- Week 40: Trouble. What happened when you got into trouble as a child? What was punishment like in your home?
That's easy. Punishment was usually physical. It was never excessive, and I agree in hindsight it was probably necessary to use physical means in most cases. It has a way of focusing the attention of the child on the error of their ways.
My father has a fairly large hand, or so it seemed to me when I was little. I seem to remember dad's belt being used more than once, but not terribly often. I also recall a largish hairbrush being used on occasion.
My mother is all of five-foot-nothing, and usually used an implement of some sort to instill discipline, at least once I got older than about 3-4 years old. To this day I shudder when I think about Hot Wheels cars plastic tracks. They leave a vivid double welt on the backside, and sting like the dickens! We lived in town, and lacked the appropriate trees to be told to go out and cut my own switch with which to be disciplined.
I also learned that soap doesn't taste good. Like, REALLY not good.
Punishment wasn't always physical, though. Sometimes there was loss of a privilege, or being sent to my room (timeout, but before people started calling it that). I had to pay for a window I broke once, with saved allowance.
For all of that, I never felt my parents didn't love me, never felt they were being cruel or unfair (at least in hindsight when I'd had a chance to think about it). I believe there is a place for physical punishment in child rearing, a position I know will alienate some people. But it sure looks to me that our society started rapidly degenerating about the same time the "experts" said we shouldn't use physical punishment on our kids. That said, used correctly, it should be a rare occurrence, and should always be followed up with a caring revisit as to why it happened, and what was expected to avoid repeats.
I've rarely had to use physical punishment with my kids. They are wonderful, respectful kids for the most part, and really are usually good with a verbal reprimand if needed, or at most temporary loss of a privilege. But I've always held physical punishment as an option. Rather, I never explicitly took it off the table. I don't go around telling my kids I'll beat them if they don't do something, or do something wrong. I've never hesitated to get up in their faces, and very loud, if needed, and usually that gave them pause to reconsider their behaviors.
This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2011 by Daniel G. Dillman