“The Slap,” a new NBC drama about the fall-out between families when a grown man slaps the taste out of the mouth of someone else’s kid, stirred up some serious national discussions on whether it’s ever okay to discipline children who aren’t yours, and MyBrownBaby was included in that number yesterday when I was asked to participate on a televised Today show panel on the subject.
If you know me personally or you’ve paid any attention at all to my stance on discipline, it should be no surprise to you where I stand on the issue: I do not believe it’s right or okay to hit kids. Not my own. Not anyone else’s. Period—full stop. And whoa to any poor soul righteous enough to even consider hitting my daughters. Let’s just say that I meant it when I said in the clip above: “It would not end well.”
This doesn’t mean that I’m all for kids running amok in my presence. Quite the contrary: I’ll be the first to tell you that if you bring your kid over to my house and he cuts the fool, he will get checked. Ms. Denene does not play with the foolishness. I absolutely will not hit, pinch, slap or otherwise touch your child, but I’ll most certainly lean into his face, give him a firm talking to and redirect his little behind to another activity. I’m not above putting kids in time out, either.
That’s rare, though. What I’m most likely to do instead is to make sure your demon child never makes it back over for another playdate. I’m a master at curating friends with children who behave. I’m also a master at being really clear about who my friends are, what their values are when it comes to the raising, rearing and disciplining of their children and trust that if my kids are left in their care, they’re in the best of hands.
I consider this perfectly normal, sound parenting.
Crazy thing is, though: some of my co-panelists felt quite differently, including one woman who said she’s totes cool with others hitting her kids if they feel like they have to. What’s more: just under half the viewers watching the Today show yesterday said it’s okay to hit someone else’s kids.
Maaaaan, listen: I wish somebody would. One of these days I’ll tell you all about the most unfortunate lady who grabbed my Mari’s hand during an airplane ride. Mari was fiddling with the buttons on the arm rest between her seat and the stranger’s, and the stranger didn’t like that, so… she… grabbed… Mari’s… arm. I caught it all out the corner of my eye. Let’s just say that it’s a miracle Homeland Security didn’t show up and cart my behind away.
Yeah, so, um, anyway: press play up top to check out our thoughts on “The Slap” and whether it’s okay to discipline children who don’t belong to you. I enjoyed the discourse. I hope you do, too.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.