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Corporal Punishment In Parent-Child Relationship: For And Against

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The famous American pediatrician, Benjamin Spock, once said, ‘A child supplies the power, but the parents have to do the steering.’ Amy Chua is an eastern parent who wrote about her parenting style, in the article ‘Tough Love: Parents and Children,’ she explains her rationale for the use of corporal punishment on her child. Chua believes strong discipline is necessary because it prepares children for the future. Also, western parents care too much about their children’s self-esteem and let their children do whatever they want. According to Spock’s statement, parents are responsible for a child’s wellbeing. He does not believe in corporal punishment. He believes parents should nurture their children, not punish them. Amy Chua believes, it is the parent’s right to punish their children, although her spouse disagrees with her parenting style. The use of corporal punishment is not beneficial to raising a child because it disrupts the relationship between the child and parent, it is ‘against the law,’ it has negative repercussions, it can lead to child abuse, it can give some children the wrong message and humiliate the child.

Corporal punishment changes the parent-child relationship to being mistrustful. The trust between parent and child is essential to child development.

‘According to American Family Physician, a peer-review journal states that a parent love for a child is unconditional. The maternal bond between parent and child develops in the womb. Failure to bond will result in a medical condition called failure to thrive. When developed, a child’s growth and development are at risk.’ (Homan)

Therefore, the mother has a considerable influence on infants’ development because the baby’s instinct is to trust. When a parent engages in corporal punishment makes the child not feel safe, causing them to become mistrustful. This engagement is not good because parents needed to teach children about the world and provide life skills to survive. A child needs to trust their parent to learn about these skills because parents will be with a child for a long time. By making the child feel mistrustful, it hurt all future relationship. ‘According to Science Direct, a journal with the largest database of scientific and medical research. Trust begins in early life affect all future relationship in a person’s life.’ (Kostroma) Therefore, using corporal punishment is not beneficial to raising a child since it will continue to hurt them in the long run. A child’s relationship with the parent will be negative because there is no trust. Lack of trust will cause children to be confused about the world, and they will be unable to interact with the world. ‘Amy Chua, a professor of law, made the point that every decent parent wants the best for their child.’ (Chua) She believes that corporal punishment is necessary to be a good parent. However, trust is more valuable in building a relationship between a parent and a child. Building trust with one’s child is necessary because it affects a child’s ability to survive in the world. It the job of the parent to teach children to trust.

Another way the parent-child relationship becomes disrupted is that the child becomes fearful of parents. According to Gracepoint, a wellness center, ‘a child becomes scared of parents who engage spanking, and this action only modifies behavior in the short-run.’ (Oswalt) Corporal punishment means a child will no longer feel safe around the parent, which is problematic since a child must rely on their parents to survive. Corporal punishment is only effective in the short term to reduce negative behavior, so parents should not rely on corporal punishment all the time. It dangerous for children to fear their parents because it can get the child into trouble later. Also, there will come a time when a child grows up and realizes they can defend themselves. If a parent keeps using corporal punishment on this child, the result will be some children may retaliate against their parents because fear compels them to. Therefore, using corporal punishment is unacceptable since it will cause children to hate their parents when used excessively, and both parties are at risk.

However, when parents engage in corporal punishment, it will damage a child’s self-esteem and affecting the relationship. Children need self-esteem to build confidence and engage with the world. ‘An example of damaging a child’s self-esteem from Amy Chua, herself when she forces her seven-year-old daughter to play a complicated piano piece. She punishes her by threatening her with no Christmas or no birthday present. The husband felt that she is insulting and threatening her daughter, was not helpful.’ (Chua 514-515) This example illustrates that corporal punishment can hurt a child since it hurt their self-esteem. The child will believe they cannot do anything if a push by the parent. The child will think negatively of their parents because of their treated too harshly. Chua’s husband’s reaction to his wife since he felt his child punished unfairly.

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Corporal punishment is not beneficial to raising a child because it is ‘against the law.’ Children have more protection nowadays than ever before because of new advancements and studies found on children. According to ‘Verywell Family, a website that provides help for pregnancy and parenting states, 53 countries have ban corporal punishment.’ (Morin) Other countries recognize that there is a problem with corporal punishment. The problem of corporal punishment has gained more is recognized due to new studies on children. Many of these studies are claiming that parents should never hit their kids. Although corporal punishment is ‘legal 19 States in the United States of America in the school system,’ most of the states are against it. (Morin) There has been no research that supports the benefits of spanking. Therefore, parents should not use this form of discipline. ‘The American Psychological Association, the largest organization of scientific professionals and psychologists in the United States of America. States the United Nations see corporal punishment as a violation of children’s human rights.’ (Smith) The treatment of children has gained more attention. Therefore, many professionals argue that corporal punishment is against the laws since many are conforming against corporal punishment. If parents continue to use corporal punishment, there could be a severe consequence as children become more protected.

Corporal punishment can lead to adverse effects on children in the long term like mental disorder because it affects them differently. According to MD Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician, ‘adverse childhood events cause toxic stress. These stresses create health problems and emotional problems as children develop into preteen and teen years.’ (Jenkin) The stress a child builds up may come from corporal punishment may lead to mental health issues and could disrupt a person’s social life causing distress. This event could be caused by corporal punishment since it is hard to tell if a child been traumatized. Since an ignorant child believes anything, their parent does and may not realize they have developed a mental disorder. ‘According to Pediatrics, harsh physical punishment increases the chances of mood disorders, anxiety disorders.’ (Afifi) This situation happens when corporal punishment is used excessively on a child. Corporal punishment does not always cause mental health issues; however, every person reacts differently to punishment because they are not the same. Therefore, it dangerous to use corporal punishment since it has the potential to cause mental health disorders.

The use of corporal punishment not benefited from raising a child because it can lead to child abuse. ‘Research shows that corporal punishment is dangerous, but parents are not getting the message. Parents hit children out of frustration because they do not see any other options. Physical punishment does not work to get kids to comply, so parents think they must keep escalating it. That why it is so dangerous.’ (Smith) A parent may not be getting the message corporal punishment is dangerous because it is hard to change people’s beliefs. Many parents may have been victims of corporal punishment themselves. When the parent continues to use corporal punishment excessively, it will lead to child abuse. Since corporal punishment is physical, it has the potential to do much harm. When the parent has lost control of their temper, this can put a child’s life in danger. Children are too small to defend themselves from their parents.

There has been a case where parents initially start to use corporal punishment, but it escalated to child abuse. For example, in the ‘Netflix documentary, ‘The Trails of Gabriel Fernandez,’ Fernandez was an eight-year boy that died after being severally abused by his mother and stepfather in 2013. His mother and father believe they were initiating corporal punishment, but over time it led to child abuse. His teacher Jennifer Garcia was concerned for Gabriel’s wellbeing. Gabriel asked the teacher, is it normal for mothers to hit their kids? The teacher asked more questions about the situation. Gabriel asked her is normal to be hit with a belt buckle, and is it normal for you to bleed? So, Ms. Garcia reported it to the child abuse hotline. However, according to the documentary, the social worker never adequately followed up with the case. Social workers never found enough evidence to remove Gabriel from home’ (The Trails of Gabriel Fernandez). This case is an example of the sad reality of what can happen when the parent has lost control. The parent did not realize the effect of their actions until it was too late. Many parents feel that corporal punishment is the only way to discipline a child. A false misconception because their other ways to methods parents can uses. It is dangerous for parents to use corporal punishment since many parents do not know the proper way to spank, and this puts a child’s life in danger. The proper way to spank a child is a slap with the palm on the child’s bottom. The correct method prevents the child from getting any physical wounds on their body. A parent who uses other items like belt, fist, and others put the child more at risk for injury. When corporal punishment is excessive and incorrectly uses, it will lead to child abuse. Unfortunately, Gabriel was a victim of too much corporal punishment and incorrect uses of spanking.

Corporal punishment is not beneficial because it can give some children the wrong message. When a parent acts excessively violent while using corporal punishment, it can give children the message this behavior is acceptable. The child may develop something known as the cycle of abuse. ‘According to the author manuscript called ‘Cycle of Violence,’ the cycle of abuse is a phenomenon of abuse and neglect to a child over an extended period. This phenomenon will increase the risk of violence and maltreatment to the next generation.’ (Widom) It dangerous when parenting uses corporal punishment excessively because children tend to mimic their parents. Sometimes parents do not teach the right message to children. In the case of Gabriel Fernandez, ‘Pearl Fernandez also suffered physical abuse as a child. Her mother raised her without her father because he was in jail and used excessive corporal punishment, leading Pearl Fernandez to believe abusing her child was okay. When Pearl became a parent, she treated her son Gabriel Fernandez harshly, and he received the harshest punishment because they believed he was gay. Although she expressed remorse after that fact, the child died at her hands.’ (The Trails of Gabriel Fernandez) She is an example of the cycle of abuse because she grew up to an abuser herself. Not only did Pearl suffer from harsh corporal punishment that became child abuse. She also treated her son in the same way. When corporal punishment used, excessive children will start to believe the only form method that works too. This belief by a child is dangerous because of it not right.

Corporal punishment will humiliate a child because the child will become embarrassed. An argument often used in support of corporal punishment comes from the Bible. It is the following ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ (Proverbs 13:24) This argument because many people believe that it is talking about corporal punishment of children. However, that is not the correct meaning of the verse because it is referring to discipline. ‘Spare the rod’ is an Old Testament belief in punishment. (Proverbs 13:24) However, punishment comes in many forms and does not necessarily have to physical punishment. This proverb is again argued differently in the New Testament which, ‘turn the other cheek.’ (Matthew 5:39) Forgiving people when they do wrong. Children being disciplined by a parent since they are human too. These proverb’s ideas address a story in the Bible. There is a parable about ‘the prodigal son, the rich man has two sons. One son stays behind to help his father. While the other one asks his father for his inheritance now and spends all the money, later, he comes back to the father and asks for forgiveness. The father forgives him instead of punishing him. The father understands that he made a mistake. His father shows him mercy and love, and that reestablishes the bond between himself and his son. When another son asks the father for his action, Father says it the right thing to do.’ (Luke 15:11-32) According to Pope Francis, ‘the parent needs to discipline with love. Corporal punishment forms a humiliation.’ (Press) As parents, we should show our child kindness and love because, according to the Catholic Church, every person is worthy of human dignity. Corporal serves to embarrass and shame stripping children of human dignity. The main point in the story, the father forgave the son rather than punishing him for his actions. Therefore, a father act upon anger instead of forgiveness. Humiliated and shame the child and will follow the child throughout life. Corporal punishment humiliated the child and affected them for a long time. The Bible supports disciplining a child without humiliating them. The proverb was changed to forgiveness to prevent children’s pride from being damage.

To conclude, corporal punishment is not beneficial because it changes the relationship between a child and a parent. Corporal punishment is ‘against the laws’ since many countries are conforming to this idea. A risk of corporal punishment to a child is the potential for mental health issues and damage without parents realizing it. Corporal punishment can lead to child abuse because parents see it as the only option. Corporal punishment can teach children violence is acceptable. Corporal punishment humiliates children hurt them later in life. Every child deserves to be protected from corporal punishment because it not the best form way for a parent to discipline a child. Parents need to nurture and protect their children because their relationship lasts forever. The experience parents create for their children will affect future generations when those children grow up. This cycle of life will continue to change and evolve as new research about this topic is found. Rather than the use of corporal punishment, the parent should find another alternative. These alternatives are the following: positive reinforcement, taking away privileges they enjoy, ignoring bad behavior, and others.

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Corporal Punishment In Parent-Child Relationship: For And Against. (2021, September 10). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/corporal-punishment-in-parent-child-relationship-for-and-against/
“Corporal Punishment In Parent-Child Relationship: For And Against.” Edubirdie, 10 Sept. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/corporal-punishment-in-parent-child-relationship-for-and-against/
Corporal Punishment In Parent-Child Relationship: For And Against. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/corporal-punishment-in-parent-child-relationship-for-and-against/> [Accessed 11 Aug. 2022].
Corporal Punishment In Parent-Child Relationship: For And Against [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 10 [cited 2022 Aug 11]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/corporal-punishment-in-parent-child-relationship-for-and-against/
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