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Is It Okay To Let Your Boyfriend Discipline Your Kids?

I’m heading out for drinks with my cousin when she turns to her man and says, “If he gets out of hand, go ahead and spank him.” She’s referring to her 4-year-old son. I’m a little surprised because she’s been dating this guy less than a year. When I ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea to let him spank her kid she doesn’t see the problem. “If I’m gone, my son needs to know that he’s got to listen or he’s going to get popped,” she says, a little defensively. I leave it alone. But later, I’m definitely thinking about it.


On one hand, I see what she means. It’s kinda old school in the sense that people used to take responsibility for other people’s kids. Family members had the right to pop you if they saw you getting out of hand, and even neighbors could snatch you up, and drag you home to mama. Teachers had, and in many places still do, have the right to take physical action. Corporal punishment is alive and well, especially in the South. Let’s face it, not everyone was mad when the Spring Valley High police officer flung the young female student to the ground last year. “Kids today have a problem with authority,” they say.


But the flip side of that is you’re putting a lot of trust in a person, in this case, a boyfriend. How long have you known him? Does he have a temper? What’s his experience with kids? And what if you break up and get a new man, is he going to be able to hit him too? Sadly, it doesn’t always end well. Tragic stories surface everyday about boyfriends who injure, and sometimes kill, a woman’s kid. Men can have a heavy hand, and when it’s not their child, they may lack patience or feel they have to over compensate to show that they have the upper hand. Kids are quick to scream, “I don’t have to listen to you; you’re not my daddy!”


So what’s an acceptable way to discipline that won’t create bigger problems?


I call up Dr. Jane Fort, one of my go-to psychologists, to see what advice she may have because I want to make sure my cousin is doing the right thing.


She says, “The real question is what is being communicated to the child in a spanking no matter who does it?


We want to teach children what to do and what not to do, but too many times, we open ourselves to the possibility of venting our anger and frustration on a child because we’re bigger and can get away with it and not because we are actually communicating the message we want the child to grasp.


So, time out with an explanation may be a better option.


Loss of a privilege or benefit for a brief period of time – but not so long that everyone forgets what it was all about in the first place.


We also have to know what limits should be made evident in supervision of our children. Determine what discipline best communicates the lesson to the child.”


Seriously, that’s a good one because what one adult sees as a reason to spank another might not. Do you want your kid being bopped upside the head for not eating his peas or failing to do his homework?


Okay. She’s saying that spanking may not be the best way to discipline. Period. And I agree. I swore I wouldn’t do it to my own kids, and then I did. It feels awful every time. I can’t imagine doing it to someone else’s child, even with permission. It just feels messy.


  • Johnny
    April 26, 2016

    Some women kids are bad as hell and then I’m supposed to be quiet? I’m not saying its easy but single moms got to get their kids in check if they want a serious relationship. A man that ain’t trying to help discipline them don’t really care.

    • Samantha
      April 26, 2016

      Agreed! Not to say a boyfriend should always be heavy handed, but if you’re with a guy who isn’t willing to help you raise your children… what are you expecting things to be like long term? This doesn’t apply to a guy you’ve been dating for 2 weeks, but if you’ve been together awhile it only seems right that your partner be vested in raising your children as well. Otherwise, why are you wasting your time?

  • Lynn Jensen
    April 26, 2016

    I raised two boys into strong men, yes I spanked! I did not take my anger out on them. I used discipline. That is a difference between abuse and discipline. The problem today is that there is too little discipline, too little respect and therefore bratty children that are allowed to talk back and run wild!

  • DGWright
    April 26, 2016

    Discipling a child should be left to the parent and them alone. I would never allow someone else to do so. Discipling your child should be left up to you. With allowing someone else that responsibility you are opening up a new message to the child. One of which called abuse, I believe that if it takes not dating while you have a children to raise so be it, make the sacrifice. It may not be easy but, it will pay off in the end. Especially, if you have someone in your life that cares about you and your children. You can wait together and still date. Its easier this way, believe me. As a parent who married a someone with a child believe it was not easy. But, giving someone free will to discipline your child, especially someone you just met, is not the way to go.

  • PaMela
    April 26, 2016

    In today’s society more than ever I believe children must be disciplined. I am and always will be pro spanking of a child if necessary. Children are not always in line for a spanking inasmuch some children you can just give them the “eye” and/or “the talk” and they straighten up and then there are those that you have to take a more aggressive approach and if spanking is it then it should be applied. I feel it’s the parent’s “only” who need to take this approach but a lot of parents have given up on their job of parenting with discipline and would rather someone else deal with their bad ass kid. If the parent is not doing the discipline and leaving it up to someone else to do so it can be detrimental to the child in more ways than a few. We all see what happens when it’s left up to others to discipline “your” child hence, law enforcement officers, etc.

  • Michael Vazquez
    April 26, 2016

    No. I dont agree with this. Its a parents responsibilty or family member only to issue discipline to a child. not a friend or someone else, specially a spanking. No matter what, or just met or dating.
    And As parent it is your Responsibilty to correct your children not someone elses. Now dont get me wrong I believe in spanking, since I had my fair share of them growing up. My mom was a firm believer in spanking, and trust me they worked.
    She was the Judge, Jury, and executioner.
    Now we hear horror stoires of other people disciplining someone elses child, is that what you want a complete stranger or someone you been dating for a short time seriously think about it.
    But as for me Ill be darn if someone is going to correct my child physically, I brought them into this world and Their mine to raise and correct if needed. Not someone else.

  • Lori
    April 26, 2016

    When my hubby came into my life I still had two kids home. He told them and me I am not their dad. They have a dad. But if they will let me…I will be their friend. And so it was and still is. All the kids are grown now and 12 grandkids later and he is still their friend and they his. The kids decided that their children would call him poppa and he was honored to be poppa to the grandkids. It worked for us for me to be the parent to my kids and him their friend.

  • Meliss Myers
    April 26, 2016

    Wow, I wouldn’t even leave my child with a boyfriend, let alone let him discipline my child. I am married, but if my marriage ended, I wouldn’t even date….until my son was a teenager. I don’t need a man, or sex……but I do need my child to be safe, secure, and loved.

    • Pat Munyan
      April 26, 2016

      I am with you on this. How many headlines do we need where a child was beaten to death by mom’s boyfriend when she was out and he was “in charge”?

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