Dear Anne-Marie,

I would like to ask you about my 36 month old son. He is so adorable, cute and very smart but sometimes he makes me spank him a little. I hate to do that because at the end of the day I feel so guilty about it but also, I don't want him to get hurt or hurt his little sister who is only 9 months old.

Sometimes he act very rude toward his sister, or when we go to the grocery store, he will run and sing loudly or play around and people have to stop their strollers to avoid hurting him. I feel so embarrassed by that. My husband has no patience with him when he acts badly.

I fight with my husband all the time because of that. I love my kids so much that since they were born I did not work; I do not want to take them to a babysitter. I decided to stay home and take care of them but now I am scared that our son will grow to be violent and full of anger toward others.

Would you please give us some advice?


Hello Dear,

It looks to me that your son is desperate for attention, and he will go to extremes in behavior to get it … even if it means a spanking or getting a negative response from his dad.  Raising one child is not an easy task for anyone and requires great patience, but raising more than one, requires more than just great patience and love, it requires skills that most of us do not have by the time we reach the age of parenthood. If the Fall had not occurred these skills will have been passed down from generation to generation.  Then in the Ideal World of today there would also likely be plenty of great family and community support to help raise high-spirited strong children.

Special note: In ordert o eliminate some physical health issues with your child, one thing you will have to do -- if you have not done it yet -- is to speak to your pediatrician. Your pediatrician should help clear up or eliminate any health related issues, and also he or she could direct you to a professional counselor (if needed) to help you with your child’s behavior.

First things first; in order for you to solve the problem with your son, you must solve the problem between you and your husband. Both of you need to make a plan on how to raise your children. Raising children is team work, not just one parent over the other. You are both upset with your son’s behavior, both frustrated because you do not know how to handle his young personality, and it would be natural if you both felt inadequate to the task.

I would suggest that you two take time with each other to reset your goals on how to raise your family. Take into consideration your finances, your social activities, and religious commitments. All play a part on the guidelines that you are setting for your children. The ultimate goal is for your children to become better people than yourselves and continue in the path that you started when you became a follower of our True Parents.

Your struggle is not unique, it is multiplied by millions in the fallen world and also it is found in many of our own blessed families. Do not put yourselves in a weak position by beating yourselves up, just look up to the finish line and know that you will get there as long as you do it together with God at the center of your being a family.

Now for practical points of advice:

  • Get your hands on good books that relate to your family problems, and read them. The following link: will list several professional counselors and also some books. I have not read them but I would expect, since there are listed on our Blessing Family Department web site, that they are good materials.
  • Do not ever fight in front of your children. If you do not agree with one another about anything -- anything at all, wait until you are alone together to argue about it.
  • Even though you may feel the need for spanking, it should be done extremely sparingly, and lightly, just as a reminder to the child that you are in charge and not him or her. Done too frequently and it will lose its power of persuasion and could work to your disadvantage if the child senses this may be the only way to get the attention he seeks.
  • As a side note: Spanking is often a release mechanism for the parent but it sometimes does not do anything more for the child than possibly accumulating resentment.
  • Your son deserves your love and attention and it should be given to him in adequate amount. Just make sure you do it.  Sometimes it is easy to forget, especially when you have a 9 month old who is asking for the same thing. Your son should have personal time with you and your husband, without the little sister around. Even though you do not like to use a babysitter, you may want to do it once a month -- or even more often than that -- and take your son to the movie or MacDonald’s or a pizza, and all by himself without his sister tagging along.
  • If all else fails, I believe that both of you need to see a good, professional, family counselor. There is no shame whatsoever in doing so and there is too much at risk to not do whatever it may take to set things straight. Remember, you are not just raising a family, you are restoring one.

That is all for now, please keep me posted if you wish,
Take care, both of you,