France Against Full Ban on Spanking Children

France Against Full Ban on Spanking ChildrenFrance Against Full Ban on Spanking Children

France received a smack on the hand this week from the Council of Europe, an international human rights organization, for failing to implement a firm prohibition on parents spanking their children. The French, like the British, permit spanking if it is in the context of “reasonable punishment.”

French law forbids violence against children, but recognizes the parents’ “right to discipline” children.

Some forms of corporal punishment of children have been allowed in the home, in schools or in childcare as part of a “right of correction” in French customary law. Under French law, parents have the “right to discipline” their children, France24 reported.

The 47-member Council of Europe said France is violating the European social charter because French law doesn’t prohibit parents and others from corporal punishment of children in a “sufficiently clear, binding and precise manner.”

The council has called for all of its 47 members to ban corporal punishment of children. So far, 22 have banned the practice.

“We’re supposed to be the country of the Rights of Man and we can’t even respect the rights of children. Studies have shown that 50% of French parents hit their children before the age of two,” said Giles Lazimi, an anti-spanking campaigner.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, which has 47 member countries on the continent and beyond, ruled on Wednesday that French laws on corporal punishment were not “sufficiently clear, binding and precise.” The French government has already made it clear it will ignore the decision by the Council of Europe, which has no way of forcing France to make changes in the law.

  Spare the Rod

Disciplining children with the help of the stick was considered an easy way to make the next generation toe the line of the “more experienced and wiser” older generation. It is still widely believed that beatings to discipline children are the best way to prevent them from going astray. Many argue that corporal punishment at home and schools is needed to bring out the best in children.

Spanking is detrimental to the development of a balanced personality in a child. Physical punishment works to reduce self-esteem and leads to a feeling of alienation. Research in developmental psychology has proved that child spanking reduces self-confidence and weakens the bond with parents. It can scuttle the emotional development of a child.