Dr. Mommy Dentist

Monday, January 22, 2007

not sure i like where this is heading for numerous reasons

A Proposal to Ban Spanking Sparks Debate

Published: January 21, 2007
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 — As a general rule, legislators tend to begin their attack on bills once they have actually been written. But not much proposed legislation involves the backsides of children.
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Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
State Assemblywoman Sally J. Lieber of California plans to introduce a bill to ban spanking.
A Democratic assemblywoman from Mountain View says she will submit a bill next week — once it is officially drafted — proposing that California become the first state in the nation to make spanking of children 3 years old and under a misdemeanor. Penalties could include child-rearing classes for offenders to one year in jail.
Just the mention of the bill has become a minor statewide perturbation, sparking denouncements from many Republican lawmakers (the State Senate minority leader, Dick Ackerman, declared, “I’m trying to pick a word other than crazy, let me see, not well thought out.”), heated debates among parents (“A bill should be passed to allow other parents to smack the parents of undisciplined children,” wrote one Internet poster) and some self-reflection on behalf of the governor, whose proclivity for calling others girly men has been replaced of late with dialoguing about his feelings.
In an interview with The San Jose Mercury News, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that as a child he “got smacked about everything. That was the way Austria worked.”
The governor said that when disciplining his four children, he and his wife, Maria Shriver, declined to spank. “I think any time we try to pass laws that say you’ve got to protect the kids, it’s, in general, always good,” he added.
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Sally J. Lieber, said that her office had been inundated with calls since word of the proposed bill — which she will probably introduce next week — surfaced. The majority of the calls, she conceded, were against such legislation, which she said she found puzzling, since it covers only the state’s youngest and most vulnerable children.
“I have to question why our society holds so tightly to physical discipline among the very young,” said Ms. Lieber, who does not have children. “We’re very addicted to violence.” She said that the rejection of a bill that would remove the latitude of parents to physically discipline the smallest of children was analogous to protests against the protection of women of domestic abuse.
The speaker of the assembly’s office said it could not comment without reading an actual bill.
Roughly 15 countries have laws banning corporal punishment, and numerous states, including California, forbid spanking in schools. Proponents of such laws argue that spanking — especially for young children, who cannot connect the punishment to the crime — is ineffective at best, and cruel at worst. Opponents of this type of law argue that parents, not the state, should be the arbiter of how children are disciplined at home.
“California has garnered a reputation over the years of supporting these extreme legislative measures,” said Bill Maze, a Republican assemblyman from the Central Valley. “Disciplinary action is up to the parents. This is a wrongheaded measure, and there is zero support among the Republicans I have talked to.”
When it was pointed out to Mr. Maze that the Republican governor had shown some support for the measure, citing his own upbringing, Mr. Maze countered, “The only thing I can say about him is that I guess he needed some discipline, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today.”
Ms. Lieber appears undaunted by the criticism of her proposal. “Right now the law is very unclear,” she said, noting that jurors are specifically instructed to take into account that California gives parents discretion on punishment that is not outright abuse. “It makes a lot of sense to me to set a very bright line in this area.”


  • As much as I don't want to spank Pippi and as much as I swore I wouldn't....I feel I have had to on occasion. She absolutely refuses to listen sometimes and she does things that are dangerous! Her latest favorite thing to do is to pull a kitchen chair over to where she can reach the stove and everything on the counter....now all of our cleaning solutions have to go even higher.

    So, I've smacked her on the hand. I don't think I deserve to get into trouble with the law for that!

    By Blogger MomEtc., At Monday, January 29, 2007  

  • i know what you mean. i'm not going to lie and say that i've never spanked cookie, although i strictly limit it to the behind and i make it a point to turn her over my knee so it's more controlled and she knows what's coming. i save it for really, really bad times, like safety issues and for times when she's completely out of control. though lately as she gets older i find that sending her to her room, away from us and the excitemet, is really effective because she hates being away from the center of activity and that for her is the perfect punishment. but again, she's been getting much better at listening so we haven't needed to punish her all that much.

    i think my main point is that i don't want someone telling me how to raise my child. now, i'm not in favor of corporal punishment per se, but let me tell you i have met a kid or two who would have benefitted from a swat on the buttocks, just to let them know who's in control. call me old fashioned like that....

    By Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S., At Thursday, February 01, 2007  

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