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With so much on my plate, it’s hard for me to find time to watch every television show I have an interest in. However, one show that has a lot of people talking is NBC’s The Slap, an eight-part miniseries about an adult who slaps a child in the face – and that child is not his. Just watching the promos for the show gave me pause. As a mother, I can’t imagine anyone hitting my child, even myself to some degree. But since my son is only a little over a year old, I really haven’t had to discipline him yet. But when he’s older, I can’t really say what course of action I’d take even though I know discipline will inevitably be necessary.

I guess the real question is will I ever allow OTHERS to discipline my child? It’s one thing for grandma to pop that leg, or Auntie to snatch a kid up. I think I would trust my close relatives to discipline my son within reason. My sister and I were never spanked as children, however my mother made it known that not only can my relatives discipline us how they see fit, but so can my neighbors, the old ladies in the church and just about anyone else in our little community who saw us acting a fool. It was for that reason that we thought twice about misbehaving, because anyone had carte blanche to get us all the way right. We knew there were eyes watching us from all around, so that alone kept us in line.

In the NBC series, the man who slaps the child IS indeed a relative, but “the slap” causes all kinds of family rift. If you don’t believe in hitting your children, you probably don’t want ANYONE – including a relative – to lay hands on your child(ren). And that’s understandable. Studies have shown that spanking children can have long-lasting, negative effects on them even though it is not illegal in any state to spank your child. Hell, it’s not even illegal in 19 states for someone ELSE to spank your child in schools. However, that still doesn’t mean that it’s right…or wrong, but some parents believe that there are alternative means to get their children to behave other than spanking. And that is their right as well.

As parents, it’s hard sometimes to not judge other parents’ choices on how they raise their children. It’s easy to say a child deserves to be spanked even while believing that your own child is a little angel. What works for one parent may not work for another, and it’s easy to get defensive if someone doesn’t agree with your parenting decisions. But no matter what I believe, it’s safe to say that I believe it’s never okay to slap someone else’s child – especially in the face. Now, if a child is a danger to himself or someone else, then I believe you can restrain him – but slapping is something completely different. I know I’d have a hard time believing that an adult cannot neutralize a situation involving a child without hitting them. Unless of course that “child” is a teenager and swings on you, then you might have a good reason to swing back.

Corporal punishment is usually a sore subject among parents, even though in some communities (namely ours) it’s not as frowned upon as the audience who may tune in to this show. No matter how you raise your children, someone will always take issue with something you do, so my best suggestion would be to make your wishes known to those closest to you and ask them to abide by them. If you don’t believe in spanking a child, make sure you tell your friends and family not to lay a hand on your kid – you’ll take care of the discipline yourself – and you’ll in turn abide by their wishes as well. And if they don’t agree or can’t enforce your “rules,” then keep your kids away from them. That way, no one has to worry about slapping anyone.

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