Corporal punishment, or the inflicting of physical pain onto another person because of some offence committed, of children is a very touchy issue. Many believe that while it may make a child fear you when they are little, it will have no lasting effects. However, ever forthcoming studies show that physical punishment on children can result in problems lasting throughout the teen and adult life. Physical punishment is not only dangerous for a variety of reasons but also ineffective.The use of corporal punishment in any form, from spanking to using the belt, can teach children things they shouldn’t learn. If a parent uses spanking as a form of punishment, kids learn that resorting to physical methods is the way to solve problems. “Children who are physically punished are more likely to grow up approving of it and using it to settle interpersonal conflicts. Even children who have experienced ‘normal’ spankings are almost three times as likely to seriously assault a sibling, compared to children who were not physically disciplined.” That quote is from Dr. Hyman, who made that statement as part of his summary of his 30 years of experience and studying. However, can the non-use of corporal punishment decrease misbehavior? Yes, Dr. Hyman says “Studies demonstrate that eliminating corporal punishment does not increase misbehavior in home or school. Systematic use of positive alternatives, however, has been shown to decrease misbehavior significantly.”
Corporal punishment can also cause feelings of despair, confusion, anxiety, fear, and resentment. When a child is told that he/she is going to be spanked, they become extremely anxious, and even more so when it happens, so that when a parent explains why the child got spanked they are too distressed to take it in. Because of this initial anxiety, the child will experience confusion and later resentment at their parent figure. Repeated spanking can also cause fear in children, leaving them with no one to go to because they have an instilled fear of their parent figures. If a young child is repeatedly spanked, the child could be led into desperation because they don’t know what they’ve done wrong.
Developmental issues can also occur with the use of physical punishment. A child may associate pain and sexual pleasure due to spanking because the butt is an erogenous zone. There may be social blocks to anyone who resembles a parent or guardian due to an instilled fear. There have been cases where children who were spanked insisted on unsafe sex habits.
Physical punishment not only causes issues, but is also ineffective. Yes, it may work “at the moment,” but punishment in a physical form becomes less and less effective with repeated use and with age. So in other words, physical punishment is less effective with more use. Not only does it become less effective, but it is ineffective in the first place. When a child is punished, they are too emotionally distressed to understand why they were punished. Therefore, physical punishment makes kids fear parents/guardians; it does not teach them what was wrong in the first place.
In conclusion, corporal punishment is not an acceptable form of discipline. It can instill fear in a child’s mind and cause them developmental problems due to that fear; it can teach children that violence is the best way to solve problems, and it is an ineffective form of punishment. With so many other way to teach kids and to discipline them, there is no excusable reason to ever lay a hand on a child in anger or distress. Corporal punishment is inexcusable and needs to be replaced with other forms of parenting.