International children’s rights discourses are centred on the principles of child protection and participation. Underpinning these discourses is the assumption that when children express their views they will support children’s rights principles. However, this is not a guarantee. On key issues affecting their lives such as children’s work and labour, children’s views are often in striking opposition to the dominant children’s rights discourse. This can be attributed to the fact that children’s views show a more nuanced assessment of their situation which challenge simplistic dichotomies about good vs bad. Thus, there is a need to move beyond simple dichotomies and, instead, seek to understand the complexities of children’s lives. This article contributes to this discussion by exploring children’s perceptions of the physical punishment they experience at the hands of parents and other primary caregivers in Ghana and the meanings they themselves attach to the practice. Further, it examines the implications this has for the dominant children’s rights discourse. Data presented in this paper are based on a one-year project funded by the Nuffield Foundation in the UK.
- SPS Children and Families Research Centre
- Children's rights
- children's views
- physical punishment