Life Advice


Health & Spirit

I don't like my girlfriend spanking her son

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My longtime girlfriend is a single mom. I have a very good relationship with her son.

She spanks him, and I don't believe in spanking. I talked to her about it a lot, we argued some, and then finally several months ago she told me she was going to stop. As far as I knew, she did.

But then last week her son told me he wished I lived with them. I asked him why and he said, "Because my mom doesn't spank me when you're around."

She admitted she hasn't stopped spanking him, she's just stopped doing it in my presence. She then said I had no right to talk to her son about her behind her back, and later that day she spanked him in front of me over something very minor, which I think was her way of telling both him and me that she's the boss.

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I'm upset enough that I'm thinking about breaking up with her, but I worry about the effect that would have on her son. How should I proceed? Should I talk to an expert or something?

-- Upset

Your girlfriend is abusing her son, so, yes, you need to talk to an expert.

Please call Childhelp, 1-800-4-A-CHILD. It's a nonprofit for the prevention of child abuse.


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