A Disciplinary Measure or a Threat to Children?
Discipline is one of the basic things a child learns from his parents before he or she faces the outside world to learn more about life as a whole. Teaching this trait can depend on how the parent shows it to their child and how they explain the importance of having this trait both in and out of their homes. Misbehaving children cannot be avoided as they are curious little beings and they have a tendency to explore. But there are some parents, even teachers, who do not tolerate misbehaving and they resort to corporal punishments such as spanking to make sure the child never forgets how painful it is to misbehave as they will remember the punishment entailed to it and become more disciplined. However, not all children would understand the logic of the parent and the results may not go in favor of the parents. It is my belief that children must not be subjected to this kind of punishment, especially spanking, to discipline them as there are consequences that may arise if this practice is continued.
My position in this matter can be explained with three reasons. The first negative effect of spanking is the changes that may happen in the child’s mental and social aspect which may evolve into a much sever problem in the future. In Marshall (2002), he notes that if a child is continuously subjected into spanking, the traits he or she may develop would not be always disciplined. He would consider himself an outcast and some may develop independent and rebellious traits. The human spirit is resilient and fully rejuvenates itself after being tested through pain but if a person, say someone they could trust like a parent, it may not always rejuvenate itself back to normal but effectively change the child all together. It may also change children from what they should really be into frail, shy and scared young children, afraid to make a mistake in fear of being spanked again. Some may even pick up a trait or two that may they may take into heart and do to their own children .
The second reason spanking should not be done to children is the fact that it is a form of child abuse. At the moment, countries are divided as to legalize corporal punishment or create a law saying it is illegal. In the book written by Abela (2007) for the Council of Europe, she notes that “spanking of children less than two years old increases the risk of severe physical injury and the child is unlikely to understand the connection between behavior and punishment.” Most parents tend to go overboard when disciplining their children, especially when they are very angry and have not subdued their anger. This then makes the child their venting medium to get rid of that anger and sometimes, they do not apologize and even forget why they have done the deed. Other parents tend to make this a habit and even if the child did nothing wrong, they would still continue spanking the child. Eventually, the parents may slowly abuse the child through pain and totally make the child’s life a complete hell. As a result, child becomes frail and suffers psychological problems. Some countries, especially social services, use this as grounds to get the child away from the family and file cases of child abuse and physical injury that can lead to jail time if proven guilty. Spanking may also cause scarring and may be with the child as he or she grows.
The last and final reason corporal punishment or spanking should not be done as a form of disciplining is because there are other ways to teach children discipline without hurting them. Fontes and Conte (2008) noted that it takes excellent parenting skills and styles to teach children about discipline without resorting to violence and pain. Parents must be able to make their children aware of their faults and be able to teach them in a way that their child can understand. Children can easily hold grudges and for the smarter ones, they may rebel against their parents should they feel insecure and left out. Children can also easily grasp information quickly so it is up to the parents to come up with a way to teach their children what it means to be disciplined and tell them that no matter what, they would continue loving them. Of course spanking can still be done but only in the extreme that the child is totally out of control and not done in a sadistic manner. The home is the child’s first school so it is up to the parents, the teachers, to properly raise their children and shower them with love and concern. If there were to punish the child, they may give the child a time-out which normally is done in a corner so the children can lament or ground the child in things they want but in a reasonable amount of time. After this is handed down, the child can now apologize properly and go back to normal, with the lesson fully in their minds .
There are cases when spanking is ok but it should not be done in a regular basis and as a means to discipline children. Actually, they should not be done at all considering the age we are all in today that advocates peace and negotiation to get everything set. Of course, people would advocate violence if there is no choice so this norm should also be followed when it comes to teaching discipline. Children deserve to have a happy and pain-free upbringing as this will help them grow and develop into fine individuals in the future. Parents must be able to teach and explain to their children why they are punishing them and assure to them that they are not disappointed and they are still loved. Trust is very important for families and it may be hard to earn once the person loses his or her trust into someone, especially love ones. Parents are a source for comfort for children, not a source for fear. Children do not easily forget pain and fear, even resentment, which is why it is very important that parents must take care of the trust and admiration their children have for them and ensure giving them genuine love.
Abela, A. (2007). Parenting in contemporary Europe: a positive approach. Strasbourg: Council
of Europe Publications.
Fontes, L., & Conte, J. (2008). Child Abuse and Culture: Working with Diverse Families. New
York: Guilford Press.
Marshall, M. (2002). Why Spanking Doesn’t Work: Stopping This Bad Habit and Getting the
Upper Hand on Effective Discipline. Utah: Bonneville Books.