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Victoria Singleton

Professor Atakpa

4 December 2022

Effects of Corporal Punishment on Children

The use of corporal punishment in schools is a method of enforcing scholastic discipline that dates back centuries. It teaches youngsters how to act appropriately and how to conform with the standards that society has established. Although there are numerous advantages to using physical force as a form of discipline, there are also some potential drawbacks. As a form of discipline, corporal punishment has a number of potential dangers, including the possibility of causing both bodily and psychological injury as well as an increase in aggressive behavior. As a result, the purpose of this essay is to examine the effects of physical punishment on children in order to get a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks associated with using this kind of child correction.

In the Western world, the practice of using physical force as a form of discipline for children didn’t become common until the 16th century. In the beginning, it was just used as a method of control inside of homes, but soon, it made its way into classrooms as well. For example, in the United States, the practice of caning children was not made illegal until the year 1964. This occurred for a few different reasons for sure (Patoine). To begin, the widespread poverty that existed during that era made it impossible for families to maintain a consistent atmosphere inside their homes. Second, the widespread belief that physical abuse was an effective method of child discipline at the period led many individuals to resort to this method. For instance, the philosopher John Locke from the 17th century believed that it was a type of “natural law (Anderson).”This is due to the fact that he was of the opinion that the penalty should be appropriate for the offense. To put it another way, a kid who engages in improper behavior need to be disciplined with a physical act that is commensurate with the transgression that they have done. Despite the fact that this viewpoint has evolved through time, it is still widely held in many civilizations in the modern day. As a direct result of this, the use of coprol as a form of punishment was made illegal in numerous nations all over the globe in 1964, including the United States. This was mostly owing to the fact that it was seen as a cruel and humiliating form of punishment at the time. Nevertheless, it is not illegal in all nations, like Oman and Brunei, for example.

As long as a schoolteacher is the one who delivers the punishment in Oman’s schools, the use of physical punishment is legal there. In many other regions of the globe, most notably in Asia and Africa, it is still considered to be within the bounds of the law. This is because different cultures have different perspectives on the appropriateness of physical punishment. For instance, in Africa, physical abuse is often seen to be an acceptable and even essential method of instilling discipline in young children. This is due to the belief held by many African societies that children should be educated to accept responsibility for their acts from an early age. Some communities even maintain the belief that physical abuse of children is the one and only appropriate means of instructing them in proper behavior (Gershoff, 70). In addition to that, it is sometimes seen as a method of exacting vengeance. For instance, the culture of China has the belief that if a kid is flogged often enough, the parents would finally have their retribution on the youngster. This is due to the perception that being spanked is a type of punishment that is meant to be passed down from one generation to the next. Some people also feel that slapping a youngster might help them develop better character. However, the impacts of physical punishment extend well beyond the scope of just disciplining a kid. For example, it may have a detrimental impact on the child’s physical as well as emotional health. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes are some of the types of physical harm that may result from the use of corporal punishment. These injuries have the potential to result in long-term health issues, such as persistent discomfort. As a result, it is essential for parents to be aware of the potential dangers to their children’s health that are associated with the use of physical punishment.

The long-term repercussions of using physical force on children may be very diverse and might include a reduction in their self-esteem, an increase in their level of aggressiveness, a reduction in their level of sociability, and even mental health issues. When children do not react to other means of discipline, or when excessive use of physical punishment is employed on them, this may lead to a decrease in their overall sense of self-worth. The youngster can conclude that they are “bad” and that they deserved to be smacked because of their behavior. This may result in a loss of interest in activities, a decline in academic achievement, and a diminished feeling of one’s own value (Gershoff, 67). In addition, the use of physical punishment may result in an increase in aggressive behavior in children because the kid may act out by lashing out at others or at oneself in an attempt to model the conduct for which they were praised. For instance, a youngster who is often spanked may have a more combative attitude when engaged in conflict with other people or when confronted with challenging circumstances. In an attempt to self-medicate, the youngster may develop problematic habits such as drug addiction or food disorders as a result of this, which may have long-term implications on the child’s mental health. This results in an increasing number of issues in life as well as an increased dependence on the use of drugs or behaviors to alleviate stress or deal with challenging circumstances.

It is essential to keep in mind that not every kid who is physically disciplined by their parents will grow up to exhibit troublesome behaviors. However, it is essential to keep in mind the potential adverse consequences that children may experience as a result of prolonged exposure to physical punishment and to provide them a range of alternative forms of discipline that do not require the use of physical force (Morin). These include physically removing the child from the situation, giving them a timeout, grounding them, or reprimanding them verbally. It is crucial to provide children with a variety of alternatives in order to preserve their feeling of autonomy and to identify the method of correction that is most effective for each individual kid. However, not all children will react well to each of these disciplinary methods. They will have greater positive outcomes if they feel like they can make decisions about their own life and if they are able to communicate their sentiments and emotions. This will give them more control over their lives.

The immediate and long-term physiological consequences of physical punishment on the brain Include: Aggression was elevated due to a reduction in the function of serotonin as well as alterations in the anatomy of the prefrontal cortex. If an individual’s serotonin function is reduced, they will have less of a reaction to stressful events and may have trouble keeping their emotions in check. Alterations in the architecture of the prefrontal cortex have been linked to impulsive behavior, the inability to regulate one’s anger, and a diminished feeling of empathy in patients. A physical response to the pain, as well as the heightened anger and frustration that are typically produced as a result of the use of corporal punishment, may both contribute to an increase in aggressive behavior. As a consequence of this, the use of corporal punishment may have a negative impact not just on the child’s physical health but also on their mental and emotional well-being (Durrant). According to a number of studies, children who are subjected to physical punishment have a significantly increased likelihood of engaging in disruptive behavior at school and of experiencing difficulties in their interactions with their peers. When they are adults, they also have a greater propensity for becoming hostile against other people. When considering whether or not to spank their children, parents should give careful consideration to the long-term implications of physical and emotional abuse caused by the practice of corporal punishment. This will be essential in supporting the kid in the development of a healthy sense of self-worth as well as the establishment of good connections with other people.

It should come as no surprise that physically punishing children does not successfully stop them from engaging in inappropriate behavior. It has also been discovered that persons who are exposed to it suffer from both bodily and mental suffering as a result of it. For example, children who are spanked often grow up to have a dread of adults in positions of power and may go on to commit crimes. In addition, research has shown that children who are exposed to physical punishment have a stronger tendency toward aggressive behavior and poorer levels of self-esteem. It has also been shown that children who are subjected to physical punishment are more prone to exhibit violent behavior against the children they are in the same classroom with. As a consequence of this, kids run the risk of being the focus of bullying, which may have a negative impact on the development of their social skills. Therefore, it is essential to take into account the alternatives to physical punishment, which include the use of verbal thinking and the repercussions of logical decisions. Verbal reasoning is an excellent method for discouraging youngsters from engaging in inappropriate behavior, and it does not have any negative side effects linked with it (Holden). In addition, logical consequences are a kind of logical punishment that entail denying rights or privileges to one’s kid. This type of punishment falls under the category of “logical consequences.” Because of the individual nature of logical consequences, they are often more successful in discouraging youngsters than the use of physical punishment. For example, if a youngster understands that if they do not do their homework, they will not be allowed to watch their favorite television program, then the child is more likely to comply with their schoolwork and do what is required of them (Waterston). In addition, logical consequences are a kind of punishment that may be tailored to the requirements of the individual kid. For instance, a youngster who often acts in a manner that is contrary to the expectations of the situation may be given a homework assignment that is more challenging than normal. This form of discipline is effective because it is given on an individual basis, and the child is informed as to the reason for the discipline.

In conclusion, it is undeniable that the use of coprol as a form of discipline has more adverse effects on children than it does favorable effects. Children who are subjected to punishments that include inflicting them with physical pain, humiliation, and the loss of privileges run the risk of developing behavioral issues such as greater hostility and defiance as they grow up. In addition, it has been demonstrated that the use of corporal punishment is ineffective in terms of reducing instances of undesirable behavior. Despite this, it is frequently used in an effort to exert authority over children rather than in an effort to educate them. In order to successfully modify children’s behaviors, it is essential to make use of alternative forms of punishment that are not only more efficient but also cause less physical harm to the children.

Work Cited

Anderson, Jill. “The Effect of Spanking on the Brain.” Harvard Graduate School of Education, 13 Apr. 2021, https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/21/04/effect-spanking-brain

Durrant, Joan. “Physical Punishment of Children: Lessons from 20 Years of Research” National Library of Medicine, 4 Sep. 12, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447048/

Gershoff, Elizabeth. “MORE HARM THAN GOOD: A SUMMARY OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN THE INTENDED AND UNINTENDED EFFECTS OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT ON CHILDREN.” Law and Contemporary Problems vol. 73,2, 31-56, 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8386132/

Gershoff, Elizabeth. “Should Parents’ Physical Punishment of Children Be Considered a Source of Toxic Stress That Affects Brain Development?” Family Relations vol. 65,1, 151-162, 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8323998/

Holden, George W. “Why Do Parents Physically Punish their Children? 5 Useful Analogies from Sedimentary Rocks.” Psychology Benefits Society, 1 Feb. 2017, https://psychologybenefits.org/2017/02/01/why-do-parents-physically-punish-their-children

Morin, Amy. “Surprising Facts about Spanking and Corporal Punishment.” Verywell Family, 7 Aug. 2020, www.verywellfamily.com/facts-about-corporal-punishment-1094806

Patoine, Brenda. “Pediatricians’ Group Says Spanking Is Ineffective, Potentially Harmful.” Dana Foundation, 8 Feb. 2022, www.dana.org/article/pediatricians-group-says-spanking-is-ineffective-potentially-harmful/ 

Waterston, Tony. “Hitting Children is Wrong” National Library of Medicine, vol. 4,1 e000675, 27 Jul. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7390231/

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