There's No Sure Hit Here

Need a lesson in parenting? California assemblywoman Sally Lieber is offering one in the form of a bill that would ban the spanking of children less than 4 years old. If the bill passes, California will become the first state to make spanking a misdemeanor--punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail--although more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, have laws against hitting children, including spanking. "Young children can't run or speak for themselves," says Lieber. "They are sitting ducks for abuse."

She's not the first American to argue that legislation is the answer. Brookline, Mass.,...

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