Advice For “Granny,” Whose Grandchild Is Slapped In The Face

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

There are certain parenting topics that seem to go unnoticed and “un-commented on” when I first write about them, but over the span of several months or a year, they prove to be relevant discussion material in the blogosphere.

Basically, they become more popular in syndication than they ever did when they were first published. When they were still fresh, they didn’t know what it was like to be re-Tweeted on Twitter or to get “liked” on Facebook, but they continue to convince readers to respond in the long run.

I can think of no better example than “A Slap In The Face: Child Abuse Or Discipline?,” which I published on June 10, 2012, when you were a year and a half.

(Click on the blue letters in the sentence above, to read the original post.)

Here’s an excerpt:


I wonder, as a Generation Y American dad, am I preconditioned to believe that slapping my child in the face is taboo? Or is this type of punishment truly as legitimate as spanking a child on their bum?

I am simply hosting this conversation. I would like for you (readers of The Dadabase)  to point out the double standards, both in favor and against including face-slapping in the same category as spanking.

Do you consider slapping a child in the face morally wrong, yet believe spanking your child’s buttocks is acceptable?

Why is a slap in the face somehow worse? Is it more psychologically damaging than spanking?


While “A Slap In The Face: Child Abuse Or Discipline?” has received 39 comments as of today, there is one recent comment that particularly intrigues me.

An anonymous reader who calls herself “Granny” left the 34th comment. This is the abridged (for time’s sake) version:


I witnessed our grandson slapped very hard across the face for talking back to his mother. The only words I heard him say very softly, not rudely and with no sharpness to his tone was “I don’t care.” Our daughter immediately yelled (screamed at him) and slapped him very hard…

My heart hurt so much for my grandson so I talked to him privately later about it. He admitted his mother has slapped him before several times. It was so obvious it hurt him terribly and he felt so humiliated. While I was telling him what a great child he was and hitting a child across the face hard is so terribly wrong, he wouldn’t look at me and became very sad and withdrawn only looking out the window. My heart bleeds for him and I don’t know what to do…

His mother has anger issues and had to go through so much as a teen (2 family member deaths, abandoned by father, plus other issues, but she was never a problem). Apparently, things are much worse than I ever imagined with her anger issues. I don’t know if my son-in-law supports this punishment or if I should talk with him.

Please advise how I should handle for my grandson’s welfare and also his mother’s problems.


After reading this comment, it was one of those times as a parent where I just didn’t know what to say. “Granny” is asking for help, and fortunately, some fellow readers have begun leaving comments giving her some encouraging advice.

Sure, I’ve given plenty of “dadvice” before here on The Dadabase when a reader like “Granny” specifically asks for it, but this is a special and delicate case, I feel.

It’s just one of those issues where I’d rather not be the first parent to give advice.

So as for advising “Granny,” I’d prefer other parents lend their words of wisdom before I do. I want “Granny” to be able to come back and read caring comments from a community of parents who empathize with her…





Photo: Boy Being Slapped In Face, by Shutterstock.

Add a Comment

Tags: | Categories: The Dadabase

Back To The Dadabase
  1. by Sheila P LO Monaco

    On January 8, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I had to deal with similar situation once, for while with a dear family nember.What I had done, was the same as Granny looked online for answers but as the time went by I got courage and looked at the person on the eye and I talk firmly how much sadness and pain her child had on such young age. she said that wasn’t abuse was a form of education I started laugh ask her if she would like to be slap .
    I don’t believe she would had changed if I had not promise to call social services. That particular situation wasn’t any apparently angry the made she act like this her mom and Dad are lovely, was a form of discipline but be angry with life doesn’t give her or anyone the right to slap a child even when you are the mom.
    I was discipline like this I was slap on others parts on my body (still humilated ) and I can tell you the child never forgets I still work on myself I used to be always angry violent unhappy, I looked for professional help. Be a child leaving on a untrustworthy house is extremely hard talk with your daughter tell her how you fell, how you can help, how much she is loved and most important tell her to protect her son the world out there is complicate enough home should be safe!, a place of love and trust.
    Wish you the best!

  2. by Arla

    On January 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

    As any reputable psychologist, pediatric or otherwise, will tell you, a slap on the bottom is a corrective measure in certain circumstances while a slap to the face is humiliating, demeaning, and dehumanizing in ANY circumstance. The same applies to adults. This can even be seen in television shows, such as NCIS. “A slap to the face would be humiliating. Back of the head is a wake-up call.”
    Interestingly enough, Gibbs is a Marine and I first learned the psychological disparity between hitting on the body and hitting to the face in a military setting.