Once upon a time, it was normal to abuse a child.
Sounds odd, don’t you think? The fact that a soul, so young and precious, so innocent and pure, was vulnerable to corporal punishment.
Before recent times, people of past generations were, in fact, proponents of this type of punishment. Based on stories recalled from my teachers, various adults, as well as my own parents, it wasn’t rare for parents to result to forms of discipline which involved the physical act of hitting or causing pain/discomfort to their child when disobeying orders or behaving unreasonably.
Fortunately, nowadays, styles of parenting have adapted in ways that move beyond the primitive methods applied by previous generations. This trend of change appeared near the beginning of the twenty-first century, for reasons that vary.
In 1990, The Declaration of the Rights of the Child provided protection to the younger population and provided a set of rights as adolescents (UNICEF). Since its declaration, sexual and physical abuse against children declined quite rapidly over the years.
Although the conventions were established, it wasn’t only this that changed the way parents raised their children. The biggest contribution to their lives is technology – the internet in particular. Technology hasn’t only changed the way parents raise their children, but it has also changed the way they interact with each other as parents, how they see other parents and how they see themselves.
For one thing, the internet has increased access to information. Today, it isn’t hard to find websites online that explain not only how to do things like potty train a child, but it also explains children’s psychology. “Why is my child having tantrums”. “Why is my child lying to me”. “Who do I talk to if…”. Most can be answered online by the experts at Google. Though not everything one may read online is trustworthy, it’s helpful to have some sense of what might be occurring with their child when confused. Similarly, technology has made it much easier for parents of all sorts of morals to connect. This allows parents to see how other parents are raising their children and learn a vast range of parenting techniques.
For many experts, the decline of corporal punishment was inevitable. The American Academy of Pediatrics believe that “it may be in response to social science research that suggests spanking is linked to negative outcomes for children like delinquency, antisocial behavior, psychological problems and substance abuse”. They also suggest that there’s little evidence to prove whether or not harsh forms of discipline are actually effective in the long term at all.
Gone are the days you spank your child when they throw tantrums. Gone are the days you paddle your child to teach them obedience. Gone are the days you make your child kneel on grits/rice to teach them respect for their elders. Gone are the days you resort to abusing your child to teach them a lesson. It’s a win for the newer generations. You go, guys!
Although, some parents still do believe that – to a certain extent – a child’s discipline should involve spanking in the utmost rare occasion. Some children are known to reject all other means of discipline and may require a spank on the bum. But despite this, physical force should always be a last resort and parents should attempt to avoid it at all costs.
The action of abusing a child should never be used, let alone as a means of disciplining that child. Being raised with such absurd methods that are taken towards a child’s actions will either traumatize them or allow the child to develop skills to avoid being caught. If the new parenting methods of recent decades continue to draw new parents into following their ways, it’s likely that the rate of child abuse will plummet even more so, leaving children and their families happier than those that came before them.
“Child Corporal Punishment Laws.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2019, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_corporal_punishment_laws.
Luscombe, Belinda. “Why Moms Are Spanking Their Kids Less Often.” Time, Time, 15 Nov. 2016, time.com/4569702/why-fewer-moms-are-spanking-their-kids/.
“Map on the Respect of Children’s Rights Worldwide.” Humanium, www.humanium.org/en/map-respect-children-rights-worldwide/.
Organ, Christine. “How Technology Has Changed Our Parenting Lives.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 23 Feb. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2015/02/23/how-technology-has-changed-our-parenting-lives/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0cbdbdd77ceb.
“Rates of Childhood Sexual Abuse Down from Previous Generations.” Survivor Non Profit, talktoasurvivor.org/2016/05/29/rates-of-childhood-sexual-abuse-down-from-previous-generations/.
UNICEF, United Nations. DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD. New York: United Nations, 20 Nov. 1989. PDF. https://www.unicef.org/malaysia/1959-Declaration-of-the-Rights-of-the-Child.pdf
“5 Habits of Millennial Parents That Schools Need to Know.” WatchMeGrow, watchmegrow.com/blog/5-habits-millennial-parents-schools-need-know.