Living Wright: Spankings were effective, but timeouts might be worth a try
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
8/14/12 at 4:52 AM
Go to Jason Ashley Wright's BlogOriginal Print Headline: Timeouts might be worth a try
"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."
Friends of mine and I have joked for years about that little quote - the ubiquitous parental statement uttered immediately before a spanking. Or, in the case of one friend, immediately after he said, "Yeah, right!" which, consequently, led to more spanking.
With one exception during the summer of 1982 involving a surly aunt who talked a smidgen like a parrot, I pretty much deserved every spanking I received. Usually, it was for lying or being highly disruptive in public, which I'm rumored to have been between the ages of 2 and 3, specifically during church services.
Whether by belt, flyswatter, hand or switch, I've been the recipient of corporal punishment more times than I can remember. I mean that quite literally, as it's hard for me to recall specific spankings. Other than the embarrassment factor, none ever hurt, which gives credence to that "hurt me more" claim from earlier.
And I'm very thankful to have had parents who didn't spank to hurt me; they did it - somewhat loath as I am to realize they were right with each swift pat of their hand - to help me stay on the straight and narrow.
Still, it's a sticky subject, so grab a wet wipe, let's discuss.
Never too old?
I remember what led to my last spanking, but I won't tell you how old I was - too embarrassing. I will admit to having achieved puberty; but kids in the South tend to reach that milestone earlier than others. Maybe it's the humidity.
While no one was looking, I went to the kitchen and filled a yellow plastic drinking cup halfway with granulated sugar - or, in my defense, half empty. I proceeded to drink said sugar like milk until my father entered, eyed me suspiciously and asked, "What are you drinking?"
"Milk," I said, not realizing he'd saunter over, take the cup and look inside.
Again, I can't say that the spanking hurt. I was more flustered by being caught in such an obvious act of wrong-doing - not just the sugar-swilling, which I'm SOOO grateful to Dad for having stopped before it led to some weird habit. He made me more cognizant that lying has consequences.
Maybe I could've had my allowance taken away instead or been grounded from watching TV. Something just tells me that wouldn't have been as effective.
It seems a smidgen rude or flat-out seditious to question my family's modes of punishment. Not that I'm perfect by any stretch of a sociopath's imagination, but I think I turned out OK post-spankings. I say please and thank you, call women ma'am, open doors for people, smile at strangers, pay my taxes and worry about stray animals.
Besides, I have a feeling quiet time or standing in the corner wouldn't have worked well for me. I probably would've taken a nap. When I hear parents talk about "timeout," my lids get heavy.
However, my nephew gets put in timeout, and it seems quite effective. Should I ever be blessed with kids, I imagine I'll try that.
Then again, if I find out my son's done half the stupid things I did in my 20s, no matter how old he is, I imagine a switch might be involved.