My guilty little secret turns out to have been a good thing

In Marin County, spanking a child is a very dangerous activity.  Although spanking is not illegal, it’s enough to entangle you with Child Protective Services and, from that moment on, parenting life as you know it is over.  Despite the danger, when my kids were little, I spanked them.  With two unguided missiles, sometimes the only way I could get control over the situation was a quick smack.  With a four year old, reasoning doesn’t work; taking away privileges is too time-attenuated; and my kids didn’t care about time-outs.  A quick spanking relieved my anger and gave them a very quick lesson in cause and effect (cause:  naughty; effect:  spanking).

It turns out now that my secret forays into old-fashioned discipline were a gift to my children:

Children who are smacked by parents often turn out more successful than those who have not, research has found.

The study concluded that children who had been physically disciplined when they were young, between the ages of 2 and 6, were performing better as teenagers on almost every measure that was taken into consideration than those who had never been smacked.

It was only in cases where it continued beyond the age of 12 that the children were found to be affected negatively, resulting in a dip on performance indicators.

The results of the US-based study undermines the efforts of various campaigners who have been trying to have physical punishment outlawed in the UK, who have claimed that it causes long-term damage to the children.

Read the rest here.

I only wish I could have been able to smack them on a more regular basis when they were really naughty little kids.  (Not beat, smack.)  As it was, because of the dangers inherent in corporal punishment, the situation had to be very extreme before I resorted to spanking.  I think my life would have been easier and, I think, they might have been more disciplined now.

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  • Gringo

    Which reminds me of a story my mother told about my brother when he was young. She was directing him to do something. “Why?” my brother asked. “Because blah,” my mother replied. “Why?” my brother asked. “Because blah blah,” my mother replied. This when on for several more iterations. Because blah blah blah blah blah blah,” my mother replied.
    Finally my mother was teed off enough to shout back,“BECAUSE I SAID SO.”
    “OK,” my brother replied, and proceeded to do as my mother had previously directed.

  • Leah

    Thanks for the vindication, I had three young boys, they got smacked. I also yelled way too much. I’m sure the once smack and it’s over was much more effective.
    All three grew up to be successful young men.  When I say successful, I mean self supporting, caring,  productive members of society – mensches.


    After reading the attached, I realized that the government is CPS  and although it is obviously too late to smack him, it’s also too late  for more creative forms of punishment, too. How exactly does one engage a terrorist to be more productive. Do you take away his underwear? Promise him virgins? Nicely prepared halal meals? Extra pillows and blankets?
    h/t Politico
    The U.S. Government is offering the suspect charged with attempting to bomb an aircraft on Christmas Day, Omar Abdulmutallab, some kind of incentives to share what he knows about Al Qaeda, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Sunday.
    Asked why Abdulmutallab should cooperate given his right, as criminal defendant, to remain silent, Brennan replied: “He doesn’t have to but he knows there are certain things that are on the table… if he wants to engage with us in a productive manner, there are ways he can do that.”
    Asked if Abdulmutallab’s willingness to talk changed once he had an attorney, Brennan declined to answer. “I’m not going to address what he did before or after he talked with a lawyer,” the adviser said.

  • Mike Devx

    After reading the government position in Sadie’s #3, now that we’ve lawyered up this foreign jihadist terrorist, I don’t know if its the nausea in my stomach that is preventing me from feeling outrage, or if I’m just so sick of the Obama administration, so very very sick of it all, that I just cannot muster up outrage any more.
    We faced a “Long Struggle” during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but the Russians weren’t constantly trying to blow up our airplanes and our embassies, nor sneak suitcase nukes into our cities to devastate them.  On the other hand, most of our declared wars were intense no-holds-barred furious assaults by both sides, using every weapon at hand, intent on total vanquishment and death.
    This “Long Struggle” against jihadist terrorist fanatics is something in between, and we don’t know how to do this very well, it seems.  It requires resolute determination for the long haul, and an actual tempering of passion, so we don’t burn out.   Perhaps then my lack of outrage toward this weak, sickening Obama Administration is the correct approach.  We’re guaranteed for this four years of sickness to be on the defensive.  But it’s a Long Haul, and there will be victories ahead, once these defeatist, surrender idiots that currently control our national Executive and Legislative branches are sent away with disgust.  It can’t happen soon enough for me.


    The “Long Struggle” is exactly where we  are.  Your outrage mirrored my own and I was rather grateful  that you found the energy and words. I had used my rage up in another post explaining when jihad went global (Munich Olymics 1972 post WWII).
    You have just emotionally experienced living like an Israeli. Outrage, sickening feelings, anger, fed up with the current PM and the pull of the left, right and yet … life, commerce, vacations, go on even while surrounding by their enemies. All knowing that there will be a next time. Now, we know, too.
    Bush came, Bush went and even post September 11, the Saudis dumped $40 million into universities in 2005. Therein lies the difference between here and Israel. They are not inviting their sworn enemies into their universities from the outside, but try to cope with the leftie professors, who are Israelis.
    One Entebbe (1976) vs WTC 1993 and then no WTC.  It must be a collective mindset that changes the way ‘business’ is done in government and in the armed services (one Nidal Hassan was one too many). We can change dance partners every 4 years, but if none of them hear the war drums beating what the hell changes. I am still very angry because no one drew the line in the sand. The wahabbi imams have had an open and revovling door in the prison system  since the 70’s – they haven’t been preaching just to a black captive audience.
    Our so called elected officials have ceased to represent us. Until legislation is enacted state by state to limit their cushy-for-life jobs, we will continue to face an eternal, external and internal threat.

  • Deana

    I’m so glad my mom wasn’t afraid to spank.
    A girlfriend of mine and I decided that one of the best gifts our parents gave us was their willingness to discipline us.  We each grew up just a little bit afraid of our parents.  We knew they were 100% behind us and supported us all the way but . . . we also knew they would spank if we misbehaved.  More importantly, we knew that they loved us beyond their lives – we were afraid of disappointing them.
    It worked.  I’m glad.

  • jlibson

    Yay my timing.
    At the age of 5 and change, I took my son aside and said “you are too old for me to spank. From now on, when you behave badly I will be taking away the things that you care about (e.g. toys)”.
    It didn’t take too many of those to get the point across. Turns out Buddha was right. Our desire for things really is the source of all suffering (and an *awesome* hook for parents). :)

  • Mike Devx

    Sadie #5 – How Israelis maintain their calm in the face of repeated missile bombings across the Gaza border is beyond me.  I would remain calm only for the amount of time it takes my military to formulate the best tactics for defeating the missile throwers.  (I say tactics, because they’d BETTER already have their strategy ready)
    I’m sure we got spanked when I was 2-6.  There was also the belt – just a few swats – for those occasionally brat or just-beyond-mischievous times afterwards.   Every time it was used, we deserved it.
    I’m 47, and I still remember the shock when my dad told me I’d gotten too old for the belt and it was going to be up to me to control my own behavior from now on.   LEt me tell you, when he sat me down and said that to me three days ago, I’m still in shock.   😉    Actually I would guess I was about twelve.
    And, I’d have to add, “Just wait ’til your father gets home”, or “If you don’t stop this right now, your father will have something to say about this!”  were effective control mechanisms for my mom.


    Don’t know that I would use the word calm – cope would be my choice, Mike.
    To the subject at hand.  My best advice is to tell the kids – you get what you give. Giving you space and time is as valuable as the space and time you give them. Hopefully, the concept will be better understood as they go into those wonderful teen years (((retch here))).
    I used the question, do you want a happy, smiling mom or a miserable screaming and cranky one? Of course, they opted for the latter and told them what needed to be done to achieve it. It worked most of the time. Nothing works all the time.

  • gpc31

    Whether or not to spank usually depends on one’s own upbringing and childhood memories, and like most marital issues works best if both parents agree on it — so one partner’s veto power partly explains why spanking has gotten rarer with each generation.
    I trust love, instincts, pragmatism, common sense, self-restraint, and tradition to do the right thing:  Spanking works.*  Not some grand abstract theory from social science, soon to be revised by tomorrow’s breathless, agenda-driven research.  Bring up the topic of spanking to a non-Englishman and you will hear that infallible marker between liberals and conservatives: “Studies show…”
    (*Yes, of course I’ve felt awful after the occasional swat or after yelling too much — but that’s the kind of  reflection that reinforces self-restraint.)

  • gpc31

    By the way, in my previous post I didn’t mean to take a swipe at Book’s original citation of research to validate her position.  We all need to look at the evidence and make up our minds as best we can.  Rather my point about the verbal tic of  “Studies show…”, however poorly expressed, was that we, both as parents and passive consumers in society, tend to subordinate direct knowledge to media factoids and abdicate parental responsibility to technocratic experts.  That’s the nanny state for you.

  • Ymarsakar

    It’s about hypocrisy. The experts are recommending something that they can’t reproduce. Meaning, they can’t reproduce good child behavior, so they can only recommend parents to simulate laboratory experiments. But parents don’t need those experiments. They need actual real world results, with all the tainted variables that entails.
    Thus it is the hypocrisy. Those that cannot reproduce healthy behavior in children, the social nutters, are the ones forcing parents to emulate the social worker’s imagined ideal of utopia. How does that make sense.

  • Ymarsakar

    Give the Left control of societal upbringing, and I guarantee you that all they will turn out is an increased incidence of malignant narcissists, serial killers, and world wreckers. It’s unavoidable, really.
    It’d be one thing if they were honest about such, and adopted/promoted such policies as Waco based upon a desire to bring misery to the world, but they hypocritically try to defend their actions with the excuse that they are doing what is good for people.
    How many children were killed by the Left’s allies in Vietnam and the Cold War? How many were killed in WACO? How many were killed in Iraq as a result of the media’s pro-terrorist propaganda support. The Left is nothing but an organization that promotes mass killings. They have no shield, other than human shields, to defend them. Everything that seems otherwise is only hypocrisy.

  • gkong3

    Getting smacked works well… but a belt (or a rattan cane) works better. So, at least, is the experience of the Asian community.