LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – A New York appellate court last week ruled in favor of a father who was accused of child abuse for spanking his 8-year-old son after the child misbehaved at a friend’s party.
A Suffolk County Family Court previously determined the father, who was not named in a recent New York Daily News report, abused his son “by inflicting excessive corporal punishment” for spanking his son at a friend’s party in 2012 after the child cursed at an adult.
But a Long Island appellate court judge last week overturned the ruling, and determined the child’s punishment “was a reasonable use of force,” according to the news site.
“The father’s open-handed spanking of the child as a form of discipline after he heard the child curse at an adult was a reasonable use of force and, under the circumstances presented here, did not constitute excessive corporal punishment,” according to the ruling cited by the Daily News.
Aside from the punishment at the party, the complaint alleges the father also repeatedly struck the child with a belt on the butt, legs and arms when the family returned home, but the father denied those allegations and the appellate court could not find sufficient evidence to uphold that charge, the news site reports.
Other states have also ruled in favor of parents who use physical punishment to keep their kids in line.
From the Daily News:
A federal appeals court in California ruled last year that a woman who hit her 12-year-old daughter in the rear with a wooden spoon should not be labeled a child abuser.
Another federal panel in Florida ruled that a single spank does not qualify as domestic violence.
And the Minnesota Supreme Court cleared a father who hit his 12-year-old son 36 times on the upper thighs with a wooden paddle, ruling that spanking isn’t necessarily abuse.
New Yorkers interviewed by the Daily News were split on the idea of using physical punishment to discipline their children, but nearly all who commented on the story believe it’s justified under certain circumstances.
“There’s a clear difference between spanking and just viciously wailing on a child beyond good measure and reason. My parents disciplined me growing up (I’ll never look at those Italian-made belts the same way again.)” poster Spongerob Squarecants wrote. “Did I hate it? Yes. Did I sometimes feel like I hated them? Of course! But they helped instill discipline and a sense of responsibility and accountability in me to this day and I can’t thank them enough for it now as an adult.”
Others who commented on the story don’t believe the courts should be involved with the issue at all.
“Do you want the courts intervening every time a parent disciplines a child? It would be impossible to punish a child any time. While many disagree with spanking, it has been used for generations and most of this on this board have had it done to us and survived,” Mary Finn wrote.
“This sort of thing should never have even been in court wasting everyone’s time and money.”