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Understanding The Science Of Corporal Punishment

Corporal PunishmentCorporal punishment. No two words are apparently better in inciting a never-ending debate among parents, psychologists, and good parenting advocates. Non-supporters like Positive Discipline say that corporal punishment is nothing but senseless force masquerading as a parenting technique. Supporters, on the other hand, are adamant about incorporating the concept into parenting circles. But what does science say?

What The People Think

A related survey by The Huffington Post and YouGov reveals that 81 percent (of 1,000 adults) think that hand spanking should be legal. Almost half of the respondents add that it’s also effective as a form of punishment. The same poll also reveals that 69 percent of people whose parents didn’t use corporal punishment likewise believe that hand spanking should be legal.

What Experts Think

While nearly half of all American parents use spanking as a disciplinary method, numerous experts believe that hitting a child is a risk factor for emotional and behavioral problems. But varied opinions still exist — several others counter that research methods on this issue are still far from reliable. Hence, these people believe that definite conclusions are still far off.

Elizabeth Gershoff and Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan, present some interesting findings. After evaluating 75 studies on the link between spanking and children with emotional, behavioral, and physical problems, 13 out of 17 total instances of problem children linked back to spanking.

According to a larger cross-analysis (88 studies involved), physically punished children are more aggressive. They also tend to be antisocial and a bit lagging in mental development. Researchers counted actions like face slapping, beating, and hitting hard enough to cause bruises and/or cuts into their analysis. More ‘hardcore’ actions like punching, kicking, and burning are excluded, because they obviously border into physical assault and abuse.

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So, should parents hit their children? There’s still no definite answer despite all. But there’s good statistical proof of corporal punishment’s alleged role in creating ‘problem children.’ What matters now is that parents should focus on instilling good values in their children as early as possible, so they can avoid resorting to drastic measures like physical harm.

  • Posted on September 1, 2016