Oh the POWER of the Spoon

This post is a compilation of an earlier post made before we had launched the new website… Many additional scenarios have taken place since the original post so I wanted to update you regarding the mighty power of the spoon.


Many of you are well aware that I am a very “family oriented” person. Probably not much to the liking of the rest of my family but they grudgingly abide!! In making that claim I would expect you to realize that our family includes Will our 12-year-old nonverbal son with Autism on most all of our outings. We are an active family, not as in exercise as I am sure you already guessed if you have seen any of us, but active as in we are not homebodies. We like to do things outside the home as much as possible…

We have always tried to be that way, but probably even more so now that our children are reaching the teen years. Sometimes its the only way we can get them to talk to us is if they are held hostage in the car. Other reasons for getting out of the house frequently is because only so many hormones can fit in one place for a period of time and everyone survive…

Our activities vary, we enjoy going to the Travelers games or other baseball games, going shopping, out to eat, the movies, swimming, to the park, and visiting family. On most all occasions except for date night with the girls, Will goes with us…

Having a child with special needs can often become problematic when out in public. So I knew in the beginning that Will would have to be taught the expectations he was supposed to follow. Since time out wasn’t really feasible in all situations, and persons who carry around belts to whip their children is frowned upon in society, I reverted to the good ole spoon… Now back in the day the wooden spoon was the paddle of every well-respected granny, but I chose the more modern approach, that of the plastic spoon…….

During our early visits to town, I would carry the spoon with me in my purse and an extra one in the car. I followed the protocol of: I will ask you to do something once. If you choose not to, on the second try, I will count to 3!!!! If he had not complied, I spatted his little legs and bottom with the spoon. Not hard enough to leave a bruise, or even a whelp. It was just loud enough to scare him and possibly sting a bit while letting him know I meant business…

After he got used to the protocol, i asked only once and immediately I begin the counting… Luckily he was a fast learner….. Now, i can just say the word spoon and he does what he is asked… (well until he hit puberty and started to think I am the stupidest person on earth…)

Now… We started the spoon business when he was about 5. Here is what I have learned about the SPOON

1. Never threaten without confirmation of the spoon Being the smart kid he is….. He quickly realizes when I am without a spoon. So don’t make threats off the cuff that you can’t back up…. Because then your child will look at you like mine does me….. Giving me that smarty pants look like yea right, whatever mom, you don’t even have a spoon……

2. Size and type DON’T matter… i have found that once your child realizes the power of the spoon, it doesn’t matter if its a ladle, a plastic small spoon, or a teaspoon. All spoons are equal in the eyes of my child.

3. It doesn’t matter who has the spoon. We were at an Easter Egg hunt several springs ago and a lady was carrying around a spoon for her children. Every time Will saw her, he immediately stopped what he was doing, stood up tall and was still until she passed. He knew the business of a spoon…. NO MATTER WHO HAD IT…. It was quite hilarious…. Not to mention how impressed my other children were to see that I wasn’t the only mother who carried a spoon everywhere…..

4. spatulas leave marks The lack of following #1 led me to being in the position of having to find something quick and a spoon could not be located…. So in my haste, I grabbed a spatula…. Not a good idea….. The spatula had slits in between…. I will let you figure out that one….

5. Use the unspoken threat of the spoon During elementary school, Will’s teacher would occasionally have issues with Will and his defiant attitude…… I had told her often about the power of the spoon….. But often times discipline strategies we use at home can not be legally used within a school setting…. So despite the fact that I told her she needed to threaten him with the spoon, it was illegal for her to do so…… So we had the idea to just “HANG” a spoon on the wall……. High enough that he couldn’t reach it, but it was very visible to him. Just the mere presence of the spoon hanging on the wall while be glanced at by the teacher could work its magic.

6. Take stock often of your spoon count A few years ago, it seemed that our spoon count kept reducing over time…. Not too noticeable, but I would find myself searching for a spoon often….. Thinking I was leaving them behind like in the basket at Big Lots, on the pew at church, or at grandparents house, I didn’t think much of it….. That is until one afternoon I get a phone call from our house cleaner asking if “Will’s new thing was collecting spoons”… I said oh no, we use spoons to swat him with when he is in trouble. WHy do you ask?” As she started to laugh I wondered why she would ask that question. She proceeded to share with me how she had moved Will’s bed in order to sweep underneath and when she did about 10 spoons fell out of his box springs… OH YEA, you read that right… The little turd had torn a whole in his box springs and had been hiding the spoons in there….. Obviously not all at one time… It was like they slowly disappeared over a matter of months….. So apparently he would just casually pick one up and take to his room…. Totally logical…. I mean mom can’t whip you with a spoon if you hide them all and she has no spoons to whip you with…

7. When concealing… Size Matters… The size of the spoon doesn’t matter in many aspects… However, unless you want to have to keep up with a spoon, carry a purse, push a buggy, and hold on to a child at the same time, I highly recommend your spoon is small enough or your purse is big enough for the two to cohabitat. My favorite times were when my spoon was perfectly concealed and I would threaten to use it and Will would think I was lying and would continue to misbehave… The shock on his face was always priceless when I could whip it out….. It also cuts down on the amount of stares you will get compared to walking around carrying one in your back pocket….

8. The bigger the kid, the bigger the spoon As your child gets bigger, your spoon size must adjust to the width of their rear…. Now that Will is 12 he is much bigger…. The spoons with the short little sticks don’t work…. I can’t hold on to the spoon and swat him without my hand hitting his rear too…. So I have to make sure I have the spoon that has the longer handle… It protects my hand and also adds the umph on the noise level when swatting….

Now I must admit although the spoon has worked for years, one of the last times I went to swat him with it, he was bent over and it bent the spoon…. It was about time…. I was ready to make the transition to something else anyway. You get to the point of being embarrassed and wondering what people think when you are threatening a child (preteen) who is as big as you are with something like a spoon and he is visibly alarmed by it… I often figure people wonder if I give him enemas with it instead of swatting him with it…. Guess that is what happens when they get older…. So we have had to move into the world of paddles…. yea, the good ole wooden paddles like what your principal had when you were in school….. It seems to be working excellently as well……

So next time you see a spoon….. You should be in awe….. But also be aware that you probably don’t want to use it in any relation to food because it could have touched someone’s booty….. So even when you buy them new….. Always wash them because I have been known to borrow one right off the shelf to whip my kid in Wal-Mart and then put back on the shelf like nothing ever happened…

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  1. Is this post for real or a joke? Not only am I shocked that you would admit to the world that you hit your child with a spoon, you also called him a turd! A turd is a piece of s%#t!

    • Its for real, cause I am a real mother of a severely autistic child. If you dont approve of my mothering style feel free to never visit the site again. Most of our visitors enjoy my honesty, humor and the fact that I dont color coat things and pretend to be perfect which you and your children must be since you found the post so horrifying.

      • Sylvia, if you truly knew Brandi you would laugh your butt off! She is anything BUT a bad mother. She has done and excellent job with her son as well as helping ours. We too used the spoon but our son is a bit more high functioning and we have been able to transition to other forms of discipline. In response to her calling him a turd, it was a joke. Again, if you really knew her and worked with her you would know that. She would never intentionally harm a child and I would/do feel comfortable leaving my son alone with her. I love her most because she is real and even makes jokes about her own life experiences. She has a pure love and passion for her family as well as helping other families with children on the spectrum;)

        • Cortney, thanks for the vote of confidence. I definitely try to be a good mother but as we all now it is based on trial and error everyday. We win some and we lose some. if my kid turns out to be a productive member of society who is responsible, respectful and hardworking, I think I will have succeeded….

  2. I carried around a small wooden spoon in my purse for both of my boys. It was extremely effective and no longer needed.

    • Ashley, I am glad others have found as much success with it as I have. It has worked well with Will despite his having a disability!

  3. You can’t judge something you know toning about!! Bran I can empathize with you!! I can’t say I know what you are going through but I can say a prayer and be positive.

    • Shirley, when you are helping people and putting your story out there, you are always taking a chance of making someone mad, or those who disagree with you….. Not fun, but part of it I guess…. But as long as I am helping more people than I am making mad I will count it as all good…. Brandi

  4. Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
    but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.~(The wooden spoon got my attention growing up and I used it on my kids as well, but it became less often used, because they knew there were consequences behind their actions & never left a mark, but got their attention and they are now grown and respectful adults…they have joked about the spoon now that they older, but thankful I did, because they have not been in juvenile court or jail. Are my kids perfect absolutely not! They were raised in a home where God was taught and discipline was given and so much love poured out!!!! I’m proud of the God fearing adults they’ve become and the respect my children show is amazing!! Loved the story Brandy and God Bless!!!

    • Thanks tammy!!! yes, God encourages us to use discipline with our children just as he uses it with us….. That is how we as parents teach our children! It is a shame more people DON’T………

  5. enjoyed the reading, more people like you should stand up for whats right, I for one do not see anything wrong with children whom understand consequences!!! really Sylvia, you’re own children probably deserved a swat or two and if you did not make them mind then you are absolutely the idiot I get stuck next to in every resteraunt and on every airplane!!!

    • Dena, thanks for standing up for me!! I try to do the right thing and help people so needless to say this remark from Sylvia threw me for a loop, but I agree, she probably does need to discipline her children just as many more parents I know…… Brandi

  6. Our see nothing wrong with using a spoon. I know that in this day and age you should only use positive reinforcement but I think that a child should learn that there are rules they need to follow. It also depends on the child and what he or she understands. If they understand what you are trying to get them to do and they just don’t want to do it yes use a spoon. If they have are to low functioning and do not understand no find something they do understand like talking away a favorite toy for a certain amount of time.

    • I agree April, every parent should discipline in the way they see fit for each of their children. even with my own children my discipline methods are different based on their personalities. Not everyone responds to the same type of discipline just like they don’t respond to the same type of rewards. You must know your kids and what works with them. But the bottom line is that you are teaching them RIGHT from WRONG.Brandi

  7. I was very disappointed to read this post I found on Pinterest and realize it was actually about spanking with a spoon. I read the title and assumed it was a joke because it would never occur to me to spank my special needs child. We were specifically told be our diagnosing therapist not to spank our child because children with autism don’t understand why it’s happening. If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. Maybe spanking worked for YOUR child without any negative consequences, but you shouldn’t be promoting it.

    • brandishinn says:

      Well I hate that you feel that way. My child with autism has responded well to the spoon. He is now 13 and I have not had to use it in years. However, I only have to mention it to get his attention. There is a big difference in my opinion, in a “spanking” with a belt and a swat with a spoon.

      May I ask how you discipline your child?

      • Redirecting, positive reinforcement, consistency between my husband and myself.

        • brandishinn says:

          I AGREE, however with some children who are stubborn and strong willed in addition to having autism (like my son) redirecting and reinforcement just didn’t get his attention. I am so glad it does work with yours though…

  8. Babs Holiday says:

    I am a marriage and family therapist in the state of California. If a client reports that they used a spoon to discipline a child, I am required by law to make a CPS report on them. No family wants the state to come into their household and scrutinize their parenting skills. There are other ways to discipline in a firm, consistent manner without using a spoon.

    • brandishinn says:

      I appreciate your information. However as you well know regulations vary from state to state….. We are in Arkansas and to my knowledge it doesn’t fall into the category of abuse. Especially when the said child is 14 and over 6 ft tall. I too agree that many times their are others ways to discipline a child. However, the said child has sever autism and is nonverbal and we have done what we felt was best to teach him right from wrong. I would have to say that as a 14 year old with a disability he is a very well mannered teenager and more well behaved than most of his same age peers without disabilities. And it isn’t because we spanked him with a spoon. As the blog stated, it was most often used as a reminder….. not a weapon or instrument of abuse.

  9. As an adult with Autism I’m wary about the thought of using physical punishment on a child on the spectrum. As a young child it made my brother (also Autistic) worse and more violent and for me it was 100% in effective because of my sensory issues which cause me to find physical pain comforting and relaxing (within reason, I doubt being stabbed would be fun).

    I work now as a caregiver to ASD boys and would never think to hit any of them. Nor will I smack any of my own children in future (it is also illegal where I live to use physical correction).

    • brandishinn says:

      Everyones opinions are important and respected. However the spoon is whT worked for our family.

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