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Legal Right to Physically Discipline One's Children:

An interesting 4-to-1 decision from the Indiana Supreme Court. Here are the facts:

Sophia Willis is a single mother raising her eleven-year-old son, J.J., who has a history of untruthfulness and taking property belonging to others. The events at issue in this case began at an elementary school Friday, February 3, 2006. On that date J.J.'s fifth grade teacher, Ms. McCuen, saw J.J. giving a bag of women's clothing to a classmate. Finding this to be an "odd exchange," Ms. McCuen contacted J.J.'s mother. Willis met with Ms. McCuen and identified the clothing as hers.

Experiencing ongoing disciplinary problems with J.J., Willis sent him to her sister's home over the next two days to ponder her options. When J.J. returned on Sunday Willis had a long conversation with her son and questioned him about his conduct. J.J. denied taking the clothing and instead concocted a story that shifted blame to other students. Willis warned that if he did not tell the truth he would be punished. J.J. again gave the same story. In response Willis instructed J.J. to remove his pants and place his hands on the upper bunk bed. J.J. complied, and Willis proceeded to strike him five to seven times with either a belt or an extension cord. [Footnote: The evidence on this point is in conflict.] Although trying to swat J.J. on the buttocks, his attempt to avoid the swats resulted in some of them landing on his arm and thigh leaving bruises. J.J. testified that during this exchange his mother was "mad." Tr. at 9. Willis countered that she was not angry but "disappointed."

The following Monday J.J. returned from gym class and asked to see the school nurse. Showing the nurse the bruises, J.J. told her that he received a "whooping" from his mother "[b]ecause I had took some clothes and I had lied." The nurse contacted child protective services that in turn contacted the Indianapolis Police Department.

Willis was tried in a bench trial for felony child battery; the judge convicted her, but exercised his discretion to treat the crime as a misdemeanor, and sentenced Willis to eight days in jail plus 357 days probation.

The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the conviction. The court agreed with lower courts that the "legal authority" defense recognized by an Indiana statute covered reasonable corporal punishment of a minor, and tried to clarify the scope of the defense:

[We adopt the Restatement (Second) of Torts view:] "A parent is privileged to apply such reasonable force or to impose such reasonable confinement upon his [or her] child as he [or she] reasonably believes to be necessary for its proper control, training, or education....
In determining whether force or confinement is reasonable for the control, training, or education of a child, the following factors are to be considered:
(a) whether the actor is a parent;
(b) the age, sex, and physical and mental condition of the child;
(c) the nature of his offense and his apparent motive;
(d) the influence of his example upon other children of the same family or group;
(e) whether the force or confinement is reasonably necessary and appropriate to compel obedience to a proper command;
(f) whether it is disproportionate to the offense, unnecessarily degrading, or likely to cause serious or permanent harm.
We hasten to add that this list is not exhaustive. There may be other factors unique to a particular case that should be taken into consideration. And obviously, not all of the listed factors may be relevant or applicable in every case. But in either event they should be balanced against each other, giving appropriate weight as the circumstances dictate, in determining whether the force is reasonable....

Thus, to sustain a conviction for battery where a claim of parental privilege has been asserted, the State must prove that either: (1) the force the parent used was unreasonable or (2) the parent's belief that such force was necessary to control her child and prevent misconduct was unreasonable.

The court then went on to apply the factors and conclude that the force used was reasonable, because (1) J.J. was eleven (rather than younger), (2) "most parents would likely consider as serious their eleven-year-old child's behavior in being untruthful and taking property of others" and "a parent might consider that such behavior could set the stage for more aberrant behavior later in life" (especially where, as here, the child was already "not a first offender"), (3) Willis "used progressive forms of discipline," including "send[ing] J.J. to his room, ground[ing] him, [and] withhold[ing] privileges such as television, games, and time spent outdoors," and swatted him with the belt or electric cord only when these had failed, and (4) the punishment wasn't degrading, likely to be seriously harmful, or disproportionate to the offense.

In any case, an interesting case on a difficult legal question. I'm not sure how helpful the test the court announces will be, but I'm not sure how the court could have done better.

George Weiss (mail) (www):
poor exercises of prosucatorial discretion make poor president
6.13.2008 5:16pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
My wife had to deal with this sort of thing as a mandated abuse reporter. I think that the multifactor test is not terribly useful in judging cases or, for that matter, in conforming conduct; it presumes shared values about force, I think.

Although I agree it's hard to do better. Some jurisdictions at least offer some brighter-line rules which, while they don't cover all situations, at least narrow the issues (for instance, no use of implements, or nothing that would leave a mark).
6.13.2008 5:17pm
Tareeq (www):
So you know it when you see it Ex-Fed?
6.13.2008 5:20pm
dearieme:
"An interesting 4-to-1 decision" also in Berne this evening, Netherlands vs France.
6.13.2008 5:21pm
FantasiaWHT:
The more factors a test has, the more excuses a judge has to decide it whichever way he feels like.
6.13.2008 5:27pm
hattio1:
When I was in law school we had an interesting discussion of spanking and whether that was automatically child abuse. I was shocked that over 1/2 (probably close to 2/3) did consider it child abuse. Then at the end the Professor said something along the lines of Well, we can disagree about spanking, but we can all agree that using anything but the hands is definitely abuse. I raised my hand to dispute that....I was the only one in the class.
6.13.2008 5:29pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
>(a) whether the actor is a parent;

What about other adults acting in loco parentis, especially with the explicit approval of the actual parents?
6.13.2008 5:50pm
Passing By:
Another way to look at it - you have a terrible parent who used escalating levels of violence as a substitute for improving her parenting.

Or we could look at it as an incorrigible child who doesn't even respond to the application of substantial force (in which case, what's the point of another beating)?

Blame it on the parent, blame it on the child, blame it on the both, I've read enough pre-sentence reports to sense where this is heading.
6.13.2008 6:01pm
M:
Willis "used progressive forms of discipline," including "send[ing] J.J. to his room, ground[ing] him, [and] withhold[ing] privileges such as television, games, and time spent outdoors,"


I'm not sure I see where the escalating levels of violence are here.
6.13.2008 6:17pm
anym_avey (mail):
The problem with trying to fit a one-size-for-all definition of child abuse around physical punishment is that some children don't need it in order to respond to authority, so rapid resort to physical discipline would be abusive; while other children have the will of mule and often don't respond to anything else.

As such, it seems like the court did the best with what they had to work on. The kid was old and sane enough to know better, had been tried with lesser punishments, and yet persisted in lying and stealing. A parent would have to hate that kid NOT to whip him. He evidently has a taste for this sort of activity and is approaching his teens; the next stop is juvie.

On that note, we might have fewer children in prison if more of them had benefited from loving parents who were brave enough to use corporal punishment, when it was actually fitting. People who believe all corporal punishment is abuse either never raised a child who merited it, or else have, and are foolishly letting themselves be ruled by that child's self will in a misguided attempt to avoid doing what is necessary.
6.13.2008 6:21pm
DiverDan (mail):
Frankly, I think this was a case of INCREDIBLY poor prosecutorial discretion. The world needs MORE parents like Ms. Willis, not fewer, and it is incredibly sad that a poor single mother who took seriously her parental responsibilities and tried to instil values and discipline in an unruly child has to face the criminal justice system and the costs in legal fees and lost time for her efforts. The real abusers out there are the parents who let their children run wild with no supervision and no discipline - those children are doomed to fail, dropping out of school, joining gangs, engaging in truancy, progressing to ever worse criminal activity, until they either die young on the streets or spend their lives in dead end jobs, with intermittant stints in prison. Why should Sophia Willis be prosecuted for doing her best to see that that isn't her son's fate?
6.13.2008 6:21pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
I don't think this counts as abuse, myself, but maybe dangerously close...

Corporal punishment is much more effective in much smaller doses, applied with much more consistency, and to much younger children. Consistent smacks with a hand on a 2-year-old's buttocks will accomplish a lot more than "whooping" an 11-year-old, who honestly isn't likely to change much no matter what you do. If he's stealing at 11, I give him a 5% chance of not ending up in prison for at least a year before he's 29. I'll lay odds on it.
6.13.2008 6:24pm
smitty1e:
@DiverDan: what you said.
Growing up, I thought my father played the judge/jury/executioner roles well: never in anger, never without connecting crime with punishment, and never using swing above the elbow.
"He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24)
Who argues against such classic wisdom is probably selling a book; and whoever buys such marks himself a fool.
6.13.2008 6:31pm
theobromophile (www):
The following Monday J.J. returned from gym class and asked to see the school nurse. Showing the nurse the bruises, J.J. told her that he received a "whooping" from his mother "[b]ecause I had took some clothes and I had lied." The nurse contacted child protective services that in turn contacted the Indianapolis Police Department.

One problem with these situations: those who are abused are often very reluctant to come forward, whereas those who are not abused - and who deliberately push their parents' buttons until they snap - are the first to tell a very one-sided story about the punishment.

I agree with the above poster who said that parental discipline may help the kid to become a mature and responsible adult.

There are studies out there that equate spanking with child abuse; I recall seeing one which posited that children who are spanked at least three times a week have slightly lower IQ scores than children who are never spanked. Ignoring the (large) issues with causation and direction of causation, the study has little to do with mainstream discipline - a spank for egregious offences, administered rarely, and as a last resort.

As for spanking with the hand or other implements: I've heard people claim that it's more abusive to spank with your hand, as hands (and your body) should be for demonstrating love and affection, not for causing harm. I've seen small balsa wood implements that may be used for spankings, which would appear to be no more painful than a hand.
6.13.2008 6:39pm
gwinje:
This reminds me of The Dog Whisperer.
6.13.2008 6:46pm
Dave N (mail):
I agree with the Indiana Court's rationale but I believe the distinction between a belt and an electric cord is significant. The metal, the increased velocity, and perhaps the flexibility of the cord make it more likely to cause damage than a belt would.

Additionally, while I think a parent should be free to use "implements" if he or she chooses, causing bruising or marks that last more than 24 hours is perhaps crossing the line.
6.13.2008 6:46pm
Frater Plotter:
None of the above commentary has addressed the other "educational" effect of parental violence. There is substantial evidence that children who are subjected to parental violence are more likely to become violent themselves -- against weaker peers, younger siblings, animals, and future dating partners or spouses. Why? A reasonable explanation is that children learn social behavior by imitation, and that a child who is the target of violent conduct by a parent will learn that violence is an acceptable way to treat those smaller and weaker than you if they do not "respect your authority".
6.13.2008 6:51pm
gallileo:
Frater Plotter:

And your proposed alternative for this particular 11-year old boy is?

Keep in mind that various things have already been attempted.

G
6.13.2008 7:17pm
Kazinski:
Frater,
When I was a kid at least 90% of children i knew were routinely spanked or worse. Now I would guess it's way less than 50%, and has been for at least 20 - 30 years. Show me how those raised in the 80's and 90's are better adjusted, more productive, and less violent than those raised in the '50s, 60's and before.

I tell my son that the only time he'll ever get spanked is when his ears aren't working correctly. If he can listen and demonstrate he heard me correctly then there's no problem. Otherwise I've found stimulation to the buttocks will increase the blood flow to the ear drums and brain, hearing and comprehension will be rapidly restored. It's his choice.

I only need to use my hand for such an effect. However when I was growing up, my mother, being a single parent with three boys did need a belt or a paddle to work. After severely bruising her hand after spanking the three of us in succession she realized it was hurting her more than it hurt us, and a belt was more effective.
6.13.2008 7:36pm
TruePath (mail) (www):

the State must prove that either: (1) the force the parent used was unreasonable or (2) the parent's belief that such force was necessary to control her child and prevent misconduct was unreasonable.


The either in this statements seems problematic to me. It seems far more sensible to require the state prove both that the force used was unreasonable and that the parent's belief that it was necessary was unreasonable.

I mean to read this clause as non-reduntant it seems one must suppose there is a situation where the parent's belief that such force is necessary to control the child and prevent misconduct is reasonable but yet the use of the force itself is unreasonable. This would seem to require an objective reading of reasonable. In other words the either clause seems to press for an interpratation which says that disciplining a child for a misdeed they genuienly didn't commit is unreasonable even if the parent reasonably believed the child committed the infraction.

To put it differently this remarks seems to suggest that if the mother in question had punished her child for lying in this situation but it turned out her kid's improbable story was really true then the mother would be guilty as she satisfied the first prong. This obviously doesn't make sense.
6.13.2008 7:38pm
Frater Plotter:
Kazinski:

Over time, relatively casual violence has become less acceptable. Once upon a time it was considered appropriate for a man to "discipline" his wife with physical force. It is no longer; we call that wife-beating and domestic abuse. Men who are raised to be violent to those weaker than them, who exert that kind of "authority" upon their sexual partners, were once doing something socially acceptable, but today are not.

It is only reasonable that as social standards change, the training that is used to inculcate those standards must change as well. Society has no need for men who are casually violent towards those weaker than them, as an expression of "authority". Therefore, parents must cease to teach that kind of violence.
6.13.2008 7:42pm
Conservatives are bondage fans:
I'm generally with Frater Plotter on this one. There is no demonstrable value to battering one's child -- for which you all seem so enthusiastic -- and numerous studies have shown that even moderate physical discipline can cause intimacy and emotional issues and sexual deviancies later in life. Even if it was an efficacious or desirable means of changing behavior, most parents have neither the intelligence nor judgment to properly decide when such violence is appropriate or necessary, nor to moderate the use of force so as not to cause lasting physical or emotional injury. All too often, it isn't "discipline," but rather an inadequate parent who simply loses their temper and acts out violently against a weaker person.

So, it should be illegal and agressively prosecuted, imo. I have no problem with a strong government in this area. Children need to be protected.
6.13.2008 8:10pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
There is substantial evidence that children who are subjected to parental violence are more likely to become violent themselves -- against weaker peers, younger siblings, animals, and future dating partners or spouses.
Actually not. There is a correlation when the kids are beaten several times a week, but there is no correlation between occasional spanking and subsequent bad behavior.

Even if there were a correlation, it might just be that the kids are being spanked because they are misbehaving, not that the spanking is causing the misbehavior.
6.13.2008 8:11pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Have some experience. I've whacked kids (with my hand) when necessary, and only then. If you have a really strong willed kid, nothing less will stop them. I'm talking their hitting siblings, hitting their mother, breaking things. There just comes a point when they're willing to escalate and you have to be willing to show you can escalate further. Then things become peaceful.

On the other hand, I know a women who would never stand up to her kids; it was as if she feared they would not love her if she stood firm. Nice kids, btw, but were never shown limits. They've straightened out now, but along the way one spent 13 in juvenile detention for burglary and using stolen credit cards. Not to mention several arrests for possession of alcohol, distributing pot on school grounds, shoplifting, one DUI, one driving w/o a license, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. And I know there were several burglaries beyond the two that police solved.

Given what their arrest records will show when they apply for jobs, I'm not at all sure she did them any favors.
6.13.2008 8:19pm
Fub:
Dave N wrote at 6.13.2008 5:46pm:
Additionally, while I think a parent should be free to use "implements" if he or she chooses, causing bruising or marks that last more than 24 hours is perhaps crossing the line.
One inherent problem with not having a "no implements" bright line is that some parents have no clue about the difference between causing a very transient pain and inflicting an injury.

I have a dear friend with only one kidney. She didn't donate the missing one. Her mother beat it to a pulp with a stick when she was a kid, and it had to be surgically removed.

In those days beating a child senseless for looking at a parent cross-eyed was a socially acceptable act. It might have drawn a "tut tut, you should control your temper a bit better" comment from other adults. But very few thought a parent should go to jail for maiming a child, even for inflicting a permanent life threatening injury.

I'm of the opinion that beating up children, either with hands or "implements", is at best a sign that the parent is bereft of parenting skills. Too often it is a sign of far worse.

I also agree with Frater Plotter's comment at 6.13.2008 5:51pm. Parental violence too often perpetuates itself in the next generation. The phenomenon is reasonably predictable as a matter of psychology, and the fact that it remains socially acceptable is a tragedy.

Do I favor locking up every parent who beats a child? No. But this species of harmful violence (and it really is harmful violence) could nigh disappear within a generation if the current generation of parents became educated about its effects, and about actually effective parenting techniques that make it not only unnecessary, but counterproductive.

I don't think this position is "progressive", or "liberal", or any other political label. I think it is hard headed, realistic and non-political. Rearing children is difficult and skilled work. Anyone who finds themselves beating their children regularly is either not doing the work or hasn't bothered to learn the skills. Period.

FWIW, my friend with one kidney has raised kids to responsible adulthood without ever smacking one around. If you're in law school currently, she's old enough to be your grandmother.
6.13.2008 8:25pm
Frater Plotter:
Do I favor locking up every parent who beats a child? No.

This is a worthwhile point. While parental violence is harmful, there are things that are more harmful to a child than rare, non-aggravated parental violence. One of them is violently depriving that child of his parents.

As usual, "X is bad and should be socially unacceptable" does not mean "Every case of X should be punished by law".
6.13.2008 8:57pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):
Hm. I was born in 1980. I have been spanked as a disciplinary measure, and I have used spanking on others as a disciplinary measure. Both giving and receiving, it was a short sharp smack to a clothed bottom, almost always followed by a time-out, and it was always proximate in time to the offense.

I look at spanking as a potentially useful but potentially dangerous tool; it should not normally be your first response (with exceptions, such as being bitten by a seven-year-old who ought to know better) but to blanket ban it takes away a potentially useful parenting tool.
6.13.2008 9:09pm
Alan Gunn (mail):
I'm not in favor of corporal punishment for children, but calling what this parent did a felony is just nuts. It's also extremely unusual; I know of cases involving much-more-severe beatings than this in which nobody even toyed with the idea of criminal charges. In cases like this, mandated parenting classes or family therapy is the most I'd expect to see, even in cases involving baseball bats; for a belt, it's crazy, and even for electrical cords it's quite a stretch, unless it was just the most recent in a long series of beatings. I suspect that something we don't know about was going on.
6.13.2008 9:14pm
fishbane (mail):
Conservatives are bondage fans: Hey, some of us libertarians are, too. And equating consensual games between adults with nonconsensual beatings displays ignorance about at least one of the two.

In any case, I concur that "gentle" corporal punishment is appropriate, especially at younger ages, for correcting behavior. (I don't know all the facts, but generally my experience is that older children don't respond to spankings the same way, and may reason, for instance, that the risk is worth it. My high school paddled kids, and many made just that choice. It didn't change their behavior.) Where that line falls is tricky - I'd find beating a kid with an electrical cord (if that is what it was) marginal, and the fact that the aim was bad enough to hit arms hard enough to bruise a little troubling. Parents have a responsibility to not cause harm, and while mistakes can happen, being that bad an aim demonstrates at least carelessness. It can cause serious harm.

One good rule of thumb (tongue in cheek) is never to strike in anger.
6.13.2008 9:39pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
I'd be more interested in the right to physically discipline other people's children, such as when the parent sees nothing wrong with letting the kid run around a restaurant screaming.

Or even better, the right to physically discipline parents for not understanding that an R-rated horror movie is not a proper environment for a two year old.
6.13.2008 9:54pm
Shelby (mail):
Admittedly off-topic, but per George Weiss's comment:
poor exercises of prosucatorial discretion make poor president
I suspect the humor, and accuracy, are unintentional -- but who was the last President who as a prosecutor had shown poor discretion? Was Nixon ever a prosecutor?
6.13.2008 9:55pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"Conservatives are bondage fans: Hey, some of us libertarians are, too."

I suppose "never initiate the use of force against another" should be amended to add "unless they ask for it"? (grin).

I'd agree that it works best when young. Once they learn they can't out-escalate you, things don't get escalated. Sometimes one or two swats is a lifetime ration.

I remember a cartoon of adult males describing what their football coaches had done to them. "My coach flogged us with a cat of nine tails." "My coach beat us with a ball-peen hammer." "That's nothing, our coach crushed our fingertips with pliers."
6.13.2008 10:02pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"who was the last President who as a prosecutor had shown poor discretion? Was Nixon ever a prosecutor?"

I'd like to know who was the last president who tried a case to a jury, period. I can think of Lincoln, but that's about it.
6.13.2008 10:05pm
theobromophile (www):
Even if it was an efficacious or desirable means of changing behavior, most parents have neither the intelligence nor judgment to properly decide when such violence is appropriate or necessary

WHAT?!?

Even if we were to assume that parents do not know their children well enough to parent them (heaven help us all if that is the case), who would you suggest be the arbiter? A prosecutor? A judge? If the government gives you a big fancy title, you're better at parenting than an actual parent?

Frightening.
6.13.2008 10:19pm
Dave N (mail):
The lawyers who have been President since Lincoln were, in order:
Hayes (who was a city solicitor)
Cleveland (who was a deputy district attorney and also a defense attorney)
B. Harrison
McKinley (a county prosecutor)
Taft (a county prosecutor and later Chief Justice)
Wilson (who abandoned the practice of law early in his career)
Coolidge (who preferred transactional law)
FDR (also practiced transactional law)
Nixon (who worked in a general law firm)
Ford (practiced general law)
Clinton (law professor and attorney general, but no indication he ever argued in front of a jury)

So, based on some quick research, it appears the last President to actually argue a case to a jury may have been Taft--unless Nixon or Ford acted as trial counsel at some in their careers.
6.13.2008 11:14pm
RAH (mail):
Frater is wrong. She either has never dealt with a very strong willed and stubborn child or parented one. My child was very strong willed and sometimes would start an argument over nothing and would escalate up to shouting and hitting items and destruction. He went through 3 bedroom doors. Until he smashed the door and then I did so from the other side and took away the door. He finally has grown and realized the limits he can push and has learned to control his temper. When he was little he would escalate the temper tantrum and nothing would stop until he got spanked.

At 1 to 2 I had to forcefully dress him becasue he refused to cooperate. Most babies and toddler are easy to dress. Once at 3 he had high temp and it took 3 adults to restrain him to get a temperature. Very willfull child and stubborn.When he was dropped off at sitter and I would leave he would rush the door and smash it with his head. Horrible to hear that but if I came back in it would be repeated. But at most he got strapped with a belt. When he got older we took things he valued , guitar , x box etc.

However he hates drugs and tries to work hard at part time jobs to earn money for college , will not steal and has not been arrested.Turning out to be a good young man.
6.13.2008 11:42pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Remind me of a tale a prosecutor told... jury trial, one potential juror who will obviously be the foreman. Older fellow, dignified, sits with military stance. The natural leader, whom the jury will pick, and they did.

Potential jurors asked whether they have ever been arrested. He raises his hand. The charge? Bank robbery.

After the trial, both attys are interested and ask him about it. He relates that in his youth he was wild, an armed robber. Got caught robbing a bank, and police told him he could go to prison for years ... or enlist. He chose the latter and they hauled him down to the enlistment station and signed him up (and yes this was common practice, Happened to a high school mate of mine, caught likewise in a robbery).

He said the drill officers beat sense and discipline into him. If it hadn't happened, he'd be dead or in prison by then. As it was, he was drawing a captain's pension and running his own insurance agency in retirement.
6.13.2008 11:55pm
RAH (mail):
I will note that this child has strong anger issues with his parent. He stole her clothes to sell or give away. He knew he could get her in trouble with a child abuse charge and gamed the system in punishing the mother for him. I believe that child is probably beyond help and will end up in juvies and then jail.
6.14.2008 12:13am
fishbane (mail):
I suppose "never initiate the use of force against another" should be amended to add "unless they ask for it"? (grin).


A little birdie told me that it frequently is. Not that I'd know anything about that.

I'd agree that it works best when young. Once they learn they can't out-escalate you, things don't get escalated. Sometimes one or two swats is a lifetime ration.

And here's the odd thing - put aside truly troubled children (I know they exist, but they obviously aren't more than a tiny minority, for whatever reasons not related to awful parenting), providing a sane home live wherein you give the kids a concerted amount of effort, I do think it is rare that a kid needs spanked. They get the idea pretty quickly, and for minor issues, especially as time goes on and they reason better, other restrictions work much better for screwing up.

...Just adding, I screwed up well into my 20s, and I certainly won't blame my parents for that, I note a change from a blue-collar rural upbringing to a white-collar, major city life. There's a learning curve that isn't forgiving, and it is hard, from social conventions to playing catchup to housing and the services used. It almost makes a case for a social democratic European model that attempts to maximize what people can do.

OK, know I'm going to have to duck.
6.14.2008 12:28am
Wacky Hermit (mail) (www):
I am a parent of 4 very strong-willed and difficult children. They are very different from each other and for some of them, spanking makes their behavior worse, while for others it works just fine. Anyone who says "Parent X raised Y kids without spanking and it worked just fine!" is committing a fallacy. Y kids, no matter how big Y ends up being, is usually far too small a sample to include a wide range of child personality styles. So find me a parent who's successfully raised 5 or 6 hundred kids without spanking, and I'll pay more attention to such anecdotes.
6.14.2008 12:59am
Kazinski:
What a sensitive lot we have here. I remember fondly the time I gave my older son a choice between getting 5 swats and being grounded from his video games for the rest of the day. He took the swats.

I also remember when my daughter told me "HA HA that didn't hurt" when I gave her some token swats. We did a do over, and I told her, if I spanked her and it didn't hurt just let that be her little secret.

The thing is is you need to let your kids let you know what works and what doesn't. When they are younger a few swats may work, but there is no need if a timeout works or taking something away works. But when they start letting you know, by their behavior, that whatever you are doing isn't working, then you need to move on and try something different. What absolutely does not work is threatening punishments that never materialize.
6.14.2008 1:07am
fishbane (mail):
I also remember when my daughter told me "HA HA that didn't hurt" when I gave her some token swats. We did a do over, and I told her, if I spanked her and it didn't hurt just let that be her little secret.


Wow. I hope you're kidding.

But when they start letting you know, by their behavior, that whatever you are doing isn't working, then you need to move on and try something different.

I think you are, or else using a different approach to that I'm familiar with. I'm not going to tell you my theories on kids, not having them. I've virtually raised a few, but... I wouldn't want people interfering with me, either.
6.14.2008 1:27am
EvilDave (mail):
Just out of curiosity what is Islam's policy on child punishment?
Those wanting to jail spankers, are you going to give the Muslims a pass because it is part of their heritage and they add to the diversity of our multi-cultural society?

I am betting that as long as you don't put the two side-by-side, the anti-spanking crowd would give other cultures a pass.

After all their stances usually aren't about logical outcomes, but about feeling good about themselves, as they pave a road to Hell with their good intentions.
DoubleThink is hard; DoubleThink is easy.
6.14.2008 1:48am
Kev (mail) (www):
As a kid, I saw the business end of Mom's Kappa Delta paddle more times than I would have liked, but I think it was ultimately beneficial to me. My parents never hit me in anger, it was never more than a few times, and it only happened when i did something really, really bad. (And of course there was always the spectre of getting "swats" at school too, which sounded even less fun; I was a really good kid at school, if for no other reason than that.)

I also think the prospect of having that happen again colored the decisions I made later on...to the extent that, even now, I judge whether or not I decide to do something by whether or not I might "get in trouble" for doing so. Granted, the adult ramifications of being in "trouble" are different, but that little element of fear helped in the formation of my moral compass. I wonder what can replace that healthy fear when corporal punishment gets put on the taboo list.
6.14.2008 1:56am
one of many:
>(a) whether the actor is a parent;

What about other adults acting in loco parentis, especially with the explicit approval of the actual parents?


It's a factor not a bright-line. Parents have more latitude than others in using physical punishment but the court did not rule out "other adults acting in loco parentis" using corporal punishment. Seems reasonable to me, in general you don't want non-parents to have the right to spank children to but sometimes it is appropriate. Like most things involving children, it is a case-by-case matter which requires evaluating the-totality-of-the-circumstances to determine what is appropriate, and you cannot be sure you got it right until years have passed.
In those days beating a child senseless for looking at a parent cross-eyed was a socially acceptable act.
I don't believe that's ever been the case, it is doubtful a society could last long which did believe such. It may not have been a crime but you can be darn sure that if people knew that a parent beat their child enough to kill a kidney they would not accept the parent socially, and that information tended get around. I imagine your friend's parents were most infrequently invited to parties (if ever), rarely had company, and most likely you friend's childhood friends were not allowed over to your friend's house by their parents. Unless they were rich, wealth makes it's own rules, but that's not the same as being socially acceptable instead it's socially unacceptable behavior being overlooked.
6.14.2008 2:10am
Ken Arromdee:
Who argues against such classic wisdom is probably selling a book; and whoever buys such marks himself a fool.


Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. --Matthew 5:22.
6.14.2008 2:34am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"I also remember when my daughter told me "HA HA that didn't hurt" when I gave her some token swats. We did a do over, and I told her, if I spanked her and it didn't hurt just let that be her little secret. "

The key is, after you let em have it for another two, let it flip at your wrist. Makes it loud. And do not let let them know that you grabbed your hand and cussed after getting into another room, since in this case it really dose hurt you as much as them.
6.14.2008 2:47am
LM (mail):

I am betting that as long as you don't put the two side-by-side, the anti-spanking crowd would give other cultures a pass.

After all their stances usually aren't about logical outcomes, but about feeling good about themselves, as they pave a road to Hell with their good intentions.
DoubleThink is hard; DoubleThink is easy.

No, arguing with straw men is easy. Comedy is hard.
6.14.2008 3:03am
gregster (mail):
For more reading on the subject, here's an analysis of a bill proposed in the CA Assembly by Democrat Sally Lieber.
6.14.2008 4:39am
gregster (mail):
6.14.2008 4:40am
gregster (mail):
Argh!

Link
6.14.2008 4:40am
gregster (mail):
And 4th time is a charm! Here's the thorough analysis.
6.14.2008 4:42am
libertarian soldier (mail):
Not one comment about nuns? I guess there a no Catholics here--or they are all very young. I remember Sister Laparda's ruler very well.
6.14.2008 8:56am
RattlerGator (mail) (www):
Ken Arromdee >> that was far too much of a selective quotation. Jesus is teaching about the Kingdom of God and this section deals with anger and being angry *without cause* is the context of the selection you chose. Clearly not applicable here.

I'm hoping you didn't deliberately leave out the other sentences of Matthew 5:22 >> [from the International Standard Version] But I say to you, anyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to punishment. And whoever says to his brother 'Raka!' will be subject to the Council. And whoever says 'You fool!' will be subject to hell fire.

I very much agree with TruePath: It seems far more sensible to require the state prove both that the force used was unreasonable and that the parent's belief that it was necessary was unreasonable.

Our problem with this subject is that we are far too focused on the adult parent and incredibly naive about children. We have empowered a nation of juveniles with tools that are toys to them, forgetting the multitude of kids who will not have the slightest concern playing with said toys while those you hope to protect generally will not utilize them. It is far, far better to err on the side of the parent by giving the benefit of the doubt and allowing them to use corporal punishment while watching for clear signs of major physical abuse.

Not only are children far more devious than many of you seem willing to admit, they are also far more resilient.
6.14.2008 9:23am
justanotherguy (mail):
What an example of governmental intrusion and overreach. Now a court and a prosecutor will second guess and judge based on some set of factors most parents don't know and couldn't care about to determine if a spanking was reasonable. Will the Government depose a kid's friends to determine the facts to support this reasonableness. What a croc!

The only standard should be permanent or long term harm to the kid. A parent should be able to beat his or her kid for any reason the parent thinks is reasonable- not some outside judge. The only limit should be permanent harm. How does a court view punishment to a kid for not observing some religious stricture that the parent and family hold but society in general does not? Society has very limited rights to come between parent and child.
6.14.2008 10:37am
fishbane (mail):
Just out of curiosity what is Islam's policy on child punishment?

I don't know. For that matter, I don't know the Judaic "policy" on child punishment, either. While we're one-stop-shopping for stereotypes, care to offer one up?
6.14.2008 11:41am
edh (mail):
As I remember a Massachusetts decision on the subject, the court prefered an implement be used, in this case a looped belt, because it had "give".

As for changed cultural expectations, this reminds me of the really funny Leave it to Beaver episode when a note was sent home from the school. The Beav' tossed the note without reading it and Wally forged a response from their parents. "I have whipped him. My husband has whipped him. He is sorry," I think the note said.

Of course, the note from the school was about a play or something.
6.14.2008 11:59am
Fub:
one of many wrote at 6.14.2008 1:10am:
[quoting me 6.13.2008 7:25pm] In those days beating a child senseless for looking at a parent cross-eyed was a socially acceptable act.

I don't believe that's ever been the case, it is doubtful a society could last long which did believe such.
In Rome the pater familias had essentially discretionary power over the life and death of his children. Need I note that the Roman empire declined and fell for considerably longer than the American republic has been in existence?

More recently, just what was Lewis Carrol satirizing in the Duchess' song?
Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.
Victorian era childrearing practices.
It may not have been a crime but you can be darn sure that if people knew that a parent beat their child enough to kill a kidney they would not accept the parent socially, and that information tended get around. I imagine your friend's parents were most infrequently invited to parties (if ever), rarely had company, and most likely you friend's childhood friends were not allowed over to your friend's house by their parents. Unless they were rich, wealth makes it's own rules, but that's not the same as being socially acceptable instead it's socially unacceptable behavior being overlooked.
Your certainty is misplaced and your imaginings are mere imaginings. My friend's parents were well regarded members of their community and church, and they were not rich. Her injury, if noted by the community at all, was dismissed as either an understandable accident when "disciplining" a child, or as acceptable: too bad, but she shouldn't have come home late from school so often.

People who were not subjected to abuse as children often believe that "it just doesn't happen here", or that only drunkards or other obviously dysfunctional parents abuse children. That belief, a form of simple denial, is one reason that child abuse under the rubric of "discipline" can flourish in a family without the greater community even noticing.

People go out of their way to not see it or to deny it when they do see it. I think that is because it is particularly painful to acknowledge that someone you find perfectly acceptable in adult social interactions is doing terrible, though not necessarily illegal, things to their children behind closed doors. Abusive parents often have two faces, one for their social friends and another for their children.
6.14.2008 12:24pm
colagirl (mail):
I was spanked when I was a kid, pretty much the same as what someone above describes: A single swat on the clothed butt with an open hand, followed by an immediate time-out. I don't have a problem with that kind of physical correction. However, to me, hitting a kid with an electrical cord hard enough to leave bruises is worrisome, to say the least. Now to be clear: it does appear to me that the kid is incorrigible (and probably headed for juvenile hall) and that the mother had tried several alternate methods of punishment first to no avail. And of course, it is true that kids are different and that what works on one kid won't necessarily work on another. But as a general rule of thumb, I think if you're hitting a kid hard enough to leave bruises, maybe you need to stop and reassess what you're doing.
6.14.2008 12:52pm
speedwell (mail):
"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

That's funny, until we apply it to children, and then we back it with the full force and fervor of law, custom, religion, and having been traumatized by violence in our own childhoods.

We don't even hit murderers and terrorists as official policy (well, we didn't until this administration, anyway). The mere threat of hitting an adult in this country is seen as an act meriting criminal prosecution, even when the adult is arguably not very competent and is dependent on you (such as your elderly grandmother). But it's different when the victim is your child. You don't dare even look at, let alone touch, the backside of a stranger's child, but you have legal sanction to strike and cause pain to the backside of your own.

Those of you who clutch the so-called "right" to hit the small, weak, ignorant, dependent people who you profess to "love?" Sick, sick, sick, sick. Don't bother telling me "I turned out OK." We can see how you turned out. You argue passionately in favor of your privilege to hit children.
6.14.2008 1:12pm
SC Public Defender:
Sounds like the kid needs a fatal beating.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBeguUvuDzs
6.14.2008 1:44pm
E. Nough (mail) (www):
If it makes you feel better, speedwell, the way we deal with unruly adults who refuse to back down is, eventually, by hurting them. We even have specially designated people who are allowed to hit them with sticks in the right circumstances. (Those people normally wear uniforms. You may have seen them around.) Should the circumstances get even more dire, those people can zap such unruly adults with painful jolts of electricity, then escalating to using firearms to drive small pieces of metal into them at high speeds. The latter is always injurious, and frequently fatal.

Children are not little adults, and they can't always be reasoned with. Sometimes you have to go back to the most basic of formulas: misbehavior = pain. Assuming the child can understand this, the pain may be worth the lesson -- lessons like "don't steal," which may keep them from a lifetime of crime, which will cause them and others far more pain.

Sorry to interrupt you as you wallow in sanctimony.
6.14.2008 1:53pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"Not one comment about nuns? I guess there a no Catholics here--or they are all very young. I remember Sister Laparda's ruler very well"

I got a taste of one once, and stayed in line thereafter. And once in gym got hit with a paddle so hard it drew blood.

The brothers at the high school had a way of dealing with bullies. One would invite the bully to meet him in a gym after classes ended. It was of course an order rather than an invitation. They'd put on boxing gloves and have a match.

The brother had been pro or semi-pro boxer. Bullies really lost their taste for fighting after about three rounds. Bullying was, as a result, a very small problem.
6.14.2008 1:54pm
theobromophile (www):
Those of you who clutch the so-called "right" to hit the small, weak, ignorant, dependent people who you profess to "love?" Sick, sick, sick, sick. Don't bother telling me "I turned out OK." We can see how you turned out. You argue passionately in favor of your privilege to hit children.

Speedwell - you ought to learn a bit about developmental psychology before passing those moral judgments. Or try being a parent yourself.

Hitting children and hitting an elderly woman are different things because they are not at the same developmental place. Children act for pleasure/pain - to get pleasure and to avoid pain. They have shorter time horizons. More importantly, discipline now saves them from prison years down the road. None of that is true of your standard elderly grandmother.
6.14.2008 1:54pm
SenatorX (mail):
I was spanked as a kid and I can't say it was very effective. We don't spank our child but I wouldn't say that another parent shouldnt spank theirs. The electric cord bothers me though. A flat hand or belt is sure to cause pain but hopefully less damange. Getting away from that flat shape though and it seems like a much higher chance of real damage or scarring.
6.14.2008 1:55pm
Russ (mail):
Those of you who clutch the so-called "right" to hit the small, weak, ignorant, dependent people who you profess to "love?" Sick, sick, sick, sick. Don't bother telling me "I turned out OK." We can see how you turned out. You argue passionately in favor of your privilege to hit children.

Yeah, because we can always reason with children. In fact, children never lie cheat or steal, and the small percentage that does can always be dealt with through a time out and well reasoned argument. Logic will always prevail with kids.

BTW, please keep YOUR children away from mine. Recognizing a potential bad influence from this distance is not hard with such a bleeding heart.
6.14.2008 2:51pm
speedwell (mail):
Oh, I see, you want me to understand that it's OK to hurt children on purpose. Wow, this might take me a while to get my head around.

Excuse me for talking back, wise ones. Maybe you should slap me.
6.14.2008 2:54pm
one of many:
Fub


Perhaps it is that "socially acceptable" is too amorphous a term to have any value and I'm using a considerably different standard than you, in which case I apologize for my disbelief based on my use of the term and not yours.


While Roman law did grant extensive legal rights to the head of the family, the Roman founding myth was all about 2 boys killed their father for abusing those rights, somewhat inconsistent with society considering abuse of those rights being acceptable, no? Likewise Oedipus slew his father who tried to have him killed for selfish reasons, not out of revenge but due to cosmic justice, hardly a sign that Greek society found that while a father's power included life it was acceptable to abuse that power. There are stories throughout history which address abusing the power to discipline children, what one would not expect of socially acceptable behavior, some overt as the Roman founding myth and some just minor digs like Dodgson's.

As for the rest, I perhaps should have been clearer. Socially unacceptable behavior does not automatically lead to social ostracism, however socially unacceptable behavior if it is the only factor to be considered does, most socially unacceptable behavior is also socially excusable behavior. I use money as an example of a common reason, but there are many and varied reasons for allowing someone who is socially unacceptable in some ways to compensate and be allowed into society.
By way of example, it is not socially unacceptable for men to refer to all women as "babes" and caress their buttocks in public however we are willing to accept this from a charming old man (but not from a nasty old man) on the excuse that he's from a different time. The determination is not that his behavior is acceptable, but that his charm outweighs his being socially unacceptable otherwise.
6.14.2008 2:56pm
Ken Arromdee:
If it makes you feel better, speedwell, the way we deal with unruly adults who refuse to back down is, eventually, by hurting them. We even have specially designated people who are allowed to hit them with sticks in the right circumstances. (Those people normally wear uniforms. You may have seen them around.) Should the circumstances get even more dire, those people can zap such unruly adults with painful jolts of electricity, then escalating to using firearms to drive small pieces of metal into them at high speeds. The latter is always injurious, and frequently fatal.

These are done to compel immediate action, not as punishment. We don't sentence people to be zapped with electricity or shot with firearms, and even the death penalty is supposed to be done in such a way as to minimize pain.
6.14.2008 4:35pm
whit:

If it makes you feel better, speedwell, the way we deal with unruly adults who refuse to back down is, eventually, by hurting them. We even have specially designated people who are allowed to hit them with sticks in the right circumstances. (Those people normally wear uniforms. You may have seen them around.) Should the circumstances get even more dire, those people can zap such unruly adults with painful jolts of electricity, then escalating to using firearms to drive small pieces of metal into them at high speeds. The latter is always injurious, and frequently fatal.


pet peeve of mine... you have it backwards. in nearly every use of force policy i have read (including my own), tasers are BELOW baton strikes on the use of force continuum. not above, as you say.
6.14.2008 4:38pm
Ken Arromdee:
Even if we were to assume that parents do not know their children well enough to parent them (heaven help us all if that is the case), who would you suggest be the arbiter? A prosecutor? A judge? If the government gives you a big fancy title, you're better at parenting than an actual parent?

The judge is only being given veto power over hitting kids. The parent can choose to exercise veto power over hitting his kid 100% of the time if he wishes. So it doesn't follow that the judge is being considered a better parent than the parent. In the area where the parent is limited (the parent can't always decide his kid needs to be hit) the judge is even more limited (the judge _never_ decides the kid needs to be hit).
6.14.2008 4:57pm
Ken Arromdee:
I tell my son that the only time he'll ever get spanked is when his ears aren't working correctly. If he can listen and demonstrate he heard me correctly then there's no problem. Otherwise I've found stimulation to the buttocks will increase the blood flow to the ear drums and brain, hearing and comprehension will be rapidly restored.

I'm reminded of the practice in the Soviet Union of putting dissidents in mental institutions on the grounds that being a dissident is caused by insanity. The government knows it's a lie, the dissident knows it's a lie, but somehow the government finds it more palatable to do it that way than to admit that treating the dissident that way was their own decision.

Or to put it another way, any kid with the slighest amount of common sense would think "who does he think he's kidding? He just wants an excuse to beat me."
6.14.2008 5:05pm
Nony Mouse:
I think it's interesting that some people think 'beating' and 'spanking' are synonymous.
Ken, that entirely depends on the child and parent. If the kid's parents are beating him on a regular basis, then any reason is probably an excuse. If the kid actually only gets 'in trouble' when the kid actually does something against 'the rules' then a kid with some common sense might just possibly believe it's discipline.
Again, this is a case-by-case basis. I know of stories of terrible child abuse, but I also knew a few kids who wanted to use the lever of crying child abuse to force their parents or caregivers to get things like a puppy.
6.14.2008 7:15pm
Rohan (mail):
I also remember when my daughter told me "HA HA that didn't hurt" when I gave her some token swats. We did a do over, and I told her, if I spanked her and it didn't hurt just let that be her little secret.

You are a bully and a fool.
6.14.2008 7:54pm
Lisa (mail):
other children have the will of mule and often don't respond to anything else.


My kids 4th grade class was occasionally disrupted by one boy acting out. The school, against it's usual practice, let it slide. They found that when they called the boy's parents, they just hit him more--he just wouldn't respond to anything else apparently. The school quit calling, the teacher told us, because the hitting at home just made the boy worse at school.
6.14.2008 8:06pm
Ken Arromdee:
If the kid actually only gets 'in trouble' when the kid actually does something against 'the rules' then a kid with some common sense might just possibly believe it's discipline.

You are missing the point. Saying that stimulating the buttocks increases the blood flow to the ear drums is not, of course, true, and both you and the kid know very well that it's not true.

So why are you saying that? Other than as an exercise of raw power, as a way of saying "I can hit you for a transparently false reason and get away with it"?
6.14.2008 8:07pm
Rohan (mail):
I only need to use my hand for such an effect. However when I was growing up, my mother, being a single parent with three boys did need a belt or a paddle to work. After severely bruising her hand after spanking the three of us in succession she realized it was hurting her more than it hurt us, and a belt was more effective.

I tell my son that the only time he'll ever get spanked is when his ears aren't working correctly. If he can listen and demonstrate he heard me correctly then there's no problem. Otherwise I've found stimulation to the buttocks will increase the blood flow to the ear drums and brain, hearing and comprehension will be rapidly restored. It's his choice.


You can take the boy out of the trash; you can't take the trash out of the boy.
6.14.2008 8:15pm
Dirk Pitt (mail):
I also remember when my daughter told me "HA HA that didn't hurt" when I gave her some token swats. We did a do over, and I told her, if I spanked her and it didn't hurt just let that be her little secret.


Let me get this right: God gave you a sacred precious gift, and when the child acted like a child...you hit her? And now you brag about it?

You are filth.
6.14.2008 8:22pm
Silvanius (mail):
BTW, please keep YOUR children away from mine. Recognizing a potential bad influence from this distance is not hard with such a bleeding heart.


You have no idea what his children are like. You are a liar. Perhaps you need a beating.
6.14.2008 8:34pm
whit:

Let me get this right: God gave you a sacred precious gift, and when the child acted like a child...you hit her? And now you brag about it?

You are filth.



you anti-spanking fanatics are simply amazing.

i recall the bill cosby line "i brought you into this world, i'll take you out."

do ya think he should have been arrested for terroristic threatening?

calling somebody FILTH because he has given his daughter "token swats" that didn't even hurt?

amazing.
6.14.2008 8:40pm
Leroy Washington (mail):
I've found stimulation to the buttocks will increase the blood flow to the ear drums and brain, hearing and comprehension will be rapidly restored. It's his choice.


Hitting your child makes him behave. You know this because you hit your child frequently. That about right?
6.14.2008 8:49pm
Dirk Pitt (mail):
you anti-spanking fanatics are simply amazing.


Thug cop likes to hit little girls. Imagine my surprise.
6.14.2008 8:53pm
whit:

Thug cop likes to hit little girls. Imagine my surprise.



note that i never said i did it, let alone that i like to do it.

i merely said that calling somebody filth who has spanked his daughter is absurd.

remove your unsubstantiatedchildishrhetoricchip(tm) forthwith and insert logicchip(tm)
6.14.2008 9:19pm
Dirk Pitt (mail):
whit

i merely said ...absurd


I'm trying to imagine the circumstance in which I care what thug cops believe about hitting little girls.

Nope. Nothing yet.
6.14.2008 9:32pm
whit:
troll-0-meter for dirk...

weaaaaaak---------------sweeeeeeet-------------supersweet
--^--
6.14.2008 9:39pm
Johnautair (mail):
Wow!
Hysteria is alive and well in the country. Who knew wild hyperbole was en vogue.

"Beating" is not "spanking". Get over it.

Spanking has legitimate uses, and is highly effective for more than a few children.

It does not cause "secret trauma".

It does not cause the spanked children to become sadists or violent criminals.

This is a gross exaggeration (wishful exaggeration) and patently silly.

Google "John Rosemond" and "spanking" some time for a return to common sense:


"...one, quick, open handed slap to the clothed bottom of a child is to abuse as sending a child to his room is to locking a child in the closet."
6.14.2008 10:21pm
Johnautair (mail):
One more quote from TIME:


Plenty of experts believe that spanking is not always wrong. John Rosemond, executive director of the Center for Affirmative Parenting in Gastonia, N.C., and author of several books on discipline, notes that 50 years ago almost all children were spanked. Yet by all accounts, children are more aggressive and prone to violence today, and at earlier ages, than they were back then. Rosemond isn't advising parents to break out the whip. He simply points out that existing research on spanking is unpersuasive. "There is no evidence gathered by anyone who doesn't have an ideological ax to grind that suggests spanking per se is psychologically harmful," he says.


The end.

"Abuse" my foot...
6.14.2008 10:31pm
NI:

Let me get this right: God gave you a sacred precious gift, and when the child acted like a child...you hit her? And now you brag about it?

You are filth.


I don't have a strong opinion pro or con about spanking children, but I'm really having a hard time understanding why a child who has just mocked her father immediatley after being punished for something else wouldn't expect more punishment for it. If open defiance in the face of attempts to instill discipline doesn't merit an immediate response, I'm hard pressed to imagine what would.

We can quibble about whether children are best served by spankings, time outs, groundings, or whatever. But whatever the proper way to discipline a child is, that kind of defiance should have one result and one result only, and that is discipline to remember.
6.14.2008 10:39pm
theobromophile (www):
You are missing the point. Saying that stimulating the buttocks increases the blood flow to the ear drums is not, of course, true, and both you and the kid know very well that it's not true.

So why are you saying that? Other than as an exercise of raw power, as a way of saying "I can hit you for a transparently false reason and get away with it"?

Actually, it gives power to the kid. It demonstrates the reasons for the spanking (i.e. child is not listening), gives the child the option to avoid it (by listening), and makes it clear that ignoring one's parents will not be tolerated.

A question for the anti-spanking folks: were you ever spanked? It seems as if the only people objecting to it are those who were never subjected to it in the first place, which ought to say something.
6.14.2008 10:42pm
AnonLawStudent:

Let me get this right: God gave you a sacred precious gift, and when the child acted like a child...you hit her?

With such a great gift comes great responsibility, including the responsibility to train the child - including via discipline - so that she no longer acts like a child. Indeed, the State recognizes this responsibility by imposing liability on the parent for the acts or omissions of the child.

On another note, was this thread linked to by a random blog? There are a slew of commenters in this thread that aren't among The Usual Suspects, and their level of analysis and logic is completely subpar for a *legal* blog.
6.14.2008 11:11pm
Dirk Pitt (mail):
But whatever the proper way to discipline a child is, that kind of defiance should have one result and one result only, and that is discipline to remember.


You don't know this was defiance. Maybe the kid was saying what she thought. They do that, you know. Or you would know if you listened to your children instead of hitting them because they threaten your insecurities you sick freak.

And if it was defiance, so what? God forbid little girls have spirit and willfulness. And if He doesn't, some filth like you will beat it out of them.

She is a CHILD you fucking cretin.
6.14.2008 11:27pm
Russ (mail):
You have no idea what his children are like. You are a liar. Perhaps you need a beating.

Tell you what, big boy, why don't you come on down and see if you can administer that beating.

I can hear the shrieking from some of the anti-spanking zealots through their keyboards. The writing almost seems to froth.

If you don't want to spank, then fine. But I know from experience dealing with some of those precocious little brats exactly what they'll turn into - fools with no sense of discipline who feel entitled to everything in the world and who do not have parents, only "grown up pals."

Too many are equating spanking with beating, as if driving was the same as drag racing. Spanking, done as part of an appropriate consequence, and never out of anger, helps snap some folks back into the real world. And its effects vary from child to child. With some, a harsh word will do. With others, a firm swat on the wrists gets the attention. Some respond to time outs, but most won't unless the threat of the spanking is there. And if that's there, then it must be used occassionally, or the child will know you aren't serious and will manipulate you.

The point is that I have the right, and sometimes the duty, to spank my child in applying discipline. I thank my parents for applying that to me at times when I obviously needed it, and the lessons made me a better person and a more productive member of society. My child will be the same way.

Those who don't spank - that's your right. It's also my right to keep my child from playing with the out of control brats you raise. Or rather pal around with, since you seem to want to be their friend rather than their parent.
6.14.2008 11:30pm
photoblue:
I remember ballet class for 3 yr old girls. One of the girls was the only child of a highly educated couple- the husband was a doctor and the wife I believe has a masters degree. After the class it was the teacher's custom to praise the girls and give them a piece of candy as a reward. Our daughter took the candy and politely thanked the teacher. As their daughter was about to get candy, the wife said to her husband, "Stop her. Don't you remember? Our daughter doesn't get candy for a week because she (did something earlier this week)." The little girl was denied candy and was obviously confused.
I said to my wife, "That little girl has no sense of what a week is. The parents should have slapped her hand, or paddled her fanny once, let her cry, hug her, and move on. The whole thing would be done in 10 minutes." IMO it was crueler to expect her to "behave" for a week, or understand the consequences. For someone so educated, they should have read Piaget.
A hand slap or a hit to the bottom, followed by hugs and kisses, is a kinder method of punishment than many others. Punish the offense quickly, make up, and move on.
6.14.2008 11:32pm
Leo:
It really seems to me that the reason people who were spanked are in favor of spanking is that it's finally their turn to have the privilege over someone else. I guess it's difficult psychologically to deal with others having the right to hit you and not having that right when the tables have turned, so to speak.

I am not in favor of spanking, and yes, I got hit as a kid- smacked in the face if I did or said something lousy, or sometimes if I just asked too many questions or happened upon an annoyed parent after a bad day at work. What it taught me is that authority figures have the power even if they're wrong. I find people who are in favor of their own past spanking to be risk-averse and fearful, often afraid of "getting in trouble" in some nebulous way. People should weigh risks rationally and act in their interests, rather than having their "moral compass" made up entirely of residual fear of physical violence from someone who, to them, has more or less godlike authority.

It is not the physical pain that makes being hit by a parent hurt. I was a pretty tough kid, and they didn't hit me that hard. It's being struck by someone who is supposed to love and protect you, just because you did what kids are constantly doing in the course of life: made a mistake.

I generally find people who are in favor of spanking to have an authoritarian bent that makes me uncomfortable.
6.14.2008 11:54pm
whit:

It really seems to me that the reason people who were spanked are in favor of spanking is that it's finally their turn to have the privilege over someone else


not in my case, and i am sure countless others. i've never spanked. not once. it doesn't follow that i don't respect and support that right for OTHERS, and that i don't reserve the right to do it in the future.

this is about rights. it has exactly nothing to do with it being my "turn.". i am in favor of it because i think that rights matter, and because i think if used responsibly - it works.

you give examples of IRRESPONSIBLE spanking, like spanking because the parent was annoyed. so, you had a bad experience with a parent who allegedly spanked you because he/she was annoyed, and you extrapolate your personal experience with abuse of spanking to the general.

of course spanking can be abused. so can other forms of discipline. that says nothing about the efficacy or appropriateness of spanking. only that some parents will abuse it, just like other forms of discipline.

generally speaking, fwiw, it's a poor excuse to limit rights based on the fact that SOME people abuse those rights.

based on that argument you can rationalize away doing away with ANY right.
6.15.2008 12:02am
Russ (mail):
Awwww...poor baby. Mean old mommy and daddy hit you and now you're going to show them how wrong they were by ensuring you have nothing to enforce the discipline you should instill in your own children. And once they figure that out, your authority as a parent will be over.

You have also done what many here have done - equated spanking with beating. If you were slapped in the face, then you weren't spanked - you were beaten. If any time you were disciplined physically, it wasn't explained why and what was proper for the moment, then you weren't disciplined - you were traumatized. And if you were hit for just asking questions, then you didn't have parents - you had prison guards.

Making a mistake is one thing, because we've all done it. But we're talking about misbehaving here. Not, "Oh, he left his bookbag in the middle of the floor," but "he swung his bookbag, striking his sister in the face, and then lied about doing it." We're not talking about obscure offenses that your parents seem to have not tolerated, but true misbehavior where other remedies have not worked.

You have no true concept of how it can be used properly. Probably the result of how poorly your own parents behaved. Do you still hate them?
6.15.2008 12:06am
Brian G (mail) (www):
How dare parents have the right to discipline their kids as they see fit? Don't they know that the government knows what's best for them?
6.15.2008 12:19am
Ken Arromdee:
Actually, it gives power to the kid. It demonstrates the reasons for the spanking (i.e. child is not listening), gives the child the option to avoid it (by listening), and makes it clear that ignoring one's parents will not be tolerated.

No it isn't. First of all, you didn't say "I spanked you because you weren't listening", you made up some gobbledygook about blood flow to the ear which you neither believe nor expect anyone else to believe. It's an intentionally transparent lie, whose only purpose is to tell the child "I can lie all I want and you can't do a thing about that".

Second, telling someone "I'll stop hitting you if you ____" isn't giving them power. We would never consider this as "power" in any situation involving adults; a mugger doesn't give you power over him when he tells you he won't stab you if you give him money. We don't say "you can control the robber's actions by choosing to obey him, that's power".
6.15.2008 12:25am
Dirk Pitt (mail):
Tell you what, big boy, why don't you come on down and see if you can administer that beating.

[Pathetic rant snipped.]


Clearly little children threaten your insecurities. Hitting them makes you feel powerful. Hitting little children makes you feel important. You are filth.
6.15.2008 12:30am
Ken Arromdee:
If you were slapped in the face, then you weren't spanked - you were beaten.

So what's the difference? Why does slapping count as beating, but spanking doesn't count as beating? What's so much worse about slapping? (Surely not that it's humiliating--spanking certainly is humiliating too.)
6.15.2008 12:31am
Lisa (mail):
We're not talking about obscure offenses that your parents seem to have not tolerated, but true misbehavior where other remedies have not worked.


Please list all the other remedies you yourself apply. And tell us why you are unable to make any of them work.
6.15.2008 12:48am
whit:
<blockquote>
If you were slapped in the face, then you weren't spanked - you were beaten.

</blockquote>


as long as its done with open hand (which slap implies) and leaves only transient mark, it's perfectly legal in many jurisdictions, fwiw
6.15.2008 1:05am
ReaderY:
The basic problem with the decision is that it seems to suggest that it is possible for a court to know what is reasonable for a child better than the child's parent -- fundamental to privacy is the ability to make choices for oneself free from court oversight. A state has an interest in preventing serious injury to a child, with some gray area as to what "serious" means. It has no business policing parental discipline to determine whether it is "reasonable". The question of "reasonableness" is strictly a moral consideration. The idea of parents being
"unreasonable" with their children hurts people's sense of what is moral and how other people are supposed to behave.

The parental relationship with a child, unlike (say) abortion, is related to the actual text of the First Amendment -- the First protection protects the family unit because parent discipline free from interference from the state's moral judgments is esential to transmitting ideas and ways of life from generation to generation. Even Prince v. Massechusetts, perhaps the case most favorable to state interest in parental conduct towards children, described the state's interest in terms of harm to children, not in terms of whether parental behavior conforms to societal standards of "reasonableness".
6.15.2008 1:11am
Fred1000 (mail):
Here's a suggestion:

Film the punishment meted out against the child.

If you can watch it without squirming or feeling uncomfortable, then the discipline is OK, no?
6.15.2008 1:44am
Fub:
photoblue wrote at 6.14.2008 10:32pm:
Punish the offense quickly, make up, and move on.
I think this is very good advice.

I think much of the controversy about spanking or slapping comes about when both sides of the issue lose sight of the ultimate goal.

I don't think the goal is showing a child "who is boss". If a child is behaving well, he doesn't need a boss. He will ask for help when he needs it. I don't think the goal is to squelch a child's spirit or willfulness. If a child is behaving well, willfulness is a virtue, and undergirds perseverance and success.

The ultimate goal is that a misbehaving child learns to behave properly, proceeds to behave properly, and remains healthy in mind and body. The goal is to prepare a child for a healthy autonomous adulthood. At least I hope that is the ultimate goal for parents.

Perhaps we could learn something from observing how ordinary domestic pets deal with their young. When a pup decides to cut teeth by chewing its dam's leg or tail, she typically yelps and nips the pup. The pup typically withdraws quickly. Often, after the first incident, mere display of a quick yap will stop the offending behavior. Eventually, after only a few incidents the pup will simply abandon the offending behavior.

Queen cats react much the same way to offending kittens, with hisses and paw swats.

What animals don't do (at least healthy animals) is keep their young in terror by constantly growling all day for an offense in the morning. They don't decide after due consideration all day that they should bite or swat their young exactly 5 times in the evening for some offense committed that morning. They don't typically escalate their corrections to the point of causing physical injury.

What they do is pay close attention to their young, and correct them very quickly and decisively at the time of the offense. The key seems to be quick and decisive correction, not necessarily severe correction.

I'm not a psychologist, but I expect one could find some Skinnerian principles extensible to ourselves operating there.
6.15.2008 1:49am
Russ (mail):
Clearly little children threaten your insecurities. Hitting them makes you feel powerful. Hitting little children makes you feel important. You are filth.

Wow, what a cogent attack. Your clear mastery of logic is unassailable. I really liked all the evidence and stats you cited, and the well reasoned response you gave in support of your opinion. With such a clever arsenal at your disposal, I'm surprised you aren't on the Supreme Court.

So what's the difference? Why does slapping count as beating, but spanking doesn't count as beating? What's so much worse about slapping?

If you are unable to tell the difference in being slapped across the face and being swatted on the rear, then you have absolutely no perspective in difference of degree. I could reframe your argument as - Why does "Debbie Does Dallas" count as pornography, but the SI Swimsuit Issue doesn't?

Please list all the other remedies you yourself apply. And tell us why you are unable to make any of them work.

It honestly depends on the offense. I have never started with spanking, and usually less severe forms of discipline work. However, there are times they don't, and they sometimes don't work for the simple reason that children will test limits. They push boundaries to see what they can and cannot get away with at times. Of course, I'm sure you've never felt more willful or stubborn at times.

BTW, exactly how many children do you have, and how do you discipline them?

It's amusing to see the hysterics this issue has generated among some folks. I also notice how none of them seem to focus on the legal issue at hand, and resort instead to personal attacks. That sure is a handy way to win a debate!

Here's an idea - raise your children as you see fit, and let others do the same.
6.15.2008 2:30am
Ken Arromdee:
If you are unable to tell the difference in being slapped across the face and being swatted on the rear, then you have absolutely no perspective in difference of degree.

Perhaps I have no "perspective in difference of degree" then. I'd still like you to explain it. Being slapped across the face isn't more humiliating, nor is it more painful, nor does it involve a more private area of the body. I'm at a loss to think of any reason why it's worse to hit the face other than "I'm used to hitting the buttocks and I'm not used to hitting the face".
6.15.2008 3:15am
Frater Plotter:
It really seems to me that the reason people who were spanked are in favor of spanking is that it's finally their turn to have the privilege over someone else

That's how authoritarianism works -- as Orwell knew; as Reich and de Sade knew before him. In the upper echelons of an authoritarian society or subculture, the pleasures are even more refined -- but authoritarian power is always, always about making other people suffer.
6.15.2008 4:42am
Lisa (mail):
It honestly depends on the offense. I have never started with spanking, and usually less severe forms of discipline work.


You are unable to name one single technique you use besides hitting and humiliating.

And you do not know why you failed to make those techniques work.

You hit children because you don't know what else to do.

However, there are times they don't, and they sometimes don't work for the simple reason that children will test limits. They push boundaries to see what they can and cannot get away with at times. Of course, I'm sure you've never felt more willful or stubborn at times.


Honorable insightful children are not the product of violence and humiliation. They they are the product of love, dignity and respect.

BTW, exactly how many children do you have, and how do you discipline them?


Thank you for asking. I have two successful, wonderful adult children.

I read somewhere when I was young that dolphin trainers have the best behaved children because dolphins learn only by positive reinforcement. When my children were at home I followed the dolphin trainers rule. I listened to them, and treated them with dignity and respect. When they made mistakes I found out why, and gently directed them otherwise. I discovered, as I matured, that they generally wanted to do the right thing, and did it when I had the patience and wit to show them what it was. I let them test limits because testing limits is what children are supposed to do. It was delightful to watch and guide.

My children did not--do not-- steal or cheat or sleep around because they knew I would disapprove, and because they respected themselves and others, not because they were afraid I would humiliate them.
6.15.2008 9:14am
Jmaie (mail):
Kazinski said, "I tell my son that the only time he'll ever get spanked is when his ears aren't working correctly. If he can listen and demonstrate he heard me correctly then there's no problem. Otherwise I've found stimulation to the buttocks will increase the blood flow to the ear drums and brain, hearing and comprehension will be rapidly restored. It's his choice."

This is funny, people! It is not comparable to the Soviet Gulag. It could not possibly be construed as a serious attempt to convey fact.

If you think one or both of these things is true , you either have zero sense of humor or are being willingly obtuse. I'm hoping for the second option.
6.15.2008 11:39am
Jmaie (mail):
When I was in law school we had an interesting discussion of spanking and whether that was automatically child abuse. I was shocked that over 1/2 (probably close to 2/3) did consider it child abuse.

Poll those same classmates who now have children.
6.15.2008 11:41am
Ken Arromdee:
If you think one or both of these things is true

What part of "intentionally transparent lie" don't you understand?

It is not comparable to the Soviet Gulag.

In one respect it is. They said that they locked up dissidents because dissidence is caused by mental illness. Nobody was supposed to believe that either. It's a fake explanation, and you're supposed to know that it's fake--just like the one about blood flow.
6.15.2008 1:46pm
LM (mail):
Ken,

Just to eliminate the possibility of a simple misunderstanding, you're not taking Kazinski's "blood flow" explanation literally, are you?
6.15.2008 2:43pm
Johnautair (mail):
Ken,

Just to eliminate the possibility of a simple misunderstanding, you're not taking Kazinski's "blood flow" explanation literally, are you?
=======================================================

He is; and all the way down the page, he has yet to get it.

This is why people have wondered whether or not he has ever had children or if he is reacting to having come from an abusive home.

That is a brilliant explanation and every child I know would get it.
6.15.2008 3:17pm
NI:
It seems to me this conversation illustrates the wisdom of keeping the state out of it. Some parents believe that spanking is essential to raising good children; other parents believe spanking is an abomination; the bottom line (pardon the pun) is that it's a free society in which different parents are free to try different things, including things that other people don't approve of.

Furthermore, if the state is going to get into the business of regulating child raising, it seems to me that it would be much, much more socially beneficial to forbid parents to take children to church where they learn that science is bad, gay people are bad, and all the other bad stuff they learn there. Giving an unruly child a smack on the butt won't do him nearly as much harm as teaching him that people with different religious beliefs are children of Satan, yet nobody is seriously considering state involvement in that.
6.15.2008 3:58pm
one of many:

Furthermore, if the state is going to get into the business of regulating child raising, it seems to me that it would be much, much more socially beneficial to forbid parents to take children to church where they learn that science is bad, gay people are bad, and all the other bad stuff they learn there. Giving an unruly child a smack on the butt won't do him nearly as much harm as teaching him that people with different religious beliefs are children of Satan, yet nobody is seriously considering state involvement in that.




FLDS?
6.15.2008 4:38pm
fishbane (mail):
Ken: Being slapped across the face isn't more humiliating, nor is it more painful, nor does it involve a more private area of the body.

I disagree. There is a heavy cultural component to spanking vs. slapping. This has come up once before, but if you look to the BDSM community, many people really enjoy spanking, but would be enraged beyond boundaries by a much gentler slap.

One take on the difference that I've heard is that spanking is socially sanctioned imposition of authority, whereas slapping is a deliberate attack on the stature of the person being slapped. To see the difference, ask yourself if an unwanted come-on in a bar would be equally well resisted by spanking the oaf.

Kids pick up social queues quickly, if not always rationally. (A reason why odd distinctions like this persist.) I think slapping is really a bad idea for kids.
6.15.2008 6:13pm
Frater Plotter:
It seems to me this conversation illustrates the wisdom of keeping the state out of it. Some parents believe that spanking is essential to raising good children; other parents believe spanking is an abomination; the bottom line (pardon the pun) is that it's a free society in which different parents are free to try different things, including things that other people don't approve of.

Ah ... this sounds like our old friend multiculturalism. Surely this mustn't be taken too far. Some parents, after all, believe that cutting off their daughters' clitorises is essential to raising good children. Surely at some point, decency and human rights must stand up and say, "Hell no!" to abominations.
6.15.2008 11:49pm
theobromophile (www):
One take on the difference that I've heard is that spanking is socially sanctioned imposition of authority, whereas slapping is a deliberate attack on the stature of the person being slapped. To see the difference, ask yourself if an unwanted come-on in a bar would be equally well resisted by spanking the oaf.

Fishbane - a spank in response to an unwelcome come-on would probably give the perv the wrong idea!
6.16.2008 12:15am
J.M. Lengyel (mail):
I'll tell you how the court could have done better: by laughing as the case was tossed out, and the prosecutor reprimanded. Too many kids in the last few years treat all around themselves (other kids, their parents, teachers, total strangers) with utter and shameful contempt and scarcely realize that there's an alternative. We have taught them that we, the grown-ups, need to tiptoe around these precious little idiots lest we wind up in prison. It's time for this nonsense to stop. As far as I'm concerned, kids have a right to be fed, to avail themselves of whatever education they can, and not to be beaten without a good reason. Seems to me this mother had one. Case closed. Give her ten dollars so she can go buy a proper belt.
6.16.2008 12:45am
one of many:
One take on the difference that I've heard is that spanking is socially sanctioned imposition of authority, whereas slapping is a deliberate attack on the stature of the person being slapped.


Amazing how similar ideas percolate around. I read a similar analysis of spanking/slapping in a book distinguishing B&D from S&M, being spanked reinforces feelings of being in the control of another person while being slapped is humiliating and fear inducing.
6.16.2008 1:14am
NI:

Ah ... this sounds like our old friend multiculturalism. Surely this mustn't be taken too far. Some parents, after all, believe that cutting off their daughters' clitorises is essential to raising good children. Surely at some point, decency and human rights must stand up and say, "Hell no!" to abominations.


Anything can be taken too far, and at this point the opposite problem -- letting children run wild -- is what has been taken too far. And anyone who can't distinguish moderate corporal punishment from female circumcision either can't or won't think it through.
6.16.2008 5:20am
Mad Max:
Such toxic levels of self-righteousness in this thread!
6.16.2008 8:04am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I suppose a kid who won't actually go to his or her room for a timeout is an impossibility?
What do you do if the kid won't go? Or won't do whatever other sanction the parent imposes?
At some point, the kid has to understand that obeying is in his best interest. We'd rather he learn not to run in the street by being told. If that doesn't work, by being spanked. Last is by being hit by a car, even though that would probably work, too.
Now, since hitting his sister has no immediate negative consequences--to him--and if telling doesn't work, we have to think of the long-suffering sister, don't we. So we can teach him that hitting his sister has a negative consequence for himself. Lecture? If it doesn't work? Time out? If it doesn't work or he won't go?
The real world has, and not even as a last resort, taught by the infliction of pain.
We would rather not see our kids taught by the real world's infliction of pain. But when they don't understand that what they are doing is unacceptable and will ultimately cause them pain, it might be seen to be a good idea to simulate the pain in a non-lethal form before the rubber meets the road for murderously real.
6.16.2008 10:40am
Ryan Waxx (mail):

I generally find people who are in favor of spanking to have an authoritarian bent that makes me uncomfortable


You've managed to get it completely backwards. People who are against the government interfering with parental decisions are the OPPOSITE of authoritarians.
6.16.2008 2:51pm
Kev (mail) (www):
I find people who are in favor of their own past spanking to be risk-averse and fearful, often afraid of "getting in trouble" in some nebulous way. People should weigh risks rationally and act in their interests, rather than having their "moral compass" made up entirely of residual fear of physical violence from someone who, to them, has more or less godlike authority.

Leo, I feel as if you're responding to me, since you took two quotes from my comment above. Let me assure you that my moral compass wasn't founded on fear (though a little healthy fear never hurt anyone growing up). Rather, it came down to this: I wanted to be a good kid. If I messed up enough to get spanked (and I need to reinforce that this was a rare occasion), I knew that I wasn't being a good kid at that moment, so I tried hard to act better the next time. I don't consider myself to be risk-averse, but I do feel as though I have a sense of limits, and you can't say that for a lot of kids these days.
6.17.2008 1:39am
BeatKid (mail):
It has never been illegal anywhere in America to spank a kid, and no one was ever arrested for spanking unless it left significant bruises. This ruling changes nothing for normal parents. It simply tells abusers it's ok to strip your kids naked and beat them black and blue with an extension cord. Thanks to four idiot judges abusers can now rest assured that they can never be held accountable.

As a child I lived my life in fear of the belt. Not the respectful fear of molesting a bee in the yard, but gnawing dread and mortal terror you would know if you were forced to sleep every night with a deadly rattlesnake under the covers of your bed.

Being abused does not teach you discipline or make you a good person. It leaves people permanently afflicted with crippling emotional and mental illness. It's easy to say that being abused is better than not being disciplined at all when you are not the one living with flashbacks of beatings from decades ago that come uncontrollably while working, making love, or watching TV.

The mother in this case was asked to serve three days in jail for bruising her child during a spanking. This is a very modest price for a parent to pay to ensure that kids who are being whipped black and blue are allowed a day in court. But thanks to the selfishness of one woman and the foolishness of four judges thousands of victims of child abuse in Indiana are now denied any possibility of intervention, and will serve life sentences with trauma related injuries with no possibility of parole or appeal.

Indiana parents and survivors are organizing to fight this; please write your lawmakers and demand laws restoring the protection for kids that this irresponsible ruling removed.

http://www.in.gov/legislative/contact/index.html

http://www.kewego.com/video/iLyROoafYsfW.html

Click the link to watch a disturbing video of a spanking that the Indiana Supreme Court has made legal.
6.17.2008 7:05am
Seamus (mail):
Excuse me for talking back, wise ones. Maybe you should slap me.

I don't need to. I can just keep you the hell away from my house. Unfortunately, that tactic won't work with my children.
6.17.2008 12:11pm