Nova TV, released on May 1st, 2018  an interview with Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander, Director of the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb on the occasion of the International No Hitting Day for Children and results of the Brave Phone research. It showed that 34% of the respondents considered that corporal punishment of children shouldn’t be forbidden to parents: (See here on Croatian Language):

“Is corporal punishment the corect way for a child to understand what way to go? The parent’s response is often heard – even we are through it. In Daily News of Nova TV, we talked with Gordana Buljan Flander, a child protection expert.

For more than 30 years, you have to deal with the issue of child protection. Did the fact that the half of the parents periodically and physically punish their children surprised you or did you expect that?

Unfortunately, due to the fact that I work with children and their families for a long time that information didn’t surprise me. Almost every day I hear parents saying that without beating thay can not raise their children and unfortunately parents today often mix the right of children to upbringing without beating with the right of children to upbringig without borders. They think – if they give up a beating as a method of upbringing that they have no other method to raise their children.

Can corporal punishment teach children to distinguish right from wrong?

Spanking can not teach the children to distinguish right from wrong. It is very logical to conclude that beating shows to a child only what is wrong, it doesn’t show what is good. When beating children we are sending to them a message that they are not valid as a person, that they didn’t deserve a different and better relationship. Parents often think that they will beat, for example, to prevent a child running out into the street or pushing finger in a socket. But if a two years oldd child is spanked when it ran into the street, it will continue to run out into the street holding hands on the butt to protetct from beating, because we did not show him how to behave. It is important to know that through beating children learn fear and revenge. At that moment, the child is afraid of the parents, but later when the child is four, five, seven years very often tells me: “I will repay them when I’m big.”

How to raise children and set them boundaries in such a pace of life?

That’s a great question considering that parents often give up of their responsibility and say if we no longer can beat children, we can no longer set them limits. A child to whom everything is allowed is just as neglected as a child to whom is not allowed anything. Therefore, it is really important that parents take responsibility and  the leadership through upbringing. When we say discipline, this is not beating. Discipline is leadership through upbringing. First let me show you by example how to behave, to set limits on the way that the child receives rewards for desirable behavior, but also to bear the consequences for inappropriate behaviors that are not desirable and that we do not want for them to develop. Those penalties should not be corporal punishment or a denial of love. One can always take away from the child some privileges like some extra cartoons before bedtime, some games .. something the child likes and what is not love or a primary need we can take away as a result of unproper behavior. But I would emphasize that the award is very powerful means of upbringing. And it does not have to be tangible reward. A hug is a very powerful reward. Praise, a kiss – it’s very, very powerful for child to do something to satisfy their parents. They will not do something because they fear punishment. ”


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