Is spanking a child, even with a shoe, child abuse? Not always, according to the California Court of Appeals, which recently reversed a juvenile court's finding that a mother's sandal-aided spanking was physical abuse. The categorical view that "hitting children with shoes" is forbidden physical abuse and "not a proper form of discipline" isn't supported by the law, the court found.
But don't get out the belt just yet, disciplinarians. The court's ruling is hardly an invitation to spank your children with impunity. Here's why.