I was attempting to discipline my son by time-out after he was fighting with his little sister (2). Angered by not being allowed to leave the spot (after only a few seconds) he started shouting and screaming and he threw my phone at the wall. At this point, I slapped his face once. About 12 hours later he has a small red mark on his cheek next to his eye (by the bone there). I feel awful about what I did - I have not slapped him on the cheek before and I will not do it again. I called the CPS hotline and they said they would not be taking it any further because it is legal in Arizona to use physical force to punish a child. I still feel terrible about it and continue to wonder if I have committed an offense.
The Hotline was correct that you are permitted to use physical force to discipline your child in AZ, but within reason. Leaving marks on your child is never wise, as his/her teachers and doctors etc. are mandated reporters and are likely to call the Hotline on you. Thus, you were wise making the call yourself. Other readers should be careful feeling they have an absolute right to use physical force against their child as a form of punishment, as this is very subjective and is often interpreted differently depending on the situation and CPS worker or other authorities involved. Without knowing more about your personal circumstance, I cannot determine whether or not you should continue to be concerned about having committed an offense.
This is the first time I have heard of someone calling CPS on themselves. Corporal punishment is legal in AZ. If it leaves a mark it is not. It can result in criminal charges and the 'substantiated' finding of abuse and your name on the Central Registry. That does not appear likely here, even with the small red mark.
I would not worry about the situation. Sounds like it was a nothing parenting over-reaction at most.
This general information does not create an attorney client relationship between the questioner and the author. The internet is NOT a place to get 'legal advice'...although gathering general information is always helpful.
Technically you may have crossed the line but I would not be overly concerned about it. Next time, aim for the butt. Five-year-olds can be challenging and I understand your frustration. Never hit the face, though. It sounds like just a momentary lapse in judgment.
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