Received Sunday, August 22, 2010
This is bothering me a whole lot. I don't read this blog nor have I ever heard of this What??? section. I am caught off guard by the nanny ad about requesting the nanny spank the twins. It just makes me sick and let me tell you why. I hope you will share it as my story and a warning to other nannies. If someone asks you to spank their children, don't do it. I got what I thought was a great job working for a woman who was big in the fashion magazine world and her physician husband. These were people that ran in a lot of circles and were accepted and valued people. So when they gave me advice contrary to what I thought, I didn't trust myself. Who am I? Some 22 year old from Nebraska with 9 community college credits.
One of the most troubling situations that occured there was that they said they incorporated spanking in their discipline and they weren't nuts about it, but did realize it worked. They explained that they go through phases, redirection, positive enforcement, time out and spanking. The parents explained that spanking was a last resort for a recurring problem. The parents also said, we want the discipline to be consistent, so while ideally we would handle all corporal discipline, you may be required from time to time and based on our fair rules to administer a spanking. The family explained the spankings were either one whack or three. Never more. I wasn't comfortable with that; or was I? Because I was more dazzled by the lifestyle I was getting in to and the perks of their job than this one off thing. So I accepted the job.
I got paid fabulously and everything went well. Then there came a time when I had to spank the 5 year old daughter. I spanked her with my bare hand over her underwear. She cried, ran away to her room and came out and hugged me and apologized after about 40 minutes. It didn't feel right, but now I understood why they said it worked. So about two months ago, I had to spank the three year old. One whack, over his underwear. Then about 6 days later, I had to do it again; again I pulled his pants down to get to his underwear and spanked him once with my hand. This time I noticed that his penis was erect. I felt dirty and filthy and weird about this. But I didn't tell the parent. I started grading the three year old on a curve so I wouldn't have to spank him ever again. I gave him more favorable reports than he deserved. This worked until two weeks ago when the father called me to tell me that the three year old had done something (I'm leaving out the details so as not to identify him) at preschool. The father basically said he wouldn't be home for four hours, so I should spank him three times and send him to his room until father got home. The boy was wearing jersey shorts over his underwear. I didn't pull the shorts down. I spanked him once, then twice. I noticed he immediately got an erection. I stopped and left the room quickly.
I was debating whether or not to quit the job. I decided to be honest with the parents and I asked to speak with them. They said they were very happy with me and complimented many things I had done. I told them quite honestly that I should have been honest in the interview but I didn't feel good about physical discipline and tried to adhere to their rules but (and I was careful not to say anything judgmental about why it was wrong) but I am not comfortable spanking a child. The mother said she could understand my feelings. She also explained that the reason they had authorized the spankings is so I wasn't powerless over the kids, since my discipline methods were limited and as such they were not quashing behavior but just setting times for which it could occur. This made sense. It was kind of true. I noticed this after they agreed I didn't need to consider that a part of my job. I noticed that the three year old in particular would do things he would never do in front of his parents and knew I couldn't do anything. Sending him to his room meant sending him to a toddler paradise. Big Wahooey. So things went by and I gave a lot of time outs and life goes on. Then Dad starts working out of the home for a special project. I knew it was temporary. I just didn't know how bad it would get. The three year old continued to test me, but now Dad was in earshot and he would call son in and spank him. This would not have made me uncomfortable at all - a parent spanking their kid - except I had observed the erection. So I was in the vicinity of the spankings three times and each time, I believe the boy had an erection. I can also say I believe because it was apparent.
So I guess what I am saying is that the anti spanking people say that spanking your kids will turn them in to sexual deviants and I always dismissed that as hooey. (I would never spank my own children). I just thought it fear mongering. But now after what I witnessed with this otherwise happy, well adapted three year old; I just don't think it could be normal that you spank a child and they get a reaction like that. I know that it is only a bodily reaction because he is three years old. But I just wanted to say to nannies, don't ever spank another person's kids. It's just too weird. And while I think you have your right to spank your kid so long as you don't leave a mark, don't do it. Don't let the goverment tell you that you can't do it, just don't do it because you come to understand it isn't the right thing to. Okay that is all from me. A nanny struggling with a form of discipline I have a real problem with but obviously not much of a problem if I am still collecting paychecks and leaving like I am.