Is it permissible for parents to spank a child?
Many of us may recall how our parents spanked us in disobedience as a child. Statistics show that more than 300 million children worldwide are punished. Usually, children are spanked easily so as not to cause physical pain, but only affect their behavior. This form of punishment has been common for decades and even centuries. It was believed that spanking could even be useful because it helps to alter a child’s bad behavior.
However, over the past decades, attitudes towards punishments of this kind have changed. In the late 90s of the twentieth century, scientists first stated that spanking children is unacceptable. They hold this opinion today.
What is the reason for such changes? Until the 1990s, light physical punishment was a common educational method throughout the world. They were not considered physical abuse. Around the same time, the first scientific papers began to appear, confirming that physical punishment has negative consequences for the behavior and emotions of children. Modern research proves this thesis.
Firstly, studies have shown that spanking does not help fight a child’s bad behavior. Leading to the fact that bad behavior stops for a short time, such a method is in no way better than non-violent methods of punishment.
It is important to understand that in the long run spanking has more negative consequences than other forms of punishment. It does not help to correct the behavior of the child, as it causes him physical pain. This, in turn, causes the child to fear or bewilderment and prevents him from correctly perceiving what his parents want to convey to him. Moreover, if parents slap a child so that he stops behaving aggressively (for example, does not fight with other children), this leads only to the opposite consequences.
Other studies by psychologists have shown that spanking only worsens children’s behavior and makes them more aggressive. In some publications, such a statement was called into question: scientists assumed that not spanking leads to aggression, but initially aggressive children were more spanked for bad behavior.
However, according to the results of another large-scale study involving more than 12,000 children, scientists concluded that children spanked at the age of 5 years were prone to increased aggression, reaching 6–8 years. This study shows that flip flops lead to aggressive behavior of children. In addition, scientists have found that such a relationship was manifested not only in difficult or initially prone to aggression children.
Why does spanking lead to more aggressive behavior? The answer is simple: observing such behavior of parents, children conclude that it is acceptable. Numerous studies have proven: observing the aggressive behavior of others, children themselves begin to behave aggressively.
In addition to the fact that spanking triggers the mechanism of aggressive behavior of children, it also causes more serious mental problems, decreased self-esteem, cognitive disorders, and also worsens the relationship between children and parents. Corporal punishment can cause delays in the development of the child, as well as insults and screams.
The results of the above studies have led scientists around the world to rethink their views on corporal punishment. In some countries (for example, in France) corporal punishment of children is prohibited at the legislative level.
A recent study found that the prohibition of corporal punishment leads to positive changes in children’s behavior. The study involved children from 88 countries. It was found that in countries where corporal punishment is prohibited, both boys and girls displayed less aggressive behavior. In countries where corporal punishment is prohibited only at school, but not at home, the level of aggression decreased only in girls.
Thus, studies show that corporal punishment is not suitable for raising children. Are there alternative ways to change a child’s bad behavior? Experts believe that the best methods are those based on positive behavior and suggesting the possibility, instead of punishing the child, to leave him without compensation. For example, if a child refuses to have dinner, parents may deprive him of dessert.
If a child takes toys from his brothers and sisters, parents can prevent him from playing with his toys for a while. Some parents, in case of a child’s bad behavior, make him spend some time in his room or put him in a corner. The ultimate goal of punishment is to teach the child the right behavior. Therefore, it is important to be consistent in your rules and explain to the child the consequences of his bad behavior.
In general, experts agree that spanking children is unacceptable under any circumstances. No study on this topic has confirmed the positive effects of corporal punishment on children.