Growing up the only time I received a spanking was when I said something fresh or did something that my parents had forbid me to. Now, as an adult I understand that those lashings were for my own good. They simply taught me right from wrong. Today, spanking a child is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I cannot pinpoint when the transition took place but it seems that children can get away with anything these days without being properly reprimanded. I’m all for teaching a lesson physically within reason but when a spanking becomes deadly, it sheds new light on the subject.

Recently the New York Times reported on a book entitled “To Train Up a Child” written by a Tennessee preacher named Michael Pearl and his wife Debi. The book provides instructions on the proper way to use a switch for the arms, legs or back. They encourage physical disciplining from as early as six months with tools like a plumbing line. Um yeah… a plumbing line on a six month old is a bit extreme. With over 670,000 copies sold, the book has allegedly influenced some parents to take spanking to the extreme.

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz adopted Lydia Schatz at age 4 from Liberia. When she was 7, they whipped her for hours while pausing to pray. Lydia died from severe tissue damage. A similar incident occurred with Lynn Paddock, who had six adopted children whom she claims was emotionally unstable. After Lynn finding the Pearls’ website, it wasn’t long before her son Sean Paddock suffocated after being wrapped in a blanket and her other children are reportedly being beaten daily.

Of course, the Pearls maintain that their book does not encourage abuse but naysayers are in uproar over the novel and related deaths. The question is: can we blame the book?

When do you think spanking crosses the line to abuse? Do/will you spank your children? Were you spanked?

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