Corporal Punishment and Children

Is corporal punishment needed to discipline children? This is a very controversial question that is often debated. Even with as many arguments as there are against corporal punishment, there are also arguments for such punishment for children. This is something that tends to happen in both home and school settings. This type of punishment is very hurtful to the child and can have lasting effects on the child throughout their life. It can cause damage to relationships. It can also cause many different psychological problems as they get older.While some may not agree, there are other ways to discipline children that can be just as effective without causing any harm. What exactly is corporal punishment? Often referred to as child abuse, corporal punishment is any type of physical force causing pain, but not injury, to a child to help correct their unacceptable behavior (Lansford, Wager, Bates,Pettit,&Dodge, 2012). There are several different acts that are considered to be corporal punishment; such acts, as small as they may be, can be just as harmful.Actions considered corporal punishment include the following: spanking the bottom of the child, pushing or shoving a child, striking anywhere on the child with or without an object, and even slapping of the child’s hand. All of these actions inflict pain on the child but do not necessarily cause injuries or leave marks. While at first it may seem that this would only occur in a home setting, sadly that is not the case. Corporal punishment has also been used in schools. This began in the Victorain Era in which schools believed that unacceptable behavior was an act against God.It was primarily used for three reasons: “(1) to produce people who would conform to accepted societal norms; (2) to “beat out the obstinacy” that was viewed as a syndrome of “original sin,” and (3) to ensure that learning occurs” (Dupper & Montgomery Dingus, 2008. Pg. 244). With any topic, especially concerning children and/or parenting, there are going to be different views. You will have a set of people that are completely against the issue; those that do not know what to think, and then you will have those that defend the topic to its full extent.Most parents believe it is their right as parents decide how he/she should discipline their child. Other parents believe the way they were raised is how they should raise their children. This, more often than not, has some religious background behind it. It states in the Holy Bible that “Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him”(Holy Bible, Proverbs 22:15) and “Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Holy Bible, Proverbs 23:13-14).Some parents believe that corporal punishment is designed to correct bad behavior. If children are not properly disciplined they will not grow up to become productive members of society. Physical discipline is necessary to send a strong message and deters future bad behavior. Children that are not disciplined through corporal punishment they will grow up to engage in criminal behavior and find the proof is in the high number of children engaging in violent behavior, juvenile delinquency, crime, bullying, and school shootings.Many people in society blame juvenile violence and school shootings on the failure of parent to properly punish their children (Waterson, 2000). Corporal punishment towards children by their parents obviously has many disadvantages. The effects that corporal punishment has on the child’s relationship with their parent are unbelievable. After being on the receiving end of corporal punishment a child often has a heightened sense of fear, anxiety, mistrust, and anger towards the parent (Gershoff, 2002). As in any relationship, trust plays a very important part; and with a child/parent relationship trust is everything.Trust is the most important aspect in any relationship and that begs the question, could you ever trust your mother and father if they beat you or severely disciplined you using corporal punishment? There would most likely be a constant level of fear and anxiety on the part of the child because they would not know what to expect from their parent when it came to discipline. Would it be just a stern talking to or would it be a beating? This would cause a lot of uncertainty and fear and anxiety on the part of the child. The child would feel an emotional distance and lack that close parent-child relationship.If a child is fearful of their parent(s) then, when they are older, they would be less likely to go discuss any problems they may be having and this would cause the parent to miss important changes and events in their child’s life and the child would not feel that close relationship with their parents. A child may want to go discuss a problem with their parents, but since they do not feel they can trust their parents, and then they do not confide in them. While many think that corporal punishment, since by definition, is not meant to cause injury to the child, that it has no lasting effects on the child as well.This, however, is not true. Corporal punishment can cause many psychological problems as the child grows into an adult. Among these psychological problems are depression, low self-esteem, aggression, and future abuse to family just to name a few. Bonnie Rochman, from Time Magazine, reports that “children whose parents use physical force are at greater risk for depression and anxiety” (Rochman, 2012. Para. 10). It is important for everyone to have a positive self-esteem and self-worth, but the more abuse that a child endures, the more likely that they will have low self-esteem and self-worth.Self-esteem and self-worth are often thought of as the same thing, but they are actually very different. Self-esteem is defined as, “a confidence and satisfaction in oneself” (Merriam-Webster. com, 2013). Self-worth is defined as, “respect for or a favorable opinion of oneself” (Merriam-Webster, 2013). Thinking highly of yourself and respecting yourself are very important and those that have been abused often think of themselves as unworthy and unlovable. Aggression is often also an issue for those that were disciplined using corporal punishment.They are taught by what is being done to them, for example, being spanked, that it is then okay for them to hit others when others do something that displeases them. This attitude is then carried over into adulthood and those children, now adults, will be more prone to getting into physical fights with others, with their spouse, and will be more likely to use corporal punishment on their own children (Morris ;amp; Gibson, 2011). Just as there are many different ways to negatively punish your child, there are just as many ways to properly discipline your child.Positive reinforcement is what is often considered to be the most effective way to get an undesirable behavior stopped. Positive reinforcement does not damage the parent-child relationship, and it also does not cause the child any negative psychological problems such as anxiety and fear. Positive reinforcement does not mean bribing your child, it means rewarding good behavior. For example, when a young child, washes their hands after using the “big kid potty”, they see that you are excited for them and proud of them and they get excited also and feel proud of themselves, too.You can reward this behavior by giving them a single M;amp;M or other treat that will make them feel special and at the same time encourage them to wash their hands again. Positive reinforcement does not use fear, intimidation, threatening, or guilt to get a child to behave. Positive reinforcement is something that is also useful with older adolescents and teenagers. You can reward a pre-teen for completing their chores, for not swearing, for not eye-rolling and slamming their door by letting them play an extra half hour of their favorite video game, by letting them rent a DVD to enjoy.This encourages their behavior and does not cause them any physical or mental harm. A teenager is always looking for freedom, independence and respect. They need to earn certain privileges, like driving and going to parties. For teenagers, positive reinforcement could be letting them drive to the store for milk, letting them stay an extra hour at a party, or giving them an allowance and helping them save up for something important, like a new cell phone or an iPod.There are really no limits to positive reinforcement, and the results and benefits are positive and encourage and support your child to act appropriately and work to get an undesirable behavior stopped. In conclusion, there are many different ways to discipline children and sadly, corporal punishment is one of those ways. Corporal punishment can cause physical harm such as bruises, cuts, concussions, and red marks to your child. While those are visible signs of corporal punishment, it is often the psychological ramifications that leave the most lasting effect on a child.Fear, anxiety, depression, and aggression are just some of the psychological effects of corporal punishment. Corporal punishment causes a fear and lack of trust between parent and child. The effects of corporal punishment often carry consequences into adulthood for those children. While corporal punishment creates a quick stop to an undesirable behavior is does not stop the behavior forever. While, on the other hand, positive reinforcement does not cause any physical harm, its effects are longer lasting towards getting a certain behavior stopped or in continuing a good behavior. Positive reinforcement supports and encourages children of all ges to do better and helps them have higher self-esteem and self-worth. Positive reinforcement can be used for teenagers and adults as well. Everyone needs a little encouragement and a sign that they are doing the right thing. While corporal punishment is still used today, the effects of it are becoming even better known. Punishment has evolved over time and it is my hope that in time, corporal punishment will never be used and in its place positive reinforcement will be used and children will have no need to fear their parents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

x

Hi!
I'm Heidi!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out