Thursday, February 1, 2007

Spanking May Be Banned

A bill will soon be introduced that seeks to make California the first state in the nation to ban spanking children who are 3 years old and younger. The legislation would make the violation a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. Why do you agree or disagree with this proposed law?


evan austin said...

i disagree with the law on the grounds that it's unenforceable, counterintuitive, and is coming from a direction ("above") that has little chance of lasting change.

it's unenforceable.
sure, those few folks who are dumb enough to wail on their kids in public run a risk of being "told on" and consequently punished. it seems as though at least the punishment fits the crime (you punish your kids, we punish you), although it might be more appropriate to briskly spank the offending parent(s). i foresee little change in actual a child, i was always beaten in the privacy of our home.

it's counterintuitive
you know how the bank punishes you for overdrawing your account by taking out MORE of the money you already don't have? same thing here. the kids are being punished, and so we're going to remove the parent (to jail) for a year, OR fine them $1000. if my parents had been fined that kind of money, we would have gone hungry for weeks, literally. so who are we trying to protect here? it SEEMS like it's the children, but the punishment for spanking seems just as hard on them, ultimately, as it is on the parents.

it's coming from above.
what seems to be desired by those proposing this bill (and i'd like to discover who they are) is a sociocultural change in our consciousness and behaviors regarding our treatment of children. my firm belief is that changes of this kind MUST necessarily begin in the very homes and communities where the change is desired. mandating from above is usually perceived as oppressive and engenders resentment which leads to a more crafty and secretive society. (think people who drape a seatbelt over their shoulder even though it would take a millisecond longer to actually buckle it).

we're engaged now in the Season for Nonviolence, and my appeal to parents and other adults of the world IS to stop hitting children. but i'm not comfortable urging you to do it because it's the law (if the law passes, that is). i want us to do it because we are models for our children, and spanking teaches that physical violence works over words. it teaches children to be afraid of judgment and the subsequent punishment, and illustrates the "right" of the big and the strong to beat up on the small and the weak. see any parallels to our big adult world?

consider this:
"As long as the child will be trained not by love, but by fear, so long will humanity live not by justice, but by force. As long as the child will be ruled by the educator’s threat and by the father’s rod, so long will mankind be dominated by the policeman’s club, by fear of jail, and by panic of invasion by armies and navies.”

consider this.

Michelle VF said...

I read and reread Evans observations, and find them all valid. I wonder though, even if this is a law that would prove to be fairly unenforceable, perhaps if it's value would lie more in the outrageous statement it would make.Even in such an enlightened community as Ojai, of those who voted, there is an overwhelming majority who disagree with this law. Is it because it would be a law, or is it because of the nature of the concept? I personally am not in favor of being governed to within an inch of our lives. I personally do not trust big brother. That being said, I have worked many years with children as an educator, and as a counselor. I have experienced time and again what to me is a very sad and backward attitude on the part of so many parents which is that their children belong to them, to do with as they see fit. Which includes beating (spanking is simply the "pc" term), verbal abuse and so on. If one took to beating their friend when that same friend acted in a way that was disappointing, a friend they would be no longer. In fact, it sounds absurd. But in the context of family, to beat a child or a wife is still accepted, if only through silent acquiescence. I have on a number of occasions spoken up when in the presence of a public beating and the response is always the same. That it is none of my business, what they do to their child. And yet society does squawk when a child is finally beaten to death. THAT is disapproved of...and so I have to wonder, if not a law to demand that parents get it together and learn how to discipline their children without the conditioned mind set of violence that exists within their psyche, then what? This is an urgent matter! Change needs to occur, and a big fat ticket may be just the thing to jolt people into another way of doing things, even if their hearts aren't in it. Maybe the heart will catch up to the pocketbook eventually....

Rae Hanstad said...

I have three adult sons and a daughter -- and two grandchildren. Every moment in a child's life is a teachable moment: what do we want to teach?

Raising children is a family affair, not the business of government.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the law is not only unenforceable, it also violates the rights of the parents as the teachers and moral overseers of their children. The Government should only be involved in the raising of children below the age of three to the extent that it is their duty as a government of the people by the people for the people to make sure that those children are not abused. It is not their duty and they have no right to involve themselves in the disciplining of children so long as that discipline is humane and safe.