The title and description alone grab my attention and wake up the sexual side in my head.
I’m fascinated in a morbid sort of way about the details of just exactly how to “set up the scene” for a planned spanking. Now, you tell me how this could possibly be something beneficial to a child. Again, as stated before, I have never used spanking as an adult for sexual enjoyment, have never spanked my child, won’t ever spank my child, was spanked once with my pants down as a three year old, and have a healthy sex life (for the most part – I have a two year old folks, what can I say).
So, what is it, do you suppose, that is triggered in my head when I see the simplest of words arranged in the following ways?
Now, take a look at these letters: The first is a father, a widower who has two daughters, aged 16 and 12. This is horrendous and my heart breaks for these girls. Girls, if you ever happen to stumble upon this post, you are most welcome to contact me for support; I will network you with a plethora of people who will stand beside and behind you and give you a way to end the madness he’s forcing.
I am a 38 year-old widower with two daughters: 16 and 12. My younger daughter recently landed on your site and showed it to me. Thank you for providing such a well thought-out presentation. I find that I agree with most of what you say. But I have a couple of exceptions.
First, I don’t agree with your “same sex” spanking concepts. Yes, I recognize the danger: a father spanking his daughter might cause some sexual response. But a frank discussion about the difference between having feelings and acting on those feelings should deal with that issue. And these days, there’s so much homosexuality on the TV and elsewhere that I’m not sure “same sex” spankings wouldn’t face the same danger anyway.
My wife died 4 years ago. Even before that, whenever the girls needed a spanking I was the one who spanked them. The Bible holds fathers responsible for spanking their children (See Ephesians 6:4 for example). Abdicating that responsibility is not an option. As long as the father is in the home, it’s his job to do whatever spanking is needed.
Second, I see a problem with your definitions of cooperative and uncooperative children. My girls kind of fit your definition of cooperative children: they know that I love them and they agree that they need to be spanked when they misbehave. And they don’t generally “resist” being spanked for a very good reason: I use the “bare hand on bare bottom” method, but I have a little switch that I reserve for really serious misbehavior.
Once, when my older daughter was 15, she started trying to hit me while I was taking her up to the master bedroom for a spanking. I simply asked her, “Do I need to get The Switch?” Her reaction was a frantic “Nooooooo!” and there was no more problem with resistance.
AHHHHHRGHGHGHGHGHGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! That 15 year old girl is nothing short of a young woman and what this father is doing is terribly, terribly wrong. God, there goes my stomach (and God’s too) again. AND IN THE NAME OF GOD!!!
Twisted, stupid, DAMAGING, wrong!
If either of these two girls decided to tell their school counselor (given that it is a public school that doesn’t also have its head up its ass) that their father spanks them, especially bare, the spankings would cease. The father would come under investigation and the girls would be given ongoing support and counseling. I would throw the father into a pit with a bunch of gay men and let them spank him until he couldn’t manage himself anymore.
S O U R C E
If I were growing up today, Mother could post on parenting web forums about how “effective” spankings are as discipline for her daughters. She could brush aside concerns about emotional harm saying “an hour after I spank her, Carol is happily playing or doing her chores.” She could talk about my good grades in school. She could talk about how polite I am and respectful to my elders, and how she gets compliments from other adults about what a good girl I am in public. And if anyone tried to warn her that she might give her child a fetish, she could laugh and say, “Carol would never turn out like that. She hates to be spanked!” And nothing she said would be a lie.
Now I am retired, unmarried, childless, on medication for depression. At a tender age I used my budding sexuality to cope with something I didn’t know how else to cope with. And it has left its mark on me forever. I’ve been paying the price all my life and I will never stop paying. I am unmarried because the circuits in my brain that should have been used for romance were vandalized by spankings instead. I am childless because I never married. So there is a direct link between my spankings, how I coped with them, and my being sexually abnormal, and hence never marrying and having any children of my own.
Not all of the harm is sexual in nature. An “it made me what I am today” pattern emerges whenever someone unexpectedly confronts me in an angry way about something I did. I have a bad habit of saying the first rationalization that pops into my mind, sometimes even lying. It just blurts itself out of me. And I don’t know how to change. It goes back so far. It is a habit I learned as a preschooler that sometimes saved me from a bottom warming. It usually didn’t, but something that works only occasionally is better than nothing at all.
Another lifelong bad effect of my spankings is that when someone orders me to do something in a stern authoritarian voice, I usually just cave in and do it even if I don’t feel right about what I am doing. It just happens, seemingly by itself. And it all goes back to my earliest years. Growing up in my “traditional values” family, children did as they were told and didn’t talk back. If you did, Mommy would turn you across her knee, pull down your panties and “teach you a lesson” right then and there. I sure learned my lessons! The trouble is, how do you unlearn that lesson as a grownup out in the world who has to stand up for herself? I just hate myself now whenever I realize that once again I let myself be someone’s doormat.
Here are some interesting reads – they are written for the purpose of satisfying the erotic desires of adults, and are on the topic of spanking. Now, call me crazy, but the letters found on the Chastise With Love site, the descriptions for technique and position, and the fictional accounts found below seem to have an eerie similarity.
I need to share this with you. Everything about the website shown above is wrong, on so many levels.
I hate this.
It sickens me.. as in, physically ill to the point of needing to either vomit or scream.
I hate the damaging of life, especially of those helpless to stop it.
If only I could somehow effect the same damage to the one doing the spanking, in great enough amounts, enormous even… that their pain would be immense enough they’d WAKE UP.
If you are a kid who struggles with parents who choose to control your life with these methods, and you’d like someone to talk to, send me a message. What is shown below is wrong. WRONG. Children are too valuable to be degraded in such a manner. It is the weak and pathetic adult who resorts to such cruelty as is shown below.
What follows is a set of detailed instructions on how to damage your child. Here is how to humiliate, how to confuse, how to destroy trust, and how to cause shame.
It continues to sicken me how frequently this page is accessed, and now I have a comment from someone who I wish I could meet in person with some duct tape and a freeze ray. I chose to remove the Spanking Positions page from public view because of the thousands of hits a day it received. That alone should say enough… Why do we, as a society, take so long to learn and become aware of our own demise.
Nothing that follows contains an ounce of good. Nothing here is beneficial to growth, helpful in character, or honoring. None of it! This teaches fear, shame, and resentment. Repentance is not what you are seeing if you use these methods, you’re seeing a learned survival response.You are harming your child if this even remotely represents how you parent. There are so many other solutions so produce an intelligent, self controlled little person.. So many other ways that don’t include diminishing, shaming, or damaging… THIS IS SO FAR FROM ANYTHING GOOD. GET IT YET???
Please, please, stop for a moment and observe your little ones. They have so much to teach us.
I have removed all other imagery from this post as I suspect its popularity has more to do with the sexual than the parental. The male in the picture below has his penis up against the wall, pants down; the female is being spared the humiliation. They’ve both just received a spanking. Gender aside, you tell me what else this picture says.
I’d like to direct you to a very powerful essay written by a woman who would likely be unable to prevent the onslaught of uncontrolable trembling upon seeing this image…
THIS IS WRONG. SICKENING.
IF YOU THINK THIS IS HOW TO PARENT, I CHALLENGE YOU TO BECOME SOMETHING MUCH GREATER AND START BY LEARNING THE HARM AND DAMAGE YOU’RE CAUSING YOUR CHILD BY FOLLOWING THIS.
Before placing the child over your lap, you may want to remove any keys or other hard items from your pocket. You might also wish to remove the rings or other jewelry from your spanking hand. Many parents prefer to roll up their sleeves prior to the spanking. It’s important that there be no obstructions preventing you from spanking safely.If you’re going to sit on a chair, place it in the center of the room. If you’re using a bed, keep a safe distance from any bedposts so the child will not get hurt from uncontrolled movements; sitting on the side of the bed usually works best. Seating yourself in the middle of a couch in order to administer an over-the-lap spanking is even better still.
Placing an uncooperative child into over-the-lap position
(Reader’s contribution, June 2002): “If the child won’t lie across your lap on a bed or couch, try this. Right-handedness is assumed. If left-handed, replace left with right, and vice versa.
Find an armless chair which, when you sit in it, your thigh is above the child’s knee, ideally at about the middle of the child’s thighs. Take the child’s left wrist in your right hand and take him/her to your selected chair. Sit down, with the child on your right side. For this to work, you must spread your knees. The child’s weight will be supported on your lap, and by spreading your knees, you gain stability. Transfer the child’s wrist to your left hand and pull him/her over your lap. Pull him/her to your left, and lean, if you must. The child has to lean forward against your right thigh, and once you’ve pulled his/her center of gravity past your thigh, he/she will “trip” over your right thigh and instinctively will catch himself/herself with his/her right hand on your left thigh. He/she will now be lying across your lap, with his/her feet off the floor. Now, use your left hand to hold his/her upper body. The right hand, of course, is occupied with the now positioned bottom.
It is always preferable to get the child to cooperate, but if the spanking is necessary and he/she won’t accept it, try this.”
Bare bottom or not?
The majority of parents who use spanking prefer to spank their children bare-bottomed. It has a number of advantages:
it will hurt more than a spanking on the outer clothes or on the under clothes. Therefore, it is best for spanking with the hand (spanking a fully clothed bottom with the hand is fairly ineffective)
it allows the parent to gauge the severity of the spanking (visual feedback)
it feels more natural for parents to spank a child’s bare rather than clothed bottom
it is fairer: spanking on whatever garment the child happens to wear would allow a random factor to play a major role – spanking on the bare treats every child and every case equal
the smacking sound – much more pronounced than a spanking on pants – adds to the psychological impact
the act of baring the bottom and presenting it for the spanking makes the spanking more formal and ceremonial – it increases the important “ritual” aspect of the punishment experience
Some people feel that bare bottom spanking should be discouraged because it is too painful or too embarrassing for the child. Of course, it depends on cultural differences and the individual family. But if spankings are given as recommended here (only by parents, only in privacy, only with the hand, and in a loving and non-humiliating manner), this argument cannot be upheld.Alternatives
A good alternative – a middle course – between spanking fully clothed and spanking bare-bottomed is spanking on the underpants. This retains most of the bare-bottom advantages listed above. While denim jeans estimatedly absorb about 70% of a spanking’s impact, underpants absorb only 10-20%. Psychologically, the exposing of the child’s underwear constitutes an “act of baring” too, albeit less powerful than the exposing of the bare bottom.
Feb-2001: A reader recommends yet another solution: “If you are hesitant to spank a bare bottom, have the child wear a thin pair of panties or the tight spandex shorts they wear these days, then either get them wet before the child puts them on or have the child get them wet in the sink, shower or bath after being put on. This makes the fabric cling to the buttocks making a good view for the spanker and still protects the skin. The child feels the pressure of the fabric on the bottom before the spanks begin which seems to remind them of what is coming. An older child can lay on the bed with 2 pillows under the hips and pull the pants tighter with both hands. This method makes the child very aware of their bottom raised in the air and poised for the spanking to come (…) This method still stings and reddens the bottom a great deal.”
Oct-2001: Another reader suggests a way to bare a child’s bottom without removing or pulling down his/her underwear. “All you have to do (after pulling down the pants) is to place the child on your lap with his underwear still on. You take both edges and pull them to the center and tuck them in the crack. Although this is not a complete baring, it does show a large portion of flesh and will leave the sit spot available for the spanking.”
Dec-2002: Another idea is to tell your child to prepare for his/her spanking by putting on a pair of drop-seat pajamas without underwear (see reader’s feedback, Dec 6, 2002). Opening the rear flap gives the parent easy access to the bare bottom without frontal nudity. Drop-seat pajamas may be a little difficult to find nowadays but if you can sew you can try using these old sewing patterns, or try shopping for drop-seat pajamas/long johns here, here, or here.
Taking the pants down
The pants can either be taken down to the ankles, to the knees (half way down), or to just below the buttocks, although the latter is less advisable (taking the pants a bit lower than absolutely necessary increases the ritual aspect of the baring). They can also be removed completely; then they won’t be dangling somewhere. For reasons of modesty, the pants are best taken down just before the child gets into position. For girls who wear dresses or skirts, the skirt can simply be turned up after the girl is over the parent’s lap.(Reader’s contribution, Mar 2005) “When taking the pants down, the parent should not just yank them down. This not only eliminates the ritual aspect of the baring, but in case of a boy, could cause injury to his genitals. The procedure should be done slowly, but deliberately. With the child standing in front of you, slide the outer garment (pants or shorts) down to the desired position, leaving the underwear in place. Then take down the underwear to the desired position, preferably slightly higher than the outer garment, but low enough to bare the entire bottom. If the child is wearing a garment that does not require underwear, such as pajamas, take the pants down to the same position as if it were underwear. During this procedure the child may be whining or crying; promising not to do it again. Maintain eye contact, but do not reply verbally, continue to take the pants down. This will not only increase the ritual aspect of the baring, but will insure the child understands the parent is in complete control. When the spanking is over; with younger children, 2 to 5, the parent should pull the pants up, even if the child was allowed to do the baring as described below. This will give the child a sense of finality. An older child may require more time to compose him or herself. It’s would be okay for the parent to say “When you’re ready, pull up your pants and come on out”. Then leave the room.”
Some parents ask/order their children to take down their pants, allowing/forcing them to cooperate. Others prefer to do the act themselves. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. It also depends on the individual situation and the child. If children refuse to cooperate, it may help to let them put their hands on their head for the procedure – this will minimize the hassle. If children are penitent and cooperative, it is okay to allow them to do the baring itself (see “Cooperative children“).
(Added May, 2003) A spanking is exhausting for the parent, but even more so for the child. It can actually compare to the physical effects of a one-mile run. It promotes the circulation and increases the pulse. This in turn requires breathing faster and deeper. In extreme cases it can lead to hyperventilation.
Therefore it is a very important safeguard to make sure the child is breathing normally before commencing the spanking. After checking you’re sufficiently calmed down yourself, it is recommendable to ask a question such as “are you ready for your spanking?” to find out whether your child is both physically and mentally ready.
If your child appears out of breath, e.g. from running away in an attempt to escape the punishment or from a heated discussion beforehand, give him/her time to calm down to normal pulse and breathing before beginning the punishment. If your child appears out of breath during the spanking, stop immediately.
Positioning: How to spank a 3 year old
(Reader’s contribution, Dec 2002): “Place the child over your lap. When spanking a 3 year old it is not necessary to lift your arm high, you only need to lift your wrist at the elbow. If the child tries to squirm out of position than you can place your left elbow at the right side of the child, level with the child’s shoulder. This should mean that your hand will be positioned at the waist and you will be able to pull the child closer to your body. This will trap the child between your body and your left arm. This will stop the child from squirming and make the spanking safer.”
Readying your hand
There are basically two ways of spanking with an open hand. The first is to stiffen your hand, flattening it like a paddle. This is less advisable because it’s likely to make you feel aggressive and overly mechanical. Besides, it creates an unfavorable impact.
Figure 1. Spanking with a stiffened hand.The alternative is to have your hand relaxed and flexible (especially at the wrist), like a strap. This figures to be the better choice. If you have ever played congas, bongos, tennis or squash, you will know what it means to keep your wrist flexible. Keep your four fingers together and relaxed, too. Note that it will be mainly your fingers that do the work, not your palm. Your thumb will not participate much, so you can move it a bit out of the way. Concentrate on where and how your four fingers make contact with the child’s bottom.
Figure 2. Spanking with a relaxed hand.Cupping the hand while spanking the bare bottom of a smaller child reduces the pain produced. At the same time, it produces a much louder sound – this makes the spanking seem more severe than it acually is. This trick can be very useful. It increases the psychologic effect while keeping the physical pain to a minimum.
Figure 3. Spanking with a cupped hand.Don’t lift your arm high. You would only sacrifice accuracy to apparent power.
Do not restrict the spanks to any one area, but try to distribute them evenly over the whole of the buttocks. Determine just where you want each spank to land. If the spanking is bare-bottom, you’ll be able to see the skin redden as you smack it and direct your hand accordingly. Generally, keep a safe distance from the kidneys, the coccyx and the genital area (the latter especially when spanking a boy). Also, spank only the convex part of the buttocks, not the sides.
Figure 4. The blue areas show the “prohibited zones”: the kidney (K), the coccyx (C) and the genital (G) area. The orange areas indicate where spanking is safe. The lower half of each buttock (the “sit spot”, just above the place where the thigh and the bottom meets, shown in pink) is particularly suitable for spanking. The drawing on the right illustrates how to find the recommended area: keep about one inch (3 cm) lower than the top of the crack. Never spank higher than that.Since the bottom is divided into two cheeks, there are three options for placing each spank – left cheek, right cheek, or both cheeks together. Spanks that cover both cheeks can be particularly effective, but to ensure a good distribution, it’s best to use all three areas in a random pattern (e.g. l, r, b, r, b, b, l, l, r, b, b…).
Speed and rhythm
There are two schools of thought. One says to spank at a steady pace, with roughly equal intervals between the spanks. The spanking rate can be as fast as 2-3 spanks per second (quick slapping) or as slow as only one spank in 3-4 seconds. Generally, spankings with an implement (e.g. a paddle) – which are discouraged on this website – should be slower than hand spankings.
The “steady pace” style, however, is somewhat robotic. So, the other approach is to vary the tempo all the time. Also, the location and force of each spank should change in a random fashion. This will make each smack unpredictable and the overall spanking more effective.
Imagine yourself giving (or receiving), say, five spanks of different strength – very light, light, medium, hard, very hard. Does the order in which these spanks are given matter?
Physically, the order should be irrelevant: the total effect is the sum of the spanks, and the result of a sum does not depend on the order of its components. This law applies to the physical aspects of the spanking, such as the redness that results from the spanks. A spanking however is not given for physical but for psychological reasons; and psychologically, the order does matter. Spanks given in an increasing pattern have a stronger effect than the same spanks given in a decreasing pattern. Parents can use this effect to reduce the number of spanks (and their summed up physical impact) needed to reach the desired result.
Of course, when giving a spanking that consists of more than 5 spanks, it is neither practicable nor desirable to increase the strength throughout. There are limits on both ends of the scale – too light spanks are ineffective while too hard spanks are unsafe. For this reason, it is recommendable to use sub-patterns of increasing strength – like an (ideally, somewhat irregular) sawtooth function. If you’re familiar with musical terms, think of a series of short crescendos. Many parents will intuitively follow this principle when giving a spanking.
Note: increasing the speed of the spanking in a likewise manner (accellerando) is not a very good idea. If the spanks come too fast, they are actually felt less, not more. Generally, for maximum impact each spank should be given sufficient time to “sink in” before the next spank.
The first spank is important
As an exception to the “building up” rule, the first spank should not be a weak one. It is too psychologically important. Start with a good first swat to get your child’s full attention, then decrease.
Changing the position
(Reader’s contribution, 2001): After spanking with the child in the usual position, i.e. bottom to the right and head to the left, try reversing the position and continuing the spanking with the hand applying the spanks pointed downwards towards the base of the bottom.This enables the spanks to land in a slightly different region and thus increases the coverage.
“I had the idea when I was watching my sister give a spanking to her young son whilst in the standing position. For the reasons you give I don’t favour that position but it occurred to me that her hand pointing downward meant that she was making contact with the lower middle part of his bottom in a way which my spankings did not. I then realised that the same effect could be achieved by having the child’s bottom on the left hand side. This method also introduces a little variety and additional ritual into the proceedings which I rather like.”
When setting up house rules, some parents agree on fixed numbers of spanks for certain offenses. This scheme is traditionally mostly used for canings because the severity of the implement necessarily keeps the number of strokes low; e.g. 3 or 6 strokes with the cane (“six of the best”).
For spankings given with the flat hand, it is appropriate to give at most 2-3 times as many spanks as the child’s age. In practice, many parents don’t count the smacks – they just stop when they feel the punishment has been sufficient. This flexible approach is preferable because it allows to take the child’s reaction into account.
In addition, counting each spank makes the exercise cold and impersonal. This may be something for judicial corporal punishment, but not for a normal parent-child spanking.
During the spanking
During the spanking, it is best to keep silent. For one thing, you can concentrate better on each spank when you are not talking. Also, your child’s thoughts should be focussed entirely on the spanking. You’re probably familar with the “Now <spank> will you <spank> promise <spank> to be <spank> good? <spank>” approach. Avoid this if you can. By asking questions during the spanking you will distract your child. In effect, neither your words nor your spanks will get the attention they need.
Use your voice during the spanking only to control your children verbally when they have gotten out of position (see the next section). But don’t use your voice to keep your children from crying. Crying is natural in this situation and not an act of disobedience. Tears are good and purifying.
The “layer cake” method
(Added May, 2003) This method was suggested by a former public school teacher who has been instructing parents with great success on how to spank effectively. In this method, the spanking is split into a series of intervals with a dialogue phase in between each “layer”.
“With the “layer cake” approach, the necessary preparation and explanation are followed by sufficient spanking to ensure the child’s attention. Then, with the child either repositioned so that he or she is standing at the parent’s knee or still in position, the parent reasons with the child. The parent then spanks enough to make sure that he or she has the child’s undivided attention before pausing to reason with the child once more. A little more talking is then followed by a little more spanking. (…)
All comments made by the parent during the punishment should be positive, specifically addressing the parent’s faith in the child to fulfill the parent’s reasonable expectation, since the spanking addresses the parent’s displeasure with the child’s past behavior (as well as maintaining the child’s undivided attention). The reasoning is meant to provide balance in the child’s mind as the parent directs and amends the child’s thinking process from the past and into the future. Repetition, ritual, and reinforcement are key components of “layer cake”. So the lesson the parent desires to teach is not likely to have to be repeated. (…)
The spanking and pauses for discussion should proceed at a pace with which the parent is comfortable and the child is appropriately responsive. The planned pauses allow both the parent and child to reflect on the disciplinary process. In particular, it permits the parent to concentrate on one task at a time while gauging the effectiveness. (…) The alternating pattern of reinforcing “layers” spanking and dialogue continues until the parent is absolutely sure that the child has “gotten the message”. Then, the parent finishes the session with sufficient spanking to bring the child to a full flow of cleansing tears and repentance. Of course, it goes without saying that, unreserved reconciliation follows.”
Note: Some children cry more easily than others. For this reason, crying is not an objective indicator to judge whether the punishment is enough. If your child doesn’t cry easily, you should not assume that a spanking isn’t effective just because he/she isn’t crying. Tears are cleansing, but they aren’t a must.
(Added May, 2003) When discussing the child’s behavior, try to use positive statements addressing your faith in the child to fulfill your expectations. The reasoning is meant to provide balance in the child’s mind as the parent directs and amends the child’s thinking process from the past and into the future.
Here are some examples for positive verbal reinforcement: “I know that you can do better and you know it, too, don’t you? You are much better than your recent behavior is telling the world that you are; isn’t it? Way down, deep inside, you really are a good kid; aren’t you? You know, I would not trade you for any child in the whole wide world. You are mine and I am keeping you. Even now, I love you more than you know at this moment. You really are a good kid. I am never letting you go. But, we are here because we are not going to let the way you have acted get in the way of who you are and what you can become! You really are bunches and bunches better than you have behaved recently. Why just the other day your grandmother (teacher, whoever, or I) was saying (praise, praise, praise) …”
To be avoided at all costs (UNLESS YOU ARE MICHAEL PEARL) are guaranteed spirit-breakers such as, “You are just like you father (or mother); how could you be so stupid?” or “Why can’t you be like your sister (or older brother, cousin, etc.); she (or he)’s so perfect; why can’t you be just like her (him)?” Also to be avoided are open-ended questions for which no real answer may exist. These may include, “Why do you behave like that?” Often, the child has no idea.
NOTE: THIS IS NOT WORTH READING. IT’S JUST AS SICK AND TWISTED AS THE SPANKING IS.
Keeping in position
Assuming a good position before the spanking begins is important, but sometimes it can be difficult to maintain. The child may start kicking, squirming, or trying to cover his/her bottom with his/her hand. If so, the parent must counteract because such resistance jeopardizes the safety of the spanking.
The best solution is to verbally get the child back into the proper position. It can help to let the child grab the legs of the chair, or the parent’s legs. This will make it easier to keep his/her hands in front and give them some physical (and moral) support. If this still doesn’t help and the child’s hand flings back, it should be held, “pinned down”, at the small of the child’s back with the parent’s free left hand, allowing the spanking to continue.
To prevent kicking, the best solution again is verbal instruction. As a physical countermeasure if verbal instruction doesn’t help, the child’s legs can be tucked under the parent’s right leg (see chapter “Positions“). Also, the child’s pants, if they are bunched at the knees or ankles, will limit the freedom to kick.
After the spanking
Remember that after the spanking, the child has “paid” for his/her misbehavior and should be fully forgiven, effective immediately. The slate is clean again. Reassure your child, tell him/her how much he/she is loved and that the punishment was necessary to keep him/her from repeating the bad act. If he/she is crying, hold him/her on your lap until the tears subside, and hug him/her. Have some tissue or a hanky ready to clean his/her eyes and nose.After the child has regained his/her constitution, help him/her to get dressed again. You can let him/her apologize to you (or the offended person, if different), and promise not to repeat the bad behavior. This will strengthen the educational effect. Do not apologize for having given the spanking. If you truly felt that such a punishment was deserved, it was your responsibility to carry it out. You don’t want to undermine the deterrence factor by suggesting that you spanked unfairly.
Let the spanking stand as the punishment for the offense, and do not humiliate your child by mentioning the offense or its penalty in public. The child has paid and the issue is settled. Fully reintegrate the child to the family, and make sure all family members accept the punishment as sufficient, so that they will reaccept the child as well. Do not tolerate any further angry words (e.g. from your spouse) about the misbehavior. The matter is to be considered closed.
(Added Nov, 2009) Corner time is often either used before or after the spanking. This website recommends that after the spanking, the child has “paid” for his/her misbehavior and that the use of corner time as additional punishment is unnecessary. However, one of the obvious benefits of using corner time before the spanking is that it can give an angry parent time to calm down before administering the spanking. Another benefit is that the corner time can increase the child’s anticipation & dread of the impending spanking, making the entire experience even more unpleasant. That said, it is still the opinion of this website that corner time is not needed unless the parent finds one or both of the aforementioned benefits useful or necessary.
(Added Nov, 2003) Some readers recommend to put lotion on the child’s bottom after the spanking. Normally this shouldn’t be necessary, and parents might also argue that doing so is not pedagogically desirable. Still, it will do no harm and, like the hug, it might help in showing the child he/she is fully forgiven.
Recommended lotions are after-sun lotions and aloe-vera-based lotions – generally, any lotion which is cooling and soothing.
Beth Fenimore’s father illustrated Roy Lessin’s 1979 book “Spanking: Why, When, How.” As a child, Beth’s family attended the church where Roy Lessin preached. Her parents and the Lessins socialized with each other and babysat each other’s children. Beth and her siblings grew up alongside the Lessin’s two children, Joey and Lydia. Beth’s parents used Roy Lessin’s “godly” methods of corporal punishment under his personal tutelage, and in at least one case, Beth was “spanked” with a switch by Roy Lessin’s wife, Charlene (“Char”) Lessin. In this stunning and courageous letter, Beth confronts the man who taught her parents how to use corporal punishment to extinguish all outward evidence of childish emotions displeasing to the parent, and how to instill instant, unthinking obedience based on fear. She vividly describes the dark cloud Char and Roy Lessin’s methods cast over her childhood, as well as the long lasting psychological, emotional and medical harm which resulted from Roy Lessin’s so-called “loving correction of the rod.”
September 7, 2005
Open Letter to Roy Lessin
Author of Spanking: Why, When, How Dear Roy,
After 19 years I have found the courage to write you this letter declaring how your choice to teach and write about spanking has affected me. My purpose in writing you this open letter is to share with you and others that the spanking approach you recommend is harmful. My parents both know my view on this issue. I have talked to them, as well, about how their decision to implement your spanking recommendations affected me. I have a mission. My mission is to warn new parents who are innocently trying to raise happy, healthy children. Should just one parent spare their child the kind of pain that I endured at the hands of my parents implementing your spanking recommendations, my pain will have more meaning than it does now.
Should just one parent spare their child the kind of pain that I endured at the hands of my parents implementing your spanking recommendations, my pain will have more meaning than it does now.
I want to begin by talking about your spanking approach so that we’ll both be using the same language. In your book, you describe a process by which a parent performs a spanking on their child.
* The first step is to use the right instrument; if a parent uses their hand, the child might become fearful of the parent’s hand.
* The second step is to spank promptly.
* The third step is to find a private place in which the parent can conduct the spanking.
* The fourth step is for the parent to explain to the child why they are going to be spanked.
* The fifth step is to get the child into a good spanking position (when my parents and other adults–such as your wife, Char–spanked me, the ritual involved removing the child’s clothing); you recommend bending the child over a bed, or bending a smaller child over the parent’s lap.
* The sixth step is to hit the child on the buttocks with a stick or other spanking implement.
* The seventh step is to continue spanking until the child yields a broken cry, which indicates a broken will.
* The eighth step is reconciliation. You recommend that parents comfort the child until sufficient time has passed, and then ask the child to stop crying. You recommend that parents spank a child who displays a “wrong attitude” by continuing to cry too long after a spanking.
The language in your book is much more “sugary” than what I’ve just written. But my description does not come close to what it feels like to receive a Roy Lessin spanking. So I’ll describe what a Roy Lessin spanking is like.My first spanking was when I was six months old. My mother spanked me for crying after she put me to bed. She had to spank me repeatedly to teach me to not cry when she put me down. I know about this incident because my mother used to tell all new mothers about how young I was when she started spanking me. My last spanking occurred when I was thirteen years old. The Roy Lessin spankings that I remember most vividly took place between the ages of three and seven, because I hardly went a few days without a spanking at that time. I’d like to share with you, and others, what it was like receiving a Roy Lessin spanking.
The moment I found out I was going to get a Roy Lessin spanking, I felt physically ill. Because the Roy Lessin spanking is a ritual, the ordeal could take a long time. (When I refer to a spanking ritual, I’m referring to the steps you outline in your book.) This was hard for me because I had a child’s sense of time. The dread bubbled up and consumed me, and stayed with me until the spanking ritual was over. My parents usually sent me to a private room, such as my own room, and there I would wait until one of my parents came. (My dad spanked me the most, so in my illustration let’s assume my father is conducting the Roy Lessin spanking.) My father would explain the reason for the spanking. This was an excruciating process because I had to listen while knowing what was coming. Since I might face back-to-back Roy Lessin spankings, I had to be careful not to be disrespectful in my listening to my father. I had already developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and would feel my guts cramp up with anxiety during his speech. Then he would ask me to take off my pants and underwear. I would feel deeply embarrassed because my father was not supposed to see me naked. (My family had a high standard for modesty.) My humiliation and fear would grow immeasurably as I leaned over the bed, my father’s knee, or whatever was around. My private parts were helplessly exposed as my dad laid his hand on my back. Trying to pull away and defend myself would only mean that the spanking would be longer, or I’d get a back-to-back spanking. The stick, paddle inscribed with scripture verses, or belt would swish violently through the air before slapping painfully on my buttocks or thighs. I would scream in pain and anguish. I cannot remember a moment of thinking of resisting, rebelling, or trying to “win” anything, as you recommend parents should watch for as they hit their children. I just tried to survive the best way I knew how. The screaming, the hitting, and the pain would continue for unknown amounts of time. When the gruesome pain ended, I would begin to battle with my emotions and my body. I knew that crying too much could mean that my father would start a Roy Lessin spanking ritual all over again to correct my “wrong attitude.”
My parents were never concerned about the marks they left on my body. We never talked about the painful marks on my body, or how clothing, baths, chairs, etc. hurt. The message was clear: there was no pain. Pulling up my pants was incredibly painful, and so was sitting on my father’s lap. Because “there was no pain,” I had to pretend my buttocks and thighs didn’t hurt even though they did, while my father would wrap his arms around me and “comfort” me. I was not like the idealized children you describe in your book, not knowing the difference between the spanking implement and the parent. My father caused me that pain–not a stick! My father’s arms scared me, and I feared my father like I’ve feared no other man. His touch repulsed me. I was the same with my mother. (To this day, I cannot physically tolerate either parent touching me. I feel physically ill at their touch.) My father would pray, and I could hardly go along but for fear of yet another Roy Lessin spanking. After we prayed, it was time for me to be happy. But my insides would be a mess. Tears would threaten to come back and cause me more pain and anguish. I had to pretend that I wasn’t sad, and that I wasn’t in pain. This would be my greatest lesson: to be happy no matter how I felt inside. It would take me a few back-to-back spankings, but I would learn. It would be a lesson I’d learn for life–being falsely happy regardless of how my body felt.
One aspect of receiving a Roy Lessin spanking is the sexual aspect. It’s taken me years to even begin to allow myself to speak of this aspect. You see, as a child I had no idea what sex was. I just had this funny sensation that came and went during the Roy Lessin spanking ritual. To my great dismay, I learned that sexual stimulation can be cross-wired with the painful ritual of spankings. This cross-wiring was a real problem for me. Because I couldn’t cope with the double message of love and pain, I avoided developing an intimate relationship with a man for a very long time. It took years for me to find a healthy sexuality outside the memories I have of the Roy Lessin spankings. I struggled with this double message as a child. I feel a deep sense of shame as I remember hitting and torturing my dolls and Barbies when no one was around. I needed some way to express the fear, pain, and sexual confusion I felt inside; yet my childish mind couldn’t comprehend the significance of what I was doing.
My parents were your “A” students. They followed your eight steps occasionally reducing the entire Roy Lessin spanking ritual to a few swats–not very often, though. My butt and thighs would sting for a long time after a Roy Lessin spanking ritual, so I’d go into the bathroom and use my mother’s mirror to look at my behind. I remember seeing red stripes crisscrossing my buttocks and my thighs. At times, I had old marks underneath the new marks. My parents conducted several Roy Lessin spanking rituals a day when I was a young child. I remember a teacher at school asking me one day why I didn’t just sit still. I couldn’t tell her that it was because the marks on my butt hurt so bad sitting in the little wooden chair.
Now that we’ve established what a Roy Lessin spanking is and what it felt like to receive one, let’s move on to wrong attitudes. I’d like to begin by telling you a story of what it was like having an adult, in this case your wife, address my “wrong attitude.”
One day my parents were moving. I was four, and woke up to a house that I no longer recognized. I asked my mother what was happening. Whatever answer she gave, I didn’t understand. She sent my brothers and me to your house, where your wife Char was to baby-sit us. On the way out the door, I saw our small parakeet Chirpy sitting in his cage outside our house near some bushes. Now, Chirpy wasn’t supposed to be outside. A dark feeling of dread came over me. I was frightened as I walked to the car, looking at Chirpy frantically chirping in his cage next to a stack of boxes. At some point, at your house, Char put all of us down for a nap. The confusion and fear filled me, and I wondered if I’d ever see my home again. When the room was quiet, my emotions burst out of me. I cried. Char came in and told me to stop, and I couldn’t. So she performed one of your spanking rituals. I went back to my napping spot. I lay there for the remainder of my nap–unable to sleep, afraid to move, filled with emotions of dread and fear so large I thought I’d explode. But I had to make Char believe that I was cheerfully obeying her. I put on whatever face I could to convince her, and pretended to be asleep. I had to pretend I felt different than I did inside.
There are two points I’d like to make about bad attitudes. The first is that, as you can see above, adults do not have “powers” that allow them to read the minds of children. My parents made this mistake over and over again. They weren’t much better at reading my mind or how I felt than your wife was that day I stayed at your house. You see, parents make mistakes. There’s no getting around this. But when a parent uses a force as violent as a Roy Lessin spanking, mistakes are truly damaging, especially when the spanking ritual involves breaking the child’s will–or breaking any part of a child’s psyche!
The second point about “wrong attitudes” is that you tell parents that their children will be happy with your mode of discipline, or even prefer being spanked. I want to say that I didn’t experience that joy. I built myself a cheerful, obedient shell. I lived in that shell, only peeking my head out when I felt safe, for 30 years. It took me another seven years to actually try taking the cheerful, obedient shell off–only to run back into it when something felt like the “old fears of my childhood.” I have not been happy living in this shell, constantly pretending to be happy when I felt miserable inside. When I think of a happy child, I think of a child who feels free to express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions. I think that a parent’s job is to teach a child how to express their emotions, not hit them with a stick until the child displays the emotion of the parent’s choosing.
You write about parents disciplining children for disobedience. It seems pretty simple. The parents set up some rules and the children follow them. When disobedience is based on a child doing or behaving just as the parent asks, following those rules becomes much harder. As your teachings played out in my growing-up years, I found that I violated more rules than I could keep track of. Not only that, one of the rules was to follow through without my mom or dad asking a second time. So perfection became the rule, and perfection was something I failed at miserably. Even in the cheerful, obedient shell, I was not completely safe. The life lesson I took away was that there is no such thing as second chances. I took this lesson to school, and found that I was afraid to try. Not that my parents didn’t encourage me–it was just that if the encouragement didn’t work, which it often didn’t, they’d spank me for getting letters backwards, words wrong on spelling tests, and so forth. Basically, they spanked me for not trying hard enough. I haven’t even mentioned the hundreds of other issues they spanked me for. I learned how to live helplessly. Not only did I face my own internal disappointment at not getting something correct, I faced a Roy Lessin spanking at home when I wore out my encouragement. I grew up thinking that I was mentally handicapped. Later, as a grown adult, I found out that I’m dyslexic–something a Roy Lessin spanking would never cure.
For most of my life, I worried that I’d remembered all this wrong. About eleven years ago I called Char and asked her to listen to while I recalled a Roy Lessin spanking for her. I described to her in as much detail as I could remember the beatings I endured again and again. Char told me that my memories were exactly what you and she had taught my parents. I had not remembered wrong!
I read your book a few weeks ago. I was again surprised to realize I knew and remembered your teachings very well. After the years of growing up around your family and hearing you preach at Outreach, your book brought back your painful teachings and the painful memories I’ve been trying so hard to live with. I kept wanting to grab my cheerful, obedient shell because to this day I feel scared when I think of all the Roy Lessin spankings and teachings.
Both Char, during my call with her, and you, in your first book, talk about spankings having a higher purpose in saving the soul. You reference Proverbs 20:30: “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.” Those “blows” left horrible marks on my body that made sitting difficult and bathing with soap sting horribly, and they terrified my spirit.
Feeling terrified isn’t the only outcome I live with. Ten years ago a gastroenterologist diagnosed me with IBS, a condition I’ve had since I was around three years old. Because of the fierce anxiety I felt because of the Roy Lessin spankings, I had terrible chronic stomachaches and diarrhea while I was growing up and as an adult. Five years ago my psychiatrist diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I began to work through my deeply rooted fears of my parents and the Roy Lessin spankings. Later a physician associate (PA) diagnosed me with asthma and severe allergies from a poor immune system, a result of my chronic anxiety. The same PA told me that I’m at high risk for colon cancer because of the years of IBS as a result of my anxiety. Roy, these problems are all due to my parents implementing your teachings using Roy Lessin spankings to correct a multitude of childhood blunders and attitudes. I can’t imagine why a parent would want these outcomes for their child. I may have looked happy and acted lovingly towards my parents, but I was emotionally and physically sick inside! Your teachings gave me no option but to live a horrible lie of looking happy when I was miserable.
For almost every day of my life, I fear people. If people like my parents, and friends of my family such as you and Char, would hurt me this badly, what horrible things would others do to me? I was supposed to be safe with my family and friends growing up! I especially fear men in authority roles. I occasionally look even at people I know, and who I know to be safe, with terror just because they’ve spoken in a tone that reminds me of those early times. I fear making mistakes. I choose not to have children of my own because a child’s screams scramble my insides.
Remember all those sermons at Outreach that you, Don Leetch, Dean Kerns, and a few others delivered? I still hear children screaming as their parents spanked them outside the church sanctuary during Sunday morning service during those sermons. I remember the screams of my siblings. I remember on a Friday night, someone was preaching and a dad took a baby outside for a spanking, and a neighbor called the police. We stopped the church service, and you went out with your bible to explain to the officer why it was fine for the parent to spank their baby. All of us inside prayed that the officer would understand and not take the baby away.
As a grown woman I still fear Roy Lessin spankings. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night begging my husband to “not let them get me.”
My father and I have talked several times about Roy Lessin spankings. He has asked for forgiveness, and is horrified by what he has done. These conversations have been incredibly painful for both of us, and I’m now 37 years old! I believe that he thought he was doing the right thing. You were a leader in the church he believed in, and you were his friend. Our families socialized together. This was not some teaching he picked up somewhere, and then went off to make the best of it. I hope that by this point you begin to see how your simple, sweet words about raising children are actually harmful. Perhaps you’re wondering if I want to have a dialogue with you, and talk about what you really meant by your early book. Perhaps you’ve adopted a policy of grace, and now recommend that parents spank less and not on bare skin? The truth is, I don’t want to know. If I needed justification or reasoning for your teachings, I could use your book as a reference. What I’d like you to do is reconsider your position after carefully looking at how your teachings affected me. Would a loving parent really want to raise a child to fear people, to wear a cheerful and obedient shell, or to live with PTSD and other ailments? I hope the answer you come to is No. I hope that you realize that hitting a child for any reason is not loving. Then, I hope, you join the cause to end corporal punishment in the homes of children. I came into this world a happy, healthy baby. For no other reason than the Roy Lessin spankings, I now fight for my physical and mental health. Please help others and me so this doesn’t happen to any more children. Help end corporal punishment. Help end child abuse. If Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42), I can’t image that God would condone such behavior in people who claim to be loving parents.
Bethany A. Fenimore
Roy Lessin, author of “Spanking: Why, When, How” with Lydia, Joey and Char, circa 1978. Beth Fenimore: “I remember knowing my mother was watching me and telling me to smile for the photographer. I felt intimidated by my mother to smile. No matter what facial expression I had, my eyes seemed to show my anxiety. Looking at this photo now, I feel deeply sad.”
Beth Fenimore: “As a kid, I was on the watch for the moods and emotions of others. I was usually distracted with anxiety wondering if I had done anything wrong that would cause me to get a Roy Lessin spanking.”