01/10/2017 11:14 EST

Spanking Ban: France Joins 51 Countries In Unpopular Decision

Since Sweden first banned corporal punishment back in 1979, 51 other countries have joined this stance on spanking kids as discipline. Now France is number 52.

The “Equality and Citizenship” bill passed just before Christmas, on Dec. 22, 2016, which makes corporal punishment a civil offence. The law also bans any punishment of children that is “cruel, degrading, or humiliating including any use of physical violence.”

According to recent polls, this new law will not go down well with parents. The Telegraph reports that 60 per cent of French adults are against a spanking ban. In fact, 85 per cent say they still smack their kids.

But experts are applauding France.

“It lays the foundation for a culture of respect for children's rights; safeguards children's dignity and physical integrity; and encourages positive discipline and education of children through non-violent means," says Marta Santos Pais who is the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children.

In Canada, spanking is currently legal. However, the Liberal government promised to pass all of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which includes removing Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

This sections, known as the "spanking law," states:

"Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances."

After 50 years of research, a June 2016 study revealed that children who are spanked are more likely to disobey their parents -- the exact opposite result parents are aiming for. They are also more likely to have mental and cognitive challenges as adults.

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