Maybe This 8-Year-Old Cursed At An Adult Because His Dad Spanks Him

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Court Ruled father Used Reasonable Force In Spanking CaseI’ve known plenty of eight-year-old kids in my day. In my experience, eight-year-olds are pretty agreeable humans, they are past the whiny stage that we all associate with younger kids, and not yet at the age where they want to steal your car and all your vodka. They are young enough to still want to be cuddled but old enough where they can understand the difference between right and wrong, which is why I think there is a whole lot more to this story about a father who was recently ruled to have used a reasonable amount of force after spanking his kid after a dinner party. From

Last week’s ruling by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court dismissed a child neglect proceeding against a man who, in October 2012, spanked his 8-year-old son for cursing at an adult during the party at a friend’s house.

In March 2013, the father was ruled in neglect by the Suffolk County Family Court after the county’s Department of Social Services said he spanked the child with an open hand as punishment and then, returning home, struck his son with a belt on his “buttocks, legs and arms.”

“We find that the Family Court’s finding of neglect was not supported by a preponderance of the credible evidence,” the appellate court said in its ruling Wednesday.

The father admitted spanking the child but denied striking him with a belt, the ruling said. Neither the name of the father nor the child was released by the court.

“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,” the appeals court ruling said.


Now, sure, I would be mad if I had a kid who swore at an adult at a party. Maybe this kid is a little hooligan with no manners who thinks behavior like this is OK. I get pretty ticked off at kids who don’t respect their elders. But I can’t help thinking there is a reason why a kid would find this sort of behavior okay, and it’s probably because no one at home taught them not to do it, or they are modeling their parents, or they have some other sort of anger issue manifesting itself in acting out. Maybe the kid is cursing because he is spanked at home?

I’m not sure spanking a kid does anything other than prove you are bigger, stronger, and able to hurt them. Wheee. I don’t see how that makes a kid behave. I know plenty of you out there were spanked as kids and turned out just fine, but I also don’t think any of you would recall being spanked as something that turned you into the humans you are today. I’m not a hitter. I don’t believe it does anything to teach a kid right from wrong, and the few times I lost my temper and smacked my kids on their behinds only resulted in me feeling like a monster and having a whole lot of guilt over the situation.

There are so many details we don’t know in this case but one aspect I find alarming is if it were no thing then how did CPS get involved and how did this case make it all the way to court? Also the mention of the belt being used is concerning, because an open-handed smack on the behind and striking a kid with a belt are two totally different things.

I admit it, I don’t understand parents who use hitting or spanking as a form of discipline. I don’t think it’s a very effective way of teaching a kid right from wrong or not to curse at adults at dinner parties. And even though I don’t know the details in the case, I’m pretty sure the fact it went to court caused a lot more broken trust than a dropped F-bomb at a grownup at a party.

(Image:  olegganko/shutterstock)