Spanking a child or any form of corporal punishment will be outlawed in Brazil if a bill introduced by the country's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is passed.
For a first-time spanker, only a warning would be given. But repeat offenders would have to take parenting classes and possibly undergo psychiatric treatment.
"No-one wants to prevent a mother being a mother, or a father being a father, " the president said. "We just want to show that it is possible to do things in a different way."
According to the BBC, there are more than 20 countries in which corporal punishment is illegal, so Brazil wouldn't be the first.
Should more countries, like the United States -- where parents can legally spank, paddle, and whip children in all 50 states -- follow suit?
Even without the legal element, spanking is one of the all-time great parenting debates. Opinions on the topic are varied and vicious -- from the spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child set to those who believe your child will be forever scarred from the slightest swat.
I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. I've never spanked either of my children, and I don't believe I ever will.
I just can't imagine inflicting pain on my child, even if it's in order to teach her a lesson. I want to cry when they so much as stub their toe or get their feelings hurt. But I've also never come upon a lesson that I haven't been able to teach another way ... yet.
So, even though I can't fathom a situation in which I would spank, I can't say with 100 percent certainty that I never will. I learned long ago to never say never ... especially when it comes to parenting.
I have friends who swore they'd never spank, but ended up doing just that because of a safety concern -- like running into the street -- that they just weren't able to stop with talking and timeouts. They were more scared of their child getting hit by a car than they were of the damage spanking might do.
They didn't like to do it, but felt it was the best parenting choice at the time.
So to have the government step in and take that choice away ... I don't know. While I believe children should be protected, so must a parent's ability to do what they believe is best for their child.
Would you like to see spanking outlawed in the United States?
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