Friday, February 06, 2015

Blog #1: Pope says it's OK to spank children if you don't demean them

This article is about how Pope Francis recently made statements in support of parents spanking their children. Francis agrees to spanking solely under certain conditions which he further defines. He states that the spanking or punishment should not demean the child and should be done with dignity. Since corporal punishment, the use of physical punishment, has been a sticky topic for a while, there were mixed reactions to his statement. Some people on social media sites such as Twitter voiced both opposing and supporting opinions. The article further begins to point out how globally, there are only about forty-three states that have laws that protect children from all corporal punishment. Most of these states are in Europe and some in Africa and Latin America. 

On the surface this may seem like it is not a global issue but in fact it is. Children have for years been an oppressed group around the world. Just recently over the past few decades have laws and policies been put in place for children to be acknowledged as and important group that needs to be protected with their own set of human rights. Unfortunately this is not the case for all places. Parenting plays a big role in the success of a child's development and one of those key parenting responsibilities is discipline. Discipline helps to provide both nurturance and structure for children and that is vital. Spanking and corporal punishment are both forms of discipline that are commonly used around the world. Although Pope Francis may not be wrong with having such an opinion, the way in which he presented this and to whom has certain problematic implications. He says that it has to be done with dignity, which is worthy of having honor or respect, but where is the line drawn in terms of when corporal punishment or spanking is no longer done with dignity. Spanking can easily evolve into abuse and this is one of the issues most critics have with the idea of this disciplinary practice. Another issue here is that the Pope only refers to males or husbands using spanking as a discipline strategy. This highlights the gender-roles of the gendered institution of religion. Religion definitely operates on patriarchal ideals and this is just one example on how this impacts families. Religion is an institution and the Pope is a person of recognized high prestige and power in most of the world. He has an enormous amount of influence and such statements can easily negatively affect the lives of children and families especially when his mere opinion is not backed up by clear supportive information for absolute clarity of the borders of spanking. 

Indya Perry
2/6/15 @ 10:58 PM

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