Monday, June 20, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Spanking

Apparently, spanking your own children is a flat-out felony these days, as Rosalina Gonzales of Texas found out the hard way.

After her mother-in-law found red marks on her two-year-old’s bottom, Gonzales was tried and found guilty in what the prosecution described as “a pretty simple, straightforward spanking case.”

In other words, Gonzales didn’t use a belt or leave any bruises during the spanking.

All the same, Judge Hose Longoria, who presided over the trial, admonished her: “You don’t spank children today. In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children.”

I’m sure that brilliantly articulated lecture will teach Gonzales not to punish her children, as will the five years probation she got slapped with, the parenting classes she has to attend, the Child Protective Services (CPS) she has to follow, the $50 payment she has to make to the Children’s Advocacy Center… and the fact that she can’t have custody of her three children until the authorities deem her fit to do so.

Is giving a child a few swats on the bottom for misbehaving really as bad as all that?

Maybe I’m na├»ve, but it seems to me that properly administered spankings – not beatings – can serve as a valuable tool to teach children that actions have consequences, that they can’t simply think about themselves, and that they’ll be much better off in the end if they listen to voices wiser than their own.

Wouldn’t society as a whole be much better off if more people understood all of that? Maybe if more people understood those messages, we wouldn’t have disturbing stories surfacing about horribly negligent parents who go wandering off with their boyfriends for days on end…

That’s what New Jersey resident Francine Davis did, leaving her 14-year-old autistic son to look after his six younger siblings for at least three days straight.

As a result, Davis’ oldest child locked himself inside the apartment while the younger ones ran about outside, butt naked and starving for several days. One of them even nearly got hit by a car when he darted out into incoming traffic.

Unfortunately, this is hardly an uncommon story. But it used to be… way back when responsibility meant something and spanking wasn’t illegal.

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