Spanking - How old is too old?

Filed under: Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News

Spanking is a hot topic around here. Some consider it to be an effective and perfectly acceptable form of discipline. Others wouldn't dream of hitting a child and consider it abuse. Many fall somewhere in between and speak of a fine line being between hitting a child in anger and doling out carefully considered discipline.

But one aspect of spanking that I haven't seen debated is this: at what age does spanking become just plain old violence against another human being? According to police in Portland, Maine, spanking your 20-year-old child is not discipline, it's domestic violence.

50-year-old James Phipps found this out after he got angry over his daughter's $5,000 cell phone bill. Investigators say he repeatedly spanked his daughter with his hand. His daughter then ran upstairs to call her boyfriend and another scuffle broke out when the daughter tried to take the dad's cell phone away.

Phipps has been charged with domestic violence for doing something to his adult daughter that many parents do to their little children every day. Granted, it does sound like he reacted in anger and crossed that 'fine line' mentioned above. But parents spank their children in anger all the time and it isn't considered a crime. What makes this different?

Should spanking have an age limit?
Yes, spanking is for little kids.345 (29.7%)
No, if a child misbehaves, a parent can spank.547 (47.2%)
Come on - spanking is a HORRIBLE thing to do.268 (23.1%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.