If I regret anything as a parent, I regret spanking my kids. With an interminable passion, I regret spanking them. I stopped when they were very young, so I don’t know if they even remember it. I hope they don’t.

It’s a subject that goes way beyond merely being controversial. Especially in the part of the country I grew up in, spanking was just par for the course. So is the phrase, “I got my ass whooped as a kid and I turned out just fine!”

My internal monologue answers that with “The fact that you actually just said that proves that you did not turn out just fine.”

It sickens me to hear parents endorse it with whatever twisted logic they drum up. As a mother, I found absolutely no reason to hit my children other than feeding my own frustrations. It serves no purpose. None. It does not teach a lesson. It does not punish. It does not remind or enforce. It does absolutely nothing but teach our children that adults are bigger, stronger, and use physical abuse to solve their problems.

Our society has normalized and legitimized hitting our children by renaming it and perpetuating it and excusing it as a valid parenting technique. Full stop.

What if we suddenly began calling it by its proper name? Hitting. Beating. Child abuse.

How many upstanding, successful, admirable, self-righteous parents would suddenly be marked with such a disgusting label? Myself included? How many adult children would rise to defend their otherwise impeccable parents?

I have heard adult children claim that they deserved it. They stand behind the practice and their parents. They even do it to their own children. They perhaps even allow their parents to do it to their grandchildren.

I don’t care how many Parent of the Year trophies line your mantle. I don’t care how many degrees and successes your children have earned. I don’t care how beautiful your home is, the number of chairs round your dining room table at Christmas dinner, or your respectable reputation in “the church.”

If you have spanked a child, you have hit a child.

I got my ass whooped as a child. And I turned out just fine. I love my parents. My mother is my best friend. But I’d like to quote her from a conversation we had just this weekend. “There was a time when it just became totally pointless because you’d just turn around and laugh in my face.”

Do you have any idea what kind of mental discipline I had to instill in myself to be able to hold back my tears so that I could actually turn around and laugh in her face? I remember it. It was a process that took me many, many weeks. I mentally and emotionally hardened myself against it. I talked myself up like the coach from every boxing movie ever made. I honed that voice in my mind that screamed, “You’re a pussy! You little whiny piece of shit! You better not f**king cry!” I was only 6 years old. And that was my inner voice, filthy and angry as it was at such a young age, steeling my mind against the half-inch-wide cutting board across my little baby backside.

More than the pain, my emotional memories with regard to spanking are of helplessness and domination. Those two things are emotions that have shaped the girl I am today more than any other experience or lesson in the entirety of my childhood.

I learned more from those weeks of taking myself through that mental process than from any and every spanking I ever received. I found more pride from teaching myself how to laugh than any other achievement I have ever earned.

What would we do if all our children turned around and laughed in our faces?

I hope they do. Quite frankly, looking back on it, I wish I had had the balls to turn around and punch my mother in the face. Because if anyone put their hands on me today, that is exactly what I would do.