Effects of Corporal Punishment

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Corporal Punishment as an Act of Dicipline
Every now and then we hear about cases where school children are hit by their teachers even over minor mistakes, and even recently we heard about a case where a ten year old boy was beaten by his teacher in Singapore (Corpun, 2000). This caused a widely publicized case in the local and even some international media. It has been debated and argued by many parties as corporal punishment and is now viewed as something which does not have any valid justification to it. It has shown to have caused many psychological effects and even some physical impairments at times, which will be explained later in this literature review.

Nowadays, psychologists and other professionals have developed and expanded on newer methods of disciplining children which could be used as alternatives to corporal punishment. One of the main reasons we chose to do this topic is because we wanted to know what areas and arguments have been discussed to investigate corporal punishment as a way of discipline. Naturally, this literature review focuses on the effects of corporal punishment on children, from the age range of four to 11 years, in terms of psychological, social and emotional development. As such, this paper also will examine references on corporal punishment in both family or domestic and educational settings. We also examined from a longitudinal study that studied the impact of corporal punishment on the life of these children up to their adult life. It is to help us to understand better the consequences and predict the outcome on children when they grow older. Some other questions which we investigated are what scientific methods that had been used to study the corporal punishmernt? What we have noticed the similarites and differences in these journals. Finally, we provide our opinion whether corporal punishment should be used among children.

Some definitions support the use of corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is defined as “the use of physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience pain but not injury for the purpose of correction or control of the child’s behavior” (Straus & Kantor, 1994 as cited in Gershoff, 2002). Hicks-Pass (2009) used the same definition, that showed the use of corporal punishment that took the side of considering it as a good practice and differentiate it from physical abuse. The learning processes of children as demonstrated by Alfred Bandura’s (1997) as cited by Berk, (2008) illustrated that children learn to do something by remodeling the actions of adults without question the morality behind their actions. Straus (2008) commented that children will grow up believing that it is indeed fine to display love through physical actions as a result of receiving corporal punishment through the years. Furrer (2006) stated that corporal punishment can be divided into three categories which are family or domestic corporal punishment that administered by parents, grandparents and relatives. Educational corporal punishment that being administered by an educator, day care and/or nanny (Furrer, 2006). Or judicial corporal punishment, for example,caning of prisoner (Furrer, 2006).

Dukes (1998) used Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. It proposed the life of development that is in a hierarchal stage, the highest one is morality that deals with internal consciousness and individual standards (Dukes, 1998). When children are hit, they adjust their behavior to external consequence and somehow, they rely on it. Because of it, they never develop their internal consciousness (Dukes, 1998). Other theory that has been used from the social learning theories such as the Bandura’s modeling behavior (Santrock, 2009). It explains that a child would imitate what he or she saw others do, in this case hitting the child (Santrock, 2009). Hyman and Dukes (1998) both argued that people learn through modeling behavior like watching their...
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