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Jojo Munoz November 6, 2006 Word Count:
Spanking Children is Wrong
Spanking, and corporal punishment in general, is a controversial issue in many countries. Many people question whether children should be spanked, whether it is an effective method of discipline, and whether or at what point it constitutes child abuse. I will address these and other questions by examining empirical studies and quoting expert opinions. With sound reasoning and critical thinking I will refute arguments for the use of corporal punishment and spanking in particular. I will demonstrate that not only is spanking ineffective, it is also unethical and creates a fearful, angry environment. Also, using spanking and other forms of violence do not teach children lessons of right and wrong. Finally, I will point out alternatives to spanking which have proven to be more effective methods of parenting and correction. To understand why spanking is wrong, it is first important to understand what it is and how, when, why and where it is used. Spanking is a form of corporal punishment which is the intentional infliction of pain on the body for purposes of punishment or controlling behavior. It includes slapping, spanking, hitting with objects, pinching, shaking, and forcing to stand for long periods of time. Spanking is the most form of physical correction and is the focus of this argument. However, the arguments against spanking can me applied to corporal punishment and violence in general. Confusion surrounding the practice stems partly from the difference in opinion concerning what constitutes a spanking. The AAP refers to spanking as "striking a child with an open hand on the buttocks or extremities with the intention of modifying behavior without causing physical injury." In general, spanking consists of one or more sharp smacks, usually with an open hand, usually applied on the buttocks. Sometimes spanking refers to striking other parts of the body, most often arms and legs, but in the U.S. and Canada, all posterior discipline is usually known as spanking. In Britain and many Commonwealth countries smacking or whacking is used as the general term; with spanking usually referring to bare hand discipline (as opposed to implement-specific forms such as belting, whipping, paddling, caning, birching, and slippering). However, the U.S. generalization of spanking which includes these terms is becoming more common. Other terms often used interchangeably with spanking include; striking, whupping, thrashing, licking, posterior chastisement, posterior alignment and stern discipline. Another term used is dressing-down (though this often refers to the lecture that precedes the actual spanking and probably refers to the undressing of the buttocks that often occurs during the lecture.) Other terms used interchangeably with spanking refer to the painful effects caused by the punishment such as; blistering, grilling, roasting, and humbling. It is striking how the (mainly informal) terminology is usually determined by the punisher's point of view, with terms such as lesson, medicine, ordeal, therapy, (woodshed) treatment, even helping, sometimes adding adjectives such as firm, (jolly) good, healthy, sound, well-deserved, and (long) overdue. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking)
Besides spanking with ones hand, various implements are commonly used. These include; a cane, a belt or strap, various types of whips, a martinet or tawse (commonly used in France), a switch or other form of rod, electric spankers and paddling machines (used for initiation in Masonic lodges), or a paddle which has been the favored implement used in the U.S. Various household objects have also been commonly used for spanking including wooden spoons and rulers, hairbrushes, slippers, and other types of footwear. However, when footwear is used (not wielded by hand) the term booting is usually used instead of spanking. One study shows that by their seventh birthday a quarter of all boys and nearly as many girls have been hit with one of these or other 'suitable' objects. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking) Spanking is usually used domestically in a paternalistic mentality which intends or claims to (re)educate spankees, often ‘for their own good’. In some countries, spanking is also used judicially which essentially aims to enforce the social code 'for the common good' (social cohesion, public safety and morality etc.), usually with a traditional, often even formally imposed implement.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking) Although spanking is generally considered corrective punishment, without intention of permanent physical injury; such intentions do not always have their desired result, nor is the amount of the emotional injury easily quantifiable. There are questions over what level of pain is appropriate until it crosses the threshold into abuse. Up until the mid-20th century it was perfectly acceptable in most communities for a spanking to cause a child to cry in pain throughout and have trouble sitting down afterward, even leaving stripes or bruises for days, sometimes even lasting scars. Today many people (including courts in some countries) consider even mere redness of the skin abusive, though others would call it effective discipline. Spankings are most often administered to children, particularly by their educators. Mostly these educators are parents of guardians, schools or orphanages. Historically, and even currently to a lesser extent, spankings have been administered to people considered moral and/or legal minors. These people include wives and women in general (typically by their husbands), prostitutes (by their pimps), servants and slaves (by their masters), accused sinners (by clergy given the right of penitence), indigenous populations that were considered culturally immature (by colonialists during Apartheid etc.)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking) In the United States, spanking as punishment has shown a long-term decline. In the 1950's, ninety-nine percent of parents supported the use of corporal punishment of children. In recent years that number has fallen. Surveys generally report about fifty percent of parents advocate corporal punishment and 65 87% of Americans spank.(http://www.empathicparenting.org/spank.htm) Studies show that a majority of parents who use corporal punishment feel badly about it and don't think it works to improve behavior.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking) Among Southerners, 62 percent of parents spank, compared to 41 percent in the rest of the country. (ABC News poll, 2003) DCS, whose purpose is to receive and screen reports alleging child abuse or neglect and to protect the safety of children, is responsible for establishing that line between discipline and abuse. According to DCS, physical abuse is defined as "nonaccidental physical trauma or injury inflicted by a parent or caregiver, and should not be confused with developmentally appropriate, discipline-related marks and bruises on the
buttocks or legs of children over 5 when there is not past history of abuse or recent screened-out reports." Physical abuse is considered a possibility when a child is allegedly struck on parts of the body in a way that could result in internal injuries. The term "abuse," encompasses many actions, including using degrading language, striking someone with unnecessary force and under unnecessary circumstances, and unwelcome touches, to the extent that children's well-being is sacrificed (www.cpswatch.com/reports/freighttrain.htm). The last type of abuse, sexual abuse, is quite common among children, and according to the Children's Defense Fund, 12 percent of children nationwide are or will be victims of sexual abuse at some point during their childhood (www.childrensdefense.org/ss_child_abuse.html). There is no democratic, developed society honoring human rights that allows violence as an acceptable method for settling conflict, as a tool for shaping behavior or as a means for releasing anger or frustration. Most people in most countries agree that it is forbidden to hit women, employees, soldiers, prisoners but this is not the case with children. Occasionally we hear that it is permissible to hit children. Proponents say it is for their own good, for education, because they don’t understand another language, because it just shows our concern and, in short, because children aren’t like us. Children are still not human beings. Instead of really dealing with the confusion that exists among many parents regarding the education of their children in modern times, a conflict that requires a great and serious investment, there are those who propose that we escape to much easier solutions such as spanking. This may be easy but it is not moral, it is illegal, dangerous and totally inefficient in the long run. Just as it is not possible to be “a little pregnant”, it is impossible to rationalize “a little violence” or “light smacks” or “educational spanking”. There is no greater contradiction than spanking and education. Education through violence is not education. It is just violence. There is not doubt that it is the right and responsibility of parents to educate, to set boundaries and to set down rules regarding their children but there is no connection between that and spanking.(Aren’t Children Human Beings? by Dr. Y. Kadman) (http://www.nospank.net/causby.htm) Many schools, from preschool to highschool use spanking as a form of discipline. For example the U.S. District Court in Texas condones corporal punishment. On August 21, 2003, in Groveton, Justin Michael Causby was beaten on the buttocks with a wooden board by his school coach. Justin's mother said "You could see blood through his underwear" and Justin's doctor's said the bruises were "consistent with traumatic injury." Texas Department of Education spokesperson, Geoff Wool said: "Corporal punishment is allowed. If it's done in a measured, nonviolent way, it's not considered abuse." If caning or strapping in school had worked as the 'last resort' or 'final sanction' which teachers argued that they needed, you'd expect that one or two beatings would have been enough to 'teach a lesson' to any child. But until physical punishments were banned by law in state schools in 1987, their own punishment books told the opposite story. In every school that used the cane it was the same handful of pupils who were hit with it, again and again, sometimes as often as 10 times over a school year. Even if those were the 'naughtiest' pupils who 'needed the cane' most, being beaten with it certainly did not make them into better pupils who 'needed' it less. In 1948, birching as a judicial punishment was abolished in the United Kingdom and in 1957, flogging was abolished in the Navy. In 1967, corporal punishment in prisons
and borstals was abolished. That was also the year that the Plowden report, "Children and their Primary Schools", recommended the abolition of corporal punishment in both state and independent schools. The report stated: "We believe that the kind of relationship which ought to exist between teacher and child cannot be built up in an atmosphere in which the infliction of physical pain is regarded as a normal sanction. It is my clear view that corporal punishment is wrong in principle: it is barbaric and inhuman. It is also wrong in practice, because there is no evidence whatever that it is an effective deterrent either for the child who may have been misbehaving or for other children." The Elton committee, which studied the matter in considerable detail in 1989, said: "there is little evidence that Corporal Punishment was in general an effective deterrent either to the pupils punished or to other pupils. I hope that the House is aware that although the vast majority--80 per cent.--of independent schools have the legal right to use corporal punishment, they have already decided voluntarily to abolish it. Many schools concluded long before any form of legal ban was contemplated that corporal punishment impeded good education. I have seen no evidence to show that corporal punishment enhances teaching or learning, that it enhances a child's life chances or makes a child a better citizen, or to show that a classroom cannot be controlled without the threat or the use of violence. Relatively few schools still indulge in this outdated practice. Other disciplinary measures are available that are more appropriate in a modern school setting and which allow children the opportunity to learn how to deal with conflicts.” Evidence shows that children in schools that indulge in corporal punishment are either frightened by the experience, which is not conducive to good education, or resentful and rebellious, which is not good for discipline. There are many effective alternatives to spanking such as “the withdrawal of treats, detention, performing useful tasks and extra home work. With older children, peer group councils have been especially useful with bullies and other disruptive behaviour. It is a far better form of discipline than corporal punishment.”(UK school corporal punishment ban argued in the House of Commons, March 25, 1998 Excerpt from Hansard (House of Commons Daily Debates) In 2006 Dr. Yitzhak Kadman wrote a response to the claim that schools should return to using spanking and corporal punishment for discipline. His response clarifies what is wrong with using corporal punishment in education: "Education through violence is not education. It is just violence."(http://www.nospank.net/causby.htm) Corporal punishment of children in school is illegal in many western countries; it remains legal in roughly half of the U.S. states, although it is commonly practised only in the South. In each of these states, it is up to each school district to determine whether corporal punishment will be used, in what situations will it be applied, and the manner in which it is given – typically by a paddle. There are cases where school officials have lost their jobs for spanking students. In the United Kingdom, The smacking of children by teachers was made illegal in state schools in 1986 and extended to all schools in 1998. In January 2006, the UK’s four child commissioners called for a full ban on smacking, but this has been rejected by Tony Blair's government (Tony Blair has admitted spanking his own children). In seventeen countries (2005) it is illegal such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel and Latvia. New Zealand is currently debating whether or not to outlaw parental spanking, having outlawed corporal punishment within its educational institutions in 1989. Similar initiatives in the U.S. have repeatedly failed. The countries
that have banned corporal punishment of children in general have low rates of interpersonal violence compared to the United States. Parental rights groups have formed since the 1990s to prevent spanking from being criminalized. Critics of these organisations ask why these organisations refer to corporal punishment as a parental 'right' without mentioning an equivalent need for parental responsibilities.The Supreme Court of Canada has, as of 2004, upheld a law which allows spankings by parents, caregivers, and teachers, but has restricted the law to only apply to children ages two to twelve. Activists fighting for children's rights want a clear ruling to the effect that children should receive as much legal protection as adults. Six European countries have already banned the physical punishment of children. Under Canadian law, parents (and other caregivers) can hit children as much as they like, short of doing them serious injury, but hitting anyone else is a criminal assault. Physical markings now identify an abused child. Teresa Cunio, LSW, of TCB Chronicles, states, "if there [are] any markings left on a child then it is considered physical abuse. The Constitution of the United States of America, guarantees that all people who live within the borders of the United States are entitled to protection against cruel and unusual punishment, whether they are citizens or not. Additionally, assault is a crime in every state in the union. Therefore, proponents of the disciplinary corporal punishment of children are not just asking to engage in a necessary practice, but to gain a special exemption from the Constitution and from ordinary criminal law. Surely, in order to be granted this special exemption, it must be demonstrated that the practice of disciplinary corporal punishment not only causes no harm, but that it is necessary and beneficial. (http://www.irregulartimes.com/cpbaumrind.html) Some people opposing spanking have speculated on the links between eroticism and the spanking of children. They regard the spanking of children as a form of pedophiliac sexual abuse, and also claim that childhood spanking may lead to the development of paraphiliac behavior in later life. Donnelly and Straus, for example, theorized that childhood spanking could lead to the development of masochistic tendencies. (Straus, M.A. 1994) Even without sexual motives on the part of the punisher, some maintain that spanking can interfere with a child’s normal sexual and psychological development. Because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, slapping them can trigger powerful and involuntary sensations of sexual pleasure. This can happen even in very young children, and even in spite of great, clearly upsetting pain. Dr. Teresa Whitehurst said "The literature is replete with accounts of rape victims who never came forward to name their accuser or even to admit they'd been violated because they were so ashamed at their bodies' involuntary response to touch, thinking that this would suggest they enjoyed the assault. Nerve endings can and do function without our conscious consent. The pendulum is beginning to turn against spanking and paddling as science amasses more and more evidence regarding the sexual role played by the buttocks, and the ways in which any touch--with a hand or with a paddle--can create unwelcome but unavoidable arousal." (Dr. Teresa Whitehurst, member of ChristCentered Christians for Nonviolent Parenting (CCNP); clinical psychologist; author of How Would Jesus Raise a Child? (Baker Books, 2003), Project Zero, Harvard's premier research institution.(http://www.nospank.net/aap5-a.htm) In the U.S. where freedom is prominently valued, children should be afforded equal freedoms. One such
freedom is freedom from assault of any kind, including sexual assault. Children are deprived that right.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking) Most experts say spanking is wrong. So why are so many parents still doing it? Spanking advocates claim that spanking is an effective way to manage behavior. While hitting a child may stop them from misbehaving, other ways of discipline such as verbal correction, reasoning, and time-out work as well and do not have the potential for harm that hitting does. Hitting children may actually increase misbehavior. One large study showed that the more parents spanked children for antisocial behavior, the more the antisocial behavior increased (Straus, Sugarman, & Giles-Sims, 1997). The more children are hit, the more likely they are to hit others including peers and siblings and, as adults, they are more likely to hit their spouses (Straus and Gelles, 1990; Wolfe, 1987). Some advocates of spanking refer to Bible verses mentioning "the rod", and assert that spanking is therefore an acceptable punishment from a Judeo-Christian moral or religious point of view. Some attribute the quotation "spare the rod and spoil the child" to the Bible; in fact, it comes from a poem by Samuel Butler entitled "Hudibras." The Bible verse itself reads, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24 (NIV)". Spanking advocates often interpret the rod as being a physical device for beating, which most anti-spanking advocates disagree with. It is likely that the rod refers to the shepherd's rod which was used to guide flocks not beat sheep.(Greven, Philip) Many clergy today are speaking out against that interpretation of scripture. The Reverend Dr. Thomas E. Sagendorf, retired Methodist Minister, says the following “I can find no sanction in the teaching of Jesus or the witness of the New Testament to encourage the practice of corporal punishment at home, school or anywhere else. At its General Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2004, the the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States (the United Methodist Church) passed two resolutions against corporal punishment in homes, schools and childcare.(http://www.stophitting.com/disathome/) Some spanking advocates say they were spanked when they were young turned out OK. Being spanked is an emotional event. Adults often remember with crystal clarity times they were paddled or spanked as children. Many adults look back on corporal punishment in childhood with great anger and sadness. Studies show that even a few instances of being hit as children are associated with more depressive symptoms as adults (Strauss, 1994, Strassberg, Dodge, Pettit & Bates, 1994). A landmark meta-analysis of 88 corporal punishment research studies of over six decades showed that corporal punishment of children was associated with negative outcomes including increased delinquent and antisocial behavior, increased risk of child abuse and spousal abuse, increased risk of child aggression and adult aggression, decreased child mental health and decreased adult mental health (Gershoff, 2002). While many people who were spanked turned out OK, it is likely that not being spanked would have helped them turn out to be healthier. Some spanking advocates claim that if children are not spanked they will grow up rotten. Critics predicted that Swedish youth would grow up more unruly after parents stopped spanking because of the l979 corporal punishment ban. Dr. Joan Durrant who studied effects of the ban for l5 years reported that this did not happen. Her studies indicate youth did not become more unruly, under socialized or self-destructive following the ban. In fact, she said most measures demonstrated a substantial improvement in youth
well-being (Durrant, 2000). Professor Adrienne Haeuser who studied these educational laws in Europe in 1981 and 1991 said “Children are receiving more discipline since the law in Sweden passed. Parents think twice and tend to rely more on verbal conflict resolution to manage their children”. Spanking advocates often frame the issue as a matter of parental rights, stating that parents have the right to raise their children in the way they consider most appropriate. What about the rights of the child? The fact that a parent (or other caregiver) is allowed to inflict physical and emotional pain on a child, whereas the same act performed upon another adult would be tantamount to assault, also brings into question the appropriateness of this form of physical punishment. When young children "misbehave", they often do not understand what they did "wrong", or, even more frequently, what they could have done instead to get their needs met. Thus, when adults spank, they lose an opportunity to teach the child the correct behavior. Even when parents talk to children and then spank, the act of spanking causes feelings of mistrust, rebelliousness, and low self esteem to develop - none of which helps teach the child appropriate behaviors. But, perhaps the most compelling argument for not spanking is that spanking causes fear &/or stress for a child. According to brain development research, a person's brain becomes unable to learn or less effective at learning when under stress. Therefore, if your goal is to teach appropriate behavior, and you spank, you actually set your child up for failure because the brain shifts into a fight or flight mode and becomes less able to learn. Physical punishment, when administered regularly, teaches violence and increases antisocial behavior such as lying, stealing, cheating, bullying, assaulting a sibling or peers, and lack of remorse for wrongdoing. Physical punishment increases the risk of child abuse. Physical punishment serves as a model for aggressive behavior and for inappropriate ways of dealing with conflict. Physical punishment erodes trust between a parent and child. Physical punishment adversely affects cognitive development. Adults who were hit frequently as children are likely to suffer from depression and other negative social and mental health outcomes. It teaches children that physical violence is an acceptable way to deal with other people. It is also possible that this may contribute to physical abuse in cases of bullying at school and physical abuse on siblings in family battles that occur between the children. Many cases of bullying at school have been linked to physical abuse cases. Children hit for antisocial behaviors are more likely to increase those misbehaviors. Hitting children teaches acceptance of violence. While most of us who were spanked as children grow up to be healthy adults, spanking caused anxiety, contributed to feelings of helplessness and humiliation, and often provoked anger and a desire for revenge, feelings which have usually been repressed in adulthood but may lead to depression, adult violence, and hitting our own children. Spanking teaches children that violence is an appropriate way to treat one who offends. Spanking perpetuates a "cycle of violence" which contributes to violent behavior in the child as an adult. Children learn by example, and those subjected to the deliberate infliction of physical pain "to teach them a lesson" will, the argument goes, learn that this is an appropriate way to treat others who have wronged them. The clearest evidence that physical punishments don't help to produce well-behaved, socialized people comes from studies of murderers, rapists, muggers and other violent criminals who threaten the lives and security of ordinary people. The life histories of notorious individuals - Adolf Hitler
amongst them - record excessive physical discipline in childhood. Studies of whole prison populations all over the Western world show that criminals who use violence against their victims almost invariably had violence used against them when they were children. If our society is becoming increasingly violent it is certainly not because parents 'spare the rod'. It is also argued that there is a significant risk in regards to the trust of a parent. If children feel that they are being threatened by this form of chastisement, it is likely that they may have difficulty believing that the parents are there to protect them because of the claim "I would never hurt you" has been violated. This may impair their ability to follow their parents or do what they advise and to listen to them. Hitting children teaches them that it is acceptable to hit others who are smaller and weaker. “I'm going to hit you because you hit your sister” is a hypocrisy not lost on children. The child learns that they don not deserve respect, that good can be learned through punishment (which is usually wrong, since punishment merely teaches the children to want to punish on their own turn). The child is taught hat violence is a manifestation of love (fostering perversion) and that denial of feeling is healthy.(Research shows that children who have never been beaten are less interested in cruel films). Child's play often imitates real life, especially featuring part of daily life, even the most unpleasant. Thus it has been recorded by a captain in the Royal Navy that boys on board often enacted the beatings they were subjected to in reality, both the 'day to day' caning and the truly painful and humiliating public administration of a flogging taking turns in the actual position on deck, sometimes including the lowering of the trousers. No modern ethics committee is likely to approve research that involves violence against children. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that physicians strongly discourage disciplinary spanking and all other forms of physical punishment. Physical redirection or restraint to support time-out or to prevent a child from harming himself or others may be necessary, but should be done carefully and without violence. Physical harm to a child inflicted by a parent out of control and in a rage is completely inappropriate and dangerous. Many humanitarian groups have argued for the prohibition of spanking and other forms of corporal punishment. Since 1982, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) has sought to "promote the inherent rights, education, and well-being of all children in home, school, and community." Consistent with its overall mission, another major goal of the Association is to "facilitate desirable conditions, programs, and practices for children from infancy through early adolescence." Since 1995, the American Humane Association has had a formal policy against corporal punishment in the home, and in schools and custodial settings such as foster care, group homes, or other child caring facilities. We oppose corporal punishment of children and advocate its replacement with alternative, non-violent discipline methods. As an organization that voices the concerns of public child protective services, we also support government policies that prohibit corporal punishment in foster care and other out-ofhome care settings. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently released its strong and much publicized stand against spanking. According to the AAP, spanking "is harmful emotionally to both parent and child, teaches children that violence is an acceptable way to discipline or express anger, interferes with the development of trust
and security and causes emotional pain and resentment." The Academy suggests that, while stopping behavior temporarily, spanking does not teach alternative behavior. Seventy percent of parents who take the "spare the rod, spoil the child" approach to discipline were themselves spanked as children, and not one admitted that expert opinions affect the way they discipline their children. Only 20 percent said they found it difficult to be honest with friends or other parents about their spanking habits, and 70 percent of parents who have spanked told themselves before having children that they would not spank unless absolutely necessary.(http://www.stophitting.com/disathome/positionStatements.php) When a bigger child hits a smaller one, we call him a bully. When a parent hits a child to make him or her obey, is it really any different? Some people might say it is different because that parent's motive is good. She spanks her child 'for good reason'; maybe even 'she does it for the child's sake'. But our society doesn't accept that 'good motives' can make hitting people right. If spanking and other physical punishments worked, you'd expect children who are slapped or spanked 'when they need it' to learn to behave better and better so that they needed punishing less and less often. But that's not the case. Families who start spanking babies before they are a year old (and 63% of mothers surveyed in 1985 said they did this) are just as likely to spank them very frequently when they are four year olds as families which don't start spanking until later. In fact almost all four year olds are spanked (97% of a big random sample of British children), so spanking babies and toddlers clearly does not produce better-behaved pre-school children. The Children's Defense Fund states, "The physical or emotional scars from such experiences can sometimes last a lifetime if not treated. They can prevent children from learning in school. They can make young people more vulnerable to violence and alcohol and drug abuse" (www.childrensdefense.org/ss_child_abuse.html). For several years, the American Academy of Pediatrics co-sponsored a conference on corporal punishment with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse. At these conferences, studies have been reported showing that corporal punishment of students is not only ineffective in changing undesirable behaviors, but has undesirable results. Schools in which corporal punishment is used have a higher incidence of aggression and vandalism. Students punished by or even exposed to corporal punishment of others show symptoms of a post-traumatic stress disorder. The use of physical violence to control behavior gives a message to children that this is the correct and preferred method. The child remembers this message when he or she grows up and becomes a parent. The problem is that children do learn how we feel. They learn that we are angry and frustrated. They know that we are strong and powerful. That they did something wrong does no impress them much. What does impress them is how scary and confusing it is when a big strong person they love and respect threatens to or does hit them. Often the hitting and yelling get out of control. They learn that it is all right to be out of control when you need to control other people's behavior. Children need to be taught to control impulsive behavior. Do we teach them by giving in to our impulse to hit when we are frustrated because they will not behave? Corporal punishment is prohibited in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, and the military. It is prohibited in the schools in 19 states and in most developed countries. It is prohibited entirely in Sweden.(It's time to
change 'the American way of discipline' Arthur Cherry, M.D., FAAP, NEWS, September 1990) Opponents of spanking state that there are numerous methods of non-violent child discipline which they think are at least as effective as spanking, and without the negative side-effects that they attribute to spanking. Instead of slapping hands that are in danger, grabbing them is quicker and attracts just as much attention. Superior size and strength should be used to defuse situations rather than to hurt. According to researchers, for effective discipline consistency is key. It is important to make discipline issues black and white, i.e., if something is wrong today, it should be wrong tomorrow. If parents make discipline situational, children may not be able to comprehend each individual situation. The AAP recommends providing positive reinforcement for good behavior. They stress the importance of setting firm, consistent limits, and reprimanding a child immediately for misbehaving. Since spanking is wrong, the question arises; what can be done to prevent it? Physical punishment in homes, schools, foster care, institutional and child care should be banned. Programs Teacher Education, Social Work, Criminal Justice, Counseling, Nursing, medical education and all human services programs should integrate knowledge about the negative effects of physical punishment and the benefits of positive alternatives into the curricula. on the negative effects of physical punishment and the benefits of positive alternatives should be available and accessible to all parents and part of required training for teachers, staff and students in public schools. State laws should be reformed to make it a misdemeanor to strike a child. The Senate should ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Surgeon General should establish a national blue ribbon task force on physical punishment of children and begin an educational campaign to end its use in all settings including homes. All federally funded parent education programs should provide training on the negative effects of physical punishment and the benefits of positive alternatives. Child abuse prevention grants should require that state programs focus activities on eliminating parental physical punishment of children and supporting positive alternatives.(EPOCH-USA Advisory Board, June 2005.) We need more discipline of children such as explaining and reasoning, establishing rules and consequences, praising good behavior in children and being good models for or children. Such methods develop a child's conscience and self-control. Children who experience teaching discipline are less likely to misbehave and more likely to become self-disciplined adults. Children learn much more through co-operation and rewards than through coercion and punishments. Unfortunately parents don't always use their own attention to encourage 'good' behaviour and discourage 'naughtiness'. In fact parents quite often get it all the wrong way around. While children aren't doing anything bothersome parents leave them alone on a sort of 'let sleeping dogs lie'principle. They don't volunteer companionship. They don't even join in with any enthusiasm when the children try to share a game or a joke. Eventually those children begin to feel lonely and neglected so they make a bid for attention by interrupting, reciting rude words or fighting. They're right, of course; that's when the parents do pay attention. Perhaps they don't realize that children would always rather have cross attention than be ignored. Who gets not just attention but candy in the supermarket: the child who is whining or the one who is helping? It's usually the tiresome child who is bribed to co-operate but if there are sweets
on offer at all, they should really go to the one who is co-operating already. Some parents deliberately ration attention and treats for 'fear of spoiling'. It's impossible to 'spoil' a child with too much talk, play and laughter, too many hugs or even too many presents, provided you give them because you want to. The child who may be at risk of turning into a selfish, 'spoiled' person with no consideration for others isn't necessarily the one who is given a great deal but the one who gets whatever s/he does get by bullying parents to give in against their better judgment. Teaching children how to behave doesn't really mean ensuring that they obey you and behave as you want while you are watching them; it means helping them grow into people who will one day do as they should and behave as they ought when there's nobody watching them and no chance that they will be found out if they do wrong. That means that you aren't just disciplining them from outside, but trying to help them build the kind of self-discipline we call 'conscience'. To build that, children need to understand each tiny everyday instruction or scolding so that they can fit it into the bigger pattern of how people should 'behave' which is forming inside them. We should adopt the well-known and respected principle of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. This principle guides individual physicians in their evaluation of the procedures available to them, but it also guides regulatory agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration, as they decide whether to approve new forms of medical treatment. In the medical world, the principle of doing no harm requires that physicians only use techniques that have a reasonable chance of helping patients. If a pharmaceutical company wants to sell a new pill that it claims cures the common cold, it needs to seek legal approval by the FDA. The FDA will reject the proposed drug either because the drug causes harm or because the drug does not have the benefits that its manufacturer claims it has. It is considered highly unethical to administer a medical treatment that is known not to produce the health benefits its manufacturers claim it will produce. To do so would be fraud, because it would demand that the public pay money for a product that does not work. Accumulated research supports the ineffectiveness and harm of spanking and other forms of corporal punishment. Based on that research, experts argue that spanking is unethical and creates a fearful and angry environment which perpetuates a cycle of violence. Furthermore, spanking is not conducive for education and discipline or for healthy relationships since violence is taught and trust is violated. Spanking a child is always wrong because spanking is not necessary to guide a child to responsible, polite self-discipline - the goal of every parent. Based on the evidence, spanking should be forbidden and the numerous more effective and beneficial alternatives should be implemented. Effective discipline exists but it does not involve hitting and humiliating children.
Children Model Themselves on Parents Young children are so focused on parents that even if they spend a lot of time in daycare, or don't see much of one parent, they still do most of their social learning from parents. Your child - let's say a son - will take in every detail of what you are like as a person. He won't only take notice of what you say and do to him but of how you are with everybody else. And he won't only do what you say, he'll do what you do. So don't expect to operate a double-standard, just because you're a grownup and he's only a child. Violation of Human Rights Spanking violates the fundemental trust between parent and child, it is wrong to spank. Spanking teaches that someone who loves you can hurt you, spanking is wrong. Spanking is counterproductive and dangerous. Spanking teaches children violence. Spanking destroys the infallible certainty of being loved that a child needs. Spanking causes anxiety; the expectancy of the next break. Spanking convey a lie: they pretend to be educational, but parents actually use them to vent their anger; when they strike, it’s because, as children, they were struck themselves. Spanking provoke anger and a desire for revenge, which remain repressed only to be expressed much later. Spanking program the child to accept illogical arguments (I’m hurting you for your own good) that stay stored up in their body. Spanking destroys sensitivity and compassion for others and for oneself, and hence limit the capacity to gain insight. Spanking doesn't usually change behavior Spanking violates the fundamental trust between parent and child http://www.empathicparenting.org/spank.htm) What is learned
"pick on someone your own size" Humiliation
The removal of the clothing by the spanker may be seen as humiliating as the child is made to experience being undressed by someone other than oneself. It also procures a feeling of helplessness in that the child is no longer in control of the situation. Most educators in modern-day Western societies consider avoidable humiliation inappropriate. Others consider the humiliation of exposing one's bare buttocks a legitimate or even essential part of the punishment, as the desired psychological effect is to deter, more than inflicting pain as such. Harm There is even some evidence from the British study that they may be less able to learn because physical punishments reduce children's IQ. Spanking may lead, it is argued, to psychological damage and even possible PTS syndrome-related effects due to prolonged fear, feelings of mistrust and being un-loved, alike with bullying at school or other forms of abuse. It is also attested by neurological studies on neuronal stengthening and pain in brain development that children have a lower pain threshold than adults. Cycle of Violence Children who are spanked most are more likely to be aggressive and hit others.
Durrant, Joan E. (2000). “Trends in Youth Crime and Well-Being Since the Abolition of Corporal Punishment in Sweden”, Youth and Society. Youth and Society, Volume 31, 437-455. Gershoff, Elizabeth (2002) “Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review”, Psychological Bulletin 2002. Vol. 128, No. 4 539-579. American Psychological Association. Greven, Philip. (1992). Spare the Rod: The religious roots of punishment and the psychological impact of physical abuse. Vintage Books.
Miller, Alice. (1990) For your own good: Hidden cruelty in child-rearing and roots of violence. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. Straus, M.A., Sugarman, D.B., & Giles-Sims (1997). “Corporal punishment by parents and subsequent antisocial behavior in children”. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 155, 761-767. Straus, M.A., & Gelles, R.J. (Eds.). (1990) “Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptions to violence in 8,145 families”. New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions. Straus, M.A. (1994). Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families. San Francisco, CA: New Lexington Press. Strassberg, Z., Dodge, K.A., Pettit, G.S., & Bates, J.E. (1994). “Spanking in families and subsequent aggressive behavior toward peers by kindergarten students”. Development and Psychopathology, 6, 445-461. Wolfe, D.A. (1987). Child abuse: Implications for child development and psychopathology . Newbury Park, CA: Sage Author: Nadine Block, Director of the Center for Effective Discipline and co-chair of EPOCH-USA July 2005. http://www.szasz.com/undergraduate/trout.html Child Abuse or Discipline: The Thin Line Karen Trout Aerican University Washington, DC November 29, 2000 (Dr. Teresa Whitehurst, member of ChristCentered Christians for Nonviolent Parenting (CCNP); clinical psychologist; author of How Would Jesus Raise a Child? (Baker Books, 2003), Project Zero, Harvard's premier research institution. It's time to change 'the American way of discipline' Arthur Cherry, M.D., FAAP, NEWS, September 1990 Aren’t Children Human Beings? by Dr. Y. Kadman (EPOCH-USA Advisory Board, June 2005.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanking http://www.naturalchild.org http://www.nospank.net/main.htm
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