Before I get stated, I’d like to ask you guys for one question: Have you ever got smacked by your parents when you are a little child? If you have, please put your hands up. Alright, it seems everyone has been smacked before, so have I.
A black and white picture of a cross father spanking a little boy who is crying on his knees could be described by people as the “bad old days”. Disciplinary action such as a smack on a child’s bottom is not illegal in Australia and it’s now viewed as “barbaric”. As a result, children get hurt. Many of the parents are the proponents of corporal punishment as it is quicker to implement, costs nothing and deters unruliness. Nevertheless, psychologists are doing a lot of researches and giving reports aiming to ban those harmful actions to children. Also, the governments have paid a lot of attention to this issue as well. In my opinion, smacking must be banned in order to protect children’s rights and keep them from harming in both physical and psychological ways. If we keep this pathological approach of parenting, the delay of the development of civilization in Australia will result.
In most Australian states, a parent can lawfully smack a child when it is “reasonable”, however, the difficulties of defining “reasonable” makes the situation more complex. Sometimes, smack can lead to more extreme forms of physical abuse. Here is a story: Just few weeks ago, a Chinese mother beat her 3-year-old girl with her open hand because she kept crying. By accident, she was hitting too hard and her daughter’s head hit the ground; that caused her skull fracture and her tragic death. Dr. Chaney, the head of The Royal Australasian College of Pediatric & Child Health Division, said “it is no longer OK for parents to argue that it never did us any harm”.
Even our parents are confident about interpreting “sensible”, the definition of a “reasonable smack” can be various according to individuals, which a lightly hit for an adult could makes a child feel painful. It doesn’t matter what justifications they find to support corporal punishment, there is still a risk of “child abuse”. Especially when parents are frustrated, angry or upset with the child; it can inadvertently lead to them using brute force or in places where it does leave an injury. Do parents what that? Definitely not! In order to prevent our parents from the use of violence against children, smacking should be banned.
Moreover, a lot of evidences show that smacking does not only harm children physically, but also links to mental disorders, which it can cause long-term psychological impact on children. I believe every one of you is interested in the psychological impact of physical discipline in the absence of more severe child maltreatment (like physical abuse and emotional abuse). There is a study that looked at the link between physical punishment and mental disorders in more than 20,000 American adults aged 20 and over.
Taking into account sociodemographic variables and family history of dysfunction, they found that harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders and personality disorders in a general population sample. A US study has found that the spanking of three-year-old children by mothers was associated with an increased risk of high levels of aggression. Now the way that it stands, we can’t deceive ourselves anymore, which time and time again corporal punishment has devastated the live of young generations and caused untold suffering. And we’ve already got enough innocent victims, do we need more?
In addition, making smacking illegal would have a significant symbolic effect. Professor Frank Oberklaid, a pediatrician from Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, said Australia was lagging behind other countries in outlawing smacking. It has been claimed that one of the law is to represent what a society values. The fact of making smacking illegal not only means that it may carry a penalty, it also makes it apparent that society as a whole does not approve the action.
While our law does not stop child abuse, it blurs the line of abuse and discipline and our children get hurt. Those who support corporal punishment should ask their selves: We would not consider for a moment that it is acceptable to smack other people, so why is it permissible to smack children? Instead, we should follow the words of Bible: “one of love and living in harmony with another.” Therefore, hurting children or anyone is contrary to this underlying theme. And also, there are many other better ways of parenting; outlawing smacking will force people to find and use better alternate as well.
Many of the proponents of smacking argue that smacking is sometimes the most effective form of discipline, which a lot of parents noted that “A slap can go straight to the point very quickly”. Some of the psychologists explain that it may be necessary to smack a child to provide an immediate halt to an unacceptable behavior and it is a way to say “stop” and “listen”. Nevertheless, the most recent researches show that smacking does not achieve what the parents want. In 2011, two researchers in America analyse a wide range of American studies stated.
In a sample of 11,044 American children; corporal punishment predicted increases in child behavior problems from age 5 to age 8 equally across white, black and Asian-American groups. If smacking were really effective, then wouldn’t it be used on adults and teenagers? And once again, there are many other styles of parenting. When you are really frustrated, just take a break, a deep breath, calm down and then talk to your children, I believe that will be much better than smacking because you actually communicate with your children. Real communication is the most effective way of parenting.
Lawfully smacking a child has become a burning issue in Australia and it has to be abandoned. Corporal punishment leads us to a complicated situation, and it will potentially hurt children and leave them a long-term negative effect inside. And this could cause a rising crime rate and affect the development of our society. In order to create a better world with more comfort and joy for our children and protect them from any abuse, a ban of smacking is a pressing necessity.
Courtney from Study Moose
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