Go Get the Belt

Topics: Spanking, Corporal punishment in the home, Corporal punishment Pages: 9 (2797 words) Published: June 13, 2010
Go Get The Belt

Go Get the Belt: A Look Into the Use of Corporal Punishment to Discipline America’s Children English 215

Currently, the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline at home is legal in the United States. This paper will look at the use of corporal punishment on American children and recognize alternative discipline techniques. As it has become a topic of heated social and political debates in recent years, spanking children is thought to have an effect on a child’s life whether it is positive or negative. This paper will analyze, describe and compare some pros and cons of using corporal punishment and other techniques.

Go Get the Belt: A Look into the use of Corporal Punishment to Discipline America’s Children Most parents at one time or another have the experience of raising a challenging child that brings them to make a decision on how to effectively discipline. Your 8-year-old refuses to put away her toys. Your 11-year-old isn't turning in his homework on time. Your 16-year-old has come home late for the third time in a row. One of the biggest challenges in raising children is providing proper discipline. Punishment sometimes comes in the form of name calling, isolating a child, or using physical force, may or may not give you immediate results. There has been increasing debate about how we can effectively discipline children - and the rights and wrongs of corporal punishment. This paper will look at (1) the change in societal views of corporal punishment of children (2) the effects of corporal punishment on children, and (3) alternatives to the use of corporal punishment on children.

The use of corporal punishment is one of the most controversial parenting practices and it seems that it will continue to be controversial in America, because you can choose how you want to discipline your child. According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, corporal punishment is defined as the punishment inflicted on a person's body. (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law) Although the effect of corporal punishment on children is still undergoing a lot of debate, there hasn’t been much attention devoted to understanding why parents spank their children. Many support the old notion of spare the rod and spoil the child. At the same time, there is support for beating the devil out of them. (Straus, 1994) Too often the person administering the spanking becomes too emotional. (Horn, Cheng, & Joseph, 2004) Psychological research has demonstrated that many non physical methods are highly successful but the majority of Americans do not agree with laws that influence their parental rights to discipline their children.

The Change in Societal Views of Corporal Punishment of Children Many parents fall back to spanking, because they believe it is something that they are "supposed to do" and/or they have not developed more constructive methods of discipline. Most of the older books on child-raising advocated corporal punishment as a normal disciplinary method. James Dobson's position is controversial. In his book Dare to Discipline, (Dobson, 1996) Dobson advocated the spanking of children of up to eight years old when they misbehave, but warns that "corporal punishment should not be a frequent occurrence" and that "discipline must not be harsh and destructive to the child's spirit." (Dobson, 1996) He warns against "harsh spanking" because he thinks "It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child (Dobson, 1996). However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely." Dobson calls disciplining children to be a necessary but unpleasant part of raising children that should only be carried out by qualified parents: "Anyone who has ever abused a child — or has ever felt himself losing control during a spanking — should not expose the child to that tragedy. (Dobson,...

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