July 23, 2024

Spanking = Child Abuse?

This Bryan, Texas jury seems to think so. The facts presented in the article are consistent with this finding. A six year old child is defenseless against a raging adult.

Seemingly, justice was done. So what’s to say? What is disturbing about this story is the prosecuting attorney’s closing quote: “Do we want to send a message? Yes. It’s never OK to do this.”

It’s not prosecutor Jarvis Parsons’ place to send a message. To whom is he sending it? Few, if any, of those who would care to heed his message are likely to need it. One suspects the mother will get the message after serving several months in stir. The child will get the message, too. His bad behavior caused his mother to be thrown in jail. Right or wrong, this connection will be made in the young boy’s mind.

But is it “never OK to do this”? Absolutes should be applied with care. Suppose the “victim” was a habitual liar or thief who could not be reformed with accepted disciplinary methods? Suppose he or she continually injured smaller children or animals in an increasingly aggressive pattern? Simply saying “you know Johnny, stabbing your sister with a steak knife is not nice” is not the best approach to these cases.

A lick in time can save nine, sometimes. Is it a coincidence that we have so many cases of juvenile violence at the same time we are reducing the amount of parental involvement and the level of discipline that’s being given? Is it a coincidence that schools are less and less safe each day, yet administrators cannot properly discipline rebellious youth? I think not.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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