Eva Mendes is known for being reasonably private about her personal life. She doesn’t often talk about her marriage to actor Ryan Gosling or about her two children. Earlier this month, however, she opened up a bit about her parenting techniques. She posted a quote on her opinion on whether or not you should spank your children. Her post proves that she is firmly in the “no” camp, and the comments quickly began rolling in. (1)
Eva Mendes Does Not Believe In Spanking
On April 19, Eva Mendes posted a photo of herself posing on the red carpet in a gorgeous Versace gown. The photo, however, came with a second image that had nothing to do with her career. Instead, it had to do with parenting and her stance on spanking. In her caption, she wrote (1):
“I’m often asked what my favorite red carpet dress is. This Versace is definitely up there. I’m not often asked what my favorite parenting quote is, but I’ll post it anyway. Slide if you care.” (1)
The second image was a quote from Racheous.com. It reads:
“Spanking does for a child’s development what hitting a spouse does for a marriage.” (1)
Clearly, Eva Mendes believes that spanking children is an ineffective and cruel form of punishment. Thousands of people have been commenting with their own views on the act.
A Controversial Punishment
There were plenty of people who agreed with her. Many proved their point by sharing their own experiences of being spanked as a child.
“Yes! I agree,” commented one user. “Every time I was “disciplined” growing up, I only felt fear and shame. IT never “corrected” behavior. I would never hit my child to teach them a lesson and inflict psychological and physical pain. ❤️ but that’s just me.” (1)
“If an adult hits an adult that’s called assault and they can press charges and end up in jail yet when a defenseless child is hit it’s called discipline.” wrote another. (1)
One commenter, who is a parent as well, spoke about the urge to spank sometimes, but that she always resists.
“I have three kids so I understand the urge to spank! (Also most of us were raised in cultures or families where physical discipline is routine and accepted so I get it) Spanking, though, is loss of control on the part of the parent. As parents were are trying to teach our kids how to communicate in a healthy way even when we are really, really upset. We are also helping them build those internal controls so that they do not lash out on others when things do not go their way or they are frustrated, angry or upset. We have to model what we want to see in our kids. (And we won’t be perfect so that includes apologizing when we mess up!)” (1)
Others, however, did not agree. They also pulled from their own experiences with the punishment when they were a child.
“I guess I’m old school cause now that I’m older, I realize those spankings did me a lot of good. As my dad would say, “it’ll set you on the straight and narrow.” wrote one. (1)
Another arguing, “I don’t know. I was spanked, and now I’m a respectful adult. And believe me, I deserved those whoopings. I was a brat.”
“Love you but completely disagree. The goal in raising kids is not to have to spank, but it’s correcting before they can reason behavior out with you. Completely different than hitting someone. That’s not correcting behavior. We raised 5 respectful, loving, kind kids that were a joy to be around. Good fruit shows from loving correction.” wrote another. (1)
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Official Stance
The AAP released its official stance on spanking and other forms of “corporal punishment” in 2018. They are firmly opposed and instead suggest other ways of disciplining children without getting physical. The AAP is also against any type of verbal abuse, as well. (2)
“Parents and other adult caregivers should use effective discipline strategies for children that do not involve spanking, other forms of corporal punishment or verbal shaming.” they wrote. (2)
Is Spanking Okay To Do?
This is, naturally, a controversial topic. My parents spanked my siblings and me occasionally as children. All four of us grew into kind, non-violent, productive members of society. That being said, we were also raised in a loving home where spanking wasn’t the first or only method of discipline. If we were being spanked (or at least the threat was posed), it was because we had refused to listen to anything else.
Teaching The Wrong Lessons
The issue with spanking is that it is too easily relied on and is a fear tactic. If spankings are your go-to method of punishment, what is it that your children are really learning? Chances are, they haven’t even fully realized why what they did was wrong when you’re already spanking them. This means they aren’t actually learning a lesson. Second, you are teaching them that it is okay to hit someone when they make you angry, which, of course, is not a good lesson to be teaching. (3)
Attempting to change a child’s behavior using spanking teaches the child that they are incapable of understanding any other form of punishment. It creates feelings of shame, “I’m bad”, “I’m stupid”, and more. (3)
It Loses Effectiveness
This, I can vouch for. Eventually, I got old enough to realize my parents’ spankings weren’t very scary, so I didn’t care anymore. My parents rarely spanked us anyways, so it dwindled off pretty quickly. (3)
When your child is making you mad (like, really, really mad), take a few deep breaths before you react. Then, calmly but firmly, explain to your child why they are in the wrong. Then, use other punishments: Taking away privileges, adding chores, groundings, and things like this. A good strategy is to provide a punishment that reflects the error they made. For example, if your child runs through the house with muddy shoes, the punishment can be having them clean up the mess (with guidance, depending on their age). (3)
One of the things my siblings and I used to do often was not eat our school lunches, despite my mom asking us ahead of time if it was something we liked. My parents would make us eat our packed lunch at the dinner table while everyone else was eating a freshly cooked meal.
Regardless of Eva Mendes’ Stance, Here’s The Bottom Line
It is up to you to decide how you want to discipline your children. When deciding on a punishment, remember that the goal should be to:
- Teach them a lesson
- Provide a skill they can take with themselves into adulthood
- Not cause fear, shame, or lasting psychological damage
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Eva Mendes, I think we can all agree that when you punish a child, you want them to learn a lesson effectively so that they don’t repeat the behavior.
- Eva Mendes. @evamendes. Instagram.
- “AAP policy opposes corporal punishment, draws on recent evidence.” AAP Publications. Robert D. Sege, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP. November 5, 2018.
- “Is Spanking Children an Effective Consequence?” Very Well Family. Amy Morin, LCSW. September 21, 2020.