International Institute

Laura Blanco * while violence against adults is persecuted and condemned in most parts of the world, is still allow corporal punishment to the children in the family and the school. United Nations Organization for education, science and culture organization (UNESCO) complaint that only 15 of the 190 existing States have banned all forms of violence against children, including punishment within the family. In order to contribute to the Elimination of such practices, UNESCO and the International Institute for children’s rights and development (IICRD) have joined to publish Eliminating corporal punishment. It is a guide indicating the steps needed to replace corporal punishment by other methods that respect the rights of children and are equally effective. Though the body, including punishments that occur in families, are prohibited and are incompatible with the Convention on human rights, are still produced in many countries, says Peter Newell, Coordinator of the project.

As it denounced the book, in almost 180 countries, some parents and educators hit and humiliate children. 50% Of the States used the injury as part of their penal systems applied to children, like 65% of schools and other institutions. Countries that have abolished corporal punishment altogether are Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Cyprus, Latvia, Croatia, Israel, Germany, Iceland, Ukraine and Romania. In Switzerland and Italy, their respective Supreme courts have ruled that this kind of punishment are not legal. The problem is that this kind of violence is accepted by society: parents believe that physical punishment is a way to teach respect, but actually what it does is diminish confidence and shows a poor relation parent-child, says Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba (Canada). Corporal punishment used systematically as part of the discipline is an issue that has troubled educators, sociologists and psychologists of all eras. Cicero, Seneca and Quintilian already in his time against corporal punishment, when teachers did not hesitate in flagellar stubborn students protested. Erasmus and Montaigne did later.

Emile Durkheim, sociologist of the 19th century, harshly condemned corporal punishment in his book the Moral education: one of the main objects of moral education is to give the child the sense of its dignity of man. Corporal punishment are perpetual offenses to that feeling. Punishment should serve as a response to the child’s bad behavior, so that you don’t lose the respect for authority, but never to atone for the guilt through suffering or to intimidate him. Physical sanctions do not teach anything and have a long-term negative influence in the education process. A child who respects the rules only by fear of reprisals will not acquire a true social behavior. When I grow up, once lost the fear of authority, most likely until also the respect for laws. In addition, it is shown that people who are punished in this way in his childhood reproduce the same behavior in their family environment when they are adults, because they consider that this is the normal reaction. And most importantly: there are healthier alternatives. The publication published by UNESCO and the IICRD collects general principles for constructive discipline of children. Among them, respect for the dignity of children, the development of social behavior and self-discipline, as well as promoting the active participation of children in their education, respect their needs and quality of life and promote solidarity, among others. In short, more discipline and less slaps.