Who comes up with these things anyway?

Really? A meme? About spanking? Really?

Well, Kelly tagged me for it, and I sorta totally, with all of my heart, more that Johny Depp OR Eminem, heart Kelly, so I'll do it.

The question is whether or not I spank my kids. The answer is I have spanked them, I will in all likelihood spank them again. Am I a spanker? By no means. I will spank when spanking is called for.

I am all about appropriate discipline. I have no interest in being these kids' friend; they HAVE those, they NEED a parent. I have rules, much like their teachers and bosses and girlfriends and roommates and mothers-in-law will. Those rules will be followed. Period. No one's negotiating with them in the real world and I'm not doing them any favors by caving to their whims now.

That sounds really bitchy.

We come to the house rules together. We talk about it, me explaining the whys and them stating their opinions. We settle, and that is final. Rules are not to be broken. It's a democracy; I am the president.

Spanking is a last resort round here, and I so rarely have to come to it that they can never remember what one is like, and they are totally afraid of them. The last one 2of3 got....after it was over, he said, "That's it? I thought it was gonna be MUCH worse." See, it's all about the build up.

Sometimes, I certain cases, I think it is important for these kids to be just a little afraid of me. You know, like y'all are with your god. You love him, but you fear him. THAT'S the fear I'm talking about. My kids have to know that I am in charge and that I am to be listened to, otherwise I've got boys running around after dark getting kidnapped and raped and murdered and stuff. They're almost big enough to overpower me if they want.

I have this spanking thing down to a science. I didn't always, though. Let me tell you an awful story for a second...

I was spanked as a kid, and not just paddled on the butt; my parents stopped when they drew blood. Naturally, I wasn't ever going to spank my kids. And then one night, when 1of3 was really close to 2, we had THAT night. You know, that night when your kid hates you and will make you miserable at any cost? Well, I lost it. Completely. I screamed, I hit, I threw him across the room. I. Threw. My. Son. Right then, I grabbed the house keys and the phone, walked outside, locked him in the house and me out of it, called his dad at work and told him to come home.

We had the talk that night. I am sure Josh knew it was coming; he knows my past and gets it that I just did what came natural, what I learned to do. Now it was time to unlearn it. We made rules for spankings. All night long we sat, hashing it out. This is what we came up with:

Spankings can be no more than 3 swats. They can be butt only. CLOTHED butt only. They can never happen right at naughty-time. There must be notice given, like this, "Dude, you totally screwed up when you (insert horrid thing here) and you will have to get a spanking for it. Go in your room and I will see you in 5 minutes." Once notice is given, the spanking MUST happen. It's the ace in our deck. We have to be consistent.

That last incident, the one I linked to up there, when 2of3 decided to disappear for a whole evening, he certainly got a spanking. First, he went out with his dad for an hour. It gave me time to think long and hard about what to do. When he got his spanking, we talked for a long time about it, and I made sure he knew that I hated hated hated it, but it had to be done. He cried, not in fear or pain, but in shame. He knew he had disappointed, and he knew he was hurting me, too. That is more effective than any grounding or spanking or anything I could think up. He took his 3 swats, laid right out over my knee all old-school, and that was that.

Shit works, yo.

Spankings are not violent in my home. They are not painful or in anger. They are just necessary discipline at certain points. They are not for little things, they are for very VERY large infractions, usually involving safety. There are certainly little swats on the butt when attitudes get stinky, and there has been a bad-word or utter-disrespect pop on the mouth here and there. The toddler will get her hand slapped when she colors all over the couch with a Sharpie. The first time my kid tells me to fuck off, I guarantee he will get knocked in the teeth. But, as a rule, we do not hit. They know that if it comes to a smack, they have seriously screwed up.

Most of the people I have read who have done this have very small children, and most of you think you will never, ever spank. I agree that hitting/spanking/swatting a very small child is as effective as rationalizing with a toilet. But when they get a little older, when they start feeling those hormones a bit, when defiance goes from 'I don't want to drink my milk' to 'I would really like to play in traffic with random thug kids and poke at dead rats with sticks', well, something more than a time out is called for. And my children are fine, rational, very loved, very confident and secure young men. And yes, they have been spanked. And I think that every time, it has been the right choice.

Miche does not spare the rod. Jo-N wants to be her children's best friend. Tot's Mom spares the rod and believes in patience. Huckdoll spares the rod and believes there are more effective yet gentle ways to discipline than spanking when dealing with kids. Kelly at Ordinary Art has a three-step approach that does not always work but leaves tiny tushes mark free. Mr Lady has spanked, will probably spank again, but only when necessary.