Why Are We Proud of Smacking Our Kids?

It was one of those rare occasions where the stars aligned with my husband’s back-to-school schedule and my son’s soccer schedule and (Thank you, Lord) I got to go to the grocery store by myself. Like just me. No kids. No husband. So I was obviously in a great mood, humming my way through checkout when the toddler in the aisle next to me started to throw a massive, screaming tantrum in the seat of the cart. I hardly noticed (I have learned to tune those sorts of things out), but the lady who was checking me out stopped scanning my groceries to cover her ears. And then she looked at me, obviously hoping for camaraderie and said:  “I can’t believe some parents let their kids get by with stuff like that. If I were his mom, I would smack him so hard he wouldn’t know what hit him.” The lady in line behind me chimed in:  “I’m with you. My kids would have never acted out like that in a store. She needs to show him whose boss.”  And the two women rolled their eyes at the young mom and proudly regaled me with tales of their perfectly behaved children who wouldn’t dare throw a tantrum in the store. Because if they had, they would have been “smacked on their little butts so hard that they would never forget it.”  (That’s a quote.) I wanted to say something snarky like “And you’re proud of that?” or “Really?  You think that’s good parenting?” but I bit my tongue.  And I stayed quiet. And then I walked out of the...

I’m Worried For Our Girls

I’m probably going to offend someone here.  Okay, a lot of someones. But I have something I need to say. And it’s about little girls. So here goes:  I think boys have gotten a bad rap.  And I think (some, not all) little girls, smart and sweet as they are, are taking advantage of that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard girl moms complaining about “wild boys” who “don’t know their strength” and “don’t know how to treat girls right.”  And I get that.  Boys do tend to be wild.  And boys do tend to be boisterous and rude and aggressive and all sorts of things. But truth is, it’s not the boy at the playground who is jumping and screaming the bridge pretending he’s a pirate while swinging a stick that I’m worried about.  Or the boy who pushes the girl at the top of the slide because he wants to go down.  Or even the boy who is throwing a massive tantrum because his mom told him he has to stop playing Ninja Warrior next to the girl’s tea party. Yes, those boys are misbehaving.  They may be being too loud or too aggressive or too… boyish.   And with some good parenting and a little bit of time, I have a feeling most of these boys will learn to hone these behaviors into things that are more… productive. But when I see these things going on at school or on the playground, it’s my daughter that I’m worried about. I’m worried that she’s learning to shun boys for being boys. To feel like she’s...
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