Since I can remember, spanking has been a part of my family’s culture- and by that I mean on both sides of my family (mom and dad), if you acted up, showed your azz (figuratively not literally) and basically just lost your mind for any length of time, then you knew you were about to get a spanking. It was a given. So you thought long and hard before you did or said whatever it was that you knew good and well you had no business saying or doing, because you already knew what the outcome was going to be.
For me, that meant that I was subjected to very few spankings because, well, my mom was that mom! And it just wasn’t worth it! She would give me that look (that warning look mind you) and I knew at that point I had better start acting like I had some sense real quick.
Now, I prefaced this post by saying my family’s culture, because although I know that the majority of my friends who also happen to be Black were raised the same way, by no means am I suggesting that all Black folks were and are being raised this way. I also know a few who were raised getting spanked but chose not to spank their own kids. And at the same time, I have friends who are not Black who were raised getting spanked and some who weren’t. It all depends on the individual really.
Do I see the merits in using spankings as a means of discipline? Hell yeah I do! But as a mother of 3 I also know first hand that what works for one child, doesn’t work for all. Spanking worked for my oldest when necessary, and has most definitely worked for my youngest, but as for my middle son, not so much, which is why I rarely used it!
Now when I say “spanking” I mean anything from smacking your child’s hand to smacking his bottom (with your hand) to raising your voice, to snatching his arm and pulling him towards you so you can make sure he’s listening to your every word (yeah, well maybe every 2 or 3 words). In other words, corporal punishment.
I believe there is a distinct difference between discipline and abuse. If you discipline out of anger and not out of trying to teach a lesson then you need to check yourself. If you find your first inclination is to hit before talking then yeah, again you need to check yourself. If you are someone with anger management issues, alcohol and/or drug abuse issues, or any mental health issues, then yeah, maybe using corporal punishment with your children would not be the best thing! You might want to stick to time outs and hell, you might want to take a few time outs for yourself as well!
But for those of you who like me, grew up in a family who did not stand for kids being disrespectful to adults, kids who talked back, kids who interrupted grown folks conversations, kids who were rude and obnoxious and had a smart azz mouth when talking to adults, kids who threw tantrums, kids who didn’t listen and mind adults, kids who just act crazy for no damn reason, then you are like me, used to a different standard of parenting!
You were taught to understand and respect the boundaries that were set by the adults in your circle, and while spankings hurt and in the moment you may have had all sorts of twisted thoughts running through your head about what you would or wouldn’t do when you had kids– well guess what? Now we have found ourselves in the role of a parent and all that time out sh*t– sorry, no offense to those who don’t spank– but hell I gotta be real–in general that sh*t just don’t do the trick!
As parents you gotta realize that kids try to play psychological games with us! If your child is throwing a tantrum and you let your child know that hey, you will get embarrassed in front of all these folks just like you’re embarrassing me, watch how quick you will see a change in behavior! Because now you’ve showed them that you ain’t scared and you are in fact in charge! Because I’m trying to tell you, our kids will try to punk us! And sooo many folks give in. You know it’s true. We have all seen with our own eyes parents getting punked by little kids and I tell you it truly vexes me every time I witness it! Now will spanking improve the behavior? Maybe, maybe not. But the time outs, talking in soft voices and bribing etc, damn sure ain’t working! In fact it’s got me looking at you sideways matter of fact.
Now I’m not claiming to be a child psychologist or an expert in parenting, but I’ve been working with kids for almost 20 years and I’m just making an observation. I opt to let folks draw their own conclusions as I have drawn mine and when it comes to spanking, as a parent you should choose the best means to parent your children. I just ask that those who are against spanking give the same respect to those of us who choose to use that style of discipline, because the bottom line is who wants to be around a child that makes people look around and ask, who the hell does this kid belong to? And will they hurry up and come take them home and away from me!? Just sayin..