The Golden Age of the “Chancletazo”

I'm minding my own business looking for shampoo at the local Walgreens when I hear a little girl whine: "Mami, but I want it!" The whine becomes louder by the minute, when finally the little girl throws herself to the floor, screaming at the top of her lungs, "I waaanntttt iiiitttt!!!" The mother doesn't even react; she finishes her shopping trip and the girl eventually follows her mother out still mid-tantrum. It made me think: WWPaMD (What would Papi and Mami Do)?
To spank or not...that is the question (iStockphoto)To spank or not...that is the question (iStockphoto)
They certainly wouldn't have left me on the floor making a scene. I know that Papi would have stopped the whining long before the tantrum started with a stern warning, and if that failed, he would have swiftly picked me up, exited the store and gotten to the bottom of the matter. And if that still didn't work, a good nalgadita or two would have been issued. Then I'm thinking, caray, well by that time there would have been enough correazos, chancletazos and nalgadas to ensure I'd never throw a tantrum in my life. As far as I know, no kid in my family ever did.

Things I Learned from My Father

I'm not condoning child abuse in any way, shape or form. All I'm asking is how come so many kids today are allowed to behave with disrespect towards themselves, their parents and others? What's up with children throwing tantrums, hitting their parents and talking back to others? I'm not saying that todo tiempo pasado fue mejor, I just want to know what happened to good old-fashioned spanking as a consequence to bad behavior.

I don't know that I have an accurate answer to my question, but I do know that the way my parents corrected us, worked to help us grow up into men and women of character.

Funny Things Our Mamis Say

Here's what I have learned about spanking in my experience:

Have a standing previous agreement on how and when to spank: If parents don't show a united front when it comes to discipline, kids will end up manipulating the situation resulting in a complete lack of respect.
How to spank: My parents had an agreement that only arms and legs (and sometimes the back end) would be touched; no head, neck or torso was to be hit. Instruments of spanking would include a correa (or belt, but never the belt buckle), una varita (a thin tree branch), or a chancleta (usually a flip-flop).
When to spank: A child's rejection of a direct command was usually enough for a serious parental confrontation that would always start with a talk (llamar la atención), and it would go from there down to spanking if need be. In my home, age-wise, spanking started the moment that toddler began saying "No" and needed to understand that Papi and Mami were to be obeyed for his or her own good. It usually ended right before the Quinces.

The verdict is definitely out on the extremely personal decision of whether things like "time-outs" are enough discipline, as well as how to proceed when not even a spanking works. Or whether to even spank at all. All I know is that in my family, spanking, when done correctly, helped children become respectful and appreciative adults capable of positive relationships.

And like my abuela used to say, ¡Eso es así!

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What do you think? Were you spanked? Do you spank your kids? Share how you feel about it.