ERIC Number: ED444759
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Aug
Corporal Punishment: Does It Hinder the Development of Children?
Chenoweth, T.; Just, H.
Noting that parents' use of corporal punishment to discipline their children remains a strongly debated issue, this paper examines the impact of corporal punishment on children's development, focusing primarily on its long-term effectiveness. The paper presents the history of spanking in the United States, including public opinion on corporal punishment, the declining practice of spanking in schools, and parents' reasons for spanking. Arguments presented against corporal punishment include sending children mixed messages about social behavior, increasing children's deviant or antisocial behavior, increasing violence and aggression, increasing cruelty to animals, increasing the probability of spousal abuse, and contributing to psychological problems such as depression, drug addiction, and anxiety. Arguments in favor of the use of corporal punishment focus on differentiating its effective use from harmful use, presenting research findings that a fair amount of corporal punishment (a light spanking less than once a week) did not affect children's adjustment negatively; findings regarding the contribution of parents' beliefs about spanking and their emotions to the practice; and methodological concerns about anti-corporal punishment studies. Guidelines for administering corporal punishment are presented. The paper asserts that there may be a middle ground where reasonable conclusions can be made about the use of corporal punishment. The paper further notes that there is too much conflicting evidence to outlaw corporal punishment completely but there is evidence that some forms of corporal punishment are inappropriate and should not be used to discipline children. Therefore, it is important for professionals to educate parents on when and how corporal punishment can be used most effectively. (Contains 37 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A