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Should spanking be made illegal? V.2



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 29th, 2007, 2:11 pm
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Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Should spanking be made illegal?

I know that the last thread post started "spinning in circles" and was closed, but much great discussion came from it, and it was clearly a divided issue. However, it seems The State of Massachusetts is poised to be the first U.S. state to ban the practice even within the confines of the home. This could set the stage for a nationwide reform, perhaps with dire consequences.

New Zealand had a clause in its legislation that provided for "reasonable force" in maintaining discipline of one's child, but that was recently repealed, and now a full ban on spanking exists.

Wiki Spanking Link


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  #2  
Old November 29th, 2007, 9:18 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Well, I don't think it should be banned, because I think spanking is nessesary in some cases. I don't mean it in the way where you spank the kid for every bad thing they do, but if it is something that was incredibly dangerous or stupid or completely, completely disrespectful, then that should be in the parents hands...


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Old November 29th, 2007, 9:26 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

The devil is in the details, I suppose. How does one enforce such a ban? In most cases, it would seem, the only way to find out if a child is spanked is to rely on the child's testimony. In essence, you are empowering children with a direct threat over their parents.

In child abuse cases, there are often indications of the abuse, whether it be physical manifestations (bruises, broken bones, repeated "accidents"), but what if in this case, the spanking does not leave a mark? Will it be a case of the child's word over the parents?

What about false reports? This goes back to the concept that the parental authority is undermined. A child in Massachusetts may be able to say "buy me this or give me that" or they'll report their parents to the authorities. Sometimes, all it takes is the allegation to cause irreparable harm.

I think this is a slippery slope that impedes parental authority and responsibility. Children are not necessarily mature enough to determine how to use new-found power, and this abrogation of parental authority could be a huge step in undermining the fabric of the family, whether you approve of spanking or not.


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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:52 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

i definitely think it hurts and is sometimes unnecessary, but i think they should put restrictions on it. things like, reasonable force, and that children should be allowed to call 911 or whatever number it is in other countries, if it gets out of hand. you know, like if your the mom, you cant spank them hard enough to bruise them or give flesh wounds. something like that. and that it should be for a good reason. for example, if someones drunk and spanks their kid for no reason, that should be illegal, or if its for like a really stupid reason like if they didnt do their homework once. stuff like that is just horrible. but no, spanking shouldn't be made illegal altogether, just limited

anways, about the evidence, since if we follow the limiting strategy, i think spanking is ok as long as the kid's butt isnt completely raw and red and bruised, so thats good evidence. stuff like that.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 12:37 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

I don't think it's a matter of physical damage but more to do with the mental damage it leaves. There are a lot of cases of abuse in which the child can come out of without any physical signs, such as bruises etc.

Personally, I think it should be banned. Some parents take advantage of their so called 'rights' to disipline their children. I have some awful memories involving spanking and I wouldn't want other children to experience it. Of course, it did put me on the right track but I believe there are other ways in teaching a child that doesn't result in 'pain'.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 2:18 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

In case anyone is interested, the proposed law in Massachusetts would make hitting a child under 18 (which includes spanking) a crime punishable as abuse or neglect. Under Massachusetts statute, after a charge of abuse or neglect is filed the Mass. Department of Solcial Services will investigate and, if the charges are found to have merit, DSS is authorized to take action to protect the child which includes taking the child from the home and placing him / her in the custody of the state.

Under the proposed statute, spanking a child under 18 will be classified as abusive behavior and could result in children being taken from their homes and placed in temporary foster care or state homes. The parents would be charged with abuse and would face prosecution in the state courts. The crime would be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the crime.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 3:06 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Again, what no one is addressing the enforcement of this law. All it takes is for an allegation to be made for damage to be done. It's all well and good to be against spanking, and I personally don't spank my own kids, but the point is that you have the state inserting itself into the home as an arbiter of how a parent raises a child. If we look at the practical application of the proposed MA. statue, the state HAS to defer to the child making the allegation. Even if the accusation is found to have no merit, the department of social services has to act.

Basically, as I stated before, the state is skewing power away from the parent and to the child. What will prevent false accusations?


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Old November 30th, 2007, 3:37 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by USNAGator91 View Post
Again, what no one is addressing the enforcement of this law. All it takes is for an allegation to be made for damage to be done. It's all well and good to be against spanking, and I personally don't spank my own kids, but the point is that you have the state inserting itself into the home as an arbiter of how a parent raises a child. If we look at the practical application of the proposed MA. statue, the state HAS to defer to the child making the allegation. Even if the accusation is found to have no merit, the department of social services has to act.

Basically, as I stated before, the state is skewing power away from the parent and to the child. What will prevent false accusations?
I totally agree with you. I used to work with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) which is a group which serves as the childs advocate in court cases involving abuse and neglect. The cases I saw and heard about broke my heart. The courts were so overwhelmed by cases of abuse and neglect that cases could take upwards of 6 months to be resolved.

And these were real cases of abuse. Abuse that makes me sick to my stomach many many years later. To lump spanking into this category is unconscionable.

For goodness sake, what's next - no shouting?


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Old November 30th, 2007, 4:24 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

To make spanking illegal would essentially be the same as outlawing discipline. What many people seem to miss is that children are, well, childish. They cannot simply be reasoned with, nor can a parent explain why something is wrong and expect a child to listen. Mild physical pain is often the only way to get a child to understand what they can and cannot do. Laws should only restrict extreme abuse, such as beatings that may cause serious injury, but should otherwise leave the decisions to the parents.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 6:35 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

My viewpoint has changed slightly since the previous thread. In the past, even though I've been very against spanking, I've tended not to support banning it legally. However, that's changed, and I completely support banning it completely. I feel it's abusive and unecessary, and I think allowing it is very backwards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by USNAGator91 View Post
The devil is in the details, I suppose. How does one enforce such a ban? In most cases, it would seem, the only way to find out if a child is spanked is to rely on the child's testimony. In essence, you are empowering children with a direct threat over their parents.
You could argue that that's the same case with a lot of abuse, though. For instance, there may be no physical evidence of psychological abuse. And with any law, there have been cases of people lying. You can't prevent that. That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a law, however, and it doesn't mean that most children would lie about this.

Quote:
I think this is a slippery slope that impedes parental authority and responsibility. Children are not necessarily mature enough to determine how to use new-found power, and this abrogation of parental authority could be a huge step in undermining the fabric of the family, whether you approve of spanking or not.
I don't think that being safe from spankings is really giving children power. In my opinion, it's just a basic right to give them. If they have power over their parents in this area, however, it suggests that the parents have no control over them whatsoever, and it probably wouldn't make any difference if spanking were legal and the children did not have that particular leverage.

Think of it this way: why isn't there a large problem of young children claiming their parents neglect them in order to have this control?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WitchHunter View Post
To make spanking illegal would essentially be the same as outlawing discipline.
I see spanking as being the opposite of discipline. The most disciplined children I've known were ones who were not spanked because they'd been raised to behave and be respectful.



Last edited by DancingMaenid; November 30th, 2007 at 6:39 pm.
  #11  
Old November 30th, 2007, 7:00 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

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Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
I see spanking as being the opposite of discipline. The most disciplined children I've known were ones who were not spanked because they'd been raised to behave and be respectful.
Dancing, I'd be curious to see how you've handled child rearing in the past. The bottom line is that I respect and completely understand you're aversion to spanking, and with your kids, by all means, use whatever means at your disposal. However, it is, in my opinion, not for you or the government to decide what method of discipline is appropriate.

There is a tremendous difference between spanking and ABUSE. There is viable and measureable evidence available for ABUSE, however that does not go towards spanking. It's interminable that I am forced to defend a practice that I do not use with my kids, but the bottom line is that children are children and they will make false reports, in large measures.

Children do not have the life experience that allows them to reign in their emotional impulses. If a child wants a toy or a specific food, their mindset is to use all means necessary to cajole their parents to buy what they want. There's whining, incessant pleading, but now add to the mix the threat to turn their parents in, true or not.

Don't you think that the school systems will make sure that a program will be in place that will tell kids what they need to do if their parents spank them?

The point is not about corporal punishment as a method of child rearing but of whether the government should be inserting itself into the home. The enforcement mechanism would be arbitrary and inconsistent and would damage an otherwise healthy home. If a child says, "my daddy spanked me." The state would have to remove that child first, THEN conduct its investigation. So, what if the accusation is false? Then three consequences have occurred:

1) The child now knows that they have the power to disrupt their parents' lives with a simple phone call
2) The child has no understanding as to the nature of consequences
3) The state will then feel free to regulate other aspects of child rearing. For example, passing laws that says women MUST breastfeed their children, or parents MUST feed their kids certain types of meals, or parents MUST ensure that children attend state-run day care at 4 years of age. Anything else would be perceived as and called ABUSE.

That is the slippery slope.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 7:36 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

I think discipline should be left to the parents. This seems like yet another way the government can infiltrate the private lives of families. I can see progression in the form of the government being able to intrude on a family if it senses any type of physical discipline occurring. It seems to me that this could even lead to yet another excuse for racial profiling or other such reasons for illegal searches, as already propogated by the current system wherein "suspiscion" can lead to invasion.

Such a ban would also completely undermine parental/child discipline dynamics. The child is not exactly a victim. There's a difference between abuse and corporal punishment. Parents have the right to raise their children how they see fit. Corporal punishment, as discipline and not abuse, is used to correct misbehavior, usually and hopefully misbehavior that the child already knows is wrong and perpetrates anyway. Of course, there are other ways to correct behavior, but methods of parenting should be left to the parents.

My biggest problem is, as Gator has also said, that I feel the government has no right to impose itself in this way in private life. Such an imposition could open up the doors to a flood of government interference by virtue of precedent and caselaw.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 8:24 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by USNAGator91 View Post
Dancing, I'd be curious to see how you've handled child rearing in the past. The bottom line is that I respect and completely understand you're aversion to spanking, and with your kids, by all means, use whatever means at your disposal. However, it is, in my opinion, not for you or the government to decide what method of discipline is appropriate.
I respect your opinion, and I do respect that people have very individual experiences when it comes to raising children and the challenges attached to that. However, from my point of view, spanking is morally wrong and abusive. I would never support any legislation that I felt went against people's rights. And I'm also very against building laws based only on subjective, moral beliefs. I've been on the other side of that, and it's definitely not appreciated. So my challenge is to decide when I think something goes beyond being a personal choice and possibly being harmful to other people. I think that many if not most parents who spank are probably capable of spanking in a way that, while still wrong by my beliefs, is unlikely to cause lasting harm. But I think the potential for lasting harm is there, and that it can be hard to know which children are going to be harmed. Because of that, I feel it's safer for there not to be spanking.

Quote:
The point is not about corporal punishment as a method of child rearing but of whether the government should be inserting itself into the home. The enforcement mechanism would be arbitrary and inconsistent and would damage an otherwise healthy home.
The problem I have with this argument is that the government already does insert itself into the home. Aside from laws about abuse and neglect, parents are legally responsible for providing their children an accredited education, for example, which is essentially telling parents what their children need to learn. Parents can also already get into trouble for behavior that may not necessarily cause harm. For instance, you might be able to leave some five-year-olds home alone for short amounts of time without much problem, but since five-year-olds in general tend to lack the cognitive abilities necessary to handle emergencies and may be endangered, this probably would not be allowed in most places.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 8:41 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Quote:
So my challenge is to decide when I think something goes beyond being a personal choice and possibly being harmful to other people.
I can understand how difficult this can be for anyone out there. I for one, tend to err on the side of the individual, not for the sake of being "safer". We do not have an inherent right to be safe, nor do we have an inalienable right to not be insulted. I happen to think that governmental intrusion in any capacity is dangerous.

Being legally responsible for accredited education is another way to exclude parents who choose to home school their children. The goal in Massachusetts isn't necessarily to save children or prohibit spanking.

In my opinion, this is an attempt by the state to take over child rearing from cradle to grave.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 9:49 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

But what does it mean "to allow it"? It's not something to be allowed or not, I don't see how the state can control it in the first place. I think making a law about spanking is telling people how to raise their children.


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Old November 30th, 2007, 10:53 pm
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by USNAGator91 View Post
We do not have an inherent right to be safe, nor do we have an inalienable right to not be insulted. I happen to think that governmental intrusion in any capacity is dangerous.
Then do you disagree with laws against things like assault and murder? Because the premise of those laws is the idea that people have a right to avoid being physically harmed by other people.

We don't have a right to be safe, but we do have a right not to be unecessary hurt by others.

I don't advocate the government completely controlling people's lives by any means, but I do think the government has a right to intervene in respect to the rights of its citizens, in this case, children.


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Old December 1st, 2007, 12:03 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingMaenid
I see spanking as being the opposite of discipline. The most disciplined children I've known were ones who were not spanked because they'd been raised to behave and be respectful.
That may be true of some children, but in many cases children who are not spanked behave horribly because they have nothing to fear.
Quote:
The problem I have with this argument is that the government already does insert itself into the home. Aside from laws about abuse and neglect, parents are legally responsible for providing their children an accredited education, for example, which is essentially telling parents what their children need to learn. Parents can also already get into trouble for behavior that may not necessarily cause harm. For instance, you might be able to leave some five-year-olds home alone for short amounts of time without much problem, but since five-year-olds in general tend to lack the cognitive abilities necessary to handle emergencies and may be endangered, this probably would not be allowed in most places.
These are different situations. Not getting an education will leave a child at a permanent disadvantage, and leaving young children alone can result in dangerous situations where the child may be hurt or even killed. To the best of my knowledge (but please correct me if I am wrong) there is no evidence that spanking causes permanent harm, and anything that results in serious injury or death is already illegal.
Quote:
I don't advocate the government completely controlling people's lives by any means, but I do think the government has a right to intervene in respect to the rights of its citizens, in this case, children.
It isn't as simple as protecting citizens' rights. To protect the children from spankings, the government has to violate the parents' right to raise their children as they see fit.


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Old December 1st, 2007, 12:38 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

I've slightly changed my views on this subject since I posted in the last thread. Since then I've gained a great amount of experience looking after my twin nieces, who are now 16 months. I also found out that although I don't remember it, my mother did actually use smacking with me and my sisters when it was absolutely necessary, but only up to around 3 years old. My earliest memory was at kindergarten when I was 4, so I don't remember being smacked, which is why I always thought I never had been.

My mom used smacking very sparingly and only when nothing else worked. If we reached for something we weren't allowed to touch, we got a tap on the hand with a firm 'NO'. The reason why my mom stopped was because at 3, she found that other punishments worked just as well, if not better. If we did something wrong, she took our favourite toys away from us. I had a teddy that I was very attached to, and taking that away and putting it in clear box where I could see it but not get to it really worked. As we got older, she made sure to explain why our behaviour was wrong. That is very important.

I look after my twin nieces every friday night. They don't fully understand the word no, even though my sister uses it all the time. She tries everything before she resorts to a light smack on the bottom. And I now fully understand why parents feel that smacking is sometimes necessary. Last night Madison was pulling DVDs out of a display case. No matter how many times I said no to her, she still kept going. At that age, they don't understand why it is wrong, even if you explain it to them. What they have learned is that a light tap on the hand means that what they are doing is wrong. It doesn't have to hurt, and they don't even cry when you do it. But it does get them to stop. When my sister gets frustrated with them and uses 'NO', they laugh at her. They think its funny.

One thing I do find a little disturbing is that a recent survey in the US found that the majority of parents believe it's okay to smack a child as young as 6 months. That is something I don't agree with. At 6 months, the child is not going to understand, so it's completely useless. The survey also found that many parents still continue to smack their children when they are teenagers, even 17 year olds. If a 17 year old doesn't understand the consequences of their actions, and the parent feels that the only punishment that works is a smack, there is something seriously wrong with both of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
In case anyone is interested, the proposed law in Massachusetts would make hitting a child under 18 (which includes spanking) a crime punishable as abuse or neglect. Under Massachusetts statute, after a charge of abuse or neglect is filed the Mass. Department of Solcial Services will investigate and, if the charges are found to have merit, DSS is authorized to take action to protect the child which includes taking the child from the home and placing him / her in the custody of the state.

Under the proposed statute, spanking a child under 18 will be classified as abusive behavior and could result in children being taken from their homes and placed in temporary foster care or state homes. The parents would be charged with abuse and would face prosecution in the state courts. The crime would be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the crime.
That is something I absolutely don't agree with. A light smack is NOT the same as abuse involving inflicting physical injuries, nor is it criminal neglect. I think that it is abhorrent to lump it all into the same category. There are a few cases in the Australian courts that involve child abuse and neglect.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599...02-421,00.html

In this case, the carers have been charged with manslaughter, but they may plead guilty to criminal neglect which is a slightly lesser charge. In another case, a mother recently pleaded guilty to criminal neglect after her 2 year old child died, and the post postmortem found a large amount of injuries including bruises of various ages, fractured bones, etc., and eyewitnesses claimed to have seen her pushing and kicking her child.

How can anyone say that lightly smacking a child is the same as this and is deserving of the same punishment? It reminds me of the sex offenders laws in parts of the US, where you can end up in jail and on the sex offenders registry for streaking at a party because they were dared to do it, or mooning someone as a joke. These are considered as crimes on the same level as rape, molestation, etc. They are not the same and they should not be treated as such.


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Old December 1st, 2007, 12:48 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
My viewpoint has changed slightly since the previous thread. In the past, even though I've been very against spanking, I've tended not to support banning it legally. However, that's changed, and I completely support banning it completely. I feel it's abusive and unecessary, and I think allowing it is very backwards.
One should understand the difference between abuse and discipline. Abuse is the misuse of something. To use physical force to enforce discipline does not constitute abuse. To beat the snot of your child goes well beyond the borders of discipline. It becomes an emotional scare tactic.

Quote:
You could argue that that's the same case with a lot of abuse, though. For instance, there may be no physical evidence of psychological abuse. And with any law, there have been cases of people lying. You can't prevent that. That doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a law, however, and it doesn't mean that most children would lie about this.
It is a meaningless law if it cannot be enforced, but, unfortunately, this law could not only be enforced, but be abused by the very demographic it is intended to protect. Children do not act with emotional maturity or reason, they act on impulse and the here and now. They do not look to the future or future consequences.

Quote:
I don't think that being safe from spankings is really giving children power. In my opinion, it's just a basic right to give them. If they have power over their parents in this area, however, it suggests that the parents have no control over them whatsoever, and it probably wouldn't make any difference if spanking were legal and the children did not have that particular leverage.
But where does it stop?

If they enforce a law to stop spankings, then they will move to say you can't grab your kid by the arm, and yank him out of the street before he gets hit by a car, because that is Assault.

Quote:
Think of it this way: why isn't there a large problem of young children claiming their parents neglect them in order to have this control?
Actually, we are seeing this. At this point though, they are claiming it as abuse. Not spankings as abuse, but that they are being beaten. Of course, in those cases the children should be protected, but in the case of spankings it is not causing any lasting physical harm...in fact, if done properly, it should not even leave more than a red mark, which goes away after several minutes.


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I see spanking as being the opposite of discipline. The most disciplined children I've known were ones who were not spanked because they'd been raised to behave and be respectful.
With some kids that works, and with others (I would venture the majority) give-and-take discipline just has little impression. My three year old son, if I had not spanked him on occasion, would likely be dead right now. He knows that if I tell him to stop doing something he has until the count of three or he gets spanked. I am convinced that if he had not been spanked, he would not have listened to me when he ran out of the door behind me, and made a B-line for the street. I ran after him, and yelled "Jason! STOP! Get back here! One!" And, before I ever got to two, he had stopped, and came back to me. Telling him "I'll take away your Hot Wheels Cars" would have probably not stopped him in time to avoid being hit by a passing car. But, I got his attention in a moment of danger by letting him know a spanking was coming.

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Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
I don't advocate the government completely controlling people's lives by any means, but I do think the government has a right to intervene in respect to the rights of its citizens, in this case, children.
Legally speaking, a child does not have full rights until they are of adult age. Until that time, the child is the responsibility of the parent or guardian.

If you want to see how parenting is done, then watch the Discovery Channel. If a lion cub gets out of line, the mother gives it a little nip, and nudges him back in the den. If a gorilla youth crosses the Alpha Male's ire, he better watch out. The animal kingdom has its own brand of discipline to maintain a command structure, and that usually involves knocking the young upstarts back in line...from there a growl is usually all that is needed to remind them of their place.

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Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
Then do you disagree with laws against things like assault and murder? Because the premise of those laws is the idea that people have a right to avoid being physically harmed by other people.
Ah, the keyword here is HARMED. Spanking does not cause harm. Harm would be a lasting physical affect, like a bruise, broken bone, laceration. A swat on the butt results in a sting, that has no lasting physical affect, but is unpleasant enough to serve as a reminder that unacceptable behaviour has a painful price.

How do you think we train our most cracked troops for the most brutal combat situations? They go through a training called S.E.R.E. (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape), where they are basically interred in a prison camp and are roughed up quite a bit to learn what will likely happen to them if they are captured by a dishonorable enemy. These soldiers are beaten, tortured, and broken...and it is all in the name of learning. How is that any different than spanking a child to make them learn that bad behaviour has consequences?


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Old December 1st, 2007, 2:07 am
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Re: Should spanking be made illegal? V.2

my mom used to spank me, for like one year, and i had the only two nightmares ive ever considered nightmares in my life. for everyone who says that its more of the mental damage and fear of the parents spanking causes, you have a huge point. there are way more things to do than spanking. stuff like grounding (which i've gotten out of, but it works for everyone else), or just annoying your kid by yelling at them. my mom doesnt know it yet, but that works on me.

im just not sure it should be completely banned, since if your child can just call the police if they get spanked, they could pretend they were spanked because their parents did other things, so thats a bad thing. and they can threaten their parents. but not sure it would be a good idea not to tell them either, but more like they need evidence. so even if their parents did spank them, the parents would be worried about being sent to jail or something. or the kid could be taken away to a temporary foster home parents need to pay for. that way, the kid understands how much their parents love them and stuff, if its a once in a lifetime spanking, and the parents miss their kids a lot.


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