Why Snooki Will Never Spank Her Kids, Even Though She Was Spanked Growing Up: ‘It’s Terrifying’

05/24/2016 at 02:00 PM ET

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi isn’t shy about dishing on her experiences with parenting, from judgmental moms to the importance of prioritizing mommy and daddy time.

Now, the 28-year-old Jersey Shore alum also shares how she feels about one aspect of discipline that’s a hot-button topic of debate among parents: spanking.

“Are you guys against spanking?” the mom of 3½-year-old Lorenzo Dominic and Giovanna Marie, 20 months, asks the other women in the room for a segment of PEOPLE’s Mom Talk series. “Because I grew up with spanks, and it terrified me.”

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“I’m against it because I know what [that’s like],” replies Selenis Leyva, 43, who stars on Orange Is the New Black and has a 13-year-old daughter named Alina. “And not that my parents were abusive — they just believed, ‘You’re my kid, if I gotta spank you, I’m gonna spank you.’ ”

“It’s terrifying!” Polizzi says, and Leyva agrees, sharing a story about how her mother used to effectively warn her against misbehaving just by picking up a tree branch at the park.

Polizzi has found something that works for her, though: simply walking out of the room and going about her business when her kids throw tantrums.

“I literally just walk into the kitchen, ignore them … and then they come over and they say, ‘I’m okay now,’ ” she shares. “I’m at the stage of parenthood right now where I just need to stop entertaining them.

“The more you pay attention to that [kind of behavior], the worse it gets,” she adds.

Jen Juneau

FILED UNDER: Mom Talk

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Showing 27 comments

jimmy on

Guest is now an authority on child rearing; like Snooki too, two clowns right in their element as the circus laughs at them

Cray on

Snooki spanked as a child? Obviously created enough trauma to have her turn out like a nutjob!

Anonymous on

Cute kids

L on

She is beautiful as mum…. her attitude is cute as well….. I love also her pic of her babies.

Tammy on

Cute babies.

buttona on

She is 100% correct. I noticed with my first child that spanking did not work. Parents just use it to release their own frustrations. What works is paying close attention when they are good and ignoring the bad. Treat them with respect and you get it back tenfold.

M on

‘It’s Terrifying’

Isn’t that the point? Corporal punishment use fear to make a child behave. The child won’t do anything bad because they know getting a spanking would be the consequence. My sister was the black sheep of the family and hardheaded. Later on it was obvious it didn’t matter if you gave her a spanking, talked to her, or took all her privileges away (from hanging out with her friends, using the phone, etc.), she still did whatever she wanted to do. However, seeing what happened to my sister made me never got into trouble because I didn’t want spanking.
Of course every child isn’t the same. Meaning other punishment or more effective than others.

M on

‘It’s Terrifying’

Isn’t that the point? Corporal punishment use fear to make a child behave. The child won’t do anything bad because they know getting a spanking would be the consequence. My sister was the black sheep of the family and hardheaded. Later on it was obvious it didn’t matter if you gave her a spanking, talked to her, or took all her privileges away (from hanging out with her friends, using the phone, etc.), she still did whatever she wanted to do. However, seeing what happened to my sister made me never got into trouble because I didn’t want spanking.
Of course every child isn’t the same. Meaning other punishment or more effective than others.

M on

‘It’s Terrifying’
Isn’t that the point? Spanking use fear to make a child behave. The child won’t do anything bad because they know getting a spanking would be the consequence. That’s why I never did anything bad as a child.
My parents didn’t use spanking to get out their frustrations or anger or whatever BS excuse people who are against spanking think of.
Of course every child isn’t the same. Meaning other punishments or more effective than others.

Lulu on

Parents individually should parent their child on what they think is best. If you think your kid is well behaved because of time-outs then go for it. If you believe in spankings then go for it. For me, I grew up in a black family. So of course spankings was the ideal punishment. Never went to jail, don’t have angry issues, and I graduate from college.

bugsforever on

If the parent is enraged while doling out the spanking, I agree that it would be terrifying. But I think it’s the anger that frightens and upset kids the most- not the smack on the butt.
I reserved the smacks for the few times I had to get the kid’s attention- either safety situations like running into the the streets without looking, or out-of-control moments-like a tantrum in a grocery store.

Carrotthebunny on

I don’t believe in spanking either and my kids are turning out just fine. We don’t need to yell or scream or spank. Mutual respect between parents and kids is what is needed. Parents need to be parents, not friends. Be firm with rules but fun also. I was fortunate though because none of my kids were ever tantrum throwers. I seriously think spanking sends the wrong message. I am happily raising children without it🙂

Meena on

I spanked up until 8. My son is fine.

sally on

You do NOT need to spank. Time out, time in their room to think it out and then providing a nice LONG lecture/talk works the best. One of the worst things I saw before I had kids was a mother screaming at her son how bad it was that he hit his sister- then she proceeded to slap the heck out of him. Wow, wonder where he learned it from? So many so called parents who have no clue how to raise a child. Take a class, read a book, ask questions. PLUS the way the young parents swear around their kids is disgusting. Smoking weed, cigarettes, getting drunk- SO much bad parenting. Kids are ALWAYS listening and watching. They learn from what YOU do.

sally on

I never needed to spank my kids. Anger is what makes people spank. Be a teacher- explain and teach them why their behavior is wrong. Violence teaches just that! Some of the worse parenting behaviors is watching black mother’s with their kids at Walmart. OMG- they call their kids names, swear at them. grab them and even spank hit them in public. I saw a black man beat the crap out of his very young child while throwing her in the back of the car. Still HAUNTS me today. Violence against children NEEDS to be reported.

sally on

Meena or is it MEANa above-
So you think your son is fine. Is he? How do you know. Trying to make guilty self feel better?

Guest on

Spanking is for unintelligent lazy parents who can’t be bothered to actually speak to their children and create meaningful punishments to deter bad behavior.

There are countries where spanking is legally considered child abuse, and I agree with that.

Lynne on

Spanking is never acceptable., or effective. Next time you are really upset, how about if someone socks you, is that going to calm you down or make you feel better? Didn’t think so. You might get bullied or scared into submission, but what parent wants that for their child?

Kay on

I agree with her on this one. I have wonderful parents that only spanked me a handful of times, but I remember each one perfectly. They are the only clear memories I have of my parents before the age of six or seven and I hate that those are the memories that have stuck. I will never risk that happening to my own children.

katiefanatic on

it can go both ways. my sister and i were spanked and now if she argues with her hsuaband, she worries she’s gonna get hit or even if he raises his arm to hug her, she flnches. I on the other hand am a firm believer in spanking and hold no ill will towards my mother for doing it. i think this country would be a much better place if the kids of today got backhanded more often.

Cacci on

Could those kids be cuter? Anyway, my husband and I don’t spank our kids. No rhyme or reason….we just don’t. They are very kind and have respect for others, they do well in school, are involved in sports and I hear all the time about how nice they are. Just saying……

whyandwhynot on

I was spanked occasionally as a child. Not often and not brutally. My parents were both very careful never to spank when they were angry, so the few times they resorted to it were minimal. When I had my daughter, I believed in the same kind of spanking, but following my parents’ example of waiting until the anger subsided, I always found more effective ways to teach her how to modify her own behavior. I never had to resort to spankings. As a child I did get a lot of ‘because I told you so’. With my daughter, I always explained why certain behaviors were unacceptable. That worked much of the time, but when it didn’t, taking away TV or computer time or additional chores did the trick. It never made sense to me to teach a child that hitting someone when they don’t behave as you’d like them to is the way to handle conflict, either as a child or as an adult. Every child is different, though, as are parenting styles.

nikki on

so basically she is just ignoring bad behavior….im not saying spanking is ok, but they should have a time out, and be told why and that behavior is not allowed….but to just walk away..????NOOOOOOOO..why stick your head in the sand, the kid knows nothing…

Slic vic on

Everyone has a right to choose how they decipline their, the hope is that it is within reason. Who would have thought Snooki would be giving out parenting advice?! She’s all grown up now. Good for her and people need to let go of what her silly past was. She was a punk kid like the rest of Jersey Shor cast, who outgrew that stage.

LA on

Talk about two really cute kids. What a nice conversation to hear….good Mommy group.

Find a way on

I am against spanking 100%. There are so many other effective punishments or alternatives to bad behavior then hitting. Every child is different thats why each family has to find their own method. I find that a lot of times walking away from a tantrum, then asking your child why they freaked out goes along way. For us our kid usually feels like we didn’t understand what they needed so out of frustration they snapped. If its just my kid being naughty they get asked to stop or they loose a toy/activity. They then have to do something good to earn it back for the next day. My kids still learning every day and I don’t have to spank them to do that.

rosieglitter on

I was spanked as a kid, no worse for the wear. Scary? Yeah. Terrifying? To a kid, yeah. However, I’m not a disrespectful runt. I guess it worked, to each their own.