Child abuse, or just spanking?

Child abuse, or just spanking?

June 26th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Americans' views on appropriate child-rearing methods obviously differ.

Some believe, for instance, that spanking is a sensible punishment in some circumstances. Others firmly disagree.

But in Texas, where spanking is legal, a District Court judge has stirred up controversy by declaring from the bench that spanking is not permissible.

"You don't spank children today," Judge Jose Longoria told a woman who was sentenced to five years of probation, fined and ordered to take parenting classes after spanking her daughter! The spanking did not injure the child or leave marks, prosecutors acknowledged.

The judge added, "In the old days, maybe we got spanked ... ." But even though Texas law still permits spanking today, he has now forbidden it.

Certainly no one should abuse or injure a child, but spanking can be a reasonable form of discipline for younger children in particular as a way to steer them away from behaviors that will cause them problems later in life.

We do not believe that most children who have been spanked have suffered any long-term harm from it, but rather have benefited from their parents' setting of boundaries - as well as from facing consequences for ignoring those boundaries.

And we certainly do not believe a judge should be declaring a legal form of discipline illegal, based apparently on his personal views.