The Anti-Corporal Punishment Project
My first project idea, though interesting, did not translate very well into empathic arguments, and so I've come up with a new one.
There has been a common debate in many societies and cultures, including our own, regarding the effectiveness and propriety of corporal punishment for children, often called "spanking" here in the U.S. and "smacking" in the U.K. I have personally had many discussions and arguments with my peers on this matter, arguments pitting someone who was never spanked (me) versus someone who was regularly spanked (many of my peers).
I strongly believe that parents should do their best to refrain from spanking their children. The potential for unforeseen and irreparable harm is high and all parents have a number of better alternatives at their disposal. The line between legal and illegal violence directed at children can be vague and even perverse depending on which state you are in.
There are certainly many arguments in favor of spanking, some of which include, inter alia:
- Many kids who were spanked turn out just fine and many turn out much better than other kids who were never spanked.
- Spanking is effective and helps to teach valuable lessons.
- The Bible encourages parents to use "the rod" on children.
- Parents have a right to raise their children in their own way and the government should not poke its nose into the intimacy of households.
- Spanking is necessary at times, especially for extremely misbehaved children.
Each of these arguments is a legitimate concern but none of them withstand close scrutiny.
Ultimately, I hope to rekindle a debate that is often dormant, at least among my peers. Spanking has become an ingrained part of our cultural fabric and is thus not often questioned. The alternatives to spanking are often more laborious and so most parents would rather fall back on the default of spanking than develop and pursue new parenting techniques. But there have been many practices in the U.S. that were once thought unassailable for many of the same reasons â slavery comes to mind. Spanking has achieved a certain institutional inertia that is difficult to overcome, but I hope to challenge common paradigms through this project.
If you would like to share an opinion on this issue, I would love to hear them and add them to the web site. I hope to upload contributions from various individuals regarding their own experiences with corporal punishment.