One of the parental controls that parents place on their children to gain obedience is the punishment. There are different forms of punishment that parents may apply and one of these punishments is the physical punishment that most parents use because it gains obedience immediately. It has been noted that children’s compliance has a positive correlation with the child’s anticipation that his non compliance may have negative consequences and to the parent’s control level attempted. However, the use of physical punishment has gained controversy because of the effects that it brings to a child when he reaches the adolescence or the adulthood stage. Most of the research revealed that although physical punishment may increase the child’s compliance, in the long run it may just lead to an increased noncompliance and may create a more serious problem to these children.
In a study done by the Ohio Public Policy Director at the Bellefaire Children’s Bureau, Dr. Chris Mellet, about the traumatic experiences of the juvenile delinquents on death row it was found out that 74% of the sentenced had experienced family dysfunction, 60% were victims of abuse and a part have psychiatric disorders, lived in poverty and others suffered from substance abuse (American Bar Association [ABA], 2004).
In a study entitled “Ethnic Differences in the Link between Physical Discipline and Later Adolescent Externalizing Behaviors” by Jennifer E. Lansford and company found that physical discipline in the first 5 years of life and the race has a significant effect on the externalizing outcomes during their adolescent stage. The externalizing behaviors are observed at a higher level in the adolescents in the European American race while at lower levels for the adolescents’ African American race. This study showed that there are differences in the long term effect of physical punishment to the externalizing behavior of a person during his adolescence stage (Lansford, et.al., 2004). This is something that shows that in the long run, physical punishments have effects on the child however, these effects may differ with the culture that the child has.
In the report done by Elizabeth T. Gershoff PhD, a University of Michigan Associate Professor of Social Work, stated that parents use physical punishment to reduce the child’s undesirable behavior in the present time and increase the child’s desirable behavior in the future. However, research reveals that physical punishment does not have these effects. She also stated that 85% of the studies that are included in the met analysis showed that physical punishment is associated more with less moral internalization and the more that the child is being punished the more they become defiant. The more the child is being punished, the more the child becomes aggressive. The report also included that children who are being physically punished brings with them the lessons that they learned about how aggression can be a way of controlling others and how this is also a measure to solve problems. It also included that adults who have a history of childhood physical punishment are more likely to use physical and verbal aggression in solving their problems with their spouses (Gershoff, 2008).
In a study done by Landsford et.al (2005), entitled “Ethnic Differences in the Link between Physical Discipline and Later Adolescent Externalizing Behaviors” wherein they tested the hypothesis that in cultures where physical punishment is normative, there will be lesser negative effect. Involving 336 mother-child pairs in the middle class was interviewed so that the relevance of the physical punishment will be assessed on their culture. The behavior problems that are internalized and externalized by the adolescents were measured with the use of the Achenbach checklist and the results found some differences on the use of physical punishment, it’s normative in their culture and its relationship to the child’s adjustment. Adjustments were less severe in places where physical punishment is commonly used while children in places where physical punishment is uncommon, children experience more harmful effects (Lansford, et.al., 2005).
In an article by Michael Matthews entitled “Preserving Childhood: The Detrimental Effects of Corporal Punishment”, he stated that children who experienced physical punishment in their childhood may have psychological problems in dealing with their lives. They may become dishonest, they may not be comfortable in having relationships and may have the tendency to be faced with spouse or children abuse. This is because corporal punishment can be handed down to younger generations and may cause psychological damage (Matthews, 2006).
In another study done by Muhammad Shahbaz ARIF and Muhamad Shaban RAFI entitled “Effects of Corporal Punishment and Psychological Treatment on Students’ Learning and Behavior”, it stated that corporal punishment only strengthens the ill behavior of the child, it also indicated that a child exposed to corporal punishment in their childhood has the tendency to use violence in their family life when they reach adulthood. They may also have the possibility to use violence in the society as well. In this study, the authors also mentioned that in Pakistan, children are afraid to go to school because of the physical punishment. Thus, when they grow older, in order to empower themselves, they join the world of criminals by being terrorists, offenders and extremists (Shabaz, et.al, 2007).
In an article entitled “Spanking creates defiant, aggressive children” from the University of Michigan News Service, it stated that spanking would make it more likely to create children who are defiant and aggressive. It also stated that kids exposed to physical punishment may be at risk for developing mental health problems and antisocial behavior. In some studies, it revealed that many parents are practicing physical punishment when children are still 1-2 years old and by the time they reach 5th grade 80 percent of these children have been punished physically. In many studies spanking has been found to cause a lot of problems like anxiety and depression, it may also lead to alcohol and drug use (Spanking Creates Defiant, Aggressive Children, 2009).
In an article written by Lillian Hanna Banda entitled “Negative Effects of Corporal Punishment on Children”, she stated that children, although the physical effects of corporal punishment may be cured however the emotional effects may create a more serious problems. The practice of corporal punishment is widely practiced in Zambia even it is prohibited. It is even practiced by teachers in school (Banda, 2006). Whatever reason that the parents and teachers apply physical punishment on children, it is the long term effects and not the short term effects that needs to be considered.
In a UK news article by Sarah Grady entitled “Smacking Your Children can Damage Their Mental Ability”, the report showed how physically disciplining your child may affect the child’s IQ. The news presented a study wherein children who were spanked were compared to those children who were not in terms of their IQ. Those children who were not smacked scored 5 points higher compared to those who were not. The study showed that the more spanking the child gets the slower the mental development is (Grady, 2009).
In the article “Cultural Issues in the Corporal Punishment of Children” it stated that physical punishment may bring immediate results that parents or other caregivers my want to have from the child, however, it will have a different result in the long run. Studies show that adolescents who were physically disciplined showed a more aggressive behavior compared to adolescents who did not experience it. A longitudinal study even found that children who were physically punished may have conduct problems ten years later. Some studies also showed that the effect of corporal punishment differs in the culture like the one this article mentioned wherein negative and long term effects of physical punishment are less in African American children compared to the Caucasian children (Maldonado, n.d.)
The “Protection of Children against Corporal Punishment in Schools and Institutions” publication has identified what the negative effects of corporal punishments are and one of the effects is encouraging violence wherein what the child learns in the parent’s aggression is also aggression. They may also have an anti-social behavior during their adolescent stage. These children may also do this violence to their spouses and children or they may commit violent crimes (Protection of Children, 2008).
In an article entitled “Corporal Punishment – Dark Side of Discipline”, it enumerated the different effects of physical punishment. The effects involve physical and psychological injuries, the damage to the child’s education and sending out the wrong message. These effects would cause long term effects to children that they may bring when they grow up which may affect the kind of life that they live (Corporal Punishment, n.d.)
In a publication entitled “Smacking Children”, which was adapted from the “Young children’s behavior” by Porter, the publication identified the long term effects of physical punishment on children and these include behavioral effects wherein the child may have increased defiance and an anti social behavior during their adolescence. This may also impair the child’s development of conscience. The child may also have impaired social skills and may lower his peer acceptance and increase the possibility of peer dislikes (Porter, 2006).
These are just some of the long term effects of punishment to children and which shows that this can also become a problem in the long run if the parent opts to continue with the physical disciplinary measure that they are taking. Thus this is what more people would like to be stopped because the effects would not only cause problems with the parents but this may also cause social problems.
American Bar Association (2004). Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Juvenile Death Penalty Adolescence, Brain Development and Legal Culpability. Juvenile Justice Center. Web.
Banda, L. (2006). Negative Effects of Corporal Punishment on Children. CYC Net. Web.
Corporal Punishment – Dark Side of Discipline. Society for the protection of the Rights of the Child. Web.
Grady, S. (2009). Smacking Your Children can Damage Their Mental Ability. Daily Express: Crusading for a Fairer Britain. Web.
Gershoff, E. (2008). Report on Physical Punishment in the United States: What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children. Web.
Lansford, J., Deater-Deckard, K., Dodge, K.,Bates, J., and Pettit, G. (2004). Ethnic Differences in the Link between Physical Discipline and Later Adolescent Externalizing Behaviors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45:4 (2004), pp 801–812. Web.
Lansford, J.E., K.A. Dodge, P.S. Malone, D. Bacchini, A. Zelli, N. Chaudhary, B. Manke, L. Change, P. Oburu, K. Palmerus, C. Pastorelli, A. Bombi, S. Tapanya, K. Deater-Deckard and N. Quinn (2005). “Physical discipline and children’s adjustment: Cultural normativeness as a moderator” Child Development, 76(6): 1234–1246.
Maldonado, M. Cultural Issues in the Corporal Punishment of Children. KAIMH. Web.
Matthews, M. (2006). Preserving Childhood: The Detrimental Effects of Corporal Punishment. Associated Content. Web.
Protection of Children against Corporal Punishment in Schools and Institutions (2008). NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILD RIGHTS. Web.
Porter, L. (2008). Young children’s Behaviour. Web.
Shabaz, M and Shaban, M. (2007). Effects of Corporal Punishment and Psychological Treatment on Students’ Learning and Behavior. Journal of Theory and Practice in Education Makaleler/Articles. ISSN: 1304-9496.
Spanking Creates Defiant, Aggressive Children (2009). University of Michigan News Service. Web.