Monday, August 31, 2009

Spanking Doesn’t Work

I had to spank my 5-year-old son last weekend for bad behavior. He asked me, “Is that it?”

I don’t like the idea of hitting my son. But I know it has to be done in certain circumstances, especially when timeouts aren’t working.

I now understand the saying, “This is gonna hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you.” Without a doubt, it really hurt me to want to hurt my son. But I know he’ll experience more pain if he’s not disciplined.

My plan was to spank the kid just hard enough to sting, but not hard enough to bruise. I gave him a gentle spanking, but with enough force to make him think twice before doing something bad again. When my spanking failed to startle the boy, I took it up a notch, delivering a swat that I knew would sting.

I hit him harder than I intended. I felt horribly guilty. I asked if he was OK. He laughed. I gave him a timeout.

While my son was in his room thinking about his bad behavior, I decided to do some spank tests on myself. I smacked my bottom a few times to see what kind of pain I was delivering. My son was right to laugh. I felt no pain at all. So I applied a little more power. Still nothing.

I hit my hand, thinking that’d be more effective. Again, I felt no pain. I did it harder. I’ve had breath hurt worse. I guess our elders used wooden spoons, rulers and belts for a reason.

So I went to the kitchen, got a wooden spoon, and I practiced a few smacks on my left hand. Still, I felt no pain. I turned up the heat and, finally, I felt a little sting. But it wasn’t enough to scare my kid into being good. I wound up and swung that wooden spoon again, this time like Barry Bonds swung a bat during the steroid years -- WHAP!

My hand lit up like a bright red “Eat at Joe’s” diner sign, and it throbbed like Sylvester the Cat’s hand when it got caught in a mousetrap while trying to snatch Tweety Bird from his cage.

“Yeeeeeeowwwww!” I yelled.

I took a second swing, but with a little less power -- WHOP!

“Yeeeeeeowwwww!” I yelled once more. By this time, I was developing bruises on my hand. So I switched to hitting my right hand. A few swats later, my right hand was bruised up, and I still couldn’t deliver a painful smack that wouldn’t leave marks.

I had to switch targets again. I took the wooden spoon and swung it at my behind.

“What are you doing?” my wife asked when she walked in on the scene. I froze while in mid-swing at my butt.

Our son yelled from his room, “He’s spanking himself to see how hard he has to spank me so it hurts me just a little bit but not a lot.”

“You’re supposed to be thinking about your bad behavior,” I yelled back to the kid, “not talking.”

When I explained to my wife that I had to spank our child, she asked if it was necessary.

“It was necessary,” I said. “The timeouts aren’t working anymore.”

Our boy chimed in from his room again, “Then why am I still in timeout?”

That question lead to an argument between my son and my wife. And that argument resulted in my wife spanking our boy. WHAP! WHOP!

“Is that it?” the kid asked Mommy when she was finished.

My wife said she was afraid to hit our child any harder for fear she’d leave marks and be reported for abuse.

“You’re not gonna be reported for abuse,” I said.

“I just want to be sure that if we hit him any harder, we won’t bruise him,” she said.

So she asked if I could continue banging myself around until I found the perfect spanking intensity for our son.

Now I can’t walk.

-May 2009

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