Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm Really Inappropriate in Delaware!

So, Delaware has made it illegal for parents to spank their children – technically the law permits a parent to use force to punish a child for misconduct, but it prohibits any act that is likely to cause or does cause physical injury. By defining “physical injury” to include the infliction of pain on a child, spanking is now illegal in Delaware. 

 Now, I *know* this is a hot topic issue.  Folks from both sides of the Spank/Don’t Spank camp are vehement in their arguments.  I’m going to go ahead and put it out there.  I am in the ‘spank’ camp.  Now before you rush to the comment section to curse me out or try to explain to me that my position is either backwards, abusive, or ignorant let me be clear.  I *do not* condone beatings.  There is a difference.  A couple of swift licks on the bottom, to garner the child’s attention and remind them that you are the authority figure, is acceptable to me and mine.  I think of spanking as the ‘last resort attention getter.’  You are acting a fool?  Oh, you are out of control?  Well, here is a quick, swift reminder to pay attention to me and what I’m saying to you. 

The spanking isn’t the punishment; it’s the horn blow announcing the punishment, in my world.  And to further clarify, I don’t believe spanking is the only means to get a child’s attention, nor do I think ALL children respond well to spanking or that it is the answer for every family.  (But I’ve certainly known a number of children who could have benefited from a whack or two on their butts – just my opinion, of course).  Also, I do not believe that spanking is as useful a tool once the child reaches a certain age.  Punky, bless her heart, was spanked a handful or so of times when she was little.  (The ‘Fearsome Fours’ were hard on both her and me).  She became defiant.  Defiance is a BIG NO-NO in our house, at the age especially.  Spankings were used to remind her who was in charge so she could then pay attention to what we were *saying* to her.  By the time she was about 6 or so, she wasn’t spanked again.  Now, I’m not saying I would never spank her again, but I am saying that the appropriate use of spanking when she was little, and it was most effective, made the need to spank as she gets older all but obsolete.


My mother, the mother of all mothers (who was raised by the MOTHER of them all) gave me very few words of advice when Punky was born.  In fact there were only two sentiments she strongly expressed to me.  First, no one thinks your kid is as great or interesting as you do, so don’t run on and on to everyone about every little thing she does (very valid point).  Second, young children do not know the difference between fear and respect.  They are incapable of that higher thought processing, so if you want them to respect you as they get older, they better have a healthy fear of you when they are little.  *GASP*  I know.  Horrible, just horrible.  But oh, so true!  Again, let me be clear.  She wasn’t talking about a child cringing when she spills a glass of milk for fear of getting her ass beat.  She was talking about a healthy fear of mom when mom spoke the words “no”, “stop”, “come here”, etc.  She was talking about your child knowing that you WILL follow through with consequences.  Too many parents I see don’t do that.  Now, of course, spanking is not required to make that happen.  However, if a few swift smacks to the child’s bottom announce the beginning of consequences, that is a parent’s prerogative.

Lest you think I don’t understand that parents abuse their children, let me tell you that I worked for a number of years in the Juvenile Justice system.  In fact, my last job in Criminal Justice was as an Aftercare Counselor.  I helped youth, releasing from their juvenile detention centers (jail), transition back into their homes, schools, communities, life.  I *know* that children are abused and I’ve seen it first hand and helped those youth deal with the effects of being abused.  Okay?  Okay.  None of that negates a parent’s right to spank.  Furthermore, let’s remember something even more important.  Once the government steps in and takes a ‘right’ away from its people, we’ve entered the territory of ‘slippery slope’.  I detest the slippery slope. 

Today it’s illegal to spank (actually the law there says it is illegal to cause pain) your child and tomorrow it could be illegal to do something that *you* do in your pursuit of raising your family.  This is something that parents everywhere should be outraged over and in the state of Delaware they should be fighting to have the law overturned.  Emotional pain doesn’t leave visible marks and in my line of work I saw far more children scarred by that pain rather than the physical kind.  Life can be painful.  If we are heading to a society where we limit a parents’ ability to teach their children life lessons, even those that cause a little pain, we are doomed.  We may as well put our head between our legs and kiss our asses good-bye. 
Folks may think this is a good thing, but it’s not.  Not only are we removing the rights of parents (who haven’t crossed the line into abuse) to raise their children as they see fit but we are adding another notch to the belt of ‘what is wrong with the young people of today’.  Spoiled rotten and not legally allowed to be spanked?  I shudder.  I truly do.  Equally important though is for us to ask the question: What rights will be removed next?  Will we lose our right to raise them in the religion, or lack of religion, of our choice?  What about our right to home school?  Slippery slope folks, slippery slope! 

~Mari B.


  1. I don't spank, but I still agree with your thoughts. VERY slippery slope.

  2. We've used the swat to get attention, and it has worked. Both my boys listen to me (and the Beeg One is almost as big as I am, at 10, so it was important early on!) and their dad, because they know that when we speak, there's a reason. I don't condone beatings ( I received enough of those as a kid, thanks but no thanks!), and as you said, it's not for everyone. But it is true; the government is invading our homes, and if we don't pay attention, we'll lose our rights to be parents.

  3. My kids have gotten a fair few smacks on the backside in their lives, I don't enjoy it, but sometimes they're that far gone in whatever spazzy misbehaviour that it's what is required to bring them down to earth. *shrug* I also don't beat my kids, and don't condone anyone doing that. I agree that there is a difference between a spanking and a beating. I got a very few spankings in my iife, they were reserved for real 'occasions' of bad behaviour... and I remember them well. They worked, and I wouldn't say I'm scarred because of them!

  4. I was brainwashed by social services when I was doing foster care, so when I had my kids the thought of spanking never even crossed my mind.

    When my then 2-year-old daughter pushed my 6-month-old son down a flight of stairs, I told my dad. He responded back with "you should have beat the kid."

    Now, he didn't actually mean beat. He meant a hand-on-the-stove response. You do something like that and mom swats your butt. No thought involved. No anger on my part. The no anger thing is very important.

    I thought about what he said and instituted the spanking for safety offenses like running out into the street, pushing brother down the stairs, and the like. I didn't need to spank for putting hands on hot ovens because that had a nice built-in consequence.

    My kids are 9 and 11 now, and I don't spank anymore. Their little brains actually comprehend stuff and it just isn't necessary anymore.

    I wonder how many Delaware toddlers are going to run out in the street now.

  5. I agree that the government needs to stay out of our homes. Slippery slopes are dangerous.

    Having said that ~ I do not spank. Never have. I think that whatever constitutes assault for adults also should apply to children.

    I do respect other parents and differences in the ways children are raised ~ I just can't wrap my mind around spanking, so I don't do it.

    Even though I don't spank my children, they are respectful, kind, un-spoiled and they don't go running in the streets.

  6. I respect a parent's choice to not spank. To some it seems inconceivable, understood. But it does not constitute assault. It could, however, constitute battery (in the lower register of those offenses that can constitute battery.

    Battery: 'the act must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim—such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound—could constitute battery, but actual injury is not required. Even though there is no apparent bruise following harmful contact, the defendant can still be guilty of battery; occurrence of a physical illness subsequent to the contact may also be actionable. The second type of contact that may constitute battery causes no actual physical harm but is, instead, offensive or insulting to the victim. Examples include spitting in someone's face or offensively touching someone against his or her will.

    Touching the person of someone is defined as including not only contacts with the body, but also with anything closely connected with the body, such as clothing or an item carried in the person's hand. For example, a battery may be committed by intentionally knocking a hat off someone's head or knocking a glass out of some-one's hand.'

    Now, I double dog dare anyone to find me a parent who has NEVER committed battery against their child given that legal definition. Again, with respect to those that do not spank and with never condoning beatings, I offer that.

  7. I'm considering homeschooling for high school. But my goal is to go to an Ivy League school. I understand that they are looking for well-rounded students and those that have good grades. But what extracurriculars can I do besides sports? When should I consider taking college classes? What did you (if you are a past homeschooler) do?

    hvac training in Delaware

    1. Actually, it isn't necessarily true that colleges are looking for well-rounded students. That's a blanket statement that many make. The most important thing for you to do is to actually look into the schools you are most interested in attending and find out what they require of high school students who are homeschooled. Usually, they are looking for that 'spark' that you had and ignited through immersion. Students that started their own volunteer group, built something, completely learned something (robotics), and so on. Colleges want students for one reason and one reason only.....for what that student brings to that college and how that college will be able to use the success of that student to garner more funds and resources. Sad, but true. Colleges are businesses first and foremost.

      After you talk to the schools you are most interested in attending, you'll have a better idea of what you need to do to plan out your high school career.

      Other than that, I strongly recommend the book:
      'And What About College' by Cafi Cohen

      Best of Luck!

  8. Spanking doesn't work on the big scale. It teaches children that violence solves problems, and they'll be more likely to use violence as a means to their own ends. It'll also teach them that their personal integrity is conditional. A parent shouldn't want to be feared, and fear of punishment is a wery weak method of making your child obey - they'll only do what's right because they fear the spanking, and not because they understand that they're doing wrong and that their actions might have negative consequences for themselves and others. Numerous studies have shown that people who were spanked as a child had an increased risk of mental illnessess such as depression, and obesity. Besides, it doesn't teach children that they can solve problems communicating.

    I'm 22 and I was spanked as a child. I was a well-behaving kid and I'm generally very hard on myself, and I nearly always did what I was told the first time I was asked. In consequence, most of my spankings were not earned but arbitrary, as in, "beforehand" or "just in case". I don't remember the pain but I DO remember the feeling of humiliation and having my bodily integrity violated. Thinking of it still fills me with passive-aggressive anger and I do still resent my mother for it. Her spanking me has distanced me from her and I can't be myself around her.

    Before you spank, consider if you really want your child to have an increased risk of mental health problems in the future, or if you want their resentment. Children aren't your property or your toys. You chose to have them, and their safety is your responsibility. Children are entitled to the same basic human dignity as adults, and spanking puts them in a position of helplessness and humiliation. Raise your children better and intervene in their bad behavior BEFORE a spanking is "earned". If they're difficult, seek professional help. Spanking doesn't solve the problem and it shows your children that you don't respect them.


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