Child Abuse or Proper Discipline
After finding my blog on spanking, the Dallas Morning News contacted me for comments on the Adrian Peterson situation. Let me summarize my comments and add a few more. Lovingly disciplining our children, including occasional spanking, is not child abuse notwithstanding the experts. In fact, the Bible encourages, and Texas law approves it. For these reasons, and the fact that Mr. Peterson claims he was not intending to injure his son, I don’t believe it was child abuse although the whelps and wounds he left demonstrate he went too far.
For this precise reason, I strongly discourage spanking because apparently most people don’t know how to spank their children without potentially committing child abuse. Hence, they end up with the label of child abuser, felon and/or even losing custody of their children. So, if you insist on spanking, as did I on the rare occasion, here are a few suggestions that may help you avoid the stigma and consequences of child abuse:
- Don’t spank your child when you are too angry. Take a walk or whatever you do to calm down.
- Don’t spank your child with such force that you leave bruises, whelps, wounds, etc. That’s spanking gone too far under any justification for spanking.
- Don’t spank them on their bare skin. That’s tortuous.
- Don’t spank them with extension cords, switches, boat ores, horse whips, or any other such object. These objects can cause severe injuries. That’s never the goal of appropriate spanking.
- Don’t spank them for minor offenses. Spanking should be reserved for extreme misbehavior.
- Don’t give them more than two or three licks, and only on the buttocks. It doesn’t take many licks to make your point.
- Don’t spank a child that’s too young to understand the purpose of a spanking. Spanking one, two, three-year-old children is senseless because they probably don’t grasp the purpose of a spanking.
- Don’t use spanking as a first resort. Some parents spank their children for every little thing. That’s a mistake.
- Don’t use spanking as a quick and easy replacement for other child disciplining methods.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help parents who insist on spanking do it rarely and avoid allegations of child abuse.