Scotland’s New Law Bans Parents From Slapping Or Physically Punishing Their Children

Everybody makes mistakes. Even children. It is up to their parents to guide them on what’s right and what’s wrong. And every parent has a different way to do it. Some parents give their kids a time-out, ground them or take away privileges while others have a discussion on rules, consequences of breaking them and rewards for following them to a T.

Unfortunately, there are a few who punish kids by hitting them. As desi kids, we’re no stranger to the infamous ‘thappad’. But parents in Scotland can’t do that anymore as it is now a criminal offense.

Scotland has become the first country in the United Kingdom to ban parents from physically abusing or smacking their children.

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According to The Guardian, the bill was lodged in Parliament by Scottish Green party MSP John Finnie and after a debate, it was passed with 84 MSPs voting in favour and 29 against. Supporters of the law believe that smacking is not the right way to chastise or discipline a child and in some situations may lead to abuse.

In the new law, physical punishment includes hitting, slapping, kicking, shaking or throwing children, boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions etc. So no ‘murga’ positions or kneeling down with raised hands that we 90s kids faced during childhood.

BBC reports that before this bill was passed, parents were allowed to use physical force on kids under 16 provided it came under “reasonable chastisement” or “justifiable assault”. However, such instances in schools were already banned.

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Mary Glasgow, the chief executive of Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity hailed the law saying,

“Listening to the evidence from police, social workers and others working directly with families, it has been clear that there is no intent to criminalize parents, but to bring the law in line with the international evidence and modern parenting practice.”

But there are those who still believe that ‘sparing the rod’ will spoil their child. Only time can tell if the other three countries in the UK (Northern Ireland, England, and Wales) who do not have an outright ban on physical punishment will follow suit or not.

Will such a ban work in India though? Will desi parents who have been regularly punished for bad behaviour while growing up see it as harsh and illegal?

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