Mom spanks, kids taken away

A mother had her kids taken away from her when she was taken to court for spanking her child.  But was that really fair?  I don’t think so – especially since I spanked my own kids as they were growing up.

Yes, I am one of those parents who spanked their kids. I will probably be totally lambasted by admitting that, but I ask you to keep reading before commenting.

While the majority of the punishments we doled out to our children were along the lines of a time-out or taking a favored belonging away, spanking was on our list of acceptable punishments. Of course, the number one rule was that spanking was not to be done in anger, something that was very challenging to adhere by, and ultimately caused us to avoid spanking as much as possible. We knew that if we spanked in anger, we would be using the punishment as a way to get out our aggression than to turn around the negative behavior they were being punished for. So it was used sparingly and for infractions that needed to be spelt out plain and clear to a child that wouldn’t fully comprehend a long, drawn-out lecture as an alternative. 

And, of course, the only thing we spanked with was our hand.

Both my (ex) husband and I had been spanked as a child, making this form of punishment a familiar choice for discipline. I can’t say I was scarred by the experience of being bent over a knee and given a swift paddling for hurting my sister, saying a bad word, or sassing my parents back. I don’t even consider it abuse. It was just the way things were done in those days. And believe me, it caused all of us to think twice before doing anything wrong that our parents might catch us and then pull out the almighty hand – or worse, the belt or wooden spoon.

There was one time that my sisters and I were bouncing on the bed with one of our friends, making ourselves go higher and higher. We were having so much fun that we never noticed my father rounding the hallway to stand in our doorway. I had just gotten through telling my friend for some reason that spankings never hurt me. I have no idea why I even told her this, but I had to eat my words as my dad yanked me off the bed and had his hand walloping my butt in no time flat. As I cried elephant tears, my unscathed friend innocently pointed out that she thought spankings didn’t hurt me. I kind of liked her less in that moment….

When my ex and I became parents, spanking was well on the way of being considered unacceptable as a punishment. But many were still on the fence. We were one of those families. We didn’t view spanking as the most positive form of discipline, but didn’t completely rule it out (obviously). While I ordered every Positive Discipline book I could lay my hands on when my terrorist son was a toddler, the spanking punishment still hung out as one way to correct misbehavior. But because of society’s view on spanking, we knew not to spank in public. It wasn’t because we were ashamed of spanking, it was more because we didn’t want someone misconstruing our discipline as abuse on our child and taking our kids away from us.

I had a friend with a very rambunctious 3 year old who took off running in a crowded local store while they were shopping, terrifying his mother as she frantically searched for him. When she finally caught up with him, she let him know how scared he had made her, giving him two swats on his diapered butt. Another shopper witnessed this and immediately called the police, and my friend was almost in danger of losing her son.

Rosalina Gonzales, a Texas mom recently in the news, actually did lose her child, along with the child’s siblings. Her mother-in-law had taken the two year old to the hospital when she noticed red marks on the child’s bottom. The action landed Gonzales in court where she not only lost all three of her children, but also faces five years probation, as well as having to pay a $50 fine to the Children’s Advocacy Center and attend a course of parenting classes. Let it be noted that “prosecutors described it as a ‘pretty simple, straightforward spanking case’, and said Gonzales didn’t use a belt nor leave any bruises.” Let it also be noted that Texas does not outlaw spanking as outlined on the website for the state’s attorney: ‘Texas law allows the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child by the child’s parent, guardian, or other person who is acting in loco parentis. Most parents do, in fact, use corporal punishment at least occasionally, and most do not, in fact, consider it abusive.’

But the judge had some very stern words for Gonzales regarding spanking.

‘You don’t spank children today. In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children. You understand?’

In the meantime, all three of her children are now in their grandmother’s care until the judge has deemed Gonzales “capable” of caring for them.

Nancy French, a writer for the National Review, is speaking out against what she deems an unfair sentence for Gonzales, asking those who use spanking as a form of discipline to speak out.  “I’ve spanked all three of my kids, and they aren’t raised yet,”  French says.  “Spanking is far less emotionally manipulative than twenty nagging reprimands, it’s fast, and it’s certainly effective.”

These days, my view on spanking is much different than it was when the kids were younger. It’s possible I have an easier time making that decision since my kids are older and long past the age when I felt spanking was necessary. But I do believe if I were raising young kids today, I would prohibit spanking from entering my house. Truth was, spanking did little for me when I was younger except to make me fear the punishment rather than learn right from wrong. And I know it was the same for my kids.  Spanking may have been a quick way to get the message across, but I don’t really believe it was effective.  I can see now that it’s not impossible to break away from the spanking habit and find another form of punishment that is just as, if not more, effective as a way to discipline and turn around negative behavior.

But I still can’t believe that spanking should put a family in danger of being torn apart.

What’s your take on spanking as a punishment?


11 thoughts on “Mom spanks, kids taken away

Add yours

  1. Spank-Free home here, my wife made a big deal about it when she was pregnant. I was raised in a spanking household, so I was a fan of the method. Two and a half years later and I’m a convert. There is simply no need to make the punishment physical — a properly implemented time out can do the trick just as well, although it is certainly more involved and time consuming. In spite of that, I think every parent has a right to make the decision for themselves. It certainly shouldn’t be considered abuse! My arse got paddled more times than I can count, it certainly didn’t leave me with any scars (physical or emotional), nor does it affect my feelings towards the ones who doled them out — Love you Mom and Dad, thanks for the spanks 😉

  2. It’s a judgement call. Spanking should be done in the privacy of your home as to not humiliate the child. Also, if it is just a swat on the behind, so what. But if the parent is just out of control spanking, then yes, the kid should be taken away. There are times that a swat is needed, but not to excess of more then one or two.

  3. I was spanked once as a child, totally out of parental fear when I tried to do something like put a fork in an electrical socket…I do recall being spanked…vaguely. It certainly didn’t scar me. I was far more emotionally and psychologically impacted by the guilt my mom would heap on me if I did something wrong. (“I was just so worried! I thought you were dead somewhere!”…I still call my mom every day or two to assure us both that the other is alive and well…of course, I don’t stick forks in electrical outlets either, so…)

    The thing is, yeah…beating your children — causing them actual HARM, I think we can all agree that’s bad. However, a spanking? It stings. It gets a point across. I am also dubious as to the long term effectiveness of this method of punishment as a teaching tool…but I certainly don’t think it is detrimental to the child’s physical or psychological health. And I certainly don’t think a parent should loose her children over it.

  4. Spanking is a totally ineffective method of punishment; it teaches children that violence A. can be used in anger (sorry, but the act itself implies an angry reaction) B. violence is how we solve problems, and C. doesn’t teach the child anything except they don’t like getting spanked so don’t get caught next time. My mother snapped and spanked me once with a stick, this, after my sisters LIED THROUGH THEIR TEENAGED TEETH to her about my behavior. It had been a long ride back from our bitchy grandmother’s house (father’s side) in Arizona, and she had had it. I, to date, never forgot it (obviously) and never hesitate to bust her chops and my sister’s whenever the subject comes up. I don’t agree that someone should lose their kids over it though, and though I think well-meaning people should intervene if there is true danger, it’s a very fine line between trying to help and being a vindictive busybody. There, that’s my two cents, more like four….

  5. You just have to love family law. In any other court, the judge would have to act according to laws. In family court, it is “in the best interst of the child” which can mean just about anything; generally it means someone had a convincing argument.

    Even in TX the lady has options to challange the ruling. The laws in TX on corp punishment are some of the most forgiving in the nation. I would certainly appeal!!

    FWIW, in Texas there is no such thing as spousal support.

  6. I am for spanking. I was spanked as a kid and so were my parents. I do not believe spanking incites violence. I was never a violent child or teenager because of their spankings. It actually stopped me from doing it again, most of the time. It is sad now a days that parents cannot punish their children without fear of them being taken away. CPS has become overly paranoid in certain cases but always seem to glance over the more important things. The court had no right to drag a mother in for spanking her child. Now if the child is severely bruised and it is more on the beating side than spanking side then yes. But if a mother deems it right to spank her child a few times and doesn’t do it out of anger then it is her right. No one should have to be afraid that their children will be taken away because they spanked them.

  7. I was spanked once in a while and so where my kids. I see nothing wrong with it. I must say, kids where much more well behaved back in the day than they are now.

  8. I was spanked as a child. when I went to Highschool I had 2 options for discipline, corporeal or sentences. I chose corporeal, because it was over quickly and not really a big deal. I am a limited spanker to my children now. seems the younger they are the more they need the little hand smack to keep them from danger, or a quick swat on the butt to enforce the to do command. but by the time they are 4 or 5 or so spankings are ineffective and a bit barbaric. seeing that at even at this young age the children are able to reason and we can reason with them, we can teach better with our words & natural consequences than our hands. BUT there are rare times when natural consequences are too dangerous to allow and the obvious need for immediate consequences great that I would not be against an older child spanking. No child should ever be taken away from their parents for good parenting. but it is scary to be a good parent, and that is a sad thing in our “FREE” country.

  9. So spanking can get you in trouble with the law, is unecessary, but you feel so strongly about being able to strike your children you’d risk them being taken away? Yeah, awesome parent. I’m sure if your kids got put through a CPS saga they’d understand you were standing up for your rights, I mean their rights. Don’t feel sorry for those who get caught hitting and get in the sh*t, their choice : )

  10. Would you rather your kid end up a killer like this? or would you rather spank them now and let them know right from wrong at a young age?

    Love it when prospankers get hysterical. Either you spank your kid and they turn out perfectly, or you let them run WILD and they turn out to be MURDERERS

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