This Beautiful Inheritance: The "Spanking Spoon"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The "Spanking Spoon"

It’s the longest 3-5 minutes of your life. All you can do is grit your teeth and bear it because nothing else works. The screaming, the crying, the flailing of arms and legs. Your toddler is throwing a fit, and though you saw it coming, there was nothing you could do to stop it. Now she’s full-fledged hysterical and you just have to endure…

Ever been there? Some moms haven’t, but if you’re like me – the parent of a strong-willed child – you know just what I’m talking about.
Between the ages of 1 and 2, my youngest daughter’s strong-willed temperament made a grand debut. She became Miss Independent and also mastered the art of fit-throwing. And one of the most frustrating things to me was that her fits would be over such petty things, like changing her diaper. She has dealt with diaper changes every day since her birth; why must they still be such battles?! Equally frustrating was that nothing seemed to help: spankings didn’t faze her, she wouldn’t stay in time-out, and yelling raised my blood pressure but did nothing to her.

Then recently I was in conversation with an older mom (who has experience raising strong-willed daughters), and she suggested I start spanking with a wooden spoon. I’d heard of other moms pulling out the wooden spoon, but I always thought, “What’s the point in that? I can spank just as well with my hand, right?” But as this wise mom pointed out, there is something unique about spanking with an item seen by your children as an object of punishment (not to mention it hurts worse than a hand). She assured me it made a difference.

And sure enough, she was right. I explained to my children that the spoon I was holding up was officially the “spanking spoon” and that I did not want to use it on them, but if they didn’t obey Mommy after I warned them, I would have to. The looks on their faces told me they took every word straight to heart!
And since then, things have been so much easier for Mama. Not because I’m dishing out spoon spankings all the time, but because I don’t have to! I’ve probably not given more than a handful wooden spoon spankings, but just the mention of me getting the spoon is enough to whip my kids into shape. For the most part, when they misbehave, I tell them to stop or I’ll get the spoon, and they straighten up immediately.

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family also recommends using an object (rather than a hand) for spanking because “the hand should be seen as an object of love – to hold, hug, pat, and caress.” And though I’ve always known and believed that the Bible advocates for physical discipline, it occurred to me that Proverbs actually mentions using a rod (or any inanimate object) and not a hand for doing so.
“He who spares his rodhates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Pro. 13:24

I still use other methods of punishment around my house too: time-outs, removal of privileges and heart-to-heart talks are all common depending on the child and the situation. But using the wooden spoon for spankings is one tactic that has been very helpful, especially for dealing with my strong-willed child. In fact, I don’t think I’ve dealt with a single full-fledged tantrum since the spoon era began!

Congrats to Amy Eberlein, who is the winner of my "God and Me" devotional giveaway. Amy, I'll email you about claiming your prize.


  1. This is a great article! I fully agree with it too, once I began using the wooden spoon on my toddlers bare bottoms it didn't take long to where now I hardly ever have to use it!

  2. You definitely shouldn't be spanking your toddlers bare bottom with a wooden spoon. Depending on where you are, you could go to jail for child abuse.


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