Texas Beating Video Turns Attention to Countries that Ban Spanking

In the wake of a 2004 video of a Texas judge beating his teenage daughter with a belt, which received huge YouTube circulation last week, the national conversation about parents using physical means of discipline on their children has risen to fever pitch.

Hillary Adams, now 23, learned last week that the statute of limitations had expired on charges of abuse or judicial misconduct against her father.  She had uploaded the video in hopes that her father would be remorseful for her behavior and reconcile their relationship.

CNN.com published a report today about Sweden, which in 1979 became the first country to outlaw corporal punishment by parents.  Today, 30 countries have similar laws.  From the article:

No countries in North America ban physical punishment by parents, but there’s a perennial debate about the line between discipline and abuse, and who’s allowed to administer it. It flared again last week after millions watched a seven-minute YouTube video from 2004 that showed a Texas judge cursing at his teen daughter and beating her with a belt.

While there are laws against child abuse, it’s legal in all 50 states for parents to hit their children, and for schools in 19 states to physically punish kids. About 80% of American parents said they’ve hit their young children, and about 100,000 kids are paddled in U.S. schools every year, researchers said.

Kids are still hit with hands, belts, switches and paddles, said Elizabeth Gershoff , an associate professor of human development and family sciences at University of Texas, despite research that shows it doesn’t model or teach behavior parents are looking for, that it damages trust between parent and children and that it can lead to increased aggression.

Although more parents are trying a variety of disciplinary measures, corporal punishment isn’t going away, and some researchers argue that it shouldn’t. It’s effective for gaining immediate compliance from young children, and is unlikely to have long-term negative effects, they said. More powerfully, it’s hard to stop a discipline technique that’s been passed down through generations.

(image via: http://www.principalspage.com/)

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  1. by TheTiredMom

    On November 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    It’s an absolute tragedy that in today’s advanced society children are still victims of abuse. As parents in North America, we have the advantage today of being able to easily access advice, assistance and information on parenting, like never before. Whether through social assistance programs, mental health departments or even just at the local library, we can get help. We know better. The argument that you get immediate compliance does not justify the means. It is at the expense of the trust and dignity of the child.

    It is a choice to lose one’s temper and beat a child. For those who think that you just “snap” and lose control, then ask yourself this question – how did you stop yourself from killing them? You chose to stop when you thought it was enough. You also chose to start.

    The frontal cortex of the brain, which controls impulsiveness and decision making, is not fully developed until one is around 25 years old. This means that children, especially the very young, are not fully capable of controlling their actions. Physically punishing them for not having the judgement and self-control of an adult would be like slapping a blind person for bumping into something. We would consider that completely unfair and totally barbaric.

    As parents we have a tough job, no doubt. Our job is to patiently teach and guide our little ones that we are privileged enough to have in our homes. We need to get help when we don’t know what to do. We need to take breaks to find our patience again. We need to continually try to do better. Use of spanking and other forms of physical punishment is taking the easy way out. Surely we are better than that.

    For those who want to hang onto physically punishing children and aren’t willing to stop for your child’s sake, please remember this – they will pick your nursing home. How do you want to be cared for when you are too old to be independent? I’m guessing, with patience and dignity.

  2. by Angela

    On November 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    This absence of discipline leads directly into the article about how people want to ban kids from places because they are simply too unruly and wild. How did they get that way? From parents being WAY too relaxed, having poor boundaries, and no limitations with their kids, in essence, no parenting skills whatsoever. I have 5 children and I have spanked my eldest 2x in his whole 10 yrs of life. I set expectations, consequences, and limitations to his behavior and I have not needed to resort to spanking except these two situations. This kind of discipline has its place, but if parents stepped up and taught their kids from day 1 what is expected of them, and what is their place within the larger family unit, and therefore realized that their own place is to be an advocate and example for their children, there would be very little need to spank anyone. People that want to eradicate any and all forms of discipline have never raised 5 boys. Abuse is never ok. Step up and be the kind of parents you need to be, for your children, and that is a fair and balanced, patient and centered parent.

  3. by gabi

    On November 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

    This article is completely biased. That girl didn’t even get beat in the video. She didn’t listen when her dad told her to turn around and that’s why she got hit on her legs… Btw holly l rossi, she put the video up as BLACKMAIL for her father, NOT to reconcile their relationship… You should research things a little bit more. And as a journalist, not write a biased article.

  4. by Elpica Buyas

    On December 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    This what happen to today. I never spanked my son he is 12 years old. This morning because I did not let him go with his friends he hit me knowing that I’m disable. He wants to make it better by saying sorry. Learn Beat the crap out of your kids if they do not behave. Because they will beat the crap out of you. He called a lonely old man. Yes I’m lonely. I’m a single parent. I could have left him with his mother that abused him and lock him up in the closet when she wanted to go out to party. she owes me $20,000 to in child support. But do the court help? hell no. I could and gotten married and been happy, but NO. In my next life I will let the little bastered stay with his mother. I’m stuck with him until he is 18. Then My life starts.

  5. by loving mother

    On December 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    i find nothing wrong with spanking your child as long as it leaves no permanent damage. I have a one yr old a two yr old and a third on the way. I spank both my children but never hard enough to even leave a red mark but my children listen to me. they know what they can and cannot do and everyone tells me that my children listen so well…well thats do to good punishment. do to financial problems we had someone call CPS on us and they did their investigation then dropped my case saying that my children are healthy and well taken care of. My sister never had a day of punishment in her life and she i so badly behaved that my mother regrets it. Versus me who was constantly being punished even for things i didnt do and i grew up to be a smart, kind, responsible person.

  6. by Andy

    On March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I was a child of divorce and two opposite parenting styles and I can honestly say the parent who never hit me and instead spoke to me about what I did wrong and grounded me/used time outs and took things away like toys, cell phones, computer access etc was the one that actually taught me how to be a good respectful human being. Me and my Father have a wonderful relationship and always have and I’d never dream of disrespecting him. I even made it clear to my husband before we got married that one day my father would live with us because I owe him for the wonderful job he did raising me.
    Now my Mother on the other hand was very violent, he first response to anything was to hit, even if she was mad at someone else she’d hit me. Her favorite phrase was spare the rod spoil the child. I grew up hating her, and I mean hating, if I were to find out she died I’d feel no sadness, only relief. Even as a child I had nightmares about her. Her ‘physical discipline’ never taught me anything other than to hide under my bed holding my breath wishing she’d forget I was there. I literally prayed to god every night from the age of 9 to 12 with tears in my eyes to die and not have to wake up to another day with her. Needless to say I haven’t spoken to her since the day I turned 18 and she will never meet my children. Yet I speak to my father several times a week even though he chose to retire in Europe.
    Now with my own child I NEVER HIT only use the same methods my father used and I’m proud to say my child is 10x more behaved than most of the other children we know. He never throws tantrums, even during the so-called terrible 2′s and terrible 3′s phases. My husband and brother in law were raised without ‘physical punishment’ and neither ever got into trouble and both are productive respectful members of society with doctorates.
    Obviously the violent approach isn’t working. We have generations of worthless disrespectful and ignorant teens and young adults coming yet nobody thinks we should change the parenting habits that are clearly failing. Hopefully logic will one day prevail over the laziness that has plagued our country.