Gut Rumbles

July 25, 2005

child abuse

I may have blogged this story before, but my archives are so tangled that I don't know for sure. That doesn't matter. The story is true and it's worth telling again.

I was sixteen years old. I was a weight-lifting linebacker on one of the best football teams in the state of Georgia and I thought I was bad news in two shoes. I mouthed off at my mama one day, and she whipped out that old Bo-lo paddle she used to spank me and my brother with for years.

She took a swing at me and I grabbed her arm. "Mama," I said, "I'm too big for YOU to spank anymore."

BEJUS! What a fuck-up THAT was!!! She did the last thing I ever expected her to do--- she busted out CRYING! She dropped that Bo-lo paddle on the floor and I slinked off to my room. I wasn't very happy with myself.

I was even LESS happy when my father came home from work. He KICKED open my bedroom door and ordered me outside. I don't believe that I ever saw him so angry again in my life. Veins were pulsing in his neck and forehead. He was coiled like a snake ready to strike.

He said: "All right, tough guy. If you want a fight, I'll give you one RIGHT NOW and I'LL FIGHT YOU LIKE A MAN! I'll beat you 'till you can't see straight for a week. I'm giving you that choice now.

"But if you EVER raise your hand to your mama again, it ain't gonna be your choice. It'll be MINE, and I'll beat you within an inch of your life."

My daddy MEANT what he said, and I knew it. I did not accept that challenge and I never raised my hand to my mama again.

If he had beat the shit out of me that day, it wouldn't have been child abuse and no asshole from government needed to be involved. It would have been a very direct lesson in discipline and respect.

One problem we have today is that not enough kids get that stuff.


I have 2 sons (17 and 18) and when I feel like reaming them out, they listen....

I know neither of them would raise a hand to me....

Although if they wanted to.....we are talking 6 ft 3" and
6 ft 1 " .....both over 200 lbs.....

Of course I still suspect that when I am 85 and have NO CLUE as to whats going on, that they will NOT BEAT ME, but rather drop me at the race track with a note pinned to my shirt.....


Posted by: Ruth on July 25, 2005 01:02 PM

Wow, great story! My mother is a 4' 9" Brazilian woman with lava running through her veins. I clearly remember the last time I was physically disciplined by her. I was 12 and she said something and I called her a liar. She immediately leaped at me and tried to slap me on the face. I caught her hand and held it. I said " You're just going to make me mad!" As she relaxed I let her go. She snatched up a broom and beat the crap out of me while screaming that mothers don't lie. I had lumps and bruises for weeks. She never had to discipline me again.

Posted by: Lee on July 25, 2005 01:06 PM

American kids dont get beatings when they need it anymore.......i remember calling my mom stupid once and my dad beat the living shit out of me, thought me a lesson.

Posted by: Peter on July 25, 2005 01:23 PM

I love the lesson in this story... and also the fact that your dad protected your mom. But I could never see being at either end of a fight like that. It's very sad to think about. Threats that wander close to the edge and terrify are the most effective.

Posted by: Vermont Neighbor on July 25, 2005 01:35 PM

Yeah, I had a similar experience when I was about 14 except that I called the old man's bluff. He wasn't bluffing and put a whuppin on my young butt. He never again pull out the strop or pulled off a belt and by the time I was 16 I could have whupped him if I had wanted-but I didn't nor would I let him hurt me or himself. He was a great man and I loved him dearly.

Posted by: GUYK on July 25, 2005 01:40 PM


My boys go to church with me every Sunday (in fact, the younger one still serves as an altar boy) and I know I need not fear either of them....

Posted by: Ruth on July 25, 2005 01:41 PM

I only wish that I could do that in this day and age. My kids are not old enough to pull that yet, but if it came to that point I wish I could do that without someone from some "agency" coming to visit me....

Posted by: Stu on July 25, 2005 01:53 PM

At around age 14, my brother got into an argument with my mom, pushed her and ran out of the house. When he came back in Dad was home. Mom says that Dad picked my brother up by his neck and had him dangling a few inches off the floor for a few seconds to warn him away from that course of action in the future.

And some of these dumb women who have children out of wedlock wonder why they can't control them, especially the sons.

BTW, now that I think about it, Quinton may be back sooner than you think. If he's anything like you (or most boys, for that matter), he'll get to the point in which his mother can't handle him.

Posted by: Juliette on July 25, 2005 02:27 PM

My 16 year old and I were arguing one day and he doubled his fists. I think it was anger and frustration, but I looked him down and told him he got one free swing, and then I was going to pound the living shit out of him, so he better make it good. he backed right down and knew for certain I was about to beat him good. No more trouble. i did not enjoy it, but he still knows who is the Alpha male at my house.

Posted by: hoosierboy on July 25, 2005 03:04 PM

I had about the same thing happen to me when I was 15. I accepted my dads challenge though and that is one ass whooping I will never forget. If anyone would have hollered about child abuse, me and daddy would have both beat their ass. I still laugh at myself for being stupid enough to try and whoop my dad.

Posted by: assrot on July 25, 2005 03:08 PM

Great story. I, of course take responsibilty for my actions, but I know that without a dad in our home, I did a lot of irresponsible crap. I still grieve for the shit my mom had to endure when I was 16 and 17. I left home at 18, my mom was on the phone when I was leaving, and she just waved bye. I'm sure she danced all over the house. We became closer than ever through the years and I'd like to think she was proud of me as I grew up.

My father OTOH, eff em.

Posted by: MM on July 25, 2005 04:21 PM

Your dad was a jerk, and that was a gross over-reaction. YOu DIDN'T raise your hand to her. You just stopped her from hitting you.

I had a similar experience with my dad. One day, in my late teens, he didn't like something that came out of my mouth.

He grabbed me with one hand, and smacked me across the mouth with the other.

Then he wound up to give me another one. This time I grabbed the incoming hand and stopped it dead in the the air. He pushed. I held. And we looked at each other for a while.

Eventually, he stopped pushing, let go, and walked away.

He didn't treat me like a child any more after that.


Posted by: LamontCranston on July 25, 2005 04:44 PM

...or that too many get that and more.

Posted by: toad734 on July 25, 2005 05:07 PM

My father was out of the house and gone when I was 5 and from then on it was just me and my mother. I really don't have any frame of reference for what a father son relationship is supposed to look like (I have 2 girls) but it sounds like your father's reaction was reasonable to me.

Posted by: Michael on July 25, 2005 05:32 PM

Good story, Rob. you were blessed with good parents. I was too. Even though your Dad was as angry as you'd ever seen him, he still explained himself and gave you a choice instead of just laying into you. It was a milestone experience in both your lives and you were the one given the decision as to whether there would be two winners or two losers.

My own Dad was put into the position of throwing me across the room only two or three times and there was plenty of warning that I was going down the wrong road beforehand.

Posted by: Larry Kephart on July 25, 2005 06:16 PM

Good story Rob. Yeah, it only took once with my Dad as well. My parents were divorced and I was a typical know-it-all teenager. I did some shit I knew was wrong but I also knew my mother wouldn't do anything about it. Funny thing though, even though they were divorced, my parents were still as close as any married couple I ever knew. When I went to visit him for the summer, I don't think the oil pressure in the car had even gotten up to running pressure before I had a bloody lip. I deserved it. Lesson learned. And like someone said earlier, if someone from one of those alphabet agencies had anything to say about it, we'd have both let 'em know to keep their parenting advice to their damn selves.

Posted by: Leuthen on July 25, 2005 07:21 PM

"You know why I did that."
"Yes sir."
"Apologise to your mother."
"Yes sir.."

God bless them both, what a wonderful pair.

Posted by: Bob in the hills on July 25, 2005 08:51 PM

I never knew my dad, but I had a Grandmother and Grandfather who taught me about discipline.

They would make me pick my own switch. I could take as long as I wanted, but I had to come back with the switch. Then they would whack the hell out of my legs. I swear, the worse part wasn't the whupping. It was the standing there, next to the bush, realizing what I had done, and feeling ashamed about it.

To this day, and my daughter being the exception, I've never loved nor respected any two people more.

Posted by: jmflynny on July 25, 2005 09:50 PM

I have a story like that as well. I was about 15 years old , big for my age, into weight lifting and martial arts. One day my mother and I were at odds about something and I remember saying "Fuck you, Bitch."

Mistake. My dad got home later and found me out in the backyard. "Don't you EVER speak to MY WIFE that way you little asshole!". I remember I was absolutely shocked at the way he worded it. She wasn't my mother right then. She was HIS WIFE and I had crossed a line. Well I was quite angry and so I raised my fists and went at him. I was even able to split his lip. But I didn't have much time to notice. The next thing I remember was getting beat so hard that I literally pissed myself. To this day I don't know if it was due to mortal terror or a natural reaction from the damage I was taking, but I completely emptied my bladder mid-beating. Then he backed off.

It was a very good lesson. Even years later, when we were in another stand-off and I probably could have taken him, I backed down. And I'm glad I did. Thinking about it afterwards, I was in the wrong that time, too. I'm fairly sure my dad could be 100, and I'd back down.

And it was an especially good lesson as I never said so much as "Boo" to my mother after that. Not just MY mother. But every other man's wife I had ever met. Unless I am absolutely sure that I WANT to scrap with a guy, I treat his wife with all the respect I would treat my own mother. I figure if I really want to fight a guy, there are better ways to get into it without involving his wife.

Posted by: Eddie on July 26, 2005 12:58 AM

My Grandma used to make me pick my own switch.

One time, just because I was a little shit, I brought back an old board with rusty nails sticking out of it.

My Grandma started laughing so damn hard she almost choked (I picked a time when she wasn't REALLY pissed off heheh)

Posted by: Graumagus on July 26, 2005 01:00 AM

Rob, that story makes me think I missed out. By the time I was 16 even my dad had decided I was too big to spank. I never had to make an issue of it.

Didn't stop him from threatening, but he never managed to get the effect he was going for.

As for protecting my mother, she was perfectly capable of protecting herself -- from him, if necessary.

Posted by: McGehee on July 26, 2005 08:09 AM

How many times to I have to tell you this? It is never necessary, never wise and never okay to beat a child.

No matter what your mama did to you.


What is it about never you don't understand?

Posted by: Carla on July 26, 2005 08:53 AM

Carla, I'm just happy that I don't live next door to YOUR children. If you have any.

Posted by: Acidman on July 26, 2005 09:44 AM

Man, you guys (and gals) are stirring up old memories.

My mom got pissed at me one time (I was around 16, I guess) and she hauled back to smack me in the mouth for something I had said. I easily caught her hand, and without missing a beat, made me remember she had 2 hands!


I had felt rather smug & superior for about .01 of a second there.

She was 5'1" and I towered over her at 6' or so. That little bit of height difference never made a lick of difference to her.

P.S. Carla, you have no clue what you are talking about. I was raised to respect my parents, and to do what they said. I had laws, rules & guidelines to follow growing up. And when you crossed them bad enough, you got your ass warmed up. Occasionally a smack in the mouth if you smarted off & used foul language to Mom. I think I got smacked once in my life. And I sure as hell earned the dozen or so ass-whuppins I got.

I grew up fine, I have a career, never been in jail, never arrested for anything, own my own house, happily married, etc.

My younger brother on the other hand, was never ruled as heavily as I was. (I think I wore my parents out, hehe) He got away with things that I would have been killed for. He was caught with pot in the house, stole from everyone in the family (and from family too) borrowed money with no intention of paying back, and to this day thinks the world owes him everything. he has also been in jail for various things, can't hold a job, can't keep a relationship going, all relationships he is involved in turn to violence. Its all from never being taught the rules mean something. And that breaking the rules will get you in trouble. Grounding, put in the corner, time-outs, loss of privileges, etc. never fazed him. (of course, they never fazed me either, that was getting off light).

Personally, I think Dr Spock & his damn minions have ruined several generations of kids.

Posted by: RickR on July 26, 2005 10:36 AM

Carla..there's a serious difference between "beating/abusing" and spanking/disciplining a child. YOU don't have to like it. You don't have to do it. You have the right to voice your opinion but at least get the facts straight. Abuse is NOT being condoned here. Teaching respect,

Posted by: Moogie on July 26, 2005 10:39 AM


Better hope you never have to explain this distinction to a judge.

Or your children.

Posted by: Carla on July 26, 2005 11:18 AM

Carla: Yeah, it's okey-fucking-dokey that someone who beats their kid 'til they piss blood, and someone who gives a kid a smack they well fucking deserve, are treated pretty much the same in every jurisdiction in America, Land of the Lawyers and Nanny Staters. What a fucking joke.

Posted by: damaged justice on July 26, 2005 11:27 AM

A woman in my area killed her five-year-old 'disciplining' with boiling water.

Taught him a thing or two.

Stupid fucking rubes.

Posted by: Carla on July 26, 2005 11:59 AM

Damn Carla,

You really can't tell the difference?

I know now why you are so vigorously opposed to it. You belong to the "I am so scared, once I start, I will go too far" school of thinking.

There is a HUGE difference to a swat on the hand or bottom for dis-obeying a rule, and sawing off the kids head. Are you also one of those people that will never own a gun for fear you might lose control & shoot some innocent person with it?

It's called self-control, you should read up on it. Lesson II of that set deals with telling reality from hysteria. It will do you a world of good.

Posted by: RickR on July 26, 2005 02:07 PM

Carla doesn't have a clue!

Rob, here's my story: When I was 16 I was caught, shall we say, getting amorous with a boyfriend. After kicking him out, my 5 foot tall asian mama set me on a chair and started lecturing, I rolled my eyes (as I was wont to do) and she slugged me. We are talking full fisted, balled hand, cold-cock! I bounced off the wall. Dayum. That was the last time I rolled my eyes at my mama. At 30 she is still telling me she is the boss, and believe me, she is!

And Carla, I was brought up to respect my parents and got the occasional beating, which was most surely deserved. I know the difference between discipline and child abuse, do you? And I agree with the other comment, I wouldn't want to live next door to you. My child has been spanked before when necessary, and he is usually the most well-behaved happy child I know. If you were to say the same, I would have to call you out.

Posted by: Oddybobo on July 26, 2005 02:23 PM

I never got a genuine whoopin' like any of you have described, but I had my share of ass-paddlings. I guess a bunch of those might have had the same cumulative effect; I never once raised a hand to my mom or my dad.

20 years after I left the house, my mom asked me if I had ever felt like I was abused.

For some reason, the question really rattled me, but the answer was quite simple.

20 years earlier, I might have had a different answer, but that day the answer was, "no, and I don't believe that I ever got a spanking that I did not deserve."

"Better a spanking from me than a lecture from your dad, right?"

"To this day."

Posted by: Rob@L&R on July 26, 2005 03:01 PM

Listen Carla, and listen good. I reserve swats on the fannie for seriously bad things. It's not an every day occurrence. I don't pour boiling water on my children. I don't "beat" them until they piss in their pants.

I reserve the spankings for well deserved actions. And let me tell you something. I rarely need to use that because they know I mean business. A trip to their room, with the door closed does wonders.

Don't tell me how to raise my children. And NEVER say or even hint that I abuse them. You're walking a fine line.

Posted by: Moogie on July 26, 2005 08:33 PM

Before reading the comments, I was going to congratulate Rob on his dad's firm grasp of reality. Fact is, I have told the same thing to my oldest stepson. He EVER tries laying a hand on her I will treat him the same as I would any who attack MY WIFE. I believe, he has taken that to heart. And Carla, don't know what happened to you or those in your family which caused your personal pendulum to swing so far from reality. What Rob describes happened not when he was a child (physically anyhow) but for all intense and purposes an adult male. His parents were still responsible for him and his actions. His dad was not *beating* him every night, for any infraction of their rules and regulations. There is a difference. Some may never go as far as Rob did while growing up...some may go further...but at that point there are few things a parent can do and still remain a parent. Giving up (or in) and letting the child's actions have control over the household is NOT one of them. Get your issues in order...before you have the rudeness to berate others for something you clearly fail to understand.

Posted by: Guy S on July 27, 2005 04:41 PM
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