The Importance Of Punishment

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Punishment is viewed as a controversial method of behaviour modification in children (Lieberman, 2000). Since the late 1950s to 1960s, much research has been done to study the use of punishment on children, obtaining a broad range of results. There are multiple studies that suggest the effectiveness of punishment on suppressing problematic behaviour (e.g. Roberts & Powers, 1990, etc.), as well as studies that suggest that physical punishment has an effect on adulthood (e.g. Corso, Edwards, Fang, & Mercy, 2008) and the availability of a range of non-abusive methods for behaviour modification (e,g, Athens 2008). Ethnicity (e.g. McLoyd & Smith, 2004, etc.) and genetics (e.g. Boutwell, Frankling, Barner, & Beaver, 2011) have also been researched for the possibility of its influence over the outcome of physical discipline.
Much research has been conducted since the 1960s on the effectiveness of punishment. Bernal, Duryee, Pruett, and Burns (1968) conducted a study based on a mother and her 8 ½ year old son, Jeff, with disciplinary problems, aiming to help the mother to regain control over her son. The study was done over 13 weeks with Jeff and his mother, where intervention techniques such as ignoring and spanking were administered, all of which documented by the mother and researchers. Jeff’s problematic behaviour reduced during the study and as this punishment was utilized, positive effects were concluded. Roberts and Powers (1990) assessed the use of the conditions Spank, Hold, Barrier and Child Release with an aim to observe their effects when parents use it to enforce chair timeouts. With the 36 preschool children, it was seen that the use of Barrier and Spank was more effective than that of Hold and Child Release. In 1997, resea...

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...o statistical significance in the results was found for females. Therefore it can be concluded that there is a relationship between spanking and the genetic risk for antisocial behaviour.
Across the years, many aspects of punishment have been researched and derived conclusions. Major areas of research are the effectiveness of punishment, its side effects, and ethnic and genetic influences. Some future research paths that have been recommended are that some studies could be done to look into the parent’s view on corporal punishment and see if there is a relationship between parental opinion, history of punishment and the administering of punishment (Smith, 2008). It is also recommended that research is done on understanding the possible reasons why some ethnic groups are more susceptible to externalizing behaviours whilst others are not (Lansford et al., 2004).
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