Parenting - Cultural Differences in Disciplining Kids - as part of the news and politics series by GeoBeats. In Papua New Guinea, there are tribes that inflict cuts on their young as they believe that the experiences will turn them into discipli...
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Parenting - Cultural Differences in Disciplining Kids - as part of the news and politics series by GeoBeats. In Papua New Guinea, there are tribes that inflict cuts on their young as they believe that the experiences will turn them into disciplined men. While few parents would go to such extremes, most have their bag of tricks to discipline children. We ask; we plead; we threaten; we bribe; we punish, and still – they just won’t listen! From permissive to draconian, with differing cultural norms as country borders are blurred, and we find ourselves at a crossroads over the discipline of our children. Most controversial is using physical force or pain to correct or control behavior. A 1968 US survey showed 94% of the population in agreement it was sometimes necessary to spank a child. By 2005 this had declined to around 72%. Today’s American kid is also used to time-outs and loss of privileges. Freedom of speech is extended and encouraged. Positive or attachment parenting is the new catch phrase, with parents encouraged to model the desired behavior. Yet pockets of “spare the rod, spoil the child” philosophy remain with evangelical books like The New Dare to Discipline by James Dobson. In Sweden a no-hitting law has been in effect since 1979. In 2009, the Council of Europe initiated a complete ban on corporal punishment in the home, schools, penal system and care settings. By 2010, at least 22 member states including Germany had ratified the ban making it a criminal offense. Notable hold-outs include France and the United Kingdom. Despite increased European opposition to corporal punishment, the United States leaves it up to each State to decide. In China, the one-child policy has led to a generation of coddled youngsters, pressured to excel as students. There is little room for self expression. Preserving or enhancing the family name is emphasized with shaming and name-calling common motivators, as is physical force. The overwhelming influence in Japan is self-discipline and obedience in all stages of life. In most of Africa, physical force is the norm, although countries like South Africa are joining the growing chorus to ban corporal punishment. But perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Is our goal as a parent to control our kids, or teach them self-control? How do we raise a child capable of independent thought and action, respectful and mindful of others? This little person would theoretically develop into a productive member of society. Is there a universal answer to such questions across the globe or does it vary based on where you are raising your child?

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