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Spanking, Research Paper Example

Pages: 10

Words: 2648

Research Paper

Abstract

This paper explains why minimal spanking does not affect the development of youths nor does it damage their future.

Introduction

Undeniably, spanking has been a part of disciplining children for as long as one can remember. Spanking, for all intent and purposes, is defined as a form of corporal punishment that uses physical force to inflict pain without injury to a child in order to control the exhibition of bad behavior (Straus, et.al. 2014). The word spanking is also being used interchangeably with the slapping of kid’s backsides or other parts of the body. In other countries such as the United Kingdom, spanking is also referred to as smacking or to smack the baby in the buttocks. Using the term in a loose manner would mean to warm the kid’s butt, to whip the kid, get a whupping, or to give the kid the belt. But it cannot be denied that the word spanking is now being used in relation to child abuse.

The concept of spanking in relation to child abuse has sparked serious debates over its utilization in order to control bad behavior among children and to discipline them. As a matter of fact, it was found out in one study that conducted an observation of 33 families, 41 occurrences of spanking were recorded in among the 15 subjects and in the period of 6 nights. Even in the absence of admission from parents especially in countries where spanking is considered child abuse, spanking is considered to be common at homes. Is spanking really bad? It has to be remembered that spanking is not about hitting the kid to the point of injury. In order to qualify spanking as a form of discipline, it has to be remembered that it the purpose of spanking is not geared towards causing injury to the kid or the children. The purpose is not to see a kid bleeding as a result of spanking nor damage their future and development. It is the contention of this paper that minimal spanking does not affect the development of the youth nor can it be considered as f a form of child abuse (Wesselmann, et.al, 2014).

Review of Related Literature

Spanking can be traced in as early as the Ancient Greece where it is primarily directed towards the adults. The history of spanking is quite rich in information. Pagans have utilized spanking as a form of a fertility ritual. Pagan priests would spank barren women in order to make them fertile. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, used spanking as a form of forgiveness and removal of their sins after a confession has been made (Best, 1994). The main idea behind spanking, in the aforementioned cases, is to show love rather than anger. Spanking is also found in the Bible. In the book of Proverbs 13:24, it is stated that “whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him”. This verse from the Bible can be summed up to what is known as “spare the rod, spoil the child”. This means that children should be disciplined in order to guide them to become the best person that they can be.

Spanking has been adopted to form part of disciplining a child. However, the use of spanking as a form of disciplining a child has resulted to abuse. Because of this, laws have been enacted to protect the children against the abuse of spanking. Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code states in part that “a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances”. In the United States of America, spanking is allowed in some states while it is banned in other states. Taking into consideration the laws in Canada on spanking, it can be elucidated that spanking in itself is not illegal. However, to go beyond what is reasonable under any circumstance constitutes a criminal offense. The provisions of the law protect the children from getting abused. It has to be remembered that spanking should be minimal and should not cause bleeding, bruises and it should not put the kid’s life in danger. The only reason that people get concerned about spanking is because some parents abused this form of discipline.

Presentation of Argument

Even the laws that should be against spanking only cover the abuse that can result from spanking children. But the laws do not prohibit spanking in its entirety. As a matter of fact, it gives the parents the choice to incorporate spanking in their discipline. The government will only interfere if the children are being abused. Statistics has it that 74% of mothers believed that spanking is acceptable while 61% condoned the act. It is also revealed that about 94% of children aged between 1 and 4 years old have been spanked at least once in their life. In order to understand why spanking is socially acceptable, spanking should be differentiated with hitting. Although these words are different from each other, people tend to use them interchangeably while referring to spanking (Hoff, 2015). It should not be. Spanking is done in a calm manner and not in the spur of the moment or out of anger. Even the history on spanking speaks of restitution, forgiveness and love. It is not being utilized out of anger. It is done with the purpose of correcting the bad behavior when all else fails. On the other hand, hitting is done out of cruelty and anger. It is done because the parents are frustrated and angry. As a result, the kids ended up being abused, bruised and to the point of hospitalization. Hitting is illegal. Beating is illegal. Spanking is not.

Take for example the case of Adrian Peterson, a famous NFL player. He used a switch or a branch to spank his 4 year old son. Peterson claimed that it was not in his intention to harm his son. Yet there are visible bruising and marks left on the child’s body. This is not spanking. This is a clear case of hitting a child using some sort of material that can be considered as an assault weapon. There is a need to give a clear distinction between hitting and spanking because these are two different things that yield two different results.

Contrary to the popular belief that spanking causes harm to the development of the children, studies have shown that children who were spanked as kids turned out fine. In addition, the society is blaming spanking for the increased in violence among youth and have concluded that spanked kids tend to become aggressors and hitters themselves. However, that is not the case (Hupp & Jewell, 2015). The truth of the matte is that spanking has nothing to do with increased violence of the children. There are children who were not spanked and yet, they become violent. They start fight in schools and start trouble. There are other factors that contribute to the development of a person. This is not to say that spanked children will turn out better and good citizen as opposed to those who were not spanked. Children who were exposed to the violent video game, violent music and parents who are abusive of each other also have a higher tendency to develop violent tendencies. Children and youth who were hit as kids tend to become abusers themselves. Spanking does not yield the same result. As a matter of fact, children who were spanked as kids learned to respect and listen to their elders. Take for example the younger generations that the society has produced in the last 10 years. These youths do not have regard for other people. The parents are losing grip on their children. There are instances wherein the parents cannot even tell the children what to do. This is because the power lies on the kids now. They know that if their parents spank them, they could get them in trouble and there is nothing the parents can do.

Spanking, coupled with loving and nurturing parents, will not result to an abusive, ill-mannered, and violent person. A survey conducted in 1992 revealed that 59% of pediatricians are pro-spanking. The key to a socially acceptable spanking is the act of not swaying from the main essence of the word: to correct bad behavior with love. The only why it is morally unacceptable is because irresponsible parents who hit their children out of frustration and rage use spanking to get away from the consequences of hitting their kids (Lehman & Lehman, 2009).

The opposition on the utilization of spanking contends that it is morally unacceptable. In addition to this, it also being claimed that when children are spanked, they are not able to process how to properly resolve a conflict without hitting someone. Moreover, opposition to spanking has laid out the different forms of discipline that can be used without the potentiality of abuse such as giving time-outs. It can be said that the main reason why people look at spanking as immoral is because of the potentiality of child abuse. Many a times has spanking been used to cover up a child abuse case. Many parents claim that they are only disciplining their children while the latter are covered in bruises.

In addition, it is revealed that spanking only provide short-term effect. As a matter of fact, opposing views on spanking have stated that this form of discipline only put the kids in an alert mode. Meaning to say, kids are associating spanking to danger rather than a loving discipline. The brain recognizes spanking as an unwanted experience and responds to it accordingly. In this regard, the reasoning and judgment aspect of brain function shuts down. Therefore, after the incident of spanking, the brain and the kids are in a reactive state and not thoughtful. Hence, the kids fail to understand the situation and there is also a failure in the matter of relating the discipline to the mistake committed and exhibited bad behavior.

Is Spanking Effective?

Spanking is effective as a form of discipline. A spank on the buttocks is better than allowing a child to talk back and show disrespect. Spanking in moderation is not a bad idea. It will not cause bodily harm to a kid nor will it inflict permanent scarring in their emotions and intellectual development. When used in moderation, spanking is a good way to discipline children in situations where time-outs do not work.

Although it is being said that when children are spanked, the learning process is hindered. For example, when a kid ran out of a car and into a busy park, the parents’ reaction would either spank the baby or give a time out. Opposition said that if the kid is spanked the kid will not learn that he should not be running out the car and intro the busy park. There will be no association to the bad behavior. However, the problem in this scenario is not the spanking but the parents. After spanking, the parents should explain as to why there is a need for discipline. This applies on time-outs as well. Parents cannot just discipline their kids without explaining the purpose and what the goal is. It should not be left to the kids to understand why there is a need for discipline. It does not work that way no matter what the form of discipline is used (Crary, 1993).

Conclusion

With all the foregoing, it cannot be denied that spanking is an effective form of discipline and it does not damage the well-being of youth. It does not increase the violent tendencies of the youth as well. However, the public needs to be educated enough with the terminologies being used in relation to spanking. Beating and hitting are different than spanking and the former should not be applied as a form of discipline as they are considered child abuse. Education is the key to understand the concept of spanking and to ensure that any gray areas are covered. The most important thing to remember is that every child is different and parents have their own way of dealing with their children and how they discipline their children. The key is to provide a nourishing and loving environment for the children. Every discipline must be explained so that the children can understand why they have been disciplined (Rosemond, 2000).

References

Best, J. (1994). Troubling children: Studies of children and social problems New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

Crary, E. (1993). Without spanking or spoiling: A practical approach to toddler and preschool guidance. Seattle, WA: Parenting Press, Inc.

Hoff, H. (2015). Parental spanking bans and societal disinterest in children. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Hupp, S. & Jewell, J. (2015). Great Myths of Child Development. UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Lehman, B. & Lehman, E. (2009). Raise civilized kids. Bring back the disciplines. Mustang: OK: Tate Publishing & Enterprise.

Rosemond, J. (2000). Raising a nonviolent child. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Straus, M., Douglas, E. & Medeiros, R. (2014). The primordial violence: Spanking children, psychological development, violence and crime. UK: Routledge.

Wesselmann, D., Schweitzer. C. & Armstrong. S. (2014). Integrative parenting: Strategies for raising children affected by attachment trauma. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

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