Friday, January 4, 2008

Spanking Kids

To spank or not to spank? Most parents I know who spank their kids are certainly not committing child abuse, but if you have kids who misbehave, it's easy to see how you could really lose your temper.

My husband and I decided before we had kids we would not spank, but there have been times where we thought that may be a good solution. I am all for punishing parents who physically abuse their kids, but should states be deciding how we discipline? This is a tough call.

Here's an ABC story by David Wright that sparking the spanking debate in my house: (Some of the information is paraphrased)

"Some Lawmakers in Massachusetts want to ban parents from spanking their children, even in their own homes. They say it's one more way to protect kids from abuse, but many parents say it's government attempting to take too much control.

In 29 states, it's illegal for a teacher to do this. In all 50 states, parents are allowed to spank their own children. Massachusetts nurse Kathleen Wolf wrote a bill that could make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to ban corporal punishment at home. "I think it's ironic that domestic violence applies to everyone except the most vulnerable -- children."

Some parents in Massachusetts are outraged at the possibility saying spanking should be a parent's choice. One mom said, "I don't want the government telling me how to raise my children."

Nineteen countries have banned corporal punishment. And some child rearing experts believe one day the US will do so as well. Wolf says she's not recommending that parents who do spank their kids should face jail time, as they do in Sweden. Or fines, as they do elsewhere. She said she just wants to give parents the support they need."

Discipline at Home is an anti-spanking article that reacts to some statements you may have said yourself.

The Religious Tolerance has a pro-spanking section that relates this form of discipline to Christianity.

What do you think about a spanking ban? Let me know by posting a comment.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Anonymous said...

I've noticed you haven't anchored on Friday in awhile anchormom is everything ok. I was wondering what was up and when we'll get to see you working again. said...

I am spending Fridays working on I will be workking some Sundays to make up the time. I will still be on at 5pm, 6pm and 10pm every Monday-Thursday.Thanks for noticing!

Anonymous said...


Interesting links you provided and great thought provokers. However the "Religious Tolerance" 'pro-spanking site' is a Reformed Protestant Christian perspective. What are the positions held by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches on spanking? They are Christian and would likely have very interesting input.

Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches are within the Peoria area... possibly their leadership would comment on this subject?

Thanks for not shying away from challenging subjects.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of problems with parenting today and not spanking is one of them. Time outs aren't a deterrent. Having to wait for dad to come home knowing your getting a beating is enough to change your behavior. said...

That's a great point about The Roman Catholic Church and Easter Orhtodox Churches.
I will look into it!

Anonymous said...

I think spanking children only embeds in their minds at a very young age that violence is a solution to problems.

Knight in Dragonland said...

I think it's hard to give children the message that hitting is not OK when you're hauling off and whopping them on the butt.

Say your child hits her sister (something that NEVER happens in my house ... har, har!) ... then you spank them???

Believe me ... they sense the hypocrisy.

Eyebrows McGee said...

Catholicism doesn't expressly forbid spanking but is uneasy about it. Parents have to treat their children as "children of God" and "respect them as human persons" (CCC 2222); they're required to model self-mastery for their children (2223), which would certainly include no spanking in anger.

I do think there's a real moral question to be asked and answered, however, when one advocates non-violence towards other ADULTS as a Christian virtue, but allows and advocates violence towards children, who are the most vulnerable members of the body of Christ. Are children lesser members of the Christian community, entitled to lesser consideration? I think the theological argument would have to be pretty powerful to overcome the assumption that children too are entitled to being treated in what we might call a "fully" Christian fashion.

The trouble with actual laws about spanking is that there's such a spectrum between a swat on a hand reaching for something sharp/hot, a spanking, a whipping, and a full-out beating. It's not like child abusers are going to CARE about the law, and such laws tend to outlaw slapping a hand reaching for a hot stovetop.

-Your friendly neighborhood theologian/lawyer. :)

PS-glad to see your blog!

C. J. Summers said...

To me, spanking is the equivalent of "a swat on a hand reaching for something sharp/hot." It's a form of correction for the betterment of the child, not an act of aggression for the appeasement of the parent.

There are laws on the books already to protect children from abuse. Outlawing spanking would be a huge overreach on the part of the government.

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