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Corporal Punishment

  1. Mar 7, 2005 #1
    I don't even know if this is in the right forum but:

    Is there really ANY good reasons FOR, incoporating corporal punishment in the education system? Everything that I can think of is so flimsy and easily shot down.

    *Corporal Punishment being: A punishment for some violation of conduct which involves the infliction of pain on, or harm to the body.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2005 #2
    First,let me say since you put this in the social science forum I'm going to approach this from more of a psychological point of view.

    Second,the reasoning behind corporal punishment is that if you are physically harmed for doing something wrong you won't do it anymore.It used to be used a lot in Catholic schools by nuns and priests(no offense to Catholics).The psychology behind it is that you will associate the pain with "wrong-doing" so that you will only do good things to avoid pain.Even the military used to use corporal punishment on new recruits in basic training,the thinking being that if the drill instructor can hit you,you'll learn a lot faster because you won't want to be hit anymore.You can even see it in the movie Full Metal Jacket and if you talk to R. Lee Ermey,the drill instrustor in the movie,he'll tell you that a recruit will learn faster if the instructor was able to hit him.

    The whole thing with corporal punishment in schools is so that control over the students is kept.If the students know that if they do something wrong that they will be physically harmed then they will most likely avoid doing anything bad.However,some research shows that corporal punishment can have a negative affect on kids,in some cases making them abusive to those around them.The psychology surrounding corporal punishment in schools(and everywhere else for that matter) is old and out-dated by today's standards.We understand the child's mind more than we did prior to 1970 and 1980.We understand what can be positive and negative to a child.Sure every child is different but their minds are pretty much the same.
  4. Apr 13, 2005 #3


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    I say send em home and let their parents deal with them lol. I dont think schools should be in the business of hitting kids... but im not against hitting kids. Their parents should know more about how the child reacts to things and how the child will be best served through various means of discipline then some psychologist at a school who oversees some thousand kids or so.
  5. Apr 13, 2005 #4
    If we privately, or institutionally teach children that the bigger monkeys can beat up on them, if they don't do things the way the big monkeys want it; then we make a world that runs that way. That is how boys get raped at church, when they succumb to physical threats, and a power hierarchy that starts with corporal punishment. Oh yes, and the saying goes, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." No where is that more true than when adults are institutionally granted the right to physically domineer children. A system that allows this either allows children no rights, or doesn't demand emotional literacy from adults that are put in charge of children.
  6. Apr 13, 2005 #5


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    Remember dayle, thats only 1 way of looking at it. You can equally say that we institutionally teach people not to do bad things. If we spanked children for fighting, they would know if htey bullied or fought with other people in ther grown up years, they know a higher power (say, the police) are going to come and 'teach them a lesson'.
  7. Apr 13, 2005 #6
    Building an accountable society, does not work that way. Accountability means accountability at every level. Adults who are institutionally in charge of children, are supposed to have a level of training that leaves them on top of the game, including how to positively motivate children to do "good", and how to do this with humor, and humanity. Authoritarian societies are just institutionally incompetent. They are without fail supporting corrupt social systems, and power based morality.

    There was a discussion I read about the correct interpretation of the Golden Rule. That being, "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." Then the iron rule was something like, "Do unto others as it has been done to you." Then there was the tin rule, and and so forth.

    An energy lingers from corporal punishment, and dominion by might, even if that might is sold as might for the good. That energy does not dissipate into realization, it may dissipate into acceptance, or it might dissipate into depression, or it might fulminate into even more aggressive acts. Violent acting out, even for the "good", still leaves an inertia of motion that will have to be dealt with at a later time. A child that hasn't learned better than to physically act out, or who disagrees and voices it, is humiliated, and hurt by physical punishment. The child is physically intimidated by an adult who acts out physically in response to the child acting out physically. In math this is an equation. Everything stays the same, there is no catalatic exchange from the adult that shows the child a better way, this takes a lot more subtle effort, a lot more intelligent and invested effort.

    Physical domination certainly reveals the control agenda of the person who punishes in the name of society, but does not help the child in any instructional manner. For intelligent children that face this, sometimes they will find that there is no right way to act if you are different fundamentally from those that you must interact with in the public domain. Clever children learn that idiots are in charge.
  8. Apr 14, 2005 #7
    In my eyes the decline of corporal punishment has brought about things like school shootings. THe idea that parents should punish there own kids for doing things wrong does not work if the parents don't do anything. THe amount of time parents can spend with there children is getting to be less and less and many parents are not involved at all with there children.

    Anyway... A good kick in the ass is definitely what some children need every once in a while. :frown:
  9. Apr 14, 2005 #8
    School shootings are a recent American phenomenon, I grew up in Eastern Europe and we never had serious behavior problems in schools even though the children mostly were not given corporal punishment. Children were taught to behave according to place and situation, and to respect older people for having more knowledge and wisdom.

    I did a report on corporal punishment in the US last year, and the statistics suggested that it is only benefitial among blacks in the US - they presume because they predominate dangerous neighborhoods where violence rules anyway.

    In all other groups corporal punishment led to higher rates of criminal behavior during adolescence and adulthood.

    Many countries around the world are illegalizing corporal punishment, and have had encouraging results. I didnt keep the figures from my report, or I would post them, you can easily look it up though.

    On a personal note, my only punishments were like two time outs in the corner for five minutes during my whole childhood - one for going too far with friends without telling my mom where Id be and one for talking back too much. I never had any behavior problems, I was a straight A student, I idolized my mom, never tried any drug when offered (including cigarettes), stayed a virgin all through high school even with boyfriends, never got into trouble in any major way, and grew up to be a healthy and valuable adult.

    Whenever certain parents would have punished their child, my mother sat me down and talked to me about the situation. She asked for my opinion once I understood, and I apologized if I thought I had done something wrong. I felt like my mother had faith and trust in me, and appreciated it.

    All sorts of punishment are based on fear or the punisher, and only work when further punishment is a threat. Aka - it is not truelly successful.

    Corporal punishment is the worst form without touching on pure abuse. It teaches that the person who is bigger has a right to hurt the person who is smaller if they see fit, that standing up against authority is an offense, that physical force is a proper way to make points with other people, that the child is not capable of understanding by being told and needs to be beaten like an animal, etc...it is an insult to the intellect of that child, and kills any chance for a healthy parent-child relationship.

    I will never marry a man who thinks otherwise, and our children will know that we see them as intelligent beings capcable of learning from a serious conversation instead of little criminals who simply deserve to pay for what they have done. I realize some people may be "offended" by my statements, but keep in mind - I am free to hold my position no less than you are free to hold yours, and I actually look at facts and actual patterns around the world when choosing mine.
  10. Apr 16, 2005 #9
    I don't think schools should have to teach the children what is right and what is wrong,that's the job of the parents.Parents are the ones that need to sit the kids down and vigorously explain what they should do,what they shouldn't do,and how they should act according to their situation.The only things schools need to do is give them the knowledge that they need to succeed and move onto the next phase.The schools should not be responsible for making kids understand how to act and what to do and not do.

    Crime is going up because the parents aren't spending enough time with their kids and the schools are not allowed to take action.(So there's no confusion,I oppose corporal punishment.)I do believe that every now and then a kid needs a smack in the head or on the butt,the kid will get that what they did was wrong not do it again,in my opinion.I am not saying however that this should be used all the time because then the child will develop a complex and fear the punisher.The punisher should be respected and when that happens the bad behavior will diminish.It's the punishment that should be feared.I say this because I was taught to respect those older than I am and to repect those in positions of authority.And to be perfectly honest it was my parents that taught me that,it was just something that seemed the right thing to do.I have nevered been punished in my life.Yes I have done things that weren't so good but my parents never punished me but I knew that I did something wrong.

    In all honesty,it was not parents that taught how to behave in certain situations,most of the time it's just common sense and the problem is kids today don't have any.Most are book-smart and the rest are neither or they don't care.(Not to brag but I have been told that I am the perfect combination of both book-smart and common sense-smart.)If we could somehow get some common sense into the kids I think they would be fine.This is another problem because you can't really teach common sense.
  11. Apr 16, 2005 #10
    When I went to school, we were allowed to be spanked, then sent home to our parents who, spanked us again. Millions of us grew up that way, it didn't scar us for life. It didn't make us less productive, or less civil. We had 10 or more generations of children that behaved.

    I agree that parents should be the ones to instill morals in there children, to teach them right from wrong. Now we get to the problem, many parents are not. We have a new program here {Detroit public} Where the parents must come in and serve the same detention time as there kids. If they don't, they can be put in jail. If there children are truant, with out good cause, the parents will go to jail. But now who cares for the children if the parents are in jail?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2005
  12. Apr 16, 2005 #11


    Murray A. Straus
    Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire
    Durham, NH 03824 603-862-2594 murray.straus@unh.edu

    This site has some good answers to your question. The clearest, shortest answer would appear to be a resounding 'no' to there being any inherent benefit to corporal punishment, with clear evidence to support this statement by reputable researchers.
  13. Apr 16, 2005 #12
    hypatia,that program sounds like an extreme answer to a problem.I mean what if the detention is for being 2 minutes late for a class or something else small and insignificant.I can see if the kid continues to get detention but for small things it seems like overkill.And sending the parents to jail is a bit eccentric.

    But then,like you said,who cares for the kids?Most likely social services will take them if there's no family that can take them.But doesn't sending them to a foster home or an orphanage just screw them up even more because they're in there with kids that are in the same situation or in even worse ones.Now their behavior is going to reinforced or worsened.

    And what if the parent(s) can't get to the detentions?Or if the parent(s) drop the kids off at school and they leave anyway?The parents are assuming that the kids are going inside and staying.The parents can't be held responsible the kids being irresponsible enough to cut school.This all goes back to my argument that the kids need common sense but there is no way to teach common sense to kids that have no respect for authority or think that staying in school is stupid.
  14. Apr 17, 2005 #13
    I agree it is harsh, but our state law says that parents are responsible for there children, in all aspects, until that child is 17. There useing child neglect laws to enforce it.
  15. Apr 18, 2005 #14
    By federal law parents are responsible for their children until they are at least 17.I have never heard of a state passing a law like that.Is the state hoping that the pressure on the parents will force the parents to keep their children out of trouble?Did the state take into consideration that not all kids are the same and not all respond the same way to different things?What I mean is,one kid can respond positively to the parents pressuring them and another kid can have the parents' words go in 1 ear and out the other.And what if the kid doesn't like the fact that the parent has to sit him or her down to talk to them and gets into trouble just piss off the parents?There are definate flaws with the plan but I can see theoretically how it could work.The state probably thought that the parents would know how to control their kids but,as we can see with shows like "Super Nanny" and "Nanny 911",most parents can't even control the kids when they are small.
  16. Apr 18, 2005 #15

    Just look at your average north american family. You've got both parents working - or often divorced with the kids switching from house to house every week. Kids practically see their babysitters more than they see their parents.

    Discipline through violence will only make violent children. I don't know about you, but I remember that all the teachers who were strict, autoritarian and screamed at kids were the ones who had the most trouble with discipline. Everybody hated them, including me. The teachers who had the best control over their classes were always the "cool" ones. They were far more liberal, they were always joking around, and everyone loved them. My grades were also much higher in those classes.
  17. Apr 19, 2005 #16
    like with a baby if you spank them for running in the street its not supposed to hurt them but scare them enough not to do it again, and its a method used with toddlers because you cant really sit down and discuss traffic with a 2 year old-well you may try but a sound spank to the butt is a to the point action- I do not however believe this really works so effectively after your grown up enough to be told something and understand.
  18. Apr 19, 2005 #17
    Kids don't respond to authority like they used to.I'm only 19 and I already see that the way my friends and I dealt with authority is like unheard of with today's kids.We see authority and we know to respect it and when not to respect it.Kids today don't care and often just make the authoritative types mad just to make them mad.How can we instill discipline when the kids basically spit in the face of authority?
  19. Apr 19, 2005 #18
    I 100% agree with Barbie and Njblaha. Corporal punishment is not the way to disipline children at all.

    Like Barbie, I had maybe two or three time-outs as a child. My parents never hit me or anything like that. If you treat your children as though they are intelligent and capable people, they will learn to think and reason that way. I was taught to respect older and wiser people and those in authoritative positions at a young age. I quickly discovered if I treated them with respect they responded with respect. I believe this is because my parents treated me as an intelligent and respectful person at a young age. Granted this is certainly not the case every where.

    I do not think that hitting a child is any way to deal with a problem. If they are dealt with in a violent manner then they learn to embrace violence and to treat others in violent manners. These children turn into bullies who target other children who want any part in such behavior.

    My fear would be that these children who grow up associating violence with making mistakes or arguing or other such behaviors then they will be caught in a cycle of physically and emotionally abusive relationships because they think it is normal and its not. I just heard the other day on Good Morning America that physically and emotionally abusive relationships amoung teenagers is growing. I immediately began to wonder if there was any corrolation to corporal punishment as children. That is besides the point thought. I believe there is no room for corporal punishment in disciplining a child.
  20. Apr 20, 2005 #19
    misskitty,your fears are supported by numerous studies.The children are having the same problem you mentioned,they are growing up thinking that using physical and verbal abuse is ok because it was used on them.What they don't realize is that not everybody was treated that way,which most abused people believe that everyone was abused too,and that not everybody responds the same way to abuse.Some take the abuse and some give the abuse right back and that leads to many,many problems down the line.

    And what you saw on Good Morning America is most likely a direct result of the child being abused or the child seeing the parents being abusive to each other.Children are very impressionable and they take everything that they see and hear and use it thinking that because adults use it that it's ok for them to.My little cousin,who is about 3,takes everything that every adult does around her and uses it with this exact same mindset,"Well they did it,why can't I?".Now we watch what we say and do around her because we don't want her to take that stuff around to her friends.Children need to be taught from an early age that violence should NOT be used to solve everything.Some things require violence but punishing children does NOT.And if anyone thinks otherwise THEY are the ones that need the smack in the head,not the children.
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