Discipline at Home & School

I read with interest a lot of the comments and remarks on the subject of corporal punishment

Like a lot of people, I too can offer some personal experiences.

This is particularly true on the subject of slippering.

I attended a mixed school in the nineteen sixties in the UK.

Back then most schools still used corporal punishment on a regular basis.

It is safe to say that corporal punishment was a normal part of everyday life.

It was never excessive, virtually always justified and for most of the part accepted/

At my own school corporal punishment was always administered on the bottom and never on the hand, possibly for safety reasons.

Punishment for the boys was frequently of the corporal variety.

The slipper, which in my experience was not a carpet slipper or a soft canvas shoe, but most commonly a thick sole plimsol, was used on the younger pupils and for less serious offences.

For more serious offences a boy would be caned.

Detentions were used but boys often opted for the quick option of a corporal alternative.

Even sixth form boys were known frequently to choose a slippering rather than inconvenient detention or essay.

In the case of girls, written punishments such as essays and lines, or detentions, were the most frequent.

However, for persistent misbehaviour, or serious matters, corporal punishment was not uncommon.

In our school, one of the mistresses was delegated to administer the punishment – usually the slipper.

This wasn’t used often but was by no means rare.

Only for really major offences was a trip necessary to the senior mistress – the only person authorised to give the cane to a girl.

During my time at the school, only three or four girls were actually caned.

I should say that at school, I was usually really turned on by witnessing or hearing a boy being punished.

It is this which has no doubt given me my interest in later life.

At school, the normal time for pupils to receive corporal punishment was after lessons finished on Fridays – apart from the immediate doses given after lessons in the classroom, the usual way was for the pupil to be put ‘on report’, meaning that it was necessary to attend the relevant teacher’s study (head of the various schools – lower, middle and upper, into which the school was divided).

There was usually a small queue of unhappy-looking people waiting after the final bell at 3.30 pm, and punishment began at 4 pm (to allow the other pupils to leave, I think, otherwise crowds would have gathered to listen).

If passing the room later, however (as I often had occasion to do), one could usually hear the sound of swishing cane or meaty thwack from a slipper.

I particularly enjoyed watching the recipient coming out afterwards, usually rubbing away at his bottom – even more so if it was someone I fancied.

Actually, I would try to pass by before they went in, to spot anyone I knew.

Seeing a ‘fanciable’ one, I would then try to catch his eye and grin at him – so that later, conveniently returning and passing by at exactly the right moment, I could catch him coming out and attempt to walk along with him, to commiserate and maybe hear the details.

The situation at our homes was similar, but probably corporal punishment was in fact more widely used

.I can well remember (you can imagine why) a discussion or debate we held on the subject in my fourth form general studies class.

To the surprise of our female teacher, the view of the class was overwhelming in favour of the quick option of corporal punishment.

To give an indication of its use, we were asked to indicate if we had received any form of corporal punishment at home during the last year.

Surprisingly, two-thirds of the class raised their hands – probably three-quarters of the boys, and half the girls.

A further question (all I can remember, unfortunately) revealed that virtually all were punished on the bottom with some implement (e.g. strap, slipper or cane).

Now to be more specific about my own experiences.

I was an only child in a middle-class family.

My parents weren’t particularly strict but believed in a firm set of principles of behaviour.

I didn’t have any trouble with this, being generally in agreement and (I think) reasonably well behaved.

But if I did transgress and do something contrary to their wishes (and it would usually be something about which I was myself ashamed), I would naturally and inevitably expect to be punished.

My mother took responsibility for my punishments, and had the normal range available for the day – I was kept in (‘grounded’ in today’s parlance) for a given period, stopped from doing things I wanted to do, had my pocket money withdrawn and so on.

in her armoury (quite normal for the time) my mother included corporal punishment.

Following age-old custom, if my actions deserved it, I would be chastised.

This was always administered in a traditional manner and on the usual place – with comprehensive ritual and formality, I was given a sore bottom.

‘Getting my bottom tanned’ or receiving a ‘smacked bottom’ were not common experiences, but neither were they that rare.

When I was in trouble at primary school, I was given a traditional spanking.

My mother sat on a chair in her bedroom and put me over her knee – and smacked my bare bottom until it was hot and stinging.

As soon as I reached secondary school, I was deemed too big to go over her knee – but far from too big to receive a sore bottom.

I then had to bend over, most often for the slipper.

Because I was only beaten when I was thoroughly in trouble, for something for which I needed a salutary lesson, her punishments were not lightly administered.

I viewed them with considerable trepidation and they weren’t easily forgotten.

However, I would say that on every single occasion that I was beaten, the punishment was fully deserved and appropriate.

Every so often, my mother used corporal punishment on me throughout my time at secondary school, right up to my leaving home for university.

In my early years at secondary school, when I was in serious trouble and thoroughly deserved to be punished, she would discuss with me what ‘sentence’ I deserved, and usually, I couldn’t disagree that a hiding was appropriate.

Having been informed that my fate was to get a ‘severe dose of the slipper’, ‘a whacking’ or ‘my bottom tanned’ (she used the terms interchangeably), she would never punish me immediately but tell me when she would administer it, leaving a good while for me to meditate.

Typically, like a school, she would tend to save up my punishment till the end of the school week, and administer it when I got home on Friday afternoon.

Like the boys at school, I knew what was coming and had all day to dwell on it.

I’ve always considered one of the more memorable sensations from my school days the feeling of increasing unease as it got nearer the time for me to go home.

I would feel sick in my stomach, weak-kneed, couldn’t concentrate and would need to visit the loo.

When I got home, my mother would send me to my bedroom, where I would try to concentrate on my homework – but usually failing, since the anticipation of a whacking always left me in a real state.

When my mother tanned me with ‘the slipper’, it was actually an old, large tennis shoe of my father’s, with a thick rubber sole, kept for the purpose in my wardrobe.

She always used her full weight, with the strength of her tennis-trained arm, in applying each stroke.

Each was given as hard as she could, while the severity of the tanning was varied by the number of belts given.

If Mother had determined that I needed a hiding, her punishments were never minor affairs – the slippering was always a serious punishment, never a few whacks for show, but always at least a dozen and usually more.

I used to press my face into the bedspread, trying to keep from crying and calling out whilst the slippering was administered.

I can well remember how each successive whack would sting more and more, whilst the burning of my bottom grew to an almost unbearable level.

Afterwards, she would leave me, lying on the bed and usually having a bit of a cry.

Once, when Mother had given it me midweek, I can remember how uncomfortable it was sitting on hard classroom chairs the day afterwards. This constant reminder of the recent tanning of my bottom was all part of the punishment – my mother always said that she hadn’t done it hard enough if I wasn’t still sore the next day.