Corporal Punishment in America: Should America Ban the Spanking of Children?

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As a child everything was new, every day felt like an adventure. As you got older though you decided to go on fewer adventures having less interest in the new things of the world. Imagine yourself at home, watching cartoons with your mother and you always desired to put something into the power outlet next to the TV but every time you intended to do that, you get warning eyes from your mother, which means you don’t do it. But as a child, you can never give up your curiosity. So what do you think about a mother spanking a child if he or she disobeys and continues to do what the parent asked them not to? The use of corporal punishment, especially spanking, is one of the most common methods that parents use to discipline their children through many generations to teach them right from wrong. However, a recent problem seems to be that corporal punishment is becoming less popular in the United States and also the number of parents who use corporal punishment has decreased. Corporal punishment should be used as it teaches children right from wrong.

Many people claim that corporal punishment should be banned in the United States. They believe government regulations should not be applied to spanking. The critics of spanking cite three strong reasons to support their views. First, the critics of corporal punishment claim that those children who have been spanked as a method of discipline tend to behave aggressively and violently as children and later as adults but the studies have linked spanking to aggressive behavior are flawed and inconclusive. Second, critics claim that children who have been subjected to corporal punishment are more likely to become depressed as teenagers and adults, but the evidence use to support claims linking corporal punishment to depression is weak. Last, these critics believe that there are a number of alternative methods to teaching children right from wrong out of corporal punishment but spanking is the most effective way to teach a child because “Time-Outs” or talking and ignoring the behavior does not work.

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The people who disagree with corporal punishment are so wrong when they claim that children who have been spanked always started to behave more aggressive and violent as teens and adult. What the researchers found might surprise them. In 2004, scholar Jennifer Lansford, who worked with Professor Dodge of Duke University, reported findings from a diverse group of 585 children they followed from prekindergarten through grade 11. In various studies, researchers found that the effect of spanking on black children was different than it was on white children.

Rather than making the group of black children aggressive it actually had better outcomes. Dodge writes “[t]o the extent that the child understands and appreciates genuinely that the child is loved by the parent, and that even though it hurts, the parent’s intent is to help the child – to the extent that the child understands that, the consequences are not negative” (Hanes).

There are several reasons why this study is strong. First, the sample size is large and has compiled from a multi-racial around the United States. The result shows that not all of the children who are spanked displayed aggressive and violent behavior. Second, the studies conducted over a long duration are more reliable than those conducted over a short time period. From prekindergarten to grade 11 is a longer time to demonstrate a relationship between non aggressive behavior and corporal punishment. Third, what the Duke researchers, who are still opposed to corporal punishment, determined is that the damage caused to children by spanking, paddling, or other sorts of punishments is less about the physical act than it is about the psychological message imparted by the parent to the child. Many places are doing studies on discipline and affects. According to the University of Chicago General Social Survey, blacks are 11 percentage points more likely than whites to favor it.

Many pointed out that there are simply different stressors and priorities facing white and black families in America. The study concluded “While many white children have the luxury of growing up precious and thinking the world revolves around them, many black children often grow up in environments where misbehavior can be a matter of life and death” (Hanes). There are several reasons why this study is strong. First it wasn’t that African-American children dealt better with corporal punishment. It was that their parents were better at giving it.

Whether or not the child sees a parent as out of control can depend on the way a child is spanked, as well as how spanking is viewed in their wider community, as something done by normal, loving parents, or something taboo, done behind closed doors in secret, explosive moments of anger. Second, corporal punishment certainly can have a negative effect on a child, but the research links spanking and aggression does not differentiate between a harsh beating when a parent is furious and a quick swat to the rump with an open hand when the parent is calm. Finally, the correlation between corporal punishments to aggression is explained entirely by the fact that some children are more difficult than others, and that causes parents to use more of every kind of discipline tactic. In short, there are studies show how some controlled spanking can be positive, then corporal punishment is not always lead to aggression and violent.

The opponents of corporal punishment are mistaken when they claim the use of spanking would cause depression and other psychological problems on children. The evidence they put forward to argue is weak at best. In 2006, the national newspaper USA Today published the results of an informal survey of some of the country’s most successful business leaders. Reporters asked about 20 chief executives (CEO), whether their parents had actually used corporal punishment on them. As it turned out, almost all of the CEOs surveyed had experienced corporal punishment.

For example, Dave Haffner, the CEO of the manufacturing company Leggett & Platt Inc., told a reporter “I received the belt when I deserved it, such punishments taught me how to be disciplined, detailed and organized” (“Corporal Punishment”). There are several reasons this study is strong. First, the survey is based on successful people around the United States and obviously they were not suffering from any depression or mental damage as well as physical. Second, this study is demonstrated by a national newspaper, the most prestigious newspaper in the America, the information they were given can be trusted.

Last, most of the participants in this study agreed that spanking is the way how their parents expressing the love for them, the best way to teach them right from wrong, and instill proper morals in them. Not only there studies shows unlink corporal punishment to depression, there is also a respected psychologist to prove that psychological problem has nothing to do with spanking. James Dobson, the founder of the conservative family values advocacy group Focus on the Family said “Parents who practice corporal punishment often use objects such as paddles, switches, hairbrushes and even rulers to discipline their children when they misbehave with enough force to produce pain but not physical damage” (“Corporal Punishment”). What he was saying are substantial for a multitude of reasons. Dr. James Dobson is a psychologist; his main job is to discover what affects the health and development of people. As he said, spanking does not cause any physical damage to the kids except it will make them cry genuinely. To sum up, there is proof offered by both studies and experts that spanking a child does not lead to depression or psychological problems.

The anti- spanking evaluators are incorrect when they believe that spanking is an ineffective method of disciplining a child. In fact, there is evidence to suggest a direct correlation between spanking a child and the most effective way to teach them. According to a 2002 poll conducted by ABC News, 50% of U.S. parents with grade-school children spank them. The same poll showed that spanking is more prevalent in the Southern U.S., with 62% of parents there spanking their children, compared with just 41% in the rest of the country. The study concluded, “Nevertheless, most polls show that corporal punishment continues to be a popular disciplinary method in the U.S” (“Corporal Punishment”).

There are many reasons to prove this research is accurate. First, the sample size is large and has been compiled from a multitude of locations around the United States. The results were consistent regardless in the South the majority of parents with higher education still use spanking as a disciplinary method to their children. Second, the study was funded by ABC News, noteworthy, impartial organization; their purpose is to provide the most accurate information to the public. Third, more than half parents from all over the United States, especially from the South participated in this study and the results haven’t changed since 1990s until the time they’ve performed this research.

The discipline study not only shows the link between effective way to teach children with spanking a child but also the opinions of those who have children. According to The Associated Press, all 50 states allow parents to hit their children as a reasonable means of punishment. For example, Robert Surgenor, the author of a book advocating corporal punishment said “[P]ain is probably the most effective form of discipline,” (“Corporal Punishment”). She said this because parents have every right to discipline their children that way, inasmuch as it is perhaps the best way to teach children the difference between right and wrong.

There is also a distinct difference between corporal punishment and full-fledged child abuse. Yet parents who abuse their considerable size and strength advantage over their children are guilty of child abuse, and should be deplored. However, those who limit their physical discipline to an occasional spanking in the name of discipline are helping their children by teaching them right from wrong. Finally, when a child is being spanked, they get hurt and they remember it. Next time they would try not to make the same mistake because nobody wants to be spanked twice. In short, there is proof proved by both studies and experts that spanking is one of the most effective way to teach children.

In the end, spanking is probably the most controversial method to teach children of all time, but it is a tried-and-true method of disciplining children that has been practiced for generations. There are a lot of talents that have been spanked as disciplining by their parents. Critics of corporal punishment truly think that spanking should be banned in the United States, while advocates firmly believe that spanking is still one of the most effective method to teach children right from wrong. After extended researches and countless opinions of experts, the “Anti-Spanking” do not have enough persuasive information to request government regulations established to regulate the use of spanking. Many opinions on “should government” or “should government not” banning this practice, but in the end each parent must do what they believe is best for their child.

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Corporal Punishment in America: Should America Ban the Spanking of Children?. (2023, Feb 25). Retrieved from

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