When my parents punished me when I was a little kid, it was never to cause physical pain. But it hurt nonetheless, in a good way: a carefully administered slap on the wrist or spank on the butt, accompanied by that certain tone of voice, was enough to convey their disapproval of my behavior. That always stung more than anything. And it should be that way, when it comes to parental discipline.
Fast forward a generation, and I'm on the other side of the equation. Amy and I joke that Jada will be perfect for the CIA, because she is pretty impervious to pain: witness her giggling at her last ear cleaning, a procedure some kids have to go under to bear. So punishing her isn't about causing her physical pain, obviously.
But it should still sting. And when we've had to discipline her, that carefully administered slap on the wrist or spank on the butt, accompanied by that certain tone of voice, does the trick. Last night, she was making all sorts of noises well into the evening, even after I'd warned her once. So in I went to make our message clear. As I tucked her back in bed, I could tell she had taken our disapproval to heart. She may be two and testing us every day, but she is learning.