New York Court: Spanking Not Form Of Child Neglect or Abuse


There is a new ruling out today that is relevant to the interesting piece written by Kimberly Dienes this weekend on child punishments. The New York appellate court has ruled that a Long Island father is not guilty of neglect for spanking his eight-year-old son for swearing. This issue is coming before the courts with greater frequency as spanking becomes less common in society and child abuse laws become more strict.

The incident occurred at a party when the boy swore and the father responded on the spot. According to County social services officials, the father used an open hand and then used a belt on the boy’s buttocks, legs and arms after they got home. A Suffolk County Family Court judge found the man in neglect, but the Appellate Division “did not constitute excessive corporal punishment” and that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge.

The court found that parents can spank as a punishment. The use of the belt is an important element here. As I mentioned earlier, I was in a spanking household growing up in Chicago but it was rare and my father never used anything but his hand. He would only give a few good spanks and then consider the point made. It was only for heinous offenses of one type or another. We have not disavowed spanking with my kids but I have never felt the need. Thankfully electronics give parents the ultimate punishment. My kids would prefer a spanking that “no screens” as a punishment. There have been times that I have come close but I have never seen the need. However, I do not rule it out.

These cases represent a collision point between expanding child welfare laws and inherent parental control over the rearing of their children. It is becoming the subject of formal legislation. It is a difficult line in some cases but, like other cases that we have discussed, this case comes down in favor of parental rights.

35 thoughts on “New York Court: Spanking Not Form Of Child Neglect or Abuse”

  1. John, You’re not one bit stupid. Yes, they were corrected before you got here.

  2. Sam,

    How about that pesky death penalty? Here’s a blog headline:

    Another hideous lethal injection execution went down yesterday
    Posted By Steve Vockrodt on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM””

    Did you see the “execution” by the police on TV last night…something about a child molester? The police get to impose the death penalty if their lives are threatened. Sounds like good use of the death penalty to me.

    And how about those docile and malleable Israelis who have imposed the death penalty and executed about 1000 Palestinians…and counting? The death penalty works well for them. And public executions; TV is kinda public isn’t it?

    The death penalty is alive and well for the government. It’s just when private citizens suffer brutal, vicious, barbaric, heinous acts of violence that the death penalty comes into question and it is considered unethical, immoral and wrong.

    Death penalty for the very guilty fetus and a tool for the police and Israelis,

    but not appropriate for the vicious, sociopathic murderer.

    P.S. Sometimes I get really confused.

  3. Nick, I guess they were corrected. I must have come in late. Call me stupid.

  4. John, brilliant! I doubt there’s any liberal brilliant enough to explain that combo.

  5. John, We don’t need to overanalyze this John. But, the 2 typos were “from” instead of the correct, form; and neglect “or” abuse instead of the incorrect neglect “of” abuse.

  6. The state subsumes the family in the Brave New World.

    From baby factories to discipline, the state takes over.

    Or not.

    P.S. Do I have this right? The cavalier, “post-modern” liberal egalitarians can

    abort the fetus but not spank the child.

    (That was polite, wasn’t it?)

  7. Nick,

    “New York Court: Spanking Not Form Of Child Neglect or Abuse”

    What was the correction of “not form of?”

  8. Samantha, Great comment. Black mothers wail on their kids all the time in public. So, maybe these laws are racist.

  9. Spanking is in the catagory of abuse. Not neglect. Why employ the term neglect? Its abuse. Turley needs a lawyer.

  10. I actually hate seeing any child disciplined physically. Only a few years ago it was very common for a mother to physically discipline her child in public, however, today it’s a rare occurrence because of the threat from someone calling child protective services, the ubiquity of cellphones dramatically elevating the risk.

    Before the “time out” discipline went mainstream, there had been far more physical discipline. It did not take a new law to implement “time out” as a disciplinary measure. Rather it was something parents aspired to because they wanted to conform to popular culture. Peer pressure is a powerful force.

    As much as I hate to see a child physically disciplined, I fear the unintended consequences of such a new law would be far worse. What is better, depriving a child of a spanking or depriving a child of a parent? Then you have wrongful convictions, which are epidemic in this country. Such a new law could easily, wrongfully deprive a parent of an innocent spouse, not mentioning wrongfully depriving a child of a parent. In the same way that lack of discipline in school produces unruly children, it’s conceivable such a new law could worsen discipline at home.

    There’s no one left who does not realize that everything the government regulates, screws up. Well, maybe not the screw-ups, themselves, realize it.

    Just as there are better alternatives to corporal punishment, there are far better ways to change the hearts and minds of parents than by enacting a new law.

    Law simply does not work. What does work, however, is a moral culture that everyone aspires to — voluntarily. Before the age of moral decadence, Hollywood, for example, had a strict code whereby criminals were never portrayed as heroic. If every role model today does not have an addiction, then s/he is either an abuser, tax cheat, voyeur, exhibitionist, spendthrift, bankrupt, spouse cheater, or has a conviction. All this moral decay trickles down. No law can stop it. You trickle-down virtue, and no law is needed.

  11. Hmmm. Sooo the Science Daily found that when you whomp African kids upside the head for forgetting their pencil, they don’t do as well on executive tasks. Yeah, that has a lot of relevance as to whether or not Little Throckmorton should get a spanking for throwing rocks at other kids.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  12. This is confusing. Did the court find him not guilty of neglect or not guilty of abuse? They are two different things.

Comments are closed.