Posted: Mar 24, 2009 9:57 AM
I love campaigns against spanking. They're like campaigns against sugar cereal, lead paint, and dodge ball -- all designed to infringe on American parental rights and drag those with lesser constitutions (or maybe just lame-er constitutions) down into a cycle of guilt and despair. "If we feed him sugary things, Johnny will grow up to be big and fat!" "If we show him children's books with shiny spines, he'll get lead paint poisoning!" "If we spank, Johnny will grow up to be violent!"

How about just letting Johnny outside for a little while, responsibly administering discipline when needed, and providing a reasonable amount of supervision along with three square meals a day? Stop the helicopter parenting, guide Johnny in the best way you know how, and I promise you, things will be fine.

The Family Research Council has better rebuttal than me against the anti-spanking advocates -- you know, those who spend their time chastising responsible parents for making sure their young ones are in line, under the laughable guise of "human rights." The anti-spankers latest foray into the infringement of parental rights comes from The Center for Effective Discipline,, which worked with the Phoenix Children's Hospital to produce a report that claims children will be more violent if their parents administer a swat on the behind. Unfortunately, as the FRC points out, boatloads of evidence contradict their findings:
Ironically...the research did not focus on spanking at all, but on "physical punishment." The study explicitly lumps together words like "spank," "slap," "beat," "punch," and "whip," treating them as if they are all the same thing. There is a huge difference between the ordinary disciplinary spanking practiced by most parents and all these other forms of "physical punishment," which can more easily be abusive. Defining the issue this way makes the study useless for identifying the actual impact of "spanking" as such. The key both to the effectiveness of parental discipline (including spanking) and its effect on the child (whether positive or negative) lies in how the discipline is undertaken in its larger context, not simply what disciplinary tool is used. Studies have actually shown that a disciplinary style that balances firm control (including spanking) with positive encouragement results in the best outcomes for children. It's clear that the long-term goal of these anti-spanking zealots is a legal ban on all spanking that would treat it as "assault" and a "human rights violation." This is an intrusion into parental rights that Americans should not tolerate.