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Mom Threatens to Slap Teen

Family Safety Expert Advice from Gavin de Becker

Q: I'm fourteen and my mom still threatens to slap me. She thinks a child deserves to be slapped if they misbehave and she doesn't consider it physical abuse. I disagree and say if a child is slapped that teaches them violence is the answer to your problems. Who's right?

A: You mother will have to put on her seat belt for this one, but you're right. By your age, there are many wiser ways to show consequences for poor behavior.

Your part in this is to cooperate with other types of discipline (grounding, loss of privileges, etc). If hitting was so effective for influencing people's behavior, why wouldn't society use it on adults as well? You get a speeding ticket, and you get hit; you're late paying your taxes, you get hit. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? That's because it is, and by the time a person is your age, Rachel, being struck generates resentment and anger that is not productive.

I suggest you approach this issue with your mother respectfully and with love and understanding. Remember, she likely grew up being hit herself.

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Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the leading U.S. expert on the prediction and management of violence. His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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