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Children’s Advocates: Forbid Spanking in Tennessee

December 3, 2007

Nashville, TN – "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is outdated thinking, according to Tennessee children's advocates. In Massachusetts, a new law prohibits spanking in schools as well as homes, and local groups say Tennessee should pass similar legislation.

Pam Stone, of the Nashville-based group Attachment Parenting International, says it's not a restriction on parents' rights, but an important way of protecting the rights and well-being of children.

"The same way that we protect one citizen from another citizen, we need to protect our children against these violent forms of discipline. There are other forms of discipline that work just as well. They don't have the negative effects to the child, and actually have much better, positive long-term effects."

Stone says a spanking may stop bad conduct for the moment, but it doesn't teach good behavior, and damages the relationship between kids and parents. She believes the state should do more than just prohibit spanking, by giving parents tools, education and support for less violent and more effective discipline methods.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - TN