Spanking Inside the Home: Should that Right be Taken Away?

JONESBORO, AR -- The issue of weather or not parents can legally spank their children is being raised in Massachusetts.  A nurse has written a bill that would ban parents from being able to spank their children inside their own homes in that state.

The potential for this has raised a lot of questions across the country, as parents on both sides of the issue voice their concerns.

Gerald and Marsha James have four children that they home school.

"My oldest one is 17 and he's in 11th grade.  I have another son that's fourteen, he's in 8th grade.  My oldest daughter is 11 and in sixth grade.  My other daughter is nine and in third grade," said James.

While she loves each of her children, she and her husband use spanking as a form of discipline.

"We spank our children for willful disobedience.  We don't spank them if they've made a mistake.  There's times when my children make mistakes that I need to come along beside them and I need to teach them and train them," said James.

A proposed house bill in Massachusetts would ban corporal punishment or spanking inside homes there.

Region 8 parents we talked to disagree.

"These are my children and I'm raising them and I know them better than anybody else and I know what works in their life," said James.

"They're probably good in their intent.  They don't want to see children suffer and I don't want to see children suffer but it's something that is unenforceable," said Gerald James.

People on both sides of this issue are very passionate about what they think.  While the James family does spank their children and feels that's the right thing to do, we spoke with one psychologist who said she feels it doesn't accomplish anything.

"First of all it doesn't work.  Kids just get sneaky.  They don't really learn anything from the spanking except it is ok to hit," said Psychologist Dr. Hope Gilchrist.

But for Marsha and her minister husband, they see spanking as a commandment from God.  They say spanking is something they feel will help their children in the long run and while they say they do spank, it is usually used as a last resort.

"My children have been set up so that they have an authority in their life and there's consequences when they don't follow that authority," said Marsha James.