MANY PEOPLE POSE the question: “Why should the government interfere with how parents bring up their children? After all, isn’t it a parent’s right as to how they choose to raise their children?

One of the primary roles of government is protection of the rights of citizens, and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises equal protection under the law. But, if you are familiar with history, you are aware that true equal protection has evolved gradually. Looking back, we can remember times when certain citizens did not qualify as equal.

For example, wives used to be legally assaulted and battered by their husbands. It was referred to as a family squabble not domestic violence. These assaults were considered a private matter, trivial and a subject for comedy. The law did not presume to invade the sanctuary of the home and tell married folks how to manage their disagreements.

At an earlier time, apprentices could be physically punished by their employers, sailors could be flogged, prison inmates could be whipped by guards and military recruits could be beaten by their trainers. And at an even earlier time, it was standard procedure for field bosses to whip slaves working in the cotton fields.

All that has changed. Well, almost all. In the United States, at this time, there remains only one “whippable” class of citizen: children!

Hopefully, before long, the U.S. will join the rest of the civilized world in closing the legal loophole that allows assault and battery of the young. Thirty-one countries have already done so, and others are soon to join.

In 1989, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child was established to promote the legal rights of citizens under the age of 18. The only member nations not to have signed are the United States and Somalia.

What’s our problem?

For more on the issue of children and their rights, please visit
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education at
The Center for Effective Discipline at