Parents should not spank their children.
Attention Getter: Are parents doing more harm by spanking children while yet there are better strategies of discipline and punishment?
Thesis statement: Parents should not spank their children as a form of punishment or discipline.
Importance: Since the abolition of corporal punishment in schools, the matter of spanking as a form of punishment/discipline by parents has been grabbing the attention of parents, psychologists, and pediatric organizations. To the parents, the matter poses a question of whether or not they are parenting right in terms of discipline and punishment. To the psychologists and pediatric organizations, it is a matter of whether or not spanking is an appropriate discipline measure, seeing that they are tasked with the responsibility of passing and declining policies that are harmful to children’s well-being. Some parents currently continue to spank their children without knowledge pertaining to the subject, while others abstain from it without better solutions or cause for doing so. In light of this, shedding light on why spanking should never be an option for parental discipline/punishment helps inform the parents and gives a more precise direction on what to do instead.
Credibility: I took an interest in this topic after being presented with it as a query during my internship.
Preview Points: Before indulging in the main argument, there is a need to define spanking and what counts as spanking. As defined by Ferguson (2013), spanking is commonly defined as the mild open-handed strike to the buttocks. However, there is extreme spanking, corporal punishment, that involves using an object to hit the child or simply hitting/striking them hard to cause pain. Notably, however, whether spanking or corporal punishment, pain infliction is the goal, and it is intended to instill discipline and as a form of punishment.
Transition: First, let us discuss the problems behind spanking; that is, why spanking is a problem in relation to its effects.
Body 1: Spanking leads to more violence within homes and cultivates it as the answer to all conflicts (Simons & Wurtele, 2010).
Children grow up believing that being violent, precisely inflicting pain, is the best means of solving conflicts.
They later use it with siblings, friends, and later on with their children and families.
It leads to an inherited chain cycle of violence within society
Body 2: The effectiveness of spanking is only short-lived, seeing that in the long run, it results in more harm than good.
It is essential to acknowledge that indeed, children comply faster and mostly immediately when spanking is used. This is based on a study reported by Benjet & Kazdin (2003.
However, when used regularly, children develop coping mechanisms and avoidance whereby they view the spanking as a normal easy-way out punishment. Additionally, spanking can only go for a while, after which the children, now adults, will do wrong, seeing no parent will spank them.
It leads to diminished parent-child relationships where the children resent their parents and, with time, fail to understand the reasons behind punishment (Straus, 2005, p. 146).
Further, it leads to poor cognitive and conscience functioning and development. Here children only conform to rules not because they understand why but because they fear spanking, upon which, when removed, they are back to being naughty and disobedient. Elsewhere, spanking does not use conflict resolution strategies that allow for discussion of conflict and solutions, slowing and diminishing cognitive abilities development (Straus, 2005, p. 146).
Finally, spanking, in the long run, leads to behavioral disorders and adult mental problems. When children grow, they become overly aggressive, may become anti-social, have low to no self-esteem, and where spanking is excessive, psychopathic (Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2016).
Transition: What then is the solution to this problem? How should parents deal with the issue of discipline/punishment? Before delving into that, it is essential to note that study shows that the effects of spanking are similar across all types of children, that is, whether the child is primarily law-abiding or a difficult child (Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2016)
Body 1: The first solution applies in the cases of toddlers and very young children.
Parents need to avoid possible conflicts with children by reducing high expectations of them doing right and distracting them from doing the wrong thing by staying keen on their environment.
Body 2: The second solution is for older more understanding children and adults whereby:
Parents can reinforce good behavior through rewards and compliments, thus cultivating discipline and avoiding the need for punishment (Psychosocial Pediatrics Committee, 2003).
Parents practice reasoning away from the moment, that is, after both are calm. Here, parents would reason with the children/adults why what they did is wrong, what they should have done, and possible punishment for repeated mistakes.
Should mistakes be repeated or deliberately done, parents can apply a planned time-out strategy as presented by Reece (2015).
Finally, they can also apply the losing privileges strategy where children lose access to what they cherish, and logical consequences like not allowing them to go out when they did not do their house duties for the same reason.
Body 3: This final solution should be applied by the government and health agencies responsible for child protection.
Clinics and pediatric hospitals need to be trained to help parents deal with child punishment and discipline in other means except spanking. They need to be regulated and reprimanded to point to the effects of spanking and provide alternative solutions (Sege et al., 2018).
Summary of main points: In summary, spanking causes more problems than good. It leads to behavioral, cognitive, and conscience development issues, all of which are long-term problems. In addition, though children do comply immediately, they end up getting used to it and still doing wrong. Fortunately, there are better solutions to it. Parents can avoid situations where conflicts will emerge, talk and make an understanding with their children of what is expected of them, and where necessary, apply strategies like time out and denial of privileges.
Importance: By helping them understand the adverse effects of spanking and providing them with better solutions, parents can better nurture their children, and consequently, it reduces cases of child abuse and behavioral disorders rooted in bad parenting.
Benjet, C., & Kazdin, A. E. (2003). Spanking children: The controversies, findings, and new directions. Clinical psychology review, 23(2), 197-224.
Ferguson, C. J. (2013). Spanking, corporal punishment and negative long-term outcomes: A meta-analytic review of longitudinal studies. Clinical psychology review, 33(1), 196-208.
Gershoff, E. T., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: Old controversies and new meta-analyses. Journal of family psychology, 30(4), 453.
Psychosocial Pediatrics Committee. (2003). Canadian Pediatric Society. Canadian Pediatric Society statement: effective discipline for children, 96-01.
Reece, T. (2015). 6 successful time-out tactics. Parents. https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/discipline/time-out/6-successful-time-out-tactics/
Sege, R. D., Siegel, B. S., ABUSE, C. O. C., & Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. (2018). Effective discipline to raise healthy children. Pediatrics, 142(6).
Simons, D. A., & Wurtele, S. K. (2010). Relationships between parents’ use of corporal punishment and their children’s endorsement of spanking and hitting other children. Child abuse & neglect, 34(9), 639-646.
Straus, M. A. (2005). Children should never, ever, be spanked no matter what the circumstances. Current controversies on family violence, 137-157.