Is spanking a child, child abuse?
Debate Rounds (3)
No spanking a child is not abuse, it is considered a proved form of discipline. Spanking shouldn't be the first choice when it comes to a child, other more calm and nice methods should be used first, but there comes a point when if a child consistently repeats an action that dangers himself or others or breaks any rules set in the household, school yard, or public should be "spanked" appropriately. Using this method to reduce defiance isn't taking away any freedom of the child nor will it cause any permanent damage to the child when he/she is older and most of the time this method of punishment is used to firmly make kids aware of the things they cant do for their own safety.(1)
If your child keeps playing with a dangerous item, leaving the house ect. spanking the child will deter him/her from doing these dangerous activities until the child is old enough to be aware of these dangers himself. Its a type of Operant Conditioning(2) and a healthy kind too, no study has shown that spanking has ever caused any long term damage to a child and its proved effective to stop the child from doing the activity that you don't want it to do.
Although it may not leave long term damage, why is a child's right less important than an adults? If it were an adult male/female that had been physically punished accordingly to the abusive person, then there would be court cases and hearings and punishment for the abuser (non violent punishment). It would not be socially acceptable, so why is it when a child is physically disciplined, it's considered normal and socially acceptable? Using this mean of discipline MAY emphasize to the child that physical violence is a completely acceptable in order to get your own way. There are alternative disciplinary actions that could be taken that promote "good" morals to children rather than negative physical contact. For example, if there is a dangerous item in the house that the child keeps on touching, then it should be the parents responsibility to eliminate that risk instead of spanking the child. When older people are physically hit, they are considered to have their right to safety infringed upon, so why should this right be different in regards to a vulnerable child?
The reason spanking a child is different from an older person hitting another older person is because younger children are un-aware until a certain age, they do not realise the consequences of their mistakes, they don't have worries of danger, damage of property, the world is their open sandbox and they will run around it doing as they please without any restrictions, even if "doing as they please" involves danger to themselves or others. children's minds are like a sponge, they will absorb anything, the things they do as a child will carry on as they grow older. If you allow a child to break things, hurt people or break rules in general, they will grow up continuing doing unacceptable behaviour in the future. Children who break things will grow up to be teenagers who break things, children who grow up playing with things they should (eg matches) will potentially grow up to do possibly even illegal things (eg burning things). We don't send children to court for breaking the rules because at a young age they are not self aware, they do not have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing, why they are doing them and what the outcome of what they are doing will be. So its the responsibility of the parents to help their child learn, its a common practice among all species of animals. They do something wrong, you give them a negative feedback (eg a spank) they will stop doing the thing wrong.
In Philippe Rochat report named "Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life"(1) he explains the concept in full detail, how a negative response feedback as long as its not too often and not too harmful can effectively teach kids discipline and respect towards important aspects and people in their lives. That this simple response will train their mind to not only understand what's not acceptable but also carry this information on when they grow older, stopping them from acting foolishly rebellious and even as far as breaking the law. These things are needed to influence a child in its early stages of development for its proved and widely accepted that at a young age children are acting on instinct and will learn by what they see, feel and experience for themselves.
It does not matter whether or not it has psychological affects on the child, but whether it is morally acceptable to punish a child through violence when they have the right to safety like any other living human being. And yes, they do not send minors to court because they do not have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing and the long term consequences that may result, however again, it is not whether they deserve to be physically punished but whether morally it is acceptable. Teenagers are minors too and except in rare circumstances, aren't trialed as adults in courts because the court believes they still aren't mentally capable. Yet, if a teenage man or female hits their partner or gets into a violent, physical fight, there would be actions to protect those involved. So what age does a child get to where the physical abuse stops and action taken place to protect the individual. Whether or not you think spanking a child is beneficial, the law does not deal with issues physically. Even adults who burn buildings and commit robbery do not get disciplined physically, so why should a child who does not have the mental capacity to account for his actions get punished severely for something so little. Even criminals are entitled to basic rights, so there is no reason why a child's well being and rights should not be accounted for too.
I highly doubt that children would have the mental capacity to comprehend something like a person spanking them is "demonstrating that older people have power over younger people" kids just simply don't look at the big picture like that, were actually spanking them for doing something deemed wrong doesn't require any thinking of the child at all, its purely instinct, the child does something wrong, you provide a negative feedback normally stimulation that leaves the child in a state of discomfort such as a spank, they subconsciously wont do the action again because they know that the negative stimulus could happen again, they don't even have to think about it. If what you say that spanking leads to depression, bullying and mental problems with the child, that would mean close to 94% of kids will have depression, mental illness or become bullies (or get bullied) since that's the average percentage of children that have been spanked at least once from the age of 3-4(1). Obviously those aren't the numbers of depressed people and not even close to the number of people with mental illness, that would mean over 4/5ths of our population would be depressed or have a mental illness causing a collapse in society. Now saying that purely children who get spanked WILL have these things but even if it raises the possibility of these negative effects such as depression, there would still be a far higher number of people with depression or a mental illness if spanking did influence these negative effects.
A recent study shows that 74% of mothers believe spanking is an acceptable form of punishment(1) and its not like spanking is a new practice, for thousands of years spanking has been used to discipline a child, and if it really had any actual negative effects would people have not evolved or grown out of the habit of it? wouldn't we see clear signs in history of the damage spanking could do? Spanking has always been an acceptable and common practice, now that we live in such a healthy time and "first world problems" are getting so much more attention, only recently has spanking ever been a controversial subject because there are frankly less things to complain about, but I suppose if you ask any child they would say no they don't want to be spanked, but if you ask any child that's now grown up they will say how they don't mind that they were or some will even be thankful that they were(2) I know I myself was hit on the hand with a wooden spoon, a more classic and olden style of punishment, but do I hate my mother for it? do I now feel the need for revenge? No of course not and neither to most other now grown up men and woman who went though the same punishment. There is a clear line through disciplinary punishment like spanking and abuse, there is a difference between a needed spank, not too hard to damage the child but hard enough to make him not want the punishment in the future, then actually hitting and abusing the child and that's what people get punishment and abuse mixed up with.
Yes- spanking has been around for many, many years and in some families, a form of traditional punishment, but that's the problem, it was a punishment that was first used many years ago. There are more efficient ways to punish your child that have more lasting effect than physically harming them (2). Spanking WAS a common and acceptable punishment, but is becoming less common and acceptable with some countries BANNING the use of it (3). Also spanking has not just become a problem and getting so much attention, if you look on the website (3) you will see that countries have been banning them since the early 1980's. There is also no clear line through disciplinary punishment like spanking or abuse because if there was, it would not be such a controversial issue. Also, hitting the child and physically harming them whether it be emotionally or physically is abuse and as I have stated before, if it were a woman or a man that were being hit by their partners as "discipline", it would be considered abuse and there is no reason why a vulnerable child should not have the same rights- if not more rights. I agree, kids nowadays are getting out of hand, but social media and such devices do focus on the negatives and exaggerate situations where kids are breaking the law and such. Spanking a child is a primitive form of discipline. I also don't hate my parents for disciplining me and I don't think they are bad parents because of it. However I do believe because of the emphasis of Human Rights to all and the amount of importance it has to modern society, punishment that is physical should not be used as disciplinary means.
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