One of the key responsibilities of parents is to help children learn to manage their emotions and behaviour. This supports children to become personally fulfilled individuals who can participate effectively in society. Parents can help children manage their emotions and behaviour through a variety of strategies including discipline, which might occasionally involve the use of negative consequences. However, physical punishment – causing a child pain or physical discomfort – is not only ineffective as a method of regulating children’s behaviour, but can also be harmful.
Why is this issue important?
The legal perspective
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) specifically requires state parties to protect children '... from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or exploitation' (Article 19 , United Nations, 1989). Article 37 goes on to state that '... no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'.