The choice between a corporal punishment and the methods of upbringing that do not involve physical aggression towards children has been in existence for decades. Although modern methods of upbringing have been designed and proven to be quite efficient with children of all ages, a range of people still resort to the use of corporal punishment.
While the specified choice of parenting children is often based on the specifics of the culture of parents (e.g., statistics shows that corporal punishments are more common in Europe than the United States (Rivage et al., 2015)), it still needs to be reconsidered as an old and rather harmful method of childrearing, which has worn out its welcome.
A closer look at the very concept of corporal punishment will reveal that the arguments in its favor as a method of upbringing do not hold any water. Particularly, the fact that the specified tool is rarely viewed as a controversy when related to common ethical values deserves to be brought up.
To be more exact, it is natural to teach children that they must not abuse the rights of the people, who are weaker than they are, and that they should use their power, including physical one, responsibly. Parents, who support the concept of corporate punishment, in their turn, act incoherently when introducing children to the specified idea, as they, in fact, abuse their physical power when hitting a child that cannot possibly respond.
Another common misconception concerns the idea that children may be unable to understand the language of reason, which makes adults use their physical force instead. The specified argument is also a product of people’s misguided idea of parenting, as well as the lack of communicative skills, as adapting any idea or rule to the language that a child can understand.
The specified misconception, though being unfortunately common, has very little to do with reality (Lenta, 2012); in fact, communicating with children is an essential part of bringing them up and planting the seeds of morality, ethics and responsibility in them. Therefore, when disciplining children with the help of physical violence, parents acknowledge their failure as mentors, spiritual guides and moral leaders (Lenta, 2012).
The proponents of physical violence may argue that the process of locating the right way of communicating the basic rules to a child may take years. However, one’s inability to get a basic idea a proper behavior or any other concept so that a child could understand it displays not the child’s inability to learn but the parent’s incompetence as a teacher and a guide.
Therefore, corporal punishment must not be used in any scenario and needs to be abolished as a tool for upbringing. Although a child, who suffers corporal punishments, has the chances to overcome the fears and psychological issues induced by the specified method of childrearing, physical punishment, nevertheless, remains an abuse of parental rights as well as physical advantages (i.e., physical strength of an adult to the lack thereof in a child).
There are ways of getting a specific message across to a child without developing a conditioned reflex based on the child’s fear of corporal punishment. By treating children with respect, which they deserve as people with equal rights, adults will be able to create strong emotional bonds with hem, therefore, contributing to children’s conscious acceptance of societal norms, ethical standards and moral principles that their future life choices will be based on.
Lenta, P. (2012). Corporal punishment of children. Social Theory & Practice, 38(4), 689-716.
Rivage, K. d., Keyes, K., Leray, E., Pez, O., Bitfoi, A., Koç, C., Goelitz, D., Kuijpers, R., Lesinskiene, S., Mihova, Z., Otten, R., Fermanian, C., & Kovess-Masfety, V. (2015). Parental use of corporal punishment in Europe: Intersection between public health and policy. PLOS One, 1(1), 1-11.