Spanking Your Kid Is Now Against the Law in France -- Excusez-Moi?

Scared child suffering from abuse
fasphotographic/Shutterstock

Whether you're "old-school" and believe sparing the rod can spoil the child, or you're totally against hitting kids no matter what, listen up. Lawmakers in France have passed a countrywide law that bans spanking and makes it illegal. This is a game changer -- not only for parents who plan on traveling to the European country, but for everyone, as the law shows more people are taking a stand against corporal punishment.

Advertisement

The "Equality and Citizenship" (or "Egalité et citoyenneté") bill that was passed in the French Parliament late last year will make acts of corporal punishment illegal throughout the country -- including flogging, caning, and, of course, spanking. 

More from CafeMom: 12 Scientific Facts About Spanking Your Kids

France will join 51 countries that have already banned corporal punishment -- which include Sweden, Germany, Kenya, and a long list of other nations that are taking a stand against hitting and abuse. Life Science notes, however, the new ban will not slap parents and caregivers with any criminal charges, as the ban will fall under France's civil -- not criminal -- law once it goes into effect.

However, it does make a significant statement.

Spanking has and will forever be a hot-button issue that can divide friends, even families. Yet, no matter the back and forth discussion, it seems like experts have taken a stance against spanking (listing some pretty terrifying effects of corporal punishment, like cognitive difficulties, aggression, and even problems with mental health, to name a few) that would make anyone stop and ask him or herself, Is this form of punishment really worth it?

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Violence Against Children, commends France's efforts to end corporal punishment once and for all. "The adoption of this new legislation marks a very important commitment towards the protection from violence of more than 14 million children living in France," Pais says in a statement on the SRSG Violence Against Children website. She continues:

Ending cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment is an indispensable component of a comprehensive national strategy for the prevention and elimination of violence against children. It lays the foundation for a culture of respect for children's rights; safeguards children's dignity and physical integrity; and encourages positive discipline and education of children through non-violent means.

More from CafeMom: If You Were Spanked as a Child, You're Not 'Fine' & Your Kid Won't Be Either

This is pretty major.

I was spanked from time to time growing up and didn't think much of it, because that's what my family did (and the same goes for my husband's upbringing). Though this might've been my "norm" when I was little, I'm trying hard not to make spanking a reality for my 3- and 1½-year-old boys as they grow older. (I have flicked them on occasions.)

While I think it's important for every mom and dad to do what they think is best for their child, I dunno, there's something about countries banning spanking and other forms of corporal punishment that makes me stop and take notice.

More from CafeMom: More Moms Are Choosing Not to Spank Their Kids -- or So They Say

And who knows, maybe countrywide bans like this will inspire parents to find more alternatives to punishing their child that don't include hitting.

Read More >