Spanking as Punishment in Psychology

Categories: PsychologySpanking

There are several forms of punishment administered in society as a way of maintaining social order. These forms of punishment are varying in gravity and scope. In Psychology punishment is defined as ‘any change that occurs after a behavior that reduces the likelihood that that behavior will occur again in the future’, (Axelrod). Therefore, punishments can be administering at a state, Municipal, societal and individual level everyday life. In Psychology, one of the leading Behaviorist B. F. Skinner, was the first man that described operant conditioning when discussing punishment.

Further introduced other concepts such as the reinforcement being anything stimulus which strengthens or increases the probability of a specific response, (Skinner, 1938). Skinner further separated reinforcement into two segments that being either; positive and negative reinforcements. The following essay will attempt to measure what are the merits and demerits of the types of punishments as illustrate in Mrs. and Mrs. Ingles and Mr. and Mrs. conceptual scenarios. Mrs. and Mrs. Ingles believe in stern discipline with their children, they impose strict rules in the hope that their children will obey with question.

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However, according the Skinner, this form of punishment is called negative reinforcement which simply put it infers to ‘taking something undesirable away in order to rise a response’. This method of punishment can in the immediate process stimulate immediate desire action Mrs. and Mrs. Ingles want if administered to their children in the form of spanking. However, the draw backs are this form of punishment does not always decrease the chances that a behavior will occur.

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A prime example of this in the case of prison, prison does not always guarantee than an inmate will be transformed upon being released from prison. In fairly recent research conducted psychologists, it has been noted that spanking as form of punishment is not a good method of administering discipline because the children will start to accompany spanking with the negative conduct which results in classical conditioning.

Mrs. And Mrs Concepcion on the other hand have chosen a form of punishment where they have milder forms of punishment to enforce their rules, which include active participant of the children’s involvement process when establishing the rules and penalties for breaching them. This form of administering punishment resembles that of positive reinforcement which is involves awarding an aversive incentive after a behavior has happened. (Skinner).

There are various advantages to this method, first and foremost by actively involving the children in establishing the rules at family meetings. The children are motivated to ensure that they follow the rules they helped setup and, parents In turn praise them which further ensures their obedience. This is vital because it is intended to increase required behaviors and can produce lasting, positive change in the home. However, there are draw backs to this form of punishment because if the parents are not ensuring that they enforce the rules ,frequently and immediately the incident occurs, children will lose not abide by them hence would not be learning anything in the long term. In addition, this can lead to praise overload in cases where they obey, thus diminish the results desired.

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Spanking as Punishment in Psychology. (2021, Aug 18). Retrieved from

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