25 March 2010

A win for responsible parents: Spankings not child abuse, jury says

I admit it: I have spanked Kaitlyn. Twice actually. The first time was when she was just over a year old and decided to a dish from Michelle’s grandmother as a shot put. The second time was this past weekend when Kaitlyn darted into the parking lot of Kohl’s on Wendover Avenue. But each time, I looked at her and explained why she was punished and told her that Daddy loves her and just wants her to be careful.

To some, that might sound hypocritical (You spank her and tell her you love her?) but the fact is Kaitlyn doesn’t know that yet. What she does know is she did something Daddy didn’t like and that she got punished harshly for it. Action-reaction.

She doesn’t get spanked for spilling milk. She doesn’t get spanked for repeating bad words (ugh on me). She doesn’t get spanked for telling us “No.” She doesn’t even get spanked for hitting Mommy and Daddy, since we know she’s really just playing and doesn’t realize she’s actually “hitting.”

Believe me, I don’t want to spank. But sometimes timeouts just don’t work. And it’s not like you can reason with a two-year-old, no matter what some new-age hippies tell you.

Nevertheless, some people will always consider spankings cruel and unusual punishment. And they will press charges and get good, responsible parents who don’t abuse the tactic in trouble. Our only defense and hope is that a jury of our peers will realize not all of us are Joe Jackson.

Case in point: Just this week, a local man was acquitted of child abuse charges filed after the boy’s mother (the couple is separated, which may or may not have played a role in the charge) noticed red marks on the boy’s bottom:

Michael David Ward, 37, of Kilby Street in Burlington admitted he had spanked his son last spring after the 8-year-old boy disobeyed his order to stay away from an old boat while he played outside and later lied about it, defense attorney Rick Champion said … Champion said his client used a belt to spank the boy in the buttocks. He said the boy testified during the trial that the spanking hurt and that he cried at the time, but it didn't bother him later … He added the boy said that after his father finished punishing him, he gave him a hug and the boy continued playing as usual.

Ward had a previous child abuse charge against him, too: “Ward was on probation for a misdemeanor assault on a child under 12 charge for a 2007 incident also involving his son. On that occasion, Champion said, the boy had doused himself in fabric freshener. Thinking the boy drank some of it, Ward panicked and grabbed the boy's face to check his throat with such force that it left a mark on the boy's face.”

One guess who likely levied that complaint, too. Spanking isn’t ideal; I’ll be the first to admit it. But sometimes it is effective. Many parents understand this is a fine line that gets crossed by the dumb parents out there who themselves probably deserve a belt to the bottom.

1 comment:

  1. I'm 13 and in my country nobody would go to the judge because of a spanking. My parents spank me hard usually every week with belt or cane on bare bottom and they are considered strict parents but nothing terrible. And I agree that the spankings are very effective (even if it is hard to sit after).
    Bob K.