Can I Spank My Kid?

Hitting your children and corporal punishment more generally have been a contentious topic for some time, and norms vary based on culture. The morality and effectiveness of the practice is a sensitive topic for many parents in the United States. But the question that is often times asked is, if it is legal?

As with many laws governing crimes and family matters, the legal guidance on physically disciplining your kids comes at the state level. There is no federal law that addresses the issue.

At the state level, you won’t find statutes that cover “spanking”. No state has specifically made spanking your child at home illegal, although some have outlawed corporal punishment in schools. Instead, you’ll often find these types of actions covered under laws about child abuse or child neglect. When it can be proven that parents hit their kids not out of discipline, but out of malice, cruelty, or anger, it is child abuse.

Some states require a “minimum degree of care” from the parent meting out the discipline. The parent is obligated to avoid “unreasonably inflicting excessive corporal punishment” on the child. Factors that go into this assessment include: the age of the child, the number of times the parent hits the child, the number of different locations in which the child was struck, how vulnerable was the area that was hit, and the degree of damage, as evidenced by after-the-fact marks on the body. The child was hit “for reporting to a neighbor that they did not have electricity” and “to ensure that child would not end up on the streets or doing drugs.”

Opponents of spanking may not see the disciplinary act as any different than slapping your child in the face or beating him or her with a switch. Laws often track closely with popular consensus on the value of a certain form of conduct, so it’s no surprise that there is little agreement between states about whether spanking is illegal child abuse. Some states recommend a bare, open hand to the buttocks.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900

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