A Question For Parents

Over the last couple of years, I've had my share of discussing the topic with many parents. Some that do use corporal punishment, and some that tried and stopped, and some that never tried. All great conversations.

The one curiosity that keeps popping into my head from time to time is, when you did spank, how did YOU feel about it? Was it a righteous feeling or one of remorse, or duty? Did you feel disappointment in yourself, or blame yourself? i.e The "I must be a bad parent" syndrome.

As i mentioned in other stories and comments, once my sisters and I started to cry - as in really cry - not sobs or whimpers, she would stop spanking us soon after. I dont recall a spanking that went longer than maybe a minute once the real tears began to flow. Where other moms would continue to spank. How do you block out the cries? Do the tears or sorrow even ever get to you internally? I know parents are supposed to maintain control and not show their weaker emotional side as an authority figure, but i cant help but think that at least some parents have got to take some of this internally. And if so, How do you console yourself and maintain your confidence that you're doing the right thing?

Forever curious,
kellysimon kellysimon
22-25, F
13 Responses Jan 10, 2013

I would often feel sorrowful and guilty after I'd given my daughter a spanking, no matter how much I felt sure she had really deserved it. I would think back over our previous hour and wonder, "maybe I should have done this?" or "maybe I should have said that?" If I had handled things a little differently, I would wonder, might I have avoided having to apply the ultimate punishment in her life?<br />
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When my daughter's tears had dried and she was out playing happily with her friends, I would still be feeling achey inside. I believed in spankings as discipline for my daughter, but I never learned how not to feel badly when I gave them.<br />
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When you become a mother, Kelly, do you think you will spank?

I feel that it's a duty to some degree, and sometimes you have to follow through with your threats. If I promised you a spanking, I'll give you one.

The only guilt that I have is with my oldest daughter. She was strong willed and deserved her spankings, but she being the first child, sometimes I think I spanked too often with her.

And like your mother, once my children started to really cry, I stopped.

I don't spank my kids any more because my wife is afraid that someone would call the authorities claiming that we abuse our children. I disagree.

If you get laws in your state Google it

We do have laws. I never went beyond them.

I have experience with being spanked as a child, but fortunately never had to spank as a step-parent. I'm not sure I could do it if I had to, and would certainly feel awful about it. I always wondered what my parents thought after spanking us. Seems they were always nicer and more affectionate after. I'm not sure if they felt guilt, sympathy, relief, or what.

Having had the experience of being spanked, there's something I don't understand. Can one change their opinion about the morality of what they did, or feel more or less shame about it, while suffering through the pain of the punishment? I can see where one can feel sorrier they did what they did because of the consequences they are suffering. They can feel more shame because of the way they are being punished. I think if you know what you did was wrong, and are ashamed of the behavior, you either know it before the spanking, or you come to a different feeling or opinion after the punishment when you have time to reflect on what happened. I think the crying during a spanking can reach a point of surrender, but can that be a moment of revelation?

i am still at 53 coming to terms with my childhood spankings and i have no feelings of remorse for spanking my kids i felt it was needed and never ever went over the top or spanked in anger they was always shown love after the punishment

For me it was an unpleasant but important maternal duty. It hurt my heart just as much as it did their little bottoms.

I have wondered that myself how they can keep applying that brush or paddle or belt or whatever when the girl clearly is had enough. They say "that's when the spanking really begins."

I have never felt that I was a bad parent when I spank my children. I feel a little sad that I have to inflict pain on my children and during and afterwards I feel sorry for them.

But on the other hand I think it is important that they learn to behave and that they are aware that bad behavior has consequences. I believe that discipline should be consistently applied and that spankings are intended to hurt.

I think many parents ask themselves if they are doing the right think to spank. Today, society is very anti-spank, so we receive a lot of input and advice that spanking is not right. However, I feel quite confident that spankings work and that spankings are an important tool for the parents when they raise their children. The crying soon stops and the punishment is effective compared to other discipline methods.

I think that's understandable. Commendable really. The reason I ask the question in the first place was because a few parents that Ive had conversations had admitted that spanking was too hard for THEM. They felt like their guts were being torn out during and after. They always admitted that the spanking was justified, but the cause and effect on themselves personally was far too high a price to pay. It made me wonder what effects there are for parents that do spank - and continue to use it. After all, there are always emotions. I can't imagine someone being numb to deliberately making their own child cry. I'm more curious how those emotions are controlled and managed. Where's the outlet? As you may have read, having too many built-up and internalized emotions can lead to irrational thoughts and feelings, and then some.

one last point: I think the statement that today society being anti-spank may be premature. What's the one thing that parents what society to know about them as parents -- that they have wonderful kids. I think very few parents are going to risk being ridiculed about how those kids became this way if they mention using corporal punishment. It's something best left unsaid. But even in my own undergrad studies in child development, the majority of those surveyed did admit that they would consider using it when they become parents too. Some had a very strong opinion about it. These are to be the "new" parents.

What makes the entire topic seem anti-spank are the media reports. The ones that hijack legitimate case studies, cherry pick the contents, and report things as if they were "conclusions", using an acclaimed university as their authoritative source. The real truth is - peer reviewed studied on behavior science NEVER make "conclusions". Doing so would be a violation of academic protocol. The make reports based on limited scenarios, compare and contrast, and draw inference from these studies. They very intentionally use words like "suggest" not "conclude". The reporters who write the stories are the ones guilty of making conclusion. Not the studies.

Still my own "study" still has by far the lowest level of errorlevel when it comes to the use of corporal punishment. It has two simple statements.

- There are billions of people living today that are good, honest, well meaning and are highly successful that have never been spanked as a child.

- There are billions of people living today that are good, honest, well meaning and are highly successful that HAVE been spanked as a child.

My study "strongly suggests" that the one negates the other, thereby making all arguments for or against the use of corporal punishment ambiguous at best. And based on today's global population, the errorlevel for my study is less than 1/700 of ONE percent. I'd like to see any published study or survey come close to that!

Can you tell ive given this topic a lot of thought over the years? lol

Kelly, Thanks for your reply. I do not consider it especially hard to give a spanking. I might feel sad that I have to do it, but to me it is something that I think I ought to do as part of my duty to raise my kids properly. Sort of like carrying out the trash (without comparison). I feel sorry for them because of the pain, but the major pain is over relatively fast.

So, in addition to the feelings of "sad" and "feeling sorry for them" I also have a feeling of relief when it has been done. It's over with, and both the child and I can look forward.

Kelly, I spank my children. Yes, I do feel badly then when they do it again I'm mad and slap their butts til they learn they're lesson.

I have a firm belief in old fashioned discipline while it wasn't fun, by any stretch of the imagination, it was my parental responsibility to discipline as I see fit. The feelings and thoughts surrounding the event were as important as the event while the consequences were well understood regarding direct disobedience, disrespect and/or dishonesty while a spanking was administered with love, care and concern.

I have very mixed emotions. The actual act of spanking one of my children was never fun. It is a very tough thing to do - to intentionally cause pain to someone you love more than anything else in the world. Someone who you would give up your own life to protect.

Part of me felt like a bad parent, that I did something wrong to let my child behave in such a manner that she deserved to be punished in such a manner.

By the same token part of me was so annoyed that my child, who knew better, would behave in such a manner that I was somehow 'proud' (not the right word but I don't know what is) of the fact that I was disciplining her.

Afterwards, when order is restored and my formerly misbehaved brat is now once again acting like an angel, I feel a sense of a job well done.

Spoken like a very loving dad. Awwwwwww. :) I hope your kids grow up to be as proud of you as you clearly are of them. (not when they are/were naughty..but when they aren't).

Perhaps the word you may have been looking for is " justified"?

i felt it was necessary to spank my kids they always had a warning to stop what they was doing but if they still kept going i did give them a spanking

Certainly justified. For that I have zero doubt. But when you did spank, did you feel any remorse that it ended like that?

And i would agree with warnings to an extent. That seems normal and rational. However.... I can admit that I often took warnings as a kind of mom-barometer of current tolerance levels more than a reminder or warning about being naughty. The level of naughtiness was simply reduced until the warning lights turned from yellow to green. :)

my problem was i was spanked a lot as a child for things that was not my fault and my mum thought i was deifying her so she got more stricter with me and when i spanked my kids i felt there pain as it brought back memory's of my spankings so i only spanked as a last resort

That's interesting. Let me go out on a limb... Do you feel you were abused as a child? Was your choice of using spankings based on "tradition" vs the other alternative punishments?

if being spanked long and hard by hand belted till i could not sit down caned untill i could not stand properly then yes it was abuse but i think it was over the top punishments she was given incorrect information as to my problems if i had been diagnosed correctly i may have had a better life

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I think the only group that would consider that proper is the Taliban. I am happy that you were able to see it as being over the top, and didn't carry on a tradition of brutality. It takes a strong and wise person to overcome a history of abuse. You should be proud of this accomplishment - and if not...allow me to be proud of you instead. :)

thanks i just wish i could get it out of my mind when i was a child i was punished for some thing that was not my fault and i still have the same problems and even now i have a mental problem with it

3 More Responses

As a mom who spanks, I have never enjoyed spanking my children. However, I have also never felt remorse or guilt when I've had to do so. It's just part of my job as their mother in raising them into mature and responsible adults.

I have never seen the 'perfect' child. Even the best behaved children are going to need discipline, it is part of them growing up and learning. Sometimes that learning will need to be the 'hard way'. There is no failure on the parents part in administering punishment. The failure would be is if the parent didn't give their children the much needed discipline.

In regards to my children crying during their spankings, I don't like seeing them in pain, but I also have never told them "this hurts me more than it hurts you". My thoughts are along the same lines of marialar in that their crying, and distress in general, are some of the factors that is letting me know the spanking is sending the desired message.


There are different kinds of tears. Sometimes the crying means "I hate you", sometimes they mean "I'm sorry I got caught", sometimes they mean "I'm sorry I did this, I know it was wrong and I'm ashamed of my behavior". When I spanked my children I was waiting for the third kind of crying. Don't ask me how, but I could tell the difference, and if it was serious misbehavior that warranted the spanking, I wouldn't stop until I heard that third kind of crying.