Tuesday, April 27, 2010


UPDATE: I'm getting some really interesting feedback from you guys via the blog and email. A couple of you say you have hard-core liberal parents and were spanked. I'm willing to wave the white flag and say my use of the word "liberal" may not have been the best choice. I guess I should have said something like your "permissive parenting agenda" It's possible my experience is not widespread reality. Just wanted you guys to know that :)

Metro Marta that is (if you don't know what Metro Marta means...it's my feisty alter-ego)...I read an article on Babycenter.com that just put me over the edge today. I have been on babycenter.com since I got pregnant with Parks and it has been a great resource, but I have had enough of the liberal bias in their articles. It's more than I can take at this point. I got so fired up after reading this article that I sent a letter to the editor. Here is what I wrote:

To Whom It May Concern: I have been a frequent visitor to Babycenter.com since my son was born 17 months ago. I am also a college graduate, educated woman who works part-time. I used to think your site was a great resource for mom's but the more I read here, I am very disturbed by a clear, liberal agenda in childrearing.

I was reading an article about 17 month old titled "Feeling Negative" today and here is an excerpt:
"You may also notice that your child occasionally but very deliberately disobeys your orders. You say, "Please stay away from that vase," and your toddler looks right at you, reaches out, and touches the vase, or plucks a flower from it. You know he got your message, so rather than let the defiance become a big deal, experts say to simply ignore it whenever possible. In fact, it's important to try to avoid a confrontation with every little issue."

I think this is horrible advice to parents. I absolutely believe in balance in discipline but to tell parents to ignore blatant defiance in their toddlers is ridiculous. Toddlers test limits, that's what they do and it's the job of the parent to set those limits and show the child who is boss. Our society is suffering from a lack of parental discipline and training and it's advice like this that causes it!

I am also disturbed about the negative articles about spanking on your site. I am a parent who spanks and I am offended by your portrayal of spanking. I also think it's complete hogwash that children who are spanked learn that hitting is OK. Please, I was spanked as a child and I grew up perfectly fine and never thought hitting was OK.

I am disappointed and saddened really by the advice you are giving young moms out there today. You do not provide a fair and balanced look at both sides of discipline you promote an ideology that scorns true discipline and training of children. I am sick of reading an article that I think will be helpful only to find your liberal agenda woven throughout it. There are lots of mom's like myself who still believe that good old-fashioned discipline produces good kids. I'm sorry you
can't see the value in the way we raise our kids.


Mallory Andrews
Va. Beach, VA

What do you guys think?? I know it's been forever, does anyone still read my blog??


Cecil Family said...

Um, wow. So, since we are giving titles here-- as a liberal, feminist, Christian, stay at home mom (yeah, a rare breed), I feel called to respond to this ;)

Is it possible that because you are in a political family, you are reading way too much into the "politics" of this? (I come from a political family also, so I can see how that becomes the lens for everything...)

While I agree with your stance on disciplining toddlers' boundary testing, do you think it's possible that they were saying that we just need to pick our battles? And that they are normalizing the behavior of boundary testing? I'm not sure how this is part of a liberal agenda...

My understanding of Babycenter is that the forums are the places for multiple opinions-- not the articles.

But I think it's important for there to be an abundance of information about all types of parenthood topics-- non partisan, because I'm not aware of partyline distinctions when it comes to parenting. Conservatives spank and liberals don't? Liberals allow their children to have free reign and no discipline while conservatives have their kids in gear? I'm not sure this type of thinking does anyone any favors. But I'm all for providing comprehensive information so that people can make decisions about what works for them, regardless of political affiliation :)

(FWIW, I stopped reading Babycenter a very long time ago because of the lack of correct information and abundance of guilt-producing material.)

mallory said...

Cecil Fam,

I appreciate your comments. I've been thinking about the use of the word "liberal" in my letter and here are my thoughts. I do feel there is an ideological difference between liberalism and conservatism in regards to the family unit today that practically manifest through parenting.

It has been my experience, (emphasis on "my") that there is indeed an agenda being promoted in our society to stop true discipline and training of children. The article I referenced was promoting that very clearly. The example they gave was a case of open defiance to which they recommended the parent simply ignore. The people I know who are leaders in this crusade to normalize lazy, permissive parenting are very liberal in political and social ideology.

It's simply my experience that the departure from the traditional discipline of our parent's and grandparent's generation is part of a liberal agenda. To their credit, liberals have become very involved in influential segments in our society, education and the media to name the top two. Oftentimes, this gives them the ability to share their agenda with a loud microphone.

I have read multiple articles on Babycenter that make spanking parents sound like barbarians who are abusing their children. They promote the idea that enlightened parents see that spanking is an archaic thing of the past and should be replaced with the more progressive "positive reinforcement". It's that kind of bias that I don't appreciate and as a "consumer" of Babycenter.com I wanted to pass along my opinion to the editors.

If you disagree and that has not been your experience that's perfectly fine. There are always exceptions to everything in life, but I stand by my statement that the radical shift in childrearing in our country is part of a larger, "progressive"/liberal agenda relating to the family. That's just the way I see it.

Just for grins...how many self-proclaimed liberals do you know that spank as a regular form of discipline? (It's hard to read tone in writing, so please know I'm not being sarcastic, I'm just curious. I don't think I know any.)

Rachel C Morgan said...

I check it about once a week?

My parents spanked my brother and me and neither of us EVER got into a fight with another kid. That being said, my uncle has a 4 year old and he was doing the whole 'choosing his battles' and 'explaining why he can't do this or that.' This has created a child who challenges authority verbally and he has actually hit other kids in his pre-k class! In the past few months, spanking has been introduced and while its taking some time... The 4 year old is learning about discipline and authority.

Now before anyone argues that they know opposite stories, I know and I acknowledge this. My mom said that I was rarely spanked because I seemed to 'get it' a lot faster than my brother.

Personally, I think parenting and teaching discipline requires different methods. Spanking isn't always the answer and neither are timeouts or talks. And sometimes you do just have to let it go. In the end though, your child has to know that you are the authority figure and s/he must listen. Stop means stop, whether its climbing up on a shelf or running into the street.

So maybe you did get a little heated about this article, but I'm also sick of this 'no spanking' mind set that tries to imply that spanking equates to violent kids. Old fashion ways are criticized a lot. Ask any mother who exclusively breastfeeds, cloth diapers, or labors without pain meds.

Lindsey Burke said...

Interesting comments Marta! I hear where you are coming from but I do have to say, after reflecting on your post, that this trend towards more permissive parenting seems to be reaching into all segments of society. I feel I see this trend among conservatives and liberals alike. Great post; I'm glad you've got people thinking and engaging on a very important topic!

mallory said...


I agree, the permissive parenting trend is seen among liberals and conservatives. I do think it's being "pushed" top down by a liberal socio-political ideology.

Grams said...

I totally agree with you, Mallory. A parent cannot ignore blatent defiance. Of course, pick your battles, but this is a big one. The parent MUST let the child know who is in charge. I have heard a parent say about a child, "Now he is spitting on me and sticking his tongue out and I don't know what to do. I just can't do anything with him.". She should have started long ago when he was 17 months old. Young children at this age want to be made to behave. Yes, they will challenge you, but they are happier when they please you and they want you to MAKE them behave. They don't have to be spanked with your hand. You can just sting a little bit with a 12 inch ruler or a wooden spoon. It hurts their feelings and their pride and you are NOT going to break their spirit by a little spank! Children who learn to respect authority make the best citizens, scholars,employees, and bosses.

Lindsey Burke said...

I can see where you are coming from with that.

Megan said...

Hey Mal,

Ok I am only writing this because you asked. When it comes to politics I AM a self proclaimed "liberal" (shock, I know). I would also consider myself a feminist in many ways, but one who definitely values the family and discipline- As I believe many other liberals do.
In our family we are reading, thinking, researching and consulting what we believe to be "wise council" on the spanking issue. We are still not sure what we will do with Noah, but we are definitely leaning towards spanking in situations of defiance and disobedience. I was spanked (very rarely) and I am fine. Dave was not spanked and he is fine. SO I think it truly depends on the family, the child, and how you feel like God is leading you to raise your children.
I agree that permisiveness is definitely a parenting "trend" these days and not a good one.

mallory said...

I appreciate everyone's feedback! I think we all agree that the trend towards permissive parenting is not a good one. Where we disagree is the origins of the trend and that's totally ok. I don't expect everyone to agree with me!

Cecil Family said...

Since you asked...

My choice not to spank has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the fact that I grew up in an abusive birth family, was put in a foster home for several years, and was spanked as a child in my adoptive home. I never understood why my brother and I would get spanked as our "punishment" for hitting each other. Violence with more violence. It was a confusing message to me as a small child, so I choose not to do that with mine.

However, like several other people have mentioned, discipline should be based on what is happening in situation, for the specific child's needs.

But don't become guilty of what you are trying to disband-- favoring one extreme over another. Just because people don't spank, doesn't mean there aren't other forms of discipline :)

It's not fair to assume my child will be a chaotic liberal hooligan just because I don't spank her. Just as it is unfair to assume your child with be a violent gangster because you do.

Again...I really don't think party lines really have anything to do with it. Like I said, I was spanked, and my parents are die hard Dems. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mallory,

I met you a few times through LIGHThouse and I stumbled upon your blog through other people (it's ok if you don't remember me :) I totally understand) My parents spanked my brother, sister and I, and we turned out just fine. I've also babysat for a lot of different families in the VB area. Some completely 100% for spanking and those who are 100% againist. Comparing the 2 extreme parenting styles is definitely noticable. You have the respectful children who have been brought up in a structured enviroment and discipline and then those children who are wild and crazy because parents chose to "pick their battles" and their children [clearly] always won!


Whitney said...

I somehow receive "Parenting" magazine and it usually hits the trash, mostly for the reasons that you've outlined in your letter to the editor. Not only are the articles permissive and "liberal", they are also contradictory, sometimes in the same issue. I can second guess myself enough without getting ideas from someone else, thank you very much.
I love good old-fashioned parenting. :) I also believe that as a parent you set up your child's view of authority as it relates to parents, teachers, bosses, etc. but most importantly as it relates to God. God is holy, He does not "pick and choose" battles. He is always loving, slow to anger, faithful to forgive, but he also always punishes sin. Modeling that for our children is imperative. I've chosen to do that with "the rod". Some people may choose to do it without, and that's awesome as long as they are modeling respect/obedience for authority! Please add me as an "authorized" blog reader when you go private!
Hope you're well...

Anonymous said...

I love debates like this. I strongly believe in spanking your child!!! I also am a nanny who watches two families one who spanks, and one who doesn't and you clearly know who is running the household. I also believe that different disciplines are needed for each situation though too. Like if my child throws a fit because they don't want to pick up their toys, not only will they be made to pick up the toys, but for disobeying they will go out and move a pile of dirt with a spoon to a different area. Sure makes a kid think the next time you just ask them to pick up their toys.
Kids are so smart, and they will test beyond the limits, and parents these days are so lazy and self centered they don't want to put in the effort of raising their children correctly. They leave the parenting up to the churches, and schools, and other families...and then they wonder why they don't have real relationships with their kids, or why their kids will listen to everyone else except them.