I am a 29-year-old single mom raising my nine-year-old daughter. I will not state where I am from, but will say that I am fortunate enough to be living in a country where using corporal punishment for child discipline is not against the law. However, I also confess that the use of parental CP has declined in my country, just as it has around the world.
I had lenient parents growing up, who let me do what I wanted. They were also lax about my academic performance. The net result was that I strayed off the straight path, failed academically and ended up pregnant when I was 20.
My daughter was my wake-up call. I fought very hard to transition from where I was at 20 to be what I am today. I single handedly cared for my girl by working small jobs, while also educating myself at the same time. Finally, at 26, I earned my degree and got a decent job. I am now able to provide well for my baby girl.
I have no sexual inclination towards spanking. But given my own experience, my failures and my struggles, I have learned the hard way that it’s important to have a firm structure when raising kids. I certainly do not want my daughter to face the hardships I did.
Further, for low to mid income families like mine, targeted education is really the most reliable way of achieving financial stability. I definitely want my daughter to be both successful and financially well off. As such, I deeply believe in strict parenting.
I read several articles about spanking, both for and against, when my girl was close to turning two. I finally went with what I had seen around me. Many of my friends and cousins had strict parents and were pushed hard academically. They all sailed through graduation, found good jobs and have happy, financially stable lives.
Furthermore, at least to the best of my knowledge, none of them have been impacted negatively by corporal punishment, as claimed in many anti-spanking articles. In fact, they all claim these punishments actually helped them be who they are. So as long as such discipline is administered with love, it seems to me to be more beneficial than detrimental.
I decided I would take the hard way as a parent when my girl turned two. I have given tons of love and affection to my daughter. She is my breath and life. But I have also been very strict with her.
My love, perseverance, and strictness over the years have helped keep my girl in check, both behaviorally and academically, and I am proud to say that my daughter is generally very well behaved, obedient, and performing well at school.
Achieving this was no simple feat. My daughter had to work hard and struggle her way up to meet my expectations. And I had to be relentless in pushing her towards these goals. But I am glad it all worked out. I would rather my daughter struggled under me than struggle later in life, the way I did.
Being strict is certainly not just about punishment – it’s a more complete approach to raising kids. The barebones of my framework are:
- A regulated, daily schedule involving fixed bedtimes, fixed study hours, and restricted entertainment;
- An emphasis on healthy eating habits;
- Teaching responsibility by assigning small, daily chores;
- Clear rules on manners and general behaviour – what is expected, what will not be tolerated;
- Special emphasis on education, with high expectations for academic excellence.
Such a framework only works as intended when there are consequences for failure. And corporal punishment is the most effective form of consequences-based discipline, with a proven legacy over many generations.
For spanking, I decided to use an implement right from the start, and I correct and discipline my daughter with a small 12in-long punishment strap.
When it is needed, I take her to her room and give her a good lecture. After this, I bare her from the waist down and administer the strap to both her bottom and the backs of her thighs. I either take her over my knee for this, or have her bend over the edge of her bed. Either way, I give her a hard beating. After this, she stands up and holds out her hands for a few more strokes of the belt on her palms.
I started with just one or two mild smacks of the strap but now the standard punishment is 20 strokes. In my book, a mistake is a mistake, no matter small or big, and I am very consistent when it comes to discipline.
Of course, she cries a lot when I use the strap. It’s painful for her, and indeed even more painful for me to punish her this way. But it’s necessary and I have promised myself to be a ‘tough love’ kind of mom. After the punishment, I take time to comfort and console her and make sure she knows she is loved no matter what.
I keep the strap on my daughter’s study table. That way, it’s a constant reminder for her to work hard and be a good girl, and also it’s easily accessible to me when I review her school work, which I do on a daily basis. I will continue to be strict and use the strap through my daughter’s school years, but I expect corporal punishment will taper out as she climbs into her teen years.