(I swear this is going to be at least a ten part series at this rate.)
Did you play spanking games with friends? Only with one when I was about 9. We were playing house and I gave her a bare bottom spanking. It was a game we only played twice.
I also played house and gave bare bottom spankings with two families/three kids whom I babysat. I was 11-12 at the time, and they were 5, 7 and 8. I only played once with the one kid and once or twice with the others.
What’s fascinating to me is that I was always the spanker in these games even though I am very much a sub now and have never spanked an adult. I think at that time while I was a budding spanko, I wanted to be the spanker to regain some of the control I didn’t have in my own life. Instead of being the victim of the spankings, I got to be the one who controlled and administered them.
Were your friends spanked as teens? I only know for certain one college friend who was spanked as a teen and who knew she would continue to be spanked as a college student when she went home if she didn’t follow her parents’ rules. She was from rural Texas, and her family used a belt. The way I found out was a conversation in which we were talking about something completely irrelevant to spanking, but she commented, “If I had done that, my dad would have nailed my butt to the wall.” Her eyes teared up as she said it. Clearly her beltings were painful experiences.
I have a high school friend whom all of us very much suspect was spanked as a teen. Her parents were emotionally abusive, and I know her mother slapped her fairly often. I assume her alcoholic father did more. What’s worse is that she now abuses her young children, spanking them for anything and everything “because that’s how I was raised.”
I have another high school friend whom I suspect was spanked but she never discussed it. Her parents were immigrants from the Philippines. When she would sit some days, it was a very delicate maneuver. I think I may have been the only one who noticed, though.
Did you talk about spanking with your friends? Yes, infrequently, though I was always very interested in the conversation when it happened. I was reluctant to share details of my spankings, though. Almost all kids of the 1970s and 1980s were spanked. I only know of one friend who was never spanked by her parents; she is the exception to the rule. It was just presumed you were spanked and your friends were spanked. I don’t have any idea how old most of my friends were when their spankings stopped.
I remember numerous conversations with peers. The first conversation I remember having was in grade school with two boys who were the same age as me when we were about 6. We were sitting in our front yard talking. We all admitted to being spanked, and the boys went into greater detail about theirs. I don’t remember much of what was said. Both boys agreed the belt was the worst; one said that the buckle end of the belt was brutal. I have no idea if his dad had actually already used a belt buckle on him or if he was just talking about what he’d seen his older brothers get but was bragging about it like it was him. Up until that point, I had no idea people could get spankings with belts.
I remember one neighborhood friend asking me if I was spanked. I think she had been recently spanked with a hairbrush and that was why she was asking. We were probably in second grade or about 7 years old.
The next memory I have of discussing spanking was in middle school. One of my friends was describing with great animation an incident that had happened in her family the day before. Her younger half-brother had walked in the door crying and with a torn shirt. When she asked what had happened, her mother related the tale of his poor tail. She said that he smarted off to her mother while they were driving home, so his mother pulled over to give him a spanking. As she went to grab him from the middle row of seats in the station wagon, he jumped into the back. Her mother had managed to get part of his shirt which ripped. She then opened the trunk of the station wagon, managed to grab him, and gave him a really hard bare bottom spanking for his original disobedience and trying to avoid his spanking.
In high school, I know the group of girls I hung out with had a discussion about being spanked as a child. It didn’t include discussions of who was still being spanked. The only thing I really remember from the discussion was the one friend revealing that she had never been spanked—not even once. I’ve since learned that her mother is very emotionally abusive, though. After this discussion, the one girl in the group who was abused through high school would declare any time that she didn’t like what the unspanked friend had done that the unspanked friend was a brat and should have been spanked as a child.
Once when I was at a friend’s house during high school, the mail came. In the mail was the mid-semester failure notice the school sent out when a student was in danger of not passing a class. The friend’s mother was very angry and made a show of going in her husband’s office and placing the letter there. My friend was begging her mother not to tell her stepfather, but her mother said she had to. Based on the tears in my friend’s eyes, I knew there were going to be serious repercussions. I asked her if she was going to be ok. She choked on her tears and said, “Yeah, I’ll be fine,” but I got the distinct feeling she was going to be spanked before she was fine!
Another time in high school, a male friend was boasting about how his parents were having to spank his brother every single day lately because of his behavior. His brother was in middle school and was rebelling a lot. The way his parents were handling the situation made me very uncomfortable even then. That brother ended up having major drug issues as an adult.
During high school, a close friend and I were talking about spankings. She said she especially hated those with the hairbrush—those were the worst. Years later, I saw a discussion between her and her siblings on Facebook. It seems that only the older kids were spanked with the hairbrush. The youngest said he always jokes that his parents wore out the hairbrush on his older siblings which is why he never got it.
In college, I remember being at my roommate’s house. She mentioned that her father would spank her as a child for not eating what her mother made for dinner because her father considered it disrespect towards her mother. You know those awful 1970s recipes that circulate the web? The things her mother made for dinner were even worse than that. I understood why she chose the spankings sometimes after hearing about some of the dishes her mom made!
Another time the same roommate told me about a joke she told at the dinner table. Her father didn’t find the joke funny and decided to spank her then and there. She tried to get away and failed. With tears in her eyes, she said, “He really tore up my butt that time.” It seemed like her father was a brutal spanker and was willing to find reasons to spank.
The first person I talked to who had been spanked in school was a college friend. I was shocked to learn that spanking was allowed in her schools because it never had been in mine. She told me that in grade school they called it “getting licks.” I forget exactly what she had done in kindergarten, but I think it was talking when she wasn’t supposed to. Her teacher put her over her lap while they were sitting on the floor in a circle, lifted her skirt, and gave her a few “licks” over her panties with a small paddle. The friend said she was horribly humiliated by the whole thing and never did anything to get spanked again in school as a result.
When I was in college, the discussion about spanking as discipline came up in a class for future teachers. Looking back, the professor must have been a spanko though her official position was that she could not condone spanking as discipline in the schools. She let the conversation derail the entire class. The look on her face during the discussion is one I now recognize as someone trying to mask arousal. The class was divided about 50-50 as to whether or not spanking should be allowed in the schools. There was also some discussion about parents spanking kids. The only specific comment I remember was from one guy who said, “The only choice my kids are going to get around discipline is which belt they want me to use on them when I sent to them to fetch one.”
My ex-husband and I actually only had one conversation about his childhood spankings. He said his mother would give him a warning, and then if he didn’t comply, she would let him know he was getting a spanking. She would pull down his pants and give him a few swats on his bare bottom. He said nothing about his siblings’ spankings. His dad never spanked him, and I later learned his dad’s mom never spanked his dad. I don’t know about his dad’s dad. I’m certain his mom was spanked by both of her parents but it was never discussed.
Another guy I briefly dated was babysat by his grandma during summer vacations while his mom worked. He said that if he and his brother acted up, she would tell them to go pick a switch. He said he and his brother would just go outside and make a run for it. By the time they came back later that day, she would have cooled off, so they rarely actually got switched by her. He considered her to be a very mean woman, though.
Surprisingly, I haven’t discussed childhood spankings with any of the other men I’ve dated, probably because I wasn’t willing to discuss mine in detail.
One day when I was on a lunch break at work, one of my coworkers began talking about her 2 year old son. She also had a 5 year old daughter who wasn’t the handful her son was. She was saying how when her son woke up from his nap one day that week, he started coloring on the wall in his room with crayons so she gave him a bare bottom spanking. He did it again a second time on another day that week, so she gave him a harder bare bottom spanking. She said, “I am not abusing him, but I can see how parents could escalate to abuse because he’s not learning from the spankings.” Even at that time I was wondering why she didn’t just take the crayons away to stop him from coloring on the walls. However, since I didn’t have children so I didn’t feel qualified to give advice and because I was younger than her, I just kept my mouth shut.
My first exposure to Domestic Discipline relationships (though I didn’t know the name at that point) was when a friend and I went shopping as childless married young adults. We had walked around the mall, mainly enjoying each other’s company and not buying anything because we didn’t find anything we needed. As we walked out the door of the mall, she said, to me in a very worried voice, “My husband is going to spank me. I was supposed to buy something for myself and I didn’t.” I asked her if she wanted to go back in and look for something for herself since we didn’t have any kind of time restrictions, and she said no, but he was going to spank her for it. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just go back in and buy something since it sounded like she didn’t want the spanking. Later, I was at the same friend’s house for dinner (without my husband) when she tried a new recipe that her husband didn’t like. He gave her a very damning look; her response that made me think she was going to be punished for it after I left.
When we were reminiscing as adults, one friend talked about how a boy at school had called her by a racial slur. This girl told her mother who told her father. Her father was the boy’s father’s boss! So her father went over to the boy’s house and spoke to his father. The friend said the boy’s father “beat his ass good” in front of her father.
Once we had kids, one of the things that happened was our friend set changed because of differences in how we raised our kids. We all naturally gravitated towards others who parented more similar to our own styles, and that included beliefs about spanking. Before we stopped hanging out with some of our pro-spanking friends, though, there were a few conversations about spanking. The one friend and her husband started out as anti-spanking but changed their minds when their daughter was about four. She told me at that point that her greatest regret was that they hadn’t started spanking sooner and more often.
Another friend seemed anti-spanking, but her husband was not, and so she deferred to him about spankings. However, she said, “It’s just best if I’m not around when he discipline’s the kids.” One day her husband was boasting about having spanked their three year old son for having thrown a ball in the house which hit a glass object but didn’t break it. His words were, “I popped that kid so fast he didn’t see it coming.”
Spanking sometimes came up on mothering listservs I was on, too. Most of the crowds I hung out with were pretty anti-spanking, but there were always a few vocal spankers. The one mother had almost enough kids to make a baseball team. She said that she used a small paddle which she kept on the kitchen counter and didn’t hesitate to use it. According to her, all she had to do was take a step toward the paddle and her misbehaving child would immediately comply without her having to say a word. She said that she spanked them often as younger children and didn’t have to at all once they were older as a result.
Another mother discussed a spanking of her child that made me really sad for that child. The child has intellectual disabilities, and so I never felt like the way they parented him was appropriate for the abilities he had. This child had hit his baby brother at one point, and so his father “punished him in a way that made sure he would never do that again.” I have no idea what actually happened to the boy, but I’m sure it involved corporal punishment.
One other mother discussed how she had started spanking her son at age 8 because she couldn’t handle his intellectual disabilities anymore. She realized how wrong what she was doing, so she got herself into therapy to help her find ways to work with her son’s limitations without spanking.
In another discussion I saw on Facebook, I saw a friend’s sister talking about how she was never spanked because she was such an angel (wink, wink), but she remembers a time when it seemed like two of her brothers were getting spanked almost daily because of their bad behavior.
And finally, not that long ago, a receptionist at my doctor’s office was talking about how her six year old son liked to pee in the shower rather than the toilet (not when taking a shower). She hated it because it made the bathroom smell because he didn’t rinse the shower afterward. She said that the day before she didn’t hear the toilet flush after he’d been in the bathroom, so she asked, “Did you pee in the shower without rinsing it or am I going to have to spank you again?” She said he didn’t answer but went running off to the bathroom where she heard the shower water running. She thought it was really funny. Me, not so much.
(continue on to part six)