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Domestic CP - August 2006
World Magazine, Asheville, N. Carolina, 5 August 2006
Parenting: Anti-spanking crusades have triggered bans around the globe and are taking aim at the U.S. -- but some defenders of spanking say that many parents do it unbiblically
By Mark Bergin
When Susan Lawrence sent away for a complimentary copy of Home School Digest three years ago, she never expected a life-altering shove toward activism. But an advertisement in the magazine for flexible nylon spanking rods propelled the Massachusetts mother to launch a full-on campaign against corporal punishment.
She founded a website called Parenting in Jesus' Footsteps, encouraging parents to discard the methods of traditional Christian discipline in favor of simply modeling correct behavior. She is convinced that sparing the rod "would make society so much healthier, children happier. Children need to know that they are people, and it's a basic human right to not be hit."
Casting the issue in terms of human rights has prompted the former church music director to seek legislative remedies: Lawrence would never spank her children and believes it should be illegal for others to spank theirs. In countries like Norway, Germany, and Israel, it already is. Laws against spanking exist in 15 nations with two others, Belgium and Italy, close to joining those ranks.
Salt Lake Tribune, Utah, 14 August 2006
The hammer kept me out of jail
My childhood is filled with memories of the usual boy stuff: fishing, camping, bike riding, dogs and building forts. It sounds like Huck Finn.
But when I recall these idyllic moments, the accompanying emotion is not happiness. Boyhood memories come to me in a blend of wicked exhilaration and sour dread.
There was never a time when I wasn't worried that the old man would find out I'd been fishing with explosives, camping with cigarettes, teaching the dog to sic cats, using my bike in BB gun drive-bys and constructing forts from which to defy authority.
I was a low, villainous child with a wild imagination, short attention span and poor impulse control. Because of this, I grew up in the necessary shadow of the hammer.
It's not fashionable these days to say that corporal punishment - or even major punishment - works on a kid. Maybe it doesn't on most kids. It did on me.
Leon Krygowski and I once tried launching a paint can filled with cement into a neighbor's (two houses away) swimming pool. We missed and cracked a porch. The second can made the pool. The third collapsed a metal shed.
Here's the point: The only - ONLY - reason we didn't try this on the church later was because of the whuppins we got. Even cretins understand exponential growth in punishment.
My parents tried it all - restriction, reason, therapy and even tearful appeals to my better nature. Unfortunately, I didn't have one then.
Worse, the effectiveness of the other methods depended almost entirely on my willingness to go along with them, which I didn't.
Reason? Please, I was a teenager. Grounding?
There was one thing that could reach me: the rod. I may have been entirely immune to the pain felt by others, but not my own.
I soon learned to measure the game with the pain. I knew, for example, there were things I couldn't say to my mother without my head filling up with stars.
Today, I feel somewhat bad for the misery I caused my parents. They were kids themselves when they had me, a condition that didn't stop them from immediately having four more.
Still, I'm not in prison, rehab, dead, or a Republican. I'm married, employed, on speaking terms with my own children and I am allowed unsupervised (mostly) visits with my grandchildren.
Clearly, then, my parents did something right. Eventually they were able to reach me, even if it had to be through the seat of my pants.
Lansing State Journal, Michigan, 16 August 2006
Woman acquitted of child abuse; regrets spanking 13-year-old son
Mother calls verdict 'just', makes decision to rescind adoption
By Lisa Roose-Church
A Putnam Township mother acquitted Tuesday of child abuse said she had no choice but to rescind the adoption of her 13-year-old son, whom she was accused of beating when she spanked him for discipline problems.
Although believes the verdict "was just," she said it saddens her to realize she could not help her son, , whom she described as a troubled child who lacks the ability to bond with others.
"It was a horrendous decision," the 38-year-old single mother said about her giving up her son. "It took me five months to do that. I just couldn't do it anymore. It was a choice between my daughters and my son. ... I love him, and I will always love him."
Described as a beating
Livingston County prosecutors charged with second-degree child abuse for the way she spanked on March 11. The spanking - described as a beating by prosecutors - was discipline for inappropriate behavior, including lying, stealing and damaging two doors at the family's Cedar Lake Road home, the defense said.
Her actions left more than half of her son's buttocks bruised.
'A just verdict'
A 12-member jury, however, found not guilty.
"I think it was a just verdict," Royal Oak defense attorney Todd Flood said. "It was the proper result."
Messages seeking comment from Assistant Prosecutor Angela Del Vero, who prosecuted the case, and Prosecutor David Morse went unanswered Tuesday.
Cervelli agreed the jury's verdict was appropriate, and she hopes other parents do not go through the persecution she felt.
She said she still believes parents should have the right to discipline their children, although she is not an advocate of corporal punishment.
"I made that choice because I was desperate," she said. "It made me cry when I saw the bruises on my son that I caused. I would never intend to hurt my son, but it was on his behind and it was only meant for discipline."
For herself, said she plans to return to teaching special education in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools district. She was suspended, but since has been reinstated, she noted.
"I love my son," she repeated. "I will always love my son."
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