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Mom seeks help after nine year old sneaks out.

  • Written by Yvette George/Special to the Tri-State Defender
  • Published in Original

YG 600The Dilemma: A parent wrote to say that she was recently arrested because she spanked her 9-year-old daughter, who sneaked out the house and returned home at 1 a.m. Worried about her daughter's absence, the mother had called police to place a missing person report and was told she had to wait 24 hours. According to the mother, she did not whip her daughter unmercifully.

Nevertheless, the daughter called the police after the spanking. Now the mother wants to know how she can forgive her daughter's betrayal and how they can continue to live under the same roof since the daughter refuses to obey the rules of the house and considers measures such as timeouts to be "BS."

"I believe in spanking if you are hard-headed or disobedient," the mother wrote. "Is there anything wrong with spanking your child as long as you don't beat them?"

The mother ends by writing, "Remember when your parents would say, 'I brought you in this world, I'll take you out!' And we got in line and obeyed."

She asks, "How do you think I should discipline my children ... if spanking, punishing and timeout are not working or illegal? None of them seem to work for my child. Please advise."

The response: In most states, whipping. spanking and especially the kind of "whuppings" my Daddy gave me are illegal. Back then, I thought he was evil, mean and barbaric! But now as an adult, I realize he made me a better, civilized human being and a productive citizen. I know most of us discipline our children as we were taught. I'm also guilty!

But I hated the whippings! I'd rather receive a whipping than be on punishment for a month; even though I couldn't sit down for two weeks. I stopped spanking my children at the age of 13. However, in today's society, I don't believe corporal punishment is necessary. The children/youth of today are a different breed.

I would talk to your daughter and explain the errors of her ways. That was a bold and serious move for her to sneak out the house and return at 1 a.m., especially at 9 years old. To be honest, it's serious at any age.

You didn't mention the father. Where is he?

I suggest that you seek counseling. Your daughter obviously is not afraid of the consequences of being disobedient, or the danger of the streets. You need to get a handle on this now because in a couple of years, she will be running your house, in juvenile detention, or, sadly, dead.

I recommend counseling, involving her church and other extracurricular activities to keep her busy. You may want to invest in an alarm system (motion, doors and windows). And foremost, don't forget to pray.

(Stuff Happens, Then What? is an advice and relationship column that answers questions about life issues, situations and challenges. Send questions and dilemmas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . All parties will remain anonymous.)

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