‘Spare the rod spoil the child’ sayeth Proverbs. Canada is still debating a bill in their parliament to outlaw spanking. Can you spank without fear of losing child custody or it impacting time-sharing in Florida?
A bill to criminalize spanking returned to the floor of the Canadian Senate in late February of this year, and this week is currently on its second reading. If S-206 passes, it will go to the House of Commons, where the Liberal majority has pledged its support.
According to the U.N., Slovenia is the 51st state worldwide to fully prohibit all corporal punishment of children, the 30th Council of Europe member state, and the 21st European Union state to do so.
The bill’s original sponsor believes that spanking harms children’s psyches. But those who believe disciplining children with spanking should be an option, are worried that their actions could lead to criminal charges against parents and child seizures by the government.
Spanking in Florida
In Florida you’re not supposed to hit your children. Florida has strong laws for the protection against domestic violence. Domestic violence includes any assault, battery or any other offense resulting in physical injury of a family member by another family member.
However, parents have to discipline their children, and as the good book says, he who loves his child is careful to discipline him. I’ve written about spanking and custody before. In Florida, parents have a right to discipline their child in a reasonable manner.
A parent’s right to administer reasonable corporal punishment to discipline a child is not a crime when it does not result in harm to the child.
Harm, by the way, does not mean just bruises or welts for instance. Harm also means that the discipline is likely to result in physical injury, mental injury, or emotional injury. Even if you don’t physically harm a child, your actions could be criminal.
Florida’s parental privilege to use corporal discipline does not give absolute immunity either. Your run-of-the-mill spanking may be protected from charges of child abuse, but punching your child, pushing him onto the floor and kicking him is not.
So, is it open season on kids? Hardly. Guardians and judges are analyzing you, and you don’t want to start off your custody case explaining why you beat your kids. The excuse: “this fellow does what the bible says” will not score a lot of points in a courtroom.
Besides, some studies suggest that time-outs work just as well as spanking for immediate punishment, and that for long-term effectiveness, spanking decreases compliance. Worse, spanking may increase child aggression.
While there are some limited privileges for discipline, there are major risks to your custody case, your criminal defense case, and most importantly, to your children.
Back in Canada
Some in Canada argue that the bill lumps child discipline and child abuse into the same category. Were the children of spanking parents more violent because of spanking, or did their parents spank more than others because their children were more violent?
The Lifesitenews article is here.