“WAIT’LL YOUR DADDY GETS HOME!”
What child has not, at one time or another, heard those immortal words? To be left quaking in their shoes for some infraction; awaiting a punishment worse than death that would surely come upon the arrival of “the executioner,” (daddy). In many cases, the waiting caused more pain than the actual castigation.
These words were more prevalent in days past than in our modern generation. Parents of the olden days were expected, nay; required, to administer enough discipline to thwart any attempts by the child to ‘run wild.’
Of course, there were rare instances when this reproof was carried too far and resulted in the opposite teachings; but these situations were few and far between.
What usually occurred was a short visit to the woodshed, accompanied by a paddle or a hickory; administered on the tender flesh of the perpetrator. Enough deviation in the exact method to be used was such to cause the waiting and wondering to be a sufficient deterrent for the transgression.
It was years later, when I learned that the suspense related to, Wait’ll your daddy gets home, was an important part of the punishment. If nothing more than a stern rebuff transpired during the trip to the woodshed, the anticipation of what could have happened was enough to discourage further offenses.
The service’s of a child psychologist as a means of rehabilitating a damaged ego which was caused by the promise of punishment when daddy gets home, was rare indeed. Children accepted the fact that when they broke the rules, they paid the penalty.
I certainly do not advocate abuse of children; however, it is my belief that they want and expect to be taught right from wrong. If this teaching involves an occasional trip to the woodshed, so be it. The pain from an infrequent paddling will not last as long as a jail sentence.
Our two children undoubtedly experienced their share of these promises as well as the sting of firm hand-contact with their rear ends with no permanent damage.
The compensation for our attempts to lead them in the right direction has come in the form of their statements to us on more than one occasion when they observed an unruly child, i.e. “You and Mom taught us better than that.”
Perhaps “Wait’ll your daddy gets home” did a lot to prepare them to become the successful, well-adjusted, adults that Mom & Dad are so damned proud of.