Is it right to use force to discipline a child? A question, many countries are dealing with nowadays. Spanking is a corporal punishment which uses an open hand to strike or slap the buttock (“Spank”, 1996). This way of disciplining children is an old tradition to many countries. According to B. A. Robinsons (2007); “In the 1930’s, about 90% of parents spanked their children, some three generations ago which is endorsed by Dr. Benjamin Spock”. There are laws which are being passed to stop spanking as a disciplinary action use by parents, teachers and caregivers, especially in western countries.
The use of force, such as spanking, is an act of abuse according to some legislators which can be penalized by law (D. Saunders, 2007). Now, should parents use physical punishment such as spanking, when disciplining their children? The growth and development of a child depends on their environment which define their characteristics and behavior. Children’s characteristics and behavior can be greatly affected by their parents and their society. The use of physical punishment by parents can have many different effects to the child, whether in a positive or in a negative way, which can affect a child growth and moral development.
By answering this question, the reader will be informed the positive and negative effect of physical punishment as a disciplinary action, especially spanking, for children. This will provide the advantages and disadvantages of using physical punishment to the growth and development of a child. Through answering this question, a proper understanding about physical punishment, especially spanking, can crop up. Hopefully, the understanding about spanking can help parents and alike to lessen abuse to their children.
An article in CBC News Online which is dated on February 02, 2004, titled “In depth Spanking: To spank or not to spank” showed whether spanking is a form of abuse or form of discipline. In some states in the United States of America, the use of corporal punishment is allowed to maintain discipline or promote welfare of the child either by the parent or teachers which are responsible for the child. But for some states, the use of corporal punishment is a form of abuse and will be penalized by law (“Spanking Law”, 2008).
In a statement of Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin, she recommended to stop the use of corporal punishment and using of belts and rulers to hit the face or head (CBC, 2004). There are many way of disciplining a child. For some parents, the use of spanking is an effective way of disciplining a child (ABC, 2007). Other uses a more creative way to discipline their children without using such force. Using force in disciplining a kid is an old tradition for most countries. Through hundreds of year, countries create disciplined citizen through spanking or corporal punishment.
Yet, the use of force should be reasonable and with love to avoid abuse (“Spanking and the Law”, 2007). In psychology, the family and environment greatly affects the characteristic and behavior of a child. As the child is exposed to their family, the child might inherit the moral values, beliefs and even social interrelations (G. Aquino & A. Kahayon, 1999). Spanking is a moral issue and belief for some countries. Spanking is a good and effective way of disciplining child for the last generation but is it still effective for the modern generation?
However, the use of corporal punishment can affect the social and psychological of the child. If there is no proper in disciplining, the child might exhibit disturbing behavior (G. Whitney, 2007). In Whitney’s (2007) article, Mike Neary comments that children are different from each other, some need only social approach but to some children, to the extent, need physical solution or punishment to discipline such children. Discipline is not done only by making a child remember the pain to stop their wrong doing.
There are many ways to discipline a child like squatting (ABC, 2007). The idea of spanking may conflict different ideas of parents and some alike. Some people believe that spanking is a form of an abuse to children especially for some legislators (D. Saunders, 2007). The discretion of the parent is one of the factors in disciplining their children. Some parents might use social approach like talking to their children in a proper way. Some can use less harmful punishment like squatting. But still, some may use force to punish their children.
The parents have an instinctive approach when disciplining children and parents usually know how to approach such situation. The advantage of spanking can be seen in responsible adults worldwide. Spanking can hurt a lot but still help the child to understand the consequences of their doings. The welfare of the children should be utmost concern of the parents to avoid child abuse. Parents that adapt spanking have a philosophy, “Spare the rod, spoil the child” (ABC, 2007). To discipline a child, the parents should have a good perspective to avoid abuse in the family.
Every aspect of a person’s complex personality pattern constitutes a significant factor of his total displayed attitudes and forms of behavior and parents have guidance responsibilities to it. According to G. Aquino and A. Kahayon (1999), “In the learning process, punishment is more effective than rewards”. Children, mostly, remember the pain and how to avoid that pain. Punishment is painful so the reaction of a child is to avoid the cause of the pain. With spanking the children can learn right and wrong at their early age. Yet, spanking should be minimized in order to avoid negative effects to the child.
In Africa, spanking is a culture for the citizen. There is no sanction for beating wife and children for it is a tradition to the African citizen. As well as, Igbo woman in Nigeria is spanked to castigate in satirical songs (C. Okafor, 2006). Physical punishment to some culture is a normal view to see but the effect still the same. The negative effect of excessive or unreasonable spanking to children can lead to psychological abnormalities, inferiority complex, fear and even anxiety to the parent at early age which can act up to adulthood.
As the child is exposed to such unreasonable spanking, the idea of inferiority emerges as children grow (B. Robinsons, 2007). A normal reaction of a child to hide their inferiority is through “bullying” (G. Aquino & A. Kahayon, 1999). Researcher’s found that spanking is merely related to minor daily mood fluctuations and ego-deflating state that the children being afflicted wit. Physical punishment and alike have its advantages and disadvantages to the characteristics and behavior of a child, with concern and love, these disadvantages can be eliminated.
The policy issue “Spanking: Should parents use physical punishment when disciplining their children? ” is an ethical and moral issue for most of the countries. The concept of abuse in spanking can mislead parents in disciplining their children. Spanking is an effective way to employ discipline in the family. The use of force in punishment should be reasonable to avoid any abuse. It is necessary to have a good home for a child that can lead to a better behavior. Discipline imposed by the parent requires righteous judgment and ethical patterns.
Through affection and security, shown by the parents, children, will gain favorable development. This policy issue should involve all the parents and religious organization to provide proper insight and guidance to uphold the welfare of the child. The negative effect of such action can be eliminated through proper counseling and seminar for parents. The religious affiliation can guide parents to promote discipline in their homes. Issue about spanking is a large issue but the smallest unit of the country will greatly benefit once proper concept is set.
The change will start within the family and the concept of proper discipline can spread through out the country. If there is no changes happen within the family, likely, the concept of spanking as discipline might turn into abuse. Physical punishment might turn out to an awful culture just like in Africa and Nigeria. Spanking, a physical punishment can generate positive and negative effect but the concern and love of the parents can eliminate the negative effect. Love, concern and affection are the best key to a better discipline.