Parenting without Paddles

Parenting without Paddles

In a modern family, I get to observe discipline under  different roofs. All I can say is, it’s no longer 1970…

In the good old days, a paddle ruled the household. It seemed like every parent had one tucked away, ready to unleash a “whack” or two when we misbehaved. It was like a rite of passage, passed down from generation to generation. My Dad Big Art had one, as did his dad. Ours was displayed above the mantle, a statement of possible consequence for poor choices.

Now, before you start picturing fraternity houses and their wild hazing rituals, let’s be clear: corporal punishment was not exclusive to parenting. It had its place in various cultures and even educational institutions. But let’s face it, it’s a practice that has evolved (or perhaps, devolved) into something nearly unheard of in today’s society. Think about it—there was a time when spanking your child was as normal as eating breakfast. Parents saw it as a necessary evil, a way to discipline their little rascals and shape them into respectable human beings. It was like a secret handshake among parents, an unspoken agreement that a firm hand was needed to keep the chaos at bay.

It was a deterrent, in most cases.

In our own cultural bubble, we’re witnessing a seismic shift in parenting approaches. But in many cultures, paddling, spanking, or any form of physical punishment was, and in some cases still is, a common practice. Perhaps these days, society as a whole is recognizing the importance of empathy, communication, and positive reinforcement in raising children. Today, we use phrases like “time-outs,” “positive reinforcement,” and “gentle discipline” as the buzzwords in the world of child-rearing. So we parents have to find alternative methods to foster a child’s emotional growth and development without resorting to old-fashioned paddling. And that can be pretty exhausting.

My kids are more coin operated than fear based, meaning fines and bonuses on Greenlight are my version of the ATO paddle.



I mentor two kids and several entrepreneurs. Similarities are coincidental.