“Is Corporal Punishment Needed to Discipline Children?”
PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology
Instructor: Maura Pilotti
April 29, 2013
Introduction: As adults, it’s our job to nurture children and help them develop mentally and prepare them for the future. Along with this preparation, behavior is also included whether it’s positive or negative. Parents play a huge role in the way their children behave and they decide the consequence(s) if/when behavior become unacceptable. But with the changes of our day and time, the forms of punishment such as corporal punishment, given by adults can be seen as discipline to some and abuse to others. Let’s look into the pros and cons of corporal punishment and determine if corporal punishment really needed to discipline children.
In order to form an opinion and make a decision on corporal punishment, it’s important that one has a clear understanding of what corporal punishment truly is. “Corporal punishment is the purposeful infliction of pain as punishment for wrongdoing. The term often specifically refers to hitting the person receiving punishment repeatedly with an instrument, such as a cane or a ruler, though it also applies more generally to any kind of pain infliction as a punishment” (WiseGeek, 2003-2013). Parents, teachers, and other school administrators often use corporal punishment as a means of establishing authority with children who behave inappropriately or “act up” when told not to. The big issue with this method is that many believe this punishment is necessary to maintain order with children while others think it is a useless tactic that only abuses children both physically and mentally. Instilling fear in children may be both helpful and harmful most would agree but you have to look at all the factors here not just one.
Teachers are responsible for the learning needs of children while they are on school grounds. “Learning, psychology tells us, consists of changes in behavior”(LeFrancois,2011). Parents trust that teachers will maintain authority over their classrooms and that they will follow guidelines to make sure that each child is not denied the right to an education. When you walk into a classroom, you may witness a list of rules that have been placed up for all of the class to see. These rules are to be kept and enforced to maintain the authority that the teacher has over each student. However, there is always that one student who is very anxious to follow his/her own rules and cause quite a few disruptions. These disruptions are doing two things within the classroom: A) drawing attention away from the learning process which indeed denies other students the right to learn and B) taking the authority away from the teacher and maintaining the attention of the classroom. What should the teacher do? Would resulting to corporal punishment with the child in this situation be beneficial? In my opinion, a verbal warning is necessary so that the child is aware of what can potentially happen if the disruptions don’t stop. If the behavior doesn’t change with the child and indeed becomes worse, I do indeed think a teacher has the right to result to corporal punishment to maintain authority.
Parents and teachers should become partners when it comes to teaching children. “Parent-teacher communication (parent-teacher relationships) is extremely important. A strong classroom discipline plan demands that you bring the parents onto your team and keep them informed.”(Weigle,2010-2013) Although parents can’t physically be a part of the class every day, they should indeed have some say so and voice their opinions, needs, and concerns. Just as a teacher sends out a progress report to show parents how the student is performing academically, parents should also send notes to school and/or make phone calls and have a voice in how their child is to be disciplined at school. In doing so, parents are “in...
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