Question:

Is spanking a thirteen year old child illegal?


Answer:

As of this writing, spanking remains legal in all fifty states of the United States. Almost all state statutes state that a parent or guardian can use reasonable and appropriate force to maintain discipline and to promote the well-being of a child's welfare. Most states extend that right to other people who are caring for or supervising the child. Some, but not all states, specifically exclude teachers from those granted such rights.

There are no upper limits on the age, other than the fact that this law deals with children (minors). The age of emancipation varies by state but it generally ranges from age 16 to 19. Actually, nothing is said that spanking can't continue above the age of emancipation; the laws governing spanking are limited to children.

Some states are very specific as to what is not allowed; others take a more general approach to forbid "abuse." However, spanking a child on their bottom that causes no physical injury is not considered abuse in any state.

See: "United States Statutes Pertaining to Spanking" for details.

Some countries, such as Sweden, do have laws forbidding spanking. Sweden has been the subject of much scrunty since it enacted their law in 1979. What is interesting is that Sweden has seen a substantial increase in both child abuse and violent crimes caused by youths since their law took effect. The rate of increase far exceeds those of countries who retain the right of parents to spank, such as the United States.

See "Where is Evidence That Non-Abusive Corporal Punishment Increases Aggression?" and "Child Abuse in Sweden" for details.

Regardless of governmental laws, God's law states that spanking is necessary for the proper development of a child.