Friday, October 13, 2006

Everybody needs a kick-butt grandma

My grandma was a mean old lady. She'd make us go get our own stick and then she'd whip us with it. She beat the crap out of me once, for no good reason. It was absolutely abuse and I'll never forgive her for it.

On the other hand, she and Grandpa provided me with the only real home I had as a child. Most of the time, she was a pretty good grandma, not a perfect person, but she was overburdened. Long story.

I spanked Rowan yesterday. She keeps getting in all the mailboxes in my neighborhood. She opened a neighbor's mail one day and I found it in the yard. She opens my mail.

Yesterday I was out talking to a neighbor and I saw her head toward the mail boxes. Again! I yelled, "Rowan, you stay out of those mailboxes."

She ignored me and kept going.

I yelled again, "Don't you touch those mailboxes."


"Rowan, do NOT open that mailbox."

She did it. She opened the mailbox.

I lost it. I grabbed her arm, turned her around, and I smacked her a good one on her bottom. Just once, but I made sure it stung.

She didn't cry, she didn't seem upset, she got back on her bike and I said, "now you trade off with Janey in a minute" and she said, "okay, Grams."

I've spanked her once before, when she was three and wouldn't stay out of the wood stove. I hit her on her diaper then, softly, she was insulted, but she didn't cry. She never got in the stove again.

Last night, Bill and I were watching CSI and one of the stars made the comment (after a bunch of teenagers had gotten picked up for murders and beatings) "they need a Grandma to whup their butts." And Bill and I laughed and said, "Rowan's covered with that."

I'm all for corporal punishment in cases like this. A swat works for Rowan. Max is a different story. He takes it personal and acts out worse. We have to reason with him, but I also have to be consistent and follow up. I've never spanked any of my other grandchildren and I hope I never have to.

Of course, I cuddle them constantly. I think it balances out.


Elizabeth-W said...

My Nana would make her boys go get their own switches, too. One day, my dad brought in a twig about an inch long. It struck Nana so funny (because he was really pretty small, and so it wasn't coming from a defiant place so much as just simply, small switch = small pain) that she let him get by with it. The older brother tried the same tactic some time later, after watching little brother get by with it. So Nana learned to say if you don't pick an appropriate switch, I'll have to pick one for you.
I wonder what Heavenly Father's feelings are about corporal punishment--and I mean this seriously. There's all this research about not spanking children, and then other 'experts' will say that is bunk, that a little swat never hurt anyone. I don't know if there is any canonized stuff on the issue.
If you look at Nephi, he got to shock his bros when they were acting out-so maybe there is some precedent? ;)

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

I had a friend who was abused by his adoptive parents. So, I have a revulsion to corporal punishment. But if the kid is doing something that might bring harm (such as running out into the street), we need to address the matter in a what that will make an impact on them. No pun intended.

One of my daughters only needed a frowning look from Dad to get the message. Another needed a swat.

We had a couple of boys in our ward who I think were psycopaths. Bed wetting, fire starting, torturing animals, etc. Their parents refused to discipline them at all. One of them out of the blue punched my son in the face during priesthood. I was bish's c, sitting up on the stand. I came down in a flash and took the kid to his parents. He told them that it didn't happen and that I was lying. They believed him!! I wonder which prison they're in now?

danithew said...

Grandma Hall was my official "kick-butt grandma". But I don't think she ever spanked me. Not that I can remember anyway.

Not even when I broke her plate glass window when hitting croquet balls with a mallet. Grandma had showed me how "not" to hit the croquet ball, since I seemed intent on using a golf-type swing. I did it anyway. Then saw the result. Exactly what she had imagined. My punishment was that I had to do chores to earn quarters to help pay for the window. I was really just a little kid.

The other kick-butt experience I'll never forget. Grandma Hall came to visit us in New York. Since she lived in Utah, this wasn't something that happened often. We were eating breakfast and Grandma didn't like the noises I was making as I ate my grapefruit. She told me to cut it out. I kept making those noises. I don't think I did it deliberately. The way I remember it, I couldn't understand what she was talking about. Anyway, she got mad again and told me that if I didn't stop making those noises, she was going to leave. I guess I didn't manage to stop, because shortly thereafter she stood up and left the table.

My grandma Hall was the best. She was almost always cheerful, but she could be gruff or to-the-point if necessary. If you stepped on her toe she'd probably kick back.

We really loved her. I wouldn't have wanted her to be anything but what she was.

When she passed away she had more than thirty grandkids and was on her way to having almost as many great-grandkids. I had the privilege of being there at her side the night before or perhaps two nights before she passed away. She was very weak as she hadn't been able to eat or drink for days. She still was able to smile. My wife was with me and took one of grandma's hands in her hands. My grandma started a little and said "Oh, your hands are cold!" She followed that up quickly with the remark "But a heart so warm."

She was a real sweetheart. A truly unforgettable personality.

annegb said...

I didn't think I'd ever smack my grandchildren, ever, but when you have them a lot, it happens.

I spanked Maxwell more times than I can count when he was a baby because he would run in front of cars. Scared me to death.

He never cried (of course, he had on a thick diaper). He would say, "Don't 'pank my bum, Ga-ga."

We never could break him of running in the street. I bet he gave some motorists heart attacks.

I haven't spanked him in years and like I said, and Floyd says, it wouldn't work anyway.

I really regret spanking my older kids, it was abusive and I have to live with that. I didn't spank Jessie more than a couple of times, it was just too traumatic for her, but I still feel bad.

Now, Sarah, I don't regret the few times I swatted her. She was so spoiled. I remember one time she was stamping her feet and yelling at her dad, then she turned around and stomped off and he swatted her behind. The shock on her face was just priceless. "My father has struck me." Bill was quite shocked at himself.

She didn't cry, either, that time. We laugh about it now, because she had her dad wrapped around her little finger.

Bottom line, I just hope Rowan doesn't steal anybody else's mail. People take that personally.

Barb said...

My grandma's did not watch us too much through the years so our relationship was usually one of unconditional love. I remember my one grandma being a little mad at me when I was pretty small as I think I did something that scared my baby sister. My other grandparents lived on a farm in hour that was about two hours away. Before we were born, she made a comment to my mom how we would probably be very close to our in town grandparents. As I like to say things as the come into my mind here for better or for worse, I just remembered how when she saw me when I was a baby that she thought she had never seen such a tiny baby. I was five pounds and fifteen ounces, but my mom knew I was an eater and was not worried. When grandma visited she told my parents that the airconditioning was too cold for. Grandma did not think they would raise me.

My other Grandma also thought she would not get to be close to us when she learned my dad was Catholic as she had a mistaken notion about Catholics. In the end, I was close to both Grandmas, but having one Grandma just a few blocks away for several years will allow you to have more experiences and sharing.

My grandma on the farm made a special trip to visit as she wanted to baby-sit us children. She told my parents to go out while she watched us. Being the honest child that I was, I let her know that my other grandma would give us lollipops when she visited. The next time this grandma visited, she came supplied with lollipops/suckers.

I think spankings can be appropriate in certain situations if much love is shown forth afterwards. My dad was not prone to rages when I was little. He would spank us, but not in a crazy or angry way. The threats of a potential spanking did keep us in line and our cousins that lived with us briefly. Those were happy days.

I agree that children can vary and you need to discipline accordingly. I had one cousin who said her dad spanked her and she started laughing. This made him mad and he spanked her more. She kept laughing and he got to the point where he was so mad that it must of scared him. He never spanked her again.

White Man Retarded said...

I rarely spank my kids, but when I do, they know they're in some sherious sit. I enjoy it, and hopefully they will grow from it. Being a parent seems instinctively to fly against everything you know is right sometimes. You think you have it going on and then H.Father says, "Time for humility, boy, here's a kid..."

I think H. Father is ok with corporal punishment. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah, the Flood, the Tower of Babel. The book of Revelations. Is that not corporal punishment but on a cosmic scale? Nephi was the master at c.p. Not only did he Force-shock his brothers (I imagine Emperor Palpatine shocking Luke) he got to behead someone. Sometimes we need it.

Anonymous said...

There's an interesting anti-spanking web site at

My opinion is that spankings sometimes are needed as a last resort, because most children, at least at some points, and especially young ones are incapable of understanding reasoning.

What I read at was that many times even punishment spankings create sexual or erotic feelings. For many, the buttocks is an erogenous zone. But even when painful, the sensations are intense enough to create stimulation of the nearby genitals.

There is a huge amount of spanking oriented porn out there. It is a widespread fetish. And it seems for most participants that the roots of that fetish started with childhood spankings or other humiliations.

I'm not an absolutist on the issue. I don't think all children who get spanked turn into spanking fetishists. I don't think all spanking is abuse, or has long term negative consequences. And I do think there are situations in which spanking children is called for, but as I said, those are last resort type of things when all else fails, and it becomes necessary to stop destructive or harmful behavior.

annegb said...

I sort of felt shocked at myself when I spanked Rowan the other day, but she disobeyed me so blatantly that shocked me as well. And I felt like a true grandma for a moment, like I was entitled.

Which I haven't felt, because these are Jared's children, who is my stepson, and who dislikes me, and who I dislike (well, dislike isn't the right word, but I'm lazy). I adore those kids, but I am under the gun with them.

The thought process I went through in those few seconds was sort of priceless. And what was funny was how she just went on, getting back on her bike and yelling at Janey to trade bikes. It's a long story.

As I said, I was a different mother to Sarah than to the others, with each child, as I knew better, I did better. But I still smacked Sarah a few times, and always deservedly so. I know I didn't hurt her. I got her attention, and sometimes, especially with spoiled, well-loved children, that's a necessity.

Even if Jessie had had the parents Sarah had, though, we could never have hit her. It just devastated her. Even as bad as I was, I only struck her a few times.

You don't have to hit a kid to hurt them though.

Now I'm depressing myself.