Thursday, January 25, 2007

California to make spanking illegal

Should Spanking Be Banned?

Should Spanking Be Banned?
By Carolyn Sayre

Need a lesson in parenting? If you live in California, you may have to take one from the government whether you like it or not. Next week, Assemblywoman Sally Lieber will introduce a bill banning the practice of spanking children younger than four. If passed, the state will become the first to make the corporeal punishment of infants and toddlers a misdemeanor — punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine — along with more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, that have laws against the practice. "Young children can't run or speak for themselves. They are sitting ducks for abuse," Lieber said. "And it is just not true that the current law protects children well."

She's not the first American to argue that legislation is the answer. The town of Brookline, Mass., successfully passed a resolution against spanking in 2005, although similar statewide efforts have failed. Last year in Massachusetts and 15 years ago in Wisconsin proposed anti-spanking bills did not get much support in the legislature; critics feared that it would be impossible to enforce a ban against such a common practice. According to the American Demographics' 2004 data, nearly half of parent-age Americans think it is an appropriate mode of discipline for children 12 and younger. Even more surprising, only 27 states have actually banned corporal punishment from their public school systems.

For critics of the ban, the current law — which states that parents, guardians and relatives can use any form of physical discipline that is necessary as long as it is not unjustifiable — is enough. But for Lieber, who hears criticism daily from prosecutors, judges and pediatricians that children are being beaten and their parents are getting off on a technicality, the law doesn't even come close to being enough.

"By law you would have a hard time differentiating between a responsible parent who thinks about parenting and then hits and one that does not," Lieber said. "Responsible parents have to give up the privilege to physically discipline their children for the sake of protecting children that aren't being hit once in a blue moon or in a light way, but are really being hit day after day, many times a day."

But new California bill may have a better chance of success. Unlike previous attempts, the age restrictions will make the bill more palatable to many. "We are talking about babies," said Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline. "People know that babies don't understand right and wrong. Hitting them is ineffective and can lead to injury." Another plus is that Gov. Schwarzenegger has already noted that he is receptive to the bill. Although the Governor recalled being hit by his father, he said that he and his wife, Maria Shriver, did not practice spanking and preferred other methods of discipline, like threatening to take away playtime. "I think any time we try to pass laws that say you've got to protect the kids, it's, in general, always good," Schwarzenegger said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News. "I just want to find out from her exactly the way she envisions it and to enforce it and what the whole thing is about."

While the assemblywoman has outlined a proposed punishment, she has yet to address how the bill would be enforced. In Europe, most countries consider the ban on spanking an educational law, which means that on the first couple of offenses parents receive a fine and attend mandatory parenting classes on discipline. "I don't know how the European laws would really translate in the U.S.," Block said. "But I do think an educational law is a good way to go." Like child abuse, unless the child reports it or the spanking leaves a mark and is reported by a relative or teacher, it will be very difficult to detect when parents are violating the law.

"A hundred years ago it was considered a novel idea for the law to say you couldn't hit your wife," said Block. "Today, we can't hit slaves, wives or military personnel. Children are the only class that is unprotected."

Discipline your kids and cool your heels for a year in jail - the state exerting its monopoly on violence. I really don't understand why corporal punishment is seen as so bad - hell, a lot of kids need a thwack now and again to keep them in line. A lot of these nutjobs confuse proper child abuse level beatings with the amount of force and violence that is needed to discipline kids with a spank or a slap.

I'm very much against using belts, paddles or other implements, especially in schools, but bare hand slaps should be allowed. It is our jobs as adults to shape our children into functioning members of society, and you can't just sit and reason with a kid like you can with an adult. Children are not mini-adults.

I also like the throwaway reference to wife beating, as if domestic violence was not only allowed, but encouraged in those times. I like the South Park episode dealing with the child abuse hysteria - Cartman and the rest of the kids of South Park call the cops on their parents, leaving the entire town's adult population locked up. Chaos ensued, of course.

This quote is also telling in who is not included... "Today, we can't hit slaves, wives or military personnel. Children are the only class that is unprotected." Open season on men!!

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  1. I would like to propose a law making it legal to thwack the crap out of all politicians and psychologists who dare to impose their moralities upon others by making "parenting laws" which go against thousands of years of parental experience.

    The state's place IS NOT IN THE HOME!

  2. Fully agree with that, especially the last bit.

    By the way, check out the latest comments on the FSTDT post.

  3. Right on Rob! A thousand years and all of a sudden these people just pop up and tell me what's right and what's wrong? Fuck That!

  4. I was watching one of those news shows that was discussing this topic recently. They had two guest speakers debating the issue - a male Doctor (took the stance that spanking was NOT bad) and a female Doctor (took the stand that spanking WAS bad). The male doctor came prepared with fact-based studies that showed spanking kids had absolutely no long-term psychological scarring on children, and, in fact, showed that children who were spanked were actually MORE disciplined adults than those who were not spanked. The female doctor tried to muster up some defense, but you could tell she wasn't as prepared as the male doctor.

    My own view is that spanking has its place in disciplining children, but it should be tempered with positive stimuli as well (which a lot of parents fail to realize). When a child is bad, they should be disciplined, but when a child is good, they should then be rewarded for their good behaviour.

    I was spanked as a child, but I was also rewarded positively when I was good (and rewards were not always materializtic - just a hug and an "I love you" was more than enough).

    I agree with the others, though - this country is getting way out of hand with political correctness, lawsuits, and the whole sha-bang. Kids are now in control in schools as teachers (and now parents) cannot dole the right kind or amount of discipline on the kids without fear of getting sued by someone. Damned lawyers and politicians.

  5. Like everything else, femitwits don't want to distinguish between a slap on the hand that constitutes discipline, and a full-on assault combined with neglect, apathy and/or outright abuse.

    To them, a father coming home and making good on the threats the mom has been making all day "Wait till your father gets home," is on the same level as the female who was recently in the news for torturing her adopted child - complete with things like malnutrition, many diseases, broken bones, cigarette burns etc.

  6. Hey BN, I'm working on an article or two. Hang in there! ;-)

  7. One of these days in the near future, we will find ourselves in a society in which all touching of any kind is illegal, social conduct is rigidly monitored, and children will turn in their parents, relatives, and friend's parents to the authorities for the slightest infractions. Children will be encouraged to inform on anyone, especially their parents, who dare to go outside the state's proscribed boundaries of correct social behavior.

    Ask yourselves who has such power to dismantle the wisdom, common sense, shared good parenting skills, and accepted social behavior in all communities, in all ages and times. This insidious evil, and all attempts to control with threats and fear are evil, is on the move. Read again the history of the techniques used in all repressive societies whose citizens were caught unaware when they were suddenly taken over by tyrants. Watch movies like Equilibrium, Gattaca, Farenheit 451, The Children Of Men, and THX 1138,; and read again the horrific accounts of future societies as in 1984, and realize them for the warnings they truly are. Read the book of Revelation and Daniel even if you are not Christian or religious, and see clearly the signature marks of oppression as they take over free societies.

    People in our free and very spoiled society cannot even imagine what living under repression and fear of authoritarian reprisal can be. Now is the time to become informed, to speak out, and stand against the erosion of individual rights in a free society.

  8. I don't believe spanking has a place in the punishment of children. Besides the fact that there are numerous studies which confirms a correlation between spanking and aggression, i have little personal experience with it and i was well behaved. I was probably spanked once or twice, but the majority of my punishment was in the form of -- Negative Punishment -decreases the probability of behaviour by REMOVING a PLEASURABLE stimulus -- my parents might for example take my bike away or threaten it if a rule was broken. However, I have heard many stories from friends who experienced corporal punishment regularly all believe it is useful and claim they want to use it on their children.

    In contrast, students i have met from sweden and northwest europe say spanking is basically non existent there. Consider that these countries have much lower rates of violence the NA. This is a crude correlation but like i had said aggressive parents, tend to have aggressive children. I think spanking laws should absolutely be put in place. Signed - A Canadian.

  9. Oh fuck off all you child beaters. I'd like to see anyone who hits a child be automatically given the death penalty. Anyone who hits a child is an abuser and doesn't deserve to live, IMO. James Dobson can go first.