Actress Eva Mendes sparks online parenting debate on spanking

Parenting experts weigh in after Mendes, a mother of two, touched off a social media storm with an Instagram post comparing spanking to abuse in a marriage.
4:22 | 04/22/21

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Transcript for Actress Eva Mendes sparks online parenting debate on spanking
Now to the parenting debate over spanking. Actress and mother of two, Eva Mendes sparking a firestorm on social media about all of that. Take a look. Are you ready? Reporter: Actress and model Eva Mendes turning heads. This time sparking a debate about spanking online. The 47-year-old actress posting this photo on Instagram writing I'm often ask what had pie favorite red carpet dress is. I'm not often ask what had my favorite parenting quote is. Spanking does for a child's development what hitting a spouse does for marriage. The post drawing compliments and criticism, Mendes who shares two daughters with actor Ryan gosling replying to comments on her post. Thank you for your comment, so happy to agree to disagree. We all parent in our own way and I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time. This didn't come with a manual. Lots of love. And joining us live to talk more about spanking are parenting experts Erica suit enand Rachel thanks for being with us. What is the research tell us about spanking? Well, the research tells us that there are no benefits to spanking. It's just not effective in stopping behavior problems in the long run but what spanking can do is it can create a kid who is scared for their safety and can make it harder for them to learn what we're trying to teach them. The American academy of pediatrics came out a few years ago and said stop spanking your kids. It can lead to mental health problems and kids becoming more aggressive. If you're a pandemic parent at the end of your rope sometimes and if you happen to spank your kid one time doesn't mean you're an abusive parent. Doesn't mean you're a bad parent or your kid will be damaged A lot of us are products of spanking and so, you know, this has been a very big hot button issue for parents for a very long time. Ericka, where do you fall on the spanking debate? Well, I think 50% of parents spank, some say. It is important to say there are cultural factors at play. I am African-American, my husband is cuban-american. We both grew up in families that thought spanking was the right way to discipline. It's something that we don't do but I think it's important for everyone to remember that parents who spank don't want to hurt their children, they don't want to scar them but this is the way they have been taught to instill discipline and a sense of right and wrong and to think before you do something wrong. When I talk about spanks I like to offer examples of ways they can discipline without spanking. You know, where they can help their children learn to be good kids and respect authority without actually hitting them. Yeah, and speaking to those alternative, Rachel what, do you suggest to parents who need to discipline their children and sometimes people say, I spank if they're running out in the street or about to touch something hot, something they'll remember not to do again but what are some alternatives to those moments where it really is a tense situation? All right, so the first thing we have to do is we do what we tell them. We have to use our words and not our hands. You catch your kid doing something, you say what you're doing right now isn't okay. I need it to stop. If it doesn't stop there's a we can explain why, but you also as the parent have the right to say because I said so like let's bring that back but, second, we have to model the behavior we want to see. If I want my child to settle her conflict with her word, I have to give her the tools because cease's going to learn by watching me. We're the 250e67er and discipline doesn't have to be physical. There's time-outs, taking away privileges, it's not just about consequences but teaching would we want them to be in this world and we set that tone. Ericka, I know you have tips from parents as well. Right, you don't want to wing this discipline thing. You want to number one go in have a plan in place. Number two, pick a punishment that fits your child. Not every child is going to respond to the same punishment. And lastly follow through with the punishment. If, you know, you threaten them, look, you'll lose your iPad if you keep doing that and they keep doing that, take it away. Make sure you follow through and that they know that you are serious. I think these are all excellent tips for our parent, pandemic parent, it's a whole new level. Ericka, Rachel, thank you for your time. We appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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