Disadvantages and Advantages of Corporal Punishment at Home

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Being a parent is never easy. Those that have twin toddlers can definitely confirm this statement. But then again, no one ever said it would be easy. A good parent is always striving towards making the right moves in raising them, teaching them important life lessons, being their role model, all of that while trying to be loving and affectionate. However, being too loving can be counterproductive for their overall development and result in having a spoiled child. Kids with behavioral issues don’t stand any authoritative instructions even from those dear to them, are harder to reason with and don’t really cooperate even when something is being done in their favor. That’s why corporate punishment, detention and spanking is such a popular topic nowadays, and everyone should know the advantages as well as disadvantages of using these techniques to raise a child properly.

Knowing the Difference

Before we go into details of the benefits of corporal punishment as well as how it can be misunderstood, let’s set some ground rules on what you should be trying to achieve with these methods. This way it’s clear that the method is strictly disciplinary and that by no means you should use it to actually hurt the child.

  • Remember that you’re trying to send a message rather actually hurt the child.
  • Be sure to explain why they’re getting spanked.
  • Be tactical about implementing any corporal punishment technique.
  • Choose the right moment (you can’t beat them before they actually do something wrong).
  • Explain how they should mind what choices they make and that there is always a way to avoid all this. 
  • Try not to be intimidating while doing it.
  • Avoid yelling and raising your voice for no reason.
  • Make sure your child is old enough to understand how their actions are directly tied to the consequences.

Advantages of Corporal Punishment

Many believe that this type of punishment, whether a slap or inflicting any kind of physical pain to a child when disobedient, can be beneficial for their development. And this is certainly true in some cases, especially when they start to manifest behavioral issues. It is then that you’ll know something must be done as words alone simply do not help. Every time you instruct them not to do something, it seems as if they get encouraged to do it just in spite So to prevent them from getting hurt, or having problems in the future due to their behavioral issues, it’s actually advisable to change your methods. Here are the advantages of corporal punishment at home.

Prevent Serious Injuries

Although corporal punishment sounds harsh it doesn’t have to be in your case. Dangerous home appliance, wall sockets, or any other elements in your home that aren’t for kids use can be used as a good point for justifying the use of this method. Every time you told your toddler not to touch something or tried to make him aware of the dangers when playing inside the house it seemed as if they didn’t understand you. That’s why you have to constantly monitor their behavior when your cooking and the stove is hot, as they reach sturdy stairs, etc.

Instead of doing that, you should try another method. Every time your child tries to do something that can hurt them, or reach out to something potentially dangerous for them, just gently slap them on the hand. They will burst to tears of course, but seeing them get badly hurt is much worse. As you slap them, try to explain the gravity of the situation and the outcome if you’ve let them do what they wanted. Make sure they understand that you don’t want them to get hurt and that you did what was necessary to prevent that. They will never reach for that hot stove, a wall socket or anything else that’s strictly forbidden. 

They will learn a valuable lesson and think twice before disobeying your instructions next time. Remember that the intention is not to hurt them, but to give them a tap as they reach towards a dangerous item. As you do that, make a serious face to show what they tried to do is strictly forbidden and extremely dangerous for them.

Shock and Correct

Whether a toddler chooses not to understand you or that’s actually the case as they didn’t develop the ability to speak yet, you should know that you can’t really reason with them using only worlds. Depending on their age and developmental stage they’re going through, they’ll either understand simple instructions or won’t.  For example, when the child is still teething, there are no words that can soothe their pain and uncomfortable feeling. They will get empowered to make requests and be moody when they want, as they’ve seen your reaction when they’re hurt. They can learn from this period and use their newly founded technique for getting attention when older. 

Being that they know you’ll do anything to make them stop crying over something they want so badly, sometimes they’re prone to abusing your good intention. That’s why the shock factor is exactly what they need to take your words seriously. Furthermore, they’ll instantly understand that you are in charge. Taking this authoritative approach can do wonders for a child with behavioral issues. The goal is not to hit them hard. It is your intention that matters. As a matter of fact, slapping them with the same force in an alternative situation would result in laughter, or they simply wouldn’t even feel it. So make sure that your intention is clear to create the shock effect and use it to stop the unwanted behavior. This method was proven to work, and there’s no arguing that it’s completely harmless for the child. Reminding them that you’re in charge so they stop overreacting is a crucial element of good parenting.

Instills Respect

Once they’re able to understand the concept of action and reaction you’ll be free to introduce detention and set things right. Thus getting rid of unwanted behavior. Another advantage of corporal punishment is that you can keep them from doing what they shouldn’t without breaking a sweat. Without slapping them or inflicting any pain, by placing them in detention they’ll learn to avoid making choices that put them in such situation. Detention can be anything they don’t want to do, whether sitting perfectly still in a specific spot, standing in the corner, or making their room once they’re older. Literally anything that’s on their list of things they hate doing can act as detention. 

Spanking, on the other hand, can be also used to keep their bratty behavior at bay. After they get a couple of warnings and continue to demonstrate unwanted behavior, a proper spanking punishment should come in place. Just like any other method, it’s crucial that the intention is transparent. You’re not hurting the child, but giving them the impression that they’re being punished for disobeying your instructions. Provided that it’s performed right and at the right moment, they will become hesitant to explore the boundaries or your tolerance and think twice before acting as they shouldn’t. Next time you even mention spanking as a means to resolve their behavior, they’ll immediately correct it and carry on cautiously. Although spanking as a punishment is prohibited by law in some countries, it shouldn’t be interpreted as a wrongful method per se. The reason it’s illegal in certain countries is due to a high percentage of parents taking the liberty of inflicting this type of pain to a child for granted. When used in moderation, and without the intention to actually harm the child but send a message, spanking can be quite useful and effective to instill respect.

Disadvantages of Corporal Punishment

Just like there are advantages of using any method, there are disadvantages as well.  And the disadvantages of using corporal punishment are usually related to misunderstanding the concept. This is one of the reasons why it’s banned in some countries. Misinterpreting the idea of trying to discipline and correct behavioral issues in children this way can be quite harmful to a young mind. It can cause problems later in adulthood some of which include: increased aggression, poor social skills, inability to sustain a job, substance abuse, depression, etc. To elaborate on that, here are general disadvantages of using corporal punishment at home.

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Low Self Esteem

Children that have been physically or mentally abused by their parents due to lack of understanding of how corporal punishment works, tend to have serious problems during and after adulthood. They must resolve these behavioral issues themselves, and that’s not easy. When a parent or caregiver misinterprets corporal punishment and uses it to justify being a bad person, they do tremendous damage to a child’s overall progress and development. 

A parent should be a role model and someone the child looks up to. So when that person starts making wrong moves in raising a child, the child suffers. Instead of empowering them to build crucial skills, parents that misuse the methods of corporal punishment deny their kids self-esteem, a role in society and create emotional childhood traumas. Kids raised this way don’t really feel safe as the only person that was supposed to make them feel secure did exactly the opposite.

Increased Agitation and Aggressive Reactions

Kids raised by parents that didn’t understand corporal punishment or used it as they saw fit, tend to be less tolerant and easily agitated as well. Because they had a rough time being a kid, they don’t develop important skills and learn valuable life lessons. Instead, they tend to form their own opinion on how to behave. Which is in most cases wrong. Various researches confirm that juveniles that come in conflict with the law were usually mistreated as kids and have serious emotional traumas that can be traced back to their childhood period. 

Kids raised this way have serious problems with authority, which naturally create other problems in society as well. They don’t really listen to the people around them even when the person giving the advice has nothing but best intentions. The real problem is that they have huge trust issues and can’t really afford to think that someone will do them good. From their own experience, the only person that was supposed to have good intentions didn’t really end up to be a good person. And that changes everything for them. Treating kids badly or implementing what is otherwise considered as an efficient method as they see fit, creates a wave of bad habits. In simple words, kids that have been mistreated don’t do well with others and usually to abusive to others as well. That’s why corporal punishment is unlawful in some countries. Because misusing corporal punishment methods can have dire consequences.

Use of Excessive Force

Again, there are pros and cons of spanking and slapping in order to discipline a child with behavioral issues.  It shouldn’t be confused with unnecessary beating. Whether a parent uses excessive force or missuses corporal punishment technique to a point they are actually physically molesting a child is wrong and should be punishable by law. The point of this method is to make the child understand who’s in charge, acknowledge your authority and recognize the mistakes that put them in a situation where they are being punished for their actions. 

Unfortunately, there were many cases where a caregiver or parent uses spanking as well as other corporal punishment methods the way they see fit. To make the matter worse, they don’t pay attention to how hard they hit, how consistently they’re spanking them and what message they are sending. You can’t spank a child that cries because they’re hungry or moody for a similar reason. Instead of instilling respect and authority with the use of excessive force they instill fear and insecurity. They shouldn’t feel pain, even worse get bruises, but only a sting as you slap them with a quick tap on the hand. Be mindful of the force your using to discipline them, otherwise, you might actually hurt them.

The Message

A lot of parents don’t realize that these methods should be used to send a message and show how their tolerance shouldn’t be abused. Whenever you take matters into your own hand and chose to slap or spank a child, you should know that they’ll feel betrayed and hurt unless you explain why it’s being done. It is of the utmost importance that you don’t make that mistake, and send a message with your actions. 

A child should know why they are being spanked or slapped on the hand when being naughty. Although they know what they should and shouldn’t do, you can’t just slap them and stay quiet as they burst into tears. The idea of slapping is to shock them in order for them to snap out of unwanted behavior and remind them of the rules. Without this, you’d only be senselessly beating a child for no reason. Even though you know why you did it, you need to tell them that. Otherwise, they’ll think of it as getting beat for no reason. And that’s something you should be careful about. As we mentioned before if the message is not clear and the intention is not there, using corporal punishment this way can lead to the development of serious behavioral issues in a child. Instead of correcting them, by misusing these methods your actions can be counterproductive.

No matter how you look at corporal punishment, one thing is clear. When implemented right, these techniques and methods will prove effective and are by no means harmful for the child. When performed in the right way, with the right attention so that the message is clear, the child will learn valuable lessons. Lessons that will help them later in adulthood to socialize, create their own role in society, achieve business success as well as succeed in other areas of life. The only way corporal punishment can be harmful to a child’s development is when it’s misunderstood and when methods are misused. In that case, it can lead to dire consequences as various types of research on juveniles can confirm. A parent or caregiver should be the first person that teaches a child about respect, authority, compassion, tolerance, and other important lessons. They are the ones that prepare them for the life ahead.

Author: Jonathan M. Ward
Author: Jonathan M. Ward

Himself a father of two, John is obsessed with getting the most out of every children’s product on the market, finding value wherever it can be found. His years of study in developmental psychology coupled with his passion for parenting make him an invaluable asset to our team.

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