Sunday, February 12, 2012

Constitutional right to spank

I frequently criticize the courts, so I want to credit a rare bit of common sense. UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh writes:
Constitutional Right to Moderately Corporally Punish One’s Child

So held the Hawaii Supreme Court, in Hamilton ex rel. Lethem v. Lethem (Haw. Feb. 7, 2012), interpreting the Hawaii Constitution, though in reasoning that could be seen as applicable to the federal Constitution and to other state constitutions. And the court concluded that even a noncustodial parent retains this right “with respect to that child’s conduct during the visitation period.”

Based on this constitutional right, the court concluded that, to warrant the issuance of a domestic restraining order based on alleged child abuse, there must be (1) a finding that “the parent’s discipline is [not] reasonably related to the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor,” (2) taking into account “factors such as [a] the nature of the misbehavior, [b] the child’s age and size, and [c] the nature and propriety of the force used.”
It tood the Hawaiian courts 7 years to come to this conclusion. If they really had sense, the case would have been kicked out in the first 10 minutes.

Most of the comments agree with the decision, altho a few complain that a parent should discipline a child in anger or that a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation might uncover some issues with the dad.

Meanwhile, here is a story about a dad shot his daughter's laptop to teach her a lesson. Not what I would do, but no one was hurt. It just gave an opportunity for some shrinks to give silly opinions on TV.

Update: A reader sends the LA Times story:
Jordan, who uploaded the video on YouTube to post on his daughter's Facebook wall, thought the video would be seen by maybe 500 people -- her Facebook friends and his own Facebook friends. Instead, it has gone viral: On YouTube, it was viewed 3.7 million times in just two days.

Parenting experts have advised that shooting a laptop is probably not the best way to deal with an entitled teenager, but the thousands of people who rejoiced in Jordan’s act of parental abandon don't seem to mind.

“After watching this I laughed and applauded u!” Tonya Greider wrote on Jordan’s Facebook page. “I have a 15 year old daughter and I know how hard it is.”

“You sir are my hero,” wrote Jason Harbolt.

And Erika Jove wrote, “As a daughter, mother, educator, and a psychologist, I comment your actions. I could only hope to work with more children whose parents made them accountable for their actions.”
Here is the YouTube video, where one comment says, "this is the most American thing I have seen in my life."

The American dad is under assault from courts, feminists, parenting experts, and popular culture. This man has taken a stand for what he thinks is right. We need more men like him.

Update: Atlanta TV reports:
The former Marine wrote on his Facebook page that Child Protective Services officials came to his home in Stanly Co. on Saturday and interviewed him and his daughter — separately — after viewers of the video called with concerns about his actions.

He said the police also stopped by. ...

Officials at the Stanly County Sheriff's Office said there are no laws against what Jordan did, so they will not be investigating the matter.
Update: After only 5 days, the video has 23 million views.


Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but wondering if you'd seen this:,0,7989379.story

It's been going around the Internet a lot this week and I felt you'd have something to say about it.

If you Google "Facebook Parenting" you'll see a lot of articles regarding this.

George said...

Thanks. I added your link, and some brief comments.

Cynthia said...

I saw a spate of comments that said things like "well, at least he didn't shoot his daughter". Because he was so clearly out of control (eye roll).

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Andrew said...

The Canadian Supreme Court also ruled in 2004 that parents have the right to do corporal punishment on their kids. However, the Canadian Medical Association recently published a study advising against spanking children.