Pope Francis last week caused global controversy when he said that it is fine for parents to spank children, so long as they do it with dignity.The comments came in his general audience last Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square, when Pope Francis was talking about the importance of a good father within a family.

But Zambia Civic Education Association Executive Director Judith Mulenga in a statement said smacking children is violence and a violation of children’s rights. Ms Mulenga said it is unfortunate that the Catholic Church which is still reeling from the onslaught of accusations and revelations of child sexual abuse and molestations by its clergy can now add violence against children to that record.

Ms Mulenga said it does not matter what form or shape or strength it comes in, it is still violence.She said the problem with ‘reasonable chastisement’ that the Holy Father was most probably referring to is that ‘reasonableness’ is determined by the smacker and not by the smacked.

‘When has any child stated that a smacking was okey and left its dignity intact? Is the weight of a slap of a grown man or woman on a 1 year old or even 5 year old always in proportion to the level of pain resistance of a child?,’she asked.

The smacking with dignity that the Holy Father referred to does not happen. What really happens to children in their family settings under the hands of their so called loving parents is as stated by Honourable Jean – Baptise Zoungrana, the former Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child who said, ‘Thousands of homes have become real laboratories of violence against children,Ms Mulenga said.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is ratified by all countries in the world including the Vatican City itself except for the USA. Furthermore, the 2006 UN Study on Violence against Children identified smacking as one of the commonest type of violence against children.The study also identified smacking as the entry point of all forms of violence against children as it is the first instance of abuse that a child first comes across when it arrives in this World. And other studies have further shown that smacking a child sends a signal to the neurons of the smacker that a child is an object to be treated at will by the adult and after that every other form of child abuse comes easier to the perpetrator.

Unfortunately the violence becomes ingrained even on the child that also begins to accept that all forms of violence against its person is ok. From there it is downhill and society degenerates into a violent one because people are raised with violence. Even gender based violence starts from the way society raises and socialises its children.

Human rights are premised on non-discrimination which obligates us not to treat other people differently on any basis. If smacking an adult no matter how gentle the smack is not ok why should smacking a child be acceptable? Why should society offer more protection to adults that can defend themselves than children who are defenceless?she asked.

I am not in any way advocating for indiscipline,Ms Mulenga stressed. Discipline is absolutely cardinal in all facets of life. Positive discipline of children such as explaining and reasoning, establishing rules and consequences, praising good behaviour in children and being good models for children develop a child’s conscience and self-control that lessens the risk of harm. I want to end by reiterating Sergio Pinheiro, the independent human rights expert who conducted the Study on Violence against Children, clarion call, ‘No violence against children is justifiable; all violence against children is preventable. No more excuses!’

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Ma rabbish from hungry NGOs. Let her reason with her kids and see how they end up. As for us, spanking and tough correction continue for good of family and nation.

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    • Even the bible talks about spanking if a child’s misbehaving goes beyond what a parent can containe…we can only get good reasoning from a Mrs and not a Ms…

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    • I say we smack! Our parents sent us to pluck our won whips and take them back so we could get a good @$$ whooping for misbehaving. We turned out well. To hell with handling children like eggs. When children become failures in life, they will bring you untold misery.

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    • I believe over 90% of us over the age of 30 were smacked and see how we turned out!!!!!!!? Criminals in govt., prostitutes, drunkards, liars, etc…
      I believe there is way to smack a child who is three but one needs to stop as the child moves on to five…3-5 years in a child is a psychologically interesting time when the little ones being to question authority…alittle smack on the batt, one or two with your flat palm should it do..my thoughts…

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  2. Iwe Judith,the Europeans and the Western world has tried all that useless “:No spanking type of discipline” and they now have a generation of spoiled brats and rebellious monsters who can pick up guns and kill.
    We don’t want that in Zambia.When I want to spank ,there rules I Have followed.I never spank them when am angry and when i do spank I explain the reason am doing it.
    Mulenga I want you to show your children after 20 years of no spanking.

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  3. what do u expect from a Ms let the MRS give us a proper guidnace on that
    my fellow parents be on the look out of such crazy who recieve money from the US donated tycoon
    i hate them mwee
    mulenga go to……………..with your NGO

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  4. It’s true a lady without a child is not right to talk about this topic. She is busy swallowing family planning tablets because she’s avoiding problems from the kidos. Discipline even when it means smacking is ok until the child is put on right track.

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  5. I am what I am today because my father never spared a rod. The biggest problem is: many Africans receive, welcome all the stu.pidity coming from the West disguised in human rights. European and American children are the most indisciplined, and parents now complain of having no more control.

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  6. Some Children brought up in kabulonga will not leave a seat for u, they will not get water for u, they will be running around the sitting room in front of guests. Children brought in villages have a special discipline, they behave in front of guests, they will leave a seat for an elder.

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  7. I was spanked whenever I went astray & I usually knew why I was being spanked. I actually turned out very well considering the spanking. I have a degree & a postgraduate professional diploma. I work as a senior manager & have produced 2 good children now in their teens, who have also been spanked whenever it was necessary. They are so far not damaged by it. Even the bible teaches us not to spare the rod & spoil the child.Let us leave the western culture be & continue with out African way of dealing with parenting.
    Let’s model our children to be cultured, respectful & hardworking.

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  8. It is people like Judith, a badly brought up child herself, who will sacrifice their children’s future for the few dollars they receive from equally misguided individuals and organisations donating money to such ill informed and hungry chaps to advance their agenda! Even the Europeans, who had been advocating for such stupidity ( of sparing the rod and spoiling the child) have concluded that corporal punishment is necessary to instill a sense of discipline in their children, after the riotous behaviour in several British cities, such as Birmingham, Brighton ,etc. They have actually concluded that they raised a lost generation who think they only have rights and no responsibilities! Judith, get a life with some responsible man and raise a family, with correct values! Pope Francis is right!

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  9. ms mulenga , do u have children of your own? have u ever raised a child? dd u grow in the midst of children? did u grow up in zambia. do u believe in the bible?
    madam, you need more help than money

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  10. Pope Francis is correct on this one. Our new generation of under five leaders President Lungu, HH and Dr. Nervous Mumba need spanking as well. How have they not given Nawakwi and General Miyanda positions of authority yet as advisors. This lady and her NGO need to be spanked as well for being uninformed and brainwashed.

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  11. ….why are we using the word ‘smack’..??..the correct word should be ‘spank’…..
    ….has Judy got children…??…I doubt…the west who try to oppose whatever the pope says wrote this article for her to authenticate…there is no biological parents who would want to harm their own off-springs in anyway…..what Sergio was suggesting in his report was that spanking should be the ‘last resort’ and not that a parent should ‘never’ spank….Judith got it all wrong…
    …UTH has challenged these NGOs to come to aid of that sexually abused girl but they are nowhere near her because it involves spending…but they rush to issue not well thot statement because the donors will fund them for that…n0nsense….

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  12. Pope Francis is right. Us we used to be beaten. And we grew up very well. Most CEOs, Ministers, you see now who are well behaved with correct values used to be beaten. KASWE UBWEMBYA! I still beat kids who deserve a beating, but I do it properly. Beating is a very effective tool for disciplining children.

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  13. It is written:

    Prov 23:13 “Do not withold discipline from a child, if you punish him with the rod he will not die”

    Prov 23:14 “Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death”

    Prov 13:24 ” He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him”

    Prov 29:15 “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother”

    Prov 19: 18 “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope, do not be a willing party to his death”

    Prov 29:17 “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace, he will bring delight to your soul”

    Prov 22:15 Folly is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him”

    God is not a man that He should lie ! (Numbers 23:19)

    The Pope…

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  14. Awe kwena kuti nachita retract this statement if I was Ms Judith mulenga. I can only hope and pray that someone should lead her to Christ so she can know what the bible says about discipline. So has more authority in our lives now Human Rights or the Bible. I thought we confess as a Christian Nation or may be we should say we are guided by Human Rights. Ba Judith for God’s sake.

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  15. Mother of Chibangu, do not be a hypocrite. As your former Government flat neighbours in Kitwe, we witnessed you violently whipping your children and husband too. That is why Mr Chola divorced you!Kekekekeke! Try to deny this. It is people in Lusaka who do not know you.

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  16. Mrs Mulenga has no idea of what she was talking about. I think she has never lived being to europe, and see how these children have become more disrespectiful to their parents. So don’t exagerate on your writting madam, educating a child could be by showing them love, respect, but if they don’t stick to these principals; you could like them to help them grow in a good manner. Children in europe insults they parents because of the same child rights you are promoting . It is not an abuse to educate a child by beating him or her a little bit. Without these type of will pedagogies we sense a future of these chldren, us we see at an high risk the don’t learn anything from them evenif the disobey it’s not a problem for them. European perspectives and the future of these children is at…

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