“She seems to have turned out pretty well!”

It happened so quickly, so naturally, and yet I can't get it out of my mind. At a graduation party earlier this month I ran into the mother of two homeschooled girls I tutored when I was in high school, homeschooled myself. "You were a great teacher for my kids," she told me. "You were very strict with them and they needed that." And I cringed, because I am not the authoritarian person I was in high school. And was that really what she remembered about my time tutoring? What about all the times I … [Read more...]


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Why Do We as a Society Still Spank Our Children?

By now, you've probably heard about the new spanking study published in last month's Journal of Family Psychology. AUSTIN, Texas ­ — The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan....“Our analysis foc … [Read more...]


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Maintaining a Relationship with Difficult Parents

Over the years, I have sometimes gotten emails from readers wanting advice on how to deal with controlling and manipulative (if not downright abusive) parents. As my regular readers will know, I have maintained my relationship with my parents in spite of the no good very bad treatment I received from them as I came of age. My parents' actions---their efforts to control and manipulate and guilt me into being the daughter they wanted me to be---were emotionally abusive. Why did I decided to keep … [Read more...]


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On Coming When You’re Called and Fear-Based Obedience

Yesterday I argued that we sometimes hold higher expectations for our children than we do for ourselves. One example I gave was when parents expect their children to jump up and come immediately when called while they themselves feel free to take a moment to finish something when someone else calls them.I grew up with parents who expected obedience to be "immediate, complete, cheerful, and without question." Anything short of this was considered disobedience. Half of my many siblings are … [Read more...]


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How Spanking Sounds to a Never-Spanked 5-Year-Old

Have you ever wondered how the idea of spanking comes across to a child who has never been spanked? I wondered, too, and given that I have a never-spanked five-year-old, I thought I'd find out. This conversation is the result."Sally, do you think mommies and daddies should be able to hit their children?""No.""But what if their children do something wrong? Should parents be able to hit their children then?""No!""Why not?""They should use words, they're not … [Read more...]


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Michael Farris’s Selective Interest in Protecting Children

In the most recent installment of my Anonymous Tip review series, social workers Donna and Rita forcibly strip-searched four-year-old Casey. In the comments, a reader pointed this out: The strip-search bit sounds (to me, anyway) awfully similar to a spanking. Child is pinned down against her will, clothing is removed against her will, child writhes and screams to no avail... Casey is probably surprised that after this, the social workers just let her go instead of whacking her with a wooden … [Read more...]


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Adrian Peterson and Black Parenting

Several of my commenters have pointed out that there's a racial dimension important in understanding the Adrian Peterson situation. This isn't about saying that what Peterson did in abusing his son was okay, but rather that it's important to understand the context within which black parents make their disciplinary decisions. As a white woman, I don't feel qualified to speak to this directly, but I want to point to several articles I've seen written on this dimension over the past few days. For … [Read more...]


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