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Prohibiting Parental Physical Discipline of Child in Singapore

Leong Wai Kum

(2014) 26 SAcLJ 499

It is challenging for the law to regulate parenting in an optimal manner. The relationships between the child and each of her parents are exceptionally delicate. The relationships last until death and are dynamic in their balance of power as the child grows while the parents age. Legal intervention should be thoughtful and judicious. This article traces the law in Singapore to reveal a remarkable comparative strength in its early embrace of the concept of parental responsibility. It proposes an incremental development in prohibiting parental physical discipline even as “correction” of a child. The discussion pits the universal tradition where moderate physical discipline is an acceptable part of parenting with the modern rejection of the infliction of violence by anyone, including a parent, upon a child even when it is moderate and whether intended as “correction”.