Spanking Verses Child Abuse
The Effectiveness of Loving Discipline
Western International University
COM 110 Effective Persuasive Writing
October 16, 2005
Spanking Verses Child Abuse 2
The common misconception that spanking is a form of child abuse affects the proper discipline of today's youth. Some parents are actually afraid to discipline their own children using the same method of belief from their own upbringing. Who is correct in the notion of right and wrong discipline? Is there such a thing as a correct way to spank your child? In my opinion, there is. So, my goal is to show that if the proper guidelines, created by certified professionals, are followed, then spanking critics fail to prove that spanking is child abuse. Should spanking your child as a use of discipline be considered as a form of child abuse? Experts on child rearing are, for the most part, against spanking. According to them it causes negative long-term effects. In my research for this essay, I asked fifteen parents their opinion on spanking. Each of them said that they have spanked their own child on at least one occasion. They all agree that it is proper to discipline in this way. Each parent also said the crime justified the punishment, and not all negative behaviors require a spanking; but spanking is their number one choice when all other methods of discipline fail. The Differences in Spanking and Child Abuse
By defining the vocabulary associated with spanking and child abuse, you effectively show the important contrasts in the two terms. The differences in the terms put each of them into their own category, thereby distinguishing that one is not the other. Abuse comes in many shapes and forms. Black's Law Dictionary states that child abuse is "an intentional or neglectful physical or emotional injury imposed on a child, including Spanking Verses Child Abuse 3 sexual molestation" (Garner, 1999, p.10). Abuse causes actual injury, whether physical or emotional, to a child. "A commonly adopted definition specifies spanking as hitting a child with a open hand on the buttocks or extremities with the intent to discipline without leaving a bruise or causing physical harm"(Kazdin and Benjet, 2003, Spanking Defined, ¶ 1).
Correct spanking causes no physical or emotional harm. The loving parent that spanks their child does so without causing bodily harm. Spanking is done out of love and concern for a child's safety and well-being, but abuse is almost always done out of anger or emotional issues of the parent. The difference between spanking and abuse is that along with spanking, comes the reinforcement of love and support. By spanking their child, a parent is sending the message that says what that child has done is wrong and will not be tolerated. Abuse, on the other hand, is usually followed by more anger and even isolation of the child. This leaves the child feeling unwanted and unloved. When no physical or emotional harm occurs to the child after a spanking, then how can spanking be stereotyped as abuse? Correct forms of spanking are not abuse and, therefore, should not be considered as such.
The laws in the state of South Carolina are clear on the issues of spanking as effective discipline. The Code of Laws of South Carolina (1976) "excludes spanking that's only function is to control or correct the child as child abuse" (§ 20-7-490). In the court rooms of South Carolina it would be almost impossible to prosecute a parent for spanking their child with the intent on correcting an undesirable behavior. As a matter of
Spanking Verses Child Abuse 4 fact, most state laws in our country exclude physical abuse...