A good spanking?

boris Cyrulnik

We do not do not always check

Hitting an animal is called cruelty. Hitting an adult is called aggression. Hitting a child is called education (in Olivier Maurel's La Fessée , La Plage éditeur, 2001). Our children are triggering emotions so strong that we do not always control ourselves. They are so cute that we do not feel any modesty to turn us into marshmallows. Sometimes, on the contrary, the importance we place on them and the affection we feel trigger anxiety as soon as they take the slightest risk, and sometimes even provoke hatred when they refuse to give in to our desires. Because hatred is not the opposite of love. The opposite of fullness of love is the void of indifference, not hatred, which is rather a disappointed love. Tell me who you love, I'll tell you who you hate. We pass very quickly from one to the other, we all scolded our child because he had fallen and by hurting himself, he attacked us. Some parents even feel so threatened by the boy's booze that they hit him because he bumped!

To consider physical punishment as an educational method is another matter. This is the expression of a world of adults desiring to control the other, his body and his soul, by means of the sufferings he inflicts upon him. From the seventeenth century, in the West, it is considered that it is normal to beat a boy to better raise, to train and make a civilized man. This "black pedagogy" (in For your good Alice Miller, Aubier, 1998) triumphed in the nineteenth century in the West, and continues in Africa where many adults participate in educational torture .

The effectiveness of corporal punishment

In 1979, Sweden was the first nation to prohibit corporal punishment in schools and families. Germany and Austria followed, and even England, which in 1986 banned lashes, canes and "educational" spankings at school.

Investigations have revealed that corporal punishment is decreasing in all countries, especially those who have not banned spanking. The problem could be simple if we stop there. Except that the legal prohibition seems to increase verbal abuse to the point where children are even more traumatized (in Evaluating the Success of Sweden's Corporal Punishment Ban) by EJ Durrant, Child Abuse and Neglect 23, 5, 1999). It is necessary to fight against abuse, all abuse, not just the easiest to see. But we must also think about the way in which authority is accepted, because 20% of children attribute to the kindness of their parents the meaning of abandonment: "I can do what I want, even hurt myself, they do not care."(in

Questionnaire Ceris by Jean-Pierre Pourtois, Huguette Desmet and Willy Lahaye, University of Mons-Hainaut, Belgium, 1999) To have clear ideas, just do not ask yourself question, but if one wants to progress, it will question well.

Boris Cyrulnik

Psychiatrist, he is the author of

Whispering ghosts, A wonderful misfortune and Naughty Little Ducks (Odile Jacob) Three books on resilience Read another column by Boris Cyrulnik:

Hate of love


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