Aug 04, 2015


Un Chancletaso, Time Out or Self-Reflection?

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Latina mom

If you grew up in a Latino home, you know very well the power of the chancleta (slipper).  And for those who don’t, let’s just say that a plain old pair of slippers can command significant fear from rambunctious children, as they run away from stressed-out parents threatening to use it to discipline bad behavior.

The Evolution of Disclipline Styles

The first time I heard about time out was in high school.  The idea that a parent would ask a child to sit quietly and “think about what you did…” was quite impressive to me.  In college, my Child and Developmental Psychology class was eye-opening.  The principles of Adlerian PsychologyJean Piaget’s theories on developmental psychology, the insights offered by attachment theories, all served to redefine, for me, the motives and circumstances of children’s behaviors.


By the time I had my first daughter, I was a deep believer in conversation, in allowing the child to self-express (temper tantrum were considered a form of expression), and to never, ever use corporal punishment.

I even avoided using the words “don’t,” “no” and “you can’t” — to ensure my daughter wouldn’t internalize these limiting words, as advised by the “experts.”

But by the time I had my oldest son, I soon realized that your child’s personality and temperament plays an important role in how you approach discipline.  I found myself yelling and screaming — something I swore I wouldn’t do.  And while I have never used a chancleta, I will admit I have threatened to do so.  Today, my son is quite a young gentleman, a truly great boy. But, it took a combination of disciplining methods, cultural and more modern ones, to guide him in the right direction.

snuggle time bonding

Figuring It Out As You Go…

I have been parenting for 17 years — 4 children ranging from 2 to 17!  Over the years, I have come to realize that sitting down to have a conversation (sometimes a minute long, sometimes half-an-hour), works best for our family.  We also avoid the drama that was so present in my home, growing up.  Our conversation with our children are mature, understanding, compassionate but firm.  The resounding message is that we respect them enough to converse with them about the situation at hand, and figure out how to move forward.


We also keep our eyes and ears open, all the time.  We watch our kids, we listen to them argue and play.  We check-in with them, to make sure all is well.  This also helps them know that we are aware — a powerful message.  Paying attention also helps us notice what may triggers poor behavior, temper tantrums, and other annoying circumstances.

We also do some self-inspection:  We check-in with ourselves to assess if we’re contributing to our children’s poor behaviors. Have we been too busy around the kids?  Are the kids picking up on our stress or irritability?  Are we placing on them our own unresolved ‘stuff’ — expectations, needs, fears?

Finally, if we find ourselves getting too angry or yelling, we pause to remind ourselves that we’re role modeling how to deal with frustration.  That reminder is usually enough to make us take a deep breathe and relax…

What’s your discipline style?   What works and what doesn’t?

credit: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3

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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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  1. Yea, I def. got a chancletaso when I was growing up. And it kept my behind in check! But it wasn’t a fluffy slipper like the one in your picture LOL!

  2. Yari, I have no choice but to agree with you! LOL. My mother’s chancletas were made out of hard plastic…need I say more? :)

  3. My grandmother’s chancletas had a small wedge heel. She never hit me with them, but if you heard their click click click coming fast, you’d better run.

    I would never hit my daughter, but my Cuban relatives tell me a good chacla or spanking would cure her of anything.

    I disagree…though I have indeed threatened her.

    Lately, a good Come to Jesus conversation is what did the discipline trick in our house.

    In the end, I never want my child to fear my hands.

  4. I received several chancletazos and correazos, but I don’t regret them. They were given out of love and to call my attention to discipline. I never feared my parents for that…it wasn’t abussive and I knew I derserved it!!! We had and have a great relationship. With my kids we talk a lot and they respond, but I have to admit that a chancletazo or two has helped them to get straight. After the chancletazo we explain, talk and hug! The Bible says in Proverbs that a correazo or varita, corrects a bad behavior on time!

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