Spanking: Actionable Abuse or Discipline?

For parents around the world, physical discipline has long been an oft debated topic. Some parents believe that spanking, for example, is a necessary tool in the disciplinary arsenal, while others view it as abuse.

Last week, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Long Island father of an eight-year-old boy, who admitted to using open-handed spanking as a form of discipline after hearing his son curse at an adult during a party. The court agreed that the father used ‘reasonable force’ and under circumstances presented, spanking did not constitute excessive corporal punishment.

Currently in New York State, spanking falls under ‘child endangerment laws’ and could, in some cases, constitute abuse. Parents found guilty of the offense can therefore be legally charged with abuse, child endangerment, or neglect simply by tapping their child on the tush.

In this case however, the New York State Court of Appeals upheld the father’s use of spanking as a form of discipline, and said it was not abusive.

What is your take on spanking? Should the courts be involved in the parental decision to use basic discipline, or has government gone beyond appropriate limits by telling parents how to raise/discipline their children?

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.