Do Parents Have a Right to Hit Children?


The American Academy of Pediatrics recently strengthened its historic opposition to corporal punishment, noting that spanking alone produces similar outcomes to physical abuse.

In contrast, this father told police he had “every right” to viciously assault his daughter.  She was removed on an “interim” basis, which frequently means she’ll be back home soon.  

When considering how much deference to give parents who hit children, it’s helpful to compare a particular incident, such as striking a child with a fist or belt buckle, to a similar attack on an adult, say in a street corner beating or domestic violence.  Using this lens, we would probably find fewer child ‘discipline’ practices acceptable.

In this father’s case, we probably wouldn’t support his ‘right’ to harm his daughter, or have unconditional access to her.

What do you think?

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Rich Gehrman1 Comment