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Should Spanking Be Banned?

Stephanie Rausser

Spanking children may seem increasingly anachronistic. But in the US and Canada – where an estimated 50 percent of Canucks still spank their kids – it's protected under the law. It is the parents' prerogative to physically discipline their kids. 

However, Canada's top medical journal is hoping to change that. 

In a forcefully written editorial titled Positive Parenting, Not Physical Punishment , John Fletcher – editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) – calls physical punisment "a constant excuse for parents to cling to an ineffective method of child discipline when better approaches are available." 

Plus: Spanking May Lead to Mental Illness

The editorial is essentially an appeal to revoke Canada's 120 year old "spanking law" and encourage the promotion of parenting programs that preach alternative methods of discipline. An estimated fifty percent of Canadian parents spank their children. In the US, more than 70 percent of mothers admit to having hit their kids at least once, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics' opposition to spanking. 

But beyond North America's borders, worldwide, more than 30 countries have outlawed corporal punishment in the home including Austria, New Zealand, and South Sudan.

Fletcher argues that banning the practice is the only humane solution. 

"Surely any bias should be toward protecting children, who are the most vulnerable, Fletcher writes. "To have a specific code excusing parents is to suggest that assault by a parent is a normal and accepted part of bringing up children. It is not." 

Do you agree with Fletcher? Would you support a US ban on spanking or would that be taking this too far? Let us know in the comments

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