There are many ways of raising children. Of course.

Some parents breastfeed, some don’t, and for the most part, kids turn out fine. Some parents stay at home with their kids, some parents put their kids in daycare, and for the most part, kids turn out fine. Some parents enroll their children in public school, others homeschool, and for the most part, kids turn out fine. There certainly are parenting styles that are in need of improvement, to say it lightly, such as those that tend to be so strict that they could be labeled as abusive or those that are permissive enough to border on neglectful. But there is no one right way to parent, if your goal is to raise children who are functioning members of society.

3 Comments to
You Are a Good Parent

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  1. I liked some aspects of this article as it aims (I hope) to empower parents and focusses on their strength and embraces diversity. However I was frightened to read how an AP does not feel that ‘spanking’ a child is necessarily abuse. Terms such as spanking refers to the act of violence. The fact that we are so creative to use terms other than violence in itself suggests that in our hearts we know that what we do is very wrong. Violence is always wrong, ethically, morally and legally. I would go as far as to claim that it is even worse when directed towards vulnerable people in our society such as children or people who are disabled in some way. There is usually 2 sides of a story but in this case I refuse to accept any excuses for violence!

    • Hi Sandra,

      I believe that spanking is wrong, but I know that when it comes to definable forms of abuse, that parents who do spank often do not see themselves as abusing. There is a term called “normative abuse” that can be applied toward spanking, which describes spanking as you have. I do not spank my children, and I would not advocate spanking as a form of discipline for any parent, but those who do spank will usually say that they are not abusing their child. I try to meet parents where they are in their parenting journeys, and telling a parent that she/he is abusing her/his child by spanking is a great way to cause defensiveness and turn them off to any potential change in their parenting. I do not agree with spanking, but I also do not agree with judging parents who, in their own right, believe that what they’re doing is the best for their child — and nearly all parents, even those who spank, believe that they are being the best parent they can be. Turning from a spanking mindset is extremely difficult to do. I applaud you that you have done it! I did, and it took a long time for me. It’s a completely different way of thinking. So, is spanking wrong? I believe so. Is it abuse? Not necessarily. I believe that whether something is abuse depends on the parent’s thought pattern — are they spanking to correct or spanking to release their own pent-up frustration. Obviously, one of these is gravely wrong; the other, well, there are alternatives to spanking for discipline and the parent likely spanks b/c she/he doesn’t know these alternatives, and that’s where the difference lies. I do not promote spanking, but I do see a difference in a parent’s motivation, and when relating to parents, I believe that counts. Otherwise, judging parents without thinking of their perspective can do more harm than good. But I welcome more of your thoughts on this.

  2. Rita, Great article. Thanks for sharing. The statistics consistently show that being an involved parent is vital to having successful and happy kids.

    S. James Wheeler
    Family Dynamics Researcher /Founder, Stepddadding.com

  3. Thank you.

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