Discipline, or Child Abuse? Is Spanking Okay in Michigan (Pt 2)

March 13, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Wooden spoons and rolling pin
Another commonly used ‘discipline tool’ is the average wooden spoon, usually used in the kitchen to prepare food.

Welcome back and thanks for joining us for more on the subject of disciplining children in Michigan, and what methods the law says we are free to use. As we covered in the previous article, Michigan law does allow parents to spank their children. However, as Brandy Thompson, an experienced child abuse defense lawyer explains, “Whether or not a mark is left on the child is usually the litmus test for whether or not it’s abuse.” So as a parent, what do you need to know about this rather tricky subject matter…

Although it’s legal, parents still get into trouble in Michigan!

Another thing we mentioned before was the fact that even although spanking is legal in MIchigan, choosing to spank your kids is something of a risk. You could still get reported for child abuse if someone sees you hit your child, or your child talks to someone about being hit and that person doesn’t agree with spanking as a form of discipline. If CPS gets a report about possible child abuse they are required to look into it. So be aware that you may come under legal scrutiny, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

It’s happened to other Michigan parents in the past!

If you go back over Michigan media headlines from the last decade or so, you’ll notice that hardly a year goes by without some sensationalist “discipline versus child abuse” case making the news. In 2014 there was the Elizabeth Singler case. In 2015, the Mara A. Hess-Schoonveld case made headlines in Bay City. 2016 carried the sensational headlines of the James Harbert case, and 2017 brought us Trisha A. Frasle, who made news for using a belt to spank a foster boy in her care. And don’t forget last year – 2018, where the horrifying details of the Matthew James LaPlant case were made public.

Some of these cases were abuse, and some weren’t!

If you’re familiar with these cases, then you already know that some of these cases involved serious child abuse, and some were nothing more than parents trying their best to raise good kids. However, the difference is often in the details. A case of simple parenting can be made to look like child abuse when cast in a specific light. And that’s where things get tricky. Some people believe that any and all corporal punishment is abuse, (a perspective that is gaining traction with mental health professionals and pediatricians across the nation). Others believe that kids who aren’t spanked end up “bratty” and “undisciplined.”

As a Michigan parent, you have rights!

You have the right to discipline your children in whatever way you believe is right (within reason). You have the right to raise your children with the beliefs that you cherish, and the values you hold dear. So when making choices for how you want to parent, be aware of your rights and make informed choices. And if someone violates your rights, or threatens to take your kids away because they disagree with the way you’re raising them, make sure you call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our experienced parental rights defense attorneys are standing by to help you, day or night.