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Judge Bans Mom From Spanking Child

Judge Slaps Mom With 2-Year Spanking Ban

Should parents spank their children? A judge's ban opens up the discussion from Yahoo! Shine:

When is spanking considered physical abuse? A Virginia judge has ruled that Felisha Kimble-Tanks, an Annandale dentist, crossed the line when she left bruises on her 6-year-old daughter's thigh after disciplining her with a belt. The mom is now banned from spanking for two years.

The girl's father, from whom Kimble-Tanks is separated, discovered the bruises in January and filed a complaint with the Stafford County Sheriff's Office. According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, he also said that despite the incident, she was a good mother. Defense lawyer Mark Murphy pointed out to Yahoo! Shine that the father made no move to get physical custody of the girl even though it would have been within his rights. He also noted that "the department of social services took no steps to remove the girl from her mother's home."

Related: The Real Reason Moms Fail to Breastfeed

Prosecutor Tara Mooney initially charged Kimble-Tanks with child cruelty, a felony. On Wednesday, the prosecution reached a deal with Murphy to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor, which will be dropped in two years if she refrains from any type of corporal punishment. Murphy told Shine, "When she was disciplining the child that day, she was categorically not engaging in child abuse . . . and had no intention of bruising her."


According to Mooney, Kimble-Tanks "crossed the line." She told the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, "Leaving bruises on a child that young is abuse," not appropriate discipline. Murphy disagreed and said he had been ready to go to trial if the charges hadn't been reduced and eventually dropped. "This is a woman who has never been in trouble before and I'm certain will not be in trouble over the next two years," he told the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. According to the paper, Kimble-Tanks had been punishing her daughter because of misbehavior at school.

Read on to learn more about the spanking debate

Although the statistics are hard to nail down, at least 65% of Americans say they approve of spanking. Some data shows that more than 80% of parents admit to having hit their kid at least once. And the comments on the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, which first reported the story, bear that out: people not only strongly support spanking in general, but also feel that the judge was overstepping his bounds by prohibiting a mother from physically disciplining her child for two years.

A reader called Trixey wrote, "I grew up with discipline — I was spanked with a hand, belt, switch, and fly swatter. I do not consider this child abuse. This is what is wrong with current and future generations now. There is no discipline anymore — it's considered child abuse. These kids fear no one and have no respect for anyone. If I were raising a child today, I would spank it for discipline — counting 1, 2, 3 or putting in time out does not work. If the judge wanted to punish me for disciplining my child, then he can take it and raise it."

Another commenter, who identified herself as Linda, agreed: "What is happening here?? When I was young we got hit with leather belts, switches, wooden spoons, or whatever was in hands reach, and we all turned out fine. This is the problem with kids today, no discipline, because the law won't allow it."

However, many child development experts feel that there is no "line" when it comes to spanking. It simply shouldn't be done at all. "I compare it to drinking alcohol when pregnant," University of Manitoba's Tracie Afifi, Ph.D., who authored a widely reported 2012 study linking physical punishment to mental illness, told Yahoo! Shine. "The recommendation is to not drink at all. Since we don't know where the line is for safe amounts, the policy recommendation is for women not to drink any alcohol."

Afifi pointed out that it would not be ethical to design an experiment using children to find the point at which spanking causes lasting harm. You couldn't spank one child a little bit, and then another a little more, and another even more, and later observe the results. "It's better to err on the side of caution," she said.

Furthermore, Afifi asserted that the preponderance of data over the years has linked spanking to serious issues like increased aggression and mental and physical illness. She also pointed out that there has been no scientific evidence showing there are benefits to physically punishing children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees. Last year, it put out a statement that said, "The use of physical punishment to discipline children has been linked to a range of mental health problems and is strongly opposed by [the Academy]. . . . " In the past, the organization has argued that spanking can damage children's self-esteem and is not an effective form of discipline in the long term.

The issue is not whether Kimble-Tanks can spank her daughter after two years, but whether she should.

Sarah B. Weir

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Roger14951718 Roger14951718 4 years
I think the judge was wrong in handing a no spanking ruling. if the kids now a days were spanked then the country's children would not be getting into so much trouble. I was spanked and turned out fine. schools back in the late 70's and early 80's spanked the kids in schools. there is nothing wrong with a spanking
AndreaWestaby1381116741 AndreaWestaby1381116741 4 years
1. I don't think that spanking, when done properly, is wrong. 2. I think hardly anyone knows how to spank "properly" and therefore should not spank if they can't do it right. 3. Spanking is illegal in Wisconsin so I can;t do it anyway. 4. For those places where spanking is not illegal: I'd just like to add my 2 cents to what others stated. Many people commented that they would "never spank with an object" because that is "abuse". Many said they "only use their hand on a bare bottom.' Now, as far as I have been taught, that is backwards thinking. I was taught that hands are for showing care and love - not for hitting. I was taught that spanking with your hand can damage your child's spine. Lastly, I was taught that the best way to spank your child is with a flexible object that has "sting" to it, but no real weight behind it - such as a fly swatter or a thin wooden ruler. That way the child gets the idea of "doing wrong brings painful consequences" without running the risk of causing them physical harm. 5. If you are angry at your child, jerking them around and throwing them down, then hitting their butt as hard as you want to, that is not proper spanking. That is probably child abuse and needs to stop. A parent who cannot control their own temper definitely should not be spanking their kids until they can learn to control themselves. 6. I think there is an age when spanking a child causes more shame than is appropriate for discipline. I think other discipline methods should be used then.
CaseyKonvalinka CaseyKonvalinka 4 years
It seems like everyone is arguing over two different things here. Spanking a child is very different than hitting a child with something and leaving marks on that child. I use spanking as a last resort, if my children are doing something potentially dangerous, and have already talked to them, given them time out etc., I might smack their butt with my hand and then talk to them about it. I was hit when I was a kid, by everything from a wood spoon to a metal belt to a yard stick, and am just recovering from some of the issues that stem from all of that-low self esteem, depression...etc., and I haven't seen my mother in 10 years. I think about how it made me feel when I was a kid, and it makes me calm down before I react. I have two really great kids because of it.
superbabe32 superbabe32 4 years
this is all very well and good but what to do when you have an 11 year old with special needs of adhd,odd,sensory intergration and asd that makes up stories of myself or his dad hitting him to get us into trouble and social bloody services look in to it and theres not even any bruises on him for god sake where does it end just because me or his dad take things away or pocket money until he behaves he will always use this as a punishment to us please help as no one belives we dont smack our kids !!!!!!
ParsiGonzalez ParsiGonzalez 4 years
I too got spanked with belts, shoe, cables, and even a thin tree branch lol and I turned out ok and even thanking my mom for it. Today to be honest I think that leaving bruises in ur child's body is abuse. Trust me, there are ways to spank w/o leaving marks and w/o abuse! The problem is that moms say that kids should be disciplined, but what they don't know is that other parents don't know how to discipline, therefore they go overboard and call it discipline. Those parents tend to spank with anger, when they shouldn't and w/o thinking they do the wrong thing.
RachelleRowe RachelleRowe 4 years
I think that this issue is having a giant ripple effect throughout society. With all of the recent shootings and the way that children now act (remember that 9 year old kid that just stabbed his mom and five year old sibling to death last week?), there is obviously something wrong with our current thinking. These "experts" need a reality check. People have been spanking their children since the beginning of time and kids respected adults and authority because of it. They knew that they had to follow rules and laws because if not, they would be disciplined. Now, everyone is afraid to discipline their kids because of incidents like this - which is ridiculous. The father of the child said that the mom "is a great mother," so why was it reported? CPS did nothing. The father did nothing. But this judge has now prohibited this mother from disciplining her child? That is INSANE. I have two young kids and one needs to be spanked, the other doesn't (usually). Every child is different and some respond to things differently. Growing up, my sister needed physical discipline because she did not respond to verbal discipline or other things (like losing privileges or toys or whatever). I, however, did not need the physical discipline because I was more upset about disappointing my parents. We had the same parents but responded completely differently to punishment. My children have so far been the same way. My son does not respond to losing privileges or time out, whereas my daughter does. I believe that I, as their parent who deals with them on a daily basis, have the right and the wisdom to make these decisions. Furthermore, I do NOT in any way support child abuse. I believe that there is a line there, but it has been blurred by recent decisions, such as this. However, I have seen firsthand courts handing children back to completely inadequate parents and the parents suffering no such prosecution. Why do we not take children from their drug addicted parents? Why do we give babies back to their parents when they have suffered broken bones or other obvious forms of abuse? How many children need to die and suffer before THOSE monsters are imprisoned? The courts need to reevaluate their system and who they prosecute.
ElizabethEllis62221 ElizabethEllis62221 4 years
I don't like to spank my child, but I don't think all spanking is child abuse. Using a belt or another object certainly brings it into the category of a beating, however, not a spanking and that is certainly abuse. The rod in Proverbs 13:24 is mentioned as a symbol of authority. It does not have to mean spanking. It just represents discipline. The Hebrew word for rod meant a staff like a shepherd would use to guide his sheep. For example in the 23rd Psalm where it says your rod and your staff comfort me.
JenniferCovert83938 JenniferCovert83938 4 years
I spank my kids and see nothing wrong with it. However, I don't agree with people using belts and other objects. That is abuse to me.
Sara14924645 Sara14924645 4 years
I don't spank my son for several reasons, but one of the major reasons is because he was diagnosed with autism. He doesn't understand the world in the way that "typically developed" people do. He sees the world in a completely different way. At age 3½, nonverbal, mixed expressive-receptive disorder, OCD, sensory processing and integration disorders, 90% of the time, he will stop a particular action if told to do so by me and his father. That was usually doesn't last long and he soon returns to the unwanted action. So basically, he does understand what No or stop means, but hypothetically if I were to add spanking to the response to his unwanted action, then he will most likely end up with some redness because he also has the high pain tolerance that is pretty common in children with autism. So, short story, I will never spank my son.
NicoleCoakley NicoleCoakley 4 years
the Bible teaches us that if we spare the rod we spoil the child. Society is full of selfish self-absorbed people that don't know a thing about consequences. these children, I promise you, were never spanked. Spanking is supposed to be done out of love and a determination to teach a child right from wrong. It's not abuse. You don't hit with the intent to harm maim or torture. It's not done out of anger or frustration. Spanking should be used as a last resort when all other types of correction have been exhausted. there are some children that just need a firmer hand than others. Spanking is not the answer to all discipline problems but it should not be discounted as an ineffective tool. Growing up, I didn't do drugs, sleep around or flunk out of school because I knew my parents expected better of me and there would be consequences. My parents spanked me when I was young and it taught me right from wrong. I knew that when they resorted to this it was because I had really messed up and needed correcting. they didn't love doing it and they felt bad afterwards but they were also determined to teach me a lesson. I was not emotionally scarred. if anything it taught me that they loved me enough to not give up on me. they didn't want me to grow up to be a spoiled lazy brat. My own children look at other kids kicking and screaming because they can't have what they want and appreciate how i've raised them. they are strong caring loving kids that understand that they can't have or do just anything they want. Parents need to stop being so afraid to parent their kids. The world we live in now is a clear result of too many parents that wanted to be their kids' friend instead of their mother or father. You need to be the one in control you have to be the grown up in the relationship which means sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Now let's be clear. Spanking is just that, a spank on the butt. There is no bruising you are not doing horrible things like drawing blood. Your child should not be cowering out of fear every time you lift your hand. but they should have a healthy respect for the fact that you are the one in charge and when you say do something they do it because you love them enough to make rules that keep them safe. My kids understand that too. Parenting is a dirty thankless job but it's worth it when they grow up to be healthy well adjusted adults that understand boundaries and rules.
Marlene14924346 Marlene14924346 4 years
People just love to blow things out of proportion... One thing is spanking and another is to leave visible bruises on your child! I think most of us would agree that that is crossing the line. @gisel14923817 really? Obamacare a dictatorship!!!!??? Do you understand that there are over 45 million people in this country that are uninsured???? You should educate yourself on some other first world countries that have very similar programs before you try to educate people on the internet!
CoMMember13613650660124 CoMMember13613650660124 4 years
Why is this news? It's a refrain order of protection, standard procedure in an excessive corporal punishment case that rises to the level of criminal charges.
TiffanyHarmon TiffanyHarmon 4 years
There's nothing like opening a can or worms, right.... Anyway, I think it totally depends on the child as to what type of discipline is needed. I don't spank my older two, but my younger one responds differently to punishments, so I have spanked him. I don't use a belt or anything, and I don't leave bruises, but a little whack on his butt goes a long way with him. Time outs don't. So, I do think it should be up to the parent, but if marks are left that's more on the side of abuse.
CatherineJennings CatherineJennings 4 years
I think spanking shouldn't happen but I can't see the point banning it. Perhaps more parents education and a consult to see if the child is displaying behavioural or developmental problems. The easiest way to discipline and control is through physical punishment, it's harder work but more rewarding to try and find another way. Working out why controlling is necessary May help, some mums have unreal expectations on how their child should behave, perhaps taking a step back and let the child have a few less boundarys, then correcting mistakes gently as you see fit, rather than read books and listen to granny!
graceramos graceramos 4 years
I spank my kids. I don't hit them with things and leave bruses. I talk to them I give them three warnings and tell them with each warning they will get a spank by the third warning. They know what's coming and they have power to stop it. be for I spank them I talk to them and tell them why the are getting spanked. Then and only then do I spank them then we talk about it again we hug I tell them that I love them. Spanking should be calm and never out of anger. This was Not spanking this was Not discipline this was a mother abusing her child
KaylaBriggs KaylaBriggs 4 years
I think it depends on the child, as a child I was spanked and in this society less parents are parenting and less are spanking. I do agree with some that say they need to understand what spanking is, it's not with another object! In some circum stances kids should be spanked, look how the teens are now days not getting spanked! But it's also about parenting, parents need to spend more time being a parent.
JenC7082 JenC7082 4 years
I seriously think people need to know what spanking is - it's NOT hitting with a belt or an object and leaving bruises, or on bare skin. THAT is beating. That being said, I do spank, with an open hand on my kid's clothed bottoms, when needed. My kids are well behaved, well adjusted and happy, while my friend's children steal food from the kitchen, dump nail polish on furniture, takes the keys of off keyboards, talks back all the time and throws toys out the window. She refuses to spank or yell, and look where it leads - kids that walk all over their parents and think they can behave however they want. If yours aren't like that and you didn't spank, well good for you, but that isn't the case with most people I know.
ShelBell11978 ShelBell11978 4 years
I was spanked as a child and I am not at all psychologically challenged. I spank my daughter when I feel thaqt she needs a little more discipline than just the words "Don't do that!" What part of society doesn't understand the whole idea of discipline? I would rather spank my daughter than have her taken by a stranger because I didn't want to discipline her. And by the way, spanking is not intended to inflict harm. It is intended to prevent a child from doing something that could harm them. When you slap your child's hand for touching a hot stove, you are not intending to make them fear you, you are telling them that this is going to hurt you if you do it again. There is nothing wrong with spanking your child if it is done out of love and not anger.
Glen14924007 Glen14924007 4 years
The judge and all authorities should mind their own business. That same judge one day will be wondering what is wrong with that child and sentencing him to time!! WTH?
Starglo Starglo 4 years
Discipline means education and guidance. I have two well behaved daughters who I have never spanked. If you practice consistent parenting, and have some patience, you can easily guide your kids to great behavior. As a former CPS worker, I have seen how quickly things can go from bad to worse. I' would love for all corporal punishment to be outlawed. I think it is amazingly ridiculous to teach a young child good behavior by hitting then. And yes, I know spanking is not "hitting", but it is still meant to hurt. Not loving, in my opinion.
Gisel14923817 Gisel14923817 4 years
Wow! The world keeps getting creepier and creepier. Let's see here; You should stop feeding your child healthy natural goat milk, which if you are not an idiot can learn that for centuries if the mother could not use her own breast milk, would give the milk of a goat, because the casein, that is the protein and the rest of the parts of this goat milk is easier to digest than the larger protein in cow's milk, which causes many allergies and stomach problems. And let's see if you are not that dumb, you know that celery is a vegetable. Vegetables are good for you if they are not sprayed with pesticides, or genetically grown, or denatured in some greedy way. So what is the problem here?! Why is the this woman being tormented? I don't know shall we call it the age old term for IGNORANT, even worse ignorant with some power and then you have what is known as an EVIL DICTATORSHIP, like OBAMACARE. So instead, in this evil dictatorship you are forced to feed your children poisonous foods, like man made synthetic "babies" formulas, bullied to inject poisonous vaccines into your healthy children, and God knows, maybe next you'll be forced to eat only MCDonald's and drink Coca Cola instead of milk and vegetables. Soon this evil power will tell you that you cannot eat this goat meat either, or drink clean water. The whole situation is deplorable and this mother is doing the best for her child and should be left in peace to continue to do the best naturally for her children. Say NO! to the arrogant and ignorant evil, that think wants to harm your children
Parents from the baby boom generation believes that a little spanking here and there helps the child to know their boundaries , I am a 53 years old mom who have 6 children, 12 grandchildren. In this day and age, parents nowadays have no boundaries on how to spank or discipline a child, and needs a one on one lesson on the dos and don'it's... This judge should be left in a room with some ADHD kids, or kids who are just rudely disrespectful.....
Gisel14923817 Gisel14923817 4 years
I was spanked and have resented my mother for it. Now as an adult I understand that she was mirroring her own violent experience and lack of education, and had not overcome her own violent past. I since have forgiven her for her ignorance, and have treated my own emotional trauma through the aide of healers, Not everyone is offered this opportunity for healing. Many adults walk around with emotional scars from their childhoods, it is always a miracle that children survive at all, since their are so many violent people who decide to have children, and then decide it's ok to beat up your kids, calling it raising children. It is not necessary to use violence to raise a happy and disciplined child; mostly adults who spank, hit, beat,or verbally abuse their children are repeating what they learned as children and have not developed other skills outside of the violence. No one needs to be physically abused, to learn, even if you call it just"spanking", really it is just irresponsible, ignorant and careless. If you want a happy, responsible thriving child, who will become a loving, productive adult, who will do the same for their own children, raise your child with love, compassion and respect. It's more beneficial to use your intelligence, not your anger, fear and frustration. I know many parents who do not "spank" and have emotionally responsibly children because they take the time to teach them to be loving, respectful and kind, all of which can de done through talking, explaining to the child right from wrong and if need be implementing disciplinary action for breaking rules, such as being grounded, taking time out, asking the child to say I'm sorry and why, removing TV time, dates with friends, play dates, favorite toys, videos, explaining to the child the emotional consequences of their wrong doing. Also modeling positive behavior for them to imitate, and break the cycle of violence. If you take the interest and make the time you can raise children that understand the consequences of their negative or positive behavior. Raising a child is challenging, I know I have a young child of my own who is autistic and doesn't speak. I cannot imagine for the world hurting him for his behaviors. Rather we have been successful because we show him love and gentle discipline, like just saying NO don't do this or that, etc. and calmly explaining things to him and by supporting him and loving him respectfully. He is a child of God and should not be mistreated. Spanking in my mind is done by a person who has lost control of the situation and feels frustrated due to a lack of skills, and really is just lashing out on their children. These parenting skills can be learned in books, on the internet, through counseling, modeling other parents who have skills that allow them to rear their children without the drama of physical punishment/abuse, called "spanking".
JennyGillen JennyGillen 4 years
So lets just let our children do whatever the hell they want and never tell them no or punish them and see what happens. The world is already going to downhill because of people who think they are entitled to whatever they what whenever they want it. Let's just encourage some more of that!! Stupid@$$, *^$#)*@ people!!!!
HeatherKlein81665 HeatherKlein81665 4 years
Afifi is rediculous! A spanking, within reason, isn't going to damage their ego but if would teach them that there are consequences for doing wrong. Time out never did a darn bit of good for my kids. Neglect and lack of care is what causes issues and mental issues. It is people like you who have made it impossible to eat at even the nicest restaraunts miserable,
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