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Adrian Peterson

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Running head: PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN 1

Physical Punishment Of Children As A Teaching Tool
John Burgess
University Of Memphis

PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN 2
Abstract
The research paper examined the effects of physical punishment of children as a teaching tool and hypothesized that physical punishment of children was not an effective teaching tool. The first section of the text discusses the Adrian Peterson case and relates how physical punishment is passed from generation to generation. The second section of the text discusses advocates of physical punishment and benefits derived from this. One of the main benefits is immediate compliance. This is recognized by advocates and opponents of physical punishment. The third section discusses the negative impacts of physical punishment on children. The last section discusses the prevalence of physical punishment in the United States and how this compares to other countries. The United States is in the minority of developed countries that condone physical punishment of children. The last section also contains a survey that demonstrates the prevalence of physical punishment and parents’ opinions on its effectiveness. The survey demonstrated that a majority of parents find that physical punishment is necessary and effective in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Physical punishment of children was brought to national attention when Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for injury to a child. His arrest sparked conversation and debate about the treatment of children and beliefs held by parents about physical punishment. As a father I have chosen not to use physical punishment. I believe that physical punishment is not effective as a means of teaching children. My hypothesis is that physical punishment is not an effective teaching tool for children.
Physical punishment of children includes spanking, hitting, pinching, paddling, whipping, slapping, etc. When Adrian Peterson was arrested, he was reported to have been calm and cooperative. Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin released a statement. The following is an excerpt from that statement: “Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.” This statement addresses one of the primary reasons for physical punishment of children. It is passed from generation to generation as an acceptable means of discipline and teaching. In many cases it is viewed as a means of displaying love for your children. Peterson’s son received cuts and bruises on his back, buttocks, ankles, legs, and scrotum with defensive wound’s to the child’s hands.
Advocates of corporal punishment claim that it is beneficial when used properly. Dr. James Dobson, a world famous evangelical Christian author and psychologist, states that “corporal punishment, when used lovingly and properly, is beneficial to a child because it is in harmony with nature itself.” His rationale is that corporal punishment is no different than a child learning not to touch a hot stove by being burned. I have trained dogs as a hobby and professionally. There is a raging controversy among dog trainers about the use of physical punishment during training. On one extreme there is no physical punishment while the other extreme advocates for immediate punishment for non-compliance. I have tried both methods during my career as a dog trainer. I found that physical punishment yielded a mixed bag of results. Physical punishment was often effective but came with side effects when used prematurely or improperly. Many factors contributed to the effectiveness of the punishment such as level of punishment, proper teaching and communication prior to punishment, and experience. One of the positive effects of physical punishment of children was immediate compliance. “Children were more likely to comply with their parent’s direction right after being spanked.”
Columbia University psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff , PhD conducted a study of outcomes of physical punishment to children that caused pain but not injury. “Corporal punishment was significantly associated with 11 endpoints, including poorer moral internalization, quality of relationship with parent and mental health-as well as increased rates of abuse by a parent in childhood aggression, criminal or antisocial behavior, and abuse of own child or spouse in adulthood. What the results don’t mean, says Gershoff, is that all spanked children will develop the negative outcomes she studied.” Advocates of corporal punishment use phrases such as “spare the rod, spoil the child” and claim that there are degrees of physical punishment that are acceptable. The legality of corporal punishment is often debated intensely in the United States. “Approximately 60% of adults still approve of physical punishment despite compelling evidence that it does not work. Significantly, 37 countries have now prohibited physical punishment in all settings, including the home. The United States is not one of them. Among these countries are Sweden, Germany, Spain, Greece, and Venezuela. Remarkably, in the United States, physical punishment in schools is still legal in 19 states. Physical punishment is still widely used in the United States. “Approxi A questionnaire was sent to 25 parents. 19 Questionnaires were returned. The returned surveys were made up of 11 males and eight females. The average age was 41. Three questions were asked regarding physical punishment and discipline of a child. 74% of parents surveyed believed that physical punishment was an effective teaching tool. The interesting part was that 66% of parents believe that there are alternative forms of discipline

Questionnaire
_______Age
_______Gender
_______Race
1. Physical punishment of children is a necessary teaching tool for parents.
____Strongly agree
____Agree
____Disagree
____Strongly Disagree 2. There are good methods of discipline for children that do not include physical punishment.
____Strongly agree
____Agree
____Disagree
____Strongly Disagree
3. Physical Punishment is effective when used properly.
____Strongly agree
____Agree
____Disagree
____Strongly Disagree

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