Spanking Of Children Banned in Costa Rica
Costa Rica Daily News (, June 27, 2008

Spanking Of Children Banned in Costa Rica Spanking kids in Costa Rica is a no-no, as legislators voted this week to ban parents from spanking their children.

The bill passed second reading, on Wednedsday and outlaws all forms of physical or emotional punishment or mistreatment of children. The proposal becomes law once it is signed by Costa Rican president, Oscar Arias.

The bill was proposed by the Defensora de los Habitantes (ombudswoman), Lisbeth Quesada back in 2005.
Lisbeth Queseda: "Nothing justifies hitting children."

Legislator Luis Antonion Barrantes, who served on the committee that approved the bill, said in a statement that the bill lack enforcement mechanism, that the law is symbolic as there no clear sanctions. Barrantes added that the law, however, does send a message that children are not to be mistreated.

Spanking like corporal punishment in general is a hotly debated social issue in many countries. Questions exist as to whether children should be spanked, whether it is an effective method of discipline (and if so how it is best don), and whether or at what point it constitutes child abuse. Most of these points apply more generally to most or all forms of physical punishment.

Those who accept spanking often frame the issue as a matter of effective discipline, stating that young children respond most effectively to sensations, like pain. Another argument used by proponents of spanking is that proper and effective spankings cause only temporary pain and no damage.

Anti-spanking advocates argue chiefly that spanking is abusive, that it is ineffective, and that it teaches children that physical violence is an acceptable way to deal with other people. They point to the fact that scientific research has failed to back up any of the claims in favor of spanking while research has consistently shown that the number one predictor of violent behavior is whether someone comes from a home where violence is practiced, including a home where children are subjected to physical punishment.

Whatever the argument, the final decision as to whether or not spanking children is allowed in Costa Rica, will be solely in the hands of President Arias.


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