Can You Judge a Political Candidate by His Parenting Style?

Written By John Richards on Thursday, September 6, 2012 | 4:55 PM

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are very different men, very different politicians and, apparently, very different fathers.

In selecting a president for our country, voters look at how a candidate stands on the issues, their track records, their promises and also how they have handled themselves in their lives. Nothing is off limits. It all combines to get a cohesive idea of what the candidate stands for both politically and personally. And even though personal and parenting choices shouldn't be part of the equation, it's hard to divorce a man's actions from how you think of them. So when you discover that one of the presidential candidates "whacked" his children, it's hard, at least for me, to not judge.

In a speech in Tampa, making the rounds as part of the Republican National Convention, Ann Romney spoke of family life in the Romney household. In her candid talk she spoke about being home with their sons while Mitt was on the road for work. Mitt would try to calm her down by saying, "It's OK, I'll be home soon, and I'll do whatever whacking I need to do with whatever bum needs whacking. Because they were something else."

As Jeanne Segar at the Stir said, it is "no surprise the Romneys are spankers. They seem like old school parents all the way. But it's the way Ann practically bragged about her husband 'whacking' their five sons' "bums' that really gets me." And it gets me too. I come from the "you should never ever hit your kid" camp. The way Ann Romney addressed spanking, as what sounded like a normal part of their parenting style, is unsettling.

The Obamas have a different, more rational, and in my opinion, more mature way of disciplining their children. Michele Obama once admitted that she tried spanking her daughters but found it unproductive. Instead she went with giving the girls "lots of lectures."

If one looked at parenting instincts and translated it to how someone would run a country, I, personally, would rather have a leader who would do lots of talking rather than resort to violence. To take it to the extreme you could say one would jump to a war rather than spending the time on negotiations.

Do you think a politician's parenting style should be part of the voter's decision?

- By Sunny Chane, Babble.com 

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