Over the past few years, there have been considerable changes in attitudes of parents and teachers in regard to physical punishment being given to children. Most schools have banned physical punishment and parents have also realized that using force in bringing about discipline amongst children is not the ideal way to improve them. There are now several initiatives being taken to ban corporal punishment for children at home also, but some parents do believe that it is important to use some form of physical force with children in order to bring a sense of discipline in them especially in regard to the pattern of misbehavior by them in certain age groups. In the light of the foregoing, this essay will examine the extent of physical punishment that is justified in today’s world and how parents can realize such limits.
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The truth is that most parents find it difficult to discard punishing their children completely since they believe that they too were brought up in similar circumstances without any harm being caused to them and hence for the sake of children, they have a right in disciplining them in ways that they feel appropriate at the given time, which also may at times include corporal punishment. They argue that they would never want to intentionally harm the child by using unnecessary physical force, but sometimes such action becomes necessary since it has the required impact immediately such as, a child who is shouting in the supermarket will not listen to reason and may have to be punished physically. However, there are a lot of logical reasons for not using such physical force on children at home and school. Firstly the fact remains that most parents do not have training in dealing with children who misbehave and do not have the required choices and resources to handle the given situations. Hence they may just react by hitting or smacking the child even though there may be better solutions in the given situation. Another pertinent factor concerns the fact that most people are not willing to change negative habits and practices unless they are forced and challenged to alter such patterns of behavior. A typical example in this regard is the use of seatbelts which most people did not adopt as a habit until it was made compulsory under the law. In a similar vein, if physical punishment of children is banned at home, parents will be compelled to change their habits to find other effective ways to tackle children. But it is more important to ban physical punishment to children in order to prevent the practice of child abuse. If the practice is not checked some parents may go to greater extents of physically punishing children which can further lead to adverse consequences of emotional disturbance in them. Although the number of parents indulging in such extreme practices may be very less, children have to be protected at all costs without providing any scope for child abuse. It is thus imperative that parents and society at large change the ideas and beliefs in regard to how children ought to be dealt with. Children have to be raised with a lot of patience so that they are imparted the knowledge of the world with due diligence and caution so as to avoid any physical or psychological harm to them. It is very much possible to do away with the use of physical force against children at home and at school and in doing so we can move towards the dream of eliminating violence towards children.