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Old 11-27-2007, 09:02 AM   #1
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Outlawing Corporal Punishment

Pols debate ban on spanking
By Laurel J. Sweet | Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | http://www.bostonherald.com

Parents who spank their kids - even in their own homes - would be slapped by the long arm of the law under an Arlington nurse’s proposal to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw corporal punishment.

Kathleen Wolf’s proposed legislation will be debated at a State House hearing tomorrow morning.

If signed into law, parents would be prohibited from forcefully laying a hand on any child under age 18 unless it was to wrest them from danger, lest they be charged with abuse or neglect.

Rep. Jay Kaufman, a Lexington Democrat, submitted the 61-year-old Wolf’s petition at her request, but is not taking a position for or against corporal punishment.

“He does recognize and understand the concern many would have on legislating parental rights,” said Sean Fitzgerald, Kaufman’s chief of staff, “but the problem is the boundary is often overstepped. The right to hit should never be the right to hurt.”

Charles Enloe, 45, of Plymouth, knows a little something about that. In 2005, he was infamously arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for taking a belt to his then 12-year-old son during an argument over homework.

The charges were later dropped and Enloe told the Herald yesterday the experience “didn’t change my views at all. I believe discipline starts at home. Are they going to start legislating that you can’t raise your voice to your kids? That you can’t tell them when to go to bed? We’ll be communists then.”

The state Supreme Judicial Court agreed in principle when it ruled in 1999 that parents can spank their kids provided they don’t threaten bodily injury.

Corporal punishment in the home is already illegal in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the Ukraine.

In 1979, Sweden became the first country in the world to ban spanking. Anders Erickson, spokesman for the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., said in the 1960s 53 percent of Swedes backed corporal punishment of children. By the 1990s, that number was less than 10 percent.

“There are other ways and means to bring up children than to beat them,” Erickson said. “Much better ways.”

An ombudsman is available to children in Sweden to report allegations of corporal punishment. Parents face jail time if it’s found they’ve stepped out of line.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:38 AM   #2
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There's a huge problem out there that so many "parents" don't know how to be parents, but it's not the right of the government to tell them how. I do understand though that the government needs to protect the children. But this isn't the way.

Personally if I have kids I probably won't spank, but I know plenty of good parents that know how to in a constructive and not vengeful manner.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Outlawing Corporal Punishment

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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
"I believe discipline starts at home. Are they going to start legislating that you can’t raise your voice to your kids? That you can’t tell them when to go to bed? We’ll be communists then.”
What does communism have to do with it? Dumbass.

If you have to use a weapon/object to do the beating, then it's too much. I think this would be pretty un-enforceable; the government does a lousy job policing "real" child abuse, never mind trying to outlaw spanking.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
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Re: Re: Outlawing Corporal Punishment

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What does communism have to do with it? Dumbass.

It just sounds so good to call everything communism if you don't agree with it.

I didn't know it was illegal here, but think parents really shouldn't ever use it in any way.
Discipline isn't learned by getting slapped.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:37 AM   #5
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My parents spanked us. It's not always bad. We don't need a law banning spanking. I didn't know it was illegal in that many countries.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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Re: Re: Outlawing Corporal Punishment

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What does communism have to do with it? Dumbass.
Yeah?
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Old 11-27-2007, 12:48 PM   #7
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Has Kathleen Wolf ever had kids?
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:09 PM   #8
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:38 PM   #9
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While it wouldn't affect my parenting any if there were such a law, I really don't see this proposal going anywhere.

Doesn't sound like Charles Enloe would make a compellingly well-spoken advocate for any groups looking to oppose it, though. I guess we're probably still a few decades away from overcoming our Cold War habit of reflexively associating anything and everything dystopic-sounding with "godless Communists" and vice versa.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:31 PM   #10
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I wouldn't spank my kids if I had kids, because it was done to me and in my opinion it was abuse. I think using a belt or any such thing is abuse. I feel that too often it happens as a result of loss of emotional control by parents and is the "easy" thing to do rather than other methods. I'm sure that some parents can do it properly but personally I see no benefit from it, and think it creates anger and resentment in kids, and confusion. And it's poor role modeling for solving problems. I do think laws would be good to define exactly when it becomes abuse.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:42 PM   #11
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I've never understood people who claim to spank dispassionately. If you're that unemotional, can't you take a step back and think of better forms of punishment/reinforcement? I think the need to spank stems from a combination of lazy parenting, and leftover, outdated mores in our society.

ETA - I should clarify, before I open a hornet's nest here, that I think a great many parents are probably well-intentioned, and fall into the latter category. Their parents did it, and they reason that it didn't hurt them, so they do it. I still don't think it's necessary, though.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:01 PM   #12
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I don't advocate for spanking, but I think there is a time and a place for it and only if objects are not involved. It may seem outdated and cold, but I think that it can be effective in some circumstances.

I guess I don't understand the need to legislate this. We have laws against child abuse and clearly chronic corporal punishment would fall under this category, but I don't see how a one time slap, squeeze, etc is a crime. How would it be enforced? Do you take the word of the child, even if that child is fairly young? I could also see how this law could potentially be abused (no pun intended) by an angry teenager. What better way to get back at mom and dad than to say that they hit me? I know it's a well intentioned law, but it just doesn't seem to accomplish much.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:03 PM   #13
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Re: Re: Re: Outlawing Corporal Punishment

Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega


It just sounds so good to call everything communism if you don't agree with it.

I didn't know it was illegal here, but think parents really shouldn't ever use it in any way.
Discipline isn't learned by getting slapped.
of course it fucking well is.

how is it not?

there's a difference between beating a kid and spanking a kid.

if people can't tell the difference, they should be embarassed.

this reminds me of that onion article i read recently about the governments of the world agreeing to make the world "child proof".

spanking's been around forever, and it's not a bad thing if done right.

i can never win this discussion, so i'll leave it at that. most people make for awful parents anyway, so what the fuck do i care how they discipline.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:09 PM   #14
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
There's a huge problem out there that so many "parents" don't know how to be parents, but it's not the right of the government to tell them how. I do understand though that the government needs to protect the children. But this isn't the way.

Personally if I have kids I probably won't spank, but I know plenty of good parents that know how to in a constructive and not vengeful manner.
I fully agree. It wouldn't be my first method in dealing with a child, but like others have said here, many parents have no ill intentions with doing such a thing. Zoomerang96 is right-there IS a difference between a quick, short swat on the behind and beating up a child. A very big difference.

I have a real issue with them going so far as to tell people they can't do that in their own homes. Sorry, what? Since when do you get to decide what people do in the privacy of their own home?

Besides, will outlawing it really stop parents from doing this? Probably not. Instead of outlawing it altogether, what might help is parents learning other methods of discipline for a child, learning how to control their temper, that sort of thing.

Angela
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel



I have a real issue with them going so far as to tell people they can't do that in their own homes. Sorry, what? Since when do you get to decide what people do in the privacy of their own home?

Angela
You're not allowed to assault another adult in your own home. If a friend comes over and you don't like a comment they make, you can't slap them. For centuries, men were allowed - even encouraged - to physically reprimand their wives. Thank goodness that's changed. I think it's ridiculous these same rights aren't assigned to children.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:47 PM   #17
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I'm not sure how well attempting to draft a law that 'defines exactly when spanking becomes abuse' would work, because then you're getting into murky waters like evaluating the overall emotional dynamic of the parent-child relationship in question, the parent's precise frame of mind at the time, etc. I can agree that those kinds of factors do affect a child's experience of spanking, that the level of force used isn't the sole determinant there. But I don't really see how you can quantify them. You could certainly legislate limits on the level of force itself (whether objects are used, whether welts or bruises result or are likely to, etc.); that much I don't see a problem with.

We haven't seen reason to spank any of our kids to date, but my own parents used it very occasionally as a punishment...I think my next oldest brother was spanked maybe three times, which was the most any of us got; my sister and I were both spanked once, my oldest and my younger brother were never spanked at all. From having talked with them about it, my sense is that none of us felt or feel any resentment, confusion or humiliation over it. The way my parents used it, it was a ritualized means of getting across that we'd done something not merely 'naughty' but pretty seriously wrong, something we knew better than to do and which had bad consequences for people other than ourselves. And they didn't do it in a way that conveyed rage or contempt. No biggie, at least not for us. I do agree that it's not "necessary," but that's true of lots of things that fall under the heading of parenting techniques. I think if you're going to argue that it should be banned altogether for not being "necessary," then you should also be able to show that it's innately damaging and therefore automatically inferior to other disciplinary tactics.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by VintagePunk
You're not allowed to assault another adult in your own home. If a friend comes over and you don't like a comment they make, you can't slap them. For centuries, men were allowed - even encouraged - to physically reprimand their wives. Thank goodness that's changed. I think it's ridiculous these same rights aren't assigned to children.
That's a good point, but it still seems odd to me to have the government regulate what people do in their own homes.

And again, there is a difference between assaulting adults/children and a simple, quick tap on the behind. Like I said, I wouldn't use spanking as my method of discipline if I had kids, but at the same time, I don't think this is the best means of solving the problem, either.

Angela
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by VintagePunk
I've never understood people who claim to spank dispassionately. If you're that unemotional, can't you take a step back and think of better forms of punishment/reinforcement?
I agree.

All of the times I was hit or the times I've seen other kids get hit (siblings, cousins, kids at the grocery store, Super Nanny...) the parents were fighting with the kids and then it escalated to spanking. I know I know, I don't HAVE kids, but I have nannied full time for four of them (one that had a mental disorder) and I know what happens when they are so bad and not listening - we get frustrated and then mad. Yes, it happened to me too, I'm only human. I never spanked the kids, but I'd get mad and argue with them and sometimes the only thing stopping me from spanking them was the fact that they weren't mind. I know there's no point in arguing with a child. There's even less of a point in arguing with a child and then hitting the child because you let it get that far.

I train dogs and I'm also a huge fan of Super Nanny. It's amazing how learning theory is learning theory, operant conditioning is operant conditioning. It doesn't matter if it's a dog or child, the same concept apply. In both dogs AND children, I see handlers/parents that spend so much time struggling against/fighting with the dog/child and trying to get rid of the "bad" and never enough time marking and rewarding what is good.

As for the law, I don't really have a problem with it, I just don't see how it would be enforced.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:41 PM   #20
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