The Spanker Man: Lies We Tell Our Kids to Make them Behave

Disclaimer: Do not read this post if you are politically correct, become easily offended, are a child psychologist, a parenting know-it-all, or have no sense of humor. You’ve been warned.

Read about the mythical creature of the spanking man on The Champagne Supernova blog.

This is who I envisioned The Spanker Man to look like.

Before there was Elf on a Shelf, there was The Spanker Man.

Before there was Mensch on a Bench, there was The Spanker Man.

The Spanker Man is a fictional character my mother created to deter my younger sister and me from misbehaving in public. She told us public places, particularly restaurants, had hidden cameras where The Spanker Man was watching in a back room to ensure that children acted appropriately. If The Spanker Man observed kids who were bratty, sassing their parents, or having tantrums, he would remove them from the premises and give them an apocalyptic whoopin’.

You better believe my sister and I never received a visit from The Spanker Man. As children, we didn’t have an opportunity to discover he didn’t exist because we were on our behavioral A-Game in public.

While joining us for dinner, my parents’ friends usually sat in awe of our good behavior. They couldn’t believe that two young children could be so well behaved in public. When receiving compliments on our behavior, my parents just smirked at each other. I think even in the mid-1980s when spanking was accepted, and sometimes expected, The Spanker Man concept would have been too taboo for my folks to advertise.

Nowadays, if parents told their children about The Spanker Man, someone would call the Department of Children and Family Services, the kids would be thrown into foster care, and the parents would be featured on 60 Minutes.

Having kids can make parents do desperate things.

I get it.

I’ve told my three-year-old some mighty tales when, during extreme acts of desperation, I’m trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do. I’m susceptible to doing this on weekday mornings when she’s fighting with me about putting her shoes on for school, I’m trying frantically to get both girls in the car because I’m late for a hearing, my infant spits up on my work clothes, and I’m furiously scrubbing a Clorox Bleach Pen against my suit so I can pretend I’m professional. For instance, I’ve told her that if she didn’t brush her teeth, bugs would crawl into her mouth when she was sleeping and would eat the gunk. [For the record, that doesn’t work]. When it comes to ensuring your children keep on top of your oral hygiene, starting them off at a young age with a routine can be very important, as they are more likely to keep this up as they get older. With that being said, if you’re a little worried about your kid’s oral hygiene habits, it may be time for a visit to a Pediatric Dentist in Vineland (or a dental clinic close to where you live). This way, your kids might take brushing their teeth a lot more seriously, especially if a dentist tells them to.

If you’ve told your children creative stories to control their actions, you’re not alone. A study from the University of California, published by the International Journal of Psychology, suggests the vast majority of parents lie to their children to get them to behave.

I’ve polled my girlfriends regarding childhood whoppers their parents told them, or even lies they’ve told their own kids. Here are some of the gems:

– “My parents told me [and my sibling] they would call the adoption agency and have them come get us and take us away if we didn’t listen.”

– “My mom told me that if I didn’t eat everything on my plate, the number of crumbs left is how many pimples my husband would have. I was a devoted member of the clean plate club, and my husband has really good skin.”

– “I told [my five year old daughter] that if she didn’t stop picking her nose and eating it, she would actually turn green and look like a witch. When that didn’t work, I Googled “stretched out nostrils” and showed her images that her nose would look like if she kept putting her fingers up there. Seems to work.”

– “We tell our son that we’ll call the police if he doesn’t listen. We usually end up hearing sirens in our neighborhood so he believes it.”

– “My parents told me [and my brother] that our cookie dough eating habit would give us worms. As our Dad was a veterinarian and we were no strangers to the world of parasitic infections in critters, we took it as gospel.”

– “My mom said that if I ever hit my brother or sister, then when I was dead and buried, the hand I hit them with would stick out of the grave and I’d never truly Rest in Peace.”


Fortunately, my sister and I didn’t need therapy because of The Spanker Man. My mom didn’t want us acting like jerks in public, so she did what she had to do to keep us under control. Ultimately, there was no harm and no foul. If anything, it’s been a hilarious topic of conversation among my friends and the concept catapults my mom into genius status.

If only she would have been the one to create Elf on a Shelf. We’d be rich.



    38 Comments on The Spanker Man: Lies We Tell Our Kids to Make them Behave

    1. Brittany
      May 17, 2015 at 9:39 am (7 years ago)

      This story is hilarious! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty πŸ™‚

    2. Stephanie Volkert
      May 12, 2015 at 2:33 am (7 years ago)

      I tell my daughter I’m going to sell her to gypsies. Sadly, she’s immune to my sarcasm.

      • jenniferdaku
        May 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm (7 years ago)

        Stephanie- I’ve seen “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” and would NOT want to be sold to any of them!

    3. Brandi Clevinger
      May 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm (7 years ago)

      Haha That’s funny! Many subjects and threats are taboo, and it’s ridiculous. I’m glad awareness is being drawn to more serious cases, but some people stretch it.

      My husband and I would get tired of our kids acting like brats in Target, so we thought of something on the spot when we were there one day. We heard the dinging alarm on the intercom indicating there was a phone ringing. My kids, concerned, asked what the dinging meant. Without missing a beat, my husband said that it’s the quiet alarm. That somewhere in the store there are loud kids. That’s the warning to be quiet. Haha They believed it!! they asked what happens if the kids aren’t quiet. I chimed in, I don’t know, but I certainly do NOT want to find out!

      That was three years ago and to this day when we are in Target, they are quiet. And when the dinging starts, they look at us very serious and say, some kids are being loud! They better be quiet. haha

      • jenniferdaku
        May 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm (7 years ago)

        THE QUIET ALARM IS ON POINT. I’ll definitely keep that in mind in the future. Thanks for stopping by!

    4. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files
      May 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm (7 years ago)

      “Spanker Man on a Shelf” doesn’t have quiet the same ring to it, but frankly it’s probably more effective at controlling childrens’ behavior than a cute little smiling elf.

    5. Tahnee
      May 6, 2015 at 10:43 am (7 years ago)

      Love this hahaha made my day!

    6. Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai
      May 6, 2015 at 1:14 am (7 years ago)

      This is great. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again next week. πŸ™‚

      Life With Lorelai

    7. Katherines Corner
      May 5, 2015 at 8:35 am (7 years ago)

      kids say the funniest things, I love this post sooo much, thank you for the morning giggles. I’m hopping over from my husband has too many hobbies today. Hugs!

    8. Melinda
      May 4, 2015 at 11:58 pm (7 years ago)

      Real lol stuff! We got real spankings by Dad’s leather belt. You don’t need too many of them to decide to reform your ways!
      My dad told us that french kissing was actually sex. So I spent a whole lot of time in my 17th year worrying about how soon I was gonna get preggers!
      Here from the #HomeMattersParty

    9. Janice Wald
      May 3, 2015 at 11:37 pm (7 years ago)

      This was great! We had “the Nasty Girls”. Thank you for coming to the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party. I’m Janice, one of your hostesses. Check back tomorrow to see if your post was chosen as most inspirational of the week!

    10. Ruthie Gray
      May 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm (7 years ago)

      Love your sense of humor. I told my strong willed child once that if she didn’t eat all her dinner, the sitter would only serve sour kraut whenever she watched her. She pretty much freaked out, I had to tell her the truth (that it wasn’t happening) and she still didn’t eat her dinner. She was 4. Now, she’s 26 – so she definitely has been eating for the past 22 years. Perspective: most of what we fight about with our kids won’t really matter later on in life. Pick your battles. (I sure picked them with her.) πŸ™‚

    11. Kristy as Giftie Etcetera
      May 2, 2015 at 6:29 pm (7 years ago)

      That was hilarious. We don’t spank, but I find myself saying, “son, you are so lucky we don’t spank.” Maybe I need to borrow Spanker Man!

      • jenniferdaku
        May 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks Kristy… maybe you and your husband don’t spank, but that doesn’t mean your Spanker Man doesn’t. HAHA! Cheers and thanks for stopping by.

    12. Christy
      May 2, 2015 at 9:03 am (7 years ago)

      This made me laught out loud! I used to tell my kids I had a lie o’meter that would instantly buzz when i put it on their finger if they were telling me an untruth. That would do the trick of getting the truth out of them if I thought they were fibbing. Well, until they got old enough to demand to see this piece of equipment. So glad I’m not the only parent that has used this kind of fiction! Thanks for sharing a humorous read with Idea Box link party! – Cheers, Christy

      • jenniferdaku
        May 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm (7 years ago)

        Christy- what a GREAT IDEA! I am definitely stealing this Lie-O-Meter from you! Thanks for stopping by. Jen

    13. Audrey
      May 1, 2015 at 2:02 pm (7 years ago)

      My husband and I were joking about this the other day. We both heard “You will go blind if you sit that close to the TV.”

      “Your face is going to freeze that way”

      And I am pretty sure my brother was threatened to be shipped off to his uncle (a trouble maker in his youth) if he didn’t behave. Which actually made no sense, but I don’t think my brother ever called her on it.

      found you on Wonderful Wednesdays

    14. wendy
      April 29, 2015 at 10:56 pm (7 years ago)

      This was fantastic! You had me at the disclaimer! My mom received the same questions from her friends as your parents: “How do you get them to behave so well??” She didn’t need The Spanker Man, though, she had her eyebrows. We were DEATHLY afraid of what would happen when those eyebrows were raised. When our daughter was little, we invented “The Little Bug.” Every lesson she needed to learn (eat your veggies, buckle your seatbelt, don’t wander away at the beach…) had a “Little Bug” story that taught the moral. That poor little bug suffered some mighty tragic endings!

      • jenniferdaku
        April 30, 2015 at 8:58 am (7 years ago)

        That’s so funny Wendy… I have lots of friends whose parents had “the look”, and “the look” would stop them dead in their tracks from misbehavior. Hilarious about the Little Bug, I’d love to hear some of those stories. Cheer!

    15. Alyssa @ Piece of Home
      April 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm (7 years ago)

      Awesome post! I love reading about things like this. Whatever you have to do to get kids to listen. I think the Spanker Man is a great idea haha!

      • jenniferdaku
        April 30, 2015 at 9:01 am (7 years ago)

        Thanks, Alyssa. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

    16. Marina @ Parental Journey
      April 28, 2015 at 3:18 am (7 years ago)

      This so funny.. You should make a book about all the lies we tell our kids, it would be a bestseller πŸ˜€

    17. Nikki Frank-Hamilton
      April 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm (7 years ago)

      This makes me laugh! We grew up in the middle of nowhere, amidst corn fields. My parents were so afraid that we would get lost in the acres of corn that they told us that there were ground hogs in there and that they would eat our toes. It kept us out of the fields for many years. By that time the farmer began rotating crops and planted alfalfa, we couldn’t get lost in that!

    18. Lisa @ Fun Money Finds
      April 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm (7 years ago)

      So funny!!! I have to admit, I’ve lied to my kids a few times too (okay, maybe more than a few).

      My favorite from your list…the number of crumbs left on the plate represents the number of pimples your husband will have!

      • jenniferdaku
        April 27, 2015 at 12:41 pm (7 years ago)

        I know… that one gave me a good chuckle. My second favorite was from the mom who googled “stretched out nostrils” to stop her daughter from picking her nose. Imagine if OUR parents would have had the benefit of Google searches when we were kids?!

    19. Emily
      April 24, 2015 at 5:54 am (7 years ago)

      Hilarious! Rob got smart–when his parents came at him with the belt (that sounds so violent), he put a hardcover book in his pants. Gotta beat them at their own game!

      • jenniferdaku
        April 24, 2015 at 11:35 am (7 years ago)

        So funny! I don’t believe Rob ever got spankins…

    20. Judy Rees
      April 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm (7 years ago)

      Loved the post. Glad you were paying attention and that my “Mom Brilliance” was recognized from an early age. Mom

    21. Chastity
      April 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm (7 years ago)

      This is awesome! My parents would spank us with my dad’s belt that said Bill on it – I was terrified of that belt:) We now use an old white belt of my husbands and start making cracking sounds and it makes my son act right for the rest of the day!

    22. Christina @ Life as a Slay
      April 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm (7 years ago)

      Love the disclaimer! My friend told her daughter that there was a Spankin Monster at one restaurant they went to and the other day her daughter told mine about the Spankin Monster (they’re 3) Haha! Unfortunately they are lead to believe that the Spankin Monster only lives at 1 particular restaurant. When we are in a restaurant I will tell my daughter that if she doesn’t behave then the Manager will come and make her go sit outside. It works about 20% of the time. Man, why can’t I be one of those mom’s that has magic control over my kids to make them behave in public at all times. Ha!

    23. Emily W.
      April 23, 2015 at 9:22 am (7 years ago)

      This is brilliant. My mom used to keep one of my dad’s belts in the car. If we were bad, she’d hold it up and crack it. She swears she never used it on us, but that belt was legendary.

      • jenniferdaku
        April 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm (7 years ago)

        This is hilarious and incredible- I can’t see Trish going nuts on your toosh with a belt! Hey, it probably deterred you from acting up, so the belt served its purpose.

    24. Carrie Groneman
      April 23, 2015 at 1:37 am (7 years ago)

      Oh, my Jennifer, you are my kind of woman. If we could chat, I have stories for you!!! I love your humor, your realism and your writing. Keep it up and can’t wait to see what’s up your sleeve next. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

      • jenniferdaku
        April 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm (7 years ago)

        Carrie- thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. I would LOVE to hear your stories!

    25. Kristin
      April 22, 2015 at 10:25 pm (7 years ago)

      i literally laughed out loud. Cheers, my friend. Cheers!

      • jenniferdaku
        April 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks Kristin- glad you enjoyed.

    26. Michelle
      April 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm (7 years ago)

      I am in love with your mom!!! A wise, wise woman. Why, because if you would ask my grown daughters the things I told them, well, we both could write a book. Our family favorite is, “mom has eyes in the back of her head.” She sees everything all the time! This is one they believed. Not to long ago I heard my daughter say the exact same thing to my grandson…she didn’t know I overheard. Some things get passed down generation to generation. Yeah. Absolutely loved this post.

      • jenniferdaku
        April 23, 2015 at 12:35 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks Michelle! I got a good chuckle out of the “eyes on the back of my head” story- definitely think I heard that a couple times during my childhood. For a while, I believed my parents could telepathically read my mind and know my thoughts. That’s scary. Glad to see your daughter thought enough of your stories to pass them down to her own children!