I love how baby boomers will talk about child-rearing like “I was beaten and repressed as a kid and turned out fine” and then like fifteen minutes later they’ll be like “A cashier at a clothing store wouldn’t take my expired coupon, this is a PERSONAL AFFRONT and you have to help me get them FIRED.”

Like. Are you sure you turned out fine, though? Cuz like. It seems like maybe you didn’t.









don’t hit your fucking kids.

hey. you shouldn’t hit your kids. i’m literally uploading an entire seven page essay with sources about why you shouldn’t hit your fucking kids.

Imagine a disciplinary tactic that leaves a child in need of bandages. With this phrasing, most people would insist that the tactic is child abuse and is not a tactic that should be employed. The tactic that left Sandy Haase in need of bandages, however, was spanking. Sandy Haase grew up in the 1960s. Her spankings were “angry, severe, and scary.” She decided she would spank her son “only as a last resort.” Looking back, her twenty-two year old son Colin says he “doesn’t see it as a negative thing.” But in reality, spanking children is a form of abuse that has been masqueraded as discipline and normalized, and parents have a responsibility to use healthy, productive parenting techniques to raise their children.

Spanking harms children psychologically, and it discredits their ability to apply logic from young ages. Furthermore, it correlates to criminal activity later in life.

Spanking is normalized and accepted in America, but there are better alternatives with which to raise children. It has been scientifically proven that spanking produces the opposite of the desired effect in both the short and long term. According to a study conducted by Southern Methodist University in 2013, thirty of the forty-one children involved misbehaved again within ten minutes of being spanked. The recurring misbehavior seen in the study is due to the fact that spanking stops the learning process instead of engaging it (“Sparing the rod” 1).

Spanking is not related to immediate compliance, and instead leads to behavioral problems. A child spanked at five years old was “far more likely to have behavioral problems at age 6, and more serious ones again at age 8 (Pinker 2).” Spanking leads to more aggression during the following school year (Hanes 6). children who are spanked are more likely to spank their own kids, thus continuing the cycle of abuse (Perry 2). They are also more likely to hit and defy their parents (Ogilvie 2). Spanking is an unmotivating punishment because it allows for no understanding of wrongdoing, nor does it provide a reward for being good.

Humans can understand and apply logic even from a young age. Adults learn through verbal communication, whereas children learn primarily through the five senses (Vijaindren 3). Although it may seem that a child understands, this is not always the case. However, because children can apply logic, they have a right to express their view on matters affecting them (Vijaindren 3). Children expressing their views does not necessitate their word being law. Discipline leads to responsible, honest, kind, and sharing adults who think about others and consequences (Staples 2, Vijaindren 3). Punishment, however, does not.

Spanking correlates to criminal activity and mental illnesses later in life. Spanked children are more likely to commit juvenile crimes, assault other children, and experience and/or partake in dating and marital abuse (Ogilvie 2). These children are also at risk of falling behind in social indicators (Hanes 4). Spanking puts children at risk for developing eating disorders, low self esteem, being victims of sexual assault and abuse, using drugs, and joining gangs (Vijaindren 2). Spanking leads to antisociality and cognitive disabilities as well (Perry 1). “Old school methods which involve caning, public shaming and piling on homework where there’s no room to go out and enjoy extra-curricular activities is not only bad for today’s generation, it was bad for yesterday’s generation as well,” says Integrated Psychology Network psychologist Valerie Jacques. Parents have a responsibility to reinforce behaviors and attitudes they want to see in a positive way. When surveyed, children have described being spanked as a source of fear, not learning. Additionally, children who suffer spanking are more likely to score higher on PTSD tests (Ogilvie 2).

Spanking has become so normalized that children do not recognize they are being abused. Specifics differ, but in the U.S., 65 to 85 percent of parents employ corporate punishment (Vijaindren 3). In the late 2000s, Professor Elizabeth Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin determined that “eighty five percent of kids in America have been physically punished by the time they reach high school (Hanes 3).” The lowest numbers reporting spanking of children are found in a 2013 Harris poll, which stated that 67% of parents hit their kids, and that eighty one percent of Americans thought spanking was acceptable. Ninety percent of toddlers in the poll, however, were still hit (Hanes 3). A 2013 study from Columbia University found that 57 percent of moms and 40 percent of dads spank their children at three years old, and 52 percent of moms and 33 percent of dads spank their children at five years old. Another 2013 study from the Southern Methodist University found that in thirty of forty one incidents, spanked children misbehaved within ten minutes. Fifteen of thirty-three families spanked for minor misbehaviors, not as a last resort but a second. On average, they spanked after thirty seconds (Hanes 8). In both a 2012 and a 2016 study, seventy percent of Americans agreed that “a good, hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child (Perry 1, Pinker 1).Though the percent of Americans that condone spanking has dropped significantly since the turn of the century, it is still happening and its effects are imminent. In an ongoing study conducted by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Kenneth Dodge found that seventy to eighty percent of hundreds of children in their journey from pre-kindergarten to adulthood have been corporally punished. Forty seven percent of university students reported being “hit with a paddle, brush, belt, or other object at age 10.” Fifteen percent of parents hit their babies. Mack Cauthen, deacon of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Englewood, says he finds it acceptable to spank teens and preteens. Donna Tonrey, director of La Salle University’s marriage and family therapy program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also believes that “instructive spanking is effective,” regardless of evidence pointing otherwise. Every state in the U.S. allows spanking kids, but similar hitting between adults is generally considered assault (Hanes 3). Fox News host Sean Hannity was beat with a belt and punched in the face by his father, but maintains that at the time, “I deserved it, and it would be ridiculous for my dad to be punished or accused of abuse.” Lyndsay Jones remembers getting in trouble in high school science class for talking. She was sent to the principal’s, and later, her science teacher asked her why she was so upset. When she said he didn’t understand how much trouble she’d be in, he responded, “You’ve just got to understand, it’s because your parents love you and they love God (Hanes 7).” Her memory relates back to the idea that professionals state that if parents feel a need to spank, there is a right way to do it, but most parents do not adhere to those ideas and instead to their own (Hanes 7).

Parents can easily replace spanking with healthy alternatives. One recommended system includes two that are very well: deep breaths and removing oneself from the situation, for example. However, these tactics should not be undersold. They should be paired with clearly identifying what the child should accomplish to all parties, giving small rewards in the direction of the desired behaviors, praising effort instead of outcomes, and giving larger rewards for desired behavior (Staples 5-6). Another system, recommended by psychologist Nadine Block and Doctor Laura Markham, is somewhat similar. First, the pair recommends focusing on learning. Secondly, set limits and avoid double jeopardy. Additionally, rely on natural causes. Finally, undo damage and find ways to say yes. The first step is fairly simple. Parents should always teach their kids how to make good decisions, because knowing how to with aid them their entire lives. The second step is self explanatory. Set limits and stick to them. If a child knows the rules won’t be enforced, there’s no reason not to break them. This step, Block and Marham say, should include a healthy dose of compassion because children haven’t learned self-discipline yet. The next step is recommended because “taking away traditional privileges won’t teach a kid how the world works, it will teach him how his mom works (“Sparing the rod” 2). On the other hand, a kid will learn not to push others on the playground because if he does, they won’t want to play with him. The final step is twofold. First, a parent must allow a child to undo any damage the child has done, whether it be physical or otherwise. Block and Markham suggest including the child in a discussion about consequences. Such a discussion includes providing the child a safe space in which to be upset. Then, a parent should also find ways to say yes. For example, Block says, “ If it’s time to clean up the living room, you could say, “Yes, it’s time to clean up … and, yes, I will help you … and, yes, you can leave your Lego tower up … and, yes, if we hurry, we can read an extra story.” She adds, “Find a yes even in a no, even when you’re setting a limit. But ‘Yes, I love you’ is a part of it, no matter what.”

Though America as a whole normalizes and accepts spanking children, doing so has a number of harmful results. These outcomes include increased risk for juvenile criminal activity and developing mental illnesses. Spanking children discredits children’s ability to apply and understand logic from a young age. There are, realistically speaking, no benefits to spanking kids. Healthy, effective alternatives can easily be sought out and implemented, and parents have an obligation to find and implement healthy alternatives, not harmful ones.

Works Cited

Hanes, Stephanie. “To Spank Or Not to Spank: Corporal Punishment in the US.” Christian Source Monitor, 19 Oct, 2014. SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com

Ogilvie, Jessica P. “How Kids Feel The Swats of Spanking.” Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec, 2011, pp. E.1. Sirs Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com

Perry, Susan. “Spanking Worsens Children’s Behavior and is Linked To Long-Term…” MinnPost.com, 02 May, 2016. SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com

Pinker, Susan. “Spanking for Misbehavior? It Causes More.” Wall Street Journal. 14 Dec, 2017. SIRS Issues Researcher. http://sks.sirs.com

“Sparing the rod: finding alternatives to spanking.” Scouting. Sept.-Oct. 2014, p.20+. Research In Context. Accessed 25 Apr. 2018

Staples, Gracie B. “Family Life: To Spank Or Not?” Atlanta Journal Constitution, 23 Sep, 2014, pp. D.1. SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com

Vijaindren, Audrey. “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child?” New Straits Times, 20 Nov, 2016, pp. 12. SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com

Yorio, Kara. “Many Parents Feel Spanking has its Place but Doctors Worry…” The Record, 21 Sep, 2014, pp. A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher, http://sks.sirs.com



This Ad Has a Secret Anti-Abuse Message That Only Kids Can See

In an effort to provide abused children with a safe way to reach out for help, a Spanish organization called the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation, or ANAR for short, created an ad that displays a different message for adults and children at the same time.

The secret behind the ad’s wizardry is a lenticular top layer, which shows different images at varying angles. So when an adult—or anyone taller than four feet, five inches—looks at it they only see the image of a sad child and the message: “sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.” But when a child looks at the ad, they see bruises on the boy’s face and a different message: “if somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you” alongside the foundation’s phone number.

The ad is designed to empower kids, particularly if their abuser happens to be standing right next to them. And while this is a great and worthwhile use of lenticular images, how long will it be before toy companies start doing to the same thing to hawk their products directly at kids? 




re: that anon from @theunitofcaring earlier:

if you are underage and 

-something is going very badly wrong with your family and you’re not sure what to do to be safe

-your parents are trying to force you to do a thing or keep you from doing a thing that seems medically or mental-health necessary

a good resource may be a youth shelter. they’re gonna know more about laws are resources in your area, so you can figure out what your options look like. 

this hotline also seems nonjudgemental and interested in protecting privacy of runaway or potential runaway kids and teens. 

Thank you so much. I had no idea what resources to suggest that anon but I’ll bookmark this.

anon with the mother who might kill them, we’re all hoping you’re safe and can get out and talk to people who know your options. 












hey so protip if you have abusive parents and need to get around the house as quietly as possible, stay close to furniture and other heavy stuff because the floor is settled there and it’s less likely to creak

  • socks are quieter than bare feet on tile/wood and for the love of god don’t wear slippers/shoes if you can help it
  • climbing ON the furniture will disrupt the pattern of your footsteps and make it harder to hear where you are in the house
  • crawling will do the same and if you get caught crawling you can pretend you fell 
  • the floor near the wall can be really loud if the floorboards/carpet is old and not completely flush to the wall
  • do NOT attempt to use a rolling chair to travel without footsteps. they are extremely loud and hard to steer

Also. Breath with your mouth and not your nose. Your nose will whistle. Trust me.
If you need to get into your fridge, jab your finger into the rubber part that seals the door closed and create a tiny airway. This will prevent the suction noise when you open the door.
When drinking liquids (juice mostly), pour out your glass (or chug from the jug) and replace what you drank with water. If it was full enough in the beginning, no one will notice. DO NOT STEAL ALCOHOL. THEY WILL NOTICE IF IT’S WATERED DOWN.
Bring a pillowcase for dried foods like cereal and granola. It helps to muffle the sound it makes when it pours.

If your house has snack packs (like gummy bears or crackers or chips), count them every day until you know the rhythm that they get consumed. (This took me a week and a half with my twin brother and sister). Then join the rhythm when you make your nightly visits. It will be that much harder to figure out it was you.

Hope this helped.

I might have some useful info to add.

-a jar of peanut butter is long lasting and easy to hide under a bed or in a dresser drawer. I lived off of jars of peanut butter and boxes of saltine crackers I would buy on grocery trips with my mom.

-two words: Slipper Socks. These are the socks that have rubber designs on the bottom for grip. They make no noise, and also keep you steady on slicker surfaces like tile and wood. You can find them cheap at Walmart. They also keep your feet more protected if you’re outside.

-if you’re secure enough in your room to have a small food stash, make sure you’re not too obvious about it (duh) but also move its location every few days. I kept mine in a shoebox under my bed, then switched it to a backpack in my closet, then wedged between my bookshelf and wall, and I would cycle locations until i moved it permanently to a false-bottomed drawer I installed in my dresser when my father was gone for a weekend. I would NEVER put food directly into my stash after taking it. I would keep it in pockets of my clothes and between books until everyone went to sleep, then I’d stock and stow my stash for the next few days.

-get a water bottle with a filter in it. I used to be able to reach my bathroom from my bedroom door down the hall using a huge step or minor jump/leap. If I was afraid of being caught at night, I’d fill up the humidifier tank we kept under our sink while I took a short shower, and would refill my water that way. It might not be the best option, but I kept a small stockade of water under my bed for emergencies.

-if you can, smuggle your garbage out in your backpack or purse. Dispose of it at work/school. I got caught twice by carelessly throwing away packaging.

-if someone knows the situation you’re going through (close friend/partner/etc) see if there’s a way for them to get food or other supplies to you at school or work or what private time you may get. A hidden first aid kit literally saved parts of my body before and I owe it to a close friend.

-try learning the building’s natural rhythm. The house I grew up in would creak and settle heavily every night for 3-5 minutes. That was my shot, and I had to be QUICK. I still got caught a few times, but learning the patterns in our floors and walls, when they creaked, WHERE they creaked, kept me going. Eventually I was sprinting in slipper socks to the kitchen and back in less than 90 seconds.

-if you have stairs, or live upstairs. Sit as you go down them one at a time, or climb up them like an animal. It keeps you low/out of lots of motion sight, and also can reduce noise and creaking by distributing weight over more than 1-2 steps.

-You can use common hand sanitizer to remove the stains certain snack foods leave behind (coughs cheeto fingers) and a dry toothbrush can help scrub the color off your tongue. If you can get powdered toothpaste or toothpaste tabs to keep on hand, it makes a huge difference in sneakiness.

-I don’t recommend going for dried foods like granola or cereal unless you can sneak it to a secure place to get it. It’s too loud, it’s a gamble every time for something with less caloric intake than it’s worth if you get caught. Of course, there are times when that’s the only option!!

-if you’re taking milk, add water, but be SURE to shake/agitate the bottle to distribute the dairy fat with the water. I got into the habit of shaking milk jugs when I started sneaking it, and explained the habit as something I read in an old comic strip my father showed me. (Back when whole milk had a lot more cream fats and they’d separate, so shaking it would redistribute the cream.) I still shake milk jugs to this day.

-if your windows open or don’t have screens, eat leaning out an open window. Any food mess will be lost in the dirt. I was lucky I had bushes and birds outside that would catch my granola bar crumbs before anyone could notice.

-canned goods are tempting, but not worth it. It requires too many tools (can opener/strained sometimes/utensils/some need heat) stick to thinks like various nut butters (sunflower/peanut/almond), crackers, dried fruit, and easy to conceal food bars (nature valley/nutrigrain/etc.) dried ramen packets are good uncooked if you can stand the texture. Apple sauce and pudding cups are also easier to sneak and stash than one might think, and can be eaten with your fingers. The only canned foods I recommend are condensed soups and precooked pasta (spaghetti-o’s). You can easily mix them with a little bit of hot water from the tap and get something more sustaining than a handful of captain Crunch. The cans are cheap, sometimes recyclable, and drinking soup takes way less time than chewing solid food.

-if you menstruate, attempt to stash pads/tampons in a safe location. Sometimes shit happens. Pads can work as bandages in emergency situations. Sometimes shark week comes unexpectedly. If you can sneak a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, these are also life savers.

-plastic utensils from takeout containers can be hidden inside socks and will be worth their weight in gold when you least expect it. I bought myself a tiny plastic bowl from the dollar store and kept cheap trinkets in it on my desk so it didn’t seem like a bowl I was eating out of. You could try this with something like a mason jar, which is also useful for drinking out of or storing water.

-if you’re eating a crunchy or solid food, try soaking it in water. Mushy food can be repulsive in texture, but I could clock the sound of someone eating a nature valley oat bar from like 6 miles away. Dunking it in water (or using a secret bowl+water) can reduce noise, and also eating time since you don’t have to chew as much.

-keep a laundry bar or tide pen on you. Laundry bars are super useful, a little hard to find though. I washed a lot of stains out of my clothes with laundry bars in my bathroom sink as a kid. Not proud if it, but it kept me flying under the radar at school.

-clear rubber bands, plain twine or string, paper clips, and thumb tacks. Indescribably useful. I once rigged a system to open tricky cabinets and get objects from inside using two paper clips and a foot of plain string like a mock lasso system.

-if you’re pulling objects from tall cabinets, use your chest or stomach to cushion them. Let them fall into your torso and then into your hands cradled underneath. Not as loud, not as much grabbing, if someone sees it they can mistake it for it falling on you by the body language.

-get a bandana. Or four. Napkins, bandages, tool, and accessory all in one.

-get a tiny sewing kit. I’m talking 3 needles and a spool of thread tiny. Scissors if you can sneak it. See things into your clothes. Make hidden pockets or compartments. Threadbanger on YouTube did a video a few years ago about sneaking things into music festivals using tiny clothing mods, but they may be useful in sneaking money or medicine.

-on the topic of sneaking money. don’t take bills, take change. If your abusers don’t meticulously count their nickels and pennies, they’re an easy(ish) way to build up a tiny savings pool. I found nickels the least noticed coin I took, even more than pennies, and taking two every few nights from where they’d be tossed on our countertop soon built up to a semi-reliable fund I passed off to someone to get me food for my stash without having to sneak it from the kitchen. As soon as I became “independent” in my food storage, I was subjected to much less scrutiny. I managed to build up a solid 1-2 week ration supply after hoarding change.

-you can tape SD cards to the inside of book dust covers(the part that folds inside the actual cover of the book), if you have a sewing kit or zipper on it inside the stuffing of your pillow (trim a corner, stuff it inside, stitch it closed) or (this is final resort) VERY CAREFULLY remove the covering from your outlet and tape it to the wall stud before replacing the casing. I kept mine inside part of my wooden bed frame that I hollowed out using, you guessed it, take out silverware knives and 4 nights without sleep.

-THE FLOOR IS LAVA WAS KEY TRAINING FOR ME AS A CHILD. I learned to take pillows with me, climb on furniture to disrupt my flow of movement, toss a pillow down, and use that to cushion any rattle our living room could give off as I crept to the kitchen from the side entrance so my mom’s dog wouldn’t bark or alert anyone. I highly suggest crawling around on all fours like some sort of beast to stay out of sight.

-can you run your house blindfolded?? If you can’t. Maybe you should try to learn. I suffered some heavy eye traumas growing up and had a collective 3-4 months just IN THE DARK. Eyes bandaged, left alone. It was terrible, but damn if I couldn’t navigate the whole place silently, without any visual cues. This helps a lot with the whole moving around in the dark thing, too. Listening is obviously key.

-if your parents start getting suspicious, or you’re suspicious they’re getting suspicious, watch out for traps. String on the ground that gets shifted when you walk on it. Baby powder or flour left to track footprints or doors opening/closing. My dad was partial to wrapping a bungee cord around my doorknob and attaching it to the closet across the hallway. I wouldn’t be able to open my door enough to get out, or if I did, I risked ruining the structural integrity of the wrappings he did, and he would notice.

-learn to tie some knots. Strong ones. They’ll come in handy at one point or another.

-remember that you’re not totally alone. There’s people out there for you. Wanting to make everything better. You don’t deserve what’s happening, it isn’t normal, and you will eventually find help. But staying safe is important, and you are important.

It upsets me that people might need to know these but I know it could really help someone by reblogging


Things that have helped me over the years:

•Keeping a $10 bill on the inside of my phone case for emergencies. My mother will search my wallet and bags but has not taken my phone case off when she takes my phone as of yet.

•stashing loose change I find in the soil of my potted plant. Very quiet hiding place for coins. All bills are quickly confiscated but coins I have managed to hold onto this way

•changing food stash locations constantly. A good stash I’ve found is buried in my mice seed mix. Small packages or granola bars can fit in there pretty easily and the wrappers are flushable (I know it’s bad to flush them but my trash is routinely searched)

• always deleting online traces in case of phone/computer search. This includes search history, forbidden apps, messages, pictures, notes, games, etc. I don’t know how many times I have deleted the tumblr app during the day only to re download it late at night to use it. My phone and computer are constantly confiscated and gone through with a fine tooth comb. I delete anything I might possibly get in trouble for after I use it and re download it when I need it again. Don’t delete all your browsing history though, they will notice if it’s suspiciously empty. Fill it with safe and approved stuff and remove anything you might get punished for.

•learning what each and every door in the house sounds like so I know who is where at all times without having to leave the room

•learning where those ‘sweet spots’ are in the house where you can notice anyone coming before they can see you or what you are doing

•always having a pre-approved cover. I use books and preaching videos as covers. I can hide a phone in a book or quickly switch apps to the one playing the video if surprised or discovered.

• always being aware of ‘the trail’. If I tell a friend something who tells their sibling who tells my sibling who tells my mom I get punished so basically tell no one and it won’t come back to bite you. This includes talking about tv shows/movies that are forbidden, forbidden foods/drinks, activities, apps, games, friends, political views, etc. Express an opinion and it’s bound to reach someone you don’t want it to.

•never take from your abuser’s personal stash of food or money. The family pantry is fair game to carefully pilfer from and so is loose change but never take from their personal purse/wallet, fridge, pantry, or stash. They WILL find out.

•beware of traps and manipulation . My mother will leave money and food unattended and wait for it to disappear. She will also act like she wants to do a good thing and help you out but in the end you will pay for it a hundred times over. Avoid this if at all possible.

• NEVER develop a false sense of security. I have made the mistake of not deleting an app (Pinterest) because there had been a few weeks between phone searches and I felt a little safer. I got caught and severely punished. ALWAYS COVER YOUR TRACKS. Don’t get too confident in your methods, eventually they will find something. Make sure it’s something minor.

I just want to point out that when deleting apps, make sure to check that the app store you use doesn’t record what was recently installed. I know that the Google Play Store does this and allows you to delete things from your history, but I don’t know anything about Apple.

Apple does, in the purchased section of an account, so don’t have a false sense of security for apple apps and always try to use websites with no cookies.

Apps for screeensharing to TVs (such as Samsungcast) also have search tools so if you clear your history you can also use that and make sure to clear it. Just don’t play a video or it might end up showing on the TV screen.

I feel so sad that so many of you guys go through this all the time. Rebooting to spread the word.

Stay safe my lovelies

So, so unfortunately important. Reblogging because I would’ve loved to have had seen this growing up – I figured most of it out on my own, of course, but through an amount of trial, error, and traumatic consequences no child should ever have to go through.

Jesus H Christ….



when adults tell teenagers that the dull ache of high school is just a survivable mess that they’re making up to be worse than it is, i think of this:

when i was in sophomore year, i was in an accident and the left side of my face was hit. i sat in the emergency room with a clearly broken nose and blood coming out of a laceration on my cheek. and i did my homework. i did my homework with a black eye swelling up, with little red fingerprints on it. 

and he told me to redo it. that it wasn’t good enough. the assignment itself was worth maybe five points out of a hundred. he wouldn’t forgive me for it. when i explained about my concussion, he told me to do it somewhere dark.

we don’t make it up. the value of our lives becomes almost nothing at all. the quality of living that is allowed is so low that students learn to apply it to themselves. they are useless, unimportant, a machine to figure out problems without any food, sleep, family time. nothing. we call teenagers moody because something in them breaks a little. we don’t say: they are stressed beyond measure and they believe their own physical health is less important than the quality of the product they’re forced to produce. we don’t say: wouldn’t you be moody too?

Its almost like it was designed to create corporate drones who allow companies to pay them dirt for their time and sanity withou t thinking twice about it.

Our society is deeply invested in the notion that children or young people are naive, but in fact naivete is a luxury of adulthood. Naivete is lethally dangerous to children and so they rarely have it. It’s something some people choose to develop when they’re adults and relatively safe.

How to deal with kids (without hitting them)


1. The Best Defense is a Good Offense: Be proactive with children’s behavior.

Don’t wait until a child is in the middle of a meltdown in the toiletries aisle of Target. Try to be aware of how different situations and stimuli might affect kids of different ages. A few tips:

  • Kids, especially toddler age kids, struggle with transitions. Give them a clear time table and stick to it. Give them updates as deadlines approach. “We are leaving the library in 5 minutes.” “We need to go see Grandma in 10 minutes.” “Target will only take 20 minutes.”
  • Getting toted around by adults can be exhausting and frustrating. Give kids tasks to do. Put them in charge of something. It can be something actually helpful (you get to hold the calculator and keep track of how much money we are spending in the store) or something fun to keep their mind busy (count all the blue things in this aisle.) Talk to your kids. Help them feel involved, instead of just a tote bag.
  • Model self care and emotional awareness. Kids are often dealing with SUPER new emotions, and may not know how to recognize them, contextualize them, or act on them. Talk through your own emotions, or emotions you think they may be having, and show them how to deal with them. “Yeah, I know, mommy is really sad that we can’t go to the park because of the rain. It makes me feel really bad inside. I think if we color with crayons for a while, I’ll feel better.”
  • Give kids choices. Obviously, age plays a big part here, but a reasonable, curated set of appropriate choices gives kids a growing feeling of agency and teaches making good choices. “Would you like peas or green beans?” “Penguin Shirt or Turtle Shirt?” “Water or apple juice?” This requires YOU to also speak with and listen to the kids. Always important.
  • Consistency is very important. Make sure your rules are clear, the reasons are clear, and the consequences are clear BEFOREHAND. Kids really can’t just infer rules out of thin air. They need to be taught the expectations, and then YOU need to keep to them.

Be aware of how the children in YOUR care react to things, and find ways to mitigate “bad” behavior before it happens.

2. “Punishment” is not the goal. Discipline means teaching.

Your goal, as a parent, as a teacher, as a baby sitter, is not to punish kids. Your goal is to help teach kids how to become thoughtful, responsible, and kind people. The entire idea of kids “deserving” bad things because they’ve “been bad” is flawed. If a kid does something “bad”, then we should aim to help them not make that bad choice again.


  • Identify any immediate stimuli or situation causing the bad behavior and remove/alter it so the behavior stops. This might mean leaving an errand unfinished, a time out, taking away a toy, etc, in order to STOP the behavior that is happening RIGHT NOW.
  • Talk to the child about why their behavior was “bad.” What bad affects could it have? How does it affect others? What caused it? Kids, even very young kids, can understand complicated things if explained in terms on their level.
  • Come up with a plan for what to do next time the original stimuli or situation happens. If Timmy tries to take your truck again, what can we do differently? The next time we are in line at the bank, what can we do to make it more fun?
  • If the child is older, and the offense is more severe, you may feel the need for a tangible consequence. Remember that these should be age appropriate, reasonable, and negotiable. Give kids the ability to reduce their consequence with good behavior, and be willing to modify the consequence if they have a compelling and reasonable request. Listening to kids and being empathetic is not a weakness. It is a sign of respect.

3. Don’t forget that kids are people. Kids are also kids.

Kids will not be perfect angels. You will not be a perfect adult. Sometimes they will be cranky, angry, tired, hungry, selfish, or mean. You can be these things to. One bad day doesn’t mean you are a failure, and it doesn’t mean the kids are a failure. You have to let kids have bad days sometimes. You have to love them anyway and be willing to give it a fresh go tomorrow.

Working with kids is not easy. No one said it would be. But part of working with kids is the obligation to always be thoughtful about our interactions with them- we teach them with everything we do. So we should treat them with all the respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, and patience we want them to learn.

(Here is a clean version of this, without the discourse, slightly updated)