[A newsletter for parents with evidence-based guidance and personal stories for your transformed life with kids. Sign up to get NYT Parenting in your inbox every week.]
Last spring, about a week into a family visit to Prague, my hometown, I overheard my then 2½-year-old son mumble to himself in Czech: “Are you trying to get a spanking?” (Chceš snad na zadek?)
I was disturbed and shocked. I knew he’d never heard that from me. He had spent a lot of time with various members of our extended family by that point, so I set out to investigate who could have issued such a threat. But the inquiry proved difficult: Most members of my family in Prague believed themselves to be the likely source. There was no remorse. Children test limits, they said, while grown-ups threaten and occasionally spank. What’s the big deal?
Like any Czech child of the ’80s and ’90s, I was familiar with this phrase, and its many variations. As children, we heard it from parents, teachers, music instructors, coaches — even friends’ parents. We knew the threat was real, because being on the receiving end of a spanking or a face slap was commonplace. I saw countless bare butts getting spanked in playgrounds and parks — a humiliation perfected.
While I was lucky in that my parents used spanking sparingly, it was understood to be a possibility. For minor offenses, a verbal warning would come first. I knew, and feared, what could come next. Sometimes even a stern stare from my otherwise pretty bohemian dad indicated that clearly.
Many of my friends’ parents were stricter, and the threats I overheard while visiting their homes suggested that they used creative props in punishing their children: If you don’t stop, you’ll get a smack with a leather belt, a fly swatter or a spatula. (My grandma once famously broke a wooden spatula while punishing my dad for failing to recite correct German nominatives and accusatives fast enough.) Sometimes my classmates would show up in school with jelito “blood sausage” marks on their behinds the day after the grown-ups around them had applied their parenting methods. One of my primary schoolteachers — Comrade Svobodová, as she liked to be called — preferred using a length of electrical cord, which left thin red lines on our hands.
One summer day when I was around 9, a rare slap landed on my face during lunch when I hadn’t wanted to eat a bowl of soup. I was so humiliated that I cried with rage over the fickle and unreasonable world of grown-ups.
Later that day, I wrote in my diary, in capital letters: I will never ever set a hand on my children when I’m a mom, and neither will anybody else.
As I readied to have children of my own, none of this was on my mind. So much research had come out since I was a child, revealing the harms of corporal punishment, that I figured the question had been settled for good. “There is no need for corporal punishment based on the research,” Dr. Alan Kazdin, a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University, told the American Psychological Association. “We are not giving up an effective technique. We are saying this is a horrible thing that does not work.” Countless studies have shown that physical punishment — including spanking — can lead to increased aggression, antisocial tendencies and mental health problems. A 2018 study of 400,000 adolescents from 88 countries found that bans on physical punishment have helped to reduce youth violence.
While Czech attitudes have evolved since I was a child, the majority still approve of spanking. About 63 percent of respondents in a recent Czech survey found corporal punishment acceptable in some cases. This is not unlike the United States, where polls show that around 70 percent approve of spanking — though there are regional, religious and racial disparities; and even a divide along party lines.
I should add that Czechs’ proclivity for discussing spanking within my earshot is no coincidence. My two toddler boys, with a little under two years separating them, are masters of mischief. They can often be found busily taking child locks apart. The older one is so inventive in trying to annihilate his little brother that he recently took a vacuum cleaner and suctioned his dinner off a plate. The younger one disables appliances with swiftness and gusto. They drive my husband and me crazy and, short of hitting, we try all that we can.
When I refuse to spank, even progressive Czechs around me seem to believe that I’ve adopted a sort of snotty, New Age-y approach. My father, today a successful self-made businessman, star negotiator and a doting and attentive grandpa, begs me: Just spank them already, and put an end to this misery! As my son, a little over 1 at the time, waddled toward a power outlet that I had just warned him away from for the third time, my dad lamented, “See, here? A smack over the hands. This could have been the teaching moment. It pains me greatly to see how hard you are making your own life.”
I find it surprising that my compatriots, who famously disdain violence; overthrow governments peacefully; and are, after the trauma of Communist rule, often instinctively suspicious of authority, are the ones from whom I hear praise of “a firm hand” in parent-child interaction. Brutal beating appalls them, but what they call an “educational slap” is a wholly different thing. The implication seems to be that, without “educational spankings,” kids would run amok (like mine?), and traditional structures would eventually collapse.
When I try to explain that most child care experts say that, while spanking may change behavior temporarily, children should be able to stop themselves from engaging in inappropriate behavior without the threat of physical punishment, I get eye rolls. The response usually goes something like this: “We were punished much more harshly than today’s kids will ever be, and look at us, no trauma, we turned out just fine.” But did we?
I am very grateful for my childhood, for my parents’ kindness and open-mindedness (7-year-old vegetarians were not exactly commonplace in Communist cafeterias) and for their unfailing belief in me. But I turned out far from perfect and, while many factors are at play, it baffles me that more people don’t question whether we would not have fared better if physical force had been off the table. I have a complicated relationship with conflict and confrontation and, even as a child who was mostly threatened and rarely hit, I struggled to effectively navigate disagreements well into adulthood. I love my parents deeply but, to this day, I feel an irrational pang of fear each time I butt heads with my dad.
Most importantly, I often feel myself at a loss when dealing with my own kids. When they upset me, I draw a blank on how best to react to their tantrums, frustrations or straight-up naughty behavior. My attempts to acknowledge their feelings and to offer solutions — “I see you are fighting over a toy and you are both upset, so how can we resolve that?” or “I can see you are frustrated and want to scream, but how about using your words?” — sound oddly formulaic in Czech, the language in which I speak to them. My mind supplies me with “Stop it this second, or … !” I try daily, but I still stumble through positive reinforcement and often end up sounding like a dishonest robot.
If for no other reason, I think we should take spanking off the table so that our children have better tools for dealing with their own children one day. I sincerely hope that navigating the explosive chaos of childhood without a repressive “firm hand” will help my sons grow up into gentle young men, able to deal constructively and peacefully with life’s inevitable frustrations and conflicts.
Zuzana Boehmová is a writer and gender consultant who publishes in Czech and English.B:
汉中特岗教师工资多少“【上】【城】【的】【变】【化】【是】【越】【来】【越】【大】【了】。” 【叶】【修】【身】【子】【晃】【动】【间】，【三】【道】【幻】【影】【在】【他】【的】【左】【右】【凝】【练】【而】【生】，【形】【成】【了】【两】【个】【一】【模】【一】【样】【的】【叶】【修】。 【这】【正】【是】【他】【得】【到】【的】【第】【四】【个】【技】【能】：【影】【分】【身】【术】！ 【这】【一】【项】【技】【能】，【可】【谓】【凡】【尘】【俗】【世】【中】【的】【顶】【级】【技】【能】，【特】【别】【好】【用】，【用】【来】【战】【场】【冲】【杀】、【打】【怪】【升】【级】【技】【能】，【堪】【称】【一】【大】‘【能】【手】’。 【几】【个】【月】【的】【锻】【炼】。 【影】【分】【身】【术】【已】【经】
【谁】【知】，【对】【方】【不】【仅】【没】【有】【辜】【负】【他】【的】【培】【养】【和】【期】【望】，【甚】【至】【表】【现】【的】【远】【远】【超】【出】【他】【的】【预】【想】，【成】【了】【朱】【雀】【如】【今】【的】【顶】【梁】【柱】【之】【一】。 【不】【仅】【如】【此】，【随】【着】【她】【的】【成】【长】，【他】【所】【担】【心】【的】【那】【些】【恃】【宠】【而】【骄】、【中】【饱】【私】【囊】、【仗】【势】【欺】【人】、【以】【权】【谋】【私】【等】【事】，【都】【没】【有】【在】【她】【的】【身】【上】【出】【现】【过】。 【她】【什】【么】【事】【情】【都】【不】【会】【对】【他】【有】【所】【隐】【瞒】，【就】【连】【私】【下】【里】【自】【己】【培】【养】【出】【的】【那】【些】【心】【腹】，【都】【将】【名】
【上】【官】【薇】【的】【眉】【角】【愈】【来】【愈】【紧】，【这】【类】【烦】【躁】【的】【感】【觉】【先】【前】【从】【来】【没】【过】【的】，【给】【一】【人】【这】【般】【牵】【动】【着】【自】【个】【儿】【的】【情】【绪】，【着】【实】【是】【太】【意】【外】【啦】，【第】【一】【回】，【压】【根】【没】【法】【儿】【克】【制】。 【这】【类】【不】【给】【自】【个】【儿】【左】【右】【的】【情】【绪】【要】【她】【有】【些】【个】【惶】【恐】。 【因】【此】【瞧】【见】【百】【中】【骏】【便】【觉】【的】【烦】。 “【方】【才】【有】【人】【跟】【随】【着】【我】【们】。” “【从】【我】【们】【一】【出】【门】【儿】【便】【有】【人】。” 【上】【官】【薇】【第】【一】【反】【应】【便】【是】汉中特岗教师工资多少【韩】【世】【忠】【庆】【幸】【的】【是】，【也】【许】【是】【上】【天】【在】【暗】【中】【保】【护】【自】【己】【吧】，【在】【自】【己】【第】【一】【次】【派】【遣】【出】【去】【的】【百】【人】【小】【队】【里】【面】。 【就】【把】【这】【个】【猛】【人】【给】【派】【了】【出】【去】，【这】【个】【猛】【人】【平】【时】【在】【培】【训】【班】【里】【面】【既】【不】【显】【山】【也】【不】【露】【水】【的】，【永】【远】【都】【是】【吊】【车】【尾】【的】【存】【在】。 【如】【今】【到】【了】【生】【死】【关】【头】，【这】【个】【家】【伙】【终】【于】【装】【不】【下】【去】【了】，【只】【见】【在】【半】【山】【坡】【之】【上】，【有】【一】【个】【一】【身】【战】【甲】【的】【大】【汉】。 【如】【同】【天】【神】【一】
【但】【是】【墨】【景】【煜】【就】【是】【想】【为】【慕】【心】【做】【什】【么】，【不】【过】【看】【着】【可】【可】【也】【是】【在】【那】【里】【嘀】【嘀】【咕】【咕】【的】。 【虽】【然】【听】【不】【懂】【他】【说】【的】【话】，【不】【过】【看】【得】【出】【她】【现】【在】【应】【该】【是】【在】【找】【什】【么】。 【墨】【景】【煜】【去】【给】【慕】【心】【喝】【一】【点】【水】，【因】【为】【蛊】【阿】【婆】【已】【经】【把】【水】【烧】【好】【了】【放】【着】【了】。 【应】【该】【是】【她】【走】【之】【前】【烧】【的】，【也】【难】【为】【她】【一】【个】【老】【人】【家】【了】。 【墨】【景】【煜】【回】【来】【的】【时】【候】，【看】【着】【慕】【心】【的】【表】【情】【还】【是】【和】【刚】【刚】【自】
【两】【人】【这】【一】【路】【逛】【一】【路】【玩】，【大】【概】【半】【个】【月】【之】【后】【才】【回】【国】。 【夏】【爸】【爸】【开】【车】【去】【接】【他】【们】【的】【时】【候】，【夏】【小】【宝】【非】【要】【跟】【着】，【没】【办】【法】【夏】【爸】【爸】【只】【好】【带】【着】【夏】【小】【宝】【一】【起】【去】。 “【妈】【咪】！【爹】【地】！”【小】【宝】【一】【看】【到】【两】【人】【拿】【着】【行】【李】【出】【来】【就】【跑】【过】【去】。 【初】【见】【笑】【着】【蹲】【下】【身】【抱】【起】【小】【宝】，【狠】【狠】【的】【亲】【了】【一】【口】【说】【道】：“【宝】【贝】【儿】【子】，【有】【没】【有】【想】【妈】【咪】【啊】？” 【夏】【小】【宝】【挽】【着】【初】【见】
“【刘】【将】【军】。”【那】【军】【医】【话】【音】【刚】【落】，【刘】【韐】【的】【身】【后】【便】【响】【起】【了】【岳】【飞】【虚】【弱】【的】【声】【音】【来】。 “【请】【赎】【岳】【飞】【不】【能】【全】【礼】【了】。”【却】【是】【没】【想】【到】，【这】【岳】【飞】【竟】【然】【醒】【得】【那】【么】【快】。 “【岳】【飞】，【你】【且】【先】【莫】【要】【起】【身】。”【发】【觉】【岳】【飞】【醒】【了】，【刘】【韐】【忙】【又】【将】【他】【给】【摁】【了】【回】【去】，【他】【现】【在】【这】【个】【情】【况】【不】【多】【歇】【会】【可】【不】【行】：“【你】【的】【事】，【我】【已】【是】【听】【王】【贵】【三】【人】【说】【过】【了】，【对】【令】【尊】【的】【事】，【我】【深】