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To Spank or Not to Spank?

To Spank or Not to Spank?


If your parents are old school, then you are probably familiar with the alternative uses for wooden spoons, thick leather belts, flip-flops or the human palm (a crack of a belt still induces a twitch in my eye).



The Duhaime’s Law Dictionary defines corporal punishment as “a punishment for some violation of conduct, which involves the infliction of pain or harm to the body.” There is no doubt that any verbal or physical action that inflicts unwilled pain would be quite controversial. According to the UN Tribune, about 10% of children around the globe are protected by laws that ban corporal punishment in both schools and homes. Only 47 countries have implemented this law, including the likes of South Sudan, Costa Rica, Israel and Republic of Congo; just to name a few.

One might ask why a form of punishment that has “worked” to keep children disciplined is being prohibited in several countries? A study done in 2009 by Stacks, Oshio, Gerard and Roe found that the use of corporal punishment causes aggression in children even as young as 12 months. Aside from aggression there’s also the risk of  low self-esteem, greater alienation from peers and family, higher rate of depression and suicidal thoughts and decreased mental health. However, these traits are also likely to occur when one is harshly reprimanded. Body + Soul Mums’ online blog suggests that the best form of discipline is to “stay calm and tell your child in a pleasant voice what they shouldn’t and should do,” but as a harsher punishment, parents could restrict luxuries such as TV (there should be no shouting, only stern calm tones). The blog also recommends that children be praised for their good behaviours.



Nonetheless, there are cases where calm explanations and luxury restrictions don’t seem to result in changed behaviour. For parents that believe in conditional corporal punishment, they would in this case result to spanking as a last resort. This is believed to rectify stubborn children, especially with time sensitive matters, it has the potential to enforce respect between child and parent and has historical validation. However, it is believed to be a very thin line and corporal punishment can easily turn into abuse.

Long story short, corporal punishment is a hard and very controversial topic and both sides could be favoured with proper analysis. At the end of the day it’s up to the parent to decide how they prefer to raise their children but with the reminder that with great power comes great responsibility.


+South African/Burundian +Spiritual, Global Citizen, Winter Worshipper, Human Rights Activist, Slightly Dark Minded, Novel Lover, Football Fanatic and Poet
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