The title above refers to the choice of some nations to completely outlaw spanking as a tool for discipline for parents. The choice is generally made by leaders and legislators who equate any spanking at all — any sort of corporal punishment — with child abuse.
I clearly do not feel the same way. Now, I certainly do feel that if spanking is the only tool a parent has for disciplining a child, he or she is an ineffective parent, indeed. And I feel that choosing to spank takes wisdom. (How many aspects of child-rearing do not?) But to completely equate the spanking of a child by a parent to child abuse without any qualification whatsoever is ignorant at best and dogmatically stupid at worst.
I’ve written about this topic before. Most directly, you can read my thoughts in these two posts:
But I mention it now because of a Wall Street Journal article I read on the topic that is really balanced, discussing the scientifically demonstrated benefits to children of appropriate spanking and the mistaken thoughts of those who believe spanking is all there is to disciplining children. You might consider reading it yourself: “Spare the spanking, spoil the report card?” (Subtitle: “What a new study and the Bible say about punishing children.”)
Reading the article should be encouraging to those who believe that spanking is a valid tool for parents who are devoted to rearing successful, happy children, while also serving as a warning to those who wield it unthinkingly and unreflectively.
Actually, it reminded me of another article I had read in, of all places, the Akron Law Review: “The Science and Statistics Behind Spanking Suggest that Laws Allowing Corporal Punishment are in the Best Interests of the Child” by Jason M. Fuller. (The website contains the abstract of the paper, but the entire paper is downloadable from there.)
As these articles make it clear, those countries that ban spanking outright really have no idea what they are doing and may end up harming more children than they help.
I’ve discussed before other things my wife and I have done instead of spanking (e.g., “Children in Church Services” and “Twilight and Children in Church sure bring ’em in!”), but I readily and happily admit that spanking has also been among our tools in child-rearing. It’s certainly a topic that deserves more discussion than this blog post will give it, but I really thought that the WSJ article and the Akron Law Review article were both worth passing along.
We have great resources on the Tomorrow’s World website, as well, including our booklet “Successful Parenting God’s Way” and many articles, such as this one by the late evangelist John H. Ogwyn, “What Is Happening to Our Kids?” (which I found by doing a search on the word “discipline”). Check them out!