Opinions

Spanking children should be illegal across the world

What’s the best way to discipline children? It is the dreadful question that plagues the heart of every parent. Some parents resolve to more physical methods, such as spanking. This method, while still used widely around the world, is criticized for the impact it can have on the mental health of a child, as well as how it can be considered child abuse.

According to an article titled “Elicitation of aggression by a physical blow” in PubMed Central, “Boys in grade one who had watched a one-minute video of a boy being yelled at, shaken and spanked with a paddle for misbehaving showed more aggression while playing with dolls than boys who had watches a one-minute video of nonviolent responses to [misbehavior].”

According to The Washington Post, Adrian Peterson, an American football running back for the Washington Redskins, said he still punishes his son using a wooden switch and a belt even after being indicted on felony child-abuse charges in 2014. Peterson has been criticized for the mistreatment of his son ever since. Peterson said, “I truly regret this incident.”

Regardless of intent, spanking can bring about consequences that make children antisocial and emotionally unstable.

In an interview with CNN, Dave Pelzer, an American author, said, “What distresses me at times is that I meet a lot of people in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, who still say they’re a victim of child abuse.” The Raising Children Network, an Australian parenting website, shows four discipline strategies for setting expectations for child behavior: “Decide on family rules,” “teach your child what behavior is expected,” “praise your child for good behavior,” and “set clear limits and consequences.”

When children break a family rule, a possible consequence is to withhold pocket money from them or to give them a time-out. Contrary to Peterson’s claim that physical punishment was “effective” for him, the website demonstrates how punishing babies doesn’t work. The American Academy of Pediatrics “recommends that parents be encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior.”

Spanking children is unethical and causes harm to society. Any form of physical punishment violates the right of children and is the best way to spoil them.

Peterson, surprisingly, said, “There’s different ways I discipline my kids,” and added, “I didn’t let that change me.” It’s a widely known fact that physical punishment is a risk factor for engendering child aggression, and children are the future of the world. UNICEF initiated #ENDViolence in schools. Physically punishing children causes aggression, adult mental health problems and dating violence. Every nation should make spanking illegal.

Some people proclaim that their family is their life or is everything to them. Family members are supposed to be there for children no matter what. It should be required that every parent learn how to correctly discipline their children.

-Stacy Kim

Journalism ‘20

December 3, 2018

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Stacy Kim


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