If a medical journal in Canada gets its way, then the country could soon make spanking illegal. The editor-in chief for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, John Fletcher, has said that multiple studies show spanking is ineffective and a “flawed discipline tool.”
Fletcher believes that physical punishment elicits compliance the same way that other methods do and also that studies have shown spanking can have adverse effects such as an increase in child aggression and emotional and behavior problems later in life, reports Fox-13-Now.
The Globe and Mail notes that Fletcher and his publication are calling to strike down Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which is a reference for legally allowable “corrective” physical punishment of children. Fletcher writes:
“It is time for Canada to remove this anachronistic excuse for poor parenting from the statute book.”
Section 43 says that a parent is “justified in using force by way of correction … if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.” Fletcher asserts that he is not advocating for things like spanking to be criminalized but is instead attempting to shift the focus to show how ineffective spanking is.
Fletcher’s article is just one of many that are calling for Canada to strike down Section 43. Joan Durant, an associate professor of social work at the University of Manitoba, gives some examples of alternatives to physical punishment, stating:
“Explain that when some things are broken, they can never be fixed. Put all of your treasures in a safe place out of reach. Sit with her and show her how to touch objects gently. Let her practice on unbreakable objects.”
Experts recommend alternatives to spanking like timeouts, diversion tactics, and better communication of rules and expectations to children. Fletcher noted that, along with increased levels of childhood aggression as well as emotional and behavioral problems, research also shows that drug and alcohol use increases in children who have been spanked.
Do you think that spanking should be banned in Canada?