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Kourtney Kardashian’s parenting sparks Twitter debate

By Brittany Reed 

Reality television star, Kourtney Kardashian, is facing backlash over the behavior of her children after the Sunday, Sept. 22 airing of an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians

During the episode, two of Kardashian’s children, Penelope and Reign Disick, were filmed hitting her in the face, raising their voices, and being disrespectful to their mother. Later in the show, Kardashian and her baby daddy, Scott Disick, got into an argument about physical discipline with her mother’s boyfriend, Corey Gamble, after Kardashian told them how Penelope scratched her nanny’s face, causing her to quit. 

Kardashian, who doesn’t believe in physically disciplining her children, was appalled when Gamble said he would have “whooped [Penelope’s] a-.” After Jenner tells her how serious the situation was, Kardashian backs her daughter’s actions by saying, “I used to f-ing slap my nannies like, bam, across the face.” They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

This entire debacle caused an uproar on Twitter, with people around the world throwing their parenting opinions at Kardashian. Everybody has their own parenting style and the freedom to discipline their children however they feel fit, but are physical discipline methods beneficial to the child in the long run? 

Spanking is often used as a quick way to fix a bad behavior or action and is rarely a pre-planned, thought out decision. Parents with unruly children oftentimes go to spanking out of desperation when they aren’t sure what else to do. However, this doesn’t mean the child understands why they are being punished.

“Children who act out need to be told why that action was wrong and how it endangered or hurt someone else or themselves,” said freshman marine biology major, Kelsey Logan. “I believe when children get spanked, they do not truly learn why the action they did was wrong. They only avoid that action in the future to avoid getting spanked.”

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against physical discipline because of the negative effects it can have on children. Spanking and hitting can cause aggression in children as well as teach them that violence is the way to solve problems. Additionally, spanking can become ineffective over time. 

“I believe spanking is acceptable in the right situation. However, most discipline can be done verbally and with punishment as well,” said sophomore accounting major, Edras Montero. “When a child is not responding to stern verbal discipline or punishment, that is when spanking is acceptable.” 

Other common methods of discipline include grounding, revoking privileges, or ‘time outs.’ These are viewed as better ways to discipline children because of the potentially harmful effects that physical discipline can cause. 

“Spanking should not be the initial form of correction for a child,” said junior marine biology major, Finn Slattery. “Love and affection go a long way and should be the first port of call.”

In my own personal experience, I was never ‘spanked,’ but did receive the occasional pop on the mouth when talking back to my mom. The majority of the time my parents would discipline me by taking away privileges or cancelling playdates with my friends. I have a great relationship with my parents, and the patience and love they used while disciplining me as a child is a big part of why I’m so close to them now.

Maybe Kourtney Kardashian has a point. It’s obvious that she loves her kids a lot and doesn’t want to hurt them, but it’s also important to note that she is their parent, not their friend. Based off of the Friday, Sep. 22 episode, it seems as though any sort of discipline would benefit her children, but it is ultimately up to the parent to decide how their child should be punished. Every child is different, and every child reacts to punishment differently, and the parent knows their child best.

The goal of a parent is to rear a child that has the tools to function on their own as an adult, and if not using physical discipline is the way Kourtney Kardashian does that, then to each their own. In the end if it doesn’t work out, the health-crazed POOSH creator’s children will probably have enough money as adults to figure it out on their own. As the Kardashian parody Instagram account, @norisblackbook, said, “this is what happens when you take gluten out of the home.” 

Brittany Reed can be reached at brittany.reed@spartans.ut.edu 

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