Effects of spanking on children

409 Words1 Page

The use of spanking is one of the most controversial parenting practices and also one of the oldest, spanning throughout many generations. Spanking is a discipline method in which a supervising adult deliberately inflicts pain upon a child in response to a child’s unacceptable behaviour. Although spanking exists in nearly every country and family, its expression is heterogeneous. First of all the act of administering a spanking varies between families and cultures. As Gershoff (2002) pointed out, some parents plan when a spanking would be the most effective discipline whereas some parents spank impulsively (Holden, 2002). Parents also differ in their moods when delivering this controversial punishment, some parents are livid and others try and be loving and reason with the child. Another source of variation is the fact that spanking is often paired with other parenting behaviours such as, scolding, yelling, or perhaps raging and subsequently reasoning. A third source of variation concerns parental characteristics. Darling and Steinberg (1993) distinguished between the content of parental acts and the style in which it was administered (Holden, 2002). With all this variation researchers cannot definitively isolate the singular effects of spanking. Holden (2002) reviewed Gershoff’s (2002) meta-analyses of eighty-eight (88) studies and noted that there were both positive and negative outcomes associated with the punishment of spanking. According to Gershoff’s (2002) analysis, the one positive outcome was immediate compliance by the child (Holden, 2002). This result was found to be consistent in five (5) studies. Immediate compliance was defined as the child complying to the parents directive within five (5) seconds. In stark contrast, there were four (4) negative outcomes. The analysis showed a negative effect on the quality of the parent child relationship, the child’s mental health, the child’s perception of being a victim of physical child abuse, and also impacted aggression in adulthood (Holden, 2002). Spanking should always be of reasonable force, never leave bruises or marks, and only ever be on the buttocks. Spanking advocates argue that the buttocks are the safest place to administer corporal punishment since it produces a sharp stinging pain but injury is unlikely.

Open Document