California Court Rules That Beating Child With Wooden Spoon Is Not Form Of Child Abuse

220px-Conrad,_Giorgio_(1827-1889)_-_n._202aThere is an interesting ruling out of the Sixth District Court of Appeal in California where a unanimous state appellate panel ruled that beating a child with a wooden spoon is not child abuse, even if it leaves bruises. The mother, Veronica Gonzalez, was reported for possible child abuse of her 12-year-old daughter. The daughter says that a friend “tricked” her into going to school officials about the beating. The case is Gonzalez v. Santa Clara County Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 802.


Here is the facts found by the court:

Prior to the events giving rise to this matter, Mother and her husband (Father) had become gravely concerned about Daughter’s declining academic performance and alarming social tendencies. As Father put it, Daughter “had decided that she did not have to do her school or home work, repeatedly lied to both of us, [and] started showing interest in gang culture.”1 Mother declared that Daughter had become “boy crazy and started to mingle with a new type of crowd,” and that they had found pictures and text messages on her mobile phone “in reference to gangs.” They “had many discussions” with Daughter about these developments, but to no avail: “She would hear us yet continued to go down this road . . . . [S]he began saying that her favorite color is red . . . . [S]he was not doing many of her school and homework assignments and even her teachers expressed . . . annoyance with her disregard for her work. We also discovered that [Daughter] had been lying to us about completing assignments and had been hiding test[s] with low scores that were supposed to have gotten signed by us.” Daughter’s older sister (Sister) also declared that Daughter’s “interest in gangs seemed to be growing.” She “started to become very irresponsible in school by being late to classes, having really bad grades because she was doing hardly any of her school and homework, was lying to my parents about lots of things, and started hanging around wanna-be gangster kids at school.” Daughter herself declared, “I have to admit, for a long time, starting in 6th grade, I was always getting to class late, not doing my school assignments, and lying to my parents.” She acknowledged that milder disciplinary measures had failed to influence her: “When I first started doing all this, my parents grounded me many times, by taking away all my fun stuff like my iPod, my T.V., my cell phone, and I was not allowed to hang out with friends. I don’t know why that stuff didn’t work on me, but I continued to not do what I was supposed to.”

Mother described in more detail the failure of these less stringent methods of discipline: “[A]fter a few weeks of grounding when [Daughter] would get off of restriction she would do better for a short time, but then revert back to the same behavior, over and over. We would go through several sessions of groundings over several months, hoping it would finally make the difference, but grounding proved to be ineffective at setting [Daughter] back on the right path. At this point, we did not know what else to do to help [Daughter]. We talked again, and felt that the only other option out there, would be to try spanking. So the weekend before the incident in question, my husband and I sat [Daughter] down and explained to her that, since she kept lying to us repeatedly about completing assignments, she now needed to get her agenda signed by each teacher so we could be sure she was really doing all of her work. We also informed her that if she continued with this irresponsible behavior, [such as] not doing her assignments, being late to class and lying to us, she would start to receive one spank on the bottom for each thing not done. She understood the new consequences. but still chose to continue the bad behavior.”

According to the Mother, on each of the first three days of the new regime Daughter came home without having “complet[ed] her tasks.” This resulting in her being spanked by Father “with his hand, only on the buttocks, fully clothed, and in a calm manner.” (Capitalization removed.) When Mother picked Daughter up at school on Thursday, April 29, 2010, she had again failed to comply with her parents’ directives. She [*6] gave implausible excuses, a further violation of parental orders. Mother called Father “and told him that [Daughter] still wasn’t doing her work and was late again, and that he needed to come home and deal with this. He told me he wouldn’t be home until late that evening and that I needed to handle it, or else [Daughter] would not respect me or take me seriously as a parent. Because of my hand condition, he said I should just use a wooden spoon. I told him that I’d rather he just spank her when he gets home from work, but he insisted that I should handle it. I finally agreed and told [Daughter] that I would have to be the one to spank her this day and that I was going to use a wooden spoon because my hands hurt.” Father also declared that the idea of using a spoon had been his, and had arisen from the exigency of his not coming home until “very late that evening.”

Mother declared that upon arriving home, she retrieved a wooden spoon and “gave [Daughter] around five or six spanks on the bottom, one for each thing not done and for making excuses. [Daughter] was fully clothed during the spanking. She was not crying or screaming during the spanking.” (Capitalization removed.) Family members [*7] declared unanimously that spankings had been a rarity in the family, that they had only been given in response to misbehavior, that they were never given in the heat of anger, and that they were almost always given by Father, and always with an open hand.

On the next day Daughter disclosed to some friends that she had been spanked with a wooden spoon. One of them reported, or “tricked” Daughter into reporting, the matter to school authorities. An unnamed “mandated child abuse reporter[]”—manifestly a school employee—filled out a “suspected child abuse report.” (Emphasis omitted.) Under “[i]ncident [i]nformation,” the reporter wrote, “Victim says she gets ‘smack’ by parents when she is not doing what parents are expecting from her. She said Mom hits her with a wooden spoon and Dad hits her with his hand. Last time she was hit was on 4/29/10 on her botto[m] / picture was taken.”

That fact pattern set up a clear record for the court to decide whether parents can still use spoons or other objects to discipline their students. The case turned on the state definitions of abuse, which are extremely vague. Under state law, a report is “‘[s]ubstantiated'” if the conduct reported is “determined by the investigator who conducted the investigation to constitute child abuse or neglect . . . , based upon evidence that makes it more likely than not that child abuse . . . occurred.” Since neglect was not alleged, the case turned to two definitions of abuse. First is the “‘willful harming or injuring of a child,” is defined as “willfully caus[ing] or permit[ting] any child to suffer, or inflict[ing] thereon, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering.” (Pen. Code, § 11165.3.) Second is the “‘unlawful corporal punishment or injury,'” is defined as “willfully inflict[ing] upon any child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or injury resulting in a traumatic condition.” (Pen. Code, § 11165.4.) There is a privilege recognized in California state however when “a reasonable person would find that punishment was necessary under the circumstances and that the . . . physical force used . . . was reasonable.” (CALCRIM No. 3405).

The panel faulted the trial court for refusing to consider such defenses by the mother. The panel held:

As we have said, a successful assertion of the parental disciplinary privilege requires three elements: (1) a genuine disciplinary motive; (2) a reasonable occasion for discipline; and (3) a disciplinary measure reasonable in kind and degree. . . .
The only question presenting any difficulty is whether the measure actually applied—spanking with a wooden spoon, with resulting bruises—was reasonable in kind and degree. To overlook as harmless the trial court’s failure to entertain the reasonable discipline privilege, it would have to appear as a matter of law either that a wooden spoon was an unreasonable means to administer the spanking, or that it was applied with excessive force.

We cannot say that the use of a wooden spoon to administer a spanking necessarily exceeds the bounds of reasonable parental discipline. Although no published California decision addresses this issue, the Attorney General has concluded that “[i]t is not unlawful for a parent to spank a child for disciplinary purposes with an object other than the hand,” provided that “the punishment [is] necessary and not excessive in relation to the individual circumstances.” . . .

Nor do we think that the infliction of visible bruises automatically requires a finding that the limits of reasonable discipline were exceeded. Certainly the presence of lasting bruises or other marks may support a finding that a parent crossed the line between permissible discipline and reportable abuse. . . . However, such effects alone [do not compel a finding of child abuse.

In some countries, any corporal punishment is treated as presumptively abusive. With four kids, I have yet to spank any of them though I consider spanking to be an option. I simply have never found it necessary. Not because my kids are angels. They can at times be close to feral, but I have found other alternative forms of punishment like taking away electronics (which is akin to an amputation for kids today). I grew up in a house where spanking occurred but not very often. My father (who was abused as a child) rarely spanked the kids and refused (unlike many of the fathers in our building in Chicago) to use a belt or a switch or any object. He used his bare hand and the kid was left fully clothed (despite my putting a magazine in my pants on one occasion). He would only briefly spank us — generally at the suggestion of my mother for severely bad conduct. Indeed, if you said you were sorry or cried, he would stop. (I would generally start to wail upon approaching my father and achieved a record low level of spanking — an early recognition of the value of throwing oneself on the mercy of the court. My next older brother — Christopher — on the other hand was a hard case and would refuse to cry or ask forgiveness.). With five kids, my parents found the threat of corporal punishment to be useful, even if rarely used. They are viewed (by us) as highly progressive because it was common for friends to be beaten by belts or sticks when we were growing up.

What do you think? Should any corporal punishment be viewed as abuse today?

Source: Mercury News

111 thoughts on “California Court Rules That Beating Child With Wooden Spoon Is Not Form Of Child Abuse

  1. You’re darn tootin’………. 60 years ago, when I was a little boy, my mom would pick up a wooden spoon or any other kind of kitchen tool, she could get her hands on, to hit me with….. She didn’t want to hurt her hand!

  2. What do you think? Should any corporal punishment be viewed as abuse today?

    No, so long as it fits the offense and the child was made well aware of all of the elements of the offense well in advance, and chose never-the-less to commit the infraction.

    Children who are well loved and guided will generall seek compliance with parental guidance and parents will not need to use corporal punishment to emphasize the behavioral norms that both they and society expect.

  3. Corporal punishment is wrong. In our dogpac only a Sgt. or higher ranking dog can administer punishment. Wooden spoon is better than a metal spoon. Nuff said on that score. In France this kid would have been beaten with a belt and in Sicily she would have been pistol whipped. In South Dakota they use buggy whips and in N. Dakota they employ tree limbs. Then there is different strokes for different folks. Kids who lie get their mouth washed out with soap. Kids who steal get their hands whacked. And so on.

  4. The rule is simply stated and often tough for someone else to discern. You never use corporal punishment in anger. You use a quick form of corporal punishment in immediate response to either a dangerous or willful act. You explain why it was done, let the child know you love them, and then let it go.

  5. I was spanked once as a child for burning a hole in my mother’s purse with a car cigarette lighter. It was a perfect round circle and I wanted to see if it would work like my grandfather’s wood burning tools. My mother got in the car (she had been stowing groceries in the trunk) and immediately smelled the burning leather. I showed her what I had done and received a spanking when we got home for “playing with a burning object” and failing to consider the “consequences to another’s property”. I was 4 years old and received 2 swats on the bottom (fully clothed) with the hairbrush.

    I don’t remember if it hurt but I never again touched a lighter or matches and the word “consequences” began to take shape in my mind.

    My 3 brothers on the other hand, who were each 1 1/2 years younger than the other and a self contained gang in their own right, were spanked on a regular basis by my father at the behest of my mother … usually for being “smart-alecs”. One was stoic, one was a”dancer”, and one was a screamer … considering that they each only got one swat apiece, I thought the stoic one was smarter.

  6. As a former Child Welfare supervisor and executive I would have, given the set of facts presented, deem this to be an “unfounded” case. There are times as a parent when one is faced with a situation that can’t be handled via normal means. when investigating a case such as this one must interview the parents and children in the family. One must also discover the entire context surrounding the parent’s response to the child’s behavior. One must also be cognizant of the end game that might come into play if a child is removed from the home. Often the Foster Care System presents a poor alternative for the child.

    My father used corporal punishment until I was about eight. He was a large man and he would slap me in the face once or twice. This occurred perhaps 5 or 6 times in my childhood and I found it painful, humiliating and unfair. My daughters are adults now and never once were dealt with via the use of force, since neither my wife, nor I believe in any form of physical punishment. To us as parents, we believed that a parent must be the authority for the child and to an extent on important matters we were more strict than the parents of our children’s peers. However, by being strict I don’t mean making all decisions for our children. They could dress as they pleased and wear their hair as they pleased. They were free to watch TV and movies of their choice and were completely unrestricted when it came to their personal reading. However, there was a structured bedtime, dependent upon age. As they grew there were curfews as to when they came home and discussions on what their activities would be when they went out a night. By giving them plenty of freedom within a structured environment things appear to have worked out well.

    As a guidebook for how to parent there were two seminal books for me, which at this point may be out of print. Both were by Doctor Haim Ginott. One was titled “Between Parent and Child” and the other “Between Parent and Teenager”. These are to my mind the best guidebooks for parents.
    .

  7. What do I think? I think it is a case by case situation and that swatting a kid is not always child abuse. My house was much like yours JT. The option was always there, but rarely used, and in retrospect only when I really did something very wrong (usually in the name of scientific experimentation). But there’s a huge difference between giving a kid a couple of swats and beating them with a belt. My grandmother on my mother’s side (not a nice or even particularly sane woman) made that mistake once. Once. My parents came unglued over it.

  8. Mike S,

    From reading the facts as presented, I would be somewhat concerned that the daughter’s “I was tricked by my friends into reporting the spanking”, sounds like someone still not willing to assume responsibility for her own actions.

    If it’s always someone elses’ fault then there is no need to learn … a ready-made attitude to continue self-destructive behavior.

  9. Blouise,

    Some kids use the state as an interceptor not considering the consequences that it has on the entire family….. So I can believe that she might have been tricked…. Not full well understanding the consequences….

  10. There are some really bad family dynamics at work and, absent professional help, it isn’t going to end well. The whole description is less of failed discipline and more of an ever increasing power struggle – there are underlying issues with the daughter and probably the parents that are not being addressed. What is the child finding in a gang that she isn’t finding at home or what is she escaping from that doesn’t exist in the gang? Find it, fix it. In the meantime, cognitive behavioral therapy and maybe some mindfulness exercises are vastly more likely to bring desired change than use of force.

  11. The use of force is always dangerous play. Both my parents had anger issue. One slapped me across the face with a belt while I was wearing a medical “immobilizing” eye patch due to a detached retina. Guess how I got the detached retina? Outside the house, my own friends would comment on how cool my parents were. I felt relief when one of them died and I guess I will when the other does.

    I’ve two grown daughters. Only once did one get swatted — couldn’t get her to quit playing with the electric outlets (and, no, child proofing them didn’t help). I also raised my voice and scowled at her and sent her to her room. She was afraid of me for two years.

  12. I am preparing to go to Stockbridge, Massachusetts next week, to attend the Erikson Institute Fall Conference for Clinicians and Scholars, at the Austen Riggs Center.

    The title of the conference is, “Perspectives on Trauma: Remembering, Forgetting, and Memorialization.”

    I attended the prior conference on trauma in October, 2012, and have attended many of the Erikson Institute conferences and the prior Fall Working Conferences at Austen Riggs prior to the forming of the Erikson Institute.

    I do both “clinical” and “scholarly” work in my licensed capacity as a Wisconsin Registered Professional Engineer and member of the ordained clergy.

    My work in pastoral counseling is a continuation of the work my dad did as a scientist (Carleton College philosophy major, with a biology minor) and clergy member (a Congregational Christian and United Church of Christ minister). He published aspects of his work, as, for example, in Pastoral Psychology, October, 1962, pages31-37, “The Rural Minister and Counseling.”. That journal article is available through Springer as a .pdf download.

    While my dad was a member of the sectarian clergy who had an undergraduate science degree, I chose to become a member of the non-sectarian clergy having both undergraduate and graduate degrees in science and applied science (engineering; specifically bioengineering).

    My doctotal dissertation is on the Internet, on the Indigo web page of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the URL being:

    http://hdl.handle.net/10027/8816

    As of a few minutes ago, the statistical information for that URL shows more than 200 download hits. I am easy to find via Internet search engines, I have a listed phone number, anyone who has found any way to scientifically refute the core finding of my doctoral thesis and dissertation could, at least in principle, easily inform me of said refutation. I have, so far, had identically zero reports of any refutation or falsification of my thesis finding to the effect that actually-avoidable mistakes (hence also actually-avoidable accidents) are evidently actually absolute existential impossibilities, thousands of years of human social hypothesis testing to the contrary notwithstanding.

    For me, the notion that people make actually-avoidable mistakes (which I find neurologically equivalent to the notion that actually-avoidable accidents happen) is a inherently a form of scientifically testable hypothesis; when a way of testing it is attained. A way of testing the hypothetical notion of avoidable mistakes or accidents may be found through testing the legal notion construct of “the reasonable person” who could have foreseen something that no actually-living person could actually have foreseen. A sufficiently careful reading of my dissertation will, I find, plausibly inform any sufficiently scientifically informed person that the legal fiction “reasonable person” is, at best, a sadly contagious and viciously harmful form of psychotic delusion when it is sincerely believed to be other than a form of psychotic delusion.

    The actual demonstration of one or more actually avoidable mistakes or accidents which were not actually avoided or, the actual demonstration of one or more actually unavoidable mistakes or accidents which were not actually unavoided would, in my present view, effectively refute and/or falsify the core finding of my doctoral thesis and dissertation.

    If tangible reality is purely hypothetical, I have a story of a hypothetical fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) who learned to fly at a googolplexion times the speed of light and who, ten microseconds before I started to write these words, fully terraformed Mars so it is now fit for human habitation, doing so in 37.3 femtoseconds, gathering rocks from the asteroid belt, water from the Oort Cloud, and atmospheric gasses from Venus.Why the rocks from the asteroid belt? So that the mass and size of Mars will closely match that of Earth, so humans living on Mars do not need to adapt to gravity notably different than the gravity of Earth.

    Gathering the materials may be trivial in contrast with cooling the newly formed Earth-like Mars from the molten rock state formed by that fruit fly’s work so that the radial temperature profile of the new Mars is much like that of Earth, plate tectonics included, in 37.3 femtoseconds.

    Hypotheticals? I can do hypotheticals. However, perhaps the way in which I am autistic has shielded me from confusing hypotheticals that model actual impossibilities with hypotheticals that model actual possibilities.

    Part way through the prior paragraph, my business phone rang. A message announced that my business qualifies for a quarter million dollar loan, and announced that I could “press 1” for more information. I pressed “1” and a living person began speaking, to the effect, “So, you are interested in a loan? Who am I speaking with?” I replied, “A Wisconsin Professional Engineer who is very good at detecting scams. Perhaps you can find someone who is vulnerable to scams.” And I put the telephone handset “on hook.”

    Many years ago, I became curious about what proportion of people have learned to confuse hypotheticals that represent tangible impossibilities with hypotheticals that represent tangible possibilities. So far, I find that very nearly 98 percent of people have evidently developed a form of learned helplessness that precludes their being able to clearly distinguish hypothetical impossibilities from hypothetical possibilities.

    Perhaps that is why 0.05 is a common value for statistical insignificance in the realm of frequentist statistical methods. People who are not entrained in forms of time-corrupted learning and can distinguish hypothetical impossibilities from hypothetical possibilities are at and below the frequentist statistical insignificance level of 0.02. All such people are, within the frequentist statistical camp, outliers and they and their data points are automatically discarded as not “fitting the curve.”

    That “curve” (the “normal curve”) is a hypothetical in its own right, a hypothetical which gives to people much like me no right to exist.

    Alas, here I am, frequentist statistics and legal fictions notwithstanding.

  13. Having raised BOTH sexes, my experience comports w/ others who have. Seldom, if ever, did our daughter need corporal punishment, as we are the heathens who believed it prudent @ times. Boys however..well, that’s an entirely different ballgame. My wife was an ARDENT feminist when we met and believed the lie that boys and girls are the same, w/ only culture making them different. Screw science, we’re going w/ ideology they said.. When feminist have boys they get their mind right on that lie QUICKLY.

  14. And she still played with outlets — I had to unwire them, which is what I probably should have done in the first place.

  15. AY,

    I understand what you’re saying about not understanding the full consequences to the entire family (which I assume were huge given that this went all the way to the state appellate panel) but I wonder what this 12 year old thought was going to happen.

  16. Oro Lee,
    I was told to not put my finger in the light socket. So naturally I did. I was five at the time. Took the bulb out of the lamp next to the couch and stuck my finger in the socket. I don’t remember exactly how I ended up on my back in the middle of the living room floor.

    My mom just smiled and asked me if I wanted to try that again.

    To this day, I never stuck my finger in a socket again. Edwin Guthrie would be proud. I am good at one-trial learning.

  17. OS, my brother learned the same way.

    To get his daughter to quit playing with outlets, my uncle wired up a mouse and made her watch as he plugged it in (he’s an old farm boy). My cousin refused to plug or unplug any appliance until she was a teen — curling iron, you know.

  18. J. Brian, Western Mass is just as nice as Vermont this time of year w/o a lot of obnoxious Ny’ers. This may not be your cup o’ tea but there’s a nearby blue collar town of Lee, Ma. A place called Teo’s, owned by Greeks, has some of the best hot dogs in the western world. They’re REAL dogs w/ natural casings and good, cold beer. Great time of year to be in that part of the country, safe travels.

  19. My parents spanked me on a regular basis for my misdeeds. It was ten spanks or more depending on the severity of the crime. I sure learned not to do that thing again!

    Hell in German class I did not do my homework, and the teacher, Herr Dr. Ats was a Hungarian Army officer during WWII. He had a paddle that was the size of a baseball bat, and he took one swat to see how far he could knock you across the desks. I can tell you that German homework got done FIRST after that. Ich kann Deutsch sprechen.

  20. nick,

    “When feminist have boys they get their mind right on that lie QUICKLY.”

    lol … that is the truth.

    My mother was a feminist long before it was popular but she grew up in a family of all girls and corporal punishment was seldom/never used. My father grew up in a strict, Scot family of all boys and corporal punishment was used. I would eavesdrop on their conversations regarding the boys (my brothers) and different discipline techniques they thought might work. I would listen to what they were saying and think to myself, “Give it up … those 3 are hopeless.”

    I have 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren … 5 girls and 1 boy. No corporal discipline used or needed. My grandson, wisely, never brings a girlfriend home. ;)

  21. I was told by a psychologist when my children were young that hitting children with implements constituted child abuse. A good quick swift spank on the rear of a clothed young child was not. My son was very easy to raise and required very little discipline. I had to take privileges from my daughter as she was stronger willed. My husband was hit by his mother with implements and also slapped in the face by her so he was adamantly against any physical punishment of the children. I was spanked once by my father and have always remembered it. My mother hit us with a hair brush a few times but I was not traumatized by it.

  22. “My grandson, wisely, never brings a girlfriend home.”

    Smart kid, Blouise. He probably is waiting for “the one” before submitting her to the Gauntlet his female relatives undoubtedly will put her through. :D

  23. Blouise, The Scots are not well known in this country. Italian, Irish, German, Polish, Jew, etc. are. My mom’s maiden name was Scott. Her old man was a Scottish coal miner from Nova Scotia, her mom[Powers], Irish from Halifax. She saw the distinct difference between Irish and Scottish, two cultures most Americans wrongly conflate. And that young man is wise not bringing a girlfriend home. Did he see the Mark Wahlberg flick as the fighter w/ all those crazy Irish sisters? It would give him nightmares if he saw the scenes w/ Wahlberg’s sisters and his girlfriend. The girlfriend more than holds her own, however. I had 2 sisters and a brother..balance.

  24. Gene,

    Exactly. Tex and I have met a couple and they were very nice young ladies but we’re not allowed to mention it to “the girls”.

    His reasoning is exactly as you stated and I love to privately tease him about the girls clamoring to be in the wedding party and ask him if he’s seen the movie, Bridesmaids. He hasn’t. Tex tells him to play it safe and elope. I tell him not to as his sisters, mom, aunt, and niece would kill him.

  25. And yet children aren’t cookie cutter creations. Some are more reason and logic resistant than others. I never got swatted once after my parents realized (at a fairly young age) that reason worked just fine with me so long as they had reasonable answers when I asked “why”. I’ve got fully grown cousins who are today as logic proof as they ever were as children. Some so much so that even suffering terrible and painful consequences for bad actions doesn’t deter them. Do you let a child, under your care, continue to do things that might severely injure themselves or others based solely upon a moral or ethical stance against violence as a general proposition or do you do what is required to protect them (and others) from themselves?

    Sometimes love is tough, but there is a distinction between tough love and abusive. When that line is crossed, it is an onus that rests solely upon the parent. It is a line marked always by minimal force required until force itself becomes more damaging than the sought deterrence of action. At that point, you can no longer protect a child from themselves and the consequences of their actions. The ethical choice is to let them suffer consequences from their actions instead of protecting them. It’s a choice not all are capable of making or of making well.

    There is the rub.

    Children don’t come with an instruction manual and, as they say in the commercials, your performance may vary.

  26. nick,

    If one has to be an “only” it’s best to be the oldest. I was the oldest and ruled my brothers with an iron fist.

    I’m not the least bit ashamed to say that my tactic was psychological, not physical … all I had to say to get them to behave was, “I’m going to tell Dad you hit me.” So much for feminism.

    All the turmoil not withstanding, I considered them to be my best friends and I theirs.

  27. I find it interesting that the Professor referred to the punishment as a beating, whereas in the excerpts from the case it was called a spanking.

    In the first purported child abuse matter that I dealt with, the state’s “expert” acknowledged that the buttock bruises very easily. As a result, I concluded that bruises per se were a bad measure of whether abuse had occurred. Since that time, I’ve encountered a handful of matters where a spanking worked wonders in terms of changing a child’s behavior.

    I’ve also seen a father who struck a child to stop the child from beating the mom, a father who defended himself against his drunk teenager, and a mom defending herself all charged with abuse.

    In terms of the question asked: I think it would be wrong to make corporal punishment per se child abuse. (Where I live, it is not now per se abuse, but many argue that leaving any mark makes it abuse. I don’t believe that that is a correct reading of the law.) I also think the comments in this thread show the worth and limit of corporal punishment: used sparingly it can have a positive effect, used often or in anger and it is a terrible thing.

    As a side note re the difference between boys and girls: I am seeing what is in essence an argument that by failing to account for this difference we are creating a problem for boys, for example by disallowing “natural” behavior in the schools. (The instapundit blog has examples.)

  28. just a little thing to think about….

    The USA has one of the HIGHEST rates of Child abuse….
    30 per million children die as a result of child abuse or neglect…..
    where as Sweden the numbers are 6 per million….
    and in Southern Europe it is even lower….

    Sweden, Norway, and many countries in Europe have made it illegal
    to spank your child…..

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0918-01.htm

    ONCE upon a time I thought that spanking was OK….. and could be a
    useful means of punishment…… Tho, I ONLY ONCE gave my daughter a swat on the booty for playing with the electrical cord and would not stop…..
    being that what she was doing was dangerous, I felt I needed to take extreme measures…… and gave her a swat on the behind…. she was about 3 years old at the time…… and I have NOT done this since…..

    after much careful thought, I no longer feel that spanking should be allowed….

    NOT only is spanking using violence to get what you want from your child….
    There are FAR MORE reasonable ways of teaching your child right from wrong……..

  29. MANY Child psychologists feel that spanking a child totally changes who they are and breaks them….. they feel it is very damaging to the child….

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201309/research-spanking-it-s-bad-all-kids

    Excerpt from article…..

    “Why else is spanking harmful?

    It destroys trust. Children trust their parents just a little less. They build a self-protective shield around themselves in terms of relationships generally. Children increasingly mistrust the motives of others and become a more threat reactive. It leads to aggressive expectations—they are ready to aggress first before they are aggressed against.

    Spanking is harmful for even more reasons, the review indicates:

    Spanking destroys mental health.
    Spanking increases delinquency and criminal behavior.
    Spanking makes it more likely the child will be physically abused.”

  30. Ditto here, DisgustedonEastBroadway. There was many a day when I went to school with belt marks on my butt or legs and guess what? Number 1; I can’t think of an instance where I didn’t deserve exactly what I got and, Number 2; it didn’t physically or emotionally cripple me for life, nor did I become a serial killer. I made it through childhood/adolescence perfectly fine. Matter of fact, there are a couple of entire generations running loose (some even procreating now. Horrors!) that SHOULD have had their little butts smacked prn. Wouldn’t have done them any harm.

  31. JAG (@JustAGurLnSwedn):” Excerpt from article…..

    “Why else is spanking harmful?

    It destroys trust. Children trust their parents just a little less. They build a self-protective shield around themselves in terms of relationships generally.”

    Hey. Guess what. Parents are not meant to be their children’s buddies or their best friends. They are meant to be their parents. Personally, I feel that there are WAY too many ‘ child psychologists’ involved in rearing children and not enough just plain, ordinary, common sense.

  32. SWM, I think many people w/ your husband’s experience have the same outlook when they are parents. I don’t think corporal punishment is for every parent or for every child. I think it can be effective in limited circumstances UNDER CONTROL, NEVER IN ANGER. Almost all the corporal punishment was done by my mother. My old man had “the look.” And, “the look” was more effective than corporal for me. However, “the look” is a natural born skill, and wow did my old man have it. We kids spoke much more of “the look” than the belt.

  33. JAG, Welcome home, woman. Were you aware of the death of idealist?

    I get the sense you were spanked unrighteously, and for that you have my empathy.

  34. While I have to admit to a couple of instances of spanking when my kids were young, but I am ashamed of my actions. I do not agree with it and I especially do not agree that hitting any child with any object is acceptable behavior for any adult or parent. I am interested in why the parents took pictures of the “last” time this child has struck?

  35. “Why else is spanking harmful?

    It destroys trust. Children trust their parents just a little less. They build a self-protective shield around themselves in terms of relationships generally.”

    5 of my siblings and myself were beaten, with belts, flat of hand, fist (dad), pussy willow switches, hair brushes, flat of hand or whatever was handy (mom). The last time I was hit was with dad’s fist. I stood up to him after the hit, told him that he was to never, ever, hit me again. The else was unspoken. He never hit me again. Damn, if only I had known that he was a bully who could have been stopped by being challenged!

    Yes, it destroys trust and I don’t let others get too close.

  36. To anyone who attempts to justify the abuse of children (so-called “corporal punishment”), prove you mean it by accepting it yourself.

    The next time you screw up at work, your employer gets to spank you or hit you with a wooden spoon. And you agree not to press charges.

    What’s that? It shouldn’t be done to adults? It should only be done to children who don’t have the physical ability to defend themselves nor the knowledge to report such abuse? What sort of a sociopath are you that justifies the abuse of children while protecting your own hide?

    —–

    JAG (@JustAGurLnSwedn)
    “MANY Child psychologists feel that spanking a child totally changes who they are and breaks them….. they feel it is very damaging to the child.”

    At best (!), “corporal punishment” is torture, and at worst it is sexual abuse, especially spanking which strikes the buttocks and anal area, closely connected to the genitalia. Someone who regularly spanks children is definitely on par with a pedophile – especially when you hear reports that those meting out the beatings actually enjoy it (e.g. nuns at catholic schools in Ireland).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/nuns-abused-hundreds-of-children-1171988.html

  37. Sicilian grandmothers and mothers have been disciplining their kids and grandkids with wooden spoons & famous Sicilian-dialectic phrases for centuries! I don’t see a problem with this case. Hopefully, the recalcitrant daughter will see the error of her ways; if not, it won’t be for lack of trying on the part of the girl’s mother. I say, send the mother more wooden spoons!

  38. I got hit regularly with a wooden spoon as a child. I actually took them all out of the kitchen and broke them in half after one particularly nasty whoopin’. It definitely gets your attention, and you learn not to pull the shit you used to pull. I believe that it is up to the parent. I see plenty of brats who need an ass kicking. But the parent also has to be in control of their emotions when they are doling out the punishment. Otherwise they don’t know when to stop. How’s that for a wishy washy response?

  39. Valentino, The wooden spoon is used for stirring sauces w/ love. Tough love spanking, on the butt, clothed, not in anger, is a cultural norm in many Italian families. You are correct.

  40. Here are just a few thoughts to ponder. For those who don’t see any problem with whacking your kids when they are too little to defend themselves. When you are old and infirm, it may be that same kid you have to depend on to take care of you. Feed you, wipe your butt and get your bath. Just remember that.

    Some macho men want their kids to grow up to be tough, so enroll them in karate and boxing classes. I am aware of a few instances when that backfired badly, even when the kid was still in elementary school.

    Finally, on handling bullies and abusers. A friend of mine, now a scientist and professor, was married to an abusive guy when she was young. Her parents had been rather authoritarian. She was conditioned to be submissive because of her upbringing, but one day she had enough. She reminded her husband she learned to shoot when she was still in grade school and, “You SOB, lay a hand on me or our child ever again, just remember I can take you out with a head shot at 300 yards.”

    He never again hit either of them, but not too long after that asked for a divorce. She was no fun anymore.

  41. Corporal punishment is very helpful to parents, and the law should recognize the inalienable right of parents to punish their children. What stood out to me in this story is how late in the child’s life they waited to spank her. That is probably the biggest problem for why their daughter disrespected them later.

    Books I had read instructed me never to spank with the hand. There needed to be a punishment instrument, such as a switch or paddle, that the child recognized as such. Psychologically, this would allow the hand to be associated with love, comfort, nurturing, etc., and it also helped prevent parents from acting out of anger. I used a wooden paddle constructed for the purpose of spanking. After a few spankings, my oldest daughter taped napkins around the handle of it, saying that it was so I would not hurt my hand when I gave her a spanking. She always associated spankings as love toward her for what she did wrong.

    I don’t think I have spanked any of my children once they passed the age of 10. Usually spankings would end years before that age. Spanking is effective before the rational mind has developed, but when they get older, rational thought should be used. When older, sometimes I would threaten, “do I need to give you a spanking for this?” and that is all that is needed to get them to realize the seriousness of the offense we were discussing. Then it becomes a dialogue reaching toward agreement concerning what behavior is right or wrong, and what behavior we can expect in future choices.

  42. Hi Nick…. Thank you for the VERY warm welcome back…. :-D

    Yes, I heard about Idealist….
    It totally broke my heart…. :-(

    I had wanted to meet up with him for coffee…..
    But, I was too sick…. and have been for around 3 years now….
    So, I was just not in any shape to meet him….

    I still think about him when I come here and read this blog….
    and I REALLY miss his point of view…. :-(

    ————————————-

    as for Spanking…….

    If I came here and told you all that my husband spanked me
    because I did not do the dishes…….
    YOU would ALL implore me to file Domestic
    Violence Charges on him…..
    and rightfully so…….

    WHY do you feel different when it is a CHILD????

    and to boot, a Child who is much smaller than an adult……

    Being a parent and not being the child’s FRIEND I agree with….
    Tho, I think you have to be BOTH….

    HOWEVER,….. Just because we call Children OURS, does NOT mean that we can treat them anyway we wish, as long as it is not beating them TOO MUCH….. they are NOT our possessions…..

    It was once thought perfectly fine and LEGAL to spank your wife….
    Thankfully we have evolved from that era….. and it is now considered
    Domestic Violence…. and even if a husband were to just spank his wife…. and most certainly if he spanked her with a wooden spoon
    he would be arrested for Domestic VIOLENCE…..
    Because it is a violent act……. an act where you use PHYSICAL
    strength to control another human being into submission…..

    as P. Smith said….. Would you be OK if you made a mistake
    at work, and your boss decided to HIT YOU?????

    Of course NOT……

    and for those who think that spanking makes for good parenting and
    that your child ended up well behaved because you spanked them….

    when you spanked them, they did not respect you…. they FEARED you…. and FEAR is not respect…..

    and just so you know…. my opinion on this has nothing to do with
    whether I was spanked or not…. I used to LAUGH at people who used the arguments I am using here against spanking… I thought it was a perfectly OK parenting option…… Of course, since then, I have grown up and learned more about
    children and psychology….. and there is just TOO many stories
    of parents losing control and beating their kids……
    Yes, I was spanked….. and yes, I came out OK…… However,
    I did NOT come out OK because I was spanked….
    I came out OK in spite of being spanked…….

    My daughter is one of he
    NICEST and most polite, well behaved kids I have EVER met, and EVERYBODY who meets her, has ALWAYS said the very same thing……… and aside from that ONE swat to her diapered booty, I have NEVER hit my daughter since…..
    By the way…. after that ONE time I swatted her booty, I cried for
    HOURS, I felt like the WORST human being in the world….. and
    vowed to never spank her again….. and I held to that promise….

    I think that spanking a child is the act of lazy parenting…..
    there are so many ways to get a child to listen and learn respect…
    I just don’t think that using violence is the way to do it……

    and don’t bother saying that spanking is NOT violent…..
    as I mention above, if a husband spanks a wife… it would be considered
    violence….. and it should also be considered violence when a parent
    spanks a child…….

  43. ” After a few spankings, my oldest daughter taped napkins around the handle of it, saying that it was so I would not hurt my hand when I gave her a spanking. She always associated spankings as love toward her for what she did wrong.”

    WOW!!!!!!!

    So, there was NO other way to teach her right from Wrong????

    what if she now associates punishment with love to such a degree
    that she will now seek men who will punish her, as a way to
    feel loved by them????

  44. you have to love the judgements posted here. some say they’ve never spanked their kids, others say they did it once or twice, and then the one that says

    Humans can justify anything including perpetrating violence on their children.!!!!!!

    Kraaken and Digusted i too got beatings as a child. and those beatings let me know what not to do. further. im no serial killer, no longer a drug user and the drug user had to do with being gang raped. i was at the top of my classes always until that time and . i knew to respect my elders always.

    there is a flyer going around now . that says mentions about growing up in the 70,80s. and early 90s and you survived then you have nothing to complain about…

    one thing people seem to forget is our generation had none of the technology of today..

    the kids of our generation respected their parents, elders, and each other.

    so what i would like to know especially from old nurse is what exactly is the excuse for those whose parents didnt spank them. yet they became serial killers, abusers of women and children, pedophiles, murders, drug dealers, those who DO NOT KNOW HOW TO ACCEPT THE WORD NO! to name a few???

    todays kids tell their parents ” ITS MY LIFE AND YOU CANT TELL ME WHAT TO DO ” had i spoken those words to my parents im sure i would have never allowed those words out my mouth again!!!!

    i remember sucking my teeth at my mother one time. and she was 2 rooms away from me when i did it. the next thing i knew my mouth was bleeding from being punched in it. bet i never sucked my teeth again in the house. hell i would wait till i was 3-5 blocks away from my mother before even rolling my eyes!!!!!

    teachers also had the right back then to spank us when acting up in school….

    every child is not the same. some can be yelled at and they will stop.. others can be punished and they will stop. then there are those who are going to push the envelope as far as they can go and if you don’t stop them. then you the parents end up regretting it.. wondering if you should or shouldnt have…. etc

  45. Robin45, I hope you don’t think this question impertinent, but is English your first language? Because if it is, I have no idea how to explain your writing style.

  46. RobinH45: “Kraaken and Digusted i too got beatings as a child. and those beatings let me know what not to do. further.”

    The problem I have (and perhaps Disgusted, too) is equating a spanking with a beating. There are certainly children who suffer a true beating and that is beyond dispicable, but a smack on the butt is hardly a beating. However:

    “every child is not the same. some can be yelled at and they will stop.. others can be punished and they will stop. then there are those who are going to push the envelope as far as they can go and if you don’t stop them. then you the parents end up regretting it.. wondering if you should or shouldnt have…. etc

    You are entirely correct here. I am not ashamed to admit that I was the troublemaker in my family. Mom used the belt because I was bigger than she was (she was a small woman). My sister, on the other hand was one of those children who only needed to hear the word ‘No!’ or see Mom raise one eyebrow and she would straighten out her act.

  47. J Brian Harris@ 11:08a.m.

    I am preparing to go to Stockbridge, Massachusetts next week, to attend the Erikson Institute Fall Conference for Clinicians and Scholars, at the Austen Riggs Center.
    ==========================================================

    is that the same town of stockbridge massachusetts that has three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car?

  48. “I am not ashamed to admit that I was the troublemaker in my family.”

    Kraaken,

    So. Is your hobby of pulling ships to the ocean floor and dragging sailors to a watery end a lifelong interest or just one of those awkward teenage phases? The adolescent acting out of giant cephalopod angst? Either way, I’m not sure on this, but I think that qualifies you more as a force of nature than a troublemaker. And your mom must have had a really big belt. Just sayin’. :mrgreen:

  49. From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Although beating a child may amount to abuse, Rushing said, it depends on the circumstances, including whether the parent intended to inflict bruises.”

    OK, so beating a child is not necessarily abuse? Assuming this is an accurate reflection of what the judge actually stated, that’s a pretty scary notion.

    I wonder if there have been any domestic violence cases where, in deciding what degree the assault rose to, a court required proof that a husband *intended* to leave bruises when striking his wife. Or any child abuse cases where evidence was insisted upon to show that when a parent punched their child in the mouth, they actually intended to knock out a tooth. I do know there have been cases where parents were convicted of first-degree murder for severe physical punishment that resulted in a child’s death, despite the evident intent being only to make the child experience intense pain (e.g., Laree Slack of Illinois). So I don’t see this standard of proof as very consistent with that used for other crimes.

    I’d like to know how the panel concluded that the Superior Court judge did not give “any weight to the right of a parent to impose reasonable discipline on his or her child.” Had that right not been invoked in her defense? Is it not conceivable that the SC judge *did* give weight to that right–yet did not consider this act of discipline reasonable? The panel itself says it “thinks” the infliction of bruises doesn’t necessarily disqualify a spanking as reasonable, but cites no legal basis for that position (unlike with the issue of using an object, for which they at least can cite a pronouncement by the attorney general.) It’s just their own subjective call. They give no indication of any level of severity that would necessarily satisfy the definition of abuse, and offer no additional criteria that would help settle the question in this case.

    In any event, it’s hard to know what to make of the social worker’s claim to have overheard the girl say she had to strip for the punishment, contrary to what the girl testified. Did anyone think to ask her, putting this incident aside, if she had ever in the past been required to remove clothing to be spanked. If the answer was yes, is that itself grounds for investigation? Family members attest that spankings were rare, never given in anger, and always with the open hand. Were they always over clothes to their knowledge? Or was that question not asked of them?

  50. twelve is a bit old to be “spanking”. at around that age they may start hitting back. after all, it’s what they’ve been taught.

    when i was in jr. high school, the shop teacher, one of the football coaches delivered discipline with a planed downed baseball bat as a paddle. a couple of days before summer vacation as i was about to receive one “lick” of discipline the coach announced to me and the rest of the class that i beat the old record of # of times busted (what we called being paddled) by five. the old record was twenty times in one year. i had twenty five. i told him i hadn’t realized he was keeping score so he showed me in the attendance book where he made a mark every time somebody got busted. i asked him who he got to count the # of marks for him.

    turns out i beat the old record by six. after a while, what difference does one more make.

  51. rafflaw wrote: “There is no such thing as an inalienable right for an adult to hit any child.”

    Although the U.S. Constitution does not specifically recognize this inalienable right of parents to spank their children, it is self evident that such a right exists.

    When a man and woman come together and create a life, a life that never existed before, they create also a responsibility toward that life, to care for it and to nurture it. The parents have a duty to raise that child up properly, to teach the child boundaries, to educate the child, and to instill values in that child. The parents are the immediate government of that child, and as the governing authority, they have the inalienable God-given right to use force to punish misbehavior. This is one reason why parents are held responsible for the behavior of their children when they are minors.

    Just as civil government has the right to punish wrong doers, and not just the right but the duty to do so, in like manner parents have the right and duty to punish their own children who misbehave. They do not have the right to punish someone else’s children, but they have the right and duty to punish their own children.

    Just as government may overstep their bounds with cruel and unusual punishment, so parents likewise might overstep their bounds. They do not have the right to do that. Nevertheless, the right to corporal punishment by parents has a very long tradition of acceptance in law, and it is, in fact, an inalienable right. No government can take away the right of parents to spank their children anymore than they can prevent free speech. To do so would be to infringe upon the smallest governmental unit established for the child. It would be worse than if the federal government told a city that they do not have the right to establish a police force for the security of the city. Only when irresponsible parents egregiously harm their children does the government have the duty to step in to protect the child from the parents. The California appeals court here got it right. The school and prosecutors got it wrong.

  52. What about the child, David? Doesn’t the child have some rights to be free from cruel, physically harmful punishment? Certainly, you believe the unborn child has some rights, don’t you? Then why do view a child as little more than property. You wouldn’t beat a dog, especially with a piece of wood, but you’re saying it’s ok to beat a child like this? What about locking a child in a closet as punishment, you ok with that? What about a dog cage? Some parents deem that acceptable. Where do you draw the line? Or don’t you.

    Surely, someone with a “background in biology” like you, is a aware of the studies that show how corporal punishment of children leads to violent, anti-social behavior, and depression later in life. Society should have a right to demand that parents not create the sociopaths, let alone the psychopaths, that require public resources to deal with. I could put it in terms of stemming the cycle of further violence, but I figure tax dollars is something you could understand.

  53. RTC wrote: “Doesn’t the child have some rights to be free from cruel, physically harmful punishment?”

    There are some forms of punishment that the child has a right to be free from, but spanking is not one of them. Spanking does not harm the child. Spanking greatly helps the child learn boundaries of right and wrong.

    RTC wrote: “… why do view a child as little more than property.”

    I don’t. The rights of a child, however, are subjugated to the parents, until the child comes of age and is an adult.

    RTC wrote: “You wouldn’t beat a dog, especially with a piece of wood, but you’re saying it’s ok to beat a child like this?”

    A dog’s anatomy is different. He has a thicker hide. However, a switch is workable with a dog, as is a rolled up newspaper.

    RTC wrote: “What about locking a child in a closet as punishment, you ok with that?”

    No, I am not okay with that. However, sending a child to his room for a timeout period is okay. I think timeout in the corner, however, is more harmful than a spanking.

    RTC wrote: “What about a dog cage?”

    Dog cage? Yeah, they are okay for dogs. Dogs love their crates.

    RTC wrote: “… studies that show how corporal punishment of children leads to violent, anti-social behavior, and depression later in life.”

    These studies suffer from poor experimental design and confirmation bias.

    RTC wrote: “Society should have a right to demand that parents not create the sociopaths, let alone the psychopaths, that require public resources to deal with.”

    Spanking does not create sociopaths. It prevents them.

  54. David sez: ” Spanking does not harm the child.”

    ******************************************
    Where do you get that information? You say it, but it is a claim I have heard from too many child abusers to count. Your claim flies in the face of an enormous body of hard science. You know, those journal articles filled with dense numbers and turgid prose. Put simply, BF Skinner proved years ago that punishment does not work and is counterproductive.

    But, if you want to claim some insight or special knowledge that evaded Dr. Skinner, carry on.

  55. A growing body of research has shown that spanking and other forms of physical discipline can pose serious risks to children, but many parents aren’t hearing the message.
    [snip]
    “It’s a very controversial area even though the research is extremely telling and very clear and consistent about the negative effects on children,” says Sandra Graham-Bermann, PhD, a psychology professor and principal investigator for the Child Violence and Trauma Laboratory at the University of Michigan. “People get frustrated and hit their kids. Maybe they don’t see there are other options.”

    Source:
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx

  56. pete, It indeed is, the same town. My folks used to take us to The Great Barrington Fair and we have eaten @ Alice’s Restaurant. And, my old man always let us kids got “anything we want,” as long as we ate it.

  57. JAG wrote: “So, there was NO other way to teach her right from Wrong????”

    Certainly there are other ways, but for a very young child, spanking is pretty effective.

    JAG wrote: “what if she now associates punishment with love to such a degree that she will now seek men who will punish her, as a way to
    feel loved by them????”

    Never happened. She doesn’t seek men to punish her. She is 27 now, married, and she has a child of her own. She is the most gregarious person you can meet. She loves people and life. She has a bubbly personality that I greatly admire.

  58. OS – if you are ignorant of these studies supporting spanking, how about just reading your own link.

    ====
    As in many areas of science, some researchers disagree about the validity of the studies on physical punishment. Robert Larzelere, PhD, an Oklahoma State University professor who studies parental discipline, was a member of the APA task force who issued his own minority report because he disagreed with the scientific basis of the task force recommendations. While he agrees that parents should reduce their use of physical punishment, he says most of the cited studies are correlational and don’t show a causal link between physical punishment and long-term negative effects for children.

    “The studies do not discriminate well between non-abusive and overly severe types of corporal punishment,” Larzelere says. “You get worse outcomes from corporal punishment than from alternative disciplinary techniques only when it is used more severely or as the primary discipline tactic.”

    In a meta-analysis of 26 studies, Larzelere and a colleague found that an approach they described as “conditional spanking” led to greater reductions in child defiance or anti-social behavior than 10 of 13 alternative discipline techniques, including reasoning, removal of privileges and time out (Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2005). Larzelere defines conditional spanking as a disciplinary technique for 2- to 6-year-old children in which parents use two open-handed swats on the buttocks only after the child has defied milder discipline such as time out.
    ====
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx

  59. “A dog’s anatomy is different. He has a thicker hide. However, a switch is workable with a dog, as is a rolled up newspaper.”

    I’ve trained dogs and I’ve raised children. Curiously I never had to hit either. One can assert authority by the sound of ones voice, one’s posture and the expression on ones face. However, some need to express it violently for reasons best left to a mental health professional.

  60. David, I know what Larzelere said. His opinions were reviewed before the final draft was published. Like you, he is entitled to his opinion, even when wrong, or when he misinterprets the data.

  61. Mike,
    My daughter likes to watch Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) on TV. My brother in law is a professional dog trainer. When was the last time you saw Cesar hit an animal. Stern consistent discipline yes, hitting no. My BiL doesn’t hit animals either.

  62. Question for David: Would you agree that children who are spanked by their parents are more likely to submit to a spanking from a non-parent?

    You state that only a parent has that right. However, I get the impression that it’s a minority of spanking parents who proactively tell their child in no uncertain terms that it’s never OK for another adult besides Mom or Dad to spank him or her—no matter how badly he or she has misbehaved.

    I don’t know if you warned your daughter when she was a child that some adults may have bad reasons for wanting to spank her. I do wish more parents would take that precaution, especially after reading about predators like this:

    Jefferson County, Colorado
    Administration and Courts Facility
    100 Jefferson County Parkway
    Golden, Colorado 80419
    303-279-6511

    For Immediate Release – Apr 4, 2008

    Contact: Pam Russell
    DA Public Information
    303-271-6905

    Re: Michael DiPalma Sentenced

    DiPalma

    Michael David DiPalma appeared today in Jefferson County Court and was sentenced to Intensive Supervision Sex Offender Probation for a period of ten years to life and two years in the county jail. The 33-year-old former day camp teacher pled guilty on January 25 to Sexual Assault of a Child, a class four felony.

    Michael DiPalma, who now lives in Centennial, worked at a Lakewood recreation center teaching Elementary Engineering Using Lego and Elementary Robotics Using Lego in July 2006. One of the students, an 8-year-old boy, was singled out by DiPalma. The boy was given a sticky note and told to make a checkmark on it every time he didn’t follow DiPalma’s instructions. The boy was told he would receive a spanking for each check mark. On July 27, 2006, when the other children were on lunch break, DiPalma lured the boy to his car and put him into the back seat. DiPalma then drove to the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex then climbed into the back seat with the boy. He put the boy on his lap, pulled down his pants and spanked him 20 times on his bare buttocks. The spanking left marks and DiPalma told him not to tell or that he would go to the boy’s house and spank him harder. When the boy’s mother picked him up at the end of the day, he told her what had happened. The family reported the incident to the Lakewood Police Department.

    DiPalma’s case went trial in September, 2006 but the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

    The jury heard evidence that in May 2006 DiPalma had worked for a company called “Computer Tots’, teaching an after-school class at Steck Elementary School in Denver. In that class he asked the second graders to vote on which of them should be spanked. He spanked at least two 7-year-olds before his employment at Steck Elementary was terminated.

    Court records also indicate that DiPalma had been accused of unlawful sexual contact of a child, kidnapping, and false imprisonment in 1999 in New Mexico. The boy and girl who were named as victims in that case were 10-year-olds and they did not know DiPalma. He was given a deferred judgment and probation.

    DiPalma was remanded to the custody of the Sheriff following the sentencing. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

  63. David,
    We have been down this road before. Here is what I call a Great Truth. Any time you get a group of scientists together, there are inevitably going to be disagreements. Usually not about the total truth of a theory, but about details or degree. Sometimes there will be breakaway factions. That is the way any scientific investigation works.

    The fallacy lies in the need of some people to grab onto minority opinions as if they are the findings of the larger study group. That is an appeal to authority fallacy, in which the”authority” is the one out of step.

    Additionally, even when there is disagreement, the ethical and moral thing to do is err on the side of human rights and caution rather than authoritarianism and violation of rights.

  64. “When was the last time you saw Cesar hit an animal.”

    OS,

    My own first dog was Snuffy, a pit bull. I raised him myself from a pup and never once hit him. A stern look, or a firm word was all that was necessary.
    Many days he was on a leash in a doghouse we built for him in a garage. One Sunday we were all at home watching football and we heard a ruckus coming from the garage. When we got outside we saw him holding off two of our neighbors Doberman’s that had gotten loose. He was a fiercely protective dog, but was highly approachable. My sister-In-Law and Brother raised Lhasa in the 70’s and even showed that at the Westminster Show at MSG. They had a brood of six that they never hit. It simply isn’t necessary if you know what you’re doing.

    When it comes to children they will react to your firmness of direction and in direct proportion to the love you show them. Fairness too, adds int the mix. If they are loved they want to please you. This is not to say that appropriate times we didn’t throw in a little of the famous “Jewish Guilt” for effect, but the idea of hitting someone you love is an anathema to me. As I said in my opening comment when it comes to Child Welfare there is a need to balance alternatives. When you remove a child the assessment has to be made as to whether you are removing them to a better environment, since the Foster Care system can be terrible at times. In this case we’re discussing I would not have made the removal. I worked for a time as a Director of Drug Counseling for a non-profit Foster Care Agency. Though the people running the place did seem to care for the children I found their group homes a problematic environment.

  65. In spite of being raised in an abusive environment, or more likely because of it, I no longer hit any of my nieces or nephews, some of whom have spent quite a bit of time with me. Did I at one time? yes. One nephew was a huge bundle of energy, always in motion and usually where he shouldn’t be. I hit him once with a wooden spoon in spite of his begging me not to. My reaction was shame at what I had done to this great kid that I saw come into this world. I vowed never to hit a child again and I haven’t.

    My sister-in-law was sure her toddler was spilling juice just to antagonize her and she would slap him. And she would spank him for other behaviors that are typical for the age. She eventually stopped. When I asked her why, she said that spanking didn’t work. A short timeout was more effective.

    My sister was about three or four when she insisted on locking the bedroom and bathroom door in spite of my admonitions that she not lock the door. My assurances that I would knock before entering didn’t help. Her persistence was frustrating since she was so inclined to try to please me (a characteristic in all the children). Then a flash of insight. She didn’t know that pushing the button in the center of doorknob was the lock. Her disobedience was due to ignorance, not insolence.

    The point of discipline is to guide children to society’s norms of acceptable behaviors. There are many ways to do this and if violence of any kind is the only way to achieve it, then there is something wrong with the parenting, not the child.

  66. Gene H: You know how we cephalopods are. When a ship comes our way we just can’t help ourselves! And if you think MOM’s belt we big, you should have seen Dad’s razor strop! :-)

  67. OS wrote: “BF Skinner proved years ago that punishment does not work and is counterproductive. But, if you want to claim some insight or special knowledge that evaded Dr. Skinner, carry on.”

    Skinner’s experiments actually proved the opposite, that punishment does work. It was just his opinion that positive reinforcement is more effective because it actually directs a person toward a desired behavior. All his methods of Operant Conditioning work. It is wrong for you to claim otherwise.

    Four years before his death, when California was considering a ban on corporal punishment, Skinner wrote a letter arguing against corporal punishment in schools. He wrote something along the lines that students who are hit will avoid school, vandalize property or become apathetic. From my experience, he was clearly wrong on this, because I was paddled in school and I never avoided school, vandalized property, or became apathetic. I know many others who likewise were not affected in this way. Skinner had his experiments, which proved that punishment works, and then he had his political opinion, that positive reinforcement is better than punishment.

  68. David,
    Once again you are in over your head. It is clear that you are not a psychologist, but are pretty quick with Google searches. Skinner identified multiple kinds of punishment, as well as negative reinforcement. The latter is a difficult concept to understand, especially for the layperson, who typically confuses it with pure punishment.

    Skinner was opposed to punishment as a means of behavior modification because it is unreliable. Furthermore, he pointed out that following punishments, the unwanted behavior almost always returns. The reason for this is no alternative is offered. Paddling, flogging, prison, and other such punishments do not teach the offender anything, and often have an effect opposite to what is desired.

    In his 1976 book, “About Behaviorism, Skinner wrote, “Punished behavior is likely to reappear after the punitive consequences are withdrawn,”

    The link takes you to the official policy statement of the American Psychological Association:
    https://www.apa.org/about/policy/corporal-punishment.aspx

  69. OS – you are just spouting opinions and adding in a little spin. I remember learning about the Skinner boxes in college. One of my friends was studying psychology and ran Skinner boxes himself. I helped him a few times. I’m not claiming to be an expert. I just know you are not telling the truth when you claim that Skinner proved, through research and experimentation, that punishment doesn’t work.

    All you have to do to prove your case is show me the experiment by Skinner that proved punishment does not work. Just tell me which experiment did that. I know you will not bother because it does not exist. That’s why you send me to psychological organizations that vote on it. Voting is not real science. Voting is used a lot in modern science, but it really is not science per se.

    Even looking at their ruling, it does not address parental spanking, only spanking within institutions. Furthermore, it admits to corporal punishment being effective if it is done with precision in regard to timing, duration, intensity, and specificity. Their concern is that institutions like schools will not apply attention to all these factors that make corporal punishment effective.

    In any case, punishment alone is not the way to teach. I personally like and prefer positive reinforcement and rational explanations. Nevertheless, sometimes punishment is the best tool for the situation. It entirely depends upon circumstances. And punishment might not involve a physical strike. A strong negative verbal tone is punishment too.

  70. David, you know damn well that opinion of Skinner’s did not come from a single experiment. that is not how science works. Additional research has come from Social Psychology and Child Psychology as well. Those observations come from a century of cumulative research. However, Skinner wrote on the subject and summarized his observations in his book, Science and Human Behavior, first published in 1965. It was republished by the B. F. Skinner Foundation in 2005.

    As for Skinner Boxes, that was a single series of experiments among thousands. Almost all the studies he and his students published in professional journals are behind paywalls. There are thousands of them, literally.

    Here is some bedtime reading. I am sure you will comb thorough this looking for passages that will assuage your confirmation bias, but have at it.

    http://www.bfskinner.org/bfskinner/Society_files/Science_and_Human_Behavior.pdf

  71. “OS – you are just spouting opinions and adding in a little spin. I remember learning about the Skinner boxes in college. One of my friends was studying psychology and ran Skinner boxes himself. I helped him a few times. I’m not claiming to be an expert. I just know you are not telling the truth when you claim that Skinner proved, through research and experimentation, that punishment doesn’t work.”

    David,

    That was probably the most ignorant thing you have posted here. You simply don’t understand who OS is.

  72. OT

    Darren, if you’re following this thread, you need to empty some of your email. The daemons say it is full to overflowing. :D

  73. Mike Spindell wrote: “You simply don’t understand who OS is.”

    I know that he got his doctorate in psychology from Ole Miss and worked in the Mississippi State Hospital for ten years before going into private practice. I know that he works in forensic psychology and is a senior level examiner for Board Certification examinations. He has treated sex offenders and has been involved in many cases involving child custody, competency, and the insanity defense. He has reminded us numerous times what a great expert he is in psychology. All of this is why he has such bias and spouts opinion that goes beyond facts. He claims Skinner proved that corporal punishment does not work, forgetting the results of the actual skinner boxes that provided electrical shocks as punishment to rats. Instead, he relies upon Skinner’s opinions from late in his life, and he arranges information to buttress his own biased opinion on the matter. He is your normal establishment guy who totes the party line. That is what has made him successful, so he is going to stick by that. Many people will bow to him because of his great credentials, and that makes him feel justified in his opinions being put forward as facts.

  74. Let me see if I have this right. You depend on a series of experiments Skinner did early in his career with the so-called Skinner box. Based on a handful of experiments then, you prefer to ignore the cumulative knowledge of one of the giants in research psychology which he summarized in a 450+ page book when he was in his 60s. In the book I linked to, Dr. Skinner summarized the cumulative knowledge he gained over the years, not only from his own research, but that of his students and colleagues. You also chose to ignore the official position paper of the American Psychological Association. And by the way, the American Psychiatric Association has a position paper on it as well. That paper says, in part:

    “The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry opposes the use of corporal punishment and supports legislation outlawing its use. Research on corporal punishment has shown that it may be harmful. Many other methods of discipline are effective in promoting self-control, eliminating undesirable behaviors, and promoting desired behaviors in children.

    Corporal punishment signals to the child that a way to settle
    interpersonal conflicts is to use physical force and inflict pain. Such children may in turn resort to such behavior themselves. They may also fail to develop trusting, secure relationships with adults and fail to evolve the necessary skills to settle disputes or wield authority in less violent ways. Supervising adults who willfully humiliate children and punish by force and pain are often causing more harm than they prevent.”

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has also weighed in on the subject in their professional journal.

    “CONCLUSIONS:
    Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.”

  75. OS – I may offer more comments later, but please address this because you keep overlooking it. Do you think that there might be a difference between parents spanking their own flesh and blood children and schools spanking other people’s children?

  76. There may be subtle psychological differences, but from a practical standpoint, I doubt it.

    I don’t see how any study could be constructed to test the theory without violating all kinds of ethical, moral and human rights standards.

  77. “He is your normal establishment guy who totes the party line.”

    DavidM,

    The psychological defense mechanism known as projection is at play in your mind here. You are the quintessential Party (Republican) Line person who comments here. Everything you write comes directly from their playbook and your ignoring cogent arguments bespeaks their common “in-the-bubble” mindset. However, you would like to think of yourself as one whose thought is unconstrained by pre-suppositions, so you ascribe your own rigid thought processes another, rather than admit the humiliating truth to yourself.

  78. Mike,
    Regarding David wanting to know the name of my friend. His demand for me to prove I know the author is a transparent passive-aggressive way of calling me a liar. Just like his passive-aggressive way of calling B. F. Skinner a liar about the way he summarized his life’s work in the book. I suppose because Skinner did not dwell on his early experiments with the boxes, and dismiss his later seminal work in the field.

    As one of my professors always said when somebody asked an inane question, “Once you have that information, what are you going to do with it?”

  79. Like saying anecdotes are “possibly true.” That’s the fav of one person here and a great passive aggressive move. Hall of Famer!

  80. OS wrote: “There may be subtle psychological differences, but from a practical standpoint, I doubt it.”

    I would say HUGE psychological differences in both parties involved. The parents have a natural affection, nurturing response toward their children. They also have an innate defensive, protective mechanism. Such is easily demonstrated, as I am sure you already know. The children are provided for by their parents, and as such, they have an innate sense of love and a bond that far transcends what exists toward their school teachers. All of these factors are at play causing parents to be extremely cautious toward punishment. These factors cause them to be much more careful toward applying punishment as discipline rather than as retribution or out of anger. These factors also work toward helping the child understand that the punishment is an expression of love, that the parent is acting in the best interest of the child.

    About 75% of parents practice spanking. Many of these object to schools spanking their children. Many States have outlawed corporal punishment in schools, and the ones who haven’t usually do not practice it. That statistic alone indicates a big difference between parental spanking and corporal punishment practiced by an institution.

    The reason I ask if you recognize the difference is because we start out talking about parental spanking, and then you shift to producing evidence regarding the establishment standards for corporal punishment within institutions. Such is not really applicable.

  81. Mike Spindell wrote: “You are the quintessential Party (Republican) Line person who comments here. Everything you write comes directly from their playbook and your ignoring cogent arguments bespeaks their common “in-the-bubble” mindset.”

    LOL. You really think I have some Republican playbook that I consult? Nonsense. There are many ways in which I depart from the Republican party. For example, I have greatly different views about immigration. I do not believe that the rights outlined in the Constitution apply only to citizens, as most Republicans say, but rather that these rights exist for every human being. I deplore what is happening at Guantanamo and cannot fully understand why Obama has not closed it like he promised. I don’t like the Patriot Act either, unlike many Republicans. And I differ from them somewhat on the abortion issue. We agree in principle with the idea of promoting life, but we disagree about the reasons. I do not believe a complete person exists at the moment of conception.

    The primary reason I joined the Republican party is because I find them to be nicer and smarter than Democrats. They actually form opinions based in logic, facts and reality rather than emotion and superficial fantasies about programs that cannot work. Democrats seem to be among the nastiest people I have ever encountered. Just look at the volume of posts that have been directed with vile toward me. I never see Republicans do this, even when I disagree with them. For the most part, they have more respect, and they actually engage in the arguments rather than just demonize the person who disagrees with them.

    Concerning the accusation that I ignore cogent arguments, please name one please.

  82. OS wrote: “Regarding David wanting to know the name of my friend. His demand for me to prove I know the author is a transparent passive-aggressive way of calling me a liar.”

    I never DEMANDED you PROVE that you knew the author. You mentioned knowing an author who was a NYT bestseller, and I wanted to know the name so I could look up their works, to see their sales volume, etc. It had to do with looking at data concerning your assertion. I never doubted in the least that you knew such a person. If you think it is inappropriate to tell me the person’s name, that’s the end of it. I don’t care. I just can’t dig in deeper on your assertion. There was probably not anything there anyway.

    OS wrote: “Just like his passive-aggressive way of calling B. F. Skinner a liar about the way he summarized his life’s work in the book.”

    Dr., for a psychologist, you really should be doing better than this. You are way out of the ballpark here. I NEVER called Skinner a liar. I highly respect the man. He did real science, and he was meticulous in recording results. His work has formed a huge basis in animal behavior and learning. His contribution is incalculable.

    Nonetheless, this does not make him God, nor does it make every opinion he has the absolute truth. There are many valid criticisms about how he applies his work to human behavior. As you know, he worked primarily with rats and pigeons. His experimental results are certainly applicable to humans, but humans also have cognitive abilities that far surpass animals. Skinner, for the most part, tends to ignore that, and his analysis of behavior is more rooted in the genetic basis for human behavior and does not adequately address the cognitive issues unique in humans.

    Skinner’s opinions later in life depart from some of his experimental results. He has some valid reasons for some of it. For example, he is right when he says that punishment is deficient when compared to positive reinforcement in that it only tells the person what not to do. The person can still be left wondering what he is suppose to be doing. Skinner took the view that we should just focus on telling the person what to do and reinforcing that, so that we can get the behavior we want. In one sense, he is kind of treating humans like animals, and arguing for a preferred method of training to manipulate people to do what is desired. Skinner is certainly entitled to that viewpoint, but for you to take that opinion and give it greater weight, claiming that he PROVED punishment does not work is ridiculous. Going back to his experimental studies, Skinner proved punishment DOES work. It was his later opinions where he influenced people toward not using punishment at all, which was based more upon them being unnecessary, not that they did not work. He sometimes also tossed in the concept of negatives of punishment which result when too much punishment is done or when it is done incorrectly. Notably lacking from his opinion are the problems caused by too much positive reinforcement without any punishment. They exist too, but Skinner is silent about them. He obviously had a bias. You choose to think his opinion is based solely on his experimental models. I think there are other factors at play because his experimental models proved that punishment works.

    For a common sense perspective, you might consider the training of dogs. Some dogs are abused with punishment, and they show obvious signs of abuse in their psychology. They walk around cowering with their tail between their legs, sometimes whimpering. They are afraid to be touched with the hand, pulling back or lowering the head when a human extends their hand toward the dog. Other dogs are trained with both positive reinforcement and proper punishment, such as a scold or a tap on the nose. These dogs are very well adjusted.

    I suggest you look at the following page where an animal trainer uses Skinner to argue why punishment must be part of training a dog, and warns not to believe the humanists who claim punishment does not work.

    http://dogscience.org/workshop/comparison03.shtml

    And see this link where he defends the notion that punishment works, despite the number of behaviorists who argue punishment does not work:

    http://dogscience.org/workshop/shortcut03.shtml

  83. Davidm,

    Your history of comments on this blog highly suggest that you, “ignore cogent arguments,” despite your protestations of not doing so. Your method is to argue from hypotheticals that you invent in the moment.

    As to:

    “The primary reason I joined the Republican party is because I find them to be nicer and smarter than Democrats. They actually form opinions based in logic, facts and reality rather than emotion and superficial fantasies about programs that cannot work. Democrats seem to be among the nastiest people I have ever encountered. Just look at the volume of posts that have been directed with vile toward me. I never see Republicans do this, even when I disagree with them.”

    “Superficial fantasies”
    Much like your hypothetical arguments?

    “Just look at the volume of posts that have been directed with vile toward me.”
    It’s possible that these are responses to your numerous posts directed with vile towards others.

    “I never see Republicans do this [produce vile, I assume], even when I disagree with them.”
    We are all guilty of not recognizing our failures, but you take the cake, David.

  84. With regard to the charge that he “ignore[s] cogent arguments,” I’d say Davidm routinely addresses the arguments raised in the blog and the comments.

  85. “Skinner’s opinions later in life depart from some of his experimental results.”

    *************************************

    Really? You do realize, of course, that you can only make a statement like that if–and only if–you are familiar with his entire body of work. And that of his students which he supervised.

    Here is Dr. Skinner’s bibliography. This does not include all those studies done in his lab on which his name does not appear. Now if you can tell me with a straight face that you are thoroughly familiar with all these works, you may then tell me that his opinions later in life are not based on research, either his or the research he supervised. So here it is, B. F. Skinner’s bibliography, all 63 pages of it.

    http://www.bfskinner.org/bfskinner/Bibliography_files/SmithMorrisBibliography_2.pdf

  86. David,
    You seem to be having difficulty understanding your own sentences. These are two declarative sentences, which make a demand:

    “OS – what is the name of your NYT bestselling author friend? Did she have only one book make the NYT bestselling author list?”

    *********************************

    I don’t take too well to being ordered around by anyone. The implication is clear. You are attempting to call me a liar. That is over the top and totally unacceptable under any circumstances.

  87. The BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates in 1991 showed that many in prison who molested children were themselves molested as children. The study will be available on the Bureau of Justice Service website (http://www.bjs.gov/) when service resumes, unless the republiclowns succeed in destroying the entire US government and economy.

    Those who show great entusiasm and glee for violently abusing and assaulting children under the false term of “spanking and discipline” remind me very much of pedophiles. They were likely as not abused as kids themselves, and now they want to take out their sociopathic tendencies on their or others’ children. Such individuals need monitoring and therapy, and should be prevented from interacting with or having any kids.

    I would name names, but that would be deemed “name calling” and my comment removed. It’s also fairly obvious who those individuals are based on their comments.

  88. “I don’t take too well to being ordered around by anyone. The implication is clear. You are attempting to call me a liar. That is over the top and totally unacceptable under any circumstances.”

    It strikes me that you must be very insecure.

  89. Tom Johnson – Yes, you are probably right that a child familiar with the discipline of spanking might not have as much objection to it. I was spanked by teachers in middle school. They hung their paddles on the wall of the classroom and kept the class in order with them. My parents spanked me, but my father used a belt and had me pull my pants down when it was warranted. I understood the paddle system and did not have any objection to it. I needed it sometimes.

    I have five daughters, but I have not really addressed specifically the issue of others wanting to spank them for wrong reasons. I consider it a higher risk that someone might want to abduct them or someone might want to seduce them for sex. One of my daughters actually lost her math teacher when they found child porn on his computer at home, and another daughter lost a teacher when he was caught being involved sexually with another girl. I instill in them the understanding that not everybody in the world is as nice as their parents. There are some evil men out there. Whenever the news brings up an example, I tend to ask them, “did you hear about …” so they understand how evil people are in the world. I emphasize to them the concept of the buddy system. I tell them not to hesitate to call me on their cell phone if they ever find themselves in a situation that makes them uncomfortable. All they have to do is call and say they need me, and I will come pick them up immediately no questions asked. Those are the types of steps I take to help protect them from the unknown evil people in the world.

  90. OS wrote: “You seem to be having difficulty understanding your own sentences.”

    I am having difficulty with understanding how you see these questions as demands which accuse you of lying. Still don’t see it. The second question hints at my motivation, which is the question of how this author you know is not doing so well financially.

  91. This is far from being child abuse.

    However, you will never beat a kid into behaving nor does it appear to be helping this situation out.

    Not sure what the parents should do, but it seems they are loosing control fast, plus, the more you try to stop a kid from doing the things all the other kids do, the more they will want to do them.
    A parent is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    I know I don’t know the whole story here, but these parents need to get control back with their daughter and help her understand why she needs to be doing her school work.

    As far as grounding her, I totally agree with that, she shouldn’t be allowed to do anything but go to school and come home, until grades and such improve.

    Grounding and taking away all privileges goes a lot further then a spanking does.

    A kid will get used to a spanking but will never get used to sitting in their rooms all summer long with no video games/computer access, while their friends are out having fun.

  92. Thanks for the reply, David. I don’t know statistically which is more likely between sexually abusive spanking and abduction, but there’s no reason children can’t be warned about both dangers. This would do a lot to counter the targeting of children by predators who use disciplinary pretexts combined with their position of authority. (If a teacher at your school when you were a kid had ordered you to take down your pants for a paddling, would you have refused? If so, on what grounds?)

    What happened with your daughter’s math teacher actually reminds me of this Canadian school principal:

    The Gazette (Montreal), October 31, 2000

    Principal fooled everyone– How Wadsworth hid his pedophilia
    By KAREN SEIDMAN

    Amanda Green was being a naughty 7-year-old and knew it on that day 13 years ago when she played with the water and climbed on the toilets in the girls’ bathroom at Greendale elementary school in Pierrefonds.

    She and her girlfriend were caught by their teacher, and Amanda knew she was in for it when she was sent to the principal’s office.

    David Wadsworth, principal of the school, immediately said he would see the girls individually. When it was Amanda’s turn, the Grade 2 student nervously entered Wadsworth’s office.

    What she had done was wrong, Wadsworth told her, and now he was going to let her pick one of two choices for a punishment: either he would tell her parents and teachers what she had done and take away certain privileges, such as recess and gym; or she could take off her pants and panties and let him spank her as he would his own child, and no one need ever know what had happened.

    “Can’t I leave my underwear on?” asked Amanda. No, she vividly remembers Wadsworth telling her, embarrassment is part of the punishment.

    Amanda, a feisty child, knew she shouldn’t have to remove her clothes. She didn’t like either punishment, she told him, defiantly. Perhaps taken aback by someone willing to stand up to him, Wadsworth told her to leave his office and never again brought up the incident.

    Amanda’s friend chose the spanking.

    Wadsworth has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography – pictures and videos of children being spanked – as well as to sexual assault and gross indecency against eight former students at a Pincourt elementary school. Amanda Green, now a Concordia University student, finds herself haunted by how many other children might have chosen to be spanked on a bare bottom by a man everyone believed was a sweetheart principal and a terrific teacher. . .

  93. Nope, not a crime, and especially not in these circumstances. This is a 12 year old who was clearly and accurately informed of the punishment and why it was being given. They had withheld privileges. She fully understood what was expected of her and she defiantly continued ignoring.

    So, not a crime, but I will say I would have handled this completely differently. An snotty defiant toddler can really be straightened up by a whack on the backside, especially if it is followed up with further long-term consequences (never just spank and let that be the end of it… they will soon learn to trade that temporary sting for the joy of doing whatever the heck they want and making you mad)

    But for a 12 year old???
    I probably would have removed the iPhone, TV, cellphone, and other luxuries PERMANENTLY after the 2nd repeat offense. If she wants those things, she will have to work to buy her own, including paying for the cable or cell monthly service. Next, you clamp down on clothing, all luxuries, time out of the house, allowing friends over, and so on. And this has to go on for months, not just a few weeks. A 12 year old who is on this path has to really live the consequences for an extended period and be forced to “earn back” everything that is taken away.

    Losing something for a few weeks is one thing. Losing it forever is quite another. Take away that phone, all internet access, and the TV in September, and by December, she’ll realize that life before wasn’t all so bad, now, was it? Doing a little homework and showing up for school will seem pretty light duty in exchange for those luxuries.

  94. If spankings dont work after the age of 8 then its useless, and those who spank-paddle high school kids are prev erts in my book, and ya know darn well that many teachers get thier rocks off spanking older boys & girls, hell being a teacher is a pedophile dream come true, with no worry about getting put in jail, v ery good example, go out in the street and beat a cat or a dog with a stick and you go to jail real fast, but its ok to do that to a human being,a kid? come on now. something is really messed up in minds today.

  95. Back in the 50s and 60s nearly every family used a belt, whip or some sort of paddle on their kids. And it was most common to spank your kids naked. In my middle school gym class, I saw someone with welts nearly every day. One day my best friend had belt marks on his bottom, legs and penis. I asked him what happened and he said he got the belt with his clothes off for coming home late. Back then no one thought nothing of it, and kids were much better behaved.

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