Gwen Stefani Says Her Priorities Place Family First

06/11/2009 at 06:00 PM ET
Courtesy Elle

As parents guide their children through some of life’s biggest lessons, the act of teaching almost instantly becomes a two-way street. With Gwen Stefani now full-swing into the toddler years with her first son Kingston James McGregor, the songstress has picked up a quick lesson on the demands of a child.

“It’s one thing when you have an infant, but when you have this two or three-year-old going, ‘Mommy, what’s the deal?’ it’s harder,” she reveals in the July issue of Elle. Sharing that the 3-year-old is passing through an “I need, I need” phase, Gwen maintains her faith for the future.

“We’re just hoping for the best and that he’s not going to turn out to be a freak, but we’ll see.”

That said, despite the trials and tribulations that accompany parenthood, Gwen firmly states she will never reach the breaking point with her kids and resort to spanking. However, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t taken on Kingston in a wrestling match now and again! “I’ve gotten my muscles out on him, that’s for sure,” she says. “He’s in that really challenging phase, but what I’m learning is it’s all phases.”

Currently on tour with her band No Doubt — after a five year hiatus — Gwen makes it clear that her priorities have shifted in recent years and for the proud mama, there’s no going back. “I always referred to No Doubt as a marriage, because that’s what it’s like to be together for so long and go through what we’ve been through,” she says of her bachelorette days.

Now, married to rocker Gavin Rossdale, the mother-of-two notes that she “can’t really have that relationship … anymore,” as her heart now belongs to three very special guys. “My priorities are always going to be my husband and my family now,” she says.

The band has agreed to forgo a new album for now and instead head out on the road for some much needed inspiration from their fans. The decision, however, has not gone without repercussions: a nervous Gwen wonders if she will ever gain back her songwriting talents. “I’m so screwed. I might never be able to write another song. Who knows?” she confesses to Elle.

“But then I think, what I’ve gone through is major, right? I got married and had two human beings come out of my body — plus two albums and two clothing lines that were born during the same period. I’m still nursing! I’m a little sucked dry. Like, maybe once I sleep through the night, maybe I’ll be able to write a song.”

Gwen and Gavin are also parents to 9-month-old Zuma Nesta Rock.

Courtesy Elle

Source: Elle; July issue

— Anya

FILED UNDER: Babies , News , Parenting

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JMO on

The freak comment was a little odd but I totally get the whole toddler phase! But she’s right they’re all stages and they do get better (of course until a new one comes along)!

But she should have plenty of inspiration to write music…why not a rock lullaby album 😉

aurora mia on

LOVE her!

Stella Bella on

I know what she means about being sucked dry and having to remind oneself that what one has gone through was major… Hopefully it will eventually come back for us both!!!!!

Ashlee on

He is so precious. Looks like a cabbage patch kid!!

jessicad on

What’s the big deal with spanking? Lightly. I don’t get it.

Jamie on

Jessicad–In my opinion (and this is just mine!), when you spank a child, however lightly, you’re teaching them that it’s acceptable to hit.

Kate on

from what i’ve learned in child psychology, by spanking your child you are modeling an aggressive behaviour, thereby teaching the child that she or he can use aggression to get what he or she wants. if you try to teach the child that hitting others is not acceptable, why would they be inclined to listen since it works for mom or dad?

JMO on

I don’t know I got smacked as a child and my mom said I never hit back and it hasn’t affected me in any way as an adult. I don’t think everything warrents a spanking but in todays world we have lots of disrespectful kids who could use one!!!! JMO

Tee on

JMO, I was thinking the same thing! I never hesitate to spank if I need to and there have been times when I’ve seriously wanted to walk up to a mother or caregiver and tell them that they needed to either discipline their child and keep them at home!

Caroline on

My siblings and I were spanked and none of us turned out to be aggressive toward our children or others. We knew that it meant we did something wrong and that was the punishment.

Jo Jo on

I get so sick and tired of the “spanking teaches kids to be agressive” crap. I was spanked infrequently as a child, only when I did something to directly disobey, or more imporantly, something that would endanger me, and I am wholeheartedly confident that I have no ill-lasting effects from it. It, in no way, taught me to hit others, or that doing so would be acceptable. It didn’t teach me “How could my parents love me, yet do something that causes me pain”, blah, blah, blah crap.

For 2.5 years, I fed into the guilt machine of judgemental parenting that I would be a bad parent if I spanked my child. You know what – it didn’t work. My son has had two in the last 6 months. Was it a bonafide “spanking” – no, it was appropriate for his age. But it sure did get his attention when nothing else had worked – and he hasn’t repeated it again.

I love my son more than anything on this earth, but I am not his buddy – I’m his PARENT. It’s my job to teach him that it’s okay to make mistakes, even more than once, but when you make them over and over again, when he knows better, then there are negative repercussions. That’s called a life lesson.

Laura on

Personally, I’ve seen time outs work when used correctly so I don’t see any need for spanking when time outs work just as well and don’t teach the children that hitting is OK. (Again this is just my opinion plus I am not a mother so who knows if that is what I think once I have my children to deal with, haha)
I was spanked as a child as well and I turned out OK. Although I do remember being about 10 and I had done something wrong and my dad came toward me and I was SCARED. He had NEVER hit me other than a spanking, but I was terrified that he was going to hurt me. I have no idea why I felt that way (as I said he never hit me other than spankings) but I do think it could have something to do with the spanking so therefore I would like to not use it on my kids in the future. As I said before though who knows what will actually end up happening.

Christina Bledsoe on

Wow, it looks like Zuma is starting to look like daddy too. Gwen and Gavin have adorable children.

lele on

so for those moms spanking… you advocate then, hitting? actually hitting your child. sorry can’t hold back – hitting a child however lightly – who invented the word SPANK; come on it is hitting – a child is WRONG. i was never hit as a child, and my children never have been and will never be hit, spanked or slapped – squeezed maybe but no violence in our home.

i have what i would say a nearly perfectly behaved four year old and one year old learning every day the right way to behave and hitting has never crossed my mind. shocked people here are so openly admitting to it. makes me wonder…



You do what’s best for you and your family…..Don’t critize others who believe in spanking their children….

Jo Jo on

It’s ignorant to assume that what works for your child works for every child – each one has a unique personality, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all of them. Lele – I bet your 4-year old isn’t nearly as angelic as you think he/she is, and that you’re that person in the restaurant whose kid is throwing sugar packets all over, smearing food, and screaming their head off while you’re gently whispering “If it’s okay with you, mommy would really appreciate it if you would be gentle with your hands and voice”. Yea, I’m sure that works great. Give me a break.

J on

For people that say they were spanked and turned out fine, I have 3 older siblings, and when they would get spanked, it absolutely terrified me. I myself was never spanked because I learned really quickly from my brothers and sister what was behavior that would keep you “safe” and what behavior would get you spanked. It was mostly my dad who would resort to spanking, and we all were very intimidated by him, and honestly, I do attribute it to that. I’m not saying that I’m right and others are wrong, all I’m trying to say is that what works for some won’t work for others. Spanking might be effective in some families; it wasn’t in mine.

Back to the point of the post though, I love Gwen! She’s obviously got a really dry sense of humor but you can tell she adores those kids.

Silvermouse on

I just think people overreact to spanking. My sisters and I were slapped on the cheek for very BAD behavior like talking back when we were teenagers.
JoJo, although I doubt that Lele’s kid might do that, I hate it when parents don’t discpline their kids or tell their babysitters not to say “no” to their children. Once when I was at work, I saw a kid lick our front window of the meat case (I work in a deli while I’m not in school) and the mother did NOTHING to stop her child from doing something like that.
Verbally putting down your child and controlling them like a caged bird or a boxed doll is far worse than spanking in my opinion. A child recovers from a quick smack on the behind, but words stick.

Julie on

Spanking a child shows a weak and abusive parent. It is just laziness and a quick way to teach a child a lesson. I never have to hit my children because I don’t need to – they are respectful and when they are out of line there are other ways to discipline your child than hitting!!!

Kate on

the idea that spanking teaches aggression or has a negative impact (at least for some children) isn’t “crap”. i find it interesting that some people are so quick to assume that lele’s children must be brats becaue she doesn’t spank them. yay for not criticizing others….

Sarah M. on

JoJo – I completely agree. Working with children in various capacities for many years, it is clear to me that what works for 1 child, might not work for another child. I have 7 cousins. The 4 year old, you could beat until he’s black and blue all over, and he would continue to do what he was getting spanked for, while looking straight at you and laughing. One of the 6 year olds, time out was the best. The 2 year old and 14 year old, all you had to do was give them the ‘evil eye’ and they’d be crying and apologizing. While I would never be comfortable spanking a child I’m in charge of, I do use time out, loss of a privilege, etc. When the parent gets home, I let them know what happened and what my consequence was, and if they decide a spanking is in order, it’s their choice. By spanking, I mean a light tap on the bottom, mouth or hand. (Mouth for too much sass consistently, hand if touching an unsafe object, bottom for everything else.)

I LOVE that picture of Zuma!

Heather on

I love Gwen as a mom – she has definitely kept her great sense of style that is uniquely hers! Zuma is growing up so much!! He and his brother are going to be little heartbreakers when they get to school!

LindaLou on

For all the people who were spanked and claim they “turned out fine.” Did you really? You grew up to be people who think it’s okay to hit small children in the name of discipline. I don’t find that “fine” at all. I was spanked as a child and I have never spanked my children (aged 4.5, 9, & 12) and they are great kids. The word “discipline” means: to teach. I don’t know about any of your kids, but mine don’t have brain cells in their bottoms. Spanking them would only teach that I can’t control myself. I don’t min being “judgemental” about the topic either. I’m damn well going to speak up when I think other people are doing something that’s morally wrong.

Sammy-xx on

I was smacked, spanked, hit whatever you want to call it once as a child. I may have been 4/5, I dont remember what I did wrong but my dad hit the back of my legs I burst into tears and he almost did. He never did it again. But I was never a difficult child, someone raising their voice at me even now would scare me straight.

I think it’s going to be one of those subjects that people are never going to agree on. As far as I’m concerned as long as there is no mark left and it does the job then theres nothing wrong with it.

Love Gwen, she has a great sense of humour. Very Brittish, but I guess thats becuase of Gavin and spending time in the UK.

lele on

jojo: i said my daughter was nearly perfect, not angelic. she’s an angel to me however, and i know it will disappoint you to hear that my daughter has never in her four years had a serious over the top tantrum or pulled what you are wishing she has with sugar packets. maybe it is hard for parents that have anger within and resort to hitting when their child needs correcting, but parenting in a strict, but loving, authoritative way helps to nurture a healthy well behaved child. discipline is essential, hitting is not.

i make no apologies for my judgement or my opinion because i think a huge part of our problem is how we treat our children and i am a advocate for my kids and all out there who never deserve to be slapped anywhere on their bodies.

my mother was never hit by her parents and my father was – one had an amazing childhood, one hates his father – can you guess which one? the one whose dad brought a belt to their rooms when they made a mistake to “spank” them.

ugh i could cry talking about this. hopefully the next time those of you that hit have the urge to spank you will stop and think of another way, a better way to help them understand what they did was wrong.

Lis on

A light spanking is not detrimental in any way. Period. It gets the message across loud and clear. While I think spanking should be used as a last resort (after “no”, time outs, etc. don’t work), I do think it is effective. Hurting your child, however is a different story. It’s a very fine line, but a light spank is fine.

Lis on

Oh and Lele – a spanking does NOT include a belt, or any other object other than your hand, for that matter.
Spanking and whipping/beating (using a belt) are apples and oranges. You aren’t making a comparable argument.

Shannon on

Lele, not everyone who was spanked has a bad relationship with their parents, so what happened with your parents is not necessarily the norm. Almost everyone I know was spanked at one point or another, and I have yet to meet someone who says they hate thier parent for it, or resents them in any way. And for those of you who say spanking teaches that aggression is okay, those same peers of mine who were all spanked are good, well-mannered people who have never gotten into any trouble with fighting or hitting in any way. I am an extremely peaceful person, and after I passed being a toddler, I have never hit anyone in my life except the few spankings I have given my 5 and 3 year old. So much for all of us becoming aggressive hitters b/c we were all spanked huh. There goes that arguement. I happen to have a wonderful relationship with my parents and my children. They understand that they only get spanked because they are doing something that could cause harm to someone else or themselves. I don’t hit in anger, if a situation is so bad that I feel the need to raise my hand to them on impulse, I get up and walk away. After I am calmed down, if I feel it is warranted, then they will be disciplined. My kids know better than to ever hit someone else, and they understand the difference between hitting/beating and spanking. One is used agressively to cause harm to others, and one is used as a tool to teach children not to misbehave.

Julie on

I just saw No Doubt perform last night in Philly (Camden, NJ) & Gwen was amazing! Super high energy…you would never know she’s still up at night nursing her little guy. I couldn’t imagine juggling all that she does & I only have one kiddo.

Anon on

Its a personal choice for every parent, but i dont think its wrong to spank a child.

babyboopie on

I have never have or never will spank my son (and my second child on the way), it is disgusting. Totally immoral. I do agree there are testing times where you just have had enough of your child’s bad behaviour and you don’t know what to do but I find ignoring my son or time out works. He is such a good boy now and I’d like to think that was because I did a good job of disciplining him by myself. I would never condone smacking. How could you smack a little person you created and brought into this world? This makes me want to cry. But on a seperate note, I love this picture of Zuma!

ohhplease!!! on

spanking is wrong when you hit the child and right after that you tell the child that you spanked him or her because you love them.
I have friends who hit their kids for everything. she will hit the child anywhere & everywhere (most often than not it ended up being in the head area. eveyrything is about yelling or hitting and on top of it all she calls the child names. at one point he would run right back to her and tell her “mom i love you’
i also have a friend who uses a wood or plastic spoon to hit her child. they are constantly hitting these kids but they still do the same thing time and again. one of these mom is in a type of abusive relationship. by the way she is also a babysitter and she does hit some of the kids. she also brags about the fact that even though she hits them they still love her.
Doesn’t it come to a point where you need to use a different approach??
and people tell me that I don’t anything because I don’t have a child.

I gotta say Zuma is a cutie!!!! and Gwen look very good for somebody that just had a child.

ohhplease!!! on

just if anybody is wondering these kids are between 4 & 6yrs.

Dee on

To OhhPlease

What you are describing is not spanking, it is abuse and a lot of the time (not all the time) those who are against spanking don’t seem to be able to tell the difference.

lele on

my grandfather also spanked my father in addition to a belt so all you spankers are in good company… i am not going to contribute anymore because it is bothering me to think there are that many people out there that hit their kids. disgusting. wrong. terrible. and i do not want to think about it anymore.

Jo Jo on

People – every child is different! I think it’s ironic that people who consider it “morally wrong” have no problem coming down on/criticizing/being judgemental against people who do something differently than they do – and really, isn’t that a wonderful message to be teaching your children? Call me uninformed, but I am completely unaware of the passage in the Bible that says corporal punishment is “morally wrong” or “completely immoral”. I think some of the people on here need to borrow a dictionary and learn what the big words they are using really mean – and get a grip. I’m not criticizing you because you have some wallflower of a child who melts when you cross your eyes at her, or some totally thorough brat that you think is so “well-behaved” but drives everyone else around them crazy with obnoxious behavior and a sense of entitlement that everything they do is just perfect with Mommy and Daddy. You do what you need to do, just like my family will do what we need to.

For those of you whose children, on the very rare occasion of course, behave in a less than “nearly perfect” way, how do you handle a child who you have asked repeatedly to end a particular action, asking nicely to stop, then getting down at eye level, using your quiet voice, using your firm voice, using your more forceful voice, giving them your best evil eye, giving them a time out, and then maybe another, have taken away a favorite toy, and yet they continue to test you – because, believe it or not, kids want and NEED boundaries. What do you do then? Or when you have told your child not to run out in the parking lot or road using all the above techniques – and they look at you, with that impish look in their eyes, and do it anyway. I’m sorry, I’m not asking my child to do anything at that point – I’d rather my child grow up into a healthy adulthood, thank you. I think most of you just turn the other way, ignore it, and pretend like it never happened because there’s nowhere else to go, beaten down and bested by your own child.

I totally agree with Lis – there is a huge difference between spanking a child and whipping/beating them. If some of you still want to feign ignorance and say it’s all the same thing, then you are fools. All this ridiculous hoopla about spanking is a relatively new phenomenon. Corporal punishment has been around a heck of a lot longer than all this crap from the last 20 years – it all falls under the greater judgemental umbrella of not breastfeeding/not making all of your children’s food from scratch (and organic, of course)/leting your child watch 30 minutes of educational programming and you will still rot their brains/having to work/not putting your child into a different play group every day of the week – all of which makes you a terrible, awful parent… Women are so, so very catty about that – you rarely, if ever hear dads/men say anything about any of that stuff. Odd, huh?

For those of you whose parents were not spanked, or you were not spanked yourselves – you were WELL within the boundaries of minority. Today, not spanking is a whole lot more prevalant than it used to be – so many people are afraid to do it – afraid their kids wont like them, or think they aren’t cool, or not their “friend”. Meanwhile, the last two generations, since all this mess has begun, has an endless wealth of bratty children, who think the world owes them something, who think they don’t have to work hard to get ahead, who think they can do anything they want and life will never hand them any real repercussions – completely unprepared for LIFE. I can say this with great confidence as an educator who has taught a wide spectrum of age groups, and as a parent. Can this all be explained away by spanking versus not spanking – absolutely not, but it is a large part of the greater mindset.

I have never, ever seen a child, or adult, who was spanked only when necessary – not beaten mind you – bear any displays of aggression, hitting, violence, etc., and I challenge anyone for a concrete example. I love my parents dearly. I was spanked probably 5 times my entire childhood, and I deserved every single one of those repercussions. I have, however, witnessed lots of children hitting/being aggressive towards other children, including my son – and you know why? They can get away with it because their parents are afraid of hurting their feelings and inhibiting their free spirits. Get over yourselves!

Tee on

Jo, Jo- you have a wonderful way with words and I completely agree with everything you said!

kai on

LINDALOU: completely agree. I can’t believe what I’m reading here.

MZ on

There is a legal difference between spanking and child abuse (I’m not going to argue either side of the moral issue). If you were to consult someone at DCFS (department of child and family services), they would say that spanking a child with the back of your hand, not leaving a mark, is OK but using a belt, spoon, or any other device with which is hit the child and/or leaving a welt is not OK. At least, that is what I remember the rules being in my state. I had to learn what to report in one of my past jobs.

lele on

jojo – how about this scenario to help you understand how insane you sound. let’s say we were having this argument in person. your calling my child who you do not know a wallflower or brat in my opinion is crazy, rude, and inaccurate. so maybe i would smack you across the face had we been face to face because to me that was out of line and in need of some “correction”. would that be okay? why is a child less deserving of humane, basic decency? why is it okay to hit a child if it would not be okay for me to smack you – and God would I love to… Bible talk. PULEASE.

ugh i said i was done… too hard to avoid.

Jo Jo on

Lele –

Ummm…I don’t really know where to start, but your argument places us in a parent-child relationship. I must point out the simple fact that the last time I checked, you were not my mommy (and thank goodness for that!). It is not your job to parent me, if is not your job to teach me, it is not your job to discipline me. Your point is totally moot, and it sounds like you have some anger issues, latent or realized. How you got “smacking across the face” out of a single word I said is anyone’s guess. Great role model, you are.

lele on

human to human decency is what i was referring to. my child is a human being before my child. at least i give my child those rights. i do not hit my girls or anyone. so i guess you suggest that it would not be okay to hit a person that was not your child, but okay to hit in a parental situation? wow, pretty backwards. i am not at all an angry person, just at you.

Dawn on

Jo Jo…I could not have phrased it better myself. If only we all could be accepting of each others choices in life….obviously, this will never happen.

lele on

in my scenario i would not have wanted to touch the typical spanking location which is why i referred to your face the second most common location parents hit. we clearly feel differently about hitting our children. no changing that. let’s leave it at that and go our separate parenting ways.

Jo Jo on

It’s a shame you can’t have a civilized discourse without referring to violence, or being angry at someone. Pity, really – but at least, in your eyes, you consider yourself a good role model for whatever it counts. I’m not angry at you, and you are certainly entitled to your opinion – whether or not I think you are completely off your rocker bears no consequence.

Do what you will, but you should really read over posts before you hit “submit” – most of them simply don’t make sense. If you think you’re so right, then frame your argument appropriately, rather than just telling someone you’re angry at them and want to smack them. I don’t even know why I’m wasting my time addressing you – some people are completely deaf and blind to any view that opposes their own and aren’t rational people – and you, my dear lady, fit that to a “T”.

Anon on

I get really upset when people say spanking is immoral, or disgusting. It kind of hurts me because I was spanked on occasion growing up and I don’t feel my mother or grandmother were being immoral or disgusting. I personally think its just a sign of the times that people feel spanking is this huge travesty. As if not spanking your child is a more high evolved way of parenting. It’s not. It takes a lot of good sense to know when and when not to spank your kid. I can count on my hands the amount of times I’ve been spanked and on each time its been justified. Certain kids, do not care if you take things away from them. If you deny them desert. If you tell them 1,000 times not to do something. For some kids, its an efficient form of discipline. For other kids such as my brother who was very emotionally fragile it wouldn’t work. So my mother did not spank him. A stern talking to was all he needed.

Like I said before its a personal choice and some kids do not need to be spanked. I’ve met some grown adults, who grew up in a non-spanking household who would’ve benefited from something more stern. When I have my own child, I’ll be able to identify what is best for him/her.

Lala on

I have never posted on here before, but felt I needed to express my opinion. My brother and I were smacked as children, usually by my father with his slipper on the back of the legs.
We have grown up into completely different adults. My brother has ‘issues’ shall we say one of which is anger. I would say I am a well balanced adult, settled with a good job. However I certainly do not think that our father has anything to do with my brothers problems. We are a very close to both parents.
The day I have children I would not hesitate to smack them should I feel it was required.

jessicad on

Oops, sorry didn’t mean to start anything! I just think that ever since women started to work, parents stopped spanking, and video games etc etc have come around that kids have gone wild. I was never afraid of a classmate pulling out a gun at school, and I didn’t see 15 year olds walking around in shorts that could be panties and their bottoms are hanging out..because we got in trouble and were actually afraid of the punishment! I didn’t call my mommy and complain about how mean the teacher was to me, I took my punishment and learned a lesson. I think it was JoJo who said kids today have a sense of entitlement, that is SO true. They think they can get away with anything, because they do. I’m sorry but a time out wouldn’t have scared me when I was a kid, big deal, I liked sitting by myself in the quiet haha. I was spanked, not abused, just spanked or hit when I put my life in danger or repeatedly did something wrong, and I learned to listen and respect my parents. I work in the hospital in ct and xray, and trust me there is huge difference between spanking and child abuse, I’ll save you the horror stories of what I’ve seen because I don’t want to get upset either, but to compare the two is ignorant. If you’re child listens to you and a time out works for your family, great. I don’t spank or hit my 19 month old often, but when she runs in the street and almost gets hit by a car, she gets a spanking that hurts just enough that she’ll remember not to do that again, and it’s not really anyone else’s business unless I’m neglecting her, which I’m not.

Sage on

*Julie* “Spanking a child shows a weak and abusive parent” Oh please get over yourself.My parents are amazing, loving, strong and I thank them for discipling me as a child.
People need to be more informed on the differences between abusive parents and those who disciple their children.So don’t you dare sit their and call me an abusive parent if I Decided that spanking my child is an Appropriate disciplinary measure,the same why I do when I Decide to use time outs. I use what I think is going to help my child know that certain things are not acceptable behavior that I want. Let’s face it time outs no matter how correctly they are done don’t solve everything. That is why you can have other methods to correct your child’s behavior,and still do it in a Loving way.

I was spanked as a child and believe it or not I never grew up getting into fights, hitting,or showing agressive behavior towards my peers or anyone as a matter a fact.To me weak and abusive parents are those parents who don’t love their children enough to disciple them and let them run around doing anything they want. Not showing them how to behave I consider those to be weak Parents

Erica on

Echoing many here who have said that what works for one child may not work for another. In the case of my family, the “only” thing which kept me in line as a child was a spanking. My older brother (who was a lot less stubborn/prone to getting themselves in dangerous situations/defiant than me) responded better to “time outs”. All my younger brother needed was a stern talking to and he would immediately get the picture. All of us turned out fine, have never been in any kind of physical altercation or had problems with other authority figures.

While it’s a parent’s job to know their child well enough to know which disciplinary strategy works best, no one has the right to tell another parent they are being abusive or a bad parent by spanking because it simply isn’t true.

SH on


Not that it’s any of my business, but do you have just one daughter? You can’t possibly understand where Jo Jo is coming from with the experience of one 4 year old daughter. If you happened to get a “good kid” then she wouldn’t have to be spanked. I have 4 kids (5 and under, 2 of each) and they’re ALL DIFFERENT. I have one that gets spanked once in while (if he does something REALLY bad/dangerous), one that gets spanked very seldom, and the others just respond to a stern look or voice. They also all have gotten time outs. One of them responds to getting her “currency” taken away. Every single one of them goes through the whole discipline spectrum. They all respond differently. And quite frankly, if you don’t find ways to discipline them all effectively, they’ll take over REAL FAST. You’re being way too judgemental. Jo Jo obviously isn’t saying belt beatings are ok, which is what you’re comparing spanking to. I don’t really see anyone on here that would disagree with you saying that abuse is ok. The spanking that people are speaking of on here isn’t abuse.

lele on

i have two children and after reading all of your posts i decided you’re all right. i am going to start smacking and spanking. thank goodness you got through to me over the celebrity baby blog. phew!

Jan on

Interesting how the minute you speak of spanking a child, everyone comes out of the woodwork and the name calling begins. Most of the folks who offer their opinions aren’t even parents with real children. I do NOT believe you should beat a child. That is not my point. I believe you should discipline a child when it is appropriate and their behavior warrants it. Sorry to say, but NO ONE on this earth has the perfect child. These children are beautiful, yes… precious, of course… but perfect, no. They are human. And humans learn by making mistakes.

My step-son was ADHD all through his school age years and didn’t grow out of his behavior until adulthood. His 2nd grade teacher, an “ADHD specialist” called us one night hysterical because she couldn’t take him any more. He pushed kids in line, he hit others, he shoved, he threw rocks at cars, he was vicious, mean and nasty and he did not get “spanked.” We used gentle words, time outs, loss of privaleges, loss of favorite toys… loss of favorite foods… positive reinforcements; we tried dietary changes, doctors, psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists… you name it… everything we could think of to try and help him succeed in life. That is, until one night we got a call from the Principal at his elementary school. This very kindly gentleman calmly told us that in his expert opinion, this child “needed a good old-fashioned spanking right across his bottom.” Guess what? That is the ONLY thing this child ever responded to.

Yes, I got a spanking when I was little. If I disappeared on the way to a friend’s house and detoured to another friend’s, you can bet your booty I got a spanking. If I disrespected my mother, my father (one of the kindest and gentlest men that ever walked this earth) gave me a slap across the face. Just once. That’s all that took! I grew up just fine… and so did my brother and sister. We are all loving parents, kind and gentle human beings, and respectful of authority. Generations past learned a thing or two and when you compare the kids today to the kids from yesterday, one thing is certain. Past generations used sir and ma’am. Past generations respected the law and dropping out of school wasn’t even an option. Some of the older kids today were given too much leeway as children and there is no respect for their elders, their educators, or the law. That my friends is the travesty.

lele on

I have too much emotion in my posts…this says it better and from a wonderful source.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and many other professional organizations are strongly opposed to spanking. All children need discipline on hundreds of occasions but there are alternatives to spanking. Redirecting (distracting) the child, taking away a privilege, or sending a child to his or her room are some of the other ways to discipline. We can raise children to be agreeable, responsible, productive adults without ever spanking them.

Silvermouse on

I agree with you Jan too. My mom would smack me 2 or 3 times for intentionally spilling an entire gallon of orange juice on the floor, walking on a busy street whenI was 3 near our new house, stuff and talking back. Despite this, we have a pretty good relationship, however, we do get in some small spats (I’m 20, she’s 59) but it normally blows over. Every case is different.

DJE on

Love ANON’s comment!! We have 9 kids and each kid is different!! I have swatted (on the rear) some of my kids and a look does the trick for others. I was spanked as a child and love my parents so very much!! My children are well adjusted, bright and happy, some are spanked(rarely, but it does happen) and some just need a look. so many people today do very little to punish their little darlings, only to have disrespectful selfish little brats on their hands who they blame others for not not liking. My job is to raise children that will turn into adults that other people enjoy being around, not spoiled people who expect that the world revolves around them!! I have 5 respectful, wonderful teenagers, so i think that I am doing something right!!

Jo Jo on


You really, really don’t get it, and it’s sad you’re able to raise intolerant, judgemental, and eventually warped kids. I would be a heck of a lot more concerned about that than the fact that you’re floating on a self-perceived cloud of holiness because you don’t spank, unable to recognize the fact that each child has their own personality, level of willfulness, stubborness,etc. and all that needs to be taken into consideration as you PARENT them – not BEFRIEND them. Kids must learn that in life, their actions have consequences – some are positive, others are negative. Your kids are going to be in for a real shock once they get out in the real world – I’m really sure about that.

I consider AAP just like I consider every other medical-based entity that vascillates their positions every few years. No red meat. Yes red meat. No coffee. Yes coffee. Yes wine. No wine. Then yes wine again. You have to take everything with a grain of salt, and apply GUIDELINES – because that’s what they are – recommended GUIDELINES – to best suit your life.

And you DO have some serious anger issues. And intolerant. And I think a little nuts.

Jaso on

I was spanked growing up. Never been in a fight, never started a fight, never wanted to. No anger issues, antisocial behaviors, anything. Remarkably well adjusted. Love my parents and still talk to them regularly. Will I spank my own kids when/if I have them? Dunno. Parenting style is personal – it’s about what works for the individual. I’m sure there are plenty of sociopaths who were spanked and plenty of sociopaths who weren’t spanked. Big government and nonprofit agencies will always err on the side of caution, i.e. cook pork until there’s no pink in the middle (unnecessary now due to better food regulations), and spanking falls right in line with that. Some parents can’t understand what spanking is and it escalates quickly into actual violent child abuse, so it’s best to just tell everyone to not spank for that small percentage out there who won’t be able to handle it.

Tee on

You hit the nail on the head, Jo Jo! The American Academy of Pediatrics is nothing but a guideline. Their word is not meant to be taken as a law!

Cathryn on

Lele, I’m with you. I don’t want to argue with everyone trying to make sure their right to hit (spank, smack, whatever you want to call it) their kid is protected, I just want you to know that there are some people out there who can understand where you are coming from! (And yes, I was spanked as a child, and no, I do not agree with it).

emily on

Of the people on here who condone spanking, but not hitting, could someone please tell me how one can spank a child without hitting? I’m curious.

Jax on

LE LE– I would love to invite you to have a msn chat with me or an email chat. I am no parent myself (yet), but I love children and some day would like one of my own. I would be really interested in hearing and discussing with you how you discipline your children. I think it would provide some useful tips for me some day. I don’t believe in spanking myself– and I was spanked as a child (too frequently)– but what was worse was the name calling and put downs. But look at me now– I’m a University Graduate (something my dad never thought I could do). Anyways, give me a shout on msn or something

Anon on

Thanks DJE.

Umm to answer emilys question. Spanking is defined as “A number of slaps on the buttocks delivered in rapid succession, as for punishment”. While hitting is simply defined as “To come into contact with forcefully; strike”. So there are a lot of very degrees of hitting from spanking with purpose to nonsensically beating some be it a child or a stranger.

I was talking about this subject over dinner(along with the vaccination subject lol) and my friend brought up an interesting point. Most parents love their children, the parents who choose to spank love their children no less. In every single culture on this earth, whether its latino culture, black, west indian, asian, south east asian, pacific islander… children receive physical punishment. This isn’t by accident. Its something that has been time tested. NOT spanking however is relatively new movement and is perhaps tied into some of the societal issues we have?

My other friend who is a psychology professor has another good point too. Humans are animals, arguably the most complex animals on earth and every other ‘lower’ animal also responds best to a mix of physical and positive reinforcement.

At the end of the day, people are going to do what they want, but I just don’t appreciate when people feel the need to invalidate others opinions.

Silvermouse on

Oh and that’s a killer pic of Gwen Stefani near the title. I ❤ her despite our difference in opinions regarding spanking.

Sophy on

If you take a giant step backwards and look at this from a totally neutral standpoint, what is spanking? It’s the act of an authority figure hitting a child. Why? To make them stop an undesirable behavior. How? This is the question where I come unstuck.

How does spanking persuade the child to stop? Is it through the shock of being hit by a parent? Is it through the physical pain of the smack? Either way, it’s a totally undesirable emotion in a child, IMO. I want them to respect and heed me, and behave because they know it’s the right thing to do, not because they consider the pain of a swat on the behind and decide to avoid it. Fear of pain is a good motivator, but not something that should be necessary in disciplining children, in my humble opinion.

My grandmother used to say that you train dogs, but you teach children. That’s the big distinction for me.

Katie on

Well, I just read this entire post for kicks and giggles. I’m not a parent, but am expecting my first child this December. I won’t say that I disagree with anyone’s views…but I will say Jo Jo, I agree with you 100%, as a non-parent and as a child who was never spanked. Just because I wasn’t spanked (or didn’t need to be) does not mean my children will behave the same way. They’ll be growing up in a completely different environment than I did, and I’m a completely different person than my mother and father.

I think if someone chooses not to spank their kids, that’s wonderful and I hope it works for them the way it worked for my mom. But for those parents who do spank, that’s great too…because if you don’t do it, I’ll be temmpted to next time I see your kid throw a fit in a restaurant and disrupt the entire establishment. 🙂

lele on

had to come back to share this story… i was at the grocery store today with my two little girls. there was a mom with twin girls about my older daughter’s age (4) and a baby probably about 6 mos. the twin girls were bugging their mother – we’ve all been there…she looked annoyed and tired and then one of the twins did something bad .. i was not sure but something the mom thought was bad enough to start smacking them in a “spanking” manner and the place froze. she stopped and turned her back and the kids then started misbehaving again and she came charging toward them and they flinched in fear. it was horrible to watch. i was happy to see that the entire area of the store was staring at her and upset. it was so hard for me to see it and then to think of these conversations we had here and the way i was made fun of by jojo and told i was a bad parent. i watched that today and without a doubt know i am right and the people that smack and spank their kids are wrong. glad to know my fellow grocery shoppers agreed.

and yes to the last poster… the kids fear the pain and the smack and it does not correct the behavior. i saw that in action today. they were scared of her and then acted out again. my girls were staring at the entire thing. yuck.

i am sure no one will read this but i have been thinking about this all day and had to say something.

Sarah M. on

JoJo – Very well said! I couldn’t agree with you more!! Very good example with the kid running into the parking lot, too. As it happens way too often, and is now overlooked way too often, too!!

Sarah M. on

And lele, that example is of a mother who probably has confused spanking with beating. The proper course of action for her would probably have been to leave, regardless of the fact that all of her shopping wasn’t done! And to discipline them how she chose fit IN PRIVATE.

brannon on

wow. i agree with all of you who are shocked at the number of commenters advocating HITTING their children. very very sad and horrifying. i am in absolute disbelief. (even more so that those who HIT their kids say that the misbehaved kids are the ones not being hit – then why are you hitting yours?)

mary on

I am not stating my opinion on the issue of spanking in this post. I am only going to state my opinion on the way people are expressing themselves here and behaving towards each other. Whether you are for or against spanking, disagreeing with someone else’s opinion by calling them nuts, a bad parent, intolerant, crap, or ignorant doesn’t help to progress the dialogue.

It is even worse when the comments turn negative towards the children of someone who has stated something you disagree with. For me, at least, whatever point you were trying to make becomes lost. It’s hard to respect anyone when they believe it is appropriate to talk to other human beings in that way.

Puck on

i’m not going to add alot to this discussion other than to say that where i live (sweden) it is illegal to hit your child and that includes spanking!

jaQ on

agreed with number 71. my mother occasionally hit us with the spoon when we were young. i hated the thing– she had drawn a frown on it… i was always hiding them, scribbling over the little face. 😦 there were four of us. none of us have ever been in any fights. some of us have issues, unrelated to spanking, while others are growing up into fantastic young adults. i’m so proud of my siblings, and we all love our parents.

my to-be-6-year-old son has always been one of the best behaved children a parent could hope for. i can’t even remember spanking him. my daughter, on the other hand, has pushed every button i have, six times over, and no matter what is done, she still runs wild. her father spanks, while i don’t. and yep, she listens to him. she listens and stays in line for her grandmother as well. here’s mommy, getting walked all over, trying to reason with her, give time outs and take things away. for this girl, it’s not working, and she needs the spankings. it breaks my heart, but some kids just need it.

berlinhairbaby on

3 year olds are nuts and I appreciate Gwen’s honesty – its annoying when celeb’s pretend everything is perfect. She looks fantastic and I’m glad to see her back to her punk & ska roots! I just did a hair tutorial featuring Gwen’s signature look for this tour.

T on

Being spanked didnt bother me. Being told “I wish you were never born.” by my mother did. So who cares about your stupid debate. It was a article about Gwen Stefani and her experience with motherhood not a soap box invitation. And I think Gwen is great.

AC on

I was spanked a lot (as a last resort) and i’ll say that I do tend to hit things when im frustrated. it takes some self restraint for me not to hit people, kids, animals (not HARD but still) when im frustrated with them. I don’t hit which is important but I usually have an overwhelming urge to.

This may be a personality thing…

starfish5 on

JoJo you are complaining that people are judging you but your posts are by far the most harsh and judgmental on here.
Please, not all kids who aren’t spanked are out of control brats whose parents have been “beaten down” by them or happen to have less persistent temperament. Spanking is not the only form of effective discipline, as you seem to believe. That’s fine that it works for you but it’s unfair and self-righteous to claim that those who don’t spank are weak, bad parents who don’t care if their children make it to adulthood. You want the right to discipline as you see fit, well then please afford others that same right.

Maria on

I love Gwen’s music and her clothing lines! I wish that she would design maternity clothes.

As to the question of spanking, I agree with many of the posts that every child is different. I was spanked, but not very often. Time-outs, grounding, and extra chores were more of a punishment for me. I was slapped across the face once when I was about twelve for cussing at my dad, and totally think that I deserved it.

Silvermouse on

T and Mary, I agree with you. I cannot believe that people get so into this that they feel like the internet is a wonderful place to get into it. I’m just waiting for this huge eruption to take place 😉 with all this energy being put into this “spanking arguement”
Jessicad, I agree with you entirely. It’s almost frightening how media, electronics, and such are playing into children’s lives. I mean, I watched television and played on the computer as well (back in the early 90s)

zen on

Unfortunately, the people advocating spanking or swatting know deep-down inside that the lowest common denominator of parent uses physical punishment quite frequently and escalates the pain infliction. You speak of knowing when to spank, well, quite frankly, the uneducated masses do not know this and just use spanking or hitting right away when they do not get the reaction or behavior they want.

This is humanity. Humanity does not consist entirely of smart, calm, rational parents; humanity is generally and historically aggressive, violent, irrational, fearful. Review the historical data.

Seriously, your idealization of spanking parents is quite sad!

mar on

i agree that all children are different and react different to spanking. i try distractions, like tv, reading, walks, just something to relieve pent up energy but i do spank and i dont think it has any adverse effect. over all i think he is well adjusted friendly and loving. if ur child throws tantrums and shows bad behavior maybe its a reflection of wat u r doing as a parent.wat i truly don’t believe in is the “positive discipline” system. i don’t see how that! wud work.

corrina on

hey jojo,
I would have to say if anyone on here were nuts, it’s most certainly you! I’m not interested in telling you where I stand on this issue, but seriously, you are a wind bag. You’re clearly one of “those people.” The type who is certain their opinion is the only opinion. I think you like to hear yourself spew a bunch of nonsense rhetoric so you can sound so intelligent. It’s ridiculous, as are 99% of the foolishness you’ve posted. You continually attack lele because she’s so one sided and can’t see any way but her way, but I would have to say that would apporopriately describe yourself. Ugh, it’s so annoying that there are so many people out there like that. Uneducated, ignorant and full of opinions.