Canada should remove section of Criminal Code that permits physical punishment of children

To promote good parenting, Canada should remove section 43 of its Criminal Code because it sends the wrong message that using physical punishment to discipline children is acceptable, argues Dr. John Fletcher, Editor-in-Chief, CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) in an editorial.

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada states "…a parent is justified in using force by way of correction…if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances."

The debate over whether spanking children is acceptable as a disciplinary tool for parents or whether it is violence against children is heated and ongoing. Although spanking was an accepted form of discipline for past generations, attitudes have shifted.

"So heated is this debate, and so long-running, that the question of whether spanking is morally 'right or wrong' is probably intractable," writes Dr. Fletcher. "A more promising line of enquiry, however, is whether the of children is effective."

A recently published analysis in that summarizes 20 years' of research on the topic suggests that physical punishment of children can result in increased and in adulthood.

Rather than making spanking of children a crime, emphasis should be placed on educating parents on alternative forms of discipline. This could be done through parenting programs, which have been successful in teaching and helping improve children's behaviour, offering them in the early years and when children enter school.

"Surely any bias should be toward protecting children, who are the most vulnerable," Dr. 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. While section 43 stands, it is a constant excuse for parents to cling to an ineffective method of child discipline when better approaches are available. It is time for Canada to remove this anachronistic excuse for poor parenting from the statute book."


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Physical punishment of children potentially harmful to their long-term development

More information: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.121070
Provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal
Citation: Canada should remove section of Criminal Code that permits physical punishment of children (2012, September 4) retrieved 23 January 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-canada-section-criminal-code-physical.html
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Sep 04, 2012
One must remember , this opinion is coming from someone who thinks people who are intersexual are , medically , normal.

Sep 04, 2012
Progressive garbage. Truth #1, Progressives DO NOT CARE about children just control, this is another example.

Sep 10, 2012
This is a good example of government taking away freedom from parents, to increase their control over us.

What is a parent to do when their child engages in behavior that endangers or harms other people or their property? The government says don't touch them, just talk to them (of course, with no physical discipline and no way to enforce non-physical discipline, the kid will just talk back, walk away, or otherwise ignore their parents). Then the parent is held liable for the damage their kids do, and they will be sent to jail if they discipline their kid. Talk about a no win situation.

I propose that government employees be personally responsible for damage caused by kids, since they want to take away the freedom from other parents to discipline their children. Then parents can just call up some government worker to let them use force to discipline the kids, or pay for the damages out of their personal pockets (not taxpayers).

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