Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The lost art of the disciplined laughing smack

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Listen, when I was growing up I had my mouth washed out with soap, my bare bottom spanked with a belt and a fly swatter, the indignant pubescent smirk smacked off my face – all in the name of love and discipline.

I never thought of these incidents as abuse and never will. I’m not making light of it either in the context of today's reality; I wrote yet another post about my efforts to help prevent domestic violence and child abuse and my participation in the Human Race.

But what’s with the link between the baby shaker app pulled from iTunes and encouraging child abuse?

The app encouraged users to shake a virtual baby to quiet its cries. One parent,

whose own son suffered brain damage after being shaken by his biological father, worried that "Baby Shaker" not only was in bad taste but might encourage child abuse.

I empathize with that parent; that’s nothing but blatant child abuse and I hope that father was prosecuted. Apple since apologized and rightly so, but I still don’t buy it would’ve encouraged child abuse. I give people more credit than that and responsible parents wouldn’t be wasting their time with that crap anyway. (I downloaded the iFart and Cylon Detector apps – what a frickin’ waste.)

But the lady who lost it and told her girls to get out of the car and then drove away? C’mon. What the hell?

I’m not a mom (I’m a dad) and I have yet to experience the joy of Bea driving me absolutely bonkers, but I would never tell her to get out of the car and drive away. Mama A doesn’t subscribe to physical discipline, but I’d argue a swat now and again would have a positive impact, not a negative one. Time outs are for woosies (just kidding - no hate mail please).

When my sister and I were 7 and 9 we went with my mom on an errand spree. We were maybe into errand number 2 and we were done.

Done. Whiny done. Sniveling, slobbery, crying done.

Mom warned us multiple times to stop it, but we escalated to whiny shriek, bouncing and rocking all over the backseat (long before the seat belt law). After the third errand we were inconsolable.

Mom said, “That’s it. When we get home you’re both getting a spanking.

Immediately we shifted to begging and bartering mode. I would’ve sold my soul at that point. Mom kept quiet all the way home while we plead with her.

As soon as we pulled into the driveway, she started laughing. A really honest forgiveness laugh.

We sighed with relief. We were redeemed. There was a God.

“You’re not going to spank us now?” I asked.

Mom laughed even harder.

“Yes, I am. Now get in the house.

I don’t think I ever whined on errands again. I’m just sayin’…

Remember, Fatherhood Friday is hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood.


  1. I have to admit, though I don't think I've ever been crazed enough to actually tell my kids to get out of the car, I could see myself doing it: but NOT driving away. I'd make them get out and resolve their issues, and then let them back in. Seems less...crazy?

  2. I can't say I haven't swatted my sons on an occasion, it definitely keeps their attention much better than time outs which in my opinion really don't work. Asking a 3-6 year old to sit and think about what they have done is like asking a cat to bark.

  3. Everyone has their own way to discipline their children. I do not hit my child. It may work for some people and I am just saying it's wrong FOR ME. I will punish them by time out, or temporarily taking their favorite toy. It's just my way. I have no urge to spank or swat.

  4. My mom loved to give us the random, playful slap (by no means painful, just annoying) whenever we would walk by her, especially when she was making dinner or something. When we would invariably ask what that was for she loved to explain to us that you should never hit your kids when you are angry with them.

  5. I'm completely with you.

    My wife is also anti-spanking and since she turned out alright in a house that didn't use it, it's hard to argue against her.

    BUT. I was raised in a house where spanking was definitely on the table as a response to misbehavior. It was always done in a controlled, loving manner. Where the offense was explained thoroughly, as well as the correct action in a similar situation.

    We were never spanked in anger or frustration, but when we acted up and were promised repercussions we got 'em.

    Good post. Happy Fatherhood Friday.

  6. I wasn't abused as a kid but you bet your ass I was spanked and given a whack on occasion. My wife is totally against it. Apparently we have to have those stupid timeouts where we count down from 10 and send him to his room with all of his toys.

    Sorry, but that hardly seems like discipline. I would never look forward to giving my kid a swat on the backside, but I think it's fine under the right circumstances.

    We've gone way too PC lately.

  7. Oh man, that brought back all the childhood memories. I remember one time my mom chasing me around the house to spank me. She chased me around my room, under my bed, everywhere. Man, did I ever get it after that one...with a WOODEN SPOON!

    It was a different world back then. Now my kids scream like it's the end of the world if they get put on time out.

  8. I think the app is in bad taste, but agree that it the idea that it encourages abuse is ludicrous.

  9. Going back , even further than you...I can remember my mom breaking a hairbrush on me and my brother as we fought...we laughed as it was her favorite brush...ah, the good ole days! LOL

  10. I was spanked. My kids are "corrected." We warn them to stop and if they continue, they get three swats, a big ol' hug, and a discussion about what they did wrong. We don't have to do it very often anymore.

    And as for tossing kids out of the car, I've been tempted but they're my kids. I'm stuck with them. They have rooms they can go to when they get home. No excuse for leaving them all alone in a public area, especially nowadays.

    When we were growing up, my mom developed the "Dobson pinch." For those of you who aren't familiar, think Vulcan Death Grip. (if that still confuses you, it's a pinch right where the neck slopes down into the shoulder). If we were misbehaving, all my mom had to do was act like she was going to pinch us. Up went our shoulders and out came our good behavior.

  11. my husband once pulled over to the side of the highway to give a time out.