By Joe Rector

Most folks work for a living. It’s time-consuming and demanding each and every day of the work week. Some people also must put in overtime to complete assignments, often without extra pay. However, of all the jobs, nothing is more intense than being a parent. It’s an even worse chore when children must be disciplined.

I dreaded having to correct my children, but the fact is that they were human and, therefore, made mistakes. They also tested the waters. When they did, the gauntlet was dashed and a war of wills ensued. I simply had to punish them if I planned on maintaining order in our household.

My approach to punishment was swift and just. I’d go to Lacey or Dallas and administer spankings. Amy said the kids knew they were in trouble when I frowned and put on my “Rector lips.” Those spanking were administered with my hand, although I might have used a fly swatter or something on occasion.

Lacey figured out early that the best bet was to act contrite over any transgressions. With my first step into her room, she began to bawl and beg me not to punish her. I’d like to say it had no effect on me, but that would be a lie. Oh, she still received the spanking, but it was usually much lighter.

Dallas was defiant. His stubborn streak kept him from begging or crying. In fact, the boy refused to shed the first tear in front of me. He saved them for after I’d left the room. If I re-entered, he sniffed and set his jaw in an act that said I won’t bend.

My two children seemed to relish the idea of arguing and scuffling in the car. One would call the other a name or begin teasing, and that drove the other child into a frenzy. Then something would happen and one would squeal and retaliate. By then, I had put up with enough. That meant I reached across the front seat and attempted to thrash both of them. Suddenly, the two of them forgot about their differences and delighted in a game of dodging my swats.

Amy was a more masterful disciplinarian. I bellowed and stomped and threatened. Before long, Lacey and Dallas tuned all the commotion out until I left the room. My dear wife is a quiet person, but when she reached her limit, the kids feared her. On one occasion, they began a backseat argument as soon as the car pulled out of the driveway. Amy had warned them in advance that no such behavior would be tolerated. Not more than a mile down the road, she whipped the car into a subdivision road, took off her flip-flop, and flogged the two children. From that point, all Amy had to do was step on the brakes and all misbehavior ceased.

I admit that I’m one of those parents who suffered with their children when I punished them. My stomach knotted and tears flooded my eyes. I didn’t want to spank my kids, but it was necessary. So, I felt terrible after the fact.

Grounding worked better for Dallas. He hated to be confined, so Amy would place him in a chair in our bedroom and dare him to get up. With nothing to stimulate his mind, he’d grow bored in a matter of minutes and would begin calling “Mom” to seek forgiveness and release. Lacey didn’t care if she were grounded for life. She’d close her bedroom door and dream of the day she could leave home. I have to admit that during her teen years I offered to help her pack her bags.

My generation is probably the last one to use spanking as a means of discipline. Other generations have decided that striking a child sends the wrong message. Instead, parents use time-out, one-on-one discussions, and other creative ways of getting points across. Perhaps that all works, but I still stand by the belief that a quick swat to the behind is an acceptable way of correcting behavior and teaching children the correct ways to act. By the way, neither I nor my children suffered any long-lasting debilitating effects from the spankings we earned.