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I remember corporal punishment in the schools when I was young, in the 1970s, and at the time, neither I as a student nor my parents saw anything wrong with it. In the modern day it isn't practical or advisable for a school employee to strike a child in any way. Lawsuits are much mroe common and the courts and juries less forgiving. In my teaching career, I don't think there has been a massive breakdown in school order without corporal punishment as a threat.
As a teacher who used to give "swats" several decades ago, I am glad it is no longer part of most school discipline programs. I do believe it was fairly effective in its day: My students had an option, a paddling or in-school suspension. Believe it or not, about 75% of the students accepted the swats because no parental documentation went home, as was the case with ISS. This particular school also had the best behaved kids of any school I've worked. However, paddling does breed violent reactions, and most kids today would literally fight back if corporal punishment became a forced punishment. I don't believe it should be banned, however. Some schools might find it useful as an alternative disciplinary method. I have had parents request paddling for their own children at schools which refuse to implement it, so at least a small minority probably find it a possible method even in the 21st century.
I feel that corporal punishment has become ineffective in todays schools. Most of the students we feel need corporal punishment receive far worse at home than anything we can deliver at school. These students often suffer from abuse at the hands of their parents and no longer are affected by "swats" at school or home.
One problem with corporal punishment is the danger within it that could spell disaster for states,countries and world powers in the future. Some people think that we are teaching our youth the wrong approach to the new discipline of 'confict resolution in society' through what goes on in our homes,schools and families. We might be teaching them that 'might is right' in the first instance instead of 'jaw,jaw not war,war.' For example if children grow up seeing the example of instant recourse to violence in conflict resolution, they may grow up to use that lazy convenient method and we could end up with a society where we go marching into battle or nuclear war without fully exhausting all alternatives on the road to peace. Examples would be conference,debate,diplomacy and ever-strengthening sanctions. These strategies can also be used at home with teens so they grow up learning to work through the list first - making for a more reflective/less impulsive socity in times of war and conflict.
I think it should be banned primarily because it does not work. In the last several years studies have shown spanking to be ineffective.
While spanking may relieve a parent's frustration and stop misbehavior briefly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (1995), researchers suggest that spanking may be the least effective discipline method. To test this hypothesis, researchers surveyed parents, with the assumption that if spanking worked, children who were spanked would learn to behave better over time so that they would need punishing less frequently (Leach, 1996). However, the results showed that families who start spanking before their children are a year old are just as likely to spank their 4-year-old children as often as families who do not start spanking until later. Thus, children appear not to be learning the lessons parents are trying to teach by spanking. ("The Debate Over Spanking" by Dawn Ramsburg)
Unfortunately, one of the reasons that spanking (or other forms of corporal punishment) is so popular is that it makes the parent temporarily feel better. It makes them feel like they're doing something. And it takes no thought. It's much easier to pop a child than it is to figure out a logical consequence. But if the end result is a child feeling "humiliated and helpless" and the child's behavior does not change in the longterm, then the method of punishment is futile. Some studies even show that children who are spanked at young ages are more likely to have behavior problems as they reach school age.
I personally do not think that it should be banned, but here are arguments that you could use to say that parents should not be allowed to use corporal punishment on their children.
- It teaches the children to be violent instead of giving them a good reason to change their behavior.
- It is inherently abusive for a larger, stronger person to physically assail a weaker person. This is especially true when the stronger person is in a position of authority over the weaker.
- This sort of punishment can easily lead to child abuse. Furthermore, the victims of child abuse are likely to be violent against other children and will eventually be more likely to abuse their own children.
Teachers in today's school system will tell you that the classrooms of today are full of angry children. While it is true that not every child is an angry child, incidences of anger related killings in schools has risen. While one can only speculate as to which child has inner anger and why, there still is a truth in the relationship between anger and pain. A child whocopes with emotional pain by turning it to anger will only feel increased anger by the administration of corporal punishment. No lesson will be taught. Instead the actions of the administrators and teachers would only serve to increase the child's anger.
Corporal punishment had its day but was often abuse. Child protection laws were establish to protect the child from physical and mental abuse. It can be very humiliating to a child to have corporal punishment administered to him, especially in a school setting. Less punitive methods can replace physical punishment. It is less degrading and more likely to increase self-confidence and self-esteem in a child instead of taking it away.
In addition to the outcome of the actions for the child, administrators and teachers are at greater risk of being subject to litigation. Lawsuits often offer promise to person's who desire to make money off of an unfortunate situation. However, we should not forget that sometimes an administrator or teacher may not like a child or may have an incorrect story from other students. Once corporal punishment has been administered it can not be taken back.
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