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Robin Thick, Paula Patton Child Custody Deal Blows Up Over Son’s Spanking

Paula Patton and Robin Thicke  are involved in a custody battle sparked by a spanking incident involving six-year-old son Julian (Photo: Getty)
Paula Patton and Robin Thicke are involved in a custody battle sparked by a spanking incident involving six-year-old son Julian (Photo: Getty)
Robin Thicke and Paula Patton are in court battling over custody of their 6-year-old son, Julian, following a dispute over Thicke’s use of spanking to discipline their child. Thicke appears to have won round one in the case. Is spanking appropriate?

The ex-couple appeared in court after their dispute spilled over into the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services earlier this year, according to court papers.

The blow up began after Julian told school officials his father had hit him twice. The officials reported the incident to Family services, which began an investigation.

On Thursday, Patton, 41, filed a motion in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking an emergency order granting her full custody of the child.

She claimed she was concerned about her son’s the safety during visits with Thicke. Julian allegedly complained to her on Jan. 2 that his dad had hit him.

“On January 2, 2017, the day before Julian was to return to school from Christmas Break, Julian told my mother and me that when Respondent {Thicke] spanked him it was really hard,” her statement said.

“We asked him to show us how hard, and I asked him to hit me on my back. Julian hit me very hard and I said, ow. Julian said it was worse than that. I then told Julian I could not keep this secret anymore and that I have to protect him,” the statement continued.

Julian allegedly told school officials at about the same time that his father had “punched” him. A school official also submitted an affidavit, stating that the boy said Thicke “punches” him.

Thicke, 39, countered with his own affidavit, claiming that he is an active and involved parent and wants to maintain joint-custody.

“It is my understanding that Paula is accusing me of ‘excessive spanking.’ I am told that Julian reported to the school that I spanked him and that the school made a report to the Department of Children and Family Services,” Thicke stated in court papers.

“On a very rare occasion, and only as a last resort, I will use light spanking, but it is consistent with the law—open hand on the butt. This is the type of discipline to which Paula and I agreed during our marriage,” he added.

The judge apparently found his explanation acceptable and refused to alter the custody arrangement.

Thicke also leveled allegations of his own. He claimed Patton had repeatedly refused to allow him to see his son following the spanking incident. He blamed her “residual anger” on his refusal to allow her to attend his father’s funeral.

“Paula did not have a positive relationship with my father and often made negative comments to me about my father. As such, she was not welcome at his funeral,” the statement said.

Patton gave birth to Julian in 2010, but in 2014 the couple announced they were splitting after 21 years together. Their divorce was finalized in 2015.

Child discipline is always a touch subject among parents.

According to recent studies, 94 percent of the parents of of 3- and 4-year-old children admit administering spankings at least once during the past year. Another 74 percent believe spanking is acceptable for kids ages 1 to 3, while 61 percent of parents condone spanking as a “regular form of punishment.”

But a long list of parenting experts have also denounced the practice, calling it ineffective, even dangerous,” according to Parenting magazine.

They say it only teaches a child to fear his parents, not to respect them. And it can be dangerous because using force can injure a child and warp his understanding of how to interact with others: namely, that it’s okay to hit someone to get your own way.

Experts also say children are more likely to exhibit violent behavior later in life.

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