Physical Chastisement of Children Should Be Illegal
Last updated: March 2, 2017
The title indicates that physical chastisement of children should be illegal in all circumstances. Currently, smacking children is banned in many countries. In Britain, the status quo is that a parent can be prosecuted for assault when the line of 'reasonable punishment' has been crossed. However there is no definition of 'reasonable punishment'. Despite this, from looking at previous cases any punishment which leaves visible scars,bruises on a child or where mental harm is evident is considered beyond 'reasonable punishment'. There are many case studies of countries which have banned corporal punishment for children all together, such as Poland, the Netherlands, Israel and many others. We concede that other forms of punishment like withholding food or bullying children verbally also cause emotional distress and we are happy to say these should be banned as well. However the debate focuses on forms of physical chastisement, such as hitting and smacking etc.
We also recognize that there are differences in intent and the level of pain caused by chastisement. So, whilst we believe all forms should be outlawed, the punishment on parents would be proportional to the level of pain inflicted and the intent ( whether it was done in a fit of passion or calculated). So, in the lighter cases, parents would not be separated from their children, but perhaps fined, for example.
Physical chastisement isn't an effective disciplinary tool
disciplining children. Firstly, children tend to mimic their parents.
This is because they respect them, love them and they are the example of adult behavior they are most often exposed to, which children then assume is ‘normal’. This is harmful to a child’s development because they see that bigger, stronger people can hit smaller, weaker people, and that is seen as OK because the authority figure in a child’s life is the one who does it. This means children are more likely to find it acceptable to hit their younger playmates in school or younger siblings, for example.
Hitting also indicates to children that violence is the solution to
resolving conflicts. Even if parents teach negotiation and principles
of fairness, for most children negative memories of being hit are more prominent than positive ones of explanation are. So, it is likely that children will overwhelmingly remember the use of force to end arguments rather than the message behind it and relay this on the playground.
Children don’t see the causality of their actions properly when they
are physically punished. Rather than watching a girl cry when you
steal her toy, if a child is punished he/she will associate certain
actions with pain. Even if parents give an explanation of why the
child behaved badly, the pain is the overwhelming sensation and this prevents the child from internalizing the parent’s message. They never understand the harm they do to others and only think about their actions through how it relates to them. This can lead to anti-social behavior in all social situations as children don’t even consider other people’s feelings in their relationships with the outside world. They also associate pain with the times when they are caught being naughty. This suggests that there is nothing inherently wrong in a crime, but only a painful result if caught, which encourages young people to do what they can get away wit
If hitting were to be directly related to violence and if banning action was to be taken to all form of violence, then every form of martial arts, many forms of sports and many other physical activity are to be banned. The difference between violence and hitting someone is not only based on the understanding of the child, but also how it is presented to him/her.
The sense of guilty feeling is to be taught to one child, if a child has already experienced pain performing certain mischief, then firstly they are reluctant to perform the task again and if they knowingly or unknowingly do the same thing again, then the guilty conscience will disable him/her to hiding it again and confess to the concerned authority. And about the overwhelming pain from the punishment, it can be firmly said that any concerned parent would not harm a child in an inhumane manner. Hence, the pain would be temporary and only but a reminder to what is wrong and what is right.
There are sufficient harms to justify a ban
A child’s hand is also vulnerable. Hitting can damage tendons, blood vessels, nerves and ligaments, which are all located close to the
skin. Following an attack, the child’s adrenaline output increases too. Following repeated attacks, the child's endocrine balance fails to
return to baseline. This results in the child becoming prone to poor impulse control, becoming easily angered, and prone to spontaneous
The risk of these effects is increase because, as previously explained, spanking is ineffective. This means that the parent and child become set in a repeating pattern of children misbehaving followed by more spanking. The parent will often become frustrated at
spanking not working, meaning that the frequency and intensity of the violence can increase, and the child is placed at greater risk. The
risk to the child is also greater, because the parent is frequently angry / in a state of heightened emotion when they are hitting the child. As the child gets older and bigger, the parent feels that they need to use more violence to discipline them.
There are emotional effects for the parent. The parent is often reminded of traumatic episodes in their life when they were hit. The parent often feels powerless after spanking their child - because the spanking doesn't work.
For the child, the relationship with the parent becomes one ‘based on the fear of being hit.’ This creates distance between the parent and child. If you fear being hit, it becomes harder for parents and children to raise and deal with issues.
But if the parents use beating calculatingly, the benefit will far exceed the harm. The methods and the application should be calculated. And if there is a small short term loss for a big long term gain, then why not take that leap of faith. All the physical long term effects provided by the proposition are only farfetched. No parent willingly beats their child. As stated earlier beating a child is always the last resort. So, it cannot be said that any guardian would beat a child to the extremes of permanent physical damage.
We will get desired behavior from the children which are not only beneficial to the parents but also to the children. Here we are discussing what is best for the children. If we get disciplined, well behaved individual who are aware of what is good and what is bad at the expense of short term difficulty, then what is the harm in it.
The state has a duty to protect children
vulnerability. Children do not have the same freedoms that legal adults have. In most states, they cannot drive until a certain
age, they cannot rent a place to live or get a job or afford rent. This traps children in their families. It means they do not
have the ability to protect themselves in the same way adults do. Further, children will often convince themselves that they must have been naughty after all, even if they weren’t. Children also have a unique bond of love and respect for their parents too and so are not likely to want to find help, because they may feel guilty. Even more simply, in the case of a two year old, there is nothing s/he can do to get help at all.
This is why the state is the only actor that can protect children if adults inflict harm. The state must be proactive because often children are unaware of what protection is available to them and are unlikely to be as aware of the injustice of a parent hitting them.
The state should, on the whole, respect parents freedom to raise children as they see fit. However, it is justifiable to restrict
freedoms when they result in great enough harms, which we have shown physical punishment of children does.
It is even more justifiable to restrict this freedom, because it is not an excessive restriction.Outlawing physical chastisement doesn’t impede people’s ability to effectively raise children. Moreover, the concept of freedom also includes the freedom to live without harm. Physically harming a child, represents a significant infringement on a child's freedom, which the state should try to prevent.
The idea of freedom in a child is very limited. They are not actually aware about their choices in religion, finance and many other factors. The only needs they have are more of immediate nature, which might include fooding, playing games or watching TV. In the act to discipline a child, parents are to be allowed to take away such privileges suitable to the condition. The sense of democracy to a child is only limited in such privileges. So if acts of denying such facilities in the pursuit of proper mannerisms could be considered as seizing freedom, then freedom is very cheap and vague.
Evidence based alternatives
surprising that so many parents still consider it to be ‘normal’. Many parentsl smack their child is because they were smacked, and thus, have rationalized it is ok. This sets up a cycle in which parents, children, and future children are destined to repeat these mistakes. Given that this is the case, the government has to ban smacking, acting on the evidence it has available to it. Parents are understandably, constrained by the way they were raised. However, the state is capable, by using the law, to send clear messages to society about what is acceptable. Most citizens are law abiding and will not want to risk loosing their child. In countries where smacking is banned –very few children have been taken into care. Instead, there has been less smacking and increased use of better parenting methods.
Alternative methods: The age and mental capacity of the child determines what is best practice. We will argue that even if the
child is a toddler, hitting is still not reasonable.
Older children can be talked to. Explanation why a child shouldn’t do x. A positive suggestion can be made, eg: ‘you can’t do x but do y.’ Phrasing matters. For example, if you ask a child, ‘Would you like to do x before or after you do y’ they are more likely to do x than if you use a straight forward command. You can negotiate certain things with children too. Children can also learn from their own mistakes.
With small children, games are useful. Tone of voice says a lot in itself, regardless of whether a child understands you. Use childlocks. Mimicry is good with small children. If you show them how to do x, they will copy. Parents can get stressed. Parents should take a break, call a relative or find a w
Why children misbehave.
In all these cases, the child is not being 'bad' and doesn't deserve to be hit. It is more productive to try and identify and eliminate the cause of their child's stress. Sometimes this will be easy e.g carrying healthy snacks for when the children get hungry, or child proofing a home so that children cant access things that they are not supposed to. In other cases, it may require the parent to rethink the way they act around their children and how they have structured / planned out their children's lives.
Obviously, even the most perfect parents will have children who misbehave, but the seriousness of the misbehaviour and the frequency of misbehaving can be greatly reduced.
In instances where a child is being unreasonable, despite a parent attempting to do all of the above, parents can use time outs. Sometimes ignoring some behaviour (so long as it not dangerous) can be effective.
In older children, the root cause of misbehaviour can be discovered through asking the child, and again the real problem can be tackled, which does not happen when a child is simply smacked.
The problem with the proposition's argument is regarding the use of the word 'attention'. Why would the child demand for attention in the first case. It is either the child gets less attention than what they deserve or they are facing discomfort. In such cases it is the obligation of the guardian to tend to the needs of the child, or else it can be categorized as poor supervision.
The opposition has constantly been focusing on the use of physical chastisement as the last resort. Meaning to say that it is to be used if the same act of misbehavior is being repeated by the child over and over again.
The opposition is not suggesting that children lack the theory of mind. The opposition understands the capability and the limitation that a child has. Similarly, if a child's demands are of important nature then the guardian is not to ignore it by subduing it with physical chastisement.
All the ideas provided by the proposition are highly effective in most cases, but the opposition is not focused in majority of the cases, here the opposition is focusing on the rare cases where even these ideas don't work, And the fact that these cases happen in minor number is not an excuse. It is the duty of the state to take care of the ones who fall under minority as well.
1. The logic opp have consistently resorted to is: if a child is hit they will associate pain with with wrong doing and so will be deterred. This point didn't stand. It is not at all clear, why, using opps logic you can not form other negative associations through the use of detentions, baning a child from using the pc, time outs or other non violent methods. It is also not clear why as much of an emphasis cannot be placed on rewarding positive behaviour. Side opp have never directly engaged with this point.
2. There has been no engagement with our points about the emotional harms that are experienced by the parent and child. Why is it ok for the parent tobe reminded of episodes from their past? Why is it ok to create a relationship based on fear? Why is it ok to create emotional distance between a parent and child that makes it harder for both sides to identify and talk about underlying issues?
3. It is notable that side opp conceded that our explanation of why children misbehaved and our suggestions of more effective non violent parenting methods worked. They even referred to all of our ideas as 'highly effective.'
Following this they were left with one claim which they repeatedly made: that for most kids non violence is fine, but in the most extreme cases it has to be used.' We rebutted this when we explained the problems with labelling a child as 'stubborn' and the problems that result from thinking 'only hitting will work' We explained that children are largely, the product of their social environment and provided analysis that explained why children (including the most stubborn) misbehave, and suggested practical ways to fix this. We also explained why parents hitting children who they are particularly frustrated with - increased the risk of serious pain being inflicted on the child. Following our rebuttal of their 'stubborn child' case, very little of their case remains.
4. The other aspect of their case, that they clinged to as the debate progressed was the claim that there was a difference between extreme beatings and minor beatings. To be clear: a child is caused unnecessary distress by either. There is a risk of escalation of violence due to frustration and anger. There is also the risk of unintended harm, the parent may simply misestimate the pain threshold of the child. The parent is better of not placing themself in this situation.
5. Side opp kept insisting that the majority of parents were motivated by the best of intentions. We accept this on side prop. Most parents who hit their children really do believe what they are doing is right. But simply believing something to be correct, and as a result repeating the mistakes of the past does not make it right
Physical chastisement is justified when used for disciplining.
In UK, the “No-touch Policy” do not allow the teachers to even touch the students. This has evoked the children to be disobedient in school. They often threaten the teacher saying, “If you touch me, you shall have to face a law suit.” This has forced many teachers out of their profession. This trend also continues at home where innocent parents are being accused by the children for physical assault even over small verbal disputes. Children often tend to misuse their rights to threaten the adults. This disables the guardian to restrict them within certain degree of discipline. Threats of law suit by children to the guardians have resulted in leniency towards even the most extreme cases.
2. They say: “ Parents have to use tough love on their kids when all other options fail “ We respond: Parents who smack their child, haven’t explored ‘all other options’ We also take issue with the phrase 'tough love.' You can't use 'tough love' against your wife. Why should you against a child.
3. What is a stubborn child? Opp fail to explore the underlying reasons why children misbehave. We think the problem is that opp think the ‘stubborn child’ can only be made to behave better by physical punishment..
Regarding the no touch policy in schools, physically chastising a child is different to the no touch policy. Also, the use of violence by teachers is a very bad idea. It results in confrontations between teachers and pupils. It results in teachers being put at an increased risk of violence. It results in students feeling humiliated and being less likely to focus on class or raise underlying issues they have with the teacher.
In response to the claim children shouldn't have rights, we have already dealt with this point when we explained why the state has a particular duty to protect children. Further, there will always be a minority of individuals who try and use rights in unjust ways. We assume courts and daily telegraph writers are able to point out when this occurs and hold people to account. It seems unreasonable to use anomalous examples as reasons to deny all children rights.
Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development
During the pre-conventional stage, level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning. Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The pre-conventional level consists of the first and second stages of moral development, and is solely concerned with the self in an egocentric manner. A child with preconventional morality has not yet adopted or internalized society's conventions regarding what is right or wrong, but instead focuses largely on external consequences that certain actions may bring.
In Stage one (obedience and punishment driven), individuals focus on the direct consequences of their actions on themselves. For example, an action is perceived as morally wrong because the perpetrator is punished. "The last time I did that I got spanked so I will not do it again." The worse the punishment for the act is, the more "bad" the act is perceived to be. This can give rise to an inference that even innocent victims are guilty in proportion to their suffering. It is "egocentric", lacking recognition that others' points of view are different from one's own. There is "deference to superior power or prestige".
Childhood psychology is far more complex and nuanced than the theory we have been given by opp.
Though, if we accept their interpretation of the theory:
1. This only applies to young children; presumably this means opposition accept that with older children who understand moral reasoning physical punishment is not necessary.
2. Note: Even with younger children, using their reasoning, at no point is it clear in Kohlbergs theory that the punishment *must* consist of hitting a child. Instead you could take away the child’s favourite toy, stop them from playing outside for the day, ban then from playing Nintendo 3DS etc.
3. Opp seem to think only bad behaviour should be punished. If the aim is to condition children into behaving well – why not also reward young children for behaving, which would act as a disincentive for bad behaviour.
If opp's claim was that there was a certain childhood development stage, in which only hitting works - it falls. There are lots of ways you can make a child " focus on external consequences that certain actions may bring. "
Requirement of Immediate Action
2. If as opp argue, children are everywhere causing trouble, that is an argument for increased investment in policing and crime prevention strategies. Expecting citizens to take the law into their own hands involves asking citizens to take on too much risk of personal harm.
3. Even if this (2) is not the case, we hope it is reasonable to suggest that there is a difference between ‘ physically chastising ‘ (punishing a child) and using the minimum force required to prevent someone from smashing a car window.
So in order to prevent in development of such youths in the society, proper action is to be taken beforehand. Talking about proper action, what is a proper action then? Proposition states that even in extreme cases physical punishment is not justified. The opposition as well feels that physical punishment is not the best option. But we are arguing that in extreme of cases. Parents who are negligent, children who are highly attention seeking result in rise of such extreme of cases. Though it may be applicable to very small group, but then everyone is to be considered by the state and nation.
If any act disables a child to repeat the act in the future without permanent harm, then why is it not an option for the guardian. Disabling someone to perform such unsocial in their early states of life does not allow such act to amplify in the course of their life.
2. You can still teach children that actions have concequences without using violence. It doesn't follow from what team Scotland have argued that children will only be shown the good side of life and pampered. Out rebuttal of kohlbergs theory made that clear.
Religions support some form of physical chastisement
A verse of Bible says,” Foolishness is bond in the heart of a child, but a rod of correction drives them far from it.” This clearly reflects that the ‘rod’-which refers to the physical punishment, is a necessity. Despite Islam religion discouraging child abuse and clearly mentioning that children should be cared and loved by their parents, it also says; ‘Order your children to pray at the age of seven. And beat them [lightly] if they do not do so by the age of ten.’ This refers that children should be first guided with suggestion and counseling, but if they do not realize their bad deeds, they deserve light physical punishments from their parents. However, legalizing chastisement requires an understanding that molestation and torture are different from punishment. Guardians are well aware about this difference and are able to punish rather than torture or molest their own child. Most of the time children realize their mistakes. Hence, in this case they clearly understand pain and they know if they repeat the mistake, it might result in painful consequences. This avoids the child to repeat the mistake in the future.
1. Religion claims things are right or wrong based on an appeal to faith. This means that religions may contain ideas which religious believers choose to accept despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. An advantage of the state being secular, is that it can adopt ideas simply based on whether they work or not, the state is not held back by religious dogma. In this instance, we believe the harms caused by hitting are so overwhelming that the concerns of some religous groups are not sufficient reason for us to concede.
2. The state does not tolerate discrimination or abuse against women, gays, or different racial groups when religion is used as justification. Why should it tolerate religion being used to justify unnecessary violence against children.
3. In any case, it is not at all clear that Christians and Muslims hold the position that opp claim. Many religious parents choose
not to hit their children. Faith is complex, and religious texts can often be interpreted in lots of different ways. What right to side opp have to claim that theirs is the only valid interpretation.
4. The example they used of the Muslim child who refuses to pray was detrimental to their case. If a child refuses to pray, beating them until they do is not acceptable. Accepting or rejecting religion has such a major impact on the way a child lives their life; children should have the freedom to choose their faith free from the fear of violence
5. given the range of more effective alternative methods available to a parent, there is simply no good reason for causing a child to feel pain. Regardless of the force used or the context.
The proposition constantly focused on the violent actions related to any form of corporal punishment. The ideas they presented were quiet horrific. It sounded more like in the vicinity of crime. The opposition has constantly found the arguments beyond what the opposition had stated about the term physical chastisement. The proposition should have been stayed within the boundary of the definition of physical chastisement provided by the opposition. The opposition acknowledges the fact that overuse or misuse of physical chastisement should be punished.
The idea that the proposition provided regarding the definition of child was quiet vague. The use of terms like “small child” and “big child” were very vague and difficult to segregate. The opposition had divided the childhood period to different stages so as it would be relatively convenient to argue on different phases of childhood. All the ideas based upon such division were very also vague and the opposition found the arguments difficult to comprehend.
The proposition tried to provide many alternatives, but it always ended up in the best possible scenario. The question that the opposition would like to ask is, what if all the alternatives mentioned before didn’t work? What would be the next step for the guardians? The proposition needs to understand that even in the rarest case, or the most extreme scenario, if proper action is not taken by the concerned authority, then the later consequences is the fault of the concerned authority.
A country always demands for disciplined citizens, and if an act of temporary discomfort in the early stage of his life would take him to a path of a good citizen, then the opposition believes that the risk is worth taking. Since the pain would not be everlasting and the ideology would imprint on the child, it would be a safe risk for a better future for the person and the country. So understanding the previous mentioned scenarios and reasons, every guardian should be allowed to use suitable correction method if it promises good later.
The opposition believes that most of the general public would be prejudice about the issue regarding beating a child. The oppositions have provided enough grounds to believe that it would be justified. Thinking from a neutral point of view, and understanding every form of evidence and scenario, one would not disagree that use of physical chastisement is harsh and unjustified.