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Spare the rod? Struggling with spanking

From Darlene Rodriguez, co-anchor of WNBC's 'Today in New York'

To spank or not to spank? I struggled with that very question 10 minutes ago while writing this and being interrupted for the sixth time by my two little angels. I didn't understand what happened during this last altercation between the eight-year-old and the six-year-old, but from what I could gather there was relentless teasing, snatching something out of someone's hands, some screaming and apple juice spilled (all over someone's coat, the floor and a library book that I'll have to pay for).

And they only got home only 20 minutes ago.

While I'm trying not to break all of the parenting discipline rules in one fell swoop today, I know I am not alone in the mommy meltdown department.

We recently sat down with a group of moms at Tree restaurant in New York City to get their take on what the right course of action is when it comes to spanking. One mom had no qualms about giving her kids a quick swat on the bottom when she thought it was necessary. Another was horrified at the thought and said she would never spank her children: "I don't hit my friends, so why would it be appropriate to hit my own daughters?" she asked.


Some in the room noticed that both of her kids were under two years old and thought she might feel differently in a couple of years. Another mom said that she spanked her kids once out of frustration and felt such remorse that she swore never to do it again.

According to Babycenter.com, 49 percent of moms spank their children, but 75 percent say they think spanking is permitted in certain situations to a certain degree. Most were spanked as children themselves (81 percent) and know that it's socially unacceptable, yet they don't always know what to do when they're at their wits end. Interestingly, 37 percent of moms who spank their children started when the child was 12 to 23 months old. That number drops as the child ages. Linda Murray at Babycenter.com says experts are universally opposed to spanking, but she does acknowledge that discipline — whatever form you choose — can be effective when it's deliberate, with set rules, and never done in anger or frustration.

And with that, I will go give myself a time-out.

Related content:
TODAY Video: Is it ever OK to spank your kids?
More information on discipline studies from babycentersolutions.com
theGrio.com: Spanking has ties to slavery
Do children who are spanked have lower IQs?
Prayers for 'spanking' guest panelist Anissa Mayhew