English 1123. 106 15 November, 2010 Spare the Rod or Spoil the Child? In a world where children are raised in a non-traditional fashion, physical discipline is a mere distant memory. Corporal punishment has been one of the oldest methods of disciplining children, through the infliction of spanking, or smacking – an attempt to discourage a child from acting a certain way. Children grow and learn from their mistakes, but how do they know right from wrong? Proverbs 13:24 says “He who spares the rod, hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Conservative Protestants disproportionately support the use of corporal punishment as corporal punishment reflects their religious ideology of acceptance of the doctrine of the biblical literalism – the conviction that human nature is inherently sinful and that human sin demands punishment. Corporal punishment is necessary and an effective method of discipline for proper childhood development. Corporal punishment eliminates cases of repeat misconduct or ill discipline in children who have not responded to other forms of punishment, such as grounding or timeouts.
Children look to their parents for guidance and discipline. Although other ways to discipline children exist, corporal punishment has proven to be the most effective for centuries. For example, children who are physically punished for doing something wrong are most likely to not repeat the offence in the future. “The use of corporal punishment has also been seen to restrain children from engaging in reckless behaviors” (Turner 217). Corporal Punishment is the most effective method of discipline because a lack of corporal punishment in a home or school can cause more harm than good.
Humans respond to fear. If a child fears the outcome of bad behavior, that outcome being a spanking, then the bad behavior will not occur. Detentions, timeouts, and grounding have proven not to be as effective as corporal punishment. I have a niece who has never been spanked. She is given the ‘timeout’ punishment, and does not work on her. She is older now, but knew timeouts were a joke, and these timeouts did not stop her from misbehaving.
Of course, all children are different, but, if a child gets in his or her mind set that the consequence to his or her action is going to be nothing more than sitting on the couch for an hour with no television or games, then timeouts will be ineffective. My friend Natalia was spanked as a child, but, by the time her sister came along, her parents thought corporal punishment was bad. Natalia thinks her sister was irresponsible and disrespectful to her parents. They are both adults now, and Natalia believes that with no corporal punishment in the home it can be more detrimental than good.
A study found that the effects of corporal punishment differ from family to family and culture to culture. Spanking in one family may be used as an “assertion of parental authority” while in others it may be used as an act of aggression (Gunnoe and Mariner 1997). “This study found that schoolyard fights were reported less in children who were spanked than in the non-spanked group” (Hicks-Pass). Corporal punishment continues to prove to be an effective method of discipline to parents and teachers. More recent surveys of teachers and administrators reveal continued support of corporal punishment in the classroom.
A 1985 poll revealed that corporal punishment was acceptable to forty-seven per cent of the American population and sixty per cent of school officials. Teachers also used corporal punishment when disciplining misbehaved students by caning, pinching, or slapping. Parents who physically discipline their children were physically disciplined as children too. In the United States, parents were seen to be the most common users of corporal punishment, with spanking being their most common tool of punishment. Corporal punishment can be seen to have positive lasting effects even after a child has developed into an adult.
Persons who experience corporal punishment as children grow up to be well-adjusted, productive members of society. As a child, I knew that bad behavior would embarrass my parents and would not be tolerated. I was spanked anytime I misbehaved, and I have turned out to be a well-adjusted adult who has never gotten violent or gotten in trouble with the law. Spanking does stop bad behavior in the short term, but the long term effects can be just as positive. “Spanking has consistently beneficial outcomes when it is non-abusive and used primarily to back up milder disciplinary tactics with two-six year olds by loving parents” (Larzerlee 2000).
Children learn to respect their parents’ authority when they know that misbehavior will result in spanking. Occasional spanking can even reduce the amount a parent needs to discipline a child. For example, my mother spanked me as a child, and I learned to obey her when she gave “the look” because I knew what would happen next. After I learned that spanking was a possibility when I misbehaved, she rarely had to spank me again. Corporal punishment is not only about punishment it is about establishing parental authority.
Because Corporal punishment is necessary for the proper development of a child, failure to practice corporal punishment can lead to further truancy. There seems to be a great lack of respect for one another and authority in society today. When we adults look back on our childhood, we remember when we got out of control, we would be turned over and feel the full force of our parent’s hand. That taught us to be respectful. Over the years, parents started using less corporal punishment, and have had to deal with more out of control and unruly children than the parents who spank their children for misbehaving or disobedient.
Many parents do not enjoy spanking their children; even mine did not enjoy it, but these parents have to resort to corporal punishment when all other forms of punishment have failed. This form of punishment is known as conditional corporal punishment. “Corporal punishment is particularly beneficial for children who are irrational, impulsive and need some firmness. Children’s impulsive nature needed to be controlled through tougher methods of punishment such as corporal discipline” (Victor).
Victor proves yet another reason why corporal punishment is the most effective form of punishment with the positive outcome being deterrence in misbehavior. Corporal punishment does not necessarily have to be viewed as a negative form of punishment. Through the use of appropriate restrictions, corporal punishment can be used to discipline children who have been found to misbehave or have engaged in misconduct. Despite the many protagonists who argue about the disadvantages of corporal punishment, this form of discipline is the most beneficial when dealing with cases of misbehavior, truancy, or misconduct among school children.
Corporal punishment stands as the most effective method of correcting detrimental behaviors and has the positive lasting effects of well-adjusted individuals. Corporal punishment is universally understood. It transcends cultures, religions, and social status. If corporal punishment is good enough to be mentioned in the good book and practiced since biblical times, then spanking is good enough for me. Works Cited Benatar, David. “Corporal Punishment. ” Oct. 2001. Web. 22 Oct 2010 “Child Discipline. Pro Corporal Punishment. ” Oct. 2001. Web. 22 Oct. 2010 “Corporal Punishment in Schools. ” http://www. adolescenthealth. rg/AM/ Template. cfm? Section=Position_Papers&Template=/CM/ ContentDisplay. cfm&ContentID=1467. Hicks-Pass, Stephanie. “Corporal Punishment in America Today: Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? A systematic Review of Literature. ” Best Practice in Mental Health: An International Journal 5. 2 (2009)71-88. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 17 Sept. 2010 Turner, Susan M. “Something to Cry About: An Argument Against Corporal Punishment of Children. ” Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid University Press, 2002. Print. Victor, Darrell. “Corporal Punishment-Child Abuse or Discipline? ” 11 Oct. 2001. Web 22 Oct. 2010.
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