Sample English Term Paper on Corporal punishment

Corporal punishment

According to the American Humane Association, as part of their developmental process, children tend to engage in the testing or outright rebellion of parents or authority figures. This indulgence in the unexpected or undesired activities may be due to their desire for attention, an object or even acceptance from peers. The consequence of such behavior should be the implementation of discipline, targeted toward the assertion and education of unacceptable and acceptable behaviors. This fundamental role of caregiver should be designed with the aim of behavior modification, whose result is the development of responsible and productive adults in society. This continuous encouragement of intellectual, moral and physical development as well as the development of responsibility, will lead to consistent desire and choice to indulge in the approved. In the application of discipline, the use of inductive systems proves more efficient as compared to the use of corporal punishment.

The guidance in the development of this intellectual, physical and moral development is defined as discipline (Smith, 115). In its induction of discipline, punishment involves the use of negative stimuli in the elimination or reduction of undesirable behavior (American Academy of Pediatrics, 725). This use of stimulus may take the verbal form or the application of physical pain. In the application of physical pain, the idea of injury is often not desired by the parents. However, the distinction between physical or corporal punishment and physical abuse, hypothesized to be indicated by the frequency of its application, is tough to ascertain. Physical punishment ranges from light hand slaps to the burnings or scalding. This extremity produces a variation in the range of severity as well. In most cases, physical punishment is responsible for the development of fear-driven responses in the child’s selection of the acceptable over the unacceptable. As opposed to fear driven participation in the acceptable or approved, inductive discipline is responsible for developing intrinsic, self-based systems of decision making based on hours of education they retain from their parents.

Also known as corporal punishment, physical punishment is currently considered controversial in many regions of the developed world. However, this shroud of controversy has not prevented its utilization with a majority of caregivers who prefer its ability for immediate results (American Academy of Pediatrics, 725).

Effects of Corporal Punnishment

Advocated for disruptive or disobedient toddlers, corporal punishment is associated with many negative long-term effects on the development of it recipients. However, as mentioned before, it is credited with the assurance and expression of immediate compliance, a result acceptable to most parents. Though the short term result is its main attraction, the desire for compliance by parents is considered long term and expected to be an ongoing scenario. In the case of corporal punishment, ongoing compliance is rarely attainable, and its efficiency is reported to reduce with the reduction in the frequency of administration. Therefore, to maintain its original effect or achieve an improved result, the intensity of the spanking may be increased systematically. This systematic increase in intensity can easily morph into abuse resulting in the developed of injury instead of the intended pain. On the other hand, utilization of occasional, infrequent corporal punishment serves to ensure its effectiveness in the rebuff of undesirable behaviors in children (American Academy of Pediatrics, 725, Smith, 116).

As mentioned before, corporal punishment results in the development of fear driven response while in the presence of the adult. This response does not indicate any understanding of the expected response but is rather responsible for the development of undesired submission by the child (American Humane Association). According to the American Humane Association, due to this particular shortcoming and a myriad of other shortcomings, corporal punishment is considered undesirable and un-recommendable. Jones, Smith (117) and American Academy of Pediatrics (726) concur with the American Humane Association in the conclusion that corporal punishment has the effect of causing more harm than good on the development of children subjected to it. These conclusions are derived from the findings of Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, who indicated the correlation between corporal punishment and at least eleven negative long term effects (America Psychological Association; Smith 116). Of these eleven, social behavior, the cognitive process, parent-child relationship quality, moral internalization and mental health for children are highlighted in this essay.

Negative effects of Corporal Punishment

Social effect

According to the social learning theory, children are prone to learning and developing aggression or aggressive character as a result of the exposure to physical punishment. Due to their ability for internalization of social relations, children view corporal punishment as legitimization for violent behaviors in their interpersonal interactions. In their attempt at resolving anti-social characters through inflicting pain, parents predispose their children to the expression of similar situations on others (Smith, 118; American Academy of Pediatrics, 726). Studies by Gershoff on the topic presented correlations between corporal punishment and child aggression and the development of anti-social behavior. In addition to this, studies by Grogan-Kaylor concluded that the negative effect of corporal punishment on the social behavior of children is constant regardless of the magnitude applied. Therefore, the idea of increased predisposition to antisocial behavior with increased magnitude faces a hurdle, as this study show a non-linear relationship between the two variables (Smith, 119).

Cognitive effects

The development of cognitive skills is related to and dependent on the social interactions that children experience. The motivation for learning as well as the learning process for children is affected by the primary relationships they develop with an attachment figure, with their peers and their educators. The utilization of inductive discipline methods that employ reasoning and explanations avail more cognitive development when compared to physical punishment without the option for induction. Also, corporal punishment may develop negative anxiety in children that may hinder them from exploration and learning. This inhibition of social as well as physical learning has adverse effects on cognitive development (Smith, 119). Studies involving 5th and 3rd-grade students living in adequately financed, stable structured households, indicated a positive correlation between the harshness of parent and poor adjustment and academic performance (Smith, 120).

Parent- Child relastionships

The quality of the relationship between children and parents according to the attachment theory can be adversely affected due to physical punishment. These relationships are vital in the development of conscience as well as the development of an assurance of safety of emotions and feelings beyond family boundaries. Secure attachments, which express positive parent-child relationships, result in positive social competence and are negatively associated with harsh parenting styles of interactions. On the other hand, physical punishment is positively correlated with poor parent-child relationships that are the recipe for insecure attachments and low social competence. In studies on the effect of maternal depression, physical punishment ant negative interactions on infant attachment, negative maternal interactions, and corporal punishment were higher for depressed mothers. These negative techniques then result in the development of insecure attachments (Smith, 120; American Academy of Pediatrics, 726). Also, the application of physical punishment leads to the alteration of parent-child relationships when this form of discipline is no longer admissible. Besides, the utilization of corporal punishment results in the ineffectiveness of other systems of discipline (American Academy of Pediatrics, 726).

Mental Health

The development of internal issues such as suicidal tendencies, depression, mental issues and anxiety are also significant and require consideration when it comes to punishment types. While these matters tend to remain unnoticed, their effects are transmitted to the coming generation by those who bare them (Smith, 121; American Academy of Pediatrics, 726). Their development is often due to the internalization and subsequent suppression of anger associated mostly to physical punishment during childhood, by those expected to shoe love and care (Smith, 121).

Moral Internalization

According to the social information procession theory, the overall objective of discipline within the family is the internalization of societal values and attitudes by infants, for guidance in personal decisions. The expression of this internalization is in the ability for restraint from wrong while correcting damage, as well as being sensitive to acceptable and unacceptable conducts. In achieving this objective, inductive discipline procedures prove more effective as compared to power-assertive such as corporal punishment (Smith, 121). In her 15 study review, Gershoff concluded the positive correlation between corporal punishment and poor internalization of the desired values (Smith, 122).

According to Jones, despite the apparent adverse effect of this system of instilling discipline, certain categories of caregivers hold to cultural systems, whose outworking is a result of frustration and anger. This system, therefore, provides more insight into the guardian’s coping ability as compared to the child’s behavior. Its use is of little positive effect on the long-term development of the child, which is the primary objective for disciple administration. It is my opinion therefore that this practice has overstayed its welcome in society, and should only be applied in the direst of situations.

Works Cited

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Guidance for Effective Discipline.”Pediatrics 101.4 (1998):723-28. Print

American Humane Association. “Child Discipline.”American Humane Association.2013.Web.15 Nov.2015.<http;//>

America Psychological Association. “Is Corporal Punishment an Effective Means of Discipline?”America Psychological Association. 6 June 2002. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <>.

Jones, Clay. “Corporal Punishment in the Home: Parenting Tool or Parenting Fail…”Science-based Medicine. 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.>

Smith, Anne B. “The State of Research on the Effects of Physical Punishment” Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 27 (2006): 144-27. Print