You shouldn’t smack your child if he or she says you’re fat any more than I should smack YOU if you say I’M fat.

Don’t hide your bully behavior behind the guise of “kids need to be taught respect.”

One day a story broke about Jeanine McDonald (below) who used to weigh 208 and then lost 77 pounds – after her son told her she was “really fat.”

A reader named Jamie posted that had she said that to her mother she was a youngster, “I would have been smacked.”

Jamie’s post generated some backlash, mostly (thank goodness) by readers feeling that she didn’t have her head on straight.

“Kids are honest and he wasn’t being hurtful at all,” says McDonald in the story, who had four boys ages three to nine at the time, and three of them were autistic.

Jamie believed the boy should have been smacked. So did a few other readers.

What kind of example, message and lesson would McDonald had set for her son had she smacked him?

• Wow, just got biffed in the face by Mom; I respect her even more! NOT !

• Son you pissed me off but because I’m bigger than you I get to hit you.

• Gee, Mom gets unraveled easily. I thought she was stronger than that.

• Man, when I’m bigger I’m gonna hit her back!

• Gee, she wonders why I hardly talk to her. I never know what’s gonna set her off.

The story does not say which child said she was “really fat.” Nor which of the three are autistic. So for all we know, the three-year-old made the comment and is autistic.

So according to Jamie’s twisted mind, this mother should have struck a three-year-old with autism in the face.

If I met Jamie in person and said, “You look really fat,” and she hit me in the face, this would be deemed an assault – by legal standards – and is against the law!

But I can fight back. A boy between age three and nine CANNOT defend himself against the much bigger hand that feeds him!

Many of Jamie’s critics pointed out that the remark motivated the woman to lose weight, and of course, McDonald herself attributes her weight loss success to that single comment – it gave her the motivation and fire she desperately needed.

She was even inspired to take up strength training for the first time. I wonder how many mothers would have instead lashed out at their child, then lit a cigarette and sulked all day and never did a thing to get healthier.

But McDonald turned a lemon of a comment into sweet lemonade.

A few feeble minded supporters of Jamie pointed out that “Kids today lack manners.”

So how do we teach kids to have manners?

Slug ‘em in the face? Even a light slap won’t do the trick. It’ll just make the child angrier or more afraid.

• Fearing a parent is not the same as feeling respect.

• Showing manners only to avoid getting hit could please only a feeble minded parent.

• A child should show manners because they’ve been instructed to rather than bullied into it.

What if Jamie’s boss at work got mad at something she said to him (“Oh by the way your belly looks eight months preggers”) and he slapped her in the face?

I’m sure she’d be talking to a lawyer first chance she got and claiming assault and battery.

But it’s okay to strike a defenseless child, right? WTF!

News flash: Children tend to honestly tell it like it is and don’t mean any harm.

For all we know, that little boy used the same tone of voice he’d use if he were to say, “Hey it’s raining.”

It’s not as though he said in a sneering voice, “Mom, you’re a cow! Your thighs are so ugly!” Imagine the tone of voice that would accompany these words.

But to say that Mom is “really fat” in the honest way that McDonald points out – there could have been concern in the boy’s voice.

Again, we don’t know which one said it, but the oldest are nine and seven – old enough to understand that obesity is a health hazard.

So if I call YOU fat, will you smack me in the face? You might, but chances are pretty high that you won’t, even though you’d strike your own little boy or girl in the face for saying the same thing to you.

Why wouldn’t you hit ME?

• You’re afraid of two more hits: me hitting you, and you hitting the ground.
• You’re afraid of getting arrested for assault.

Imagine what a child thinks of a parent who assaults them. Yes, if me hitting you is “assault,” then it’s just as much “assault” when a parent hits a child. Understand?

So imagine what that child would think. What parent in his or her right mind would be okay with their child seeing them as a bully?

A very young child will think in even worse terms. An older child will think the word “abusive.”

Any parent who’d hit a child for saying they look fat or are getting really fat would certainly strike that child for all sorts of other innocent and honest comments. A parent is either a bully or is not.

If you want your children to have manners, then model this behavior. If you want your kids to respect you, then don’t act like a bully. Name one adult bully you respect and trust. Go ahead, name ONE.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
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