A famous idiom says “spare the rod and spoil the child” which simply means that if the parent will not punish his child when the latter has committed something wrong, then the child will not be able to distinguish right from wrong. The child will likewise never learn good manners and right conduct.
Research says that Sweden was the first country to ban spanking in 1979. Through the years, there have been several movements against spanking of children. In fact, the European Committee is encouraging the member countries to ban corporal punishment. In 2007, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain and Chile approved laws which for prohibit parents from spanking their children. In the United States, California and Massachusetts have laws that ban spanking. Because of these laws, more countries are expected to adopt their respective laws against spanking.
Most anti-spanking laws have been enacted pursuant to studies on the effects of spanking which is believed to be the cause of violent and aggressive behaviour of children. Based on recent studies, when children are repeatedly spanked, they develop a notion that spanking is an acceptable and normal behavior of adults. Consequently, when these children becomes adult they exhibit violent behavior towards other people or even to their own children on the basis that adults are entitled to be violent and any violent behavior is acceptable as long as it is done by adults. Because of these studies which discourage spanking due to its serious effect on the behavior of children, spanking has become a prohibited act in many countries.
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On the other hand, it is worthy to note that although these laws will prevent abusive parents from spanking their children and may likewise prevent the development of violent behavior on children, the positive effects of spanking in moderation in order to make the children realize their wrongdoings, have not been considered. As a result, the efficiency of these laws are now being challenged on the ground that despite the enactment and implementation of the ban on spanking there has been increased rate of child abuse, aggressive parenting and even youth violence. Hence, the aggressive and violent behavior of children cannot be absolutely attributed to spanking since recent studies also show that adults who have displayed violent and aggressive behavior are those who have not been spanked during their childhood.
The reality is that children should learn what is right from wrong and that if they do something wrong they should suffer the consequences of their actions. At an early age, children should be aware that there is a corresponding punishment if they commit a socially unacceptable behavior. In this way, children will be aware of the socially acceptable behaviors which will definitely make them obedient, compliant, and advocates of peace and order. By making them aware of the reasonable imposition of punishment, these children will not likely to become criminals when they grow up. Moderate spanking on children as long as parents will explain while they are being spanked will produce law abiding citizens who will respect the law as well as the authorities.
In Sweden, the ban on spanking has not been proven to be beneficial to children since parents have used other alternatives for spanking such as yelling, shouting and screaming which are definitely inimical to psychological and emotional development of children. As a result, although these children are not physically abused, they are verbally abused which may have worse effects on them as compared to the effects of spanking.
Legislators should consider the positive effects of spanking in disciplining the children. Spanking has positive effects if the reasons for spanking will be fully explained and if it will only be imposed if the child has committed a very serious offense.
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