Corporal Punishment: What Are We Teaching Our Kids?

analytical Essay
1407 words
1407 words

Research done by leading pediatricians, the American Psychological Association, and countless other sources since the 1960’s have completely revolutionized parenting and fundamentally changed how parents raise their kids. From a child’s nutrition to what your kids should watch on TV have been extensively studied, but none other more than corporal punishment as a means of discipline. Arguably one of the most difficult things any parent has to face when raising a child is discipline. Many parents, whether having their first child or already raising a family, often ask themselves: is corporal punishment an acceptable form of discipline and what effect could it have on my child? Like Dr. Spock wrote in his parenting guide, “The best test of a punishment is whether it accomplishes what you are after without having harmful effects” (Spock & Needlman, 2004, p. 427). I believe corporal punishment is not an effective form of discipline because it is aggressive and violent behavior, its overall ineffectiveness in stopping repetitions of the negative behavior, and the damaging short and long term effects it has on a child’s psyche.

With most parents taking a very traditional approach to raising their children, it is believed a “no hit” policy is permissive, with critics warning that not physically disciplining your children will result in wild and unruly behavior with no concern for the consequences of their actions. It is important to realize that discipline does not mean corporal punishment. Corporal punishment can be defined as physical pain that serves as retribution, this can include: spanking, slapping, grabbing or shoving a child “roughly”, pinching and hitting with certain traditionally acceptable objects such as a belt or a paddle....

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...ce to both new parents and parents already raising a family, also applying across the broad spectrum of culture.

Straus, M. A. & Donnelly, D. A. (2001). Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families Effects on Children. (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Approaching child mental development and more specifically corporal punishment with a rational viewpoint, as well as sticking to facts rather than myths, Murray Straus is one of the leading advocates of not using corporal punishment in the home. His book details studies that demonstrate a correlation between physical punishment by parents and emotional issues found in children. Furthermore the book details research showing the emotional effects later in life, such as increased crime rates, increased depression rates and increased chances of spousal abuse and domestic violence.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that corporal punishment is not an effective form of discipline because it is aggressive and violent behavior and its overall ineffectiveness in stopping repetitions of negative behavior.
  • Explains that discipline does not mean corporal punishment, but it is to teach discipline, showing children what is acceptable behavior and helping them develop self-control.
  • Elaborates on a scenario discussed in my english class of two siblings.
  • Analyzes how corporal punishment perpetuates aggression and violence in this example.
  • Explains that corporal punishment permeates into adolescence and adulthood, increasing the chances of repeating negative behavior.
  • Opines that it is important to understand the effects that we as parents have on our kids and as a society have upon our youth.
  • Summarizes gershoff's meta-analytic and theoretical review of corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences.
  • Analyzes how elizabeth thompson gershoff uses research, journals, and articles published by leading researchers in the field of child development to compile reliable information in a succinct article.

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