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Deconstructing Spanking

Updated: Apr 3

Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!

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There are so many ways we could go with this newsletter this week. We could say our personal thoughts on spanking and why we believe it is so harmful. We could say the ways Esther regrets falling into the trap of Christian fundamentalism and supposed "Biblical discipline of children" and wishes that she could do her parenting all over again without any violence whatsoever. We could say how Lizz has made a hard line never to be crossed when it comes to any kind of physical punishment of her kids because she was so harmed by it and longs to create a safe space in her home. But this week, because it's all so incredibly complicated when it comes to the use of corporal punishment and children and the intertwining of the emotional, sexual, physical, and spiritual ramifications, we choose to let our conversation on the podcast speak for us. We ask you to listen this week of all weeks, especially if you one of these people: 1. Someone who was spanked as a child and wants to unpack the repercussions from it that you may need to work through and possible heal from.

2. Someone who might be on the fence about whether or not this is a valuable tool to use in your parenting and you need good information to make a decision going forward.

3. Someone who doesn't want to spank your kids, but find yourself at a loss of what to do instead and perhaps you (might even) lose it at times and resort to old messaging and forms of punishment.

4. Someone who regrets the way you raised your kids because you spanked them and you want to help to repair and wounds you have inflicted. The most important thing we hope to do in bringing this conversation into the light is bring healing and hope to you, to us, and to all of our collective children (even the one that lives deep inside of us still). This is our work every week, but especially this one. P.S. Please check out our resources below on this topic. They are invaluable.


This Week on the Podcast: *trigger warning*

“My passion is to have a kinder and gentler world for our little people in faith spaces.” (Matt Shantz)

Meet Matt Shantz, husband, dad, social worker in child and adolescent mental health, and spiritual mentor. Matt is our podcast guest this week and we are so grateful to have had one of the most complicated, difficult and needed conversations we've had on the podcast to date.

This week, we tackle the subject of spanking and we do so in a way that will be informative and passionate, full of stories and science, but also allow room for both the heartbreak and hope.

We discuss the trauma of spanking in all categories: physical, spiritual, emotional, relational and even sexual. We share stories (even our own) of harm and also of repair and touch on the way our view of God might be behind how we view the healthy "discipline" of our kids. We chat in depth about the research surrounding spanking, what it says and perhaps why the "Christian church" has been at odds with what's been found (i.e., why do many high-control religions deem spanking as necessary discipline?).

Lastly, we move into a posture of hope for a kinder and gentler future. What can we do instead of resort to violence with our kids? Why is that so important? How can we repair our relationships with ourselves and our kids when we blow it? What should we do if we've been either the victim of spanking or the perpetrator of it? We are so incredibly grateful to Matt for his transparency, vulnerability and passion when it comes to this subject and also recognize that this might be incredibly difficult for some of you to listen to for a host of reasons. It's why we are so glad there is someone like Matt who provides spiritual care and mentorship for wholeness, embracing a client-centered and compassionate approach. Matt's focus is on integrating and supporting spirituality, nurturing emotional wellness, respecting individual beliefs and experiences. Through active listening and non-judgmental guidance, Matt hopes to empower individuals to find meaning, strength, faith and hope. You can find his good work at the following: Website: Instagram: @shantzmatt



Latest News:

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We love helping you walk the tricky tightrope of parenting and deconstructing at the same time!

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Head to this LINK to join us! You won't regret it! And plus, the reality is that you will help us keep the lights on over here at Deconstructing Mamas. We really really want to! Thank you in advance!


Resource Alerts:



This revealing, disturbing, and thoroughly researched book exposes a dark side of faith that most Americans do not know exists or have ignored for a long time-religious child maltreatment.

After speaking with dozens of victims, perpetrators, and experts, and reviewing a myriad of court cases and studies, the author explains how religious child maltreatment happens in Breaking Their Will.

She then takes an in-depth look at the many forms of child maltreatment found in religious contexts, including biblically-prescribed corporal punishment and beliefs about the necessity of "breaking the wills" of children; scaring kids into faith and other types of emotional maltreatment such as spurning, isolating, and withholding love; pedophilic abuse by religious authorities and the failure of religious organizations to support the victims and punish the perpetrators; and religiously-motivated medical neglect in cases of serious health problems.

In a concluding chapter, Heimlich raises questions about children's rights and proposes changes in societal attitudes and improved legislation to protect children from harm. While fully acknowledging that religion can be a source of great comfort, strength, and inspiration to many young people, Heimlich makes a compelling case that, regardless of one's religious or secular orientation, maltreatment of children under the cloak of religion can never be justified and should not be tolerated.


In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

Born out of a series of parents' workshops that combined Siegel's cutting-edge research on how communication impacts brain development with Hartzell's decades of experience as a child-development specialist and parent educator, this book guides parents through creating the necessary foundations for loving and secure relationships with their children.


Can't wait until Tuesday and need just a little snippet from our podcast episode that's coming up on Tuesday, April 2, with Matt Shantz.


One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.

Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,

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