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The use of physical punishment as way of disciplining children as they grow up is one of the most debatable form of parenting. Its use cannot be ignored due to its impacts. Research shows that about 95% of the parents nowadays use physical punishment as method of disciplining their children. For instance in America, it has been reported that 74% of parents with children aged 17 years use this method (Benj et & Kazdin, 23).
The use of physical punishment has some biblical background in regard to the quote “spare the rod, spoil the child." The quote itself justifies the use of physical punishment. Most Evangelical Christians believe that physical punishment is an obligatory to implant sense of respect for authority figure in children. Shifting from physical punishment is still believed to have some negative consequences to the children. It may cause them to behave in unruly or disrespectful ways. Fundamentalist Protestants also believe in physical punishment as the only way to instill discipline and sense in their children. They even believe in using physical force. The result of all these practices is psychological torture among children. Apparently most of the children tend to subsequently do stupid things in the name of paying back for their parents ruthlessness.
Whether physical punishment is a necessary and acceptable form of rearing children has been a stormily debated subject in both committees for child rights and in psychology classes. There have been a lot of conflicting ideologies over this debate. Results for five years research in trying to review the scientific literature are in the course: a certain group appointed by the family services division of the America Psychological Association concluded that “parents and care givers should cut down and eliminate the use of physical punishment as a disciplinary measure (Schrock,1).”
The chairlady of this group announced some recommendations. The group in development and psychology found relationships between physical punishment and increase in child anxiety and depression. The increases in behavioral problems, including aggression, and impaired cognitive developments among children are closely linked to physical punishment. Many scholars argue that the negative impact of abuse in children may have long lasting harmful effects.
It does not help children to differentiate both good from wrong, it only fixes the problem quickly but after sometime children go back to the same behaviors. Physical punishment increases aggression among children, mainly those aged between ten and twelve years. It increases rebellious and antisocial behaviors and decrease their mental wellness even in adulthood. Many adult who were exposed in physical punishment are more likely to be involved in criminal activities and abuse their own children or partners in their adulthood.
Despite these facts against physical punishment to children, most people argue that it a good method in instilling discipline in children. Most children like sneaking out behind their parents. This is very dangerous because anything bad can happen to them, for instance kidnapping or accident. If these children are punished by their parents, they will prefer to stay home rather than being punished for sneaking out. Most old people were very much respectful during their youthful time and they regarded any elder person as their parent. This is because they were punished for failure to do that.
Children who are not exposed to physical punishment do not know how to defend themselves. They like crying and get upset more frequently. This type of children will involve themselves more in fighting because they rarely follow rules as they do not reflect on the consequences they are likely to expose themselves to. However the moment they enter into the fight they will be exposed to physical pain. It can also be put in another style that exposure to pain tends to prepare the children to the painful moments they will come across in their lives and be in position to manage the situation through endurance.
There are some occasions when physical punishment is a necessity, not to hurt the child, but scare them to abstain from bad behaviors. This is mainly applicable when lesson needs to be learnt very quickly. Taking time to teach children right from wrong and making sure they understand what is acceptable and what is not of most important in their life will change their minds and behave accordingly.
Even though physical punishment has been proven to increase and enhance compliance among children there are some alternative ways of achieving these goals. For instance, instead of this punishment or hitting children when they misbehave, parent can apply Time-Out System. If children are familiar with the effects of their immoral behavior, they will not be willing to behave in that manner. If Time-Out System fails to work, they can use take away privilege. This means prohibition from watching television, playing outside and cancelling play dates. This will emphasize the idea that their behaviors have some effects. It is also important to continuously reward children when they are behaving in appropriate way. This will make them understand and differentiate right from wrong.
The most crucial idea to note is that physical punishment should be avoided as a way of instilling discipline because it teaches children that violence is accepted and can lead to people’s behavior changing especially towards wrong behaviors. This is a dangerous lifetime lesson for children to internalize. When confronted with problems, due to their exposure to physical punishment, they will reason that violence can only be responded to through violence as an appropriate solution. While some agree that physical punishment is an effective means of parenting, it is true that hitting a child interfere with psychological view some things. Physical punishment has a long life scar on child’s mind. For this reason, it should be eliminated since there are so many alternatives.
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