How far is too far?

October 15, 2009 | NeW Staff

What type of punishment would you give if your eight year old daughter cursed?  Many parents would go to the classic route of washing their child’s mouth out with soap.  Well, parents may want to think twice because in Florida, you could be arrested for child abuse.  Post a comment if you think this is ridiculous. 

Abuse is something no child should ever have to experience, but what constitutes abuse? Soap in the mouth? Spanking? Time-outs? Today’s society tends to shy away from pain and punishment.  As a consequence, we have gotten soft in our approach to discipline.  Long ago are the days of knuckles slapped by rulers in a classroom.  But what still remains is the need to teach children about the consequences of bad behavior.  Today, you can send your child to a behavior modification program which teaches your child how to behave properly.  The last time I checked, that was a parent’s responsibility.  The need for this business stems directly from parents across the nation who lack the ability to show tough love to their children. 

The larger social issue in this case is the invasion of the public sphere into the
private institution of the family.  Over the past several decades, there has been an increasing trend of this involvement in the family. 
As for the instance in Florida, 10 minutes of soap in the mouth is a little excessive.  That being said, should it be classified as abuse? Further, when does government involvement in parenting go too far?  These questions are not just food for thought.  Answers to these questions will have an impact on social policies which ultimately impact daily life. 

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