Domestic corporal punishment

Friday, November 19, 2010

With the dawn of the new century, a lot of sensitive issues which had been swept under the rug previously are being ardently discussed. Among these are the basic rights of a child and whether children should be punished for wrong doing at home or in school. What is your take?

I vividly remember my high school days and how passionate I was about my fundamental human rights and needless to say I was totally and completely against the whole institution of punishment, of any kind at all. I (and a majority or all of my age band, friends or acquaintances) never quite saw the need for the physical punishment of children and the brutal beatings of minors. Having come a few years from that time and had the good fortune of helping to raise my nephew and niece, my views have not changed a lot. I still believe that beating does not solve the fundamental problem and in most cases, it only increases the risk physical and mental scars of the amazingly high probability of repetition in the next generation, a vicious cycle indeed. However, I also realize that different people and different jurisdictions have varying takes on this controversial issue, which will be explored below.

Corporal punishment has been a subject of much discord among various schools of thought although as far as I know no one conclusion has been reached as to whether it should be practiced and to what degree. I will be delving into the different types of Corporal punishment and the views on it over a few articles commencing with domestic or parental corporate punishment, (within the family - typically, children punished by parents or guardians;) the other two School corporal punishment (within schools, when students are punished by teachers or school administrators), and judicial corporal punishment to follow (as part of a criminal sentence ordered by a court of law. Closely related is prison corporal punishment, ordered either directly by the prison authorities or by a visiting court.)

Corporal punishment is the is the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for  an offence, or  for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer or to deter attitudes or behaviour  deemed unacceptable .The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with an implement, whether in judicial, educational, or domestic settings as suits the purposes of this particular article.

While the early history of corporal punishment is unclear, the practice was recorded as early as c 10th Century BC and it was certainly present in classical civilizations, in both judicial and educational discipline Some states gained a reputation for using such punishments cruelly; using them as part of a disciplinary regime designed to build willpower and physical strength Although the Spartan example was extreme, corporal punishment was possibly the most frequent type of punishment. In the Roman Empire.

Domestic corporal punishment, i.e. of children, adolescents by their parents, is usually referred to as colloquially 'spanking', 'whipping', 'slapping', or 'smacking'. In an increasing number of countries it has been outlawed starting with Sweden in 1979. In some other countries, corporal punishment is legal but restricted (e.g. blows to the head are outlawed and implements may not be used and\or only children within a certain age range may be spanked.)

In Africa, the United States and most Asian nations ,'spanking', 'whipping', 'smacking', or 'slapping' by parents is currently legal. It is also legal to use certain implements such as a belt or paddle. However in some countries like Canada, In Canada, spanking by parents or legal guardians (but no body else) is legal, as long as the child is not under 2 years  or over 12 years of age and no implement other than an open bare palm is used [belts, paddles, etc. are strictly prohibited]. Provinces can legally impose tighter restrictions than the aforementioned national restrictions, but none currently does so.

In the U.K, spanking or smacking is legal, but it may not leave a mark on the body and in Scotland since October 2003 it has been illegal to use any implements in discipling a child.


In Pakistan, Section 89 of Pakistan Penal Code allows corporal punishment. The government of Pakistan has yet to repeal this decision.

The great question, is it right and does it always or hardly have the desired effect? Will there come a time when there is a general consensus on whether to or not to? What is your view? Everyone has their opinion on his matter on which I encourage your various inputs, a selection of which will be printed in subsequent issues. I personally do not believe in sparing the rod and spoiling the child but I also do not believe in the infliction of physical harm to the human body therefore moderation I honestly believe in this case is the key.

Author: Adelaide Mendy