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Argumentative Essay Against Corporal Punishment

Argumentative Essay Against Corporal Punishment
            Corporal punishment is generally used by parents in the US specifically from the pre-school years until the child reaches eight to ten years old. Although there has been several discussions and debates focused on the effectiveness of spanking, parent still use such method in disciplining their children. Currently, only two states in the US view corporal punishment as child abuse. The other states maintain that spanking or slapping that result to zero physical harm is legal. According to statistics, 90% of American parents support the use of physical punishment on their children.  The spanking usually occurs when the children are already four years old. The study also shows that corporal punishment is more common among minorities and poor families. Aside from physical punishment, yelling and swearing in front of the children are also considered as harmful (Strauss & Gelles 95).

            One of the negative effects brought by corporal punishment is the strong tendencies of children to develop anti-social behaviour. The notion of corporal punishment is based on aggression and such leads to violent behaviour both exhibited by the parent and eventually the child. Also, the child could channel the aggression to other people for instance bullying their classmates in school. Other counter-productive behaviour such as lying, cheating, and stealing could be traced to a child history who suffered from corporal punishment (Strauss 55). Another aspect that needs to be considered is that the development of anti-social behaviour encompasses all socio-economic groups.

            According to some studies, the intended impact created by corporal punishment (discipline) is reversed in the long run. Spanking and slapping are proven to be ineffective strategy in promoting discipline. In extreme cases, corporal punishment results to anger, resentment, low self-confidence, and worst children just repeat the cycle of violence to themselves and to others (Gershoff: 545).  In reality, children who are inflicted of pain in the form of spanking and slapping have shown the highest tendencies of suffering from behavioural problems. When parents use harsh methods discipline, children could exhibit anxiety, helplessness, and depression. 

            Child abuse is often used as a counter argument to the rampant use of corporal punishment. As it is usually done to children, such method would impede the development of young bodies. Moreover, children are not capable of absorbing pain, which in some instances lead to injuries. Most of the reported injuries have been due to parents losing their control or parents underestimating their strength. There is also no direct evidence showing children fearing their parents when subjected to corporal punishment (Teti & Candelaria 155). The most common response from children includes isolation and rebelling from their parents.  Instead of building a bond with their children corporal punishment could destroy relationships and lasting effects on the psyche of the children.

            Corporal punishment tends to decrease the moral values and pro-social behaviour of children.  At an early age, children perceive the solution to all problems should involve violence and physical pain. Another critical element of corporal punishment is its impact to the mental health of the children being subjected to it. Some parents misconstrue obedience and discipline with fear. There is the possibility that children become more secretive and this affects the dynamics of a parent-child relationship.

            In a nutshell, the disadvantages of corporal punishment outweigh by a huge margin the benefits of spanking. Instead of promoting good behaviour and discipline, corporal punishment produces adverse effects. Parents have embraced tradition by using such methods, but evidence through the years suggests that corporal punishment is one tradition that needs to end.

E. T. Gershoff. “Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviours and
experiences: A meta-analysis and theoretical review.” Psychological Bulletin., vol. 138. 2002:539-579.

M. A. Strauss & R. J. Gelles. “How violent are American families? Estimates from the national
family violence resurvey and other studies.” Physical Violence in American Families. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 1990.

M. A. Strauss. “New evidence for benefits of no spanking.” Society, vol. 38. 2001: 52-60.

D. M. Teti & M. A. Candelaria. “Parenting competence. Parenting competence.” In Bornstein M.
H., (ed.) Handbook of Parenting, vol. 4. New Jersey: Erlba. 2002

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  2. Hello - I am having a hard time explaining why I am in favor of legislature passing the law against corporal punishment. This is the part I missed. "The use of force against any child under the age of 18 with any animate or inanimate object in such a way that causes a bruise, burn, or breaks the skin shall be illegal and shall be punishable as a Domestic Assault and Battery, a class 1 misdemeanor." Do you have any ideas how I can include this into my paper?