Monday, March 21, 2016

A "Tradition" To Eliminate

I saw a brief, maybe 10 sec, video on facebook last week.  It was a video of a child giving the dad "birthday spankings".  Everyone was laughing because this young child was imitating the father on the child's birthday, "isn't that so cute".  I mean really, so when a child imitates an adult by hitting another child, why isn't that "just so cute".  Can we expect children, especially young children, to understand the difference, when it is *OK* to copy your parents, or other adults, and when it just isn't OK.

And WHY are we still passing along this old, worn out, tradition.  I tried looking up the origins of the birthday spanking, but yet again, that is where so many seem to disagree.  One site says it "replicates the spanking you get when you are born and the doctor spanks your bottom."  Another site says the birthday spanking has its origins further back..."Some children receive birthday “spankings”, which were originally based on superstition, but are now more of a birthday prank or a joke. Hundreds of years ago, spankings were given for each year of the birthday child’s life. Beyond that number, a child received another spanking to grow on, one to live on, one to eat on, one to be happy on, and yet another spanking to get married on. At one time, it was considered back luck if the birthday celebrant was not spanked because it was believed to 'soften up the body for the tomb.'" (

But really, no matter the origin, why is this tradition something that is still being done.  Jackson and I have never done this with our boys.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  But we have never used punishments with our boys either. Why, especially in our society, where spankings are still used as punishments, would we want to introduce spankings as some sort of joke as well.  Why are we so wrapped up in this whole "spanking" thing.  Why is it so important.  Of course I think spankings in any form should be illegal, but that is another post.

I just don't see any spanking as funny, or *tradition-worthy*.  There are so many things we could do and already do, for a birthday, that are so much more fun, and celebratory.  So please consider doing away with the birthday spanking.  (and of course I would add, do away with ALL spankings).  Find something loving, connecting, that shows gratitude for the children in your care.


Anonymous said...

It is really weird, isn't it? My family never would hurt us, even a 'pretend' hurt on a day they thought we should be celebrated. I had never heard of that until I met my husband. His mother always did it with lots of laughs. However, they were also physically abusive; guess that's why they thought it was okay.

Pam Genant said...

My parents did the birthday spankings. But my husband and I decided before we had children that we would never lay a hand on them except to hug them. So we have never done the birthday spankings with our children. I hadn't thought much about it after that until I saw that little video. It is a weird tradition. Thanks for your input!