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Monday, January 22, 2007
Just Send Me To Jail Now...

...go ahead. I deserve it.

Or at least I will if a new California law passes. Some Assemblywoman named Sally Lieber has decided to try and push legislation through that would make it punishable by a $1000 fine, a year in jail and parenting classes if you spank a child under the age of 3. She's thinking of making it 5 years old, by the way, because 3 might not be the right age. Parents should never lay a hand on their child when they're young in her opinion, because they don't have the capacity to understand the connection between the bad behavior and the whack on the behind.

The only reason I specifically mention her name is that I hope she someday does an ego search and runs across this entry so she can read how stupid I think this is because she's apparently only reading things from her constituents, and I live about 6 miles outside the radius of her district. Mrs. Lieber? I have two children, so please read on.

This has got to be the most dumb ass law I've ever heard of. And it's proposed by a woman who is married with a cat and no children. Her vet said she shouldn't ever hit her cat, and she thinks that if she doesn't hit her cat then she shouldn't hit a child. So she's never truly had to deal with disciplining from the parental point of view. She also was never spanked as a child and therefore no one should be. Now, I don't know about you, but how many of you remember all the punishments that you ever got from your parents? I'll bet she was spanked at some point in her very young life.

And if she wasn't, maybe it was because her parents felt guilty because they dropped her on her head as a baby or something. That would help explain this. Come on people, since when should someone who has never had children be telling us with children how to parent, how to discipline? I'm not saying that you should run out and spank your children from the day they're born until they leave the house. I'm just saying that sometimes your hand meeting the bottom of your child is a necessary evil.

These days I've noticed my own children don't listen to me when I ask them to do something. It used to be that they weren't listening to me when I'd get that warning tone in my voice and say no repeatedly. If I screeched it, then it would get their attention, but sometimes it was jsut a reactionary grab and spank their bottom. And yes, we've punished them with a spank, even using a wooden spoon - much like how some of us had to go get the belt, or cut a switch, and we didn't turn out too badly.

Now, I'm some of you are probably on board with me about the insanity that someone without children has the balls to try and legislate the way I raise (and punish) my children. Would we be that outraged if she had suggested something about the punishment of child molesters? No, we'd probably be cheering the suggestions she would have, and praising her for them. After all, she's looking out for the best interest of the child, right? Supposedly that's what she's doing here, but all she's raised is the ire of many parents in the Silly.Com Valley and elsewhere in the state of California.

Some folks are really unnerved because apparently The Governator is on board with this idea too, because he and his wife never spanked their children. Of course they didn't spank their children. They're Kennedy's - that family has more creative ways to punish children. And there are more creative ways to punish children. Psychological torture aside, we can take away the game consoles and the trans fats we feed them and we can make them go outside and play. After all, we're the parents that give them the consoles and feed them the food, right? Where's the punishment for that?

Where's the punishment for yelling at them when we're having a bad day? Or the fines for not reading to our children when they were young so that they'd realize that books are good for us? None, huh? Well, I don't want to give anyone any bright ideas, so I'll stop there. Let's revisit her idea that kids under 3 can't make the connection between the action and the punishment. Did she just assert that kids under 3 are unintelligent? That they are incapable of understanding something? In my experience kids under the age of 3 understand a lot. They understand that food will settle the rumbly tumbly that's making them cranky. My kids understood that a warm blanket and bed in the middle of the day meant a nap. They understood that the remote control worked the television and that the faucets made water come out to wash their hands and to start a bath. It's all basic reasoning, right? Action, reaction. Press a button and the television comes on, turn a handle and water comes out. Stick your fingers near the electrical socket and Mommy spanks your hand or bottom. Simple, right?

I wonder what this woman does when her cat climbs the curtains. Does she reason with it, as she would an adult, or does she spritz the cat with a water bottle? Action, reaction. The cat will learn that climbing the curtains will get them a spritz that they won't like. The child will learn that maybe they shouldn't put their fingers on the funny holes in the wall. I know that she's trying to help protect our children. So are we. We're the ones that have to teach them and sometimes it's a lot easier to do that before they reach the stage where they're always asking "why".

You know, there are already laws in place about abusing children. Lieber seems to equate 'spanking' a child with 'beating' a child. Beating, in my opinion, involves anger, repeated hitting, maybe an instrument that you use repeatedly. Spanking - the flat of your hand against a child's bottom. Once, maybe twice. If you use a wooden spoon, only once and not hard. It's not a beating. It's a spanking, and one that they have earned.

I know I'll lose readers who are adamant about not punishing their children with a spank over this issue. I'm sure I'll gain more who agree with me that we should not be governed by a law that tells us we should be taking parenting classes if we spank our child.

Think about this - how do you enforce something like this? The cops are going to have to draw a hard line, and that's going to put a lot of people in jail with $1000 fines. How are you going to be reported to the cops? If your child is having a fit and throwing things in the grocery store and you give them a swat, your downfall is going to be some busybody whose nose shouldn't be in your business who is going to call the cops and ask the store to detain you. Or they'll go after you and get your license number and state that you were beating your child. Believe me, it happens.

So, where am I going with this? Right here. My opinion is that this law is stupid, this Assemblywoman is clueless in her statement that she thinks she's touched on an issue, and that government doesn't have a place in telling me how to raise my child. Yes, there should be laws in place to protect children even from their parents, but not for something as simple as a quick spank on the bottom.

And if there needs to be one, then send me to jail now. And put my father on death row for using a belt on me.