Thursday, November 29, 2007

Should There Be A Law Against Spanking?

Corporal punishment.
It is one of the most debated issues involved in child rearing.
Once upon a time, just about anyone could spank a child. Teachers, pastors, neighbors, friends and relatives could all open up a can of whoop-butt on a child if they felt the need.
These days, things are different! Child abuse has become a well-known issue, parents have become more careful about how they discipline their children, and most parents would not want their child to be struck by someone like a teacher or neighbor.
But what would you say to a law that would ban parents from spanking children?
Nineteen countries already have laws like this. In Sweden, parents face jail time for spanking their kids. In other countries, parents can be fined. Here in the USA, parents can legally spank their children in all 50 states, and teachers can spank kids in 21 states! But Massachusetts is considering passing a law that would ban parents from spanking children at all.
The public has mixed reactions to this. Some say it’s a matter of the government butting in where they shouldn’t, and others say it’s a silly law that won’t be able to be enforced because nobody can see what parents do in the privacy of their own homes. Others think that no child should be spanked, ever, and the law is a good one.
I am not sure how I personally feel about a law like this. I don’t particularly like the idea of spanking as a punishment. The old image of the father pulling the child’s pants and underpants down, bending him over his knee, and spanking the wailing child repeatedly, does not sit well with me.
However, I think many, many parents have spanked their child once… not in an organized fashion like the scenario described above, but in a quick, emergency swat. For instance, lets say little Billy and his mother are walking through the parking lot of a store. The mother holding the child’s hand.. Suddenly, Billy breaks away from Mom and runs out in front of a car. Mom chases Billy, scoops him up quickly, and slaps his behind once. Startled, Billy cries. Shortly afterwards, when Billy calms down, Mom reminds Billy that he must always hold her hand in parking lots and never run around in streets or parking lots. Billy has learned a lesson… running in front of cars equals pain. This time, the pain was from a spanking, and not from being run over by a car!
Should the mom in that story go to jail? Should her child be put in a foster home? I don’t really think so.
On the other hand, a no-spanking law would erase the invisible line between physical discipline and abuse. If a parent struck a child, there would be no question of whether it was abuse. There would be no debating, “If its okay to spank a child with an open hand, why not with a spoon, or the sole of a shoe? How about with a belt? How about an open-handed slap on the face? Well, then, how about striking a child with a closed fist? Isn’t it every parent’s right to discipline their child?” With this law, it would be clear… hitting a child is abuse, period.
What do you think? Could a law like this have benefits, or is it bad news for everyone?
Before you decide, you may want to check out this site.


Anonymous said...

Personally (and I say this as someone who was spanked -- very rarely -- as a child), I don't have a problem with spankings. Do they need to be restricted to younger children, to using the hands only? Yes, I think so.

But I also think that outlawing spanking would do more harm than good. Like you say, it would erase the line between discipline and child abuse, which I think is an important distinction. Also, seeing the way some children behave today, the worst possible thing would be to remove a parent's right to teach them a little discipline.

Anonymous said...

I think that it would be stupid to [ass that law. I'm a mother of 2 and I would love to see someone from the government take my 2 year old just for an our and not want to swat her on the butt. She's @ that stage in her life where she needs the disipline. I don't spank her often, but I do when she needs it. ANd when she gets into things that she's not suppose to.

It's my right to disipline my kids the way I see fit. And sometimes the only way they will listen, is if they get a lil' spanking.

rachel said...

My, that is an intesting website and probably much needed. Many people don't have a clue how to give a loving spanking, which produces repentance in the children instead of anger. The children growing up today are in big trouble, no self restraint, no empathy for others, no respect for authority. A spanking given in love, in the context of a loving parent-child relationship is the best thing that could happen.

Anonymous said...

I think spanking should be outlawed. I am a retired Teacher and Sunday school teacher.I raised my 3 children without spanking. I could take them anywhere .They are loving and polite to everyone. I see spanking as lazy parenting. Parents do not want to spend time redirecting bad behavior . It is easier to spank them for a quick response . I am a Christian and I hate when Christians use the Bible for permission the spank their children . Sheep are guided with a rod, not hit with it to be trained and guided . Jesus did not stone the sinners or hit them . He rebuked them and Guided them with love and his Grace . It was King solomn who wrote the proverb . I would much rather raise a child By the Example of Jesus Christ , Then by a man who strayed and worshiped other Gods . A man who fell out of favor with God. Also if you go by one law you must go by them all. How many fools have you use a rod across their backs. How many adulters have you stoned ? When Jesus was preaching and the children were being unruly He did not tell the parents to spank them . He did not say shut them up I'm teaching . He said let them come unto me.