‘A child who is spanked regularly is more likely to develop an anxiety disorder’ | Family

with his book Can we still punish? Philippe Noens, pedagogue and lecturer in family science at the Flemish university college Odisee, asks himself and every parent the difficult question of whether the educational slap is justified in 2022. “Contrary to what people think, young parents feed their children quite strictly. on.”

“Parents should set limits on education, but violence is not one of them,” says educator Philippe Noens, who is the father of four children under 12. “Everyone understands something different about educational pressure. For some it is a pressure on the nappy, for others a hard ear wipe. In addition, there is also no scientific consensus on the long-term consequences of such a loss. There is agreement that if a child is beaten regularly, the chance of developing, for example, an anxiety disorder increases. In addition, the basic trust in the educator can also take a ‘blow’.”


You don’t hit your neighbor because he plays music too loud, do you?

Philippe Noens

“Parents often say, ‘I used to get spanked, but I grew up with it, didn’t I?’ But should that be the reason why we must continue to hit children in 2022? Both my grandfathers still smoked in front of the grandchildren. In the car, at home, at family gatherings. I don’t experience any consequences for the time being, but does this mean that we primarily have to continue smoking while driving around with the children?”

“I do not want to directly condemn the pedagogical slapping, because that is how you criminalize parents whose hand is without power, but it is of course the case that there is basically no reason to hit children. You don’t hit your neighbor because he plays music too loud, do you? There are other and above all better ways to do it.”

Hugs with Google

Noens does not want to give practical parenting advice about whether there are better ways to punish. “The first sentence of my book is not without reason: ‘This is not a parenting book, but a book about parenting.’ . Libraries are full of such books. The Internet is also overflowing with parenting advice on all aspects of parenting. Meanwhile, you can even find a step-by-step plan on Google for how to best hug your baby!”

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“We’ve been raising children for tens of thousands of years, and humanity hasn’t died out yet. Intuitively, we seem to be doing something good anyway. Raising children is an art, but today we’re apparently going to turn it into an exact science. Many aspects of education are ‘scientific’ and made more complex than they should be.”

“We have gone too far in raising our children. The law of supply and demand also plays a role here. We would rather consult a website or read a book about potty training than listen to how previous generations managed to get children to pee Hell, now I’m giving advice: listen less to parenting experts and consult more with grandparents, aunts and uncles. (laughs) But I mean it: the generations before us have a treasure of knowledge.”

have something to say

Noens will certainly not say that he is against punishment, something that is gaining popularity today thanks to the parenting book. Gentle parenting by psychologist Nina Mouton. ,,For the record: I believe that calls for a certain leniency are justified. Children grow up in a society committed to excellence—good grades, solid education, thriving careers. Being aware of what is going on in yourself and the other person and being gentle, so empathetic, doesn’t seem so bad to me. I also don’t know if all “gentle parents” are against punishment; they also set boundaries and associate consequences with wrong behavior.”

“But what I notice is that today the roles are quite easily reversed: parents who remain silent and often let their children speak. While children can learn a lot by listening to their parents. This is where our word ‘authority’ comes from: having something to say. An authority based on the fact that as a parent you want the best for your child, but also based on your age and life experiences. The point is: parents go ahead in the hope that it will help their child, but you can’t fix their future. Often our children go in a different direction and they ignore our rules, advice and warnings.”

“A ‘hard’ upbringing consists of intervening where relevant and letting go where possible. If I used to come home late after a party, I would have to mow the lawn early in the morning. I didn’t miss the disappointment, but also the humor that my father put into that punishment. I hope to pass on that kind of ‘tough’ upbringing to my children. Children simply cannot educate themselves. It is the parents’ responsibility to make it clear to a child what can and cannot be done.”

“Can we still punish?” by Philippe Noens is published by Borgerhoff & Lamberigts, 19.95 euros. © rv

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