It’s Not a Crime to Hit Children – Shouldn’t it Be?

As long as we call it “spanking,” we are allowed to hit children. It’s not considered physical abuse as long as you don’t hit them too hard

Why? If I want to teach an adult something and my method of persuasion is hitting them, I can go to jail for assault and battery.

If I work at a facility for mentally disabled persons and I hit them as a “teaching method,” I can go to jail for assault and battery and for abuse of a vulnerable person. Yet, it’s ok to hit children to “teach” them – aren’t our children the most vulnerable among us?

I know – we have always “spanked” children. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Where is the legitimate research that shows how children learn best through beatings?

You know what, at one time society also looked the other way while adults sexually abused children. Times change and apparently morals change.

Our understanding of science has changed as well – not only do children not learn by being beaten, but there is more than sufficient scientific evidence now to demonstrate that spanking children harms them.

When Does Spanking Cross the Line?

Legally, I don’t think any court would allow a person to be convicted of assault and battery or child abuse for hitting their child so long as it can be classified as “spanking,” or another form of “acceptable” corporal punishment.

If there are no marks, no permanent damage, no lasting injury, you can go ahead and beat your child without fear of legal consequences.

Where the line is exactly is not crystal clear, but:

A man in Phoenix was arrested and charged recently for hitting a two-year old child with a duffel bag strap over 50 times. He was angry with the child’s mother when it happened, but called it “spanking” because the child had damaged some of his things.

A three old child died after her mother’s boyfriend “spanked” her in Arkansas recently. The boyfriend is now charged with capital murder…

What Does Science Have to Say About Spanking?

Maybe we should study the issue and see how spankings as a child affect a person’s well-being throughout the rest of their lives? Surely careful research will support the positive effects of hitting children?

A study published this year in the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect found that spanking has a similar effect to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as child abuse, and found that spanking as a child leads to more mental health problems as an adult like depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide attempts.

Not convinced? Here’s an Upworthy article with an infographic that lays out the results of 88 more studies. What’s the biggest takeaway?

Even if you spank with control, discipline, and good intent, your kids are more likely to have depression and engage in aggressive behavior in adulthood.

Charged With Child Abuse and Neglect or Unlawful Conduct to a Child in SC?

I don’t believe that it is good or healthy in any way to hit your children (see above). Nevertheless, if you are charged with the criminal offenses of child abuse and neglect or unlawful conduct to a child, we will investigate your case, aggressively protect your rights, and fight to have your case dismissed or to get an acquittal at trial.

Call me at (843) 492-5449 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free, confidential consultation about your case.

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