I recently wrote two articles in my Spanish blog against parents physically punishing their children. In the first one, I argued that Skinheads and other very violent youth tend to come from homes in which physical punishment was commongly practiced.

I was very surprised to see that most Spaniards disagreed with me and came out in favor of physically punishing children. Indeed, some readers argued the exact opposite. They said that it is a lack of physical punishment that contributes to Skinhead behavior (Spain has a serious problem with Skinhead violence, with around 3000 attacks per year).

So I wrote a second post in which, as a father who has never physically punished any of his four children, I came out against slapping children or hitting them on the head (the most common way of punishing children in Spain). I was very surprised to see that in this nation of normally very peaceful people, most people again defended these methods as part of a standard educational “arsenal”. There are many testimonials in my Spanish blog from readers who say that they are better people as a result of having been slapped.

Personally I think that hitting children is tantamount to failing as a parent. I could understand that somebody who “loses it” may hit his child, but as a planned practice I find it cruel and counterproductive.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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