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NY Court Rules Spanking a 'Reasonable Use of Force'

New York court rules spanking is okay if not excessive
Photograph by Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

Back in 2012, a New York dad landed himself in some pretty hot water after he publicly spanked his 8-year-old son for cursing at a family party. Though we're not sure what the kid said exactly, it was apparently directed at an adult, which resulted in an open-handed spanking from his dad.

In the two years that have passed since the incident, the case has worked its way up from the state's family court — which found the dad guilty of "excessive corporal punishment" — to the Appellate Division, which seemed to have a much different view of how things went down. According to the New York Daily News, a four-judge panel ruled this week that the dad was within his rights, did not use excessive force and that there just wasn't enough evidence to the claims that he used a belt during the incident, which he was originally accused of.

"The father’s open-handed spanking of the child as a form of discipline after he heard the child curse at an adult was a reasonable use of force," the panel of four declared, "and, under the circumstances presented here, did not constitute excessive corporal punishment."

Similar rulings have been cropping up all over the country, as courts attempt to redraw the line over how far is too far when it comes to disciplining your kid.

Just last year, a California federal appeals court ruled that a mom was not guilty of child abuse after she spanked her 12-year-old daughter with a wooden spoon. And in Florida, a panel declared that one spank does not equal domestic violence. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Supreme Court cleared a father who hit his 12-year-old son with a wooden paddle. According to court documents, he struck him 36 times on the upper thighs. In that case, the court ruled that spanking isn't necessarily abusive.

Where do you stand on this issue? Do you think the court's ruling was fair, or did they go too easy on the father?

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