Spanking your child may get you behind bars here!
This is the 52nd country to ban corporal punishment on children. Read on to know if that's a wise move towards raising gentler, kinder and happier children!
Now it is illegal to spank children in France. As per this report, going by the bill passed, inflicting punishment that is “cruel, degrading, or humiliating”, especially corporal punishment, on children, is against the law.
According to this report, French anti-spanking advocate Dr Gilles Lazimi said, “This law is a very strong symbolic act to make parents understand just how all violence can be harmful for the child. Above all, it removes the notion of a threshold: There is no small or big violence. There is violence, full stop.”
Spanking children is a topic much debated upon. While a certain segment believes that sparing the rod will spoil the child, there is a vast majority which believes in gentler ways of discipling children. Dr Navya Singh, Clinical Psychologist and Co-founder of wayForward says, “Spanking is not a solution to any problem that a parent or teacher might have with a child. People often use corporal punishment to change or modify behaviour. However, research in the field of child behavioural psychology, over the years, has revealed that punishment does not work for changing unwanted behaviours."
According to her, what would work is explaining to the child about the negative consequences of his actions, on him and people around him. At the same time, let him know that he will be rewarded for good behaviour. Punishment, especially spanking, can lead to quite a few problems and will not help rectify his so-called behavioural issues.
“It just lowers the child’s confidence, and contributes to making them sad, anxious, and even defiant. The idea is to understand that a child might be displaying negative behaviour for a reason. The child might be feeling lonely, sad, or there might be some problems with peers or at home,” explains Dr Singh, who is also a researcher at Columbia University.
Continue reading for more on the ill-effects of corporal punishment and what are the alternatives to discipline your child.
"No matter how much I shout, he doesn't listen. But a slap later, he calms down," says Sharvari Joshi about her 5-year-old son. However, Dr Singh feels it's not that he has calmed down; he is just simmering within. "Children often externalise their distress, which means, that they act in disruptive ways rather than voicing their problems. Spanking them just makes it worse," reasons the doctor.
Additionally, children model aggression. They tend to learn from and repeat what elders do. "If we hit them, we’re giving them the message that it is OK to hit others or that physical aggression is a means to express oneself. Such kids displace this learnt aggression onto other kids," reveals Dr Singh.
Clearly, home and school are places to gain helpful, positive knowledge and grow. However, by 'spanking them into place', there is a huge risk of raising a generation that believes in expressing themselves, but through acts of physical aggression. Here are some positive tips to manage and discipline children without being violent, as shared by Dr Singh:
- Communicate with the child and try to understand why they are engaging in disruptive or unwanted behaviours and what their needs are. Help them verbalise their concerns and needs so they don’t need to act out.
- Instead of punishment, use rewards and let them know why they are being rewarded.
- Praise specific actions that are positive, and also praise them when they don’t engage in unwanted behaviours.
Most importantly, as soon as you feel that your temper is rising, just walk out of the room. Calm yourself down and then have a word with your child. Sometimes, it's just our frustration that makes us mad enough to hit a child. Perhaps, it's time for us to keep a check on our behaviour?