TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 07: Actors Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling attend "The Place Beyond The Pines" p...
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Eva Mendes Shared Her Thoughts On Spanking Kids & It Started A Debate

The actress, who shares two kids with Ryan Gosling, is not a fan of using spankings as a means of disciplining children.

by Morgan Brinlee

Eva Mendes is not a fan of spankings. The Lost River actress, who shares two children with her long-time partner Ryan Gosling, recently shared her views on spanking kids as a form of discipline on Instagram and ended up sparking debate among parents on the topic.

“I'm not often asked what my favorite parenting quote is, but I’ll post it anyway,” Mendes wrote Monday on Instagram while sharing a photo of herself and an image of a quote that appeared to be attributed to the parenting blog Racheous.com. The quote read, “Spanking does for a child’s development what hitting a spouse does for a marriage.”

While Mendes and Gosling, who’ve been together for roughly a decade, have managed to keep much of their relationship and home life private, it was revealed that they had welcomed their first child together via C-section in 2014. The couple named that child, a daughter now 6 years old, Esmeralda Amada. Then in 2016, Mendes and Gosling welcomed their second child, a second daughter they named Amada Lee.

On Instagram, some were quick to agree with Mendes, including YouTuber Dulce Candy, who noted she “only felt fear and shame” after being disciplined with a spanking while growing up. “It never ‘corrected’ behavior,” Candy commented. “I would never hit my child to teach them a lesson and inflict psychological and physical pain, but that’s just me.”

Other commenters, however, sought to respectfully disagree with Mendes.

“Love you but completely disagree,” one follower wrote on Mendes’ post. “The goal in raising kids is not to have to spank, but it’s correcting before they can reason behavior out with you. Completely different than hitting someone. That’s not correcting behavior. We raised 5 respectful loving kind kids that were a joy to be around. Good fruit shows from loving correction.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has, for years now, recommended that parents do not spank, hit, slap, threaten, insult, or use humiliation or shame as a way of disciplining children. In fact, the academy has argued research suggests such forms of punishment or discipline can lead to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes in children. “Research has shown that striking children, yelling at them, or shaming can elevate stress hormones and lead to changes in the brain’s architecture,” AAP said in 2018. “Harsh verbal abuse also is linked to mental health problems in preteens and adolescents.”

Additionally, the American Psychological Association (APA) said in 2012 that it supports “parents’ use of non-physical methods of disciplining children.”

Back on Instagram, Mendes attempted to cultivate a respectful discussion around the topic of spanking by responding to commenters who expressed views on the subject that differed from hers to ensure they felt heard. “I totally respect you,” she wrote in return to the commentator above. “Thank you for a respectful comment. So nice to disagree with respect. I found the quote powerful and wanted to pass it on. Lotsa love to and yours.”

In another comment responding to someone who said they had been spanked as a child and were now “a respectful adult” as a result, Mendes reiterated that she was “happy to agree to disagree.”

“We all parent our own way and I have no idea what I’m doing most [of] the time,” Medes continued. “This didn’t come with a manual so when there’s something that resonates with me, I pass it on.”