Don't Spank Your Kids!

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor (Make Mine a Double)

The other day I was at Target (shocker!) browsing through an excellent selection of eight dollar tank tops. They were the extra long style which I happen to need since I am in possession of a serious muffin top, yet I insist on wearing low rise pants. So I was pretty engrossed in the tanks when I couldn't help but notice a woman pulling a dawdling toddler along by the wrist. Apparently the little guy wasn't thrilled to be leaving the purse section across the way from me and he was letting his displeasure be known.

The mom sort of pulled him in little jerks, you know the move, while giving him a sharp, "Come on! Now!" I felt her pain, truly. My twins have been extra tough lately and I've felt all kinds of aggravated at having to deal with them defying me in stores, the car and other people's houses. It's enough to make me not want to take them anywhere except that they aren't much better at home so it's kind of a no-win. But then all of a sudden, the mom whipped her son around and smacked him on the butt so hard the "thwack" noise went right to my gut. The little guy dissolved into crying and wouldn't get off the dirty Target floor, which enraged him mom even more. "Get. Up." she growled at him through gritted teeth while looking around to see if anyone was staring at her son's bad behavior. Then she sort of pulled him up by the wrist, spanked him again and said, "We're going." And he went.

All of a sudden I felt so pissed off. And I tried to see it from her side and not be judgmental. But I was. This wasn't just a swat on the butt due to losing all patience and impulse control - well, maybe the first one was - but once you hit your kid twice, you're a Spanker.

I don't believe in spanking. You might. A lot of people do. So just me saying this may piss you off. There may be some automatic party lines drawn between the "don't mess with my civil liberties" libertarians and the "greater good" liberals. I don't care; this is my opinion.

People shouldn't hit their kids for so many reasons -like it doesn't work. Sure Spankers will tell you that it does; they'll say that once you give a kid a spanking they learn immediately not to repeat the offending behavior again. But studies have shown that spanking doesn't change behaviors, in fact, it oftentimes makes it worse.

Dr. Phil says on his website, "When you spank, you introduce chaos into your child's world. This tells him or her that violence is acceptable, and it's an OK way to react when you're mad." If you're anything like me, when Dr. Phil talks (or jots something down on his website), you listen.


Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is the author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, Naptime Is the New Happy Hour, and It's Not Me, It's You: Subjective Recollections from a Terminally Optimistic, Chronically Sarcastic and Occasionally Inebriated Woman. She's appeared numerous times on The Today Show, is a member of the Us Weekly Fashion Police and writes on her blog, Baby On Bored.