Poor Kids Don't Deserve Spankings Any More Than Rich Kids Do

paddleShould rich parents "discipline" their kids differently than poor parents? A British MP seems to think so. Last summer the country was rocked with riots. Youths lit fires and looted in cities around Britain. Senior Labor MP and former education minister David Lammy thinks it was at least partly the result of the 2004 law forbidding spanking that "reddens the skin."

He said on a radio show, "Many of my constituents came up to me after the riots and blamed the Labour government, saying: 'You guys stopped us being able to smack our children'." Riiiiiggghhht, those parents just haven't been spanking their kids enough in the past 7 years. But it gets worse.


Lammy also thinks poor parents especially need to be able to spank their kids because they don't have many other resources for parenting. Middle-class parents can afford private schools (really?) where the discipline is tougher than in state schools (huh?) and can pay for hobbies and after-school activities.

So let me get this straight: If you can't afford a good school and soccer classes at least there's still spanking! Huh, that's funny. Suddenly I'm hearing screaming in my head -- specifically, from Pink Floyd's The Wall: "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!?" How did that tale of child abuse end again? Oh yes, BADLY. I know it's just a silly rock opera, but it's a vivid illustration of how brutality against children leaves scars, not well-disciplined adults.

Study after study shows that spanking doesn't work long-term. Are poorer parents under more stress? Do they have more working against them? Is their job harder because they have fewer resources? Absolutely! But that doesn't mean poor kids should be spanked more than rich kids. I think that insults all the low-income parents who are doing the best to parent thoughtfully and compassionately without spanking. Give them a little credit!

Do you think poor parents should discipline their kids differently than rich parents do?


Image via rachelkramerbussel.com/Flickr

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