Is Corporal Punishment Beneficial Or Harmful?

1055 Words5 Pages
Is corporal punishment beneficial or harmful to childhood personality development? Notwithstanding the lack of scientific certainty regarding its actual effects, corporal punishment has been common practice for centuries. Recent studies, focusing on spanking, have revealed negative consequences of such punishment (Simons, 2014; Simons & Wurtele, 2010). These negative consequences include the development of aggressive behavior and proneness to criminal activity (Simons, 2014; Simons & Wurtele, 2010). However, another recent study demonstrated only small, though not trivial, effects of spanking and its author pleads for unexaggerated claims from other researchers (Ferguson, 2013). These recent studies, altogether, provide evidence that there are in fact negative consequences associated with at least one form of corporal punishment and, although those negative implications may not be huge, parents should be persuaded to refrain from employing these punishments. In her review of Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence and Crime, Leslie Gordon Simons focuses on the significance of spanking because it is often a child’s first experience with violence and is a benchmark through which they perceive other forms of violence, hence it is the primordial violence (Simons, 2014). She brings up longitudinal studies indicating that spanking is associated with detrimental consequences—aggressive behavior, antisocial behavior, risky sexual activity, low self-control, lack of self-esteem, higher acceptance of violence in interpersonal relationships, greater impulsivity/less patience, poor academic grades, and higher frequency of adult criminal charges (Simons, 2014). Leslie Simons is careful to cite only in-dept... ... middle of paper ... ... 2013). Now that there is enough evidence to at least conclude that spanking can lead to some undesirable consequences, the next step is to look for an alternative. Presumably, spanking is used as a deterrent for bad behavior. So, the question that needs to be answered is, how do we approach a situation in which children misbehave (hit a sibling, lie, steal, etc.)? Perhaps reasoning with the child may be sufficient, although some would argue that it is not possible to completely reason with a child. However, such arguments are overly exaggerating the child’s lack of critical faculties; rather, it is crucial that the child be convinced into behaving morally rather than threatened to do so. For the healthy development of children and maturation of culture, it is necessary to abandon the primitive practices of corporal punishment and adopt more civilized practices.
Open Document