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Should The Government Tell You How To Discipline Your Child?

Currently, there’s a major debate on whether the government should make it a crime for parents to spank their child. Thus far, over 88 countries — including the United States — have prohibited spanking in either the home, schools or both.

If you are wondering whether it is necessary for the government to determine whether you should have the right to spank your child or not, you aren’t alone. Many parents feel they should have the right to raise their child as they see fit.

However, what happens when a national study suggests that by eliminating spanking, parents actually raise children that are less violent? This is exactly what the latest Public Health Research has uncovered in their findings from over 88 countries.

Is there truly an association between youth violence and the banning of parental spankings among their children?

The study involved over 403,604 adolescents that were divided into groups that were separated by country. Exactly 69% of the countries involved in the survey were fully banned from corporal punishment among children. This ban included the spanking of children by their parents and by their teachers in school.

The results concluded that the countries with the ban existing in both the home and schools revealed a dramatic decrease in the number of fights that occurred between the children. The study then concluded that the results “support the hypothesis that societies that prohibit the use of corporal punishment are less violent for youth to grow up in than societies that have not.”

The government has a vested interest in banning parents from spanking their children

You may not realize this, but the government has a desire to ensure a less violent society. This means that if studies show that children are less violent when they are not raised with violence, then the government will do what it deems necessary to keep your child from being violent. This does not go without its share of problems, however.

Banning a parent from spanking their child does not address the level of violence that continues to invade the video games and cartoons that our children see. The study also fails to consider how parents might change their approach to discipline, which includes more effective communication.

Can effective communication and spankings go hand in hand? Should we now change the wording of the Bible that we as a nation follows that instructs a parent to not “spare the rod” when it comes to raising their children? The government has a vested interest in ensuring a less violent society, but does it have the right to pick and choose which form of violence it will remove?

Parents have the right to decide what’s best for their children

It becomes a dangerous thing when the government takes the task of deciding how a parent should raise their children, regardless of the results of a universal study. Parents care far more for their children than the government, which leads to the conclusion that the greatest vested interest would be of the parent for their child.

When the government takes on the task of telling parents how to discipline their children, then they take away the right of the parent to raise their children effectively. A parent decides what their children watch on television, what video games their children play, and what school their child attends. If we trust parents to do this, can we not trust their ability to decide the best measure of discipline for their own children? It’s a concept that does not require a study to see its value and significance.

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About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

11 comments

  1. In a perfect world, every parent could be trusted to ensure that they are making the best decisions for their child or children. The reality, however, is that this is not a perfect world, and there are far too many parents who, for whatever reason, do not make the best decisions for their children.

    Your assumption that “parents care far more for their children than the government, which leads to the conclusion that the greatest vested interest would be of the parent for their child” is based on the false premise… simply because a parent cares (loves) their child, does not necessarily mean that the parent is able to make the best decisions for their offspring.

    You also state “It becomes a dangerous thing when the government takes the task of deciding how a parent should raise their children” – the government has LONG had a hand in deciding how a parent should raise a child. For example, at least in the USA, children are required to be provided with at least a basic education, food, medical care, etc. – and this is by law, because there are parents who otherwise would NOT do so.

    Parents are not necessarily always trustworthy in how they raise their children… the fact that we have, on average, about 400,000 children in the foster care system at any time speaks to that. It would be nice to presume that parents won’t go “too far” when disciplining their children, but that’s not the case. Just yesterday, I read of a mother in my county who “disciplined” her five-year-old daughter – by shoving her down a flight of stairs. The child died, and upon autopsy, the medical examiner found evidence of prior “discipline” – including scars, cigarette burns, etc. The mother admitted to abusing the child for “at least the past year”.

    I myself am raising a child who was removed from her original parents. Smart child, but you’d never have known it from when she first was placed with me. At age 7, didn’t know the difference between the alphabet and numbers, was operating on a pre-k level. Why? Because the parents never told the school district the child existed, and they had no intention of her ever attending school or getting an education. One parent actually was teaching the child that “Stupid people work, and smart people make the stupid people who work give them their money. That’s why we get a monthly paycheck from the government, because we’re smarter than those stupid people who work”.

    Fast forward a few years, and the same child is in regular classes for all but a couple of subjects – where she is in the ADVANCED classes! This child’s journey through childhood was made unnecessarily tough by her parents – the people she should have been able to trust – and educational neglect was just the tip of the iceberg. Even her baby sibling, who’d only been in the parental home for less than a month, had scabs and scars. So please, don’t ask everyone to ASSUME that parents always make the best decisions.

    For better or worse, the same parent is now raising yet another child the same way, but child welfare authorities can’t do anything until it becomes obvious that this next child is also being deprived of an education (not quite old enough). So when you say the government should trust parents to “discipline” their kids “as they see fit” – yeah, not so much. Boundaries need to be put in place, because frankly, just because someone is able to have a child, doesn’t mean they are fit to be a parent – no matter how much they care or love a child.

  2. There is indeed a correlation between weak home discipline and punks. Liberals and government should keep their noses out of child rearing. Their ignorance of the subject for the last 40 years demonstrates itself in the childish behavior of society today. So does the large numbers of fatherless homes. Teaching respect for others is lost today.

  3. Children are taught violence by watching TV, Movies, Video Games, much more than by a swat on the bottom!

    • I don’t think TV, movies, and video games has anything to do with it. I watch TV, movies, and video games and I don’t shot up schools. I think it has to do with not spanking your child and taking God out of our schools.

  4. The violence that our children to see kills their empathy for the person suffering. They feel no pain as bullets splash blood across the screen. A spanking will bring them back to reality because they realize…..Hey that does hurt. My mother spanked me with a hairbrush on my bare bottom. I got a teaspoon of cayenne on my tongue if I told a lie, but there was no gore in the movies and no TV at all. A lot of parents are so afraid of punishing their children that the child simply screams until the parents do what they want. Punishing the parent is needed if the child is hurt, not just a little red, but with a hurt face.or other areas like twisted arms or legs. Laws have too little measured control. some folks will not hit their child, and the child never does any wrong. Another child is crushed by their school acquaintances and commits suicide. A lot of the time the difference is the parent. A two parent household with a couple of relatives around is a far cry from a one parent household with 5 kids. An intelligent parent with an intelligent child can see the child behaving. An intelligent child can also recognize his parents buttons and get selling drugs right past their noses…..”My Debbie or My Johnnie would not do that….I am afraid only the parent can know which child responds to time out or a swat on the bottom. No one person is right about all children all the time, so……, unless the child is truly being hurt Noone knows but the child and the parent.

  5. I certainly agree that spanking should not be a parent’s first approach to managing behavior and “training up a child in the way he should go,” but I also know that verbal and emotional tirades by frustrated parents can be more harmful than a swift smack on the bottom by a calm controlled parent who must gain his or her child’s compliance, particularly in issues nvolving safety concerns. Spanking is no longer needed when a child can understand, on a cognitive level, why he should not persist in a potentially harmful behavior. Neither of my now grown kids (who, btw, are both well-adjusted college graduates living their own successful lives) were spanked after the rebellious preschool years. I set clear boundaries and they now appreciate that gift from a mother and a father who never needed the government to tell us how to parent!

  6. Get out of my house! You have no right to interfere with me or my family especially on how I raise MY children. I have raised 5 so far. All 5 graduated high school sex free and drug free. So tell me I am a bad parent. If you are going to push me into a corner and make it so I can’t punish my kids then you had better get rid of the rest of the laws and punishments. If kids don’t find out from their parents that there are consequences for their actions how do you expect them to know that if you break the law you are going to get punished? – I see you are asking for my name and email, what? so you can spy on me? BITE ME!

    • You say they graduated drug and sex free, which is probable (most kids don’t have sex or use drugs in high school) but have you considered that if they *had* done those things, they may not have felt like it was safe to let you know? What kind of reaction would they have expected if they came to you and said “Dad, I’ve started smoking pot after school sometimes”, or “My girlfriend and I are getting pretty serious, would you buy us condoms just in case it goes further than just kissing?”

  7. That’s what’s wrong with this world is because spanking is being taken away. I never heard of all this gun violence gay marriage and all of this hate before spanking was taken away. We need spanking back in our schools.

  8. Violence begets violence. This has been proven over and over again. As kids we were “spanked”,beaten with a belt, or whatever mom could get her hands on, hair pulled until we thought we were going to go bald, had mouths washed out with soap for using “bad language” and all the rest. My brothers were “swatted” by their gym teacher until their bottoms were black and blue. Did we turn out “just fine”? No!

    We grew up angry to the point where one of my brothers was put in an “at risk” program and another finally had his face shot off–17 shots to the face, and it was deemed “self-defense”. ALL of us kids were “broken” in one way or another.

    OK, maybe a firm smack on the bottom and then “grounded” might be sufficient, to show that you “mean business” might be deemed permissible and even necessary. Maybe what the kid was doing was more dangerous than the smack on the bottom, who knows? However, how many kids had had their arms nearly twisted off by the “punishing” adult or not allowed to cry from their injuries or even allowed to vent over what just happened?

    Want to know what happened to the rest of us kids? ALL of my brothers are estranged from their kids, and me? I chose to break the “violence cycle” entirely–I chose to remain childless and am glad of it. I chose not to perpetuate the violence that happened to us!

    Yes, in order for kids to grow up and become healthy, responsible adults, they NEED discipline. They NEED to be taught Right from Wrong and that there are CONSEQUENCES for Bad Decisions. Dire consequences. They NEED to be taught how to deal with issues that are troubling and hurtful. They also need to learn that simply saying “I’m sorry” often just isn’t enough. Contrary to what many feel, spanking is violence and violence, and despite feelings to the contrary, violence ALWAYS leads to violence.

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