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I Got Busted Spanking in Suburbia: Why Didn’t Y’all Tell Me

When I told my girlfriend, the first thing she said was, "Gurrlll, you should know to close the windows and put the TV or radio on."


What?? Obviously there are rules to spanking your kids when you live in the white suburbs. But I never got the memo.


Why didn't any of y'all tell me? I thought we were cool like that.


I, unfortunately, had to learn the hard way.


A little while ago I had to give one of my children who shall remain a nameless nine-year old diva a spanking for the very first time. I've never had to spank my kids before, though I didn't rule it out my parenting playbook. The Bible says spare the rod, spoil the child, and I never thought myself to be wiser than Him.


And since its just us, y'all know we got real beatings. At least I did. You know that run-around-the-dining-room-table-three-time-and-when-they-catch-you-its-on-kind of beating. Not the highly sanitized spanking I planned for my child.


I will say this about my mom and dad–they would beat you with love.


They'd sit you down and explain why you were going to get it, how much it hurt them more than it hurt you and then one of them would give it to you. Afterward, my mom would hug you, tell you that she loved you and leave you there to whimper and sniff yourself to sleep.


It was discipline with love, not child abuse, like its been warped today.


A few years ago when Jamie Foxx, while accepting a groundbreaking Oscar, thanked him grandmother for beating him and keeping him straight, white folks went crazy. But Black people completely understood. We know how our mamas, grandmamas, and aunties beat us with love for actin' up(often with a switch we had to pick)–and then sent us outside to walk it off! :)


Anywho, this little person (very, very surprisingly, I must add) did something that really crossed the line. And I really needed her to get the point that this was beyond unacceptable.


I did exactly as my mother had done, lovingly explaining to the child while holding her in my arms why she about to get it.


I took a deep breath.


I didn't think I could actually do it, but now I had to keep my word, at least for one lick.



My daughter, being a tween dramatic expert, started screaming as if she was

getting a real beating, like I used to get. (I mean, it was a flimsy designer belt no less, not the 10-inch thick, leather men's belt, my dad would unleash)   The noise began well before contact was ever even made. Even then, I only gave her one spank.


I know, right.


It never dawned on me that the bedroom window was open. ( You are probably shaking your head already because you know where this story is going) 



Apparently, a neighbor heard her Oscar-worthy performance. Oy vay! And not even a real neighbor, but the not too respectable live-in boyfriend of my actual neighbor (you know the kind that is never seen without a beer in hand, and spent the summer blasting Kid Rock's 'Sweet Home Alabama' out the pickup truck–Btw, is that their "Whoop There It Is"???) Apparently, he told another neighbor that I beat my kids and he was watching me.




Thankfully everyone on my block sees me bike riding with my kids, skateboarding with my kids, pulling them in a wagon for nightly summertime strolls, and otherwise actively engaged with my children and knew not to pay the beer guy any mind. But it really bothered me! And I was really concerned.


And then I thought, why are we in hiding for properly disciplining our children? Yes, we know of the extremes. We even know of our extremes (somebody you know got it with the extension cord at least once!) But why do we have to hide beating our kids with love??


At the end of the day, most of us got beat at least once or twice, and we turned out respectful of all authority figures, hard working and knew we had to get up real early to get over on our moms and dads. And when I wanted to act a fool, the fear of my Daddy's belt was a powerful keep-Kim-straight tool.


I think there's something to be said for that. I also understand that we as modern parents are trying to blend a little of our parents' old school disciplinarian style with new fangled parenting ideas on open communication, personal expression and even a little negotiation.


We are a new generation of Black parents in unchartered territory.


But I don't want to be ashamed of the good stuff that helped us become who we are.  So I'm coming out of the closet with the old-fashioned beating with love. 


I'm telling the world that I don't expect to go there again anytime soon, but I'm not ruling it out as a last resort or if that punishment fits the crime.


But I will be sure to close the window and pump up Sweet Home Alabama.

In motherhood


12 Responses to “I Got Busted Spanking in Suburbia: Why Didn’t Y’all Tell Me”
  1. hancock says:

    I feel that the beatings that people of color give to children is set up by the example of abusive white slave owners. switches/cords/ are modern day whips. What happens if a child is not spanked? For that answer you have to go to any prison to see the answer.

    “Parents discipline children too late,” says Rosalind Miles, author of Children We Deserve. “The time to start is the moment a child is born.” If from the outset parents speak with the voice of kind, caring authority and are consistent in their actions, their children will soon learn to accept that authority and the loving discipline emanating from it.


    • Kimberly says:

      You’re right, Hancock. There’s definitely some slavery residuals in beatings but I think there is also some good in the firm discipline that our grandparents practiced–even if they did so badly. The trick is finding the balance.

  2. SameciaMuriel says:

    Yes, Kim I agree with you that we shouldn’t throw out the baby [old school whoopings] with the bath water so to speak. Spankings with love should be part of a parental discipline trickbox. We shouldn’t have to cower in secret to discipline our children. If we don’t discipline them, the world most certainly will and the consequences are much more harsh for our kids. However, I don’t agree with how you handled the ol’ beer guzzling neighbor. You should’ve told him “Yeah I beat my kids when they require it and guess what? You can get some too!”

  3. Kimberly Seals Allers says:

    You are soo right! I gotta admit I was shook and off my game!! But I sho nuf wanted to beat him!! LOL!! And TRUST, i haven’t said BOO to that man ever since.

  4. TANYA says:

    Never feel ashamed for discipling your child, epecially out of love. Too many children, not just ours, are growing up thinking parents are their friends. Many parents make the mistake of being their kids’ friend first and parent later.

    As for your neighbor, I would prayerfully, and wisely advise him that you discipline your child now before he’s reading about her actions on the news. I would also tell him to watch what gossip he spreads since he can be sued for libel and defamation of character.

  5. Monica says:

    Wow, you got some of our caucasian sisters riled up on momlogic, huh?

    I, too am a suburban mom caught in the “spanking” no man’s land. I don’t like to spank my daughter, but I have. I still remember some of the spanking I got as a child and how unjustified some of them were. While I don’t completely disagree with this form of discipline, I do question it’s effectiveness as a whole. We, as black people, love to talk about how “we got spanked and look how we turned out”.

    Well, LOOK how we turned out. Especially many of our black men. When you look at all the black men in jail or the overwhelming number of single moms (myself included) raising our kids alone without that deadbeat dad (financially, physically, or emotionally), I don’t know if those “beatings” served us so well.

    Also, I don’t think it was fair to make this a racial issue. It kinda felt like some of the bad black comedy out there that just never seems to go away (white people do this, black people do that). I think relying too much on what the media says has us thinking that white people don’t spank their kids. Just because you see that white mother in the grocery store not spanking her unruly child doesn’t mean she didn’t whip out the belt or switch when she got home. She might have been afraid, just like many of us, that, in suburbia, someone might call the police on her for “beating” her child.

    I read someone’s comment, or maybe it was in the original blog, that this form of discipline makes our children respect us. Not necessarily. It depends on the child and the parent. While it may usher in respect for some, for others it only ushers fear. In later years, that fear turns into resentment and loathing. Respect may never enter the picture. Also, if not done in the right balance, it can lead to confusion for the child. I remember reading a woman’s blog who had to catch herself. She was trying to discipline her son for hitting another child. She spanked him. Then she realized how silly it was to try and teach her child not to hit…by hitting him. Hmmm…

    • Kimberly says:

      thanks for your thoughtfulness Monica. You’re absolutely right, I know plenty of white moms who spank. More to our issues, discipline is only one aspect of child rearing, teaching self-respect, self-esteem, responsibility, and modeling good behavior are other important areas which probably play more into the state of black men and black women today and not necessarily just whether we got beat or not. It’s only one piece of the puzzle. My point is that there are benefits when done properly, but I agree the crazy whippings when someone was angry–not so much!! And yes girl, I stays in trouble at momlogic. LOL!

    • Thomas James says:

      This is an interesting subject so I thought I would share a personal experiance. To start I’m a white male who grew up in a mostly white neighborhood. I was raised by a mother was not a spanker but expected good behavior nonetheless. When I was 12 a black family moved to the house next-door Family consisted of the mother and two daughters that were twins. Mrs. Ferguson soon became friends with my mom at 12 years of age I was becoming rebellious trying to do my own thing and not listen to my mom. I heard Mrs. Ferguson more than once proclaim to my mom, if that boy were mine I would whoop his backside. My mom usually answered that she just didn’t believe in spanking or else couldn’t bring herself to do it at this point. Then came a day I was caught in some misdeed I don’t remember what at school and had to come home with a note from the teacher that my mom had to put her signature then I would return a note to the teacher or the following day. Must’ve been the straw that broke the camels back so to speak for my mom later that evening I heard my mom calling me to join her downstairs in the living room. My stomach flipped when they’re standing next to my mother with Mrs. Ferguson holding a double up leather belt. Mom explained she was tired of my bad behavior and Mrs. Ferguson was going to help her see to it that it improved immediately too stoned to speak or react in any other way I felt myself being lead across the room by my arm Mrs Ferguson took a seat and quickly lower my jeans and underpants to the floor. Next she position me over the arm of the couch then ask my mom are you sure about this? Because this ain’t gonna be no play! I mom’s answer was she just didn’t know what else to do. With that said mrs. Ferguson begin wrapping that belt around my bare bottom cheeks and upper thighs. I howled and pleaded from the start but no mercy came from either my Mom or Mrs Ferguson .

  6. Sarah says:

    I’m a Cherokee / White mix and I was beaten by a step-dad that hated me, but spanked with plenty of stinging switches, fly swatters and a belt or two by my Grandmother out of love. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE between discipline and abuse.

    I can count the times I spanked my THREE kids on the fingers of 1 hand and maybe a couple of fingers from the other. But when you come in to a room and see your 4 year old trying to set fire to the stuffed bunny your 2 year old is holding…you better make that spanking count if you want to keep your kids alive.

    Having been abused, I refused to ever spank my kids with anything other than my hand so I would always know exactly how hard I was spanking. Blood vessels break in my hands if I look at them hard because I am a bleeder, so I guarantee that spanking of my 2 boys hurt me more than it hurt them. I spanked them till I was too tired to spank anymore…their fannies were beet red yet not a single bruise on them. But you know what? They never played with fire again (…until their teens and then only in the sand pit where it was safe–one is now a fireman.)

    My hands however, were bruised for 2 weeks. LOL Spare the rod, spoil the child. Forget these new age hippies. We’ve been doing it that way now since the 60’s and you see where that little experiment has gotten society? Caning is a practice dating back to school teachers in ancient Egypt. It has PROVEN itself effective in training up a child in the way he should go.

  7. Joedog says:

    I don’t think that this is a black v. white issue.

    I am a 41yo White man who was spanked by my parents when I was growing up. Spankings were usually with the hand, but also a belt (only once or twice), rolled up paper (like you’d spank a puppy), and with a special paddle my father made from a bread board to spank me with when my report card was bad. There were also jaw/mouth grabs, ear grabs/drags, and a few slaps to the face (I was taught that if you insulted a lady, you should expect a slap to the face – hard enough to make you see stars).
    In most cases, the spanking was a swift, severe, and certain punishment after I had done something totally unacceptable.
    In most of those cases, it was effective – because I knew where things were headed when mom told me to stop misbehaving, and I didn’t.
    I still got into a lot of trouble growing up, but I did know that the spanking was one of the potential consequences waiting for me (along with loss of privileges, being sent to my room without supper, being grounded, having to do house and yard work, and a variety of other punishments), and it sometimes helped me to get myself under control.

    The report card paddlings made the least sense, since the punishment was for not being smart enough, or not having done work weeks before the paddle came out.

    Not all spanking is abuse, and people can abuse their children without ever spanking them. As a teacher, I see far more cases of children who are suffering from parents who neglect to discipline them than I do children who suffer from parents who beat them. Most cases that I have seen of children who are beaten, the beatings have nothing to do with discipline, and are instead based on the abusive parent/adult taking out their anger on a child who is smaller and weaker than they are.

    While spanking should not be the first step in your disciplinary ladder, it should be there if needed – even if the window is open.

  8. Shanita says:

    I agree Kimberly never be ashamed of discipling your children. Do’t be a baby as if you are hitting another woman as if you are in a girl fight. I’m 28 I donnot have kids. I havn’t decided which method of disclipine I will take on.

  9. Steve says:


    You condone BEATING your children, yet fail to see that it is ABUSIVE and all that you are doing is showing that you, as the adult, have lost control of your children, and reverted to violence

    Consider this..would it be Ok for someone to come see and then BEAT you up, causing you physical and emotional pain? of course you wouldn’t, unless you’re sick in the head!

    Would you also suggest that ‘spanking’ a child is normal behaviour, and acceptable by those of you who are black?

    That in itself is sick, because with one breath you demand equal rights and status and yet want to be separate, in order to beat your children up

    Yes, BEAT your children up, and if that was done to a adult, you would expect the full force of the law to be brought down on the abuser

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