RIGA - One third or 32 percent of parents in Latvia use corporal punishment to discipline their offspring and 54 percent are unaware that this is forbidden by law, Laila Balode, a representative Centrs Dardedze nongovernmental organization, said at a news conference citing a survey by Kantar Millward Brown.
She explained that corporal punishment includes spanking, shaking, tossing, pinching, biting, forcing the child to stay motionless in a certain pose, force feeding, starving, pulling the child’s hair and using other upbringing methods of physical character. Balode noted that instead of teaching something, corporal punishment only humiliates the child and can result in bodily injuries. The child can later only recall the punishment but not its cause.
“As a result of corporal punishment, children grow up insecure, unfaithful and sometimes also aggressive. Over time, the use of corporal punishment can lead the child to believe that abuse is a norm in human relationships. As a consequence, the child can perpetuate it by being abusive to others,” said Balode.
The representative of the NGO advocating for childhood free from abuse indicated that the situation has improved in comparison with 2009. But the improvement is still not sufficient, she said.
The survey reveals that 24 percent of parents in Latvia believe that hitting children with hand should not be banned and 49 percent of respondents in the poll believe that spanking or slapping should be a legal upbringing method.
When asked about interfering in situations where somebody’s kids have suffered corporal punishment in the public, 34 percent of respondents said they did not interfere, 42 percent said they would want to interfere but did not know how to do that correctly and 24 percent said they interfered with such situations.
Kantar Millward Brown conducted the survey in August 2017, interviewing 500 residents of Latvia.