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The day I spanked my daughter in a parking lot: or, parenting opinion -VS- judgment

by Meagan Francis on July 9, 2013

We hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July holiday weekend, and since both Sarah and I are on vacation this week, we thought we’d revisit a post from last summer – one that has generated some great discussion over the last year. Enjoy! -Meagan

When it comes to parental triggers, I have a bit of a thing about kids and cars.

I cannot abide running in parking lots.

I may have given my young nephew a bit of a complex with the passion I put into my “don’t ever play in automobiles” speech.

I go through contortionist neck gymnastics whenever I back out of my driveway, thoroughly searching every possible square inch where a child could unexpectedly pop up as I inch out at about 1.5 miles per hour.

So I suppose it’s no surprise that a parking lot was involved in my three-year-old daughter’s first – and hopefully last – spanking.

The kids stood waiting to pile into the car after a trip to the beach after a long, exhausting slog across a fire-hot dune. I was collecting and shaking sand-covered towels as Jon brushed grit from the kids’ feet and calves.

Clara stood next to my oldest son, about fifteen feet away from me. The distance didn’t bother me: Clara has never been one to run away, and is in general a great listener.

“Jacob, would you brush the sand off of Clara’s feet?” I asked, rummaging through the beach bag.

But apparently my normally-docile daughter felt like giving her big brother a little trouble. As Jacob reached for her, a mischievous grin flashed across Clara’s face. I saw it, and my heart gave a quick double-squeeze.

“Clara…” I said in a warning tone. The grin stayed and she looked around, sizing up her options. I’d seen that look before, on my older kids’ faces: Clara was About To Bolt.

“Jacob, get her!” I cried, but he was too slow: she darted between two cars, directly into the parking lot.

I was on my feet in an instant and reached her in about five seconds flat, but of course, it wouldn’t have been soon enough if a car had been driving by at that moment – the picture that stayed in my head as I rushed around the car and grabbed her, shaking.

And then? She laughed.

Teach her, scare her, make her get it! some primitive area of my brain seemed to be screaming. And quick as a flash – before I’d had time to even think about it – my other hand closed in on her bottom in a noisy swat!

I immediately regretted it. Clara didn’t cry, but looked hurt and said, “Mommy, what did you do that for?” The rest of my family went silent and we all avoided eye contact as I sheepishly loaded her into the car.

It was then, after I fastened her harness and shut the car door, that I noticed the other mother, standing across the parking lot, staring at me.

Due to the glaring sun and the distance, I couldn’t make out her expression. But I just sensed the judgment.

No!” I wanted to yell. “It’s not what you think! I’m not…A Spanker!

But instead, I just climbed in the car, red-faced. What difference did it make if it was the first or last time, a heat-of-the-moment mistake or planned discipline? At that moment, I was A Spanker. Not only that, but a public spanker, an angry public spanker. The worst kind, right?

And it turns out, A Public Spanker was a humbling – and eye-opening – thing to be.

****

I have opinions about a lot of things. What and how we feed our kids. How babies are born. Antibiotics for ear infections. Slings and toddler leashes. Allowances and chores. Teens and technology.

And as it happens, I have opinions about spanking. I don’t think it works. I think it’s a crummy way to teach kids not to do wrong. I think it can easily cross over the line into abuse. And I think there is almost always a better option.

And yet, I spanked. Just one of the countless ways I’ve fallen short of my personal ideal in pretty much every single area where I hold an opinion.

Which is why I try so hard not to judge people who don’t hold the same opinions as I do. Or those who do hold those same opinions, but who fall short, every day. Because I’d have to judge myself, too.

That’s why, though I’m not a fan of spanking, articles with titles like “If you spank your kids, we can’ t be friends” (actual blog post title) bother me so much.

That’s why, though I know parents who feel differently than I do on a number of hot-button parenting issues, from vaccines to breastfeeding to circumcision to co-sleeping, I try very hard to never go down the path of belittling another loving parent for her beliefs.

Because there is a difference between having an opinion and judging.

Judgment takes the emphasis off of the behavior and puts it on the person. It says, “Because you do this, or because you believe in that, or because you made a mistake, you are lesser than me.” Judgment leaves no wiggle room for grace, disagreement, true understanding or growth. And judgment kicks people when they’re already down.

Having opinions is healthy, normal behavior. And you can express opinions, try to change hearts and minds, and stand up for your beliefs without demonizing the people who believe or act differently.

But when you define a person – an actual human being – by the action you don’t agree with, you start down a very slippery slope.

I know many will argue that spanking is different than, say, breastfeeding or junk food or other parenting debates. That it’s a more important issue, a potentially more damaging act. But I think “importance” is in the eye of the beholder. There are parents who feel very strongly about things that aren’t on my radar at all. And vice-versa, I’m sure.

I don’t know many parents who go around believing in things just for the fun of it. I may think their beliefs are misguided or wrong, but if I write them off as people because of those beliefs, then I’ve not only missed an opportunity to understand them better, but I’ve missed the opportunity to be a positive representation of my own beliefs.

And I don’t know a single parent who hasn’t fallen down on the job from time to time, whether it happens behind the scenes or right in the middle of a parking lot, like my very public meltdown.

Look, I know that some parents are just jerks, and the spanking or force-feeding or ultra-permissiveness are just the frosting on the yucky cake. By all means, avoid those people.

But when I’m dealing with otherwise kind, reasonable, loving parents, I prefer to start with the benefit of the doubt.

That maybe their opinions about whatever I find distasteful might evolve over time (I know that plenty of my parenting opinions have changed over the years.)

That maybe the mother in question is working out the way she really feels about the Issue Du Jour.

That maybe she is coming from a background that I can’t understand, or dealing with pressures I can’t see.

That perhaps the scene I witnessed was a low point in a stressful day.

Here’s the thing. At the end of the day, I’m still going to have opinions. Do I believe there is a spanking debate? Not particularly; or at least, not one I want to engage in.

I could say the same for about two dozen other parenting issues. I’m not interested in debating them; my mind is made up.

Yup, I have opinions.

But if you believe the opposite? If you’re struggling to figure out what you believe? Or if you agree with me, but screw up from time to time?

If I like you and think you’re a loving, thoughtful parent, it’s not going to make me think any less of you. Promise.

We can still be friends.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Alma July 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

You’re very brave to have written this. I once swatted one of my daughters. I was utterly exhausted and pushed to the brink and I regret it still. And I think it’s the regret and ownership of our failings that make us good parents.

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Meagan Francis July 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Alma, I agree, to an extent. I think that guilt can be a healthy emotion. But I also think there is a tendency to self-flagellate over certain issues (spanking’s definitely one, “failing” to breastfeed or have the “right” birth experience are others). Almost like there is cultural pressure to continue to beat ourselves up for years for certain transgressions. I am really trying hard not to do that to myself or expect it from others.

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Devon July 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Holy cats! Ummm … were you spying on me yesterday, say around 5:25 PST? Because what you just described – down to the very emotional detail – was me. Although we were in different places and circumstances, this happened to me … The boys and I were invited to a piano recital, a very beautifully decorated, elegant affair that was somewhat private. I was honored to have been invited and even more excited that my four-year-olds were asked to come along.

And wouldn’t you know it, my boys decide to have a we’re-not-going-to-listen-to-you type of meltdown of epic proportions. They were fidgeting loudly during the performance, running through the pews of the church during intermission, tearing paper, doing anything to make noise…

I was embarrassed. I was angry. I was sweating. I was pushed to the breaking point.

Like you, I have opinions, and like you, I do my best to remember that plenty of people disagree with me. And I’m okay with that. What’s hard to grasp is when my own actions get the best of me, which happened last night. It’s humbling, for sure.

Beautiful post, Meagan. Thank you for sharing ….

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Sleeping Should Be Easy July 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I haven’t spanked, but my “moment” came when my toddler refused to walk out of the house with me, and I literally dragged him by the arm for a few feet before feeling horrified at what I had done. “I’m a drag-their-kid mom!” I thought to myself.

If anything, that experience taught me two things: 1) that I’m likely to do things I swore never to do, and that 2) try not to judge other moms who lose it with their kids. I dragged my kid in private, but I could easily have done that in public and felt the need to justify myself: “No, I’m really a good mom! I read parenting books! I have a parenting blog! And this is a rare thing for me to lose it, I swear!”

Now, I try to give parents the benefit of the doubt whenever I see something go down with their kids. A mom yelled at her kid? Maybe she’s going through health issues or had a crummy day at work or is suffering through morning sickness. A dad was rude to his kid? Hopefully it was just this one day and not something that happens often.

There’s no way to tell how strangers really parent. For all I know, that dad *does* act like a jerk to his son nearly every day, and sadly there are parents like that. But I’m willing to bet, that if I could have a drag-my-kid day once in a while, then other parents are just as likely to have them as well.

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Cate July 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Agreed! I sometimes see parents in the grocery store with that teeth-clenching, spitting mad kind of look, and I just try to smile encouragingly. Because I’ve been that mom more than I’d like to admit.

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Carolyn July 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Right on about judgement versus opinion! I wish more people understood this

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Julia July 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The two times my mom spanked me were also knee jerk reactions. One involving me running out in the street, and one when I walked away from her on the NY Ferry on the way to the Statue of Liberty.

It happens. I can imagine that it was based on how fearful you were that she was going to get hurt. It’s ok :) No judgment here. As someone who this happened to, I don’t remember it, I don’t love my mother less.

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RobinG July 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

You say it doesn’t work, but I bet she doesn’t do it again. I think there is a time and purpose for spanking. I rarely did it (my kids are grown), but I think it is effective when used for appropriate reasons–such as running in the street. I completely respect your opinion, believe me, I just differ! :)

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Prickly Mom July 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. Look at it this way: you wrote “Teach her, scare her, make her get it! some primitive area of my brain seemed to be screaming.” That’s just it! Humans are still animals, albeit ones who can reason…you were in a danger situation, and your primal instinct kicked in. The way I see it is that you did exactly what a human mom was designed to do. The bright side: you’re smart enough to go back and explain the situation to Clara, and she’ll understand, and everything will be fine.

Rock on!

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Hayley July 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Great post, but I cringed when I got to the part about ‘backing out’ of your driveway. It is safer to back IN and drive OUT. It is much easier to check the (otherwise empty) spot for roving children before you enter it, than to check the road for roving children (and other pedestrians, and cyclists, and automobiles, and whatever else is out there) when you are leaving it. Here is an article from a little while ago: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/transport/2011/02/youre_parking_wrong.html

I love the rest of your post. Context is so important when discussing things like ‘is it ok to spank your kid?’ I think the exact circumstance you were in is the type where it is ok. You needed to respond instantly, you scared the daylights out of her without causing physical harm (which underlines how serious you were), and you had (and presumably took) the opportunity to explain to her exactly what she had done wrong. I feel that no matter what parenting choices I make, I will be judged by someone, so screw ‘em, I am not accountable to any one of them.

But please, try backing into your driveway.

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Meagan Francis July 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Hi Hayley,

Wow, thanks for the link. It’s funny, because whenever I park at a parking lot I try to park front-facing out (usually I’ll go to a less-busy part of the lot, and pull through so I can drive both in and out of the space frontways, especially in crowded lots where there are lots of children.) But I’m not sure it would actually be safer to do this in my driveway. I have a long, shared driveway that ends at our back door. There are often neighborhood children running through the yard, and when I get home from being gone, I’m not sure where my children are or where other neighborhood children are. Whereas when I’m leaving, I check behind my car and then tell any kids I see to get in a place where I can see them the entire time I’m backing out. I stop when I get to the end of the driveway and do another check to make sure there are no cyclists or pedestrians on the sidewalk before I pull the rest of the way out. I think if it was a shorter driveway, backing in would make more sense, but in our case I’d actually be way more worried backing in than out!

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Stephanie July 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I’m a spanker. I have a 3 year old and a 15 month old and I fully believe in spanking and believe when done right, it’s very effective. But I really appreciate your article and the idea that we shouldn’t look down on other parents just because they don’t parent the same way we do. I find myself often getting frustrated with other parents when I feel like their kids are misbehaving and they aren’t doing enough to stop them, but I have to remind myself that those are THEIR kids and it’s THEIR decision how to handle discipline, not mine. The only time I will step in is if their child is hurting my child and they aren’t doing anything about it (has happened multiple times with a friend of mine’s kids). Then I will simply go over and remove my child from the situation and simply tell the other child something like “It’s not very nice to hit/kick/smother/slap…etc. other kids.”

I don’t think you did anything wrong by spanking your daughter in that situation either. Even if it’s the last time you ever do it. I really believe that there are situations like that, that are life-threatening to them, where we can’t just speak calmly to them and ask them to please not do that. We need to get through to them the urgency of the situation and make it very memorable that whatever they did is NOT ok. I don’t think your daughter will ever try to run off in a parking lot again! :)

I have also spanked in public and didn’t feel one ounce of guilt over it. It’s not something I do frequently and it’s only if I have tried several other things to get my daughter to behave. If she’s really going to push it, I will swat her on her bottom, once. She gets it at that point. No more messing around. If someone wants to glare at me and judge me because of that, so be it. I don’t care. I don’t abuse my children.

I also don’t glare at other parents when their children are having a complete meltdown in the store because I can relate. I try to give them a reassuring smile to let them know that they don’t have to be embarrassed because most of us have been there and feel their pain. If I ever caught someone glaring at me (hasn’t happened yet thank goodness) I would probably just look at them and say “What?!?! What are you looking at?? Never seen a child get upset in a public place?? You have perfect children?? Yea, didn’t think so. Move along and mind your own business!” Thankfully, I’ve never had to do that and hopefully never will. lol.

Great post though, I thoroughly enjoyed it and enjoy reading the different perspectives in the comments. I think it’s so nice to be able to discuss something in the motherhood world without the claws coming out and moms calling each other names and putting each other down. It’s such a shame that we don’t stand more united in being the best moms we can be. I feel like your blog has been a great place for that. :)

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Jennfier July 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I agree with you Stephanie…whole heartedly. Great blog-Meagan!

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Eric February 3, 2014 at 1:07 am

Hey there i was wondering of you could help me i dont knpw if you will or not. My sixteen year old daughter is disobeying and i have tried everything what shpuld i do.

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Sarah July 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

LOVE the opinion v. judgment distinction! Wish I’d thought of it when I wrote this

http://www.saltandnectar.com/theblog/2011/8/22/why-i-unapologetically-judge-other-mothers.html

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Shell July 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

I love how you differentiate between having an opinion and judging- they really are different things!

I’m so paranoid about parking lots. My younger brother was run over in our own driveaway when someone was leaving and didn’t realize he was out there playing. He was fine, but OMG, so scary.

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Ana July 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I can so relate. When they do something dangerous, and your heart is in your mouth and you just want to get THROUGH to them dangit! I jerked my son’s arm when he reached for the stove (harder than it required, I’ll admit) because he was also teasing & testing me. I don’t believe in spanking for routine discipline but when safety issues are involved, you just need to get their attention & a mild swat on a padded tush isn’t going to leave any physical or emotional scars I promise. My parents definitely used (reasonable) physical punishments with me & my sister & while I do remember it (and remember being scared…which is why I don’t want to resort to that method), I don’t harbor any resentment & love them to pieces to this day.

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susan July 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Save a life with a swat on the butt or let the child run and laugh and then try to correct with talking. I choose the swat. There is a huge difference between a swat and abuse.

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Kristen Howerton July 13, 2012 at 6:30 am

I love that you shared this.

I feel the same way about parking lots. HATE THEM. There is every bit the likelihood a child could be hit as the street, and yet I cannot seem to impart this to my kids. I have given one of my kids a swat for this very thing, and another a sway for running from me in a crosswalk.

Totally agree on the difference between judging and opinion. I have really strong opinions on the way I parent. I over-analyze everything. And yet, I don’t judge other moms unless they are causing physical or psychological damage to a child.

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Michelle July 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm

This is a gorgeous post. I have opinions, and I feel myself judging sometimes – many times, in fact – though I do my best to turn the situation around. There are so many times that I have done things that aren’t ideal for tons of reasons, many of which were valid. It’s hard though… and it’s a work in progress.

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Amanda July 14, 2012 at 2:25 am

We have a bi-cultural household and discipline is one of the issues that has been difficult to navigate. My husband grew up in a culture where physical even corporal punishment was very very common. It happened in schools and at home. There was no skirting it and in his opinion children should fear their parents and anyone older than them. I never was spanked – ever. (My sister was another story). As we’ve navigated through this issue we’ve boiled it down to the principle that there can be a time and place for spanking. I don’t think it works as the only discipline tool but it’s one of them. My 5 year old responds to a spanking – I could talk to him until I was purple in the face and he wouldn’t get it. My 8 year old is the opposite. I try very hard not to judge parents for their choices – spanking being one of them!

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Heather Novak July 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Oh Meagan, great story. Thanks for allowing the difference between having an opinion and making a judgement. What a simple way to show the difference.

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Leslie July 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The first time I spanked my daughter (and one of the only times) she was also three, and she had put something in her mouth I was afraid was poisonous and refused to spit it out. It was the only thing I could think of to get her attention, and it worked.

I’m not a big believer in spanking, but I think that it’s not as big a deal as it’s made out to be in certain circles. Your reaction was appropriate to the circumstances and doesn’t imply anything at all negative about your overall mothering.

No one judges any of us so harshly as we judge ourselves.

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sarah July 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I was run over as a child, and got trapped between the car (a dune buggy with an exposed motor, and I had waist-length hair, you can imagine how scary that was for my parents!) … and years later a child ran out infront of my father’s car and was killed … so frankly my response to you is, anyone worrying about whether you spanked your child in a moment of extremely serious danger should wake up to the real priorities of that moment – keeping your child alive. I don’t believe in spanking in principle but I also do believe that your daughter will remember that lesson far more clearly than any telling-off would ensure. (I assume you followed up with a discussion about safety around cars.) Sometimes parents act on instinct. I completely agree with Leslie, your reaction was appropriate. What isn’t appropriate in my opinion is beating yourself up for an instinctive response to severe danger. :-)

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phoenix1920 July 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I love your style of writing and how you are so open. I love how you stress that we should not judge the worth of a person based on whether their beliefs differ. I may be misreading the article, but it seems like there is one more distinction that is important to make: that there is a big difference between having an opinion on a topic like spanking or breastfeeding for our personal situation and having an opinion as to somebody else’s situation. Our beliefs are based on a cost/benefit analysis, but that equation is different for each of us.

For example, nursing has better nutrition and helps with supporting a baby’s immune system, but it may have a cost for a mom who is uncomfortable with nursing or who suffered pain from it, etc. For me, the first two weeks were very painful (although my lactation expert assured me the latch was great) but it was really important to me because I have asthma and read that nursing for a year can decrease the risk of a baby having asthma. My choices and beliefs may have been different if my pain lasted longer and I didn’t have asthma. I have an opinion as to what was best for me, but my opinion does not extend to others. I have no idea how their equation differs. It is similar with spanking. I generally do not spank, but at one point, I thought I’d give my older daughter the option of a spanking instead of time out, and she CHOSE the spanking. So I did spank her, but hated it. I thought perhaps she was unaware of what a spanking was, so I gave her the option of that the next time she broke the rules–and she chose a spanking again. For me, the cost of spanking is too high because I hate it–it makes me feel terrible, even if my older dd prefers that method (it is NOT the preference for my younger dd). I’m not so sure as to whether one way teaches the lesson better than the other for my kids–I think the words after the punishment are the important part. But perhaps if you never spank and you spank just this once, it becomes more memorable because it is so rare–and will stick with a child longer. In order words, the equation changes too much.

I guess my thoughts are that we as people are so unique and different–there is no one-approach answer that fits all of us. My ideas work for my family, but may not work for yours. In fact, we are hard-wired to BE unique, although we are also social creatures. There is a fine balance between fitting in and changing who we are to fit in. We can have opinions for our individual situation, but there is a difference between having an opinion for my family and having an universal “best” opinion as to a topic (an everybody-should-do-it-this-way opinion).

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Heather July 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

Your child was in a life threatening situation and you acted instinctually. DO NOT beat yourself up about this. I think we often have the best of intentions but when the moment happens, act differently. I wasn’t going to let my child cry, but sometimes through necessity that’s what happens and I do feel awful. Can say the same about breatfeeding vs formula. Parenting is such a learning curve.

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kenny May 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

she made it to THREE without a spanking?

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Elsie June 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

What is the world coming to?? Spanking vs beating. You didn’t beat. You spanked. There is NOTHING wrong with a firm swat on the bottom (not across the face or a punch, etc) as a reminder for disobeying or dangerous behaviour. I’m shocked people feel like a failure because of this. If you don’t correct her then you don’t love her. It’s *clear* you love your family and your kids and you will do what is necessary to teach the appropriate lesson. People who do not correct their children should be concerned about scrutiny, not those who do so. They are CHILDREN, they do not know boundaries and rules unless they are trained and taught.

Also, there is a proper way to swat a bottom. Judgemental people “opposed” to such things never consider that (I’m not referring to yourself).

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Sarah July 10, 2013 at 5:47 am

I don’t think you did anything wrong but I understand that you feel upset with yourself.

I think I would have wanted to do the same thing in that situation.

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Becky July 10, 2013 at 10:34 am

Years ago my best friend called me in tears, She caught my godson playing with the garage door. It was an old garage door without any safety features And he was diving under the door just before closed. She has never spanked her children, She wanted me to drive 25 miles out to their house to spank him. At first I thought she was joking, She kept pleading with me to drive out there. Thankfully by the time I got there she calmed down and took his Legos away for one month. I really didn’t want to spank him!

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Nicole July 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Great post! We all need to be a little more supportive and understanding of each other, and of ourselves. I don’t have perfect children, and I am sure not perfect, so I don’t know why I would expect anyone else to be.

That said, if you don’t vaccinate your kids, we cannot be friends. That is a decision that puts other people’s babies at risk, and I just won’t have it.

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Katherine July 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm

I did the same exact thing several years ago with my son. It was a busy shopping parking lot and he darted off from my grip on him and I got him and spanked him right there in front of the world and it was automatic, all the emotion, panic, and anger just took over and I never spanked but it just happened so fast. It really is humbling and I do give myself grace for it now since the fear of my son being hurt or killed is what caused it. It definitely upset me though to remember it all over ten years later since I cannot remember much of anything usually.

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Claire July 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm

In France, where I’ve lived for the past year, parents spank their children all the time. There is no stigma attached to it. If your kid is bad, give him/her a slap on the behind. And you what? It works. French children, on the whole, have lots of freedom – it’s not unusual to see a group of small kids playing outside at 10:30 or 11:00 if it’s not a school night, with their parents only vaguely in the vicinity. At the beach or pool, a mother will let her 3-year-old swim, with floaties on (I haven’t met a single parent here who thinks they’re “dangerous”), while she watches from her chair. Parenting in general here seems a lot more rational than in America. Parents let their kids be kids, and explore. In return, the kids have to behave – if they don’t, they’ll get a slap on the butt. Spanking never killed anyone. It hurts, yes, but only for about a minute – long enough for the kid to get the message through his/her head. It’s very effective. Kids behave here in public. It’s very rare to see a kid make a scene. When I come back to America every couple of months, I’m constantly struck at how loud and ill-behaved children here are. I can’t believe the difference.

American parents seem to have it all backwards. They’re so frightened about any possible harm to befall their children that they stifle them constantly. Kids in the U.S. can’t make any choices for themselves. Their moms plan their whole day for them, force them to bed far too early, and then repeat the process the next day. Meanwhile, they don’t punish the kids effectively because, again, they’re frightened of “harming” them. And then they’re shocked and amazed when their combination of stifling parenting and ineffective punishment eventually causes their kids to act out of line.

You did nothing wrong. Don’t beat yourself up about it. I guarantee your daughter learned more from this than from 50 “timeouts.”

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Tamar August 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I came across this because I spanked my 2-year-old and have been feeling guilty. I never once thought to do that to my 6-year-old but my little guy is a runner and a laugh in your facer with no sense of consequence. And I have a four month old now so I can’t keep up with him. We were camping, he kept bolting and, when i grabbed him for the 100th time and he laughed defiantly, i gave him a pretty firm swat on the bottom. Don’t know where it came from, but your description is apt. Make him listen, keep him safe. We were all shocked, and he cried sadly and stayed mad at me all day. We don’t believe in spanking. I don’t think I honored his emotional safety, and I think I humiliated him. Thanks for the food for thought. I feel sad and overwhelmed.

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Sean September 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I was raised with the “fear of God” and got spanked regularly, most of which I didn’t deserve but let me tell you, it kept me out of trouble. I didn;t get anyone pregnant in high school, I was smoking dope, wasn’t being mean to other kids or disrepectful to my elders. Now I was far from an angel but I wasn’t close to being as bad as some of the “cool” kids. Now let me explain I was raised by my grandmother who raised me the same way she raised my father in the 30′s which would be nothing short of assualt and battery today. I feel sorry for people that don’t have control of their kids, “bend the sapling while it is young or it will grow into a weed”. I set clear boundaries for my children with consequences, you lose your toys, you get a time out from time to time, but if they are disrepectful or hurtful, they might end up with a swatted bottom. If my child threw a tantrum in the store, she’d know what was coming so most of my discipline is simply a look and we stay out of trouble. But the “fear of God” keeps us all on our toes. I don’t want to spank my kids but if that’s what I have to do to get them to be kind, respectful, appreciative, polite, safe and things like that, go ahead and judge me.
And just remember, the people that judge you aren’t going to be down at the hospital with you when your kids bolts again and gets hit by a car. They’ll be at home judging you while their kids ignore them and throw fits in public. Take this from someone who ran out into the street and got hit by a car.

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Devin Larosa September 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

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Andrew April 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I wonder if you could have avoided her running into the parking lot by telling her to stay out of the parking lot instead of telling her brother to get her. She may in fact have thought you were inviting her to play a game.

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