Well, in case you haven’t heard yet...you could go to jail in California for spanking your child if State Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D) who is introducing a bill that will make it illegal for parents to spank their children, has her way. If passed it will make it a crime for anyone to spank children under the age of 3 punishable by up to a year in jail or $1,000 fine.
Lieber, the Bay Area Democrat legislator wants to make it a crime for anyone to spank young children, banning hitting, punching, smacking, kicking, slapping and spanking. She says,
"Under current law, parents can beat their children to a reasonable degree. I just think that that's plain wrong and we ought to ban any sort of physical attack on children who are not old enough to defend themselves…This bill is absolutely not big mother government coming in to tell parents what to do…Children that are 3-years-old or younger are really sitting ducks for physical punishment, and they're no match with the speed or size or force of an adult who's beating them… if you don’t hit a cat, you shouldn’t hit a kid. We have a society that has really become addicted to violence, and I think that training children at a very young age in that is absolutely the wrong thing to do."
Opponents say the government shouldn't tell adults how to be parents. California Republican Assembly member Michael Villines said,
"As a father of three, I'm afraid they're going to make me a felon. Child abuse is wrong period. But there is a balance, and the government doesn't need to get in the middle of it."
If the bill passes and is signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, it would make California the first in the nation to have a no-spanking law. There is speculation that he may sign it into law because his home country Austria has such a law.
We want to keep in mind there’s really two separate issues here...should a parent spank or not? and should the government outlaw spanking?
Whether you believe in spanking or not, do you believe it is the government’s role to make law concerning spanking? Should we criminalize spanking? That is the question surrounding Lieber's bill.
BTW - what happens to the child during the year the parent is in jail?
On the show I give statistics of Sweden which has had a 'no spanking' law since 1979, and of the U.S. which has no such law, which shows Sweden with higher rates in every one of the following forms than the U.S. ...except spanking, proving such laws do not work.
1. Threw things at
2. Pushed, grabbed, or shoved
3. Hit (spanked or slapped)
4. Kicked, bit, or hit with fist
5. Hit with an object
6. Beat up
7. Threatened with a weapon
8. Used a weapon
9. Very Severe Violence
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