Becoming a spanking dad

Twenty-five years ago, I made a decision that shocked my parents, relatives and friends. It was a decision that has had long-reaching – and, in my view, mostly positive – consequences for myself and my family. I made the choice to be a spanking dad. 

I was never spanked as a boy – I grew up in the 1970s and my parents were products of the ‘Dr Spock’ generation. If I misbehaved, my parents would usually try talking or reasoning with me first. If that failed and the misbehaviour continued, I might be sent to the corner, put to bed early, grounded, or made to do extra chores.

But spanking simply never happened in my family. I knew other kids who were spanked, and even witnessed some of their spankings – but I never felt the smack of a hand or implement on my own bottom. And I always took for granted that if I had children of my own, I would never spank them. I would handle discipline in the way my own parents had.

My wife Amina became pregnant with our daughter in 1993. Not long after we learned that our child was on the way, it became clear that Amina and I were not on the same page when it came to the matter of how to discipline her. Her family came from a country in central Asia where physical punishment was common. She told me that she was spanked growing up, that she believed in it, and that she had every intention of being a spanking mom to our child.

Furthermore, she told me quite matter-of-factly that she expected me, as a father, to do my share of the spanking. “It’s not fair that I should always be the ‘bad guy’,” she said. “You need to be the bad guy sometimes too, and that includes spanking her when she needs it.”

Rather than argue about the issue with my wife, I decided to bide my time and try to show her better ways of parenting. When our child was old enough that she needed to be disciplined, I would use time-outs, redirection, taking away toys – and of course communication and reasoning – to teach better behaviour and believed that in time, my wife would see that this was the better approach.

Our daughter Sofia was a bright, happy, energetic and lovable child who instantly became the light of our lives. But Sofia was also very stubborn and strong-willed, and could switch from angel to devil in an instant when she did not get her own way. Her temper tantrums were legendary, and most of the burden of dealing with these tantrums fell on my wife, who was a stay-at-home mother until Sofia was five.

Amina’s prediction that she would have to be the bad guy had mostly come true. Mom was the one who had to be stern with Sofia – which included giving her the occasional slap on the behind – while I got to be the cool, fun dad. 

When Amina did go back to work, her schedule required her to work late two nights a week. On those nights, she would get home two hours after Sofia’s bedtime – meaning that I would need to be in charge of putting our daughter to bed by myself.

Here is a rundown of how that first night went. Sofia was playing with her dolls when I told her to brush her teeth. She kept playing with her dolls. Sofia was colouring. I told her to put her pyjamas on. She kept colouring. Sofia was dancing and singing to herself. I told her to go to bed. She kept dancing and singing. I picked her up and put her in bed. Ten minutes later, she was out of bed and playing again. It was only when Sofia heard her mother walk through the door – and knew that the ‘stern parent’ was home – that she would go to bed and stay there.

I tried the usual strategies to fix this – reasoning with her, offering rewards for being in bed on time, threatening to take away toys or privileges for not going to bed. But for two weeks we repeated the same routine each night that her mom worked late.

The third week, after Sofia had got out of bed for the fourth time after me physically putting her there, something inside me reached a breaking point. I walked into her room and saw her playing when she knew she should be in bed.

Sofia looked up at me, laughed and kept on playing. I walked over to her, pulled down the seat of her pyjama pants and gave her three sharp spanks with my hand on her bare bottom. She gave me a startled look, amazed that daddy had actually smacked her. I calmly told her: “Sofia, go to bed right now and stay there, or I will spank you again!” She ran to her bed and did not move or make a peep all night.

When I told my wife about this later that night, she seemed quite pleased that for once I had chosen to be the bad guy. But I did not immediately embrace the idea of being a spanking dad. I continued to give Sofia an occasional swat or two if nothing else was working but assumed that this was a temporary fix that would no longer be necessary once she was a little older. I never imagined my use of spanking to go beyond a few warning swats. However, when Sofia was six, something happened that altered my point of view further.

I got a call from Sofia’s school, informing me that my daughter had stolen an expensive bracelet from another girl. When the principal had asked her why she took the bracelet, Sofia basically said that she did not like the girl that it belonged to, and thought that she deserved it more.

Amina was still at work when Sofia got home from school, meaning that it fell to me to decide how to deal with her. Normally, I am the type of person who thinks things through before deciding on a course of action. But the moment I hung up the phone after speaking with the principal, I felt in my gut that I knew what I had to do.

As soon as my daughter walked through the door, I sat her down for a talk about stealing, following rules and respecting other people. Then I told her how I was going to punish her.

“Sofia, do you know what an over-the-knee spanking is?”, I asked. She gave me a disbelieving look. Without waiting for any further response, I explained exactly what I intended to do. “I am going to pull down your pants and your underwear, lie you down across my lap on your tummy, and smack your bottom with my hand very hard until it’s bright red.”

Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open – but I felt 100% confident that I was doing the right thing, and with no hesitation I did exactly what I promised. I gave my naughty child a very sound bare bottom spanking over my knee, and did not stop until her little bum was as red as a strawberry.

After being sent to her room for some quiet reflection time, Sofia came to me and hugged me. She broke down in tears and apologised for stealing the bracelet, and promised to be kind to the girl from whom she had stolen it from then on. It was from that day that I began to consider myself a spanking dad. 

My change of heart about spanking did not become known to anyone other than my wife and daughter, however, until several months later. Amina and I had brought Sofia to a Fourth of July barbecue at my parents’ house. Many relatives and family friends were also in attendance.

We had great fun for most of the day but there was one unpleasant incident that remains a matter of contention between me and my circle of loved ones to this day. My mother was sitting with Sofia and trying to get her to finish her meal. Sofia was demanding that she be allowed to have dessert. My Mom repeatedly told her that she needed to finish lunch before she could have any dessert.

Sofia became more and more defiant, and finally unleashed her anger by scooping up a handful of baked beans and throwing them at her grandmother’s head. I immediately walked over and shouted: “Sofia, come with me right now!” My mom said: “No, no, it’s okay, Mike – let me just get something to clean this up with and I’ll keep trying to feed her.”

“No Mom,” I replied, “Sofia is coming upstairs with me right now.” My mom asked: “You’re taking her for a time out?” I replied – loud enough for everyone in the general vicinity to hear: “No – I’m taking her for a spanking!”

My mother looked shocked and watched in disbelief as I led Sofia away. I think most of the guests assumed that I was joking or making an empty threat – until Sofia returned a few minutes later, with tear stains on her cheeks and rubbing her bottom. My mother asked if I had actually spanked her granddaughter, to which I replied: “Yes – Amina and I believe in spanking ,and we plan to keep using it.”

I continued to spank my daughter for serious misbehaviour all through her childhood. Sofia is now a happy young woman with a successful career and bright future. On my last birthday, she sent me a card in which she wrote: “I love you, Dad. I am thankful for everything you gave me – your love, your support, your encouragement, your advice. I’m even thankful for your spankings!”

Contributor: Mike

All Maman stories are copyright, unauthorised reproduction may lead to legal action.