Corporal Punishment and Children

Topics: Corporal punishment in the home, Corporal punishment, Child discipline Pages: 5 (1935 words) Published: August 22, 2013
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...

References: Dupper, D. R., & Montgomery Dingus, A. E. (2008). Corporal Punishment in U.S. Public Schools: A Continuing Challenge for School Social Workers. Children & Schools, 30(4), 243-250.
Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review. Psychological Bulletin, 128(4), 539-579. doi:10.1037//0033-2909.128.4.539
Lansford, J. E., Wager, L. B., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & Dodge, K. A. (2012). Forms of Spanking and Children’s Externalizing Behaviors. NIHPA Author Manuscripts, 61(2), 224-236. Retrieved from
Morris, S. Z., & Gibson, C. L. (2011). Corporal punishment 's inffluence on children 's aggressive and delinquent behavior. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38(8), 818-839. doi:
Rochman, B. (2012, July/August 2). Hitting Your Kids Increases Their Risk of Mental Illness. TIME Health and Family. Retrieved from
Waterson, T. (2000). Giving Guidance on Child Discipline: Physical Punishment Works No
Better than Other Methods and has Adverse Effects. Retrieved from
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