Physical Punishment of Children and Youth Plays No Useful Role in Their Upbringing, Study Finds

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News of a caning incident involving a secondary school teacher and a female student is circulating on the internet. Google up “caning,” and “Malaysia,” the news will surely surface.

Netizens have since shared their opinions and views on the issue. Those who agreed with caning typically began their line of argument with “Zaman Dulu-Dulu.” Some quarters were strongly against it, viewing it simply as a barbaric form of discipline.

So, to cane or not to cane? We, at, strongly disagree with caning as a form of discipline. Why? Because caning is easy; and only lazy parents or teachers will thus resort to caning. Not convinced? Read on.

The following is a study based on 20 years of research conducted by Joan E Durrant, a Child-Clinical Psychologist and a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences. The study shows, among others, that there’s an association between physical punishment and negative developmental outcomes. Read up, zaman dulu-dulu dah habis ye.


Over the past two decades, we have seen an international shift in perspectives concerning the physical punishment of children. In 1990, research showing an association between physical punishment and negative developmental outcomes was starting to accumulate, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child had just been adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations; however, only four countries had prohibited physical punishment in all settings.

By 2000, research was proliferating, and the convention had been ratified by 191 of the world’s 196 countries, 11 of which had prohibited all physical punishment. Today, research showing the risks associated with physical punishment is robust, the convention has been integrated into the legal and policy frameworks of many nations, and 31 countries have enacted prohibitions against the physical punishment of children.1 These three forces — research, the convention and law reform — have altered the landscape of physical punishment.

The growing weight of evidence and the recognition of children’s rights have brought us to a historical point. Physicians familiar with the research can now confidently encourage parents to adopt constructive approaches to discipline and can comfortably use their unique influence to guide other aspects of children’s healthy development. In doing so, physicians strengthen child well-being and parent–child relationships at the population level. Here, we present an analysis of the research on physical punishment spanning the past two decades to assist physicians in this important role.

The evidence is clear and compelling — physical punishment of children and youth plays no useful role in their upbringing and poses only risks to their development. The conclusion is equally compelling — parents should be strongly encouraged to develop alternative and positive approaches to discipline.


Full text HERE.

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