Corporal punishment can simply be defined as the punishment that is intended at causing physical pain towards a person.
The type of physical pain inflicted on a person may take different forms, be it using bare hands or an item.
Some parents, guardians and other advocates have championed for the total removal of corporal punishments in schools becasue it is perceieved as a violation of students’ rights.
Corporal punishment has not been limited to government schools as was the case in the 90s. There have been cases at prestigious schools in the country where students have been beaten by their teachers, attracting widespread condemnation.
But despite such condemnation towards schools that have been in the limelight for their act on corporal punishment, parents themselves have been involved in cases of such acts.
They discipline their children with spankings when they misbehave within the home.
But when do we draw the lines on when and where to unleash corporal punishment? Are schools or parents justified to beat children?
Fourth year polytechnic student Mike Pendame says corporal punishment must not be exempted in homes because it is cruel in some way.
He says that children who are beaten regularly are more likely to making more mistakes because they are used to getting such treatments unlike those that are guided differently.
Pendame says parents must enforce good behaviour in their children by simply talking to them on the realities about life and not necessarily using corporal punishment as a means to an end.
He says such acts normally impact negatively on the lives of the children as they are psychologically affected.
“The best way to deal with children who misbehave is to patiently talk to them on how best they can conduct themselves. There are several reasons children misbehave, therefore, it would be wrong to discipline them using physical means other than getting to the bottom of their misconducts,” he said.
Martin Nyoni interviewed during random interviews in Blantyre says there is need to discipline children even if it means spanking them at times.
He says if not corrected, children do as they please, hence, spanking them would not be much of a big deal.
Nyoni says even the Bible has got verses that emphasize that if you do not discipline your ward accordingly, he/she grows up to become a disgrace at some point in life.
“Realistically, disciplining a child takes different forms, but most parents tend to go soft on them because they feel they would hurt their child. The truth, however, is that children must be taught different lessons either by slapping them so they understand,” emphasized Martin.
Sociology lecturer at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College (Chanco) Charles Chilimampunga, however, says corporal punishment is not permitted anywhere because there are several repercussions.
He says corporal punishment adversely affects on the life of children.
“Corporal punishment is the same as violence. What happens is that a child becomes bitter whenever he or she is being met with such circumstances,” he says.
Chilimampunga further says that the best way is to sit down with children whenever they are in the wrong other than inflicting any physical pain on them as it leads to negative reactions in them.