Corporal Punishment Should Not Be An Option For Child Discipline.

By Sheryl Eleazar | Last Updated April 19, 2012

Instilling discipline into a child’s mind should not be done through corporal punishment. Beat a child and he will simply grow up in pain and bearing bitterness until he grows up. You don’t need to hurt or hit a child in order to teach him what is good and bad.

Sheryl Eleazar

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father talking to his son about discipline

Lack of discipline jeopardizes what possible success a person may acquire in his job, career and personal life.  It is thus every parent’s wish to teach his or her children the value of discipline and apply this value in life.   When child disciplining is discussed, the topic about corporal punishment is also always tackled.

Corporal punishment is the use of physical force causing pain, but not wounds, as a means of discipline. 1  

All of us have probably experienced corporal punishment when we were kids. When we show signs of tantrums when our parents did not buy the toy we want, when we fought with another kid in school, when we disobeyed our parents by getting home late, when we answered back to our parents, such were only a few instances where the reward we received was spank and smack.

 

Why Parents Resort To Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment is a part of society since time immemorial.  No one can really trace who the first parent who implemented the first corporal punishment on a child was. This practice was just brought down generation after generation and still continues up to this day.  There are many reasons and instances when a parent chooses to execute the punishment to a child. One is because he considers that corporal punishment will suitably teach a child. Another is that it may relieve tension and that parents have lost control of their emotions. Another reason why parents spank kids is because they are not aware of any other ways and strategies in teaching values to their kids or they are also not aware about what possible conditions may arise from giving corporal punishment.

Controversy is what surrounds this corporal punishment topic.  Indeed, there are certain goals that parents carrying out the punishment want to achieve; yet as the action and punishment are executed onto the children, most of the time, other unwanted results are brought about.

How Supporters Justify Corporal Punishment

It efficiently restrains bad behavior

When no other means of discipline works to teach the child a lesson, a parent oftentimes chooses to spank or hit the child.  People believing that corporal punishment is just okay, will justify that spanking is an effective solution where other methods fail.  Children misbehave and sometimes they believe that their actions are acceptable because they were not punished for it.  With this, children will not be able to learn proper behavior.

It teaches a child about right and wrong actions

When a child was hit by his parent, he begins to realize the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.  This will also teach a child that every action has its own consequences — good actions will earn him rewards; while bad actions will earn him punishments.

It produces instant obedience

When a child has experienced spanking from his parent, he will soon learn that he needs to obey his parents in order not to be hit or smacked again.

Humor Break:

Little Johnny wasn’t getting good marks in school. One day he surprised the teacher with an announcement.

He tapped her on the shoulder and said, “I don’t want to scare you, but my daddy says if I don’t start getting better grades…somebody is going to get a spanking!”

Despite the abovementioned supporting facts for corporal punishment, there are still unwanted effects that can undoubtedly arise from hitting and spanking.  Spanked children are potentially future spankers.

The practice of hitting children teaches them to become hitters themselves. 2  

Research can sustain that children who received corporal punishment may very well develop aggressiveness in their teen and adult years.  Almost all criminals have been punished and threatened while they were young.  A child develops behaviors and attitudes based on what he observes from their parents, regardless if they are good or bad.  Parents, then, should set visual examples for their children on wisdom and empathy, not thoughtlessness and cruelty.

With corporal punishment, the child is not able to learn how conflicts are resolved compassionately and effectively.

A punished child experiences pain and feels afraid due to the spanking he received.  This fear can interfere with learning.  Feelings of anger and revenge preoccupy the mind of a punished child instead of the chance of learning how a problem may be solved open-mindedly. When he matures, this child will only resolve a conflict based on how he saw it during his childhood, through violence and lack of understanding.

Spanking also hinders the chance for parents and children to bond more closely

A parent hits a child, the child moves away from the parent.  This is mostly what happens in spanking.  A young child with his young mind should not be expected by the punishing parent to bend and understand a thing according to the latter’s perception.  When a child is hurt, it is more likely that he will avert from the parent so instead of becoming closer to one another, the child simply grows farther away from the parent.  The child also feels anger toward his parents that after many years, this anger will simply manifest immensely. While punishment may produce immediate good behaviors, the angry feeling seeps deep inside the child’s heart. This anger will enfold his heart until large scale bitterness will surround this child’s life when he grows up.

Corporal punishment may evoke sexual effects and problems.

Even without sexual motives on the part of the punisher, spanking can interfere with a child’s normal sexual and psychological development. Because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiple-linked to sexual nerve centers, slapping them can trigger powerful and involuntary sensations of sexual pleasure. This can happen even in very young children, and even in spite of great, clearly upsetting pain. 3  

The buttock is an erogenous part of the body. It has high sensitivity that can cause sexual arousal or fantasies.  Even though there is no sexual intention from the part of the parent, spanking a child on the buttocks can still impede the psychological and sexual development.  The buttocks are close to the genital areas and so affect the nerves centers of sexual arousal. Slapping the butt can trigger sexual sensations, just as what can be seen from adults who enjoy spanking during intercourse. It can happen even to young children, despite the pain from spanking.

In lieu of Corporal Punishment

What to Do Instead of Spanking? Psychologists and other health professionals have developed many techniques to help children learn more appropriate and desirable behaviors without using corporal punishment. Strategies such as using time out, rewarding positive behavior, and teaching non-aggressive ways of coping with anger and frustration have benefitted many parents and children. Many parenting books, as well as the web sites of the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, offer guidance on these approaches. 4  

  • If a child behaves badly, you can just suspend the privileges he used to receive.  Suspend watching television if two children often fight over which channel should be on. Allow them to watch TV only once they learn to compromise with one another.
  • Apply some logical consequences. For example, your children clash over a particular toy then take the toy and do not allow both children to play with it. Explain clearly to the kids that the toy will be available for them again if they learn to reconcile and share.
  • Let him realize and enjoy the pleasures or rewards.  Offer incentives that will persuade him to perform better and behave more appropriately. For instance, offer a restaurant meal as reward from doing great in school.
  • Implement fining system for instances when the child does not refrain from his bad habits, violates house rules or forgets to accomplish his responsibilities.
  • Re-direct bad behaviors. Instead of slapping a child’s hands for writing on the wall, give the child ample sheets of paper to draw on.
  • Determine other contributing factors to the children’s bad behaviors.  Suppose your child makes a lot of mess in his room keeping clothes and things in order, decide on how you can re-arrange his room to facilitate him in organizing his stuff.  You can put a bin or a basket that he can easily use to gather dirty clothes together. You may also install hooks where the young kid can easily hang clothes or towels.  Have a counter in his room where notebooks and books can be organized.
  • Become a model that your child can follow and imitate. If you want your child to grow up as a responsible person, show him that you are a responsible parent to copy as you accomplish your house chores, as you try to keep your promises, etc.
  • Most important of all, communicate properly with your child. Communicating does not mean shouting or nagging, but talking politely and calmly. If there is something you want your child to understand, all you have to do is find time to explain this clearly to him. If he misbehaves and turns into tantrum in public because you were not able to comply with his wish, once you get home, you cook pancake together and take this time to explain why his tantrums are not acceptable. Tell him how he needs to behave and how he should understand the situation.



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