In Canada, the country that I live in, the use of physical force on children is an exception to the Criminal Code of Canada.
It is illegal to hit someone else, but if you are their parent or legal guardian you are allowed to hit your kids from ages 2 to a teenager. As long as you are doing it to discipline them, or correct their behaviour, they are fair game with the following exceptions.
The law in Canada allows for minor corrective force or the mildest forms of assault, but a parent or legal guardian can not:
– use force on a child under 2 years old or on a teenager,
– use force that causes harm or might cause bodily harm,
– use force because they are angry, frustrated, have lost their temper or because they have an “abusive personality”,
– hit a child on the head,
– do anything degrading, inhumane or harmful (this might include taking clothes off or spanking in public), or
– use force on children who have disabilities which make it hard for them to learn.
Growing up, my narcissistic mother physically assaulted me and my siblings in the name of discipline. She said it was discipline, but really she had psychotic breaks with reality like a deranged narcissistic sociopath.
Nobody was allowed to express their full range of emotions, but her. Not even dad. If you did, all hell broke loose.
I’ve been hit with wooden spoons, hangers, shoes, hair brushes, and whatever else she could get her hands on. I think she’s even thrown books at me.
I’ve been slapped in the face by her on more occasions than I can recall. I think she really liked that one. The face slapping. It was her favourite. Her mom was a face slapper. I now know that it was illegal for her to do that. In fact, every act of “discipline” on her part was always because she lost her shit and she had to teach us her rules. All illegal.
She also liked washing our mouths out with soap. She did it if we swore. She always made sure to push it up against out top teeth on the way out too.
I’ve never spanked my children. I have always maintained that it is not a good way to discipline a child, and I have always been against it. It never made sense to me to try and corrects a child’s behaviour by hurting them. The biggest irony to me is hitting a child to teach them not to hit others.
Thankfully, there is increasingly more scientific research that shows that physical punishment of any kind is harmful to children.
Perhaps someday, with this and the urging by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to stop allowing parents and guardians to use physical force on children for discipline the law will change.
The way I see it, it is the biggest betrayal I can think of, having the person that is supposed to keep you safe from all harm, be the one causing it.