Corporal Punishment

by on March 7th, 2015
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The age old debate over corporal punishment wages on today. Corporal punishment is defined by The Free Dictionary as the infliction of physical injury on someone convicted of committing a crime. The Free Dictionary defines the word “abuse” as physical maltreatment. How is the difference measured? Is inflicting injury justified when it is in response to a crime or is all physical maltreatment of another grouped together under the definition of abuse?

According to Gershoff the one and only desirable association between corporal punishment and immediate compliance on the part of the child was established. However, the negative effects of corporal punishment last throughout childhood and adulthood. A child who is the recipient of corporal punishment is more likely to experience increased aggression and antisocial behaviors as a result. They are also more likely to inflict harm on their own children or their spouse as adults.

Houston ISD banned the use of corporal punishment as disciplinary action on campus in 2001. For years, the use of corporal punishment in the school district had diminished. Teachers on staff began learning other classroom management techniques to discipline their students and encourage higher self-esteem among children. While there is no research proving that corporal punishment is not a productive means of disciplinary action, the risk of side effects the children experience following corporal punishment has been proven time and again.

The negative effects of corporal punishment are present in all age groups confirming that there is not a specific age group that responds better to it than another. As a civilized society we can conclude that there are better ways to curve the actions of a child than lowering ourselves to the primitive means of physical harm. Such reprimand as “time out” and positive reinforcement in response to a child’s negative behavior are not only proven beneficial for the immediate compliance of the child but also for compliance in future situations.

Sometimes people take what they know from the past as what is right. Things change and people evolve for a reason. Improvements in parenting skills have been the result of change in behavior of the parent in order to change the behavior of the child. Behavior is imitated and children are impressionable. The examples we set for our children are interpreted as appropriate behavior. Is the continued implementation of corporal punishment what we want for future generations? Research proves that the negative effects resulting from corporal punishment are not beneficial to children.


Farlex. The Free Dictionary.

“Forget the paddle; Houston ISD Bans Corporal Punishment.”Amarillo Globe-News. 19 August 2001.

Gershoff, Elizabeth. “Is Corporal Punishment an Effective Means of Discipline?” American Psychological Association. 26 June 2002.

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