Smack­ing is cru­cial tool in par­ent­ing

The Mercury - - OPINION -

I WRITE in re­sponse to Devi Ra­jab’s ar­ti­cle, The Mer­cury, Oc­to­ber 27, and oth­ers on the is­sue of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment.

Not deny­ing that the motto “spare the rod and spoil the child” has been mis­used by some par­ents to con­done their lazy and nar­row-minded ap­proach to par­ent­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to see how “cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment over the years has re­sulted in a litany of abuse that is a fright­en­ing in­dict­ment of so­ci­etal op­pres­sion against chil­dren”.

Sup­pos­edly smack­ing chil­dren is part of the rea­son some end up be­ing burnt, raped and maimed by their par­ents. Amaz­ingly the “bizarre sit­u­a­tion of the 21st cen­tury” of chil­dren turn­ing on their peers, par­ents and teach­ers is seen as re­flect­ing “the sorry state of so­cial re­la­tion­ships”, but then the cause of this sorry state is of course cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment. All other pos­si­bil­i­ties are ig­nored, in­clud­ing the re­al­ity that when cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment was in ef­fect, th­ese so­cial re­la­tion­ships were not as they are now and their de­te­ri­o­ra­tion cor­re­sponds with its abol­ish­ment.

We have been told that re­search proves cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment to be in­ef­fec­tive and lately it is al­ways pre­sented in a neg­a­tive light. How­ever, noth­ing is said about how this re­search is con­ducted.

A Google search re­veals that most of th­ese re­searchers do not want to dis­cover if cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment has any pos­i­tive ef­fect. In­stead, the ev­i­dence, de­rived from some laugh­able ex­per­i­ments and con­clu­sions, is made to fit their pre­sup­po­si­tion that it is bad.

Also, re­search show­ing the pos­i­tive ef­fects of well-bal­anced par­ent­ing, in­cor­po­rat­ing smack­ing, is never men­tioned. This is why the con­nec­tion be­tween the sup­posed re­search and the re­al­ity many of us see can’t be made.

An im­bal­ance of both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive child-rear­ing meth­ods has detri­men­tal ef­fects. Re­spon­si­ble par­ents will use all means at their dis­posal to pro­mote re­spect, co-op­er­a­tion and bal­anced be­hav­iour in their chil­dren and con­sider when, where and how to do so.

How­ever, an im­por­tant tool in this process has been la­belled il­le­gal to sup­pos­edly pro­tect chil­dren, while turn­ing a blind eye to all other in­flu­ences.

The con­se­quences of this de­ci­sion will be­come ev­i­dent in years to come. If Sum­mer­hill is what you want then Sum­mer­hill is what you will get. J PIATER How­ick

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