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A Case for Corporal Punishment

All the parents I know - except for mine and all the other older parents I know - always tell me that when Mrs. B and I have kids we should never hit them.

And the reason they give is it will harm a kid psychologically and make him bitter and violent and a cannibal and a terrorist and a member of the political party you dislike the most.

But I'm sitting outside our neighborhood Yarshucks Coffee House right now in too-sunny XXXXX,Florida, with Mrs. B and our neighbor Mike, and about 30 feet away from us a very pretty 40-ish woman is standing outside a Chevy Suburban with the driver's door open. A man, apparently her husband, is standing by the rear of the vehicle. Dad is holding one hand on his forehead. Mom is begging, "Please, come on over her! Please! I promise we'll do it later!"

The object of her pleas? A chubby, rosy-cheeked boy, approximately 10-years-old, apparently her son, circling the parking lot on a bicycle, turning increasingly red in the face the more his mom begged.

Sonny Boy's response to his mom? I can't spell it out, 'cause this is a PG-13 blog. But, using abbreviations, he shouted back "Eff you, b**ch, I'm not comin' anywhere!"

He's shouted this at his mom several times now.

Now, he's shouting "Stupid, b**ch; eff you!"

Now she's begging again.

She finally spells out the cause of the strife. "We'll come back and get it for you later!"

"It" was a cell phone from the comm store next to the Yarshucks.

Seriously, I know that "violence is not the answer," or at least that's what a celebrity wearing a milk mustache once said in an infomercial I fell asleep watching.

But if that had been me back in the day, my dad would have walked over, grabbed me by the collar and yanked me off of the bike while it was still rolling. He then would have dragged me back to the car and tossed me by collar and pants into the  back seat. Then my mom, without another word, would have climbed back behind the wheel and driven off, pausing briefly to back up and purposely run over my bike. Then as we were driving away and the windows were rolled up so passers by couldn't hear, she'd have turned around and given me the deadly look I like to call "Black Steel," and said "Boy, wait till we get home!"

And you know what? Even though I'm Monday Morning quarterbacking in this post, I don't think my folks' actions would have been abuse.

It's the old soul in me, but as far as I'm concerned this kid is already a quarter of the way to ending up in juvie and later getting hugged by a guy named Sally in adult prison. So it couldn't "hurt" for his folks to cuff him behind the ear once or twice, tell him to shut the hell up, forget cell phones, go ride that bike a few miles to burn a few ounces, and then go home and get hooked on phonics instead of XBox.

Or am I overreacting?

Nah. I'm right ;-)



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I'm with you! I did grow up in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" era and, although I think my mother did overdo it sometimes, I do think that the smacks, slappings and spankings did me some good. They certainly made me pay attention to what my folks wanted me to do or to stop doing. I would never have cursed my parents out loud!


Your words need to be shared.My folks didn't take any crap from me and I raised mine the same way. They never got physically hurt. They are all professionals raising their own and doing a good job of it.


my mother had a wooden spoon, kept me straight!


My parents spanked, usually within reason, one or two times they went overboard.

Sometimes it was the fear of spanking that kept me in line, but more often it was the thought of them being disappointed in me that did the trick.

It's obvious that this child has no respect for his parents at all. How did it get this way in the first place? Obviously by parenting in a manner that left him with no admiration of his parents.

When your child looks up to you and respects you, that's when you reach a level that you don't have to spank. The type of child that you described is the type that kills their parents for the inheritance when they grow up.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

Oh Boy, James! You should have known when you posted this that you would get my vote in your corner here! I grew up with my Mom's parents -and of course, my Mom. Mom believe in corporal punishment although she didn't administer it all that often. I remember one time though when she searched for a switch from a tree branch because I had flooded the basement, drawing bath water which I forgot about! Had my kids ever done that to me, no doubt I too would have reached for a branch. Small children, toddlers, do tend (IMHO) to learn the meaning of the word "NO." when it is accompanied by a slight tap on their diapered (and well padded therefore) bottom. Not a spanking, just a tap really and a firm voice can start them on the behavior path. With my kids, usually a look from what they refer to as the "hairy eyeball" would be adequate to get them to straighten up in public and they knew too, if they'd been really bad, they could look forward to a royal bitching out session as well as the possibility I might follow through with that wooden spoon, kept in reserve for really bad offenses. Truthfully, I can't remember ever actually using that wooden spoon other than to shake it around a bit, threaten a lot, but they knew too that some days my patience might just be on that really short string that would or could let fly with that instrument. My daughter, SIL and I use pretty much the same techniques with the two little grandkids here and in time, they learn to behave fairly decently. These two little ones though do have an added problem with comprehension and memory at times because they are both autistic but if we don't discipline them now at ages 3 and almost 6 years, I wouldn't want to be around to deal with them at all -or any other child for that matter -who never learned discipline and respect as a young child. (And no, I don't like to see my grandkids get disciplined too strongly but I back off and out at times and leave it to their parents. My Grandparents -Grandfather, in particular -did not approve of spankings so the few I did get as a child were always administered when he was out of sight and sound range. Grandparenting can sometimes do that to people, ya know! Maybe we become a softer touch as we age and perhaps, mellow a bit. LOL) But, you can bet your bottom dollar those who don't want the kids spanked or given a cuff, will most likely be the first to complain about a child's poor behavior too. No,I'm not a total soft touch with my grandkids now because, you see, they all live with me and I have to endure the consequences first-hand too then if they aren't discliplined, aren't taught well and strong along those lines!
If you and Mrs. B use the same principles as your parents used on you, I think you'll probably fare quite well in the parenting department. Didn't harm either of you, did it?


After an outburst like that, my friends would call me "Halibut boy", for my father would slap me so hard both eyes would end up on one side of my head.

Karmyn R

I am in agreement. Parents are the boss - not the children. You can be loving to your children and still have rules that are not crossed.


My mom sent me out to the edge of the hill where the hazelnut tree grew. I had to cut the willow that she used to switch me.

But the worst punishment was 'THE FACE'
It was that look that sent us all running for cover.

ps. You're correct. Those weren't his parents. They were his servants.

The Sarcasticynic

Getting hugged by a guy named Sally? More like by a guy named Brutus calling HIM Sally!

Excusable as your folks' punishment may seem, today that boy might scream bloody murder to the authorities and have his parents hauled away.

Now be honest. Would Mom REALLY back over your bike?

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