Spare the rod, spoil the child? or time out?

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) The indictment of NFL star running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of child abuse has sparked a nationwide debate over physical discipline.

WDEF took a closer look at the issue by talking to several parents on the street about physical punishment.

Spankings and whippings are supposed to let children know they’ve done something bad but when does the act of physical punishment go too far?

"You’ve gone too far when there’s blood drawn," said parent Jacquita Williams.

"If you are leaving marks on your child," said parent Sharon Chase.

"If it’s done out of the heat of the moment and it’s not explained as to why the punishments being administered," said parent Tanya Wilson.

The debate over punishing a child has also sparked a cultural divide over the method in which the punishment is administered.

"I definitely think that timeouts are just as effective or can be just as effective. I don’t have a problem of spanking children," Wilson said.

"White people give there children time out. They get spanked. They get a count to three and learn from that form of discipline. But our children they’re more so popped and whipped for the most part," said Rica Adams.

But not every white parent believes in a simple time out.

"Yes I do believe in spanking. I was spanked as a child and I think because of that, I grew up with a healthy respect," said Chase.

In addition to respect, some parents believe corporal punishment that isn’t too harsh is actually positive.

"You won’t lose your child to the streets or to the gangs. A child will not want to be out doing the wrong things because they’re getting discipline at home first. So when they go out in the streets, they know what to do and what not to do," Williams said.

Laws behind physically disciplining a child varies from state to state.

Tennessee:
Permits criminal charges against a parent/guardian/custodian who administers "unreasonable" corporal punishment which causes "injury" to the child.§ 39-15-401 [Criminal Code]

Georgia:
Physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is no physical injury to the child. Secs. 19-7-5/19-15- 1/49-5-180. [Civil Code] Parent or person in loco parentis reasonably disciplining of a minor has a justification for a criminal prosecution based on that conduct.§ 16-3-20. [Criminal Code]

Alabama:
Parent/guardian/person responsible for care and supervision of a minor/teacher or other person responsible for care and supervision of a minor for a special purpose may use reasonable and appropriate physical force when and to the extent he reasonably believes it necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline or promote welfare of the child.§ 13A-3-24. [Criminal Code]

In 2012, a national survey showed more than half of women and three-quarters of men in the United States believe a child sometimes needs a "good hard spanking."

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