This week, as Father’s Day approaches, I asked readers if, in their household, mom was more likely to “threaten” dad’s intervention – or the other way round. And which – as a child, anyway – were they more intimidated by?
Whether it was a case of fiction imitating life, or life mimicking fiction, this week’s respondents were significantly more likely to have heard their mom threaten dad’s intervention – a full 50% , in fact. That result stands in sharp contrast to the mere 6% who said they were more likely to have heard Dad invoke mom’s name.
A robust 27% said that Mom and/or Dad meted out their own discipline (rather than invoking their partner’s name), while about 8% said that it split about 50/50, 6% claimed they never got caught (or were an angel who didn’t need have anything to worry about), and 3.4% either had a single parent, didn’t get disciplined by either, or were raised by someone other than their parents.
Nearly half ( 43.7% ) of this week’s respondents said that Mom meted out most of the discipline, compared with 30% that pointed to Dad. Roughly one-in-ten said it split 50/50 between their parents, while 15% said it was a function of whoever was closer at the time.
Mom may have done more of the disciplining, but Dad was the more intimidating force to this week’s respondents – outnumbering Mom by more than two-to-one. More than 60% said Dad was more intimidating, compared with 27% for Mom. About 7% said neither was most intimidating (not sure if that means that both were intimidating or that neither were), and the remainder said that both were intimidating.
There were many wonderful verbatims this week - and remineces both fond andâ€¦well, painful. Here's a few of my favorites:
"I'm glad she didn't know how scary she could be, and threatened me with Dad instead! He always took me out of sight and did spanking sound effects."
"As a mom I can tell you that my son would much rather get a quick yell and disciplined (usually no electronics for a week) by my husband then have to have quiet a sit-down "I'm so disappointed in you" discussion with me...I believe his usual comment is "no-no not another talk with mom, just punish me...please".
"Although I was scared of mom, I didn't want to disappoint dad." (there were a number of similar sentiments)
"Though dad was more intimidating, his punishment was fast, firm, over with quickly and we'd be playing ball by the next evening. Mom, on the other hand, (and at the risk of being accused a sexist, women generally) cut deep, knee-buckling wounds that weren't physical but hurt like hell. "Days of Our Lives" wasn't a soap-opera but a sentence until the all-is-forgiven hug."
"Mother's weapon of choice was guilt - which she wields like a club. I don't know that it qualifies as discipline for the purpose of your survey. I much preferred dad's discipline to her guilt trips, though. I also didn't like to disappoint dad, more than anyone."
"My mom had a look that could melt iron."
"Mom mostly ruled the roost, dad traveled quite a bit with his job, but when he was home, we couldn't wait for him to go back on the road. He threw a wrench into our routine, and his way of discipline, as scary as it was, was so old school. But as you live what you learn, I find myself repeating what I've heard from both my parents a times, and have to run to a mirror to see who is there."
"My parents did more the guilt trip thing and I was WAY more concerned with disappointing my dad. Mostly because I was daddy's little girl (the youngest child too). Or maybe they didn't "threaten" me because I was a perfect child!
"Dad worked long hours, so when he came home and was supposed to spank any of us, he just closed the door and took his stick and hit the bed. We were supposed to yell and/or cry so that Mom thought that he was really be hard on us. He was just a loving pushover and we would do anything to please him."
"Neither - with mom's 'instant' discipline - there was no time to say anything!"
But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who noted that "Mom disciplined everyone, including Dad."
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!
|Definitely Dad! If Mom had had it with us kids (6 of us), you did NOT want Dad to come home while you were still awake! Just one look from him and I burst into tears! We always had fun outrunning mom and the wooden spoon until we were all laughing - or she caught one of us!|
|I feared my father's fraternity paddle the most - he wasn't afraid to use it for a couple of swats across the behind.|
|My father very seldom lost his temper, but I knew I was in major trouble if I heard him say "Thunderation!"|
|Dad worked long hours, so when he came home and was supposed to spank any of us, he just closed the door and took his stick and hit the bed. We were supposed to yell and/or cry so that Mom thought that he was really be hard on us. He was just a loving pushover and we would do anything to please him.|
|My dad's discipline was mainly fear and intimidation; my brother & I were most fearful of 'the paddle'. Somehow, both sides of a wooden cutting board 'broke off' (how convenient, I thought at the time), leaving a paddle for my dad to use on our behinds when we misbehaved - boy, did that hurt! If used on me these days, I could probably sue...|
|Dad was very busy. He'd usually come home for dinner, and if he didn't have some meeting or other (he was involved!), he'd often go back to work to do some catching up. I didn't want to be in trouble for the small amount of time he was home!|
|Although we were scared of my dad, we'd always laugh whenever he spanked us. Made him even madder...but for some reason, we thought it was funny.|
|Mom was always there, quick to discipline and not so quick with one-on-one attention. That didn't necessarily mean we behaved with Mom - we were more concerned with not disapointing Dad.|
|Growing up, my siblings and I all knew that if Dad said "that grass is blue" - it was blue! But we all see now that while Dad was the family's drill sargeant, Mom was most definitely the 4 star General.|
|After Dad's reign of terror, all of us have gone in the opposite direction with our kids - either no or very rare incidents of corporal punishment. Our kids are much more relaxed - sort of like the Soviet Union after the fall of Communism. My father is a MUCH better Grandfather then he was a Dad - and we all still speak to him, which is a miracle. His grandkids look at us like we are lying when we talk about the things he used to do. There was no TV Dad at my house growing up!|
|Mom yelled and became upset, but we knew if it got to Dad we were in real trouble.|
|Mom did most of the disciplining but that was because she was the one that spent the most time with us. Dad worked, Mom stayed home. So Mom covered most of the routine stuff (sibling fighting, cutting your own hair, setting fire to anything) but Dad handled the biggie - talking back to / disrespecting Mom!!|
|My dad had a crew cut and looked very severe so all the neighbor kids thought he was the scary, tough one. Not so! My (stay-at-home) mom was much more the disciplinarian - we could get away with most anything if my dad was the only one home - not so with mom!|
|With five of us running around, creating mischief was a normal occurrence in the 70's and 80's. "Wait till your father gets home" was a threat of last resort for my stay at home mother. If dad, police officer by trade got involved, we all knew that that mom was at her wits end. There was no discussion or excuses. Once the enforcer was involved, the discipline was swift and usually painful. Of course, he always followed it with the standards "you know that we love you" and "this is going to hurt me more that you" clichÃ©s. Neither of which did I buy until I had three kids of my own.|
|Very timely question. My daughter threw a fit last night at the store (thankfully only the second time in her four years) and I actually said, "are you going to stop this or do I need to call your Dad and tell him how you are behaving?" I'm still confused by my actions.|
|Mom mostly ruled the roost, dad traveled quite a bit with his job, but when he was home, we couldn't wait for him to go back on the road. He threw a wrench into our routine, and his way of discipline, as scary as it was, was so old school. But as you live what you learn, I find myself repeating what I've heard from both my parents a times, and have to run to a mirror to see who is there.|
|Mom did more disciplining in our home, but it was because she gave multiple warnings and threats before actually lowering the boom. Being rambunctious boys, we'd push her until she was forced to take action. Dad is a guy who only wanted to give an order once. Consequences with him were always immediate, so we took him a lot more seriously. Plus, Mom -- 5'2", Dad 5'11" and grew up logging and farming without the benefit of chainsaws and tractors. He's just a lot more imidating when he wants to be, so I can only remember of couple of times of him actually spanking us or otherwise laying down the law.|
|I can count on one hand the number of times I was spanked as a child. My mom had a way of disciplining us that was very effective. She pulled the old "Just wait until your father gets home" which would make me behave very well since I didn't want to disappoint my daddy. However, Mom could also get us with "Go get the belt and bring it here." The short walk turned into a mile-long trek in my mind. Mom never had to use the belt because the walk to get it was punishment enough.|
|There seemed to alot of threats but very little action when it came to discipline in our house.|
|I am the eldest child and the only one who had punishment meted out with a wooden spoon. I also had the earliest curfew, among other things the first-born child "gets", but these are saved for another survey.|
|My mom had a look that could melt iron.|
|Now, looking back on it, I felt sorry for Dad. Dad was gone all day at work and on his way home knowing he was going to have to discipline one of his children (more than likely me). Mom should have dealth with us (me) herself. However, knowing the hour was approaching when Dad would be home was torture alone.|
|Mother's weapon of choice was guilt - which she weilds like a club. I don't know that it qualifies as discipline for the purpose of your survey. I much preferred dad's discipline to her guilt trips, though. I also didn't like to disappoint dad, more than anyone.|
|Glad I grew up!??|
|I pretty much behaved myself because I knew not only would I get punished by - school, but when got home. Mom would punish, then Dad too. If I said I would call CS, they would hand me the phone. Funny how things change, and the kids dont seem to be respectful anymore.|
|today's kids have it easy - parents do not know how to discipline and kids are allowed to do anything and everything. When I was young, we not only had to show respect to our parents, but to the parents of all of our friends - today, kids call everyone by their first names and show no respect at all - lack of discipline - lack of standing in the corner "until your father gets home"|
|Though dad was more intimidating, his punishment was fast, firm, over with quickly and we'd be playing ball by the next evening. Mom, on the other hand, (and at the risk of being accused a sexist, women generally) cut deep, knee-buckling wounds that weren't physical but hurt like hell. "Days of Our Lives" wasn't a soap-opera but a sentence until the all-is-forgiven hug.|
|My father was a policeman who also worked as many part time jobs as he could to send all of us to Catholic school while Mom stayed home with the little ones. Mom was the major disciplinarian, but admittedly, her voice took on the Charlie Brown teacher quality in our heads most of the time. However, if we did something rotten enough that got Dad's attention on his limited time . . .yikes.|
|When they were smaller I gave my kids the choice of something taken away or spanking and they always chose the take away. One day my 7 year-old was old enough to realize the sting from a spanking would last a few moments but no video games for the weekend was pure misery, so he chose to get a spanking - that was the last time I gave that option. Now I usually give my kids a say in their punishment - most of the time they give up more than I would have taken away.|
|we spent all day with mom - so dad became more intimidating because of the scarcity factor - you didn't know what you would get if he was angry -- and you also didn't want to disappoint him for those short periods he was home. Poor Mom!|
|I credit my mother with teaching me to be self reliant, self motivated, and able to get thru most anything life has thrown at me. I could have wished for a more coddled childhood, but truly, I think the one I had has served me better.|
|Athough I was scared of mom, I didn't want to disappoint dad.|
|Mom could handle the day-to-day routine dicipline issues. If/when Dad got involved it was never pretty because that meant one of us REALLY screwed up and usually deserved what we got. He can still be pretty intimidating to my siblings and I, but to his 4 grandchildren he is the most kind, caring and gentle man ever to walk on the face of the earth. He likes to quote Bill Cosby by saying "I'm older now and trying to get into heaven". Happy Dad's Day to all!|
|As a mom I can tell you that my son would much rather get a quick yell and disaplined (usually no electronics for a week) by my husband then have to have quiet a sit-down "I'm so disapointed in you" discussion with me...I beleive his usual comment is "no-no not another talk with mom, just punish me...please".|
|mom stayed home with us while dad worked full time. She'd punish my sister and I (sent to our room etc) but would always threaten that she was going to tell dad when he got home which seriously made us worry. Mom never did tell - and my sister and I always thought that "this time" would be the time she'd actually would tell.|
|I'm glad she didn't know how scary she could be, and threatened me with Dad instead! He always took me out of sight and did spanking sound effects.|
|While I and my five siblings feared Dad's wrath, the guilt we felt on those rare occasions when we made Mom cry was much worse.|
|I use many varieties of "wait until your father gets home" with my own children and it definitely has more impact on my boys.|
|Dad wasn't around much, but when he was, we had to watch our step.|
|With 4 girls at home Mom did a pretty good job of keeping us in line. I think just the threat that Dad would hear about anything she didn't like kept us on our toes. As we got older we learned how far we could push her without crossing the line of what she felt she needed to tell him!|
|To the above, it had to be both. Mom was a nurse. It was she who gave us our shots, etc. You could run, but, there was never any place to hide.|
|Now that I'm an adult, I have such respect and admiration for my parents who weren't afraid to establish boundaries and stick to them. They acted like parents and treated us like kids, not like today when parents want to be friends with their kids and are afraid to say no. It's a tougher job than I imagined and I simply took for granted their steadfast presence and support.|
|Being discliplined as a child was good for me. The world needs more of it. Child-led households do not make me feel confident about the future.|
|My parents were (and still are) great. They disciplined us when we deserved it (corporal at times but showing their disappointment in our actions was a harsher discipline). My dad's fraternity paddle was always hanging someplace where it was accessible but they didn't really need it much. I do recall once when my brother and I acted up when we forced to "waste" an entire day in a fabric store (maybe a 'slight' exaggeration) when we could have been playing baseball and were thrilled when Mom forgot to give us the promised punishment.|
|At the time, I thought my parents were too tough on me. Now--as a parent myself--I know why they were, and know that they could have been even tougher. And I'm glad they were 'on the job'--I'm a better adult for it, and I see many parents today trying to be 'friends' to their children. It doesn't usually end well.|
|Because Dad was the "ultimate", last resort, disciplinarian in our household , until my teen years, I hated him. I swore I would never be put in that position so that my children would not see me only in that role and hate me for it. I also tried to explain to my children why they were being punished before it was meted out.|
|I was the oldest, so I got the most grief and punishment from my parents. I was also the mouthiest and felt it was my duty to inform my dad how wrong and ignorant he was in the way of the world.|
|That's all it would take.....just the hint that my mom would say: "wait 'till your father gets home" would put me into backpeddling mode and do anything to change her mind!|
|Spare the rod & Spoil the Child|
|My brother had made his teacher a stick to pull down classroom maps. But he found out she already had one so he gave it to my Mom, minus the hook in the end. Whenever we misbehaved, Mom would reach for the red stick and we would snap to attention. I don't think she ever really used it but it was enough to scare me and my eight siblings. However, as the boys got older, they would just laugh at her, so "wait until your father gets in" was her only weapon.|
|The words "wait till your father gets home" were never said to me, but my older brother heard them alot. Mom did a great job of keeping us in line and Dad only stepped in for serious violations.|
|Mom took care of most of the discipline but watch out when you made Dad mad. Thankfully, it was a very rare occasion.|
|He didn't have to say a word, just gave us 'the look' which was more effective than all those spankings from mom!|
|Mom and Dad were equals in the discipline department. It was back in the day when parents were parents, not friends, to their kids. Later on, when grown up, parents become your best friends. My parents didn't negotiate with me to do something but rather told me what to do and when. If I didn't do it, they punished me accordingly without having to resort to corporal punishment. Today, to say "no" to a child supposedly damages his or her psyche and self esteem and disappoints him/her, so you are supposed to negotiate and reason with your child. My parents had no problem saying "no" when it was called for, and somehow I turned out OK anyway as an adult. In fact, all 5 of us kids did. Heck, today, parents don't even let kids open birthday presents at their own party so the other kids won't feel badly about not getting presents.|
|My father traveled a lot, so my mother was the disciplinarian by default; however, I think she would have been even if he had been around more.|
|My Mom used reason to deal with us - my Dad hit first and asked questions later - It was a mutual protestion society - all of us, including my Mom, against Dad.|
|We often got "your father isn't going to like this" and then when she told on us, would beg my dad not to punish us too much.|
|All my mother needed to do was say my entire name, followed by "Get your butt over here right now!" I knew that I was in BIG trouble.|
|Mom punished us when the infraction occured, then didnt 'warn' us that she would tell Daddy, she just did. Then he punished us too!|
|WOW - i grew up being afraid of doing anything wrong with my parents - spent many a day in the corner "until your father gets home".|
|Punishment was immediate and swift by whichever parent was present and then also upheld by the other. Worked for me so my spouse and I do the same; while we may not always agree on other's decision, but we are united in front of the kids.|
|I was raised by a single parent (mom) and she was by far the scarier of the two anyway.|
|I was a pretty good kid but, in the rare event I need disciplining (;)), I knew I had more wiggle room with mom. All dad had to say was 'no' and that was the end of the discussion.|
|Since we only lived with Dad a couple months a year, it was definately Mom who ruled the roost.|
|My parents divorced when I was 7 so each parent was responsible for disciplining when we were them. The ones who bore the brunt were my stepfather and stepmother - we didn't want to hear anything about rules from them!|
|Mom saved that threat for rare occassions but since Mom was angry a lot and Dad rarely so . . . knowing that the action would be upsetting to Dad was a lot worse than upsetting Mom.|
|Neither - with mom's 'instant' discipline - there was no time to say anything!|
|We weren't likely to be threatened with the other parent. However, if my mom got mad, we pretty much did what she wanted. That was because she was the one that never got mad. When she did, we new we had pushed it too far. My dad was always blowing his top about something. He almost became white noise. Plus he wasn't around much -- work and travelling. So no matter what punishment he meted out, we could pretty much ignore it once he was gone.|
|Mom was the warden in our family. She was in charge of everyone, including Dad.|
|My parents were largely oblivious about what my brothers and sisters and I were up to. But when my mom got mad, we scattered to the wind.|
|My mother was the gentle one who talked things out with us, she never threatened us with my father because she avoided things getting to my father because he would BLOW UP. If my father was there... well, he'd just BLOW UP!|
|Although she would discipline as well...|
|"Wait until your father gets home"...wasn't that a TV show a while back?|