Before placing the child over your lap, you may want to remove any keys or other hard items from your pocket. You might also wish to remove the rings or other jewelry from your spanking hand. Many parents prefer to roll up their sleeves prior to the spanking. It's important that there be no obstructions preventing you from spanking safely.
If you're going to sit on a chair, place it in the center of the room. If you're using a bed, keep a safe distance from any bedposts so the child will not get hurt from uncontrolled movements; sitting on the side of the bed usually works best. Seating yourself in the middle of a couch in order to administer an over-the-lap spanking is even better still.
Placing an uncooperative child into over-the-lap position
Find an armless chair which, when you sit in it, your thigh is above the child's knee, ideally at about the middle of the child's thighs. Take the child's left wrist in your right hand and take him/her to your selected chair. Sit down, with the child on your right side. For this to work, you must spread your knees. The child's weight will be supported on your lap, and by spreading your knees, you gain stability. Transfer the child's wrist to your left hand and pull him/her over your lap. Pull him/her to your left, and lean, if you must. The child has to lean forward against your right thigh, and once you've pulled his/her center of gravity past your thigh, he/she will "trip" over your right thigh and instinctively will catch himself/herself with his/her right hand on your left thigh. He/she will now be lying across your lap, with his/her feet off the floor. Now, use your left hand to hold his/her upper body. The right hand, of course, is occupied with the now positioned bottom.
It is always preferable to get the child to cooperate, but if the spanking is necessary and he/she won't accept it, try this."
Bare bottom or not?
Feb-2001: A reader recommends yet another solution: "If you are hesitant to spank a bare bottom, have the child wear a thin pair of panties or the tight spandex shorts they wear these days, then either get them wet before the child puts them on or have the child get them wet in the sink, shower or bath after being put on. This makes the fabric cling to the buttocks making a good view for the spanker and still protects the skin. The child feels the pressure of the fabric on the bottom before the spanks begin which seems to remind them of what is coming. An older child can lay on the bed with 2 pillows under the hips and pull the pants tighter with both hands. This method makes the child very aware of their bottom raised in the air and poised for the spanking to come (...) This method still stings and reddens the bottom a great deal."
Oct-2001: Another reader suggests a way to bare a child's bottom without removing or pulling down his/her underwear. "All you have to do (after pulling down the pants) is to place the child on your lap with his underwear still on. You take both edges and pull them to the center and tuck them in the crack. Although this is not a complete baring, it does show a large portion of flesh and will leave the sit spot available for the spanking."
Dec-2002: Another idea is to tell your child to prepare for his/her spanking by putting on a pair of drop-seat pajamas without underwear (see reader's feedback, Dec 6, 2002). Opening the rear flap gives the parent easy access to the bare bottom without frontal nudity. Drop-seat pajamas may be a little difficult to find nowadays but if you can sew you can try using these old sewing patterns, or try shopping for drop-seat pajamas/long johns here, here, or here.
The pants can either be taken down to the ankles, to the knees (half way down), or to just below the buttocks, although the latter is less advisable (taking the pants a bit lower than absolutely necessary increases the ritual aspect of the baring). They can also be removed completely; then they won't be dangling somewhere. For reasons of modesty, the pants are best taken down just before the child gets into position. For girls who wear dresses or skirts, the skirt can simply be turned up after the girl is over the parent's lap.
(Reader's contribution, Mar 2005) "When taking the pants down, the parent should not just yank them down. This not only eliminates the ritual aspect of the baring, but in case of a boy, could cause injury to his genitals. The procedure should be done slowly, but deliberately. With the child standing in front of you, slide the outer garment (pants or shorts) down to the desired position, leaving the underwear in place. Then take down the underwear to the desired position, preferably slightly higher than the outer garment, but low enough to bare the entire bottom. If the child is wearing a garment that does not require underwear, such as pajamas, take the pants down to the same position as if it were underwear. During this procedure the child may be whining or crying; promising not to do it again. Maintain eye contact, but do not reply verbally, continue to take the pants down. This will not only increase the ritual aspect of the baring, but will insure the child understands the parent is in complete control. When the spanking is over; with younger children, 2 to 5, the parent should pull the pants up, even if the child was allowed to do the baring as described below. This will give the child a sense of finality. An older child may require more time to compose him or herself. It's would be okay for the parent to say "When you're ready, pull up your pants and come on out". Then leave the room."
Some parents ask/order their children to take down their pants, allowing/forcing them to cooperate. Others prefer to do the act themselves. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. It also depends on the individual situation and the child. If children refuse to cooperate, it may help to let them put their hands on their head for the procedure - this will minimize the hassle. If children are penitent and cooperative, it is okay to allow them to do the baring itself (see "Cooperative children").
Therefore it is a very important safeguard to make sure the child is breathing normally before commencing the spanking. After checking you're sufficiently calmed down yourself, it is recommendable to ask a question such as "are you ready for your spanking?" to find out whether your child is both physically and mentally ready.
If your child appears out of breath, e.g. from running away in an attempt to escape the punishment or from a heated discussion beforehand, give him/her time to calm down to normal pulse and breathing before beginning the punishment. If your child appears out of breath during the spanking, stop immediately.
Positioning: How to spank a 3 year old
Readying your hand
The alternative is to have your hand relaxed and flexible (especially at the wrist), like a strap. This figures to be the better choice. If you have ever played congas, bongos, tennis or squash, you will know what it means to keep your wrist flexible. Keep your four fingers together and relaxed, too. Note that it will be mainly your fingers that do the work, not your palm. Your thumb will not participate much, so you can move it a bit out of the way. Concentrate on where and how your four fingers make contact with the child's bottom.
Cupping the hand while spanking the bare bottom of a smaller child reduces the pain produced. At the same time, it produces a much louder sound - this makes the spanking seem more severe than it acually is. This trick can be very useful. It increases the psychologic effect while keeping the physical pain to a minimum.
Don't lift your arm high. You would only sacrifice accuracy to apparent power.
Since the bottom is divided into two cheeks, there are three options for placing each spank - left cheek, right cheek, or both cheeks together. Spanks that cover both cheeks can be particularly effective, but to ensure a good distribution, it's best to use all three areas in a random pattern (e.g. l, r, b, r, b, b, l, l, r, b, b...).
Speed and rhythm
The "steady pace" style, however, is somewhat robotic. So, the other approach is to vary the tempo all the time. Also, the location and force of each spank should change in a random fashion. This will make each smack unpredictable and the overall spanking more effective.
Physically, the order should be irrelevant: the total effect is the sum of the spanks, and the result of a sum does not depend on the order of its components. This law applies to the physical aspects of the spanking, such as the redness that results from the spanks. A spanking however is not given for physical but for psychological reasons; and psychologically, the order does matter. Spanks given in an increasing pattern have a stronger effect than the same spanks given in a decreasing pattern. Parents can use this effect to reduce the number of spanks (and their summed up physical impact) needed to reach the desired result.
Of course, when giving a spanking that consists of more than 5 spanks, it is neither practicable nor desirable to increase the strength throughout. There are limits on both ends of the scale - too light spanks are ineffective while too hard spanks are unsafe. For this reason, it is recommendable to use sub-patterns of increasing strength - like an (ideally, somewhat irregular) sawtooth function. If you're familiar with musical terms, think of a series of short crescendos. Many parents will intuitively follow this principle when giving a spanking.
Note: increasing the speed of the spanking in a likewise manner (accellerando) is not a very good idea. If the spanks come too fast, they are actually felt less, not more. Generally, for maximum impact each spank should be given sufficient time to "sink in" before the next spank.
The first spank is important
Changing the position
"I had the idea when I was watching my sister give a spanking to her young son whilst in the standing position. For the reasons you give I don't favour that position but it occurred to me that her hand pointing downward meant that she was making contact with the lower middle part of his bottom in a way which my spankings did not. I then realised that the same effect could be achieved by having the child's bottom on the left hand side. This method also introduces a little variety and additional ritual into the proceedings which I rather like."
For spankings given with the flat hand, it is appropriate to give at most 2-3 times as many spanks as the child's age. In practice, many parents don't count the smacks - they just stop when they feel the punishment has been sufficient. This flexible approach is preferable because it allows to take the child's reaction into account.
In addition, counting each spank makes the exercise cold and impersonal. This may be something for judicial corporal punishment, but not for a normal parent-child spanking.
During the spanking
Use your voice during the spanking only to control your children verbally when they have gotten out of position (see the next section). But don't use your voice to keep your children from crying. Crying is natural in this situation and not an act of disobedience. Tears are good and purifying.
The "layer cake" method
"With the "layer cake" approach, the necessary preparation and explanation are followed by sufficient spanking to ensure the child's attention. Then, with the child either repositioned so that he or she is standing at the parent's knee or still in position, the parent reasons with the child. The parent then spanks enough to make sure that he or she has the child's undivided attention before pausing to reason with the child once more. A little more talking is then followed by a little more spanking. (...)
All comments made by the parent during the punishment should be positive, specifically addressing the parent's faith in the child to fulfill the parent's reasonable expectation, since the spanking addresses the parent's displeasure with the child's past behavior (as well as maintaining the child's undivided attention). The reasoning is meant to provide balance in the child's mind as the parent directs and amends the child's thinking process from the past and into the future. Repetition, ritual, and reinforcement are key components of "layer cake". So the lesson the parent desires to teach is not likely to have to be repeated. (...)
The spanking and pauses for discussion should proceed at a pace with which the parent is comfortable and the child is appropriately responsive. The planned pauses allow both the parent and child to reflect on the disciplinary process. In particular, it permits the parent to concentrate on one task at a time while gauging the effectiveness. (...) The alternating pattern of reinforcing "layers" spanking and dialogue continues until the parent is absolutely sure that the child has "gotten the message". Then, the parent finishes the session with sufficient spanking to bring the child to a full flow of cleansing tears and repentance. Of course, it goes without saying that, unreserved reconciliation follows."
Note: Some children cry more easily than others. For this reason, crying is not an objective indicator to judge whether the punishment is enough. If your child doesn't cry easily, you should not assume that a spanking isn't effective just because he/she isn't crying. Tears are cleansing, but they aren't a must.
For more details on the "layer cake" method, see Reader's Feedback, April 30, 2003.
Here are some examples for positive verbal reinforcement: "I know that you can do better and you know it, too, don't you? You are much better than your recent behavior is telling the world that you are; isn't it? Way down, deep inside, you really are a good kid; aren't you? You know, I would not trade you for any child in the whole wide world. You are mine and I am keeping you. Even now, I love you more than you know at this moment. You really are a good kid. I am never letting you go. But, we are here because we are not going to let the way you have acted get in the way of who you are and what you can become! You really are bunches and bunches better than you have behaved recently. Why just the other day your grandmother (teacher, whoever, or I) was saying (praise, praise, praise) ..."
To be avoided at all costs are guaranteed spirit-breakers such as, "You are just like you father (or mother); how could you be so stupid?" or "Why can't you be like your sister (or older brother, cousin, etc.); she (or he)ís so perfect; why can't you be just like her (him)?" Also to be avoided are open-ended questions for which no real answer may exist. These may include, "Why do you behave like that?" Often, the child has no idea.
For more details on positive reinforcement, see Reader's Feedback, April 30, 2003.
Keeping in position
The best solution is to verbally get the child back into the proper position. It can help to let the child grab the legs of the chair, or the parent's legs. This will make it easier to keep his/her hands in front and give them some physical (and moral) support. If this still doesn't help and the child's hand flings back, it should be held, "pinned down", at the small of the child's back with the parent's free left hand, allowing the spanking to continue.
To prevent kicking, the best solution again is verbal instruction. As a physical countermeasure if verbal instruction doesn't help, the child's legs can be tucked under the parent's right leg (see chapter "Positions"). Also, the child's pants, if they are bunched at the knees or ankles, will limit the freedom to kick.
After the spanking
After the child has regained his/her constitution, help him/her to get dressed again. You can let him/her apologize to you (or the offended person, if different), and promise not to repeat the bad behavior. This will strengthen the educational effect. Do not apologize for having given the spanking. If you truly felt that such a punishment was deserved, it was your responsibility to carry it out. You don't want to undermine the deterrence factor by suggesting that you spanked unfairly.
Let the spanking stand as the punishment for the offense, and do not humiliate your child by mentioning the offense or its penalty in public. The child has paid and the issue is settled. Fully reintegrate the child to the family, and make sure all family members accept the punishment as sufficient, so that they will reaccept the child as well. Do not tolerate any further angry words (e.g. from your spouse) about the misbehavior. The matter is to be considered closed.
Recommended lotions are after-sun lotions and aloe-vera-based lotions - generally, any lotion which is cooling and soothing.
Last update: Mar-19-2005