There seems to be no end to controversial parenting topics. Food, playtime, bedtimes and vaccinations are just some of the subjects that can cause even the most even-tempered of folks to lose their minds in parenting groups and on playgrounds everywhere.
But of all the issues that come up, how to discipline a child is one of the most controversial.
The pros and cons of spanking have been on many parents’ minds for years — at least in Canada where it’s still legal. And it’s making the news again now that France has become the 52nd country in the world to ban the practice, retiring “wooden spoons” in kitchens everywhere.
Canada hasn’t looked at our own spanking laws since 2004, when the Supreme Court decided to keep this wording in place, effectively keeping spanking legal:
“Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.”
Thanks to our new Liberal government though, that could all change in the very near future. Justin Trudeau and co. have already said they intend to implement all of the points recommended in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — a body that looks at human rights violations and crimes. Spanking is one of the punishments the commission has advised to abolish.
Anecdotally, it’s no wonder many parents are still on the pro-spanking side of things and that a law like this even needs to exist in the first place. After all, if you grew up getting spanked and it’s what you know and what you think works, of course you’re going to continue the discipline strategy in your own household.
From the statistical side of things though, maybe it is about time Canada join the likes of France, Sweden, New Zealand and other countries. Just because our parents had to walk to school in the snow and uphill both ways doesn’t mean we did. Things evolve, and new research shows that kids who are spanked are actually less likely to listen to their parents in the long run. Plus kids who are spanked are more likely to have mental challenges as an adult, which makes the practice a harrowing one for both you and your child for potentially not a lot of actual results.
To spank or not to spank? It seems like that is still the question.