Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The "No Spanking Bill" Abusive to All

Everyone knows an out-of-control child is a nuisance to everybody. On January 24th a three-year-old child and her parents were removed from an AirTran flight to Boston. The child was climbing under the seat, hitting her parents and screaming, annoying the 112 other passengers on the plane.

These types of incidents are becoming commonplace. The ever-increasing bleeding heart’s pressure to prohibit parents from using any forceful “No” with a slap on the hand or behind to prevent unruly behavior has taken its toll on all of us.

The war against parental rights continues. California Assembly woman, Sally Lieber, a 45 year old, unmarried woman with a cat but without children, has proposed a law making it illegal for parents to spank a child under 4 years old. A law-abiding parent could be incarcerated for a year for tapping a child on the behind. This would potentially make criminals of 90% of our parent population.

Ms. Lieber and her ilk obviously believe the state is superior to the family in raising American children. They want to ban centuries of time-tested child rearing methods of training toddlers replacing it with nothing except psychobabble. This line of reasoning would totally destroy the family, cause the child to lose his parents and be placed in the infamous state foster care system.

Moderate spanking is not abusive. Even one of the most extremely liberal universities in the nation cannot find any evidence to support the ridiculous notion that moderate spanking is detrimental to children. Diane Baumrind and Elizabeth Owens from the University of California at Berkley in a 12 year longitudinal study of 100 middle class children found no negative effects on cognitive, social and behavioral skills with mild to moderate spanking. R. Ballie, "Spanking Gets Big Play in the Media", Monitor of Psychology, Vol. 32, #11, Dec. 2001.

Infants and toddlers cannot understand lectures from adults. They are concrete in their thinking. When “no” is stated, with a tap on the hand or behind, they know to stop immediately. Parents are responsible for teaching their children to survive. Running into traffic, putting keys in an electric socket or not coming when called or stopping when a child is told are things toddlers need to learn for their own safety.

The fear of the state intervening in the life of a parent is paralyzing. Parents are no longer performing their difficult responsibility of raising children. This relinquishing by the parent of reprimanding their child’s misbehavior verbally or physically is abusive to the child. Young children are not being taught there are consequences for doing the wrong thing. Discipline is love. Love is discipline.

There are already ample child abuse laws on the books. This no-spanking law will not stop criminal abuse. Criminals do not follow the law. In the same way making guns illegal does nothing to prevent criminals from using them. It will only frighten law-abiding parents to be neglectful of their responsibility. Banning parents from using reasonable corporal discipline will make those who properly discipline their children criminals.

The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Cuba and numerous African and Latin American dictatorships have proven that the state cannot effectively replace the family. When government interferes with the rights of parents to fulfill their duty it crosses over into totalitarianism. The intervention of bureaucrats into the family has proven to be more disastrous to children than the average family.

We cannot stand silently by allowing ignorant, self-serving politicians to lead us down a worn path that ends in the annihilation of the freedom of the individual and society. To prevent this from going any further we need to take the following stand:

  • Vote out representatives who limit our freedom to perform our duties as parents.
  • Have the courage to discipline children appropriately in our homes.
  • Inform the child who misbehaves in public that he will be given consequences for misbehaving when you get home.
  • Speak out against advocates of the escalation of governmental intervention in the family.

When parents are prohibited from disciplining their own children everyone will suffer, in the grocery store, on airplanes, everywhere. The one who will suffer the greatest abuse is the child who will grow into a dysfunctional adult.



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