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Essay on Spanking: Discipline or Abuse – Who Decides?

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“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
-Jesus Christ (Scofield Reference Bible , Matthew 18:6)
A parent’s right to spank their child has been an issue of great debate for a long time. On one side of the debate are people who feel that to strike a child in any way automatically constitutes abuse. The opposing side believes that parents are within their legal and, more importantly, their moral rights to discipline their child as they see fit. As one can imagine, the former are routinely portrayed to be overly humanistic and ultra-liberal, while the latter are almost always smeared as right-wing bible thumpers and uneducated miscreants.
The main issue, as is so often the case with controversial subjects has been lost along the way. Everyone has become caught up in the right vs. left fight and ensuing name calling so few people are truly paying attention to the children themselves. America already has enough laws. What parents need most is education and support, not legislation. Also, those without children need to mind their own business and stick to subjects they have experience with, not just opinions. Having been a child does not give one insight into how to raise a child.
Proponents of spanking bans have a tendency to label spanking as corporal punishment. They then categorize it along with many abusive activities. Psychologist Kerby Alvy explains corporal punishment as, “pinching, pulling ears and hair, shaking, slapping, smacking, spanking, swatting, hitting, kicking, punching, paddling, using switches, hair brushes, belts and ironing cords, and having children kneel on gravel or ...


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...ould Be Illegal." Child Abuse. Ed. Heidi Williams. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2009. 21-27. Print.
Dobson, James. The Strong-Willed Child. Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1978. Print.
Gershoff, Elizabeth, et al. "Parent Discipline Practices in an International Sample: Associations With Child Behaviors and Moderation by Perceived Normativeness." Child Development 81.2 (2010): 487-502. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 April 2011.
Harvard Medical School . "The Spanking Debate." Harvard Mental Health Letter (2002): 1-3. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 April 2011.
Reading, Richard. "Speak softly - and forget the stick: corporal punishment and physical abuse." Child: care, health and development (2009): 286-287. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 April 2011.
Scofield, C.I., ed. Scofield Reference Bible. New and Improved. New York: Oxford University Press, 1909. Print.


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