I grew up in a world of spanking. I was hit by nuns in first grade, but I do not remember anything else beyond that grade. I was spanked, a lot, at home. I remember terror, not fear or learning respect, just terror. I remember my father coming in, throwing me onto my stomach and taking out his anger on me with his hands, a belt, whatever he had handy. It did NOTHING to help me grow as a person or teach me respect. It taught me that hitting me was the way things were done. My father came from an abusive home that was so violent, that at one point, he and his five brothers threw their father down the stairs when they were big enough to stop him from abusing their mother. I am not misunderstanding or misinterpreting the story told to me in any way. It was relayed to me on several occasions.
I have a lot of people I know who use this phrase on many occasions. For some, it seems to be a symbol of some sort of “pride” about their childhood. Did they do the same with their children? Are they standing there as their grandchildren are now being beaten with spoons or paddles? If so, are they OK with it? This study was completed over a FIFTY YEAR period with over 160,000 children, so I consider it to be reputable and have LOTS of data. What does the data reveal? That spanking is not only ineffective, but it is abusive and can lead to, and I quote, “the likelihood a child will develop mental health issues, aggressive tendencies and antisocial behavior. The study also found that the psychological effects produced by spanking are similar to those caused by physical abuse.”
Now before you say, “Oh please, I was spanked and I turned out fine.” or “I spanked my children every day and one is a doctor and one is a lawyer with healthy families”. Good. They were lucky and escaped being a statistic or feeling like a victim of abuse. However, you can say that back in the day that’s how it was done. Well, back in the day, black men were hung or beaten to near death for whistling at white women. Back in the day, women couldn’t vote and were seen as little more than property. There is a reason why we learn from our mistakes and grow from them. I know those who quote a religious-based saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Well the bible says that adulterers should be stoned and having more than one wife is OK. I don’t see bodies all over the place from being stoned, nor do I see lots of men with multiple wives. Society changes and grows, learning from its mistakes.
There are MANY pro-spanking advocates out there who are proud of their methods and their children go on about how they are proud to have been spanked and they learned respect and discipline with proper methods. Well, good for them. I am glad they escaped any repercussions from their experiences. For me, I went from a childhood of regular spankings that lead to other incidents. I was thrown through a patio door, I was tied to a bannister once to prevent my leaving the house. When I got married, my husband abused me, verbally and physically for over 10 years.
Have I ever spanked my kids? Yes, when I thought it was “the normal things to do.” When my husband died, I never spanked a child of mine again. I saw the cycle of violence continuing. My husband was cruel and violent not only to me. When he passed away, I learned that beating someone just defeats them. It doesn’t build them up or teach them a damn thing.
So, if you want to say you are a “Wooden Spoon Survivor”, that’s your choice. However, there are some of us out there who keep those scars on the inside and are very happy that it’s no longer a part of their lives and never will be again.