There is no doubt that when it comes to a temper-tantrum throwing toddler, all parents want to do is make the behavior stop. However, it is the way parents have been choosing to discipline their child which is raising questions in congress. Whether or not parents spank their children is one of the hot topics among experts and society alike. Parents who do it argue if carried out properly and only occasionally, spanking can be an effective disciplinary tool. Parents who do not do it, protest hitting a child only teaches them violence is the way to solve problems. If spanking is related to corporal punishment of children, then parents who spank their children have a greater risk of causing their children emotional damage. An analysis of spanking children reveals three principle problems facing parents: define spanking, is spanking appropriate for their family, and what are my alternatives.
There have been many studies on how many parents spank their children, yet there have been far fewer studies as to why parents feel the need to hit in the first place. If the old methods worked for our parents, they will work just as well for current generations. To some, spanking means "slapping a child on the buttocks" (Straus, 1995), while others consider spanking a generic term for any corporal punishment that does not cause an injury, such as slapping a child's hand for touching something forbidden or dangerous. In 1996 the American academy of Pediatrics issued a consensus statement on corporal punishment. Spanking, one form of corporal punishment, is defined as: Physical non-injurious
Intended to modify behavior
Administered by an open hand to the child's arms, legs, or buttocks Everyone agrees consistent discipline is an important tool for parents raising their children. Here are the proportions of American parents reporting the use of corporal punishment in a 12-month period, by age of children:
Roberts (2007) states for the study corporal punishment was 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. The most common methods used: spanking on the bottom with a bare hand and slapping on the hand, arm or leg. California Assembly member Sally Lieber stated in a phone interview with apRoberts "Children are the last group in society that it is OK for people to hit." If we want to truly give our children better than what we had, as a society we need to stop looking the other way and and offer positive alternatives for child discipline. There are those people who listen to Andero & Stewart (n.d.) stating that all over the country, traditional schools are springing up. Their avowed purpose is to get back to the basics of education and to stress effective discipline. Often this involves relatively severe corporal punishment for misbehavior. These traditional schools are filled to the point of overflowing. Consequently due to these far different opinions on the definition of corporal punishment, it will be a long time before society comes to any common ground. Some say spanking is not always wrong; however, many studies by experts do not distinguish between degrees of spanking. A swat on the bottom by a parents hand is much different then 10 hits with a wooden spoon.
If parents are following how they were disciplined as a child, then lets test the argument by examining a few real-life examples of standards which have changed in the last 20 years. 1.There was always an ashtray sitting on the table when going out to dinner. The aroma of cigarette smoke was always present. And we turned out all right. 2.The early cars had no seat belts and everyone piled in the backseat, with the expectation gravity would keep people in place. And we turned out all right. 3.All the houses in which we lived that had rooms painted with lead-based paint. And we turned out all right. Today people do not do these things...
References: Andero, A., & Stewart, A. (n.d.). Issue of Corporal Punishment: Re-Examined. Journal of Instructional Psychology, vol 29, pg 5.
Leach, P. (1996, July 9). Spanking: A shortcut to nowhere. Retrieved April 7, 2007, from Cnet Web site: http://cnet.unb.ca/corg/ca/e/pages/prevention^cruelty/spank.htm
Paul, P. (2006). Is Spanking O.K.?. TIME.
Riak, J. (2007). Plain Talk about Spanking. Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education.
Roberts, A. (2007). To spank or not to spank: That is the question many parents are debating as a legislator proposes to outlaw practice. Knight River Tribune Business News, pg 1.
Rubin, D. (1996, September). Should you spank?. Parenting. 135-141
Sears M.D., W., & Sears R.N., M. (2006). Why We Don 't Spank. Retrieved March 10, 2007, from beliefnet Web site: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/66/story_6690.html
Straus, M. (1995). Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families. Lexington Books.
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