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Spanking as a Form of Discipline

Mommy Dearest: Grandma and Mom Disagree on Discipline

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

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

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Join The Conversation
JennyJenJenMurph JennyJenJenMurph 7 years
The punishments the grandmother believes in are only appropriate in extreme situations. They result more in humilitation of the child than any actual discipline. It is the mother's choice in how to punish her child. Why a daughter can not call her mother to vent over a stressful situation without getting insulted over her parenting methods simply because they aren't the ones used on her and her siblings, I don't understand.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
I agree with the grandmother. "Time out" rarely works. A quick, but effective spanking will prevent further disobedience and it doesn't even hurt the child. Just the thought of a spanking was enough to keep us out of trouble when we were little!
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
You need to be firm about how you have decided to parent. Saying something like "I'm trying different methods, but I appreciate your input." is diplomatic, but she'll probably keep interjecting her opinions about spanking (or whatever), and eventually you have to put your foot down. What seems to work between my mom and me is saying "(My husband) and I have decided to do things this way." It shows that I'm not the only person making decisions and reminds her that I am an adult with my own family now.
Danni99 Danni99 8 years
I agree that your mom should respect the methods you use to discipline, but you also should acknowledge that from the sounds of it, your mom's methods successfully raised you and your siblings. I do believe some behaviors demand a different-more stern- level of discipline, but you have to do what works for you. If your daughter darts into the street again, you'll know timeout didn't work. Perhaps you can let your mom know that you don't feel comfortable using corporal punishment as a first resort, but you appreciate knowing you can go to her for advice on its application should the timeouts fail to get her attention. You're the parent, true, but your mom's been a parent a really long time too, and creating a rift based on your differences isn't really a great maternal role model to go setting, now is it?
skigurl skigurl 8 years
it's up to you, lady discipline as you see fit you did discipline in your own way and didn't let your child off too easy, so don't worry about it
jessie jessie 8 years
Ditto Mommy Dearest! :)
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