Filed under: Parenting
Today’s news is talking about the proposed legislation in California to outlaw spanking or physical punishment of children under four years of age.
California would become the first state to explicitly ban spanking for children younger than 4 under legislation to be introduced next week.
Slapping, smacking, whacking or kicking also would be outlawed.
Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, a Mountain View Democrat who is crafting the measure, said corporal punishment victimizes helpless children and contributes to a society “addicted to violence.”
“The only thing a child learns by being beaten is that it’s OK to beat or dominate children or animals that are smaller,” she said.
Now, I am no advocate of spanking, by any means. I think it’s not only a very ineffective form of discipline, but it is also harmful – not only does it teach a child that hitting is OK, especially if you’re bigger and stronger, but it also harms their sense of self-worth. I do not spank my own son, and don’t want anyone else to spank their children, either.
It would be very tempting for many in the natural living/natural parenting circle to see this legislation as a good thing. It outlaws something we see as harmful.
But I would caution my fellow gentle parents to think about it a bit more. Those of us parenting “on the fringe” or outside the norm here in America can easily be the target of well-meaning busybodies — or laws. Mothering magazine carries a blurb nearly every month about one parent or another who is being prosecuted for extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, not getting vaccines, or not following modern Western medical protocols.
We might see outlawing spanking – something we find abhorrent – as a good thing. But the bigger issue here is whether it’s the government’s business how we raise our children. If we okay anti-spanking legislation, we are saying that we do think it’s the government’s job to peer into our houses and judge our parenting methods.
Well, what if the government decides that nursing a child older than 2 is abusive? Or what if they whip out their studies about cosleeping “causing” SIDS (studies sponsored by the crib manufacturers) as the basis for mandating separate sleep surfaces?
I, personally, strongly believe that, even though I think the idea behind the proposed legislation is a good one, the legislation itself is ultimately more harmful than helpful – much like spanking itself.
1 Comment so far
Leave a comment