I grew up believing that corporal punishment to some degree is beneficial in disciplining a child. It is even written in the Bible and so I chose it as my title. As a young little rascal, I remember being occasionally (or often) spanked by my father for breaking his house rules. Well, I guess it made a strong impression on me. It brought immediate effects and compliance on my side. In retrospect, the conversations after the punishments were what made the difference. It was what made the disciplining exercise rational.
After learning about operant conditioning, reinforcements, extinction and punishments on module 5 (Behavioral Theories), I have recalibrated my perspective as an adult, a father and a teacher. My virtual classmates’ insights have been very helpful too in the process. I wish this subject was available to everyone regardless of profession. I believe it will make many better responsible parents.
Studies show that corporal punishments in the hands of the untrained person, if not all, can inflict serious damage not only physically but also emotionally. While the physical damage done to the body can be treated, the emotional and psychological effects can affect the survivor deeply. (Lillian Hannah Banda, 2006)
Corporal punishments may reinforce all the more the negative behavior of children. According to Dr. Joan Durrant et.al., Department of Family Social Sciences, University of Manitoba, ” studies found that physical punishment was associated with higher levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses.”
Although I still adhere to what the scripture says “spare the rod and spoil the child,” I think that time has changed a lot and so the methods of disciplining children have evolved too. I think the ROD here stands for discipline and not necessarily in terms of physical punishments. It has been found out that children who are given chances to express their emotions and feelings grow up to be better individuals. They are more emotionally stable, intellectually capable and have better interpersonal skills. It is important to note that, as I have experienced, it is the talking where one gets to reason out and listen to the adult(parent/teacher) that makes the disciplining meaningful and not the infliction of pain. Check the link on positive discipline for some practical approaches on it.
Physical Punishment of Children Potentially Harmful to Their Long-Term Development http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206122447.htm