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The Issues of Spanking and The Physical Punishment from a Psychological Perspective

  • Subject: Life
  • Category: Family
  • Essay Topic: Spanking
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1664
  • Published: 15 November 2018
  • Downloads: 36
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Spanking and physical punishment

As children grow, they are prone to some mistakes and bad behavior. These undesirable reactions result from the exposure to the new environments and their little knowledge what good behavior entails. It is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to nurture the right practice in a child to instill trust and useful life in them. Parents and guardians engage in various ways of correcting their children. These measures include dialogues, counseling, denying the children some basics like food, playing and watching, threatening and even corporal punishment (Larzelere 1996). The effectiveness of either of these methods has been a matter of debate, with some of these correcting measures been criticized for being inhuman and against the child rights. The paper takes in to account spanking and physical punishment as a way of correcting bad behavior among children. In the study, the article criticizes spanking and physical discipline, giving a broader perspective of the society towards this form of remedying child behavior. The paper also discusses the effectiveness.


Every parent wishes to bring up an excellent behaving child. However, children lack self-control. They have little knowledge, and the exposure to the society and interaction with their teens bring about undesirable characters. In most cases, the children lack the insight on what is right and wrong for them. It is the responsibility of their parents to correct them. Failure to rectify the behavior brings up an annoying character and may even propagate to social vices and crimes in adult stages. Physical punishment has been in use as a way of correcting child behavior over the years. The parents react to the bad behavior depicted by the child through physical beating, slapping or pinching. Most of the parents use a belt, a cane or slippers to spank their children when they show annoying characters. Spanking is a standard way of punishing a child that every person has witnessed, either in their life or through the children they are raising. The effectiveness of this method is however questionable (Baumrind, Larzelere & Cowan 2002).

Effectiveness of spanking and physical punishment

A good number of people agree that spanking a child is an appropriate way of controlling their behavior. The primary principle employed here is the excellent sensitivity of the child’s nerves to pain. Punishing a child by spanking instills pain, which builds up to fear. The child is not likely to repeat the same behavior in fear of being beaten by the parents or guardians. Baumrind, Larzeler & Cowan (2002) argues that spanking has transformed and shaped the lousy behavior among some children. However, there is number of cases where the children do not change regardless of the physical punishment. Instead, they turn to worse, with pretense behavior when they are around their parents. When the parents are around, such children pretend to be right in fear of being beaten up. When they are away from their parents, they show bad behavior. This pretense, among other elements, challenges the effectiveness of the spanking and physical punishment as instilling good behavior in teens.

Spanking and physical punishment and child abuse

Although some communities still hold that spanking is an appropriate way of disciplining a child, it is indeed as a child abuse. The extremities of spanking go to a violation of child rights. Because of anger, most of the parents use excess force when punishing their children. This extreme causes physical injury, and it is against the child rights. Some cases have been reported where children have sustained injuries during the physical punishment, with others ending up losing their lives (Deater-Deckard et al. 2003). Although spanking is meant to shape the child’s behavior, spanking has turned out to be harmful to the child. However, some philosophers and even parents believe that physical punishment is harmless especially when done in moderation. Spanking a child with care cannot cause physical injuries. Although a more significant number of people agree that injuring a child is against child rights, a substantial percentage of the population believe that it can be done with moderation to control the child behavior without physical harm.

However, research by Ateah & Durrant (2005) has it that even when done with moderation, spanking is equally abusive to a child. The mechanism of spanking as a way of punishing a child instills fear to the child. According to psychologists, this concern is unhealthy, especially for teens. Teens exposed to physical punishment end up suffering from mental disorders in adult stages. They live in tension and fear. The responsibility of a parent or guardian is to bring up their children in a serene environment that is free from any harm. For a child to grow mentally and physically healthy, the tense situation is not necessary. This research shows how the exposure of a child to corporal punishment violates their right to healthy living. Children who punished by beating record poor concentration and bad grades in their academics. This statement is a clear indication that this form of punishment affects the mental functioning of the child.

Research related to child abuse shows that most cases where the punishing is by spanking as a way of controlling bad behavior, the child ends up adopting a violent character. During the stages of early growth, the teens gain their attitudes from the environments they live.They perceive what they learn from their parents as the right way to living. In most cases, children exposed to quarreling and beating when they engage in undesirable behaviors turn out to be aggressive. Spanking and physical punishment are the cause of domestic violence and arrogance among children. Children who have severally been punished by their parents through beating turn out to be arrogant to their teachers, and exhibit violent characters which may later turn to criminality in adult stages (Ateah & Durrant 2005).

According to the research by Straus (1991), spanking is the primary cause of anxiety, stress, and depression among the children. Although the spanking may be mild, it brings about tension to the child’s mind. Cases of anti-social behaviors are very much prevalent among the children who are canned by their parents. Such children feel shy to socialize with their teenagers, and this may affect them mentally. Most of the stigmatization among the teens results from physical punishments by their parents. In most cases, children are consequently forced by their parents to stay indoors after canning. This confinement reduces their social exposure and growth.

Physical punishment and child-parent relationship

The relationship between the parents or guardians and their children is an essential element in child’s growth. The parents have a responsibility to build a cordial relationship that creates a sense of love between them and their children. This link is essential in helping the children to grow mentally. In such cases where the bond between the parents and the child exist, it is easy for the teens to open up to their parents and disclose their problems and life experiences. This relationship creates a better platform for the parents to nurture and shape the character of their children. In such cases, the child feels a sense of belonging, family pride and peace of mind which culminates in excellent child growth (Straus 1991).

However, corporal punishment undermines all these. Punishing the children by spanking, whether mild or severe, develops the fear for their parents. Whenever the child is in contact with the parent, all that comes to their mind is canning. The fear breaks the aspect of parental love (Larzelere 1996). Such a child no longer feels the love of their parents. In addition to creating metal torture, it is unfair and against the rights of a child to uphold any situation that compromises with the child-parent cordial relationship. Children punished through spanking do not disclose their problems to their parents. This failure in communication makes it a complicated matter to handle the children, who are likely to suffer in silence. In such a case, a child will get into a problem but fail to report to their parents or guardian for fear of accusations and beating.


Spanking and corporal punishment are also in school. However, there is still much criticism on whether this form of behavioral control is valid. The objections have their basis on culture, beliefs, religion to modernity. Those who still hold the cultural view that canning and paddling are still essential in controlling the child behavior. Some religions also advocate for spanking, although they maintain that it should be moderate. However, a more significant parentage within the modern society believes that there are better ways of handling bad behaviors among the teens than spanking. The modern-day American society thinks that spanking is against the child rights, with some parents filling cases against the school administration for child abuse.

Larzelere (1996) hold that canning does not in any way transform the behavior of the child. During spanking and physical punishment, the warning is on the don’ts. Some perceive this as a wrong corrective measure which does not enlighten the children on what is right. The spanking way of controlling lousy behavior delivers half message to the child-‘That you have done bad’, but does not enlighten the child on what is right for them to do. In conclusion, there are better methods that can be embraced to rectify the wrong behaviors among the teenagers. Although spanking may work to some extent and nurture a good character in child development, the use of dialogue and counseling has stood for years as the better way of correcting child behavior. Discussion and advice give a chance to the child to express them. These forums provide an opportunity to the guardians and a parent to know what made the child engage in undesirable behavior, and therefore stands a better chance to correct their children with utmost love and parental bond. In general, although spanking and physical punishment may be employed to control bad behavior among children, there are better ways that can be used to achieve similar goals with humanity and parental care.

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The Issues of Spanking and the Physical Punishment From a Psychological Perspective. (2018, November 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 19, 2022, from
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