For the sake of my answer, I’m going to use the more commonly used word ‘spanking’ to describe the more broadly defined ‘corporal punishment’ or ‘physical punishment’.
In an attempt to reduce rates of Child Abuse involving physical injury, 53 of the more socially sophisticated countries of the world have legislated bans on spanking.
Given that the great majority of reported Child Abuse cases involving injury are associated with acts of spanking, the number of countries instituting bans on spanking continues to grow.
This association between spanking and physical injury would seem reason enough to ban the tradition of spanking children as a form of punishment, but I don’t find this to be the most significant reason to put an end to the archaic practice of hitting children.
As a species, we humans do not fare well when subjected to violence, especially during our formative years. And, make no mistake, striking a child with the intent to cause physical pain is an act of violence by any standard of definition.
While fatal injuries are rare as the result of spankings, it is sufficiently unfortunate enough that any injuries occur at all. But, those injuries usually to heal and, over time, are left behind as a distant memory.
I would rather speak to the more significant and life-altering injuries that can involve long-term consequences… psychic injury.
Our potential in life is largely determined during our formative years of childhood. Our ability to reach our optimal potential in the long-term is dependent on the satisfaction of our emotional needs during those early years. Those basic emotional needs are love and acceptance.
I would like to submit that any actions that parents take against serving the emotional needs of their children serve to stand as obstacles to their children being afforded the opportunity to one day reach their full potential in life.
Aside from abandonment, there is no greater form of rejection than being subjected to violence, especially when that violence is being inflicted at the hand of someone we love, need, and look to for our safety. This type of treatment is bad enough for adults but much worse for young children. With no frame of reference, the parent represents the whole world to the child and their sense of diminishment and worthlessness is increased ten-fold.
Therein lies the heartbreaking risk of causing the child a degree of lost long-term potential in life through the rejection of spanking as a punishment. Am I being hyperbolic? I think not. Children need to feel a sense of worth in this world in order to grow and develop on an emotional level.
It is my position that there is not a single spanking parent in existence who can guarantee that their nurturing skills are adequately capable of compensating for the violence to which they are subjecting their children.
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