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The Slap reminds us that physical discipline still a habit worth kicking

Photo: U.S. Department of Defence, CC (Wikimedia Commons)

Upon seeing the commercials for the new NBC mini-series The Slap, it has come to my attention that some archaic methods of discipline still linger in the year 2015.

In case you’re unaware, The Slap is a television show in which, and I quote, “a once happy family suddenly begins to fall apart following a seemingly minor incident in which a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child.” The series has brought to light the topic of corporal punishment and whether parents should physically discipline their children.

I would have hoped that at this point most of the country would agree that the physical discipline of children is barbaric and is no way to teach developing minds right from wrong. However, Canadian lawmakers don’t see it that way, since a parent’s right to spank their child is still protected under Section 43 of the Criminal Code.

On one hand, I can see the allure of corporal punishment, since it’s probably the most direct way of getting your point across. However, just like any other form of violence, the use of force runs the risk of permanent psychological scarring.

For one thing, studies have found that inflicting corporal punishment on a child could increase that child’s chance of developing a mental or personality disorder that could lead to alcohol or drug abuse.

Additionally, several studies suggest that children who are disciplined physically are more likely to behave violently. The only thing that corporal punishment seems to accomplish is the likelihood that this cycle of violence will ripple throughout multiple generations.

The uselessness of this form of discipline is especially evident in today’s society, now that several new disciplinary methods have emerged. Not only have non-violent forms of discipline like timeouts and the removal of certain privileges proven to be much more successful than a spanking or strapping, it also teaches children that violence is not the best way to solve your problems.

Abuse is abuse, regardless of its intentions. Considering the fact that children hardly possess the ability to rationalize like full-grown adults, it hardly seems fair to punish them with the use of force.

It’s difficult to realize when we are closed off in our own world, but we are constantly evolving as a species in terms of progressive ideas and social mores. However, maintaining this kind of primitive ideology does not help us move forward, but only encourages us to fall behind in this ever-changing environment. And while certain past traditions may still currently be beneficial for us, the physical abuse of children isn’t one of them.