was very stoic indeed and it took a lot of smacks to make her cry. My little brother was somewhere in between but as the youngest he faced far fewer smackings than his two siblings.
Neither the first or second of the above types of spanking would have much impact on our behaviour, but after a ‘proper smacking’ we would all be on our best behaviour for several weeks afterwards.