I know we have all heard the statement spare the rod and spoil the child. We may even hear quotations from the scripture such as Proverbs 13:24, "Whosoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." You might also heard of or read about children's rights and one such right is the RIGHT NOT TO BE HIT. This is how the United Nations Committee on the Rights of a Child define corporal punishment as,
“any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. Most involves hitting (“smacking”, “slapping”, “spanking”) children, with the hand or with an implement – whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. But it can also involve, for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion (for example, washing children’s mouths out with soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices). In the view of the Committee, corporal punishment is invariably degrading. In addition, there are other non-physical forms of punishment which are also cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention. These include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child.”
In many parts of the world, including the Caribbean corporal punishment is against the law. I am totally against child abuse, but from the definition above you would realize that the child cannot even be spanked. I have heard stories about children calling the police on their parents not because they were abused but because they were spanked. I have observed children today and the way some speak to their parents and I keep saying to myself I couldn't do that. What is happening? This child is so rude. I looked back on my life and I know I was beaten by both parents at some point or the other for disobedience. The thing is I have learnt from it. I have learnt not to put my mouth in big people's conversation after all 'small donkey has big ears'. I have learnt that if my mom says sit there and do not move or don't let the sun go down and you are at people's place, she means it. I grow up in an atmosphere also where discipline was not done only by parents, but by grandparents, aunts, uncles, brother or sisters who might be the one that saw you doing wrong. I believe that a lot of who I am today is a result of the discipline from the 'ROD.' Could it have been done differently? Maybe, but half the times I got spanked was because they talked once or twice and never planned to do it three times.
There are indeed many other ways of disciplining a child apart from corporal punishment, but how effective are they? I am seeing children getting ruder, embarrassing their parents in public and generally have little to no respect for the authority of their parents. The same children that should not be spanked because they are too young to understand certain things, are smart enough to know that if they start screaming out in public, they will get what they want because they parents want them to stop. Again, I do not support the abuse of children, but I believe in a mixed method approach in disciplining a child that includes spanking from time to time. Maybe there should be an age stipulation for spanking according to the definition above.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the definition of corporal punishment is too extreme? What are your views on spanking children? Is it possible to spank a child and do not abuse them?