The Negative Consequences Associated with Physical Punishment of Children

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There are many methods to correct, control, or change children’s behaviour. In the past, the common tactic was physical punishment. Straus defined physical punishment 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 behaviour” (Straus cited in AlAnazi, (2008, p.8). In general, the physical punishment could range from hitting with heavy objects to mild spanking. Many societies had experienced physical punishment. Also, physical punishment has been still practiced in many countries such as Saudi Arabia. As AlAnazi, (2008, p.190) found that a bulk of young people 89% were subjected to corporal punishment from their parents. In the last decades, the attitudes toward physical punishment began to change because many studies warn of the negative consequences of physical punishment of children. Therefore, many organizations around the world claim that physical punishment is harmful to children, and they start to constrict the educators’ authority via legislation to protect children. This essay will discuss the negative consequences of physical punishment such as, physical and psychological harm, its effects on the education achievement. On the other hand, mild physical punishment could be useful in some cases with some conditions.

The main negative consequence of physical punishment, especially severe punishment, is its physical harm on a children’s body. Using tools such as sticks or belts for punishment or pushing the child on a wall or floor could cause an injury, disability or death. This could easily happen even if educators did not intend to do that because

children’s bodies are weak. AlAnazi (2008, p.193), found that m...

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...ial consequences of physical punishment, it is extremely important to consider some conditions which are related to the way of punishment and the age of child.


ALANAZI, N. (2008) The use of physical punishment on children in Saudi Arabia. Perceptions and experiences of parents and young people, (PhD. ( SS.)), Durham University.

GUTHROW, J. (2002) Correlation between high rates of corporal punishment in public schools and social pathologies. Available from: [Accessed 5th June 2010]

LARZELERE, R. And KUHN, B. (2005) Comparing Child Outcomes of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A Meta-Analysis Journal of Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review [online] 8(1), 25-27 Available from: [Accessed 5th June 2010]
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