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Pastor’s Wife Draws Concern After Saying She Spanked Her Toddler For Not Being Happy To See Her

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A pastor’s wife is turning heads after she proudly revealed how she punished one of her kids when they were just a toddler. 

According to the woman, the punishment was a “perfect opportunity” to teach her child about respecting authority figures. However, many others perceived it as just plain cruel. 

The woman said she spanked her toddler for not being happy to see her when she picked her up from a friend’s house. 

Nancy Wilson is the wife of pastor Doug Wilson, who preaches at a church in Moscow, Idaho. Together, the two have three children and 17 grandchildren. In addition to being a homemaker, Nancy has authored several books about navigating life and parenting as a Christian, including, “The Silver Lining: A Practical Guide for Christian Grandmothers,” which is intended to be a guide for grandparents when it comes to interacting with their grandchildren. 

While Nancy’s children are well into their adulthoods with kids of their own now, she shared that when they were toddlers, she would use spanking as a punishment whenever they misbehaved. And by misbehaved, she meant when they would express disappointment upon having to stop playing with their friends for the day. 

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Sitting alongside her husband, Wilson recalled an incident where she picked up their daughter, Rachel, who was about four years old at the time, from a neighbor’s house while she was playing with some friends.  When Rachel saw her mother walk in and knew that it was time to go home, she said, “Aw, is it time to go?” obviously upset that she had to put a pause on the fun. While the little girl did not hurl herself to the floor and pitch a fit, Wilson believed it was the “perfect opportunity” to teach her a lesson about respect. 

“I did give her a spanking,” the mother confessed. 

She claimed that her daughter should always be excited to see her, no matter where she was or what she was doing. 

pastor's wife spanked her toddler for not being happy to see herPhoto: Ikostudio / Canva Pro

The next time Wilson dropped Rachel off at a friend’s house, she reminded her how she should act when it was time to leave. “Now remember when I come, you’re gonna say, ‘Hi Mom!’ You’re not gonna say, ‘Aw, is it time to go?’” Wilson said.

Many people were mortified that Nancy would resort to such cruel punishment for a young child over something so minor. 

“All about submission and obedience. Scary,” one X (formerly known as Twitter) user commented. “She just taught Rachel that her body isn’t hers but that others get to decide what she does,” another user pointed out. “Horrible. Using physical violence to force a child to pretend emotions they aren’t feeling. No wonder so many people are screwed up,” another user wrote. 

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While Nancy may have believed that spanking her toddler would earn her toddler's respect, psychologists argue the opposite happens. 

Spanking a child only leads to them fearing and resenting you in the long run, and affects the way they interact with others. 

pastor's wife spanked her toddler for not being happy to see herPhoto: DimaBerlin / Shutterstock

"In my experience, corporal punishment (or spanking, whooping, hitting, beating, etc.) often promotes more aggressive behavior in the child at home and in school,” Alexis Hansen, a family therapist reported to GoodTherapy. “The child who is punished with spanking is often left with few skills to cope when difficult situations and emotions arise, and they tend to repeat the modeled behavior of the parent by turning to physical aggression to solve problems.” 

Hansen added that most of the children and teenagers she has worked with who are being spanked at home often express the desire of wanting to escape home. They view the punishments as abuse. 



If you want your children to abide by certain rules, there are other methods other than hitting them that will keep peace within the family. 

“Consequences can include taking away privileges (use of video games, phone, etc.) and grounding or time-out, depending on the age of your child,” Hansen said. 

Parents should also focus on rewarding their children for their good behavior if they want to earn not only their respect but also their trust and love. 



These rewards do not have to be extravagant. They can be as simple as taking your child to the park, playing a game with them, or watching a movie together. 

As a parent, you are supposed to be your child’s fiercest protector and their biggest cheerleader, not the monster in their nightmares. Instead of your first instinct being to hit your child when they display normal human emotions, it should be to sit them down, and calmly explain to them how they could handle things differently next time.

It doesn’t hurt to also understand where your children may be coming from, and offer them a hug instead of a slap. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.