Dad’s Morning Brew

To spank or not to spank? I was scanning through the channels yesterday and came upon a Dr. Phil show. He was instructing parents on the show to not spank their kids. He even said that kids who get spankings have lower IQ levels than kids who don’t. Wow, now that’s a guilt trip.

Click here to see the segment of the show.

You know, when I first began my life as a dad, I vowed early on not to spank my kids. My thinking was there were other ways to discipline kids and being a college graduate and all, I should be able to figure that out. But when my oldest daughter, Danielle, hit two years old a funny thing happened. I changed my mind and I remember clearly the day it happened.

One night, her young cousin was over visiting with his mom (my sister) and his dad. My wife, Beth, had just had baby No. 2, Kristen, and my sister was upstairs in our old townhome visiting with her. Meanwhile, I was downstairs with my brother-in-law and the kids. They were having fun, but they kept running up the stairway. We told them both to stop but they just kept doing it. Finally, my brother-in-law told his son, “If you do that one more time, I’m going to warm your seat.” That seemed to calm him down.

Something struck me that day. I have the utmost respect for my brother-in-law. He’s a bright guy (a doctor at that) and I know his personality. He wouldn’t harm anyone. If he could give his kid a spanking, then that was good enough for me.

The next day, Danielle was being extra restless and refusing to go down for her nap. I told her to go to sleep and when I came back in the room she was jumping on the bed. I told her again and again to stop jumping and go to sleep. Time and time again, she ignored me. Finally, I came into the room and gave her a quick pop on her diaper clothed bottom.

The result was amazing. No more jumping and right to sleep she went.

Now, I will tell you that I did not make spanking an everyday thing. I reserved it for times that I needed to get their attention. And as they got older, the spankings became non-existent. In fact, a couple years ago, I was joking with them all. I told the girls, I don’t remember the last time you got spankings. Then I looked at my son, who was about four at the time. “And I don’t remember the time you didn’t get a spanking.”

We all laughed. With all due respect to Dr. Phil, who is much smarter than me,  I don’t see any evidence that my kids are maladjusted or harmed or have less intelligence because they got a spanking or three when then were younger. In fact, Danielle regularly tests in the advanced levels at school and they all have made the honor roll one time or another.

So now that I’ve bared my soul, what do you think? Do you agree with Dr. Phil? Do you think kids should never be spanked? And by that I mean just a swat on the behind, not anything more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All may be Fair after all

  • As I mentioned yesterday, the Orange County Fairgrounds was sold off at auction to a Newport Beach outlet developer named Steve Craig for $56.5 million. Although the state still can void the sale, for now we can assume that Craig is going to be the new owner. So kudos to my friend Geoff West, a blogger out of Costa Mesa, who was able to get an interview with Craig yesterday. Craig seemed to assure West that he will leave the fair as is. See West’s blog here: A BUBBLING CAULDRON
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10 Responses to “Dad’s Morning Brew”

  1. Tony,
    I received a few spankings in my life as well as my siblings and we have all done well in life. I was in National Honor Society and graduated in the top of my class, etc..
    I am a better person for those few swats given with love from parents who cared about me.

  2. Tony, thanks for the plug. Now, about this spanking stuff. I’m of an age when spanking – not beating – was a regular part of the discipline. If asking, cajoling, demanding and ordering didn’t work the last step was a swat on the butt. It NEVER failed to make the point. My poor spinster Aunt Myrna used to get so frustrated with us because we knew we could manipulate her that she would swat us with whatever was handy. She broke a wooden coat hanger and a 3 foot long “yardstick” across my fanny at different times. Of course, I just smiled at her… :-)

    In junior high school I had a home room teacher who, in order to maintain discipline with this all-boys class, would “trade swats”. If you required discipline for some infraction he’d tell you how many swats it was going to take – one was the usual number. Then he let you have the first swat. After that it was his turn and he’s been known to lift more than one of my classmates clear off the ground. Few ever traded swats with him twice. Of course, he’d be thrown in jail today for that kind of discipline, but it worked back then.

    We all need discipline in our lives. You know me, my friend – did it work?

  3. Florence Sebern January 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Three cheers for those of us who 1) understand spanking, 2) are adult enough to use it. I have a good friend who bought into the “time out” stuff and her life with four kids was hell on wheels. She finally admitted that she’d been guilted into thinking that spanking was cruel when in reality it was the “kindest cut.” My husband and I have spanked our three kids appropriately — only when they were in outright disobedience and only on the bottom. Never in anger. I can honestly say that by the time they were five or so, the spankings were almost non-existent and only got less frequent. Good observations, Tony!

  4. Well I ask what is your definition of discipline? The word has the same definition as disciple who were the students of the Rabbi (teacher) Jesus. When we discipline our children we are the teachers who are trying to teach our children a lesson. One of the big lessons we are teaching when we spank our children is that although we tell you it is not okay to use our hands to hit others, when I get to the point of frustration and stretched beyond my limits of tolerance it is okay to put that rule aside and get physical. Is this what you tell you children to do in school when a buddy doesn’t listen to them when they say stop? Hit? Threaten then” if you don’t stop I’m going to….”? what coping skills are you teaching here?

    And this is indeed a skill that I see many of us “well adjusted” happy adults could have used some lessons on coping skills in their younger years. What skills did we learn to cope with difficult people, anger, frustration? I see many adults who I wish their parents spent a little more time teaching and modeling skills than they did punishing. I believe our long range goal is to develop, happy healthy self-reliant, independent and responsible adults.

    Tony you and your supporters are a group of highly intelligent, successful individuals. I challenge you to use these skills to learn better more creative and positive parenting skills, than spanking. you may think you have tried time outs and they have not worked, but as in any skill if not used properly, it will not bring about the desired results. You can do better!

  5. Love your blog, love your blog, love your blog!!!!! You are such a great Dad Tony, rock on! It is soooooo nice to see dad’s getting involved in their kids life and enjoying every minute.

  6. Like Geoff, I’m from the generation that got spanked. My parents didn’t “reason” on the occasions when I disobeyed their requests. My grammar-school teachers also used the ruler to smack the palms of my hands when I talked too much.

    As the mom of two boys only 16 months apart in age, I had my hands full while they were kids. I prefered grabbing a twist of their hair and twisting with my fingers until they got my point. An occasional swat across the rear worked well, too.

    My grandson is now 4 and goes to time-out a lot. His mom also yells at him. He has become a little terror, both at home and at his preschool. Several weeks ago, he even became agressive with his teacher, overturning a drink into her lunch as she sat quietly, eating. Go figure!?!

  7. This is for Joan in regard to her comment. I consider myself a well-adjusted individual. I was occasionally given a swat on the bottom by my parents. The swat was never hard, intended to hurt, or to humiliate. It was, as Tony indicated in his story, to get my attention. It worked. I’m married 30 years. No drugs. No affairs. No financial issues. In fact, I’d put myself in the category of being among the MOST well-adjusted and content people I know. My father, had a philosophy he called LSD. “Give your child love, security and discipline.” Worked for me as a child. Worked for me as a parent. I have two sons who occasionally got a swat and I’m proud to say they have grown into wonderful human beings. Spanking isn’t about “hurting”. It’s not about “hitting.” If done correctly, I believe strongly that it works. To “model” behavior for a two-year old??? Huh??? How was Tony going to “model” NOT going up and down the stairs?

  8. Great information, Thank you so much… keep up the great work.

  9. Great post! Thank you so much for all you do, i’ll keep reading.

  10. Tony.. love the Yosemite photo with yourself wearing a Yellowstone T-shirt… too funny! By the way, Yosemite is my absolutely most favorite place in the world…. especially for family life. Great place to take your kids from birth to forever…. making memories. – Mrs. McTague

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