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Spanking in public: Another great parenting debate

When you spank your kid in public, don’t be surprised if strangers have something to say about it.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Apr 9, 2013 7:37PM

Upset child / Photo: Pablo Baracat Photography/Getty Images

Doctors, academics, child-rearing experts and millions of parents all have an opinion on the topic of spanking.

It’s not exactly a new debate, however, a writer over at The Stir raises an interesting point: When you hit your child in public, does it become everyone’s business?

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She recounts a recent incident on a New York City subway platform where she witnessed a mother was spanking her 4- or 5-year-old boy:

I'm not going to lie. I completely disapproved. I don't feel comfortable with the notion of spanking your kid in public. That feels like it's more about humiliation than discipline to me.  But I guess my face didn't reflect that because she looked at me and gave that exasperated mom look before saying, "He's a handful." She clearly expected me to sympathize with her. I didn't utter a word. I just turned my head, hoping that passive-aggressive move made it clear that we were not on the same page.

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The author goes onto to say another passenger took a much more direct approach to show her displeasure by saying, “Spanking solves nothing.”

The mom shot back, “Mind your own business, lady." Not exactly a shocking reaction.

So, is spanking ever OK? If so, under what circumstances is it acceptable?

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not endorse spanking under any circumstances. It's a form of punishment that becomes less effective with repeated use, according to the AAP; it also makes discipline more difficult as the child outgrows it.

Instead of spanking, the AAP recommends time-outs, which force children to calm down and think about their emotions rather than acting on them reflexively. Isn’t the whole point of punishment to understand what they did wrong and reflect upon why they did it in the first place?

How do you feel about parents spanking their kids in public? Is it a personal choice for each parent and family? Or do you disapprove?

Bing: The long-term effects of spanking

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Photo: Pablo Baracat Photography/Getty Images

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