Corporal Punishment

Home Writing Corporal Punishment

My Perspective

This assignment required the class to choose a topic that we support and write an article with an opposing view. The assignment’s requirements included using three references to write an article based upon information found in each reference. The topic I chose was corporal punishment. The following is my point of view of the assignment.

I learned a lot while researching this assignment. Raised in a home where spankings were used as a form of punishment, I thought that spankings were a way of life for children who misbehaved. Granted, the spankings didn’t happen very often (they were an effective deterrent) but I never knew about the long-term affects corporal punishment could have on children.

Upon completion of this assignment, from a parenting standpoint, I can see valid reasons why parents might prefer an alternate form of discipline other than corporal punishment for their children. From a journalistic standpoint, I see the importance of being open-minded enough to write an unbiased article, even if it means going against something that you personally do not agree with.

Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment is painful physical punishment imposed on misbehaving children, usually performed in the home environment, by an authoritative person. The purpose of this form of punishment is to reform or deter unacceptable behavior. At home, corporal punishment is carried out using a paddle, switch, hand, belt, or some other implement. Corporal punishment of minors in the home environment is legal in all 50 states in the U.S. Many people believe that corporal punishment is appropriate and necessary; however, just as many people—if not more—believe the opposite.

Opponents of corporal punishment feel it should not be used for disciplining children. The reasons for not using corporal punishment are as follows:

  • Leads to low self-esteem and may have long-term psychological impacts.
  • Other methods of discipline are available to correct behavior, such as educating the child so that the child understands why the action was wrong and possibly invoke empathy or shame.
  • Perpetuates rage and hostility once the child reaches adulthood.
  • Teaches children to be violent towards other children and quite possibly their own children.
  • Relies on additional force to be used in order for it to continue working, thus resulting in child abuse.
  • Causes sexual deviancy in children.
  • Causes poor relationships between the child and teachers and/or parents.
  • Does not deter the bad behavior in children.

Opponents of corporal punishment also feel that when inflicted in anger, corporal punishment can easily progress into child abuse, especially if injuries occur during the process. The increased frequency of which corporal punishment is administered can also progress into child abuse. Beating a child, as opposed to disciplining a child, will cause the child to continue the bad behavior behind the parent’s back, because the child has not been taught to modify his/her behavior. Beating the child will just make him/her afraid of the parent and cause him/her to withdraw from the parent instead of deterring the child from disobeying.

Corporal punishment teaches children that children do not deserve respect; spankings are an indicator of love; making fun of the weak, hitting classmates, and annoying their teachers is acceptable behavior; and to identify with violent heroes in movies and video games.

Issues related to childhood corporal punishment do not stop once the child becomes an adult, quite the contrary. Adults who were subjected to corporal punishment as children will condone spanking in their own children, because they want to avenge their own suffering on the next generation. They will also refuse to acknowledge the connection between the violence that they experienced as a child and the same practice now being repeated on their own children. They may possibly enter into careers where violence is commonplace. The adult may also obey any authority figure that stirs up memories of parents.

In conclusion, one should not use corporal punishment as a form of discipline on children. Discipline done in the heat of anger or frustration can very easily cross the line into child abuse. The long-term negative effect of corporal punishment far outweighs the short-term gratification that the parent feels when administering it. The definition of discipline is the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior. Oftentimes corporal punishment is a reactive response to a child’s disobedience. While it may make the parent feel better, it does nothing to teach the child that the behavior is unacceptable and such behavior needs to be modified.