Spanking Children Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Spanking Children

Spanking has been a form of corporal punishment for centuries. Before psychological research on the topic expanded and was made public, it was just an accepted way of teaching children how to behave. However, recently the negative side of spanking has been revealed. Analysis conducted on adults who have experienced spanking as children have proven that the negative aspects of these acts of physical harm are quite real. Though the issue of spanking has been a hot-button topic over the years, it has been proven that spanking can cause long-lasting physical and psychological damage to the child, is sprung from parental anger and not discipline, and is a common denominator among current criminals. It is these effects that shine light on the growing psychopathy that spanking is causing children. These impacts guide children's moral development, therefore widely affecting how these children grow up and act once they reach the full adult age. Based on information obtained from various sources, the act of spanking can be one of the most detrimental experiences that a child can go through.

Spanking children causes long-lasting physical and psychological effects on children. Children who are constantly exposed to forms of violence such as spanking do not learn to deal with situations in a calm rational manner (Nofziger, 2008). Most parents start spanking at a very early age. Although the thought behind this is to teach discipline from an early age, it in fact makes the psychological damage even worse for the children (Rodriguez & Richardson, 2007). At that age, children cognitively cannot connect their action to the spanking that they are receiving from their parents, and therefore all that they are exposed to is the parent's anger.

The psychological damage attained during this vital period of cognitive growth can be extensive and severe if the spanking is extensive and severe. Children who are spanked early on do not develop to the full extent of their cognitive ability (Kazdin & Benjet, 2003). They become stunted and are constantly behind in their respective developmental stage. Cognitively stunted and emotionally imbalanced, children who are spanked are at a disadvantage from those children who are not disciplined through corporal punishment. Children who receive spankings do not learn how to regulate their emotions. They are taught that acting out in a form of anger is an acceptable way of handling problems and situations of conflict (Taylor, Manganello, Lee, & Rice, 2010). This psychological train of thought is imprinted as a normal schema, gravely affecting the child's emotional state and cognitive understanding of the world.

Spanking essentially becomes a lashing out of the parent's sentiments. It is a sign that they are no longer in control of their emotions and choose to rather use spanking as a method of gaining control once again (Stacks, Oshio, Gerard, & Roe, 2009). Once a parent reaches the point that they have to resort to physical harm to their children, they have built up so many emotions, so much anger about the situation, that their response to spank the child is a reflection of their own emotions. Parents choose to incorporate spanking into their parenting styles because they have their own anger problems, and not necessarily because of a discipline problem (Rodriguez & Richardson, 2007). Although discipline may be the reasoning or used as an excuse to hide their spanking, it is the anger that eventually leads parents to commit the actual act. The inability to self-regulate emotions on the parent's part is what inevitably leads to the perceived excused spanking. By utilizing discipline as an excuse for the actual psychological and emotional disarray that the parents are going through, they are able to get their actions excused.

Parents who are least able to control their own emotions end up attempting to control the emotions and behaviors of their own children. This is done so by implementing more severe punishment when children do not behave as well as the parent would want them to. It is the ultimate sign of power for parents who are emotionally disturbed themselves (Benjet & Kazdin, 2003). Being unable to control oneself emotionally during a time of extreme stress may build up to a point where it needs to be released. At this point parents have lost their ability to regulate an appropriate response to the situation and end up spanking their child as a result. Much research has been done in this area and it has concluded that the need to implement corporal punishment, or spanking, may come from a parent's emotional and psychological state and inability to control their own anger (Rodriguez & Richardson, 2007). This is what contributes to the act of spanking; not the widely accepted theory of spanking as an excused form of discipline. Although spanking may have been dismissed and accepted at one point, the outcome that this has caused has prevented this act from gaining further support.

Individuals who are spanked as children are more likely to end up participating in delinquent and criminal acts. Children who experience spanking as a regular and normal way of accepting physical harm grow up thinking that hurting other people is the correct way to teach others how to behave or listen to what they have to say (Kazdin & Benjet, 2003). Children are desensitized to the idea of violence and falsely accept that it is a normal way of behaving. This leads to their inability to sense the wrong in hurting other individuals. This in itself leads to a greater predisposition to violent behaviors leading to delinquency and criminality (Turner & Muller, 2004). A large portion of offenders who are imprisoned for numerous varying crimes had experienced some degree of spanking in their childhood (Kazdin & Benjet, 2003). These spankings or physical harm ranged in intensity from moderate to severe.

Experiencing spanking as a child also predisposes children to more spontaneous, abrupt, and aggressive behavior (Stacks, Oshio, Gerard, & Roe, 2009). These are all factors that could inevitably lead to criminal acts. The inability to maintain impulse control in the parent by spanking the child in the first place, is then mimicked by the individual that was spanked as a child (Nofziger, 2008). This leads to acts of violence, lack of compassion for others, and inability to self-regulate -- all factors that if combined lead to the ability to go through with criminal acts. Adults who are in prison and were spanked as a child were predisposed to aggressive behaviors, making them excuse their own violent acts. Because spanking causes an increase in aggressive tendencies, adults who were spanked as children are more likely to commit criminal acts as is seen by the data presenting how many current prisoners report corporal punishment as children and saw it as a normal occurrence (Stacks, Oshio, Gerard, & Roe, 2009). It is this same attitude that leads them to commit the acts that landed them in prison in the first place. Because of this increased predisposition to aggression and negative modeling there are a large percentage of criminals who were spanked as children.

Spanking may have once been accepted as a proper form of disciplining children. But in the recent decades research has been indicating that spanking in fact creates more harm than good. As a consequence of this type of corporal punishment, children are more likely to have physical and psychologically damaging effects. Parents who implement spanking as a form of punishment is not necessarily doing so because of a desire to discipline; it is because of their inability to control their own emotional state, impulsivity, and anger. The consequence of spanking on children is their predisposition to criminality, as a large portion of incarcerated individuals experienced some sort of corporal punishment, mostly in the form of spanking that ranged from moderate to severe. Based upon…

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