Spanking is not a Black thing…got it?

I believe that sometimes stereotypes are based in reality and sometimes….well they are stupid. It’s been a long day for me, turns out trying to get out of debt is going to be more of a process than I assumed, so I am not much in the mood to write. That said I stumbled across this little gem, which I insist you read. For a writer fortunate enough to get a piece in the New York Times to actually write that spanking is part of black culture is ignorant. Let me guess we all like fried chicken, we all dance, and guess what we don’t ever live in places like Maine?

The reality is spanking happens across all socioeconomic stations, people on the lower end of that spectrum and some people of color may be more vocal about it but I have met non-Black people of means who had no problem laying hands on their kids. Granted they may hide it more but the fact is spanking happens.

I think a big part of why spanking happens is actually that most parents have no idea what is appropriate behavior for their kids, so what seems like the kid is trying to fuck with you and piss you off is that the kid is actually engaging in behavior appropriate for their age. It took me a while to learn that and that was the biggest reason I chose not to spank mini me despite the fact that I did spank college boy. Looking back I still feel guilty for spanking my son, but at 19 he assures me he is fine. That said, I won’t lie there are times when my daughter is pushing my buttons and all I want to do is tap that damn ass. Generally when I feel that, it means I need to walk away and ask what is it I need? I generally find when I am stressed, not rested, not getting laid, etc. that her behavior sets me off. The key though is it’s not about her, it’s about me.

I grew up being spanked but I also unlearned spanking, yet I am still black…hell, I am blacker than black. So to LaShaun Williams I say spanking does not have to be a part of our culture any more than consuming high fatty pork foods that kill us off. This is a new day with a new generation and many of today’s black folks are unlearning bad habits.

Why People Beat their Kids

Disclaimer, its late and Mama has had a long day. When those two things happen, I tend to get slap happy and nonsensical, so if my bad sense of humor offends you, get a coke and bag of chips and push on. Otherwise if you are a frazzled parent, who is finally catching their breath now that the kidlets are asleep, pour a glass of wine or make a cup of tea and commiserate with me as I kvetch.

Preschool ended for the almost 5 yo kidlet a couple of weeks ago and while in my mind I saw us sharing many tender Mommy-child moments together this summer, my reality has been um…exhausting. The kidlet has always had sleep issues from age 0-almost 3 she would only fall asleep if she were physically carried or attached to one of us. There was a good 2 year period where I forgot what the Spousal Unit looked like at night since around 18 months he took over nighttime duty for fear he wasn’t going to wake up one day due to his frazzled sleep deprived wife snapping. Turns out the man is far better suited to going without regular sleep than yours truly.

Even when she started sleeping in her room last year she still required a parental unit’s involvement at some point in the middle of the night (yeah, I know developmentally appropriate and when your firstborn got the hang of sleeping at oh 6 weeks getting a kid the 2nd time around who hates to sleep rocks your fucking world) so to be honest its safe to say she has always had issues around sleep. Kidlet will go to bed late and wake up early. I tried the consensual route at one point believing that she would fall asleep when she needed and get the sleep her body required. Bad idea, instead we had a kid who was constantly over tired and making our lives a living hell.

No, it took getting hardcore and regimented and having a consistent schedule that seemed to make our lives easier though we still never knew (know) when she will wake up. So imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when she started sleeping late, I am talking almost 9 am! I felt like a brand new person being able to sleep that late instead of hearing the call at 6:45 am…”Mommy, Daddy I am up”. But all good things must come to end and that week of heaven on earth (think about the best sex you ever had, shit so good it was like heaven, the moon, the stars..you get the point) has ended only to now return to super early wake up time and a kid who is always high energy having even more energy.

It’s that energy that brings me to today, we were out as a family enjoying our community and time together, all said we were out about 7-8 hours and after a long warm day outside we (the big people) came home and were wiped out. Yet the kidlet came home and had more energy that 5 yo triplets combined. “Mommy, let’s play store.” “Mommy, let’s play dress up”…after reading 3 long stories, “Mommy can you read some more”? It went on and on. Finally I said “Chile, how about we watch some tv (sue me, if your kid doesn’t watch tv, well you are probably a better parent than I, hats off to you now pass me a drink!). Here I was offering unfettered access to the idiot box and she said no, um…..NOoooooooooo!

It was in that moment I realized just how easy it would be for a parent with less resources and more pressures to just snap on the kid. It’s the reason when you are in places like Target and the evil Wal-Mart you see parents just snapping on kids. Kids push our buttons, thankfully the Spousal Unit came in and ran interference and after being left alone for an hour I was happy to hang out with her. But dammit for a split second it ran through my mind how easy it would have been when she was having that whine fest to do as the ole folks would say and just pop her and tell her to shut the hell up.

So while I am not proud of the thoughts that ran through my mind, I am glad I had the ability to get back on track and be the best parent I can within my reality but at the same time I realized why some parents spank their kids. Its less about the kid and more about how we handle stressful moments.