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View Poll Results: Physical punishment aganist children. Acceptable or Unacceptable?
Acceptable 50 56.82%
Unacceptable 38 43.18%
Voters: 88. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-17-2009, 04:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
Juicious Maximus III
 
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Default Physical discipline against children .. okay or not?

Physical disciplining commonly used by parents to teach their young not to do certain things for fear of being beaten. In many places of the world, it is currently a hot topic. Sweden was the first country to prohibit physical punishment against children on the basis that, while it may be an effective way to change unwanted behaviour, it can have negative consequences for those children otherwise.

The same law is being discussed in Norway at the moment. Of course, a lot of people defend physical punishment. Many, probably most of our parents and grandparents were beaten when they were children and many of those used the same way to raise their own children. They don't necessarily consider themselves bad people and they don't like it when a law comes along saying that what they did was morally wrong and should be criminalized. You also have people who have been beaten and think they're all the better for it who come out of the woodwork to defend this kind of disciplining.

(edit: Children in Norway are already well protected here, but supreme court has stated somewhat recently that light smacks are allowed which recently triggered more discussion on the subject)


Where do you stand on this issue? The question may be intimately private, so for those who don't wish to spill their beans that way, I've provided you with an anonymous poll. Noone will be able to see what your poll-choice was .. I think.


I think it's good to outlaw it. I find it ridiculous that we have laws protecting our pets from being beaten up, but we're not protecting our children the same way. There are other ways of bringing up children, just watch Super Nanny or Nanny 911 if you don't know what they are. I agree that it's not good when a law criminalizes a lot of people, but the effect of such a law won't be to throw every smacking parent in jail. It'll help protect some of those kids who have it bad and it might promote a bit more moralistic thinking when it comes to our children. I think it's a problem if in a society, children are looked upon by parents more as property than fellow human beings.

You have to raise them and respect them at the same time. I'm not a father, but I bet that's really hard and smacking might be easier to resort to, but I still think it's wrong.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sure! Beat the crap out of the little tykes!
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I was smacked as a child and i'm fine about it, mostly because it wasn't enough to be classed as 'beating' and it was only when i really deserved it since my parents were very lax on me. I'm pretty sure it did me well, i've probably only had about 3 fights with my folks in the last 8 years because they showed just the right of balance of discipline with respect. I think if it becomes anymore than a quick slap on the arm then it's wrong.

That i said i severely doubt i could smack my kids if i had any.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't think you'll get much of a discussion on this. Anyone who thinks corporal punishment is morally excusable is either a joker or an idiot. Edit: Case in point with Fireincairo...

That said, I've seen what some kids can be like and I'm grateful I'll never be in a situation where I might resort to violence to discipline someone. :\
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Some trivia,

the severity of the physical punishment appearantly corelates with the belief system with the parents according to some studies according to a study. Perhaps I can find the article that documents this, but it's not really that surprising.

According to the abstract from this article from 1991, more than 90% of parents in the USA use physical punishment. It also suggests without empirically concluding that parents who do not use physical punishment have, on average, better behaved children and that such punishment, while a good way to force conformity early in life will tend to cause deviating behaviour when the children grow up. Thus, a way to help minimize crime in a society could be to ban physical punishment.

I'm sure lots more studies have been made on this since 1991, so I'll see if I can find some proper empirical conclusions.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I found a very interesting article describing the consequences of the ban in Sweden.

Quote:
Evaluating the success of sweden’s corporal punishment ban

Abstract


Objective: In 1979, Sweden became the first nation to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children by all caretakers in an effort to: (1) alter public attitudes toward this practice; (2) increase early identification of children at risk for abuse; and (3) promote earlier and more supportive intervention to families. The aim of this study was to examine trends over recent decades in these areas to assess the degree to which these goals have been met.

Method: Primary data were collected from official Swedish sources for the following variables: public support for corporal punishment, reporting of child physical assault, child abuse mortality, prosecution rates, and intervention by the social authorities. Lines of best fit were generated and Cox and Stuart tests for trend were conducted.

Results: Public support for corporal punishment has declined, identification of children at risk has increased, child abuse mortality is rare, prosecution rates have remained steady, and social service intervention has become increasingly supportive and preventive.

Conclusions: The Swedish ban has been highly successful in accomplishing its goals.
Read the whole thing here if you want -> link to article.


Other than that, this article from a study done in New Zealand confirms that severe corporal punishment increases risk for juvenile offenses, substance abuse, mental health problems, suicide etc. However, since it deals with harsh punishment, probably harsher than the average, it's not that surprising and maybe not completely relevant. However, a ban on corporal punishment could help these victims too, so it is somewhat relevant even if they are a minority.

This article describes a link between physical punishment events in childhood and marital violence and aggression later in life. It suggests that elimination of corporal punishment can reduce some of the psychological and social processes that increase likelyhood of violence against spouses and possibly other forms of violence.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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like PMO i was smacked by my dad (very rarely, if i had been keeping count it probably wouldn't have been more than 15 times lol), and it certainly wasn't 'beating', that would imply repetitive and unneccessary use of force on a defenseless child to me. It was over the knee, smack, done. It seems society is divided right down the middle on this kind of treatment, people that didn't get it think it's redundant and old fashioned.

These smacks were infrequent enough to stop me from being a little bastard most of the time, I really don't remember much about the circumstances as it was such a long time ago, but I know my dad never had any bad intentions and I have always respected him unequivocally. I mean as we grow older we all come to realise our parents were human all along and as humans would occasionally lose it, but I think the right for level-headed parents to discipline their own children is up to them, it's the government poking their noses into people's private lives once again.

But I'm ambiguous as I'm fully aware there are alot of bad parents out there, immature parents, even dangerous ones. I'm sure the figures out there for child abuse are staggering. I don't know. It seems like such a minor thing but I don't know if I'd have had the same respect for my parents if those consequences for being a little sh*tbag were not there?
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't like the term 'beaten' here, I feel like anything that would qualify as a beating would already be protected under standard child abuse laws.

I don't have any problem with smacking children, I was occasionally smacked as a kid, no harm was done. Its work as a deterrent came mostly from the shame of being smacked, rather than the pain. Which I think is a good way for parents to play it, any real harm to the child isn't acceptable.

Generally I feel that children aren't as emotionally fragile as is often reported.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't remember being beaten (as a small child) but I do know I was and am afraid of my father, and not without reason. I think it's the worst thing in the world to be afraid of your parents, they're the people who are supposed to protect you and make you safe, not the other way around. :\ That's why it's important to send a message out (because really, that's all it is, a message from the state, I mean it's not likely to get enforced rigorously) that there is no excuse for physical abuse.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fruitonica View Post
I don't like the term 'beaten' here, I feel like anything that would qualify as a beating would already be protected under standard child abuse laws.

I don't have any problem with smacking children, I was occasionally smacked as a kid, no harm was done. Its work as a deterrent came mostly from the shame of being smacked, rather than the pain. Which I think is a good way for parents to play it, any real harm to the child isn't acceptable.

Generally I feel that children aren't as emotionally fragile as is often reported.
Yup, the thread is not about violence which is clearly prohibited by child abuse laws. It's more generally about introducing physical punishment as a negative consequence for children when they do unwanted behaviour.

Likely, most of us have experienced this in various degrees and I don't think most of us would consider ourselves harmed by it today. But it's often quite hard to say what life would have been like if such violence had or had not not been a part of it. Thus, when looking at the effects of corporal punishment on society etc., I think it's better to look outside ourselves at studies involving for example thousands of people and statistical trends.

I only remember getting smacked on the hand once, which is trivial, and I'm thankful for that. Aside from that one incident, my parents never tried to force or scare me into obedience.
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