FIRST PERSPECTIVE (IN SUPPORT OF LEGALIZING)
It has negative psychological effects.
Corporal punishment brings about many psychological effects. It brings about low esteem which consequently leads to anxiety related problems, alcohol dependency, delinquency and insecurity. These children are more often characterized with shyness and are more resentful compared to those subjected to physical harm. It is also common knowledge that corporal punishment severs ties and relationships between the victim and the parent/guardian. Straus and Kaufman-Kantor (1994) found that corporal punishment experienced in teenage years was positively associated with drinking problems, depressive symptoms, and thoughts of suicide.
It is a violation of the most basic of human rights.
Corporal punishment is a violation of human rights. Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that "Children and young people have the right to physical and personal integrity. All services should ensure that child protection is based on this right and that definitions of abuse do not condone any level of violence to children." It can therefore be seen that the practice is morally, lawfully wrong and highly inappropriate. (Lefkowitz, Eron, Walder, & Huesman, 1977).
To young children, actions speak louder than words.
Children have very young minds and they learn by observing models and copying them. When corporal punishment is prevalent, children will grow up believing that morality only exists when one is caught and punished and that there is no problem in hitting smaller and powerless people. The practice has no constructive parental modeling.
First perspective continued
Corporal punishment inflicts direct physical harm to the victim. In worse instances, it has even lead to death and physical impairments. Secondly, it results to a rise in the physical aggression in children. Aggression is a reflexive response when one goes through any sort of pain. The victim grows up thinking that violence is the only effective way of achieving or getting something and they get this from their guardians. Antisocial behavior is also associated with corporal punishment. These behaviors include bullying, lying, cheating, drug problems, violence, truancy and other moral degradation problems. Corporal punishment also inflicts both mental and indirect physical harm. It leads to emotional and physical pain, consequently, leading to poor mental health. It also results in behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, low self-esteem, depression, abuse of drugs, suicide attempts, alcoholism, hostility, emotional instabilities among other worse conditions. Simons and colleagues (1994)
SECOND PERSPECTIVE (AGAINST LEGALIZING)
Many parents are in support of it
Recent surveys conducted have revealed that more than half of parents endorse corporal punishment as a means of instilling discipline.6000 teachers were also surveyed by the Times Educational Supplement (1) and out of five, one believed that behavior had worsened because of illegalizing corporal punishment. (Petersen et al. 1982:133)
There has been an increase in crime rate
Just an example, in the UK, when corporal punishment was legal (1981 to 1997) crime rate was low. However, upon its illegalization, there occurred a 67% increase in crime rate. If we did the same, the effects would likewise be the same. Rohner (1975:112-113)
There is a lack of father figures at home
Gone are the days when a strong male figure existed in the family. There are many single families nowadays and a mother cannot act as the mum and dad. Children no longer fear anything and banning the practice would worsen the situation and disruptive behavior would increase. Rohner (1975:112-113)
Other sanctions have no effect
There are little or no substitute alternatives foe instilling discipline and those that are currently present, such as advice are not as effective and efficient. Both teachers and parents have endorsed this fact.
Rights culture needs to be impeded (controlled)
The rights culture has unfavorably influenced the behavior of children. These days children have the nerve of telling their parents, you cannot take away my freedom of doing this or that I have my rights and you have no right to, especially when threatened with corporal punishment upon doing something wrong.
Corporal punishment has been known to work. It has been known to be the most effective and efficient method of upholding discipline both at homes and at schools and also administering justice to juveniles. It was an effective practice in the 70s, 80s and 90s and crime rate was low at that time. At country level, it was administered to deal with minor violations or breach of the law, intentional opposition of the law etc.
It makes a direct link between a behavior and its bad consequences
Bad moral practices such as alcoholism, unexpected pregnancies, use of drugs have all stemmed up because of lack of good behavior. It is a common fact that many youths today do not care about the consequences of their actions. They are irresponsible and this has been contributed to the slackening of corporal punishment. This would instill discipline and accountability.
Children are rude, selfish, irritating and ignorant because they have no accountability anymore.
Uncouth behaviors such as aggression, substance abuse, increased crime and violence can all be associated with corporal punishment. Children who are subjected to this practice have a tendency of berating and repeating the abuse meted on them to other people.
Second perspective continue
Corporal or physical punishment, being the most common form tool to instill discipline in many American homes has been defined as any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light This might involve slapping, spanking or smacking of children either by the use of a whip, stick, belt, hand, etc. The actions can be through kicking, shaking, pinching, biting, boxing ears, caning, burning, scalding, scratching, throwing them violently etc. In supporting this practice, the points that came up is that it fosters discipline, prevents the development of uncouth behavior right from childhood, is supported by the popular phrase spare the rod, spoil the child, it has worked before and that other methods used are ineffective compared to corporal punishment. (Lefkowitz, Eron, Walder, & Huesman, 1977).
Critical analysis of first perspective (why I disagree)
Corporal punishment inflicts direct physical harm to the victim. In worse instances, it has even lead to death and physical impairments. Secondly, it results to a rise in the physical aggression in children. Aggression is a reflexive response when one goes through any sort of pain. The victim grows up thinking that violence is the only effective way of achieving or getting something and they get this from their guardians. Antisocial behavior is also associated with corporal punishment. These behaviors include bullying, lying, cheating, drug problems, violence, truancy and other moral degradation problems. Corporal punishment also inflicts both mental and indirect physical harm. It leads to emotional and physical pain, consequently, leading to poor mental health. It also results in behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, low self esteem, depression, abuse of drugs, suicide attempts, alcoholism, hostility, emotional instabilities among other worse conditions. (Hoffman, 1970; Maccoby & Martin, 1983).
Critical analysis of second perspective (why I agree)
Banning of corporal punishment will only not only affect the childrens moral behaviors at home but also at school. It will reduce accountability, discipline, responsiveness, increase in truancy behavior and increase in rates of crime.
From the above discussed points, it can be noted that corporal punishment by parents to their children can lead to depression, suicide, alcohol abuse, physical abuse of children, more truancy, low self esteem etc. For some children, corporal punishment by the parents or guardians may lead to trauma, feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. (Straus & Gimpel, 1992). The adverse effects of corporal punishment applies to youths as well as children (Sears, Maccoby, & Levin, 1957; Larzelere, 1986; Vissing et al., 1991) Illegalizing corporal punishment will be a big step towards the eradication and prevention of physical abuse of children and spouses, depression, low self esteem, suicide, anti social problems, drug abuse etc. Corporal punishment does more harm than good to a child and it should therefore be banned. Other methods such as spending more time with ones children, loving and understanding them, holding dialogue, being good role models etc. should be used.
Anthony, E. J. (1970). The BEHAVIOR DISORDERS OF CHILDREN. In P. H. Mussen (Ed.),
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