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Do you really, really love your child?

SIR FRANK PETERS :: A ‘wake-up’ facts-jammed report that has something important to say to every man, woman and child, especially educationalists, worldwide has just been published.

In essence, it condemns the wickedness and ineffectiveness of subjecting children to corporal punishment.

Children damaged by corporal punishment today are the law-breaking, antisocial, broken adults of tomorrow – human time bombs of anger and aggression that can (and do) explode in later years without warning and wreak havoc on society.

There isn’t an iota of evidence worldwide that shows corporal punishment is good for a child, but there are literally thousands of studies that prove beyond any doubt the exact opposite.

The latest report by End Corporal Punishment.Org (a global initiative to end all corporal punishment of children) has assembled all the evidence any caring, loving parent, or professional teacher would ever need to convince themselves that corporal punishment is harmful, evil, wrong and that it must be stopped.

The report begins: “The message from research is very clear: corporal punishment carries multiple risks of harm and has NO benefits.

“Ending corporal punishment is essential in ending physical ‘child abuse’, and in creating societies that are overall less violent.

“The approval and prevalence of corporal punishment in societies is linked to the use or endorsement of other forms of violence, including fighting, torture, the death penalty, war and murder.”

Corporal punishment kills thousands of children each year, injures many more and is the direct cause of many children’s life-lasting physical impairments.

Other highlights from the report include:

* ALL physical punishment, however ‘mild’ and ‘light’ and given in good intent, carries an inbuilt risk of escalation. Adults/teachers who inflict physical punishment are often angry: their anger can increase the level of force used beyond what was intended.

* Corporal punishment has been found to be a factor in unacceptable behaviours such as bullying, lying, cheating, running away, truancy, and involvement in crimes as a child and young adult and an increase in delinquent and antisocial behaviour.

* Corporal punishment does not teach children how to behave or help them understand how their behaviour affects others. It teaches them that it is desirable not to get caught.

* Children who have experienced corporal punishment are more likely to be aggressive towards their peers, to approve of the use of violence, to bully, to use violent methods to resolve conflict and to be aggressive towards their parents. Children learn that violence is an appropriate method of getting what you want and that children copy their parents/teachers’ behaviour.

* Corporal punishment is emotionally as well as physically painful and its links to poor mental health in childhood are clear. It is significantly associated with a decrease in children’s mental health, including behaviour disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, hopelessness, suicide attempts, alcohol and drug dependency, low self-esteem, hostility and emotional instability. Studies have also found associations with developing cancer, asthma, alcohol-related problems, migraine, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and obesity as an adult.

* Corporal punishment can have a negative impact on children’s cognitive development: lower IQ scores, smaller vocabularies and poorer school marks.

* School corporal punishment violates a child’s right to education creating a violent and intimidating environment in which children are less able to learn and is often the reason given by children for not attending school.

* Far from teaching children how to behave, corporal punishment impairs moral internalisation, increases antisocial behaviour, damages family relationships, escalates aggression in children and increases the likelihood of perpetrating and experiencing violence as an adult. It is closely linked to other forms of violence in societies including partner violence.

The report goes on to state many other verifiable sit-up-and-take-notice facts. It concludes the evidence of damage corporal punishment causes to children, adults, and societies is irrefutable, overwhelming, and that corporal punishment has no benefits whatsoever.

When Bangladesh High Court justices Md. Imman Ali and Sheikh Hassan Arif outlawed the barbaric practice of corporal punishment in Bangladesh schools on January 14, 2011, they declared corporal punishment to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.

That was a massive step forward for Bangladesh, but the journey is still long, arduous, and fraught with danger for children, especially in villages. For the greater benefit of Bangladesh, it’s common sense that corporal punishment must stop.

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, human rights activist, and a respected foreign friend of Bangladesh.)

In essence, it condemns the wickedness and ineffectiveness of subjecting children to corporal punishment.

Children damaged by corporal punishment today are the law-breaking, antisocial, broken adults of tomorrow – human time bombs of anger and aggression that can (and do) explode in later years without warning and wreak havoc on society.

There isn’t an iota of evidence worldwide that shows corporal punishment is good for a child, but there are literally thousands of studies that prove beyond any doubt the exact opposite.

The latest report by End Corporal Punishment.Org (a global initiative to end all corporal punishment of children) has assembled all the evidence any caring, loving parent, or professional teacher would ever need to convince themselves that corporal punishment is harmful, evil, wrong and that it must be stopped.

The report begins: “The message from research is very clear: corporal punishment carries multiple risks of harm and has NO benefits.

“Ending corporal punishment is essential in ending physical ‘child abuse’, and in creating societies that are overall less violent.

“The approval and prevalence of corporal punishment in societies is linked to the use or endorsement of other forms of violence, including fighting, torture, the death penalty, war and murder.”

Corporal punishment kills thousands of children each year, injures many more and is the direct cause of many children’s life-lasting physical impairments.

Other highlights from the report include:

* ALL physical punishment, however ‘mild’ and ‘light’ and given in good intent, carries an inbuilt risk of escalation. Adults/teachers who inflict physical punishment are often angry: their anger can increase the level of force used beyond what was intended.

* Corporal punishment has been found to be a factor in unacceptable behaviours such as bullying, lying, cheating, running away, truancy, and involvement in crimes as a child and young adult and an increase in delinquent and antisocial behaviour.

* Corporal punishment does not teach children how to behave or help them understand how their behaviour affects others. It teaches them that it is desirable not to get caught.

* Children who have experienced corporal punishment are more likely to be aggressive towards their peers, to approve of the use of violence, to bully, to use violent methods to resolve conflict and to be aggressive towards their parents. Children learn that violence is an appropriate method of getting what you want and that children copy their parents/teachers’ behaviour.

* Corporal punishment is emotionally as well as physically painful and its links to poor mental health in childhood are clear. It is significantly associated with a decrease in children’s mental health, including behaviour disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, hopelessness, suicide attempts, alcohol and drug dependency, low self-esteem, hostility and emotional instability. Studies have also found associations with developing cancer, asthma, alcohol-related problems, migraine, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and obesity as an adult.

* Corporal punishment can have a negative impact on children’s cognitive development: lower IQ scores, smaller vocabularies and poorer school marks.

* School corporal punishment violates a child’s right to education creating a violent and intimidating environment in which children are less able to learn and is often the reason given by children for not attending school.

* Far from teaching children how to behave, corporal punishment impairs moral internalisation, increases antisocial behaviour, damages family relationships, escalates aggression in children and increases the likelihood of perpetrating and experiencing violence as an adult. It is closely linked to other forms of violence in societies including partner violence.

The report goes on to state many other verifiable sit-up-and-take-notice facts. It concludes the evidence of damage corporal punishment causes to children, adults, and societies is irrefutable, overwhelming, and that corporal punishment has no benefits whatsoever.

When Bangladesh High Court justices Md. Imman Ali and Sheikh Hassan Arif outlawed the barbaric practice of corporal punishment in Bangladesh schools on January 14, 2011, they declared corporal punishment to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.

That was a massive step forward for Bangladesh, but the journey is still long, arduous, and fraught with danger for children, especially in villages. For the greater benefit of Bangladesh, it’s common sense that corporal punishment must stop.

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, human rights activist, and a respected foreign friend of Bangladesh.)

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