Court Rules Couple Can't Be Foster Parents Because They Believe in Spanking

Mother spanking child

Do the names Melanie and Gregory Magazu ring a bell? You might remember their story making headlines, as child welfare denied their application to foster parent because they spank. They took their case to court, and a judge has ruled against the Massachusetts couple, saying the state agency involved did nothing illegal. This decision ignites the age-old question on whether or not spanking is okay, and if moms and dads who do aren't fit to parent.


Part of me feels bad for this couple (they have two girls, ages 7 and 9, and wanted to expand their family), but I can understand child welfare's concern.

Children in foster care have likely been exposed to unthinkable situations -- including abuse from those who said they loved them. Even if Gregory and Melanie vowed to only spank their biological kids, and only out of view of the foster children, that could not only send a mixed signal, but also stir up past emotions.

I get it.

What I don't understand, however, are those who instantly rush to call parents who choose to spank their kids horrible beings. That, in my opinion, is both unfair and a bit hurtful.

Think about it: How many of us would have our mom or dad card revoked based on the "imperfect parenting" things we do? There's so much room for interpretation that it makes judgment so easy.

More from The Stir: Spanking & Child Abuse Are Not the Same Thing

There are moms who completely lose it and scream at their kids. Some would call parents who smoke near their children abusive, because it's extremely detrimental to their health. And what about those who believe in free-range parenting -- that it's okay to allow your little ones to walk freely and without tons of supervision because that's how they learn?

Obviously, everyone will have a different rating system when it comes to the most and least horrific. And while they all differ, each parenting style or practice has the potential to border on abuse, if done excessively.

Just because you don't agree with a person's way of parenting doesn't make her or him an unfit mom or dad.

More from The Stir: The Worst Thing You Can Do If You Spank Your Kids

I know parents who use a swat on the tush as a last resort. I also know people who got the crap kicked out of them when they were younger, and wouldn't put spanking on the same level as their experiences.

Yes, there are horrible things that, sadly, happen behind closed doors. That doesn't automatically mean that any parent who does something that goes against your personal conviction is unsuitable to love or have a child.



Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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