Public tolerance and greater social awareness has led to a decrease in the use of spanking or hitting children (corporal punishment) as a form of discipline. Dan Rodricks, writer for the Baltimore Sun, is worried, however, that reports of abuse will go unnoticed because it is the summer time and kids are away from schools and teachers, the group most likely to notice and report incidents of abuse. Rodricks urges his readers to keep a lookout for signs of abused children saying, there is not expertise required, you know abuse when you see it.
The laws of this nation have been reluctant to interfere with the scope of parental authority regarding the issues of discipline and children. In fact, corporal punishment is still legal in all 50 states and still permitted in schools in 20 states. However, there is a bill presently in Congress to outlaw the use of corporal punishment in schools throughout the nation. Rep. Carolyn McCarty, a New York Democrat, introduced the legislation which proposed to take the wooden paddle out the hands of the school officials still permitted to use it. To read more on the this topic see Writer urges teachers and parents to stop the use of corporal punishment.
Parents have a parental right to decide how they will discipline their children. However, the lines between discipline and abuse are becoming more blurred as public awareness on the effects and consequences of hitting children increase. What is clear is that a difference does exist between abuse and child discipline. If you suspect acts of abuse you should report the incident as soon as possible to your local law enforcement authorities. Victims of abuse suffer from emotional and physical trauma, and the perpetrators should be stopped as soon as possible. Reporting incidents of abuse stops the violence and will prompt a criminal investigation.