Corporal Punishment

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Perspectives on the effects of corporal punishment: Comment on Gershoff (2002)

This article is a comment on a study conducted in 2002, which is a meta-analyses of several studies conducted since 1938 on the effects of corporal punishment. The author goes on to analyze the quality of the study and its empirical data as well as the choosing of subjects. He then gives his opinion about the results of the study and his perspective on corporal punishment from three different viewpoints: Learning Theory, Socialization Research and the Child’s Perspective. Mr. Holden interprets the study as overwhelming evidence that suggests that corporal punishment has little to no positive effects and many negative effects on children short term and long term. He concludes that this article provides enough evidence to prevent psychologist’s from recommending corporal punishment as an effective tool of parenting and suggests that it is harmful to children long term.

I totally disagree with the viewpoint offered by George W. Holden. While Gershoff’s article did show negative results from corporal punishment, the studies conducted were unable to disassociate parents that were excessive in their actions or the level of severity of the punishments. He admits that abusive parents may have been included and that future studies have to do a better job controlling the subjects. That being said, I don’t see how one could come to the conclusion that corporal punishment is detrimental based on data that unsuccessfully takes into consideration what, in my opinion, are the most important factors that determine whether corporal punishment is being administered effectively. Firm but not abusive spanking coupled with concern and followed by explanation and love is the recipe for successful corporal punishment. I believe that effective spanking will limit the need for future confrontations. In the article, Ordinary Physical Punishment: Is It Harmful? Comment on Gershoff...
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