Mommy Dearest,

Yesterday, my 4-year-old darted into the street after I warned her against doing so several times. No cars were coming, so she wasn't hurt, but I knew she deserved a consequence for her disobedience and put her in timeout for four minutes. When I recounted the story to my mother, she was aghast and said her granddaughter deserved a spanking so she wouldn't dare do such a dangerous thing again. I told my mom I don't agree with the punishments that she firmly believes in, like spanking and washing mouths out with soap. She took offense and told me good luck with my method and not to call her again when my daughter continues to misbehave. Do you think there are varying degrees of infractions and do some warrant more tough disciplinary action?

– Discipline Dilemma Mama

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Discipline Dilemma Mama,

Some parenting philosophies are generational, and that might be what you experienced with your mother. While spanking, washing a mouth out with soap, and other punishments might have been the norm years ago, noncorporal discipline methods have become common. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has potentially deleterious side effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents be encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior.

You should raise your child the way you see fit and your mother should respect your decisions regardless of whether she agrees with them.

—Mommy Dearest

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