It Hurt Me More

Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest column
Tuesday morning my mother sent me the following e-mail:

“My dear darling daughter Rebecca,
When I was 5 or 6 years old I wanted to go to a 4th of July parade up town in Pittsfield. My Mom did not drive or for that matter could not walk from where the car would be parked to the parade route. So my Daddy, who was very tired after a long workweek traveling said he would take me. But there were conditions. He was not going to the parade to buy junk, balloons, kewpie dolls, anything that was for sale as the parade passed by. The reason we were going was to see the parade. No food. No junk. If I asked for these things we would go home. Ok, I agreed, I wanted to see the parade. We drove up town, in the hot car, no air conditioning in 1949, thru traffic like the escape from Bosnia, parked in another state, walked to North Street the parade route. The parade came by, as did the junk sellers. I asked for a balloon. My Dad said, No and don’t ask again or we are going home. I asked for a Kewpie doll hanging off a pole with ribbons hanging down. I asked for everything that came by. My dad said, we are going home.

I began to cry, whine, throw myself around, fall down, scream, and moan.

We drove home in the hot car, thru traffic with people who were late to the parade and frantic to get there.

We got into the house and my Dad, red faced said, I told you no and I meant no. I continued to wail. He sat down, put me on his lap and gave me a spank on my fanny heard around the world.

I was shocked. I was sent to my room.

That was the one and only time my Dad ever spanked me.

Love, Mom.”

I have heard this story many times, as my wonderfully gentle Grandpa Max was so upset at spanking my Mother that he went to bed for the night, distraught. My Mom always told this story with laughter. She believed that she had acted terribly, had received a proper and just punishment, and that it had pretty much broken her father’s heart to discipline her with corporeal punishment. When I was a child, my mother spanked my brothers and I for our more serious crimes. There were degrees of severity in her spanking, from a simple swat of her hand to true “strapping” as my brothers and I called it; A licking with our father’s belt. I can remember a strapping from when I was about eight years old. I was waiting to receive my punishment and I was thinking, “I totally deserve this.” I suffered no mental distress from being spanked as a child; in fact, I respected my Mother as a disciplinary figure in my life and loved her enormously. I‘ve discussed with her over the years that if I had my own children I would definitely use spanking as a tool of discipline.

Well, she sent me the e-mail Tuesday morning in response to the anguished emergency e-mail I had sent her late Monday night in a flurry of guilt and remorse, as that afternoon, as a last resort after using up all of my other disciplinary tactics, I had spanked the four year old boy I nanny for. It was truly a last ditch effort to control an epic temper tantrum that was spinning out of control like a F-5 tornado in a trailer park. In the moment it felt like a sound judgment. I told him calmly that if he did not respond to my words, and he refused to cease screaming, I would have to spank him. He continued to scream. I put him over my knee and gave him one solid smack on his bottom. He stopped his fit immediately and tearfully sat on his bed, glaring at me. I gently closed his door and went downstairs, called his parents and told them exactly what had just happened.

His father asked, “What is he doing now?”

“Sitting on his bed quiet as a mouse.”

“Sounds like it worked.”

“I think it did.”

His mother said, “I don’t think I could ever spank him.”

I said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t even ask you if it was okay.”

She said, “I don’t know how I feel about this but we’ll talk about it when I get home.”

And then I began to feel terrible. It does not matter that I love this child and he calls me “mommy number two”. It does not matter that I am, in fact, his Godmother, and would be responsible for raising him if anything happened to his parents. The truth is he is not my child. I did not make him. I am his nanny and his parent’s employee, and I had no right to spank him.

He was let out of his room for dinner and had calmed down considerably.

“Betta,” he said, “you spanked me and I did not like it. I think I am going to spank you back.”

His ten-year-old brother sat next to him, calmly eating his dinner. Deadpan he said,

“You can’t spank Betta unless you marry her.”

Later that night, after all the children were asleep, my mom boss came to my room and asked if she could talk to me. She told me that as far as she was concerned, these were my children too, and I was her co-parent, and that she trusted my judgment, and if I had felt that a spanking was the best way to control and diffuse the situation, she supported me on that. She told me that even the best parents often have no idea what they are doing with their children, and all we can do is try to live each day with a little grace.

I said that even when co-parenting, these things should be discussed first, and not done in the heat of the moment.

She countered that most parents don’t even do that, and I should not feel bad.

But I felt terrible.

In theory spanking seemed like a very solid way to discipline a child. In reality, I felt like my grandfather had, when he had spanked my mom. I wanted to get in bed and cry. I felt like I had broken my own heart. I felt like Sally Field in “Places in the Heart” where she gives a wuppin’ to her son Frank, because that is the way it has always been done and she thinks it’s the best way to discipline him, and she is so shaken by the experience that she cried to her tenant that she will never spank her child again.

And I wanted my very own blind John Malkovich to confide in, to tearfully explain that I thought I was doing the right thing, and it hurt me more than I ever could imagine, and I would never do it again.

Instead I e-mailed my Mom.

Many people in my life urged me not to write about this for the blog, but I thought it was an important issue for us to talk about together. As I told my beloved little four year old, I will only use words to discipline him in the future. There is no need for spanking. It’s just not worth it. And it’s just not me. I learned that this past week the hard way.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at


a girl from Sweden said...

I was so horrified when I read this column, then thought tp myself "thank God she came to that conclusion". Spanking IS child abuse, made illegal by both a lot of countries and by the UN. I know that a lot of people in both the US, the UK, Switzerland (where I was a nanny) and other countries spank the kids but it's still illegal -and in countries where it's not, it's still wrong.

I guess a lot of people will flame me now but here's what I think: would you hit an adult for not doing what you wish? I think most of you will say no.. and kids are even more vulnerable, and they deserve to be treated with respect even when they act horrible. How else will they learn to solve conflicts with words and not with abuse? DON'T ABUSE YOUR KIDS PEOPLE, PLEASE! And if you do, I hope you think & feel like Rebecca.. its not worth it. EVER.

Northern Nanny said...

What a great and honest article. As a child I was spanked by my parents. I agree that it didn't affect my adult life, and I personally DO see a clear difference between spanking and child abuse. There is a proper way to spank and sometimes this is not done and therefore crosses the line to abuse. That being said I do not feel that anyone (Nannies, aunts, grandparents etc) should spank someone else's child. Because of this belief i feel that I will not spank my own children as I have found ways to discipline the 20 some odd children I've nannied in my career without using corporal punishment, why bother starting now. In addition where I live it is illegal to spank, just adding more problems if you do choose to. In the end I do not judge others who choose to spank, or not spank. I have seen all kinds of kids who respond to only certain kinds of discipline (my own brother being one of them) so I know that there are moments when we all are at a loss for what to do. I hope that more readers are understanding and accepting of this article. The point is not to bash the writer, but to offer support because no one is perfect and we all try to do our best, and being honest about our failures and successes is what makes this community so strong.


the only white people I ever saw spank their kids was pa ingalls on little house on the prarie
the area where I was a nanny no one spanks their kids or dicsiplined them in anyway,
I always took jobs with 1 infant because it was easier than taking a job with older kids with behavior problems

Nanny E said...

"You can't spank betta unless you marry her" Freakin hilarious!!

Leah said...


Let me start out by saying that I think that it is very brave and honest of you to post this. I can't imagine how much courage it took for you to post this, knowing that you may get ripped apart and judged.

That being said, I think that what you did is so overwhelmingly inappropriate. If you were my nanny, I would fire you on the spot. I don't care how long you had worked for me, if you were my child's godmother... I don't care. Even if a close friend or family member spanked my child I would seriously evaluate the time that my child spent with that person. I would not feel comfortable leaving my child alone with that person anymore, even if it was someone I was close to.

I just think that it is a line that should never be crossed, and if it is, you cannot go back. The damage is done. Your post about your mom's experience with her father may be a cute little story, but the way that you used it in your post like it was relative to what you did does not make sense to me. Your mom was spanked by her PARENT. Her FATHER. You are not that child's parent. This is not a debate about whether spanking is okay or not, this is about a nanny crossing the line.

Your recent post about how you cursed in front of the kids while on vacation sounded like a situation where you had trouble handling yourself appropriately. When I read that post, I tried not to be judgemental because as a nanny, I understand that we are all human and we have our moments. But after reading this about how you have now hit this child, it leaves me wondering what is really going on here? Are you overwhelmed? Overworked? Are you burnt out?

I notice that people on this blog warn nannies about "becoming like family" with the families they work for. A lot of people think that is a way in which the bosses take advantage of the nanny, by saying they are like family but not treating them that way. But in your case, it seems like the opposite is happening. I feel like it is the family who is being taken advantage of here. Here they have this nanny who they consider part of the family, and you have inserted yourself in territory where you do not belong by doing things like spanking their child. Because they feel so close to you, they probably feel like they can't fire you because it would be so hard on everyone, like losing a member of the family. What an awful position you have put everyone in.

I am sorry if this is all really harsh, but you have brought this upon yourself and by writing about this experience I am guessing you were on some level looking to get some honest feedback.

In my opinion, I do not think that you should be a featured guest blogger on this site anymore because you clearly are not a good example for nannies on this blog. Your attitude of "At least I was honest about it" does not cut it. It does not take away from what you did. You could be arrested in some states, possibly in your own, for spanking your charge.

No nanny should EVER spank a child and I hope that others who read this will not be distracted by your stories about family members or whether kids are traumatized for life by spankings. That is not the issue at hand. You are PAID to be an example to those kids, to be professional, and to keep calm and collected in moments of stress.. and you clearly have failed at that.

(On a side note, I hope NYCmom reads this and can give us an opinion from a parent's point of view...)

Nanny Ada said...

I 100% agree with "Leah." It's never appropriate to use physical discipline on your charges, almost especially if justify it by saying it's "truly a last ditch effort to control an epic tantrum."

I am glad you realize that it isn't worth it to spank, and maybe others will read this post and think twice before making the poor decision you did. Besides being wildly inappropriate for a nanny to do, spanking in ineffective, in my opinion, because all it does is teach children that it's okay to physically harm someone if they are acting unfavorably.

Honest? said...

You make it sound like it was so honorable of you to be honest with the parents...but a 4 year old (or ten year old bro) is obviously old enough to tell their parent that you spanked them...

nanny in pgh said...

Rebecca-I am sure it took a lot to share this on the blog. Thank you. I always find your posts interesting.

Nannies aren't perfect, we work long days and work very hard so that when the moms and dads come home, they can have quality time to play with the kids and not worry about "house things"...we get tired too! We get frustrated doing this wonderful, exhausting work.

Kathy said...

@Rebecca: I have to say that I agree with your mom on the spanking issue here. I was spanked by both of my parents when I was a child. I even had to go retrieve the belt, stick, etc..that I was to be spanked with!! (Talk about punishment!!) I don't know what was worse, the moments leading up to the spanking or the actual spanking itself. Anyway, now that I am an adult, I hold many things against my parents. I am angry that they did certain things to me such as lie to me, etc..but I do not hold the fact that they spanked me against them. Why?? I deserved the spankings I received and they made me think twice about committing the infraction again. The cause and effect of my punishment taught me a huge lesson. My parents spanked me appropriately, I was never abused as a child. They never spanked me out of their own anger, the issue at hand was always very clear.

However Rebecca, I think you are being very hypocritical about what you wrote. In the previous post, you criticized the OP for going to the gym and lying about it. You told her that lying is never okay to do on the job and that if you were her employer, you would have fired her on the spot. You wanted to know her justification for why she lied and when she stated it, you still had a problem with it. Shame on you. Sure, she lied and went to the gym, but you actually hit someone else's child without the parent's permission. As a nanny, I would NEVER EVER hit someone else's child. I do not believe it is my place to do so and the liability factor is huge. You could definitely be arrested/charged and it would all show on your record. You would never work as a nanny again. If you were my child's nanny, I would fire you as soon as you called me to tell me. I think the reason you told MomBoss was because you knew the four yr old would tell her and you wanted to beat him to the punch before she jumped to any conclusions. You were waaay out of line, what you did was illegal and unethical and even though you regret it now....who knows what you are capable of the next time he angers you? In Domestic Violence situations, women are urged to leave a partner even if he hits you only once. I believe the same applies to nannies. If someone ever hit my child without my authorization, I would fire them and never look back.

You are a bad role model for other nannies and this post will only make all the parents who read it put us (good) nannies under more scrutiny. Great. Just what we all needed. *Sigh*

La Jolla Mother of Three said... least in the bad nanny sightings on this blog we have not heard of anyone actually spanking a child in this manner. I feel sorry for this child mentioned and am appalled that his parents did nothing in his defense. I would have fired you immediately, but they didn't. Hopefully they will think it over and change their minds. As a mother, I cannot even fathom allowing another person to spank my precious child. You overstepped your boundaries and you should find another profession since you obviously do not respect families.





1 more thing, you are right about Sweden, I wasn't going to say it because I didn't want to be racist. Sweden is Sisafied to infinity and beyond! and the women hit 20 and then age in dog years

OnlyParentsShouldSpank said...

I use to Nanny for a Mother who told me, "if they give you any trouble, PLEASE give them a good spanking!" The kids were always Perfect Angels, and never gave me any trouble......but if they HAD acted up,I would never have spanked them because they didn't belong to me!
I have my own 4 kids now who are 2, 4, 5, and 8 years old. I admit that I have spanked them a total of 6 times (not 6 times each...just a combo of 6 times). I am happy to report that at no time did I spank out of anger! I always take them in another room, talk to them for 5 minutes, and then the spanking is applied. I usually have them choose between having a special toy, movie, book, playdate, etc. taken away OR a spanking. My kids very rarely need discipline. Strangers are always telling me how impressed they are with my children's behavior, and I am a VERY proud Momma!
I would never allow or tell someone else to spank my kids, and now that I am a Mother, I am simply horrified that that Woman I worked for many years ago,would tell me to spank her babies! She made it sound so casual....and spanking is NOT a casual thing in my house.....spanking is reserved for very special occasions.
Nannies should not be spanking their charges, but I am very glad that you were honest with the Parents Rebecca. It's good that they are aware, and that they could see that YOU were very disturbed over it!

slb3334 said...

I agree that spanking isn't normally a thing, but I will say I think a lot of the problems with kids these days could be handled with a smack on the rear end once in a while. Kids should not be allowed to run the house and be brats constantly. When we were kids, we were expected to do what we were told without whining and moaning and having temper tantrums.

I can think of only one time I have ever spanked a kid that I took care of. He was 2 and a half and decided to bite his sister in public where I couldn't put him in a time out. He got one swat on the bottom while wearing a diaper. I told the mom as soon as I saw her, which was a couple of hours later(before days of cell phones) and she was fine with it. Needless to say, he never did it again.

Joy said...

I fully agree with Leah.

I used to be pro-spanking, thinking it was an appropriate form of discipline. I have since educated myself and now realize that it's a form of punishment- not discipline.

Discipline teaches and guides.
Punishment is punitive and does nothing except make the person doling out the punishment feel better in the moment.

AustTXNanny said...

I am a nanny for a 6 year old boy. It is quite a departure for me; I am used to infants and toddlers. In the case of the toddlers, discipline is pretty simple. If you are using the toy to hit, you get a warning. Keep doing it, lose the toy. Keep acting up in some other way, go to the alone spot with a book until you are calm enough to come back and learn how to deal with the same situation appropriately.

With my 6 year old charge, the sanctions are different. His dad (single parent) and I have worked out a system which mimics the one at his school. Green is great, yellow is warning, orange is bad and red is, according to DB, "Sleeping in the backyard."

For each color shift, there are sanctions. There is also the opportunity for him to redeem himself with good behavior, because I (and DB) want him to know that no matter what he does, however bad it is, he can always come talk to us about with the knowledge that we will never stop loving him and that he has no reason to fear coming home.

Now, that being said, there have been times where absolutely nothing seemed to have an effect. He was feeling extra stubborn, or extra tired, or he was simply testing how serious I am about the rules. In those instances, I stick my guns, and he knows that DB gets a full report when he gets home (and sometimes throughout the day; we text and email a lot, the good and the bad.)

In one case, due to my charge speaking disrespectfully to me, DB responded in text, "Please call me and put ---- on the phone." So we called, and DB spoke very calmly, but you could see the little boy turn absolutely sheet white. After they spoke, I took the phone back. DB told me that ---- had been informed that he was going to get a spanking when he got home the next day, and that if he didn't want to be grounded for the rest of the week he needed to treat his nanny with the respect she deserves.

In short, it is simply inexcusable to spank someone elses child. Even with my normal modes of discipline, I will sometimes talk to DB before enacting the correcting technique to make certain I am not acting in the heat of the moment. DB does the same with me if he is uncertain, but also to make sure we are both aware of what is going on and what the dynamics are in the home. I do it to acknowledge my place in the family and his authority; he does it in return, out of respect for my communication skills.

I am glad you told the parents, but I am disturbed that it came to that point to begin with. I taught preschool for 9 years before I became a Nanny, so maybe that's informed how I interact with my DBs and MBs, but I consider parent-nanny communication to be the penultimate in designing and implementing an age appropriate lesson plan in manners. At the end of the day, that's what discipline is; an opportunity to educate a child and provide an example for how to be a good citizen.

Spanking is, in view of every modern model of young adult education, the exact opposite of teaching. What a sad waste of a learning moment for this boy. This hurts my heart.

Nanny Molly said...

Can spanking be a form of child abuse? Yes. Is it wrong for a nanny to spank a charge if she has not been explicitly told she may do so? Yes. But let's please get off our high horses and look at the situation for what it really is: a child was misbehaving and he got a smack on his backside. One smack. After being told he was about to get one. From a nanny who obviously loves him and perhaps acted rashly. This is NOT the kind of situation that should result in a nanny being fired. This site is filled with examples of nannies who should NOT work with children, but Rebecca is not one of them. Whatever "damage" she has done is so overwhelmingly minor compared what some children must endure every day at the hands of abusive parents, nannies or other trusted adults. That doesn't mean Rebecca should be let off the hook, but she reached an a resolution with her employers and suffered the consequences of her actions. Obviously they did not see this smack as abuse or traumatizing, and therefore neither should we.

For those of you who would "NEVER" spank your kids, congratulations. But instead of preaching about your perfect parenting style, why not focus your anger and advice towards the children who are actually abused or spanked out of anger by frustrated, out of control adults? Not towards a little boy who has a very safe home with loving parents and nanny and once in his life got a smack. He is not traumatized, he was not mistreated. His nanny made a mistake, told the parents, and resolved the situation.

I do, however, agree that this may be a sign that perhaps you are overly stressed, Rebecca. Might be a good time to take a nanny vacation!

another nanny said...

Rebecca- From all your posts, especially this one, I can see that you have a unique relationship with your employers- I don't think many parents would have the same reaction towards this situation. What I think is absolutely good is that you were not just reacting, but you clearly let the child know the consequence of his actions and then followed through on it (I am really really big on follow-through). And then you told the parents right away, and then you addressed it with the boy directly and stated it would not happen again.
The thing I don't really understand is why you spanked him for a tantrum. The general advice is to ignore a tantrum, so couldn't you have just left him alone in his room to have his fit? Why did you feel the need to actually control that behavior? I am genuinely curious about this, not just trying to sound judgemental.

randomness said...

wow, I do think some people were a little harsh here. I am sure some won't agree with me but I feel like (judging by previous posts of Rebecca's) that she has a completely different relationship with the family she nannies for than other people. Because of this I feel like you cannot truly judge what she did because you are not in her shoes, it is a totally different situation. You can say what you would do or wouldn't do or think should happen but really it will never be the same situation, sorry but it won't be.

As for the spanking issue? I think people can get on a lot of debate about that. I don't think a small smack every now and then is going to harm a child. Look at how a lot of children behave now a days and how a lot of parents (I am not saying everyone, just some people) would rather do anything, give anything etc. to make their child happy. I am worried for how these current children will be when they grow up. So will a smack hurt them every now and then? No, I think used correctly it can be very useful in redirecting behavior.

Also, everyone can argue for or against it being child abuse but there is a serious line of what is a single smack for redirection and what is serious abuse. For parents to be reported for single spankings is ridiculous when there are children that are probably being seriously abused for the authorities to focus on.

STLnanny said...

The family I nanny for gave me permission to spank their child, who had big behavior problems when I first started watching her (thankfully for the most part, she has outgrown them except on occasion), but I could never do it. The one and only time I came very close was when at the age of 4, she got angry and me and spit on my face. I had never been so angry in my life but had always learned that you should never spank out of anger, so I closed the door to her room and walked around the house for a few minutes to calm myself down. I'm glad I didn't spank her that day as I really truely don't believe in spanking, but I can understand why at times you feel it's the only way to get a child to stop a behavior.

a girl from Sweden said...

Hi again guys, I guess the comments about Sweden is directed at me (since I seem to be the only Swede here) so I'll try to respond :)

About Sweden being sissified (yes, that's the correct way to spell it), I guess it depends what you count as being "sissy". Personally, I like the way men and women take the same responsibility with the kids, homes, work etc. On the other hand, it means women can't be housewives which I know women in the US (for example) can choose to be. I also like the way we are an allowing country, judging people for their actions rather than their ethnicity, sexuality, "sissiness" or other things. On the other hand again, it means that noone here says "God bless Sweden" the way you say "God bless America". We don't have to sing the national anthem in school if we don't want to and we don't really believe that I, who am an ethnic Swede, and for example my classmate who is a refugee from Iraq, should have different rights.

We pay a LOT of tax, which I know a lot of people in other countries (maybe the US too?) think is weird. The tax money pays for free schools, almost free health care and a social security net meaning that every person gets the same opportunites, no matter how much money your family makes.
On the other hand, it means that it's hard getting rich here.
So yeah, Sweden might be a bit sissy. I still don't think that's an excuse for abusing children though.

Someone said something about a degree in psychology and raising kids. Yep, got that and have done that -even more than two kids, actually! I've even worked in different countries with different children, including the really hard ones. I've dealt with temper tantrums, disobeying, lying and other fun things we as parents/nannies have to deal with. I've done this my way, and guess what? The kids all turned out alright! That being said, I still believe that spanking is wrong, and I know for a fact that even though some of you don't feel abused or treated badly by spanking parents, a lot of kids do.
Abuse affects all of us, no matter if it's "just" spanking or something more serious.

Then I would like to ask the anonymous person who wrote this at 7:23: "We have raised half of our 12 children". Is that an American expression I don't understand or does it literally mean that you have had 12 children and raised six of them? Because if it does, I don't understand how you can on one hand claim that spanking is not bad (at least that's the way I interpret your post, but maybe I was wrong?) and on the other hand say that you only raised half of your kids..

I hope I didn't miss anything now, if I did please let me know! For now though, I'm gonna go meet some of my sissy friends and have a cup of coffee in the sunshine. Sweden is actually quite beautiful, no matter how sissy we may seem ;)

a girl from Sweden said...

Oh yeah, I'm sorry for spelling mistakes etc. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, English isn't my mothertounge :)


I have been to sweden several times for reggae festivals and I would not want to live there the people are bland and all think the same the men are very submissive and the women are cold. The man I had a affair with is swedish and the accent grates on your nerves after a while!
to this day I am amazed he went after me like he did never expected it I guess even swedish men like a nice apple bottom

when I was a nanny I knew several swedish au pairs who didn't want to go back and are here without papers that is hard to believe with sweden being so great

a girl from Sweden said...

Monkeyshines, the good thing is you don't have to live here f you don't want to :) That's another thing with Sweden, noone forces you to live here.. and I'm sure the same thing must go for the US :) Of course there are a lot of people who doesn't like the Swedish, or American, or Chinese, or whatever, kind of life.. that's the beauty with the world: we can live whereever we want to :)

However, I don't think Rebecca meant to start a discussion about which country you like the most, so let's just leave it here. If you don't like Sweden, I promise you don't have to come here :) It's as simple as that.

really? said...

It disgusts me that you spanked a child that was not yours. I'm against spanking being used as a form of discipline, but this to me is far worse that you did that to someone else's child. I'm appalled that the parents brushed it off like that. You are the nanny. Not the parent.

Next time think about stepping away and taking a deep breath.

Phoenix said...

I think spanking is ok. My step-son has been spanked three times that I can remember. He is one of the most behaved little boys in the world. I fear for the dreaded teenage years that are only two years away. If he is anything like his dad I will have to move away!

What I found funny was that the 10 year old said that in order to spank you, he'd have to marry you. For some reason that rubbed me the wrong way. How the hell did he come up with that? Except my husband swats me on the butt in front of his son so I guess I can see the coorelation. Not that his parents did that but you get the idea

terren said...

I think the debate on whether spanking is okay or not in general shouldn't be the debate here. She spanked someone else's child. That is never okay no matter what the circumstance. Nannying perhaps isn't the right field for her if she can't control herself when a child misbehaves.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Well, I see the over-reactions are in full swing, aren't they?

Should Rebecca have swatted her charge? Absolutely not. No justification for that at all.

Is the world going to come to a flaming end for all nannies everywhere because Rebecca screwed up? No.

Is it at all possible that Rebecca and her employers will keep dealing with repercussions from this incident? Maybe, maybe not.

And the most important point - are nannies expected to never ever screw up on the job? If so, is that entirely realistic? The best nannies are still human, and they will make mistakes that impact their charges on occasion.

Everyone screws up at some point or another. That's life.

And before you ask, I am staunchly anti-spanking. I would make an exception for my own child if they persisted in behaving dangerously, i.e., running into the street after numerous reminders.

NomoreBigBird said...

I think the fact that the little boy wanted to hit you back shows how inappropriate spanking truly is.

If you (an adult) are upset/crying and I hit you you'd probably be shocked enough to stop crying as well. I don't think violence (and any form of hitting/spanking is indeed violence) ever truly solves anything. We teach our children not to hit, yet when we can't get them to behave as we see fit we suddenly decide it is okay for us to hit them. Spanking to me is a desperate act, and as adults we should be able to use our words not hands. I'm about learning right from wrong, not a 'quick fix'.

I've met well behaved children who were spanked and well behaved children who weren't spanked. I've also met "terrors" who were spanked and "terrors" who weren't. Being a productive part of society does not have to do with whether or not you were spanked (though, I obviously don't condone or agree with spanking) it has to do with having a stable upbringing, love and "rules".

I enjoyed reading your article Rebecca (it was well written and very interesting) but I have to admit, I'm very relieved you've decided spanking isn't for you, and I have to agree with the others, it was inappropriate as a caregiver for you to do.

Disgusting. said...

I sometimes think you dream up these elaborate interactions with your bosses. If you EVER spanked my child, as my nanny.. you're bags would be packed faster than you could imagine. Your column seems so forced and full of stories that paint a picture of nanny of the year meets after school special where grandiose lessons are learned. Those many people who urged you not to post this.. they were right.

burntoutnanny said...

do they still spank kids some schools? mabie down south

nycmom said...

I just typed a long response and I guess it was lost. So now I'm doing the short version! I generally agree with Nanny Molly and Tales.

Rebecca should not have spanked the child which seems obvious to everyone. I doubt I would fire a nanny I had a long, strong relationship with over this one incidence of spanking and immediately telling me. I'd be much more likely to fire over the planned deception done in the above Day in the Life post. However, if it were a new nanny or an occasional sitter, I would not use her again.

I am not completely anti-spanking. It's something that should be reserved for rare and dangerous behaviors. However, I do find I need to physically intervene at times with my older two (8 and 10yo) who fight constantly about anything and everything. I can see how it is hard for my nanny, who is not comfortable being physical, to enforce discipline despite my constantly encouraging her and *always* carrying out anything she imposes. Tween age is tough because they are too old to simply do time-outs, sometimes just do.not.listen, and don't really get the full effect of consequences that older teens might.

another nanny said...

a girl from Sweden- I am a native English speaker, but I was somewhat confused by the "we raised half our children" too. I took it to mean they have raised six of their children to adulthood, while the other half are still be children (and are thus still in the process of being raised)???
Also, I like the way you described the social structure in Sweden. A lot of times it gets either villified or glorified (depending on your political affiliation), but of course there's always two sides to the coin.
And back on topic. Again, Rebecca's employers truly see her as a "third parent" which makes it less like "the hired help" spanking the child than like the other spouse spanking the child. You might still be mad about it, but you're more likely to forgive it. I don't think that would fly in most nanny-employer relationships.

Reese said...

To those that excuse Rebecca's act of spanking another person's child as simply a "little mistake" that she learned a good lesson with are Morons. Sorry, but you all are. Why so? In life, when we do something that crosses over a certain line, we face consequences in life. That's reality whether it be fair or not. Life is seldom fair and nobody is ever promised a rose garden.

If Rebecca were working at a day-care she would have most likely been fired on the spot. Then the day-care she worked for would probably have been sued by the parents. Their image would also be tarnished beyond belief and it is highly likely they would lose a ton of business over a "little bad judgment."

Many people lose their jobs for doing "little mistakes." How many times has someone said something inappropriate on T.V. or on the radio and they were canned immediately. Gilbert Goddfried, a comedian recently said a joke about the Japan tragedy and he was fired on the spot from his job as a voice-over. Sure, he apologized via twitter and felt bad afterward, but he never regained his job.

Life has consequences. Since Rebecca didn't suffer any,(I am not counting her "remorse") it pains me to see how she will act if this child ever angers her again. I am shocked beyond belief the Mother is okay with her continuing as the family nanny. Sounds like they are both nuts. If someone spanked my child (esp. w/out my prior permission), it would be a HUGE RED FLAG that my nanny didn't have any self-control when she was angry.

By the way, this blog refers to Rebecca AS A WRITER. But what exactly are her credentials as a writer? Does she have any writing degrees from accredited colleges? Where has her work been showcased previously? We can all attach the title "Writer" to ourselves since if we write something, we are indeed writers..but Rebecca is being presented as a professional writer. I just want to know what qualifies her over all of us.

Leah said...

This blog is meant to highlight nannies behaving badly... and Rebecca behaved badly in this case. I think it is wrong to have a featured writer for the blog who is doing things that this blog is intended to stop.

This is wrong.

a girl from Sweden said...

Another nanny: ah, now I understand! Thanks for clearing that up :)

nycmom said...

As has been stated on here many, many times, Rebecca writes the weekly column because she puts in the effort. MPP has invited anyone who is interested in writing a weekly column to do so. They just need to do the work which very few of us are actually willing to do. I don't think Rebecca has ever claimed she is some sort of professional writer (though maybe she is?), but she has written about nannying before. Regardless, no one, including she, has tried to elevate her status in an inappropriate way. Not sure why anyone would get hung up on wanting to know the "credentials" of someone who writes a blog column!

Sorry Rebecca...Just Not a Fan.. said...

@nycmom: where did you see it that the blog owners had invited anyone out there..any of us to write a weekly column for this site??!! I apologize in advance if I am wrong, but as a longtime fan of this website, I have never once seen MPP or Jane Doe advertise that they were seeking a weekly columnist.

Regarding credentials, I am referring to the bottom where it states that Rebecca is a nanny slash writer. I personally think when I see that someone is labeled a writer, that they are a professional writer, not just someone who types on blogs online. Anyone or all of us can do that all the time.

It's ironic that this is a nanny website for spotting nannies doing bad things to their charges and lo and behold the weekly columnist is doing just that! Personally, I think it is a little much. Us nannies need good role models to look up to as well as a better image. Many parents will read this post and it will only reinforce their beliefs that nannies mistreat their charges.

My hope is that after this column, MPP and/or Jane Doe will take heed that the majority of us visitors to this site do not condone hitting a child and that this nanny behaved in a very inappropriate manner. The majority of us nannies would never physically strike a child no matter what that child said or did. Rebecca's column is just that, Rebecca's column and she does not speak for ALL NANNIES.

Personally, I would like to stop seeing her column on this blog. It used to be boring to read, now it is very offensive to read as I am appalled beyond words that she would take it into her own hands (literally!) and physically discipline someone else's child w/out prior authorization to do so. In today's day and age, such behavior is not common place and she should have known better.

If her column continues, I may take ISYN out of my bookmarks.

Just sayin'.

Phoenix said...

For the love of God people. It was a personal experience of hers. She was sharing the fact that she hit the breaking point and understood the error of her ways. I understand you are not supposed to spank a child that does not belong to you. I personally like reading these accounts so I say she can keep them coming. You are not contributing anything useful and look how much people are talking about the subject.

HungryCollegeStudent said...

Maybe because I'm from the South, but I'm a firm believer in spankings (or as my mom would say when I was younger, beating my ass) :) There are so many kids lacking disciple nowadays, and having worked with abused children, I can say with assurance that spankings and child abuse are two totally different things. Having said that, I also don't understand why it's so strange for someone other than a parent to spank a child. I was spanked by my parents, my relatives, and even my teachers in school. The fact that spankings are against the law and good parents are being prosecuted while children are literally dying every day from child abuse shows that this outrage is misguided and would be better aimed at those truly perpetrating abuse.

nycmom said...

There is no featured ad as in:

However, when the issue was raised about redesigning the blog several months ago, they made it clear they welcomed submissions. Also, almost every week Rebecca writes a column, someone asks why she is writing a column. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say this is an almost weekly occurence (or was the first few weeks and is again this week). Then MPP usually responds that Rebecca was not "chosen," she volunteered and has been willing to put in the time and effort. She then says she would welcome a similar effort from anyone who was motivated. Despite this being posted many times, no one but Rebecca seems to be willing to actually do what it takes.

Obviously the definition of "Writer" is open to interpretation. I don't get personally offended if someone calls themselves a writer as I assume they writer regularly for pleasure or pay. As far as I know, unlike lawyer or doctor, there are no legal or professional requirements for calling onself a Writer. If you find it personally offensive, then by all means don't refer to yourself as a writer, but since it is such a subjective term it seems odd to get upset that Rebecca and this blog use the term. Again, anyone CAN write on here and you are welcome to do so also. Though I'm not sure anyone can write as well as Rebecca does (regardless of whether you agree with her opinions, she certainly continues to engage people's attention most weeks!).

Also, no one has tried to claim EVER that Rebecca speaks for anyone but herself. Why on earth are you extrapolating such a nonsensical conclusion? I'm one of the only regular parents who aren't also nannies on here and I'm perfectly capable of reading a column about a hot topic and understanding that this does not mean every nanny using ISYN agrees with the columnist. I would like to think anyone beyond the 2nd grade is capable of this kind of basic critical thinking, but perhaps I'm mistaken since you are even raising it as a potential issue. It would never even have occured to me - for even a second - that the mere mention of a controversial topic on this blog would lead all readers to believe it was universally endorsed as a blog belief. Given that the majority of replies were very anti-spanking, why would: "Many parents will read this post and it will only reinforce their beliefs that nannies mistreat their charges."?

It would be impossible to find a weekly columnist who was a perfect nanny. Doesn't exist. We all make mistakes in our jobs. Rebecca is brave enough to admit hers and allow us all to learn from it. It is your error in thinking that the weekly columnist should also be a perfect role model, as this has never been suggested by anyone.

Anonymous said...

IThis is my first time commenting, I nanny full time ( 10-12hrs daily) and have been a preschool teacher or a nanny for 17 plus years. I have nannied for my current family for two years and I have a degree in child development. I love to read the blog and have enjoyed reading Rebecca's column. I never felt the need to comment before. Whenever I read all the different comments and concerns I feel greatful I am paid well, and treated like a professional employee. I think I like reality tv for the same reasons, other peoples lives are a mess and I'm grateful my life is pretty good. Rebecca's column has been insiteful and funny, this time I was shocked. I thought I misread.... spanked a 4 year old!
I've had to reastrain, remove, and physically make children sit, lay down ( nap), and held little hands and wrists very tightly, squeezed sassy cheeks and spitting mouths, and every time wanted to throw up with disgust at myself over not being able to talk it out or walk away. Sometimes the fault was my own, wanting to win in a power struggle with a preschooler, why? Stupid! Teaching a one year old not to pull plugs didn't work, but no with a slap on the hand once did. Did you ever have a runner ( child that runs off in parking lots) death grip on the wrist. There's more, but the point is whenever I've had a point where it's getting physical with a child and I'm emotionally invested in their learning a lesson it's best to:
disengage, stop talking and put the child some where safe
Lock your self in the bathroom if necessary
Cry, drink some water, wash your face and breathe
Think, is this a power struggle?
Is what I expect or want this child to do appropriate or important in the grand scheme of life.
Is this a safety issue, or is it about respect, if it's about respect get over it because children are still learning what's disrespect and testing limits.
Later I think what can I do differently, what's not working, why did I react that way, am I working too much?
Rebecca I'm sure your sorry, but it never hurts to freshen up our skills with a class on guidance, class discussions are full of opinions and instances, like this site. I would also do some serious self evaluation . When we can make great changes in ourselves after great mistakes the lessons we learn are more valuable than any we teach our charges. Your a great writer and expanding your writing ventures may also help you grow after this. Thanks for your honesty, I hope your not too hard on yourself. Rise from the occasion a wiser nanny, and make a better day of it tomorrow. If your working a ton look for a co-nanny or sub, a trusted nanny friend to pick up some hours, burn out is real. For me switching between nannying and teaching has helped keep me sane, professional, and proud of my expert child care abilities, while still enjoying the company of children. Life is a journey, keep learning and please keep writing!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Sorry Rebecca...Just Not a Fan.. - if you are still looking for where others have been asked to write for ISYN, it's easy to find. Look down 2 blog entries. See the "Reader Submission" posted on 4/2/11? Read that entire post and the responses.

Here's the link to cut'n'paste:

Nanny Deb, Professional Nanny and occasional writer

Brookline Teen said...

Rebecaa, I think that half of the people here they are probably just mad that you dare think of yourself as a coparent. all the positive things that you do that are above and beyond are aokay, but you make one mistake and you are being crucified. Spanking- dont believe in it and never have. So whether it's a parent or anyone, I dont like it. Relationships like yours and your bosses are few and far between. They fact that they can count on you to be there in the same capacity as they are is something most people don't have. Many people have a good nanny. There are probably 50 other nanny/employer relationships like yours going on right now. Who am I? My mom is a nanny and has been with the same family for the past 16 years. That's right, all three children are now in their teens. She isn't even essential at this point. But when her employer needs to go out of town or wants someone there who will raise the three children as her own, she is the one who gets a call. They have a unique relationship. My mom has cancelled plans with us to go and do something for her job, but at the same time, I go to a private school where the tuition is 16,000 a year and my mom's employer has paid it since preschool. I could go on and on. My mom has a good life now because she found the kind of employer that she did and those kids had a better life because they met too. I think I'm rambling.

oh well said...

Honest? It was brave of Rebecca. My kid was older than 4 when he was spanked by his babysitter (who never watched him for more than three consecutive hours). I only found out recently (after she had stopped working for us) and I am still fuming, mostly with anger at myself for letting this happen. As for her, a part of me is mad because she lied to me, but I am mostly sad because I realize that this is the way she was raised and that she will likely pass on the violence and abuse. It is never okay to hit a child. Peace to you all.


Can there be a poll or something?
It would go like this,

Mothers if you had a choice which would be worse? Your nanny having sex with your husband or spanking your kid?


Sorry Rebecca..Just Not a Fan.. said...

I can't believe nycmom is actually defending Rebecca's behavior and tearing down my words? I am sad that a mother exists who actually is defending someone who hit another person's child. You must be a nutcase and I feel sorry for your children. It is NEVER okay to hit another person's child. NEVER. Anyone who does it should not be working in the childcare field. I can't believe you refer to what Rebecca did as a mistake and you justified what she did by saying she learned from it. How dumb can you be nycmom??! If she worked in a daycare/preschool, she would have been fired on the spot. Yes, I agree..there are no perfect nannies and I never said anyone was or had to be perfect. Stop putting words into my head Woman. I said we need some good role models to look up to. You made it sound like Rebecca made a little mistake, learned from it and no consequences should be had. What planet do you live on? People make stupid mistakes in the line of work all the time, and a lot of these mistakes have severe consequences. What about all the people who said something offensive (i.e., anti-gay, racist, etc.) on the air? They get fired faster than they can say, "I am so sorry...!!" The punishment should be harsher for an adult that physically strikes an innocent and defenseless child because the child is actually having pain inflicted on them by someone not legally authorized to do so. Haven't you read those stories about teachers who show porn during class or make an insensitive comment? They no longer work as teachers. Why should Rebecca get any special treatment just because? We all should be held accountable for our actions, even those misguided and I for one think when a helpless child is affected, the accountability bar should be set a little higher.

HungryCollegeStudent said...

A swat on the bottom is not abuse. I stand by my assertion and agree with NYCmom on this one completely....

Phoenix said...

For some reason all your statements have something to do with the nanny sleeping with the husband. When no one has even said anything to the liking. It is very offensive to think that any nanny or any husband for that matter would be so sinful. Yes there has been scenarios of that happening but it is very very rare and if it does happen it is due to a very unloving environment. I am just saying. Is there something you need to talk about? It is getting really odd. You went from a blog about spanking a child to a nanny sleeping with the husband. :/

Rebecca said...

Without reserve. Some how the last few letters got cut off.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Rebecca is having trouble posting on this thread so I offered to put this up for her.


I rewrote my comment but I can't get it to stay on the site:
Can you post this for me?

I want to thank all the commenters this week. I told MPP that I wasn't sure about this topic, but she as always has had my back, when she said that she supported it, I told her to go ahead and run it. While many of you who follow my column understand that I am indeed considered the "third parent" in the household and have been given both the authority and the blessing to encompass all aspects of parenting, there are many new commenters this week who don't seem to get that. I also thought that it was clear from the way I described it, that the spanking incident was a benign occurrence where my charge was warned about his extreme behavior and I followed through on what I believed to be an appropriate response. Not a violent response, and not a response made out of frustration and not a response that in any way harmed a child. It was truly an extremely innocuous incident. My employers supported me on my response and told me not to feel bad, and that I was a co-parent to them and that they respected my role in the household. I felt, in retrospect, that another response could have been employed. Did I make a mistake? I think I did. They do not think I did. It was my hope that as the request is always out there for a "hot button" topic for this community to discuss that this would be such an opportunity. I expected a strong response. I did not expect a lynch mob. I believe this week many commenters brought their personal and possibly negative experiences from their own lives to their responses, ignoring the facts of my post. Furthermore, there is a tendency on this blog to go after the posters in an almost frenzy of insults and cruelty. Do you want to know why there are no other guest columns than mine? I don't think other members of our community really want to put themselves out there as they know the tendency to slaughter the poster is very strong. We have many educated and insightful commenters, NYCmom, Phoenix, Sharon, Boston Nanny, Miss Mannah, Tales, and Just my twocents (sorry to anyone I missed!) always have something intelligent to add to the discussion. And then we those who only want to hurl insults. I think that they are not only damaging to those who do post, but also to those who might post but get scared away. We've had many requests for postings. I responded to one in September, and sent a writing sample to Jane and MPP and a description of my background and employment. We have enjoyed working together. It would be nice if there were more people who would put the time into this, but I fear that the naysayers keep them away. Many people don't believe that the nanny-family relationship can be as rewarding as I find it to be, or that employers can be as supportive as mine, and that it is possible to really feel like family and treat each other as such. Perhaps that can be a topic for a future column.
And a side note to Reese - what make you a writer is simply that you write, without fear of criticism, and without reserve.

sharon said...

not expect a lynch mob?

you can get a lynch mob here by saying " have a nice day" lol

keep the columns coming

nycmom said...

Well said, Rebecca!

Sorry..., I am not sure if you read my original reply to this column. I did say Rebecca made a mistake, as did she. I also said, if I had a long-term nanny that I had built a trusting relationship with, this one mistake would not be insurmountable for me especially as it was immediately relayed and discussed. The planned deception in this week's Day in the Life would be insurmountable for me.

You seem to be continually missing a key point here with your multiple references to employment standards at daycares, schools, and radio broadcast programs: Rebecca doesn't work there! She works for a single family employer and they set the rules of the job. If her employer does not feel she violated the standards of employment and is pleased with her job performance, why SHOULD she be fired simply because other employers might have different job standards? You are entitled to your opinion, as are we all. You are NOT entitled to demand Rebecca's employers should fire her because you would fire someone under similar circumstances since you ARE NOT HER EMPLOYER!

I make the job description for my nanny. She negotiates it and then we both agree to the standards. Should she not perform to those standars, then my husband and I get to decide if we want to continue to employ her. Unless you are my nanny, you actually don't get any say in this decision. Just like you won't take a job in which you have to fold laundry or unload a dishwasher since you need time to put on makeup and check email; I won't hire a nanny who refuses to do those things or insists that time to check email/apply makeup must be part of her daily schedule.

I find it odd that you seem determined and absolutely certain that you get to decide the firing criteria for a variety of professions, and indignant if others don't think you should have that universal power.

Phoenix said...

Well Said Rebecca! I do hope that you continue to submit your writing here. Even though people do form a lynch mob. Some people don't understand there are two sides to an argument. I am guilty of that too at times. Spanking is a very touchy subject as it should be. I for one condone spanking if all other attempts have been tried. It is very good that you have a relationship with your employers that most people want to have. One thing they are missing though is honesty. You are honest and upfront with your employers. Not like one girl who lied about going to a park. Those are what make bad nannies. I think that you are a great nanny. Hell we are all human and we all make mistakes. That is life. That is the reason we are here. If life was easy then everyone would be able to do it. Fact is they can't. And for some reason people are becoming fearful and irrational. I love topics that cause a good debate. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I look forward to the next one.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Rebecca, I think you were completely nuts and absolutely BRAVE to post about spanking using such a recent personal example.

I've always heard/read/been told that if you must spank, you need to use it as a last resort, because you simply cannot get the attention of the child in any other way. Also, if you do make the decision to spank, using only your hand, and spanking no more than 3 times on a clothed rear-end is acceptable.

That's what you did.

People who are acting as if your revelation is akin to discovering you are a secret serial killer seem to have missed the fact that you didn't just grab a stick or belt and whale on your charge for no reason. THAT is abuse. THAT is worth getting hysterical over.

I've already said what I think about your actions way up above somewhere. So I'll just say again that I am glad you had the guts to post this piece.

It's worth remembering that no one is perfect. Heck, even Mary Poppins was kind of a bossy thing, and she did take the kids out and lie about her plans, right?

In Your Corner... said...

I think you were brave Rebecca to spank a child and then write about it. I have been a nanny to many children that I would have loved to spank. I have had children mouth off to me, ignore me, etc...and I would have loved to give them a swat or two.
Spanking is not considered politically correct anymore and that is a shame. This younger generation is going to be very spoiled, self-entitled and and self-centered. Every child should be spanked when they misbehave. Unfortunately the schools no longer do this (they used to!), but I believe daycares, nannies and the like should all have the authority to spank when appropriate. Rebecca did a noble thing and didn't conform to what society dictates. It's my personal belief that a child who is never hit, is spoiled. "Spare the rod, spoil the child..."

Rebecca, I am glad you followed through on what you initially told your charge. He probably didn't think you would spank him and ignored you. When you finally did hit him, you kept your word and I bet that is the last time your charge will ever take your words lightly.

I am currently caring for a very mouthy 4 1/2 yr old. 1/2 the time his mother is home working, but a lot of times she leaves for meetings. After reading what you wrote, I just may re-consider giving him a swat the next time he has a meltdown. I love him to death and would lay down on train tracks for him, yet when he doesn't listen, he can become a terror. He has even resorted to locking himself in the bathroom for hours when he can't get his way. I bet if I give him a little spanking next time, he will think twice about the way he treats me. I know your charge surely does.

something to share said...

Hi, I sent in a submission. It's April 8 and nothing has been up for a few days. I sent it to the link on the top of the page and left it "as a comment".

Australian nanny. said...

Welcome back Monkey Shines i missed you. Also i found This post of Rebeccas a little too long. Some of her posts are long sometims they are intresting sometimes they are not. I agree with Monkey shines we need a poll done to see what we want and don't want on this site.

Nanny said...

While I'm decidely anti spanking, I think it is important to keep in mind that one of the benefits to having a nanny is that the parents have the ability to hire the caregiver that best suits their family. If Rebecca's role is as a third coparent, then her position is dramatically different from a situation where the parents see the nanny as less than a partner. I think she has a unique and special situation, but I am glad for all the discussion this post has brought up. It is good to have opinions questioned and different ideas discussed. Thank you, Rebecca!



Why don't you sit your FLAT butt down and shut-up it's not that serious!
I guess before I found this blog the idea of a nanny and boss having sex never occured to anyone.
In case you didn't notice a lot of the items that come up are old!

I made Swedish, vegan meatballs today and they were very good.


@ Australian nanny

I didn't miss you but as I read your post I imagined what it would sound like with a Australian accent and I would rather hear nails being dragged across a chalkboard!

I am going to see, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, tomorrow night
the only good thing to come out of Australia and that guy who helps animals, i cant remember his name because I am working my way through a spliff

Petra said...

If Rebecca has posted this about 30 yrs ago somewhere, she would have probably gotten much more support. However, times have radically changed due to many children being abused since then. I think there is a fine line between spanking a child to discipline him or her vs. abusing a child out of anger, etc. Since it is very difficult in some situations to distinguish between the two, I guess you could say we all have to err on the side of caution and just not another person's child. What we do with our own children is our business and our business only, however if did not have explicit permission to spank another person's child, it is best not to do so.

sharon said...

i have been thinking carefully before giving my serious view of the subject and column.

My siblings and i were raised pre-Oprah and Donahue.

Our parents utilized corporeal punishment alot - pulling down your pants on the bare backside with a belt - and it was done in anger and to humiliate.

It was just regarded as what was usual - their parents did it to them

In "The King's Speech" King George vi's father yells at him " i was scared of my father and you are d-mn well going to be scared of me" ( that is the Queen of England's dad - and he was physically abused and suffered a speech problem"

in my family's case - this type of non-stop hitting etc did not bode well for the future - all siblings struggled with the results.

other families - it may mean nothing as the kids have a thick skin.

It is a dilema - kids today can call 911 if they do something terrible and do not like the discipline - but - inappropriate hitting causing pain can cause damage.

Rebecca has done her job - thru her writing skills she has caused a debate with (mostly) reasonable people and her mistake was - pretty much nothing - i have that on good authority

MissMannah said...

Hey, thanks for the shout-out Rebecca! I sometimes wonder if people think I have anything worthwhile to say or if I'm just seen as a gigantic bitch.

I've been continuously following this thread but purposely didn't comment yet because I'm still so ambivalent on the issue of spanking. We don't have kids yet and while my husband says he wants to spank them when we do, I don't know. My sisters and I were spanked as children, but it got really out of control and I think it was abusive. I never "learned my lesson"--all it taught me was to hate my mother and learn how to not get caught. Anyway, that's just my personal experience and I just want to urge parents who do spank to remember to never do it out of anger and to always toe the line carefully, for their children's sake.

When I first mentioned this post to my husband, he was immediately shocked and said he would have sued your ass and seen to it that you'd never be near another kid again. Then I made him carefully read it over and talked about some of your previous articles and he said that you seem to have a "sisterly" relationship with your MomBoss, and if she completely trusts your judgment, why should anyone else care? I'd have to agree. You've got a lynch mob going here because people can't keep their own emotions out of their responses.

Leah said...

I feel like it is unfair of people to say that those who disagree with Rebecca are part of a "lynch mob" or are new readers who haven't followed the blog long enough to understand that Rebecca has a tight-knit relationship with her bosses. I understand all of that. And I don't beleive that Rebecca is a bad person. I do beleive she made a very bad, unprofessional choice that is worthy of termination.

I have been following this blog for about a year, and I rarely ever comment. I don't want to comment just to comment. I save my comments for when I feel like I really have something to add to the conversation. I didn't feel like anyone was inappropriate in their responses or overly emotional. It was a shocking, hot topic issue and just as you have the right to agree with Rebecca, I (and others) have the right to disagree with what she did. It doesn't mean that we didn't read your post carefully Rebecca, it just means that we don't agree..and I feel totally justified in that.

Brenda said...

Rebecca, no one on here is saying that you are a bad person or a's just that what you did was out of line and you should have been fired. Don't take it personally. This would just be the general opinion of most parents who found out their nanny spanked their child.

I am currently a nanny for a wonderful family. They treat me so well and make my job easy and fun. I always have 110% autonomy while on duty and they give me lots of flexibility. I would never just assume that I could spank their child and they would be okay with it. In regard to discipline, it is a topic that should be discussed in full. If you believe in spankings, time-outs, etc..whatever great, but you should let the parents know what your method of punishment is prior to using it. If you are unsure or it hasn't been discussed, you should just refrain from using any type of discipline until you discuss it with the parents. As much as my current family loves me and I love them, I don't know how they would react if I told them tomorrow I spanked their child. Even if I apologized profusely, I don't think it would go over too well. And I wouldn't blame them if it didn't. Disciplining a child is a very subjective matter, a hot button topic as well as someone mentioned. One should never just "take matters into their own hands" literally and figuratively.

MissMannah said...

Leah, you said:

"It was a shocking, hot topic issue and just as you have the right to agree with Rebecca, I (and others) have the right to disagree with what she did. It doesn't mean that we didn't read your post carefully Rebecca, it just means that we don't agree..and I feel totally justified in that."

I can only assume you are speaking to me, because you posted right after I did. If you're not speaking to me, I apologise. I want to make it crystal clear that I do NOT condone Rebecca's choice to spank her charge and (like my husband said) if she was my nanny, she'd be fired and possibly sued. But the fact is, she is not my nanny. Nor does she work for anyone else here, and so nobody here has the authority to say she "should" be fired. The only people who have that authority have already made their decision on the matter. That was the point I was trying to make in my previous post. I say people are getting their emotions involved because I think they are thinking what would happen if they were in that position. It is only natural, because it is such an emotional topic.