I Will Raise My Children as Hobbits


The Chief Electoral Officer has released the preliminary result of the Citizens Initiated Referendum on the question ‘Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?’

87% voted against it.
No word yet on whether this will allow me to smack other people’s children, but I’m buying a plane ticket just in case.

Citizens Initiated Referendum 2009 [New Zealand]

If you spank a child enough when they are under five, when they are small and don’t have to be spanked hard at all to make them behave, then you will never have to spank them again.

My mother told me that.

@Tommmcatt Floats:
Never worked for me.

On the other hand, I’m no fan of the “let the children run wild and free” school either.

@Tommmcatt Floats: My mom used to keep a wooden paddle on the top of the refrigerator. All she had to do was threaten any of her four kids, and we’d quiet the fuck down. Don’t think she ever smacked us with it, though.

The counting to ten threat works pretty well in the Nabisco household. The key is to break the eldest child, or else they form a pack of siblings and take over the house.

ATTN: child services. I’m using “break” in an ironic sense. Really.

@The Nabisco Quiver: Ironic. Right.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Hugs.

@ManchuCandidate: Hugs. But… I say get ’em while they’re too young to fight back.

Personally, children have always terrified me. I have no idea what one is supposed to do with them. Not even my godchild. The OH has a nephew who, when he was five or six, was the single most frightening child I ever met. I would never strike a child as it might be provoked to say terrible things to me in return. That ‘Think Beautiful Thoughts’ (and don’t Tink on the furniture) scene in Peter Pan always seemed to me to be entirely the wrong way round. But then, of course, Barrie was thinking vile thoughts about all the boy children in the house. And he wasn’t even Catholic: file under – Strange But True.

So much goes through my mind when I hear about the child smacking debate. On one hand I really do want to be able to smack some loud obnoxious kid into next week where I won’t have to deal with them.

But on the other hand, I recall my childhood which was a life of living in fear of my drunken step-father, his belt, and some minor infraction against his perception of how kids should behave.

I know there’s a world of difference between a smack for being naughty (Or a spanking for being good in later life) and what I lived through as a child. But for me, I don’t think I could resist becoming my step-father.

Now, is it just me, or is there just a hint of hom0-eroticism in that picture above? And being they are hobbits, would it be hobo-eroticism?

Dangerously un-PC terrirory. My parents believed in corporal punishment, but they only actually formally spanked me once, when I was playing with matches in the yard and lit a pile of leaves on fire.

Oh no, this is the God’s honest truth, as I wrote that, I remembered one other incident, about the same time, I was 5, I think. My mom caught me and the neighbor girl in the backyard, playing “you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.” Now that I remember, I remember, in detail, yup, that was what we said to each other, “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine.” Then, we didn’t pull our pants down, we just stretched out the tops of our pants and took turns peering down there. Mom caught us in flagrante delicto. She was outraged, I remember her sputtering “thats dirty, dirty, dirty, and she spanked me, all the way back to the house, the old running spanking routine.

Wow, got to tell my shrink about that.

Anyway, I do think, in the very early years, those little taps on the bottom, they are not bad. But then, only when done when in complete control, as a considered, calm exercise of negative reinforcement.

But I also recognize that its absolutely wrong when done in anger, as an act of aggressive domination.

And I do still remember, at 4 and 5, the hurt of the spankings was not the spanking, but simply the recognition that I had disappointed, that I had lost the parents good regard.

And that motivation can be acheived without spanking.

And the other side of the coin is that even the most anti-spanking parents, who would never lay a hand on their kids, can do even worse damage simply by being emotionally manipulative and withdrawing affection.

So I guess in the end, it depends on the kid, and the parent, and a thousand other things, and one size just doesn’t fit all.

@Benedick: Only child? Distant parents? Boarding school? I think there are only two ways to learn to relate to children, one is relating to your siblings when they are children, and you are one too, the other is remembering how your parents related to you. Do you not remember? Being dandled on the knee?

@SanFranLefty: The black dog never leaves me, just sometimes I am depressed in an upbeat way. Reading the works and memoirs of people more depressed than me always helps, makes me realize as bad as I think it is, others feel even worse, and I am thankful, I think its why I love David Foster Wallace. Read Angela’s Ashes, thats a real pick me up if you are depressed, the first 10 pages should do it. Listen to The Cure, and Violent Femmes, and Lou Reed, if its real bad. Or read Rimbaud.

@Mistress Cynica: Thank you sweetheart. It’s sort of passed for about an hour now. I’m so glad you caught that reference.
@Promnight: I really don’t need to listen to any more Cure than I already do. It was a miracle I got home tonight, I seriously had figured out multiple ways to use Muni buses and light rail to stop the incessant “Why bother?” in my head.

Oh, and my corporal punishment memory/ies: My parents would spank both me and my sister when either one of us got into trouble (honestly it was 95% her, I was the overaccomodating good girl and once she realized I’d get spanked with her when she did bad that was a license to be evil), and as we got older and could run away or writhe, my parents made us go out to the kindling pile and pick out which stick we wanted to get spanked with. They were also big fans of the technique of pulling the car over the instant my sister or I irritated them, and making us walk home. Longest distance ever walked was 4.7 miles (as an adult visiting the homeland I went and clocked it off on the rental car).

It’s a wonder that they didn’t wind up being reported to Child Protective Services (being white with a job and health insurance helps) or that I didn’t wind up in the state kiddy prison (I was a little too smart to get caught).

And they wonder why I don’t have children? I’m so terrified I will become them, there’s no way I should be allowed to breed. (Besides the fact that the world is going to hell in a handbasket).

Really, it’s a wonder that anyone would let me near their kids. And it’s a wonder that all of my friends’ kids adore me for reasons I don’t understand.

/go away, black dog.

@SanFranLefty: You’re lucky you didn’t wind up running away and working the streets in some city. Once a child is old enough and aware enough that a little spank is no longer necessary to send a message that the child is too young to process intellectually, I believe it has no purpose at all anymore, and becomes a form of institutionalized humiliation. Bad.

I went to high school in Florida, and then, and I believe to this day, they paddled kids in school.

It was brutal, I was paddled once in 9th grade. You were actually sentenced to a specific number of whacks. I was sent to the Vice Principal’s office, his other title was “disciplinarian” because he administered the corporal punishment.

The instrument of torture was identical to those ceremonial frat paddles, like a cricket bat with holes drilled through it, so no cushion of air would soften the blow.

I was told to approach the vice principals desk, and bend over, and grab the opposite side of the desk.

He then assumed a position behind me, and this was no kidding, he raised that paddle shoulder high, and swung like he was swinging for the bleachers. Twice. It hurt like hell. I was a 6 foot tall 16 year old, and it hurt like hell, and although I was viewing the whole thing through a detached point of view, like “how crazy is this, this is insane, this is uncivilized,” the pain brought instant tears, not crying, shock and humiliation and powerlessness despite my detached attitude. It truly hurt so bad it was difficult to sit for the rest of the day.

I got two whacks, for greater infractions, kids got as many as 10, that would truly be torture.

Is there a reason I have contempt for all authority?


run, lefty, run. the black dog has me by the throat……….

and i get to blame my insane mother again for it!
she literally beat the shit out of me. hairbrush’s, shoes….i remember going to 2nd grade with a purple egg on my right cheekbone, and the
instructions to lie about how it got there. when i was 9, she had me by my long hair and was banging my head into the tiled bathroom wall—and i hit her back. slugged her good. soon thereafter, began the relative roulette.
i was adored by grandparents, father, aunts, and i turned out ok.
ok enough to have a baby and never, not once, not ever, lift a hand to her.
ok enough to forgive her. ok enough to talk to her every so often, and feel sorry for her.
one withering look is all it took to keep my daughter in line. what she feared most was disappointing me. i did something right, she’s an amazing, level headed, responsible young woman. my dad told me one can learn how to be a great parent from having a bad one, and it’s true.
repeating history, though all too common, is stupid.

spanking, or whatever you want to call it, is vile. i support all legislation to make it a crime. of course this isn’t even on the table in usamerica.
several countries have outlawed HITTING A CHILD. duh.

/going back under the bed now

i just realized, writing that, why i am plagued with wanderlust. it’s what i know, what i’m familiar with, shuffled around like i was. why i went to so many different schools, why i change cities, countries, careers and husbands every few years….

hey! isn’t this supposed to be good news weekend?
ok, i have some:
an old friend contacted me through FB. my daughter used to babysit her young son when she was in high school. she wrote to me, filling in the gaps since we last spoke. she very excitedly exclaimed, in a tone of voice she would have used to tell me he just won a nobel prize, said loud and proud,
“and (her son) IS GAY!!!!!!”
i took this as wonderful news. it’s a new day. really.

@Tommmcatt Floats:
I have heard the same.

@The Nabisco Quiver:
Probably so.

And then you overtake all. Hugs it is!

Love your rants these days.

Its a very difficult issue, and in many related areas we have certainly gone too far (in the US mind you, not NZ) in allowing the state (or rather, the criminal justice system) to get involved, imho.

Feel-good no-nothings will always say protect the child, but then of course fail to make sure places exist for children under these circumstances to flee too.

If you are just delivering them to cold institutional settings, (after the court proceedings), or worse yet predatory foster parents, then your glorified law isn’t worth bupkiss.

Back in the day there was a program called Safe Space, that provided exactly this. If you couldn’t stand it or were running for your life, or even if you just needed to get away for a short time to defuse a situation, it was there. If it was a huge rift then the kid could get legal advice and help through the processes (forgot the technical names) to get away, permanently. Same should apply to women in abusive relationships, and indeed there are men similarly-situated.

Today, these places are gone, (I know, not everywhere, you enlightened Cali folk), and, conversely, the police have to arrest someone when called in on a domestic violence situation.

I got whupped on average at least once a year between the ages of 6-17. My dad, despite his own denials, has a vicious streak a mile wide that shows up when he’s mad and would dole out punishments out of proportion to the actual “crime.” After, I’d end up groveling and saying I’m sorry which is why I hate groveling to this day. Part of the problem was that my dad didn’t understand Western culture as well as he thought and applied good old fashioned Korean style beatings when he really got mad with me. The other part was that my dad was having issues at work and took out his frustrations on me–something I grew to resent (still do) and I had to learn to try not to take out my anger on those who aren’t the problem.

Last time my dad ever hit me was when I was 20 and took a haymaker straight to the jaw. I’m not sure who was more surprised that I was still standing, me or my dad. Shortly there after, I hit the gym.

My parents weren’t really big on the physical beatings, but more psychological warfare which is why I’m well acquainted with the application of terror and Jedi mind tricks. It annoys me when my bosses or people I know attempt to play mind games with me because I’ve dealt with experts.

My sister was smart enough to mostly avoid the trouble I got into, but we both marveled that we didn’t end up totally fucked up.

On the other hand, I also grew up with the first generation to “live wild and free.” They didn’t turn out so well.

Somewhere in between. Easier said than done.

Mark me down as not a fan. I have two kids of my own now and I don’t think I’ll ever hit either of them. The lesson I took away from spankings/whippings/beatings whatever you want to call them, was one of domination, control, and utter hypocrisy. I recall getting into a fight and before getting spanked being told that, “Violence is the tool of the ignorant.” Har.

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