My Thoughts On The Anti-Spanking Bill

CanadaAn anti-spanking bill has passed third reading in the Senate and is heading to the House of Commons.

Bill S-209, which needs House approval to be made into law, proposes to eliminate Section 43 of Canada's Criminal Code, which allows parents, teachers and caregivers to use reasonable force to discipline a child and correct their behaviour.

Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette first introduced the bill in December 2004, shortly after the Supreme Court denied a challenge to Section 43 and upheld the right of adults to physically discipline children between the ages of two and 12.

Back in 2004, after our Supreme Court upheld the spanking law, I shared my thoughts on spanking. Before becoming a father, I believed a spanking on the behind was an appropriate form of discipline. My wife and I discussed it and agreed on this, as both of us were spanked as children. Then, five minutes after I became a father, I pulled a 180° and realized how barbaric the practice is.

James is almost 6 and a half years old and Michelle will be four this summer, and I've never come close to administering either of them a spanking. In fact, I can't imagine striking either of them, even if it's on the bottom and in response to something totally rude. Instead, I quickly mastered the art of the time-out. Both kids are totally sweet and well-behaved and almost never require the time-out now, and I've so very glad I changed my entire philosophy on spanking.

I don't understand why so many think corporal punishment should be allowed? If you need to strike your kids to correct their behaviour, you need a nice long time-out so you can think about what you're doing wrong. Bill S-209 is a good thing for Canada.

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Comments (7 - click here to join in!)



While I agree with you and cannot see myself spanking my own (future) children even though I was spanked as a child, I think it's a bad idea to legislate this kind of thing.

I just think that there are different approaches to parenting and if one method of discipline works where another fails the government shouldn't get involved.

Sure, beating or smacking a kid with the intent to cause real pain rather than just to get their attention should be dealt with, but think about it. Whether you agree with spanking or not, would anyone really want the government telling them how to raise their children?

I think it's none of their business. Next thing we know our kids will be taking us to court when we ground them - and winning, like this girl:

June 19, 2008 @ 11:07 PM

Jason |

If people are spanking their kids in 2008, maybe the gov't should step in.

Time outs, loss of televison privilages, and so many other forms of punishment work fine.

I don't think the Canadian gov't should support spanknig. It's also another law that can't really be enforced, like the smoking in cars thing. Still, they are coming from the right place, I think.

Spanking is lazy parenting. I wouldn't even spank a pet. Ever.

June 20, 2008 @ 10:23 AM


Child abuse is wrong, obviously. However, I think many parents today error on the other side too. These parents try to reason and use logic with their 2 or 3 year old. This mamby pamby way of parenting doesn’t work. The evidence is in folks, just look at how so many kids can’t behave in public, not to mention in their in own home. You parents know who you are; they stuff like ‘...come on Morgan/Porter/Paige/Joshua be a buddy…. your daddy & mommy don’t like it when you behave that’. I’m sure speaking that way to your kid does a lot…….

Jason used the term ‘lazy parenting’ that also applies to parents who seem to turn a blind eye when their kid is acting like a brat.

June 20, 2008 @ 12:52 PM


It appears that other forms of punishment aren't allowed by the government as well. Look at the Judge that ruled the father can't ground his 12-year-old from a field trip.

June 21, 2008 @ 7:51 AM


Hey Canadian government - stay out of my house!

June 21, 2008 @ 9:11 AM


I think Daniel makes some good points. Although I don't believe spanking is the most effective form of discipline, I also don't believe this is something that should be legislated. How exactly do you enforce this? The government is not in the business of raising children. What comes next? Will it become illegal to discipline our children at all? There's actually a really good debate about spanking at Experts from both sides debate the topic, and the Center for Effective Discipline takes the anti-spanking side, making some really relevant points about why not to spank. I still just don't believe this is an area the government should intrude on.

September 3, 2008 @ 5:00 PM


I dont understand why poeple think this is crossing the line. Was it crossing the line to make blacks equal to whites? was it crossing the line to create laws against men hitting their wives? they arent saying you cant discipline your child, or even how you HAVE to discipline it. They are just saying there is ONE way you cant do it - by hitting - which EVERY OTHER HUMAN has protection from being hit - except children?

"Children - Most Valuable, Most Vulnerable, Least Protected, Least Respected"

-Quote ME

but ain't it the truth? People are so picky choosy about what the gov't should "intrude" on. They shouldn't protect children from being hit - but thank goodness they put an end to segregation and wife beating... come on people - face the facts - it doesn;t matter if the person is bigger or small or older or younger then you are - it's NOT okay to hit them. ever.

-Mom of 3 - never spanked - my kids never touched a hot stove, ran into the street, they use their manners, they are patient, they don't hit others or bite and there teachers tell me they are the most non violent students they have.. it can be done - and no I didnt get lucky 3 times, there are plently of moms and dads out there just like me. we DO discipline out children, with many many other methods that don't include the infamously ineffective and detrimental "spanking"

I was spanked "with love" "calmly" "not abused" etc... but guess what? I still wanted to kill myself by 3rd grade because I hated my parents and hated being hit. Dont remember anything I was ever spanked for. Caused a lot of self esteem and self respect issues later in life. I'm glad I broke the cycle with my kids. It's time kids had rights too... and thats what this is... its not taking rights away from parents, its protecting the rights of children which until now children have been seen more as property then as human beings.

November 17, 2008 @ 9:20 PM

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