Peggy Thomsen, PhD
15 February 2011
“The whooping law”
"I wish that all fathers of households stand forth and practice their role. They will use the rod and not permit their children to go astray. Firmness is needed in your world that is filled with laxity, permissiveness, and degradation. "Your children have been misled by many who shall answer to the Father. As teachers they have failed in their role. Therefore, as parents you must succeed in yours." - St. Joseph, March 18, 1973.
Is spanking an effective means of discipline for kids, or does it merely teach them to be violent? Fewer topics have generated so much emotion as whether to spank or not. First, what does the law say? Is it illegal to spank your kids? The answer is no-but parents who spank must be very careful to avoid running afoul of the law. California law defines child abuse to include any case in which a child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, failure to thrive, burns, fractures, etc. and the condition is not justifiably explained or the circumstances indicate that the condition was not accidental. For purposes of the child abuse law, parental discipline through spanking may not be justifiable if the child is bruised or otherwise injured. Thus, spanking is not illegal, but injuring a child is. Apart from the legalities, is spanking a good idea? Does it work? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 90 percent of U.S. parents spank, and about 59 percent of pediatricians in a 1992 survey said they support the practice. According to the academy, effective discipline has three key components: first, a loving, supportive relationship between parent and child; second, use of positive reinforcement when children behave well; and third, use of punishment when children misbehave. Many parents these days are fearful of using spanking as punishment, either because of the law or because they fear it teaches violence to their kids.
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