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Is Spanking a Form of Discipline

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lina511
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Alina Jackson
Graduation portfolio
Social studies research paper

Is Spanking an Acceptable Form of Discipline? You have probably heard the expression, "Spare the rod, and spoil the child." Do you agree with it? Perhaps you were spanked as a kid. Was it appropriate? Some people see spanking as an outdated method of punishment or even child abuse, while others view a slap on a child’s bottom as a parent's right. Where do we draw the line when it comes to disciplining our children? There are many people who believe that spanking your child is not effective and can leave an emotional scar on them. Well, I am one of those people who disagree with spanking your child. I disagree with it because spanking usually stops misbehavior of small children just for the moment, not over the long term. It’s just a temporary fix for behavioral problems. Also, who disagree with me is Murray Straus from “ Discipline and Deviance: a physical punishment of children and violence and other crimes in adulthood”(May 1991). Murray Straus is a social science researcher who finds a relationship between the physical punishment children experience when they are young and the violent acts they themselves commit during their teenage and adult years. On the other hand, child development professionals Lee Stalk, T.Berry Brazelton and Penelope Leach from Taking Sides Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Childhood and Society, all agree that spanking is not appropriate for children and they believe that it has too many long term consequences to justify the short term goal of getting the child to behave. There are behavior experts who believe that spanking is a matter of instruction and teaching the child right from wrong. James Dobson, a pediatrics professor and the author of ‘‘Dare to Discipline”(1982,Bantam Books) promotes that the idea spanking has value as part of a parenting guidance plan that includes affection and explanation as well. A public opinion poll commissioned by the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse in 1994 asked parents in a survey how they disciplined their children. Denying privileges was used by 79% of parents, confinement to a room was used by 59%, 49% spanked or hit their child, and 45% insulted or swore at their child. Although spanking is a popular form of guidance in the United States, five countries – Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland have banned physical punishment of children. Several states, in the Untied States such as Wisconsin and Maryland, have tried to pass laws related to spanking, but none of them have been passed into legislation. As stated from the survey those who said that spanking is a definite infringement on the rights of children also believed that, Even if spanking does not leave a bruise or mark, there is emotional scarring that won't ever go away. Pat Etheridge from CNN Interactive states that there is no misdeed bad enough that another form of punishment, such has a time-out, can't correct. Hitting a child sends the message that hitting is okay if a person is angry enough. The people in the survey who stated that they were in favor of spanking believed Many children these days have no respect for anyone, possibly including himself or herself, and benefit from sporadic spanking to ensure that they are listening to their parents. A child who is nasty to immediate family members sometimes needs to "feel a taste of their own medicine" to understand the pain that they are causing. There are times that spanking should be used if other methods have proved unsuccessful in disciplining a child. (Pat Etheridge) Better alternatives for spanking have been controversial over the question of whether spanking a child is an acceptable and appropriate parenting discipline technique. The latest research by Dr. Murray Straus at the Family Research Laboratory affirms that spanking teaches children to use acts of aggression and violence to solve their problems. It only teaches and perpetuates more violence, the very thing our society is so concerned about. Straus emphasizes the need for: Clear communication Parents need to be clear about their child’s behavioral expectations, telling children consistently what will and will not be tolerated. Praise Parents should tell their children when they are being good and ramp up this positive attention rather than emphasizing limit setting. This technique is what provides parents with the leverage they need when the child misbehaves. Teaching alternatives This is basically instructing children on what they could do differently. Children don’t know all the “rules”; you have to tell them specifically what is appropriate. Time out Straus likens this to the opposite of the “time in” that should characterize the rest of your interactions with your child. A time out is not a punishment but rather is the turning off of all the positive attention usually given to a child, whether that means they sit in a corner or go to their room for a while. Time outs must be used consistently to be effective, and they will work best with kids who otherwise get plenty of positive attention every day. Reminders This works especially well for younger children. Redirect them with a word or two when you see warning signs of misbehavior. This technique requires that the parent pay close attention to the child to look for signs of impending high-risk activity or to their becoming emotionally tense or frustrated. Rather than fuss at the child after misbehaving, reminders and redirection let you be more positive and may prevent some episodes of misbehavior. Withdrawal of privileges Take away something the child really enjoys, like watching TV or playing computer games, but only for a short time.
This technique is key to grounding a child, but the consequences must only be short term to be effective. (Straus). So it is possible that you may need something stronger than just words when they have failed utterly to get the message across to your child, but be very aware of the pitfalls if you do make spanking part of your discipline tactics.

Sharon Jayson from USA TODAY believes that spanking children can lead to sexual problems later in life. Parents who teach "tough love" by disciplining their children with spankings could be making them more likely to have sexual problems as teenagers and adults. The analysis of four studies by Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire-Durham, suggests that children whose parents spanked, slapped, hit or threw objects at them may have a greater chance of physically or verbally forcing a sexual partner, engaging in risky sexual behavior or engaging in sex, including sexual arousal by spanking. Straus analyzed the results of the International Dating Violence Study, a survey of more than 14,000 university students at 68 universities in 32 countries. The students were asked if they had been spanked or hit frequently before age 12 and if they had forced a sexual partner to submit in the previous 12 months. Men who had experienced corporal punishment were four times more likely to physically force a partner into having sex, than those who had not experienced a lot of corporal punishment. Physical force includes holding someone down or hitting him or her. Women who had experienced corporal punishment were also more likely to force sex from a partner than those who had not been spanked. Both men and women who had experienced corporal punishment as children were less than 10 percent more likely than those who had not been spanked to verbally force sex from a partner. Murray Straus said studies have shown that corporal punishment leads to low self-control and self-esteem, as well as aggressiveness, antisocial personalities and the understanding that violence is okay.
This belief may lead to sexual force. Violence begets violence. That is a proven fact. And parents who resort to hitting their child instead of using some type of positive discipline are creating a false outlook in the way their child looks at the world. Children who fear their parent's anger become insecure and began to that they can't trust even those who profess to love them the most. (Michele Johnson) Based on the research I found about spanking, I now disagree with spanking children. I disagree because of the emotional scar it leaves behind. Some parents go too far when it comes to disciplining their children. If it’s anything other than a hand being used to spank a child, it’s unnecessary. When I was growing up I lived with my great-aunt until the age of 12 and there was days she used to spank me. She often used a rag or belt or screamed at me. I endured this pain for several years. What amazes me now is that I wasn’t a bad child at all; I had good grades in school, went to church every Sunday, followed all her orders and did all my chores. I believe she used to beat me out of her own frustration and emotional anger towards others. As I got older and started to live with my mother, resentment towards my great aunt began to grown inside me. I was scared to go to her house and call her just because the fear of her screaming at me. I stayed me away from my great aunt for several years. I even felt a little resentment towards my mother for leaving me with her suffering over the years. My great aunt claimed that she loved me and I was her pride and joy, but there were times it didn’t seem like it. She made me grow up before my time. Over all, I am still emotionally scarred by her actions. Their will always be a part of me that despises her for her actions towards me. Personally I do not agree with spanking. In my opinion it is not an acceptable form of discipline.

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