Spanking the Kids: Southern Style

So much for laid back Southern living: a new poll shows parents in the South are more likely to be spank-happy when it comes to discipline.

According to new poll figures: sixty-two percent of folks below the Mason-Dixon Line admit to popping their kids on the backside. So how does that compare to the rest of the country?

Us cranky Yankees, the easygoing Californians and the stiff upper list midwesterners sit around forty-one percent pro-spanking, fifty-nine percent against. Note to children: encourage your parents to move north!

As a New Yorker married to a man who is “Southern born and Southern bred, and when he’s dead he’ll be Southern dead,” the fact that Southerners are spankers didn’t shock me. I heard “if you don’t stop that, I’m going to pop you” or “I’ma swat you on the can,” frequently when I was living down South. And needless to say, my husband was swatted on his own can more than once.

Although, to be fair, I was raised in the North, and neither my brother nor I were spoiled by any lack of the rod.

But one Southern psychologists says it’s that “spare the rod and spoil the child” aspect of the Bible Belt South that makes spanking so popular in the lower half of the nation. In an article in the Tennessean on the poll, Brian P. Hinote, an assistant professor of sociology at Middle Tennessee State University, says “Spanking is viewed as a way of delivering children from hell.”

Maybe I’m taking him too literally, but I haven’t found that most pro-spanking families give two hoots about hell. They just want their kids to sit down and mind their manners. In the end that might keep them out of hell, true, but I’ve found spanking is usually focused on the here and now.

So Southern Babble readers, what say you? Do you spank? Non-Southerners, are you spanking because of the Bible or just to get your kids to listen up?


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