Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

My daughter is 2 years old, so maybe parents of teenagers might read this statement and roll their eyes. But I’m saying it anyway: I will never hit my daughter.

I grew up in a time where it was normal to hit your kids; in many families, it still is. But smacking has been shown time and time again to be largely ineffective, and often psychologically harmful. It’s a message of power and control. I don’t want my daughter being told that if she says the wrong thing, if she gets angry, or if she’s being unreasonable, that somebody has the right to be violent to her. Because I don’t believe I have the right to attack my child, and because one day, the person hitting her might not be me, it might be a man she loves and trusts to protect and cherish her.

If you’re primed to believe that it’s okay for someone you love to hit you, you might not think you deserve better when your boyfriend smacks you. When you’re thrown down a flight of stairs. Love isn’t supposed to hurt like that, and I want my daughter to know that this is her body and it deserves respect.

I’m not saying I won’t forcibly remove her from a dangerous situation. But in my eyes, assault is assault, and I don’t understand why as a society we still allow it against the members of our society that are the most vulnerable.

My daughter will be unreasonable sometimes; all children are (and adults for that matter). I’ll feel exhausted and upset and angry and the wide spectrum of emotions that mothers feel. But that doesn’t make it okay to release that upon her. I know I’ll lose my temper sometimes; I’m a human being like any other. But so is she, and if it’s not okay for anyone to hit me, I don’t see why my daughter deserves less.

Yes, parents have been hitting for a long time; it was even legal for teachers to hit children at school when I was small! But it’s also not that long ago that intimate partner violence was considered a private manner, and hitting your wife was thought of as nobody’s business (and let’s face it, despite laws to protect women now, it’s still a horrifically common crime that’s often difficult to prove and prosecute). We need to build a society that doesn’t solve its problems with fists, and where people – even little people! – are treated with respect. That starts with the lessons that we teach our sons and daughters now.

Our job as parents is to protect our children, and we can do that without ever needing to lay a hand on them. In fact, I’d venture to say that we can do it far better that way, and that they will grow up into secure, happy, empathetic adults who will treat their own loved ones with the same kindness.

It’s time to change our societal attitudes. Old habits die hard, but it’s not the first difficult yet important change that I’ve seen made even in my own lifetime. Let’s make corporal punishment of children into a thing of the past, and learn better ways to teach our children to grow into responsible members of society.

Too many children grow up internalizing the message that violence leads to results. We teach them not to hit each other, but we don’t practice what we preach. I don’t believe that we can truly solve the problem of intimate partner violence without addressing other forms of violence in the home.

I pray that violence will never be in my daughter’s future, at anyone’s hands. I know there are various opinions about this, and you may feel strongly that it’s sometimes necessary; if you do feel that way, next time you’re about to resort to hitting, please think about whether there’s another way to resolve the argument that doesn’t lead to pain and fear.

When our children are being unreasonable, that’s often when they need us the most; it’s the hardest time to step outside of yourself and not practice discipline in the way that our parents’ generation often did. But nobody ever said parenting would be easy, and we all want to do the best by our children. So let’s use our hands to protect, not hurt, them.

Here’s to a better future for our children and the adults they will become.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Lara S

Lara is a freelance writer, non-profit communications consultant, and mommy blogger at Happy Eco Mama. She blogs about positive psychology, eco-friendly parenting, and life as a single mom. She lives in sunny Western Australia with her lovely little girl, a ton of books and a very cute cat.

Dear Child, You Are Not Responsible for How Anyone Else Feels about You

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking in the mirror putting on earrings

Dear kiddo, I have so many dreams for you. A million hopes and desires run through my mind every day on a never-ending loop, along with worries and fears, and so, so much prayer. Sometimes, it feels like my happiness is tied with ropes of steel to yours. And yet, the truth is, there are times you disappoint me. You will continue to disappoint me as you grow and make your own choices and take different paths than the ones I have imagined for you. But I’m going to tell you a secret (although I suspect you already know): My...

Keep Reading

Being a Hands-on Dad Matters

In: Kids, Living
Dad playing with little girl on floor

I am a hands-on dad. I take pride in spending time with my kids. Last week I took my toddler to the park. He’s two and has recently outgrown peek-a-boo, but nothing gets him laughing like him seeing me pop into the slide to scare him as he goes down. He grew to like this so much that he actually would not go down the slide unless he saw me in his range of vision going down. When it’s time to walk in the parking lot he knows to hold my hand, and he grabs my hand instinctively when he needs help...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading