Keep your religious and ‘scientific’ excuses - beating kids is ...

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Keep your religious and ‘scientific’ excuses - beating kids is wrong

Spanking has terrible development effects on children. Just look how it’s mirrored in public violence

Columnist

Everybody is upset. Parents, church people and alumni of the SA school of corporal punishment. The highest court in the land just declared that a private spanking of your own children under the roof of your own home is illegal; in fact, you could go to prison for laying hands on your offspring. The arguments for spanking your own children are both familiar and ridiculous.

One, I was spanked as a child and look at how I turned out. A heartless politician (who famously punted beetroot for those dying of Aids) once made that point not realising she was making a solid argument for abandoning the stick. In the world of science you cannot present as evidence a personal, untested anecdote. You turn to research and especially that variety that examines large numbers of studies which examine the effects of Intervention X on Outcome Y. That research is unequivocal – that over time corporal punishment has negative development effects on children. End of story.

Two, the Bible says you can spank your child. That’s fine, but then you should also stone adulterers in a public place among other permissive atrocities of the Old Testament. I was raised on a conservative evangelical diet of how to interpret the good book in ways that made your church look positively holy and everybody else look irredeemably evil. Grow up. Then, of course, there is the little matter of democracy; you cannot impose your selection of scriptural morality on those who believe differently or not at all. That is why we have a constitution...

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