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should parents use corporal punishment to descipline their children's

you will learn:

• to understand children's behavior better.


• how to prevent misbehavior.
• how to deal with misbehavior.
• that discipline helps children learn how to behave.
• that there are many acceptable ways to discipline children.

discipline
if you have a choice of discipline skills, you will work with children better. you and the
children will be less frustrated. most people who care for young children say that
discipline is their big concern. they wonder "am i being too easy?" or "am i being too
harsh?" effective discipline teaches children behavior that is right for that time and place.
as a day care provider, you want to help children develop self-control. with self-control,
children will know how to behave even when no one is watching them.

children learn best from what actually happens, not from what is said to them. teaching
children good behaviors is more than telling them what to
do. children will test limits. they will whine and argue to find out how you react. if these
negative behaviors are rewarded (the children get what
they want), they will use the negative behaviors again.

children learn by copying what they see others do. if you model good behaviors, children
will copy them. rewards also help children learn good
behaviors. if you are pleased with a child's behavior, let him or her know. praise the child,
and tell him or her exactly what you are pleased about.
also, you can use other rewards, such as smiling and nodding, to let a child know you are
pleased. be sure to pay attention to children who are
behaving well. do not let children who are misbehaving take all your time. avoid giving
things (especially food) to reward good behavior.

never shame or belittle a child for misbehaving. the child's self esteem will be damaged,
and most likely the child will not improve his or her
behavior.

some effective ways to discipline young children


time out

have the child rest or play alone for a few minutes. being alone helps children calm down.
then you can use other methods to encourage better
behavior.
use words

talk calmly with the child. ask the child what happened and why. then talk about ways to
work out the problem. try to find an answer that you both like. this helps the child learn to
be responsible for his or her behavior.

change the activity

when children start doing something you do not like, stop them. then explain why you are
stopping them. suggest something else they can do. if they want to scribble on the wall,
give them paper to scribble on instead.

fix up

when a child misbehaves or hurts another child, expect him or her to help fix the
problem. if a child spills a cup of milk, give him or her a cloth
to clean it up. if one child makes another child cry, have the first child help soothe the
other child.

ignore

some misbehavior is done to get your attention. the best way to deal with this is to ignore
it. pay attention to good behavior. children need attention for good behavior, not for
misbehavior.

be firm

be clear and firm when you tell the child what he or she needs to do. your tone of voice
can show that you mean what you say.

stay in control

try to work out problems patiently as they come up. act before you getangry and
frustrated.

activities to try
1. for one day, count the number of times you say things like "don't slam the door"
instead of "please close the door gently." then, for a few days try to say "please"
more often. try to say "don't" less often. how do you feel when you talk to the
children this way? how do the children act?

2. praise children for good behavior. this may help them to repeat the good
behavior.

3. try looking at yourself in a mirror when you are disciplining. does your face or
your tone of voice scare the children? remember, discipline should teach children
acceptable behavior.
is corporal punishment an effective means of discipline?

corporal punishment leads to more immediate compliant behavior in children, but is also associated wi
physical abuse.

should parents be counseled for or against spanking?

washington -- corporal punishment remains a widely used discipline technique in most american families, bu
also been a subject of controversy within the child development and psychological communities. in a large-sc
analysis of 88 studies, psychologist elizabeth thompson gershoff, phd, of the national center for children in po
columbia university, looked at both positive and negative behaviors in children that were associated with corp
punishment. her research and commentaries on her work are published in the july issue of
published by the american psychological association.

while conducting the meta-analysis, which included 62 years of collected data, gershoff looked for associatio
between parental use of corporal punishment and 11 child behaviors and experiences, including several in ch
(immediate compliance, moral internalization, quality of relationship with parent, and physical abuse from th
parent), three in both childhood and adulthood (mental health, aggression, and criminal or antisocial behavior
one in adulthood alone (abuse of own children or spouse).

gershoff found "strong associations" between corporal punishment and all eleven child behaviors and experie
of the associations were negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior. the single d
association was between corporal punishment and increased immediate compliance on the part of the child.

the two largest effect sizes (strongest associations) were immediate compliance by the child and physical abu
child by the parent. gershoff believes that these two strongest associations model the complexity of the debat
corporal punishment.

"that these two disparate constructs should show the strongest links to corporal punishment underlines the co
over this practice. there is general consensus that corporal punishment is effective in getting children to comp
immediately while at the same time there is caution from child abuse researchers that corporal punishment by
nature can escalate into physical maltreatment," gershoff writes.

but, gershoff also cautions that her findings do not imply that all children who experience corporal punishme
out to be aggressive or delinquent. a variety of situational factors, such as the parent/child relationship, can m
the effects of corporal punishment. furthermore, studying the true effects of corporal punishment requires dra
boundary line between punishment and abuse. this is a difficult thing to do, especially when relying on paren
reports of their discipline tactics and interpretations of normative punishment.

"the act of corporal punishment itself is different across parents - parents vary in how frequently they use it, h
forcefully they administer it, how emotionally aroused they are when they do it, and whether they combine it
other techniques. each of these qualities of corporal punishment can determine which child-mediated process
activated, and, in turn, which outcomes may be realized," gershoff concludes.

the meta-analysis also demonstrates that the frequency and severity of the corporal punishment matters. the m
often or more harshly a child was hit, the more likely they are to be aggressive or to have mental health probl

while the nature of the analyses prohibits causally linking corporal punishment with the child behaviors, gers
summarizes a large body of literature on parenting that suggests why corporal punishment may actually cause
negative outcomes for children. for one, corporal punishment on its own does not teach children right from w
secondly, although it makes children afraid to disobey when parents are present, when parents are not present
administer the punishment those same children will misbehave.
wikipedia

corporal punishment is forced pain intended to change a person's behaviour or to punish


them. historically speaking, most punishments, whether in judicial, domestic, or
educational settings, were corporal in basis.in india history consists of many instances of
corporal punishment.

in modern world, corporal punishment has been largely rejected in favor of other
disciplinary methods. modern judiciaries often favor fines or incarceration, whilst modern
school discipline generally avoids physical correction altogether. although corporal
punishment is still used in many domestic settings, it has been banned in over seventeen
countries.[1] corporal punishment in canada is restricted to children under the age of 13,
and only by parents or guardians, and only such punishment that does not leave marks.

there has been much dispute in recent years over where the line should be drawn between
corporal punishment and torture, or whether a line should indeed be drawn at all.

[edit] history of corporal punishment

"the naughty children"; german caricature of 1849.

while the early history of corporal punishment is unclear, the practice was certainly
present in classical civilizations, being used in greece, rome, egypt and israel, for both
judicial and educational discipline. practices varied greatly, though scourging and beating
with sticks were common. some states gained a reputation for using such punishments
cruelly; sparta, in particular, used frequent part of a disciplinary regime designed to build
willpower and physical strength. although the spartan example was unusually extreme,
corporal punishment was possibly the most common type of punishment.

in medieval europe, corporal punishment was encouraged by the attitudes of the medieval
church towards the human body, with flagellation being a common means of self-
discipline. in particular, this had a major influence on the use of corporal punishment in
schools, as educational establishments were closely attached to the church during this
period. nevertheless, corporal punishment was not used uncritically; as early as the
eleventh century saint anselm, archbishop of canterbury was speaking out against what he
saw as the cruel treatment of children.[2]

from the sixteenth century onwards, new trends were seen in corporal punishment.
judicial punishments were increasingly made into public spectacles, with the public
beatings of criminals intended as a deterrent to other would-be miscreants. meanwhile,
early writers on education, such as roger ascham, complained of the arbitrary manner in
which children were punished.[3] probably the most influential writer on the subject was
the english philosopher john locke, whose some thoughts concerning education explicitly
criticized the central role of corporal punishment in education. locke's work was highly
influential, and in part influenced polish legislators to ban corporal punishment from
poland's schools in 1783.[4]

during the eighteenth century the frequent use of corporal punishment was heavily
criticized, both by philosophers and legal reformers. merely inflicting pain on miscreants
was seen as inefficient, influencing the subject merely for a short period of time and
effecting no permanent change in their behaviour. critics believed that the purpose of
punishment should be reformation, not retribution. this is perhaps best expressed in
jeremy bentham's idea of a panoptic prison, in which prisoners were controlled and
surveyed at all times, perceived to be advantageous in that this system reduced the need
of measures such as corporal punishment.[5]

a consequence of this mode of thinking was a diminution of corporal punishment


throughout the nineteenth century in europe and north america. in some countries this
was encouraged by scandals involving individuals seriously hurt during acts of corporal
punishment. for instance, in britain, popular opposition to punishment was encouraged by
two significant cases, the death of private frederick john white, who died after a military
flogging in 1847, and the death of reginald cancellor, who was killed by his schoolmaster
in 1860.[6] events such as these mobilized public opinion, and in response, many
countries introduced thorough regulation of the infliction of corporal punishment in state
institutions.

the use of corporal punishment declined through the twentieth century, though the
practice has proved most persistent as a punishment for violation of prison rules, as a
military field punishment, and in schools.

[edit] modern usage


in the modern world, corporal punishment remains a common way of disciplining
children however its use has declined significantly since the 1950s. it has been
outlawed[1] in many countries however some legal systems permit parents to use mild
corporal punishment on their children. many parents in the modern world do not however
or use it rarely. race and gender have a significant influence on corporal punishment in
the western world. black children and male children are much more likely to be hit at
home and school[7] and corporal punishment of boys tends to be more severe, more
frequent and more aggressive than corporal punishment administered to girls [8].
ironically, while the research suggests that corporal punishment is potentially
counterproductive for children, it is even more counterproductive for boys than girls [9]
in terms of punishment in educational settings, approaches vary throughout the world.
school corporal punishment is banned in most western nations and in industrialized
nations outside the west. all of western europe, most of eastern europe, new zealand,
japan and south africa have banned school corporal punishment, as have many other
countries. corporal punishment is legal in some parts of canada. in australia, corporal
punishment is banned in all state schools but continues in private schools in a couple of
states[10]. in the united states, 23 states allow corporal punishment in schools. there is
some disagreement about how much paddling occurs in us schools. some estimates place
the number of paddlings at approximately 350,000 a year, while the national association
of school psychologists [11] places the number at 1.5 million cases a year.[12] evidence
suggests that in the united states, racial and sexual discrimination play a large role in
school corporal punishment, with black students being much more likely to be hit than
white students, and male students being much more likely to be hit than female students,
for the same infractions.[13] corporal punishment of male students also tends to be more
severe and more aggressive [14]. in some places, this sexual discrimination has the force
of law. for instance, in queensland, australia, school corporal punishment of girls was
banned in 1934 but corporal punishment of boys in private schools is still legal in 2007.
[15] some societies retain widespread use of judicial corporal punishment, including
malaysia and singapore. in singapore, male offenders are typically sentenced to caning in
addition to a prison term. the singaporean practice of caning became much discussed in
the u.s. in 1994 when american teenager michael p. fay was sentenced to such
punishment for an offence of car vandalism.

when used in the home as a form of domestic punishment for children, smacking
(spanking in american english) is most common form of corporal punishment. although
this form of punishment of children is either banned and/or declining in use in many
countries.

[edit] the legality of punishment


legality of corporal punishment in europe corporal punishment prohibited in schools
and the home corporal punishment prohibited in schools only corporal punishment
not prohibited

while the domestic corporal punishment of children is still accepted in some countries
(mostly eastern), it is declining in many others; it is even illegal in a number of countries.
the practice has been banned in austria, bulgaria, croatia, cyprus, denmark, finland,
germany, greece, hungary, iceland, israel, italy, latvia, norway, romania, south africa,
sweden, the netherlands, ukraine[1], uruguay and new zealand[16]. these developments
are comparatively recent, with sweden, in 1979, being the first country to forbid corporal
punishment by law.[17] in a number of other countries there is active debate about its
continued usage. in the united kingdom its total abolition has been discussed[18]. the
australian state of tasmania also is continuing to review the state's laws on the matter, and
may seek to ban the use of corporal punishment by parents.[19] the matter is also under
review in other australian states.

united nations human rights standards prohibit all corporal punishment.[20]

such debates, however, do not always lead to the banning of domestic corporal
punishment and the supreme court of canada recently reaffirmed in foundation v. canada
the right of a parent or guardian to use corporal punishment on children between the ages
of two and twelve; this decision was contentious, being based upon s.43 of the criminal
code of canada, a provision enacted in 1892.[21] similarly, despite some opposition to
corporal punishment in the usa, spanking children is legal, with some states explicitly
allowing it in their law and 23 us states allowing its use in public schools.[22]. a ban has
been proposed in massachusetts and california, on all corporal punishment of children,
including by parents, and a series of laws in minnesota severely restrict the use of
corporal punishment of children.

in most parts of eastern asia (including china, taiwan, japan, philippines, and korea it is
legal to punish one's own child using physical means. in singapore and hong kong,
punishing one's own child with corporal punishment is either legal but discouraged, or
illegal but without active enforcement of the relevant laws. culturally, people in the
region generally believe a minimal amount of corporal punishment for their own children
is appropriate and necessary, and thus such practice is tolerated by the society as a whole.

in the philippines, corporal punishment is used on children at the home, as well as at


school. the parents use belts, their hands, and caning to discipline their children.

the people's republic of china and taiwan have made corporal punishment against
children illegal in the school system, but it is still known to be practiced in some form in
many areas (see corporal punishment in taiwan). the most common forms of punishment
are mild chastisements, such as shaking by the arm or shoulder, or slapping the back of
the head or ear; more serious punishments, such as striking with the cane, are less
common. such incidents are increasingly leading to public outcry, and in recent years
have lead to the dismissal of teaching staff. similarly, in south korea, corporal
punishments occur for students if they forget their homework, violate school rules, or are
tardy to school.

there is resistance, particularly from conservatives, against making the corporal


punishment of children by their parents or guardians illegal. in 2004, the united states
declined to become a signatory of the united nations's "rights of the child" because of its
sanctions on parental discipline, citing the tradition of parental authority in that country
and of privacy in family decision-making.

most countries have banned the use of corporal punishment in schools, beginning with
poland in 1783. the practice is still used in schools in some parts of the united states
(approximately 1/2 the states but varying by school districts within them), though it is
banned in others. many schools, even within the 23 states, require written parent approval
before any physical force is used upon a child.

some nations retain judicial applications of corporal punishment to child offenders, for
instance iran. [4];

[edit] criticism of corporal punishment


the examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the
subject.
please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page.
academic studies have established that under some circumstances, corporal punishment
of children can increase short-term compliance with parental commands, although
comparisons in the same studies with alternative punishments such as one-minute time-
outs did not establish that corporal punishment was more effective. [23]

the american academy of pediatrics (aap), however, in an official policy statement [5]
(reaffirmed in 2004) states that "corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has
potentially deleterious side effects. the american academy of pediatrics recommends that
parents be encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking
for managing undesired behavior." in particular, the aap believes that any corporal
punishment methods other than open-hand spanking on the buttocks or extremities "are
unacceptable" and "should never be used". the policy statement points out, summarizing
several studies, that "the more children are spanked, the more anger they report as adults,
the more likely they are to spank their own children, the more likely they are to approve
of hitting a spouse, and the more marital conflict they experience as adults." [24]
spanking has been associated with higher rates of physical aggression, more substance
abuse, and increased risk of crime and violence when used with older children and
adolescents.[25]"

the american psychological association opposes the use of corporal punishment in


schools, juvenile facilities, child care nurseries, and all other institutions, public or
private, where children are cared for or educated (conger, 1975). they state that corporal
punishment is violent, unnecessary, may lower self-esteem, is likely to train children to
use physical violence, and is liable to instill hostility and rage without reducing the
undesired behavior. [26]

the canadian pediatrics society policy on corporal punishment states "the psychosocial
paediatrics committee of the canadian paediatric society has carefully reviewed the
available research in the controversial area of disciplinary spanking (7-15)... the research
that is available supports the position that spanking and other forms of physical
punishment are associated with negative child outcomes. the canadian paediatric society,
therefore, recommends that physicians strongly discourage disciplinary spanking and all
other forms of physical punishment" [27]

england's royal college of paediatrics and child health and royal college of psychiatrists
have called for a complete ban on all corporal punishment, stating "we believe it is both
wrong and impracticable to seek to define acceptable forms of corporal punishment of
children. such an exercise is unjust. hitting children is a lesson in bad behaviour."[28] and
that "it is never appropriate to hit or beat children" [29]

the australian psychological society holds that physical punishment of children should not
be used as it has very limited capacity to deter unwanted behavior, does not teach
alternative desirable behavior, often promotes further undesirable behaviors such as
defiance and attachment to "delinquent" peer groups, encourages an acceptance of
aggression and violence as acceptable responses to conflicts and problems[30]

unesco states "during the commission on human rights, unesco launched a new report
entitled "eliminating corporal punishment - the way forward to constructive child
discipline". the united nations committee on the rights of the child has consistently
recommended states parties to the convention on the rights of the child to prohibit
corporal punishment and other forms of violence against children in institutions, in
schools, and in the homes...to discipline or punish through physical harm is clearly a
violation of the most basic of human rights. research on corporal punishment has found it
to be counterproductive and relatively ineffective, as well as dangerous and harmful to
physical, psychological and social well being. while many states have developed child
protection laws and systems violence still continues to be inflicted upon children" [31]

the united nations committee on the rights of the child recommends that states parties to
the convention on the rights of the child to prohibit corporal punishment in institutions, in
schools, and in the home. [32]

many opponents of corporal punishment argue that any form of violence is by definition
abusive. psychological research indicates that corporal punishment causes the destruction
of trust bonds between parents and children. children subjected to corporal punishment
may grow resentful, shy, insecure, or violent. adults who report having been slapped or
spanked by their parents in childhood have been found to experience elevated rates of
anxiety disorder, alcohol abuse or dependence and externalizing problems as adults. [33]
some researchers believe that corporal punishment actually works against its objective
(normally obedience), since children will not voluntarily obey an adult they do not trust. a
child who is physically punished may have to be punished more often than a child who is
not. researcher elizabeth gershoff, ph. d., in a 2002 meta-analytic study that combined 60
years of research on corporal punishment, found that the only positive outcome of
corporal punishment was immediate compliance; however, corporal punishment was
associated with less long-term compliance.[34] corporal punishment was linked with nine
other negative outcomes, including increased rates of aggression, delinquency, mental
health problems, problems in relationships with their parents, and likelihood of being
physically abused.

opponents claim that much child abuse begins with spanking: a parent accustomed to
using corporal punishment may find it all too easy, when frustrated, to step over the line
into physical abuse. one study found that 40% of 111 mothers were worried that they
could possibly hurt their children. [35] it is argued that frustrated parents turn to spanking
when attempting to discipline their child, and then get carried away (given the arguable
continuum between spanking and hitting). this "continuum" argument also raises the
question of whether a spank can be "too hard" and how (if at all) this can be defined in
practical terms. this in turn leads to the question whether parents who spank their children
"too hard" are crossing the line and beginning to abuse them.

before 1997, although there were many studies linking spanking with higher levels of
misbehaviour in children, people could argue that it was the misbehaviour that caused the
spanking. however, since that time several studies have examined changes in behaviour
over time and propose a link between corporal punishment and increasing relative levels
of misbehaviour compared to similar children who were not corporally punished. reasons
for corporal punishment possibly causing increased misbehaviour in the long run may
include: children imitating the corporally-punishing behaviour of their parents by hitting
other people; acting out of resentment stemming from corporal punishment; reduced self-
esteem; loss of opportunities to learn peaceful conflict resolution; punishing the parents
for the acts of corporal punishment; and assertion of freedom and dignity by refusing to
be controlled by corporal punishment.

the problem with the use of corporal punishment is that, if punishments are to maintain
their efficacy, the amount of force required may have to be increased over successive
punishments. this was observed by the american academy of pediatrics, [6] which stated
that: "the only way to maintain the initial effect of spanking is to systematically increase
the intensity with which it is delivered, which can quickly escalate into abuse".
additionaly, the academy noted that: "parents who spank their children are more likely to
use other unacceptable forms of corporal punishment."[36]

another problem with corporal punishment, according to the skeptics, is that it polarizes
the parent-child relationship, reducing the amount of spontaneous cooperation on the part
of the child. the aap policy statement says "...reliance on spanking as a discipline
approach makes other discipline strategies less effective to use". thus it has an addiction-
like effect: the more one spanks, the more one feels a need to spank, possibly escalating
until the situation is out of control.

[edit] corporal punishment, fetishism, and bdsm


corporal punishment is sometimes fetishized, and is the basis of a number of paraphilias,
most notably erotic spanking. this phenomenon was first noted by the german
psychologist richard von krafft-ebing, who suggested that sadism and masochism often
developed out of the experience of children receiving corporal punishment at school.[37]
whilst this has been a popular interpretation, it was disputed by sigmund freud, who
suggested that a sexual interest in corporal punishment developed in early childhood and
rarely related to actual experiences of punishment.[38]

[edit] ritual and punishment


this section does not cite any references or sources.
please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. (help, get involved!)
unverifiable material may be challenged and removed.
this article has been tagged since july 2007.

corporal punishment in formal settings, such as schools and prisons, is often highly
ritualised, sometimes even staged in a highly theatrical manner. to a great extent the
spectacle of punishment is intended to act as a deterrent to others and a theatrical
approach is one result of this.

one consequence of the ritualised nature of much punishment has been the development
of a wide variety of equipment used. formal punishment often begins with the victim
stripped of some or all of their clothing and secured to a piece of furniture, such as a
trestle, frame, punishment horse or falaka. a variety of implements are then used to inflict
blows on the victim. the terms used to describe these are not fixed, varying by country
and by context. there are, however, a number of common types which are frequently
encountered when reading about corporal punishment. these are:

• the bastinado.
• the rod. a thin, flexible rod is often called a switch.
• the birch, a number of strong, flexible branches, bound together in their natural
state.
• the bamboo canes. a durable rottan cane is often called a rattan.
• the paddle, a flat wooden board or leather pad with a handle.
• the strap. a strap with a number of tails at one end is called a tawse in scotland
and northern england.
• the whip. varieties include the russian knout and south african sjambok, in
addition to the scourge and martinet.
• the cat o' nine tails was a popular implement used in naval discipline.
• the hairbrush and belt are traditionally used in the united states and great britain as
an implement for domestic spanking.
• the wooden spoon, commonly used in australia
• the wired clothes hanger, a common and easily available substitute for a bamboo
canes in hong kong.

in some instances the victim of punishment is required to prepare the implement which
will be used upon them. for instance, sailors were employed in preparing the cat o' nine
tails which would be used upon their own back, whilst children were sent to cut a switch
or rod.

in contrast, informal punishments, particularly in domestic settings, tend to lack this ritual
nature and are often administered with whatever object comes to hand. it is common, for
instance, for belts, wooden spoons, slippers or hairbrushes to be used in domestic
punishment, whilst rulers and other classroom equipment have been used in schools.

in parts of england, boys were formerly beaten under the old tradition of "beating the
bounds" when a boy was paraded around the boundary of an area of a city or district and
would often ask to be beaten on the buttocks. one famous "beating the bounds" happened
around the boundary of st giles and the area where tottenham court road now stands in
london. the actual stone that separated the boundary is now under the centerpoint office
block. see "london" by peter ackroyd for more information on this subject.

[edit] administration of punishment


in formal punishment medical supervision is often considered necessary to assess
whether the target of punishment is in a fit condition to be beaten and to oversee the
punishment to prevent serious injury from occurring. the role of the medical officer was
particularly important in the nineteenth century, a time in which severe punishment was
common, but growing public criticism of the practice encouraged medical regulation.

corporal punishment can be directed at a number of different anatomical targets, the


choice depending on a number of factors. the humiliation and pain of a particular
punishment have always been primary concerns, but convenience and custom are also
factors. there is an additional concern in the modern world about the permanent harm that
can result from punishment, though this was rarely a factor before the nineteenth century.
the intention of corporal punishment is to discipline an individual with the infliction of a
measure of pain, and permanent injury is considered counterproductive.

• most commonly, corporal punishment is directed at the buttocks, with some


languages having a specific word for their chastisement. for example, the french
call this fessée, the spanish nalgada. the english term spanking refers to
punishment on the buttocks, though only with the open hand. this part of the body
is often chosen because it is painful, but is arguably unlikely to cause long-term
physical harm. in the united kingdom the term spanking is becoming more
associated with sex play and the term smacking is used more often.
• the back is commonly targeted in military and judicial punishments, particularly
popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. however, damage to both
spine and kidneys is possible and such punishment is rarely used in the modern
world.
• although the face and particularly the cheeks may be struck in domestic
punishment, formal punishments avoid the head because of the serious injuries
that can result. in some countries, domestic and school punishments aimed at the
head are considered assault.
• the hands are a common target in school discipline, though rarely targeted in other
forms of corporal punishment. since serious injury can be caused by striking the
hand, the implements used and the numbers of blows must be strictly controlled.
• in western asia corporal punishment was directed against the feet. although this
was mostly used on criminals, a version was in use in schools in the region.

one common problem with corporal punishment is the difficulty with which an objective
measure of pain can be determined and delivered. in the nineteenth century scientists
such as alexander bain and francis galton suggested scientific solutions to this, such as
the use of electricity.[39] these were, however, unpopular and perceived as cruel. the
difficulty in inflicting a set measure of pain makes it difficult to distinguish punishment
from abuse, and has contributed to calls for the abolition of the practice.

disciplining your child


how do you keep a 1-year-old from heading toward the vcr? what should you do when your
preschooler throws a fit? how can you get a teenager to respect your authority?

whatever the age of your child, it's important to be consistent when it comes to discipline. if you
don't stick to the rules and consequences that you set up, your child isn't likely to either.

here are some ideas about how to vary your approach to discipline to best fit your family.

ages 0 to 2
babies and toddlers are naturally curious. so it's wise to eliminate temptations and no-nos — items
such as vcrs, stereos, jewelry, and especially cleaning supplies and medications should be kept well
out of reach. when your crawling baby or roving toddler heads toward an unacceptable or dangerous
play object, calmly say "no" and either remove your child from the area or distract him or her with
an appropriate activity.

timeouts can be effective discipline for toddlers. a child who has been hitting, biting, or throwing
food, for example, should be told why that behavior is unacceptable and taken to a designated
timeout area — a kitchen chair or bottom stair — for a minute or two to calm down (longer timeouts
are not effective for toddlers).

it's important to not spank, hit, or slap a child of any age. babies and toddlers are especially unlikely
to be able to make any connection between their behavior and physical punishment. they will only
feel the pain of the hit.

and don't forget that kids learn by watching adults, particularly their parents. make sure your
behavior is role-model material. you'll make a much stronger impression by putting your own
belongings away rather than just issuing orders to your child to pick up toys while your stuff is left
strewn around.

ages 3 to 5
as your child grows and begins to understand the connection between actions and consequences,
make sure you start communicating the rules of your family's home. explain to kids what you expect
of them before you punish them for a certain behavior. for instance, the first time your 3-year-old
uses crayons to decorate the living room wall, discuss why that's not allowed and what will happen
if your child does it again (for instance, your child will have to help clean the wall and will not be
able to use the crayons for the rest of the day). if the wall gets decorated again a few days later, issue
a reminder that crayons are for paper only and then enforce the consequences.

the earlier that parents establish this kind of "i set the rules and you're expected to listen or accept
the consequences" standard, the better for everyone. although it's sometimes easier for parents to
ignore occasional bad behavior or not follow through on some threatened punishment, this sets a bad
precedent. consistency is the key to effective discipline, and it's important for parents to decide
together what the rules are and then uphold them.
while you become clear on what behaviors will be punished, don't forget to reward good behaviors.
don't underestimate the positive effect that your praise can have — discipline is not just about
punishment but also about recognizing good behavior. for example, saying "i'm proud of you for
sharing your toys at playgroup" is usually more effective than punishing a child for the opposite
behavior — not sharing. and be specific when doling out praise; don't just say, "good job!"

if your child continues an unacceptable behavior no matter what you do, try making a chart with a
box for each day of the week. decide how many times your child misbehave before some
punishment kicks in or how long the proper behavior must be displayed before it is rewarded. post
the chart on the refrigerator and then track the good and bad behaviors every day. this will give your
child (and you) a concrete look at how it's going. once this begins to work, praise your child for
learning to control misbehavior and, especially, for overcoming any stubborn problem.

timeouts also can work well for kids at this age. establish a suitable timeout place that's free of
distractions and will force your child to think about how he or she has behaved. remember, getting
sent to your room may have meant something in the days before computers, tvs, and video games
were stored there. don't forget to consider the length of time that will best suit your child. experts say
1 minute for each year of age is a good rule of thumb; others recommend using the timeout until the
child is calmed down (to teach self-regulation).

it's important to tell kids what the right thing to do is, not just to say what the wrong thing is. for
example, instead of saying "don't jump on the couch," try "please sit on the furniture and put your
feet on the floor."

ages 6 to 8
timeouts and consequences are also effective discipline strategies for this age group.

again, consistency is crucial, as is follow-through. make good on any promises of discipline or else
you risk undermining your authority. kids have to believe that you mean what you say. this is not to
say you can't give second chances or allow a certain margin of error, but for the most part, you
should act on what you say.

be careful not to make unrealistic threats of punishment ("slam that door and you'll never watch tv
again!") in anger, since not following through could weaken all your threats. if you threaten to turn
the car around and go home if the squabbling in the backseat doesn't stop, make sure you do exactly
that. the credibility you'll gain with your kids is much more valuable than a lost beach day.

huge punishments may take away your power as a parent. if you ground your son or daughter for a
month, your child may not feel motivated to change behaviors because everything has already been
taken away.

ages 9 to 12
kids in this age group — just as with all ages — can be disciplined with natural consequences. as
they mature and request more independence and responsibility, teaching them to deal with the
consequences of their behavior is an effective and appropriate method of discipline.

for example, if your fifth grader's homework isn't done homework before bedtime, should you make
him or her stay up to do it or even lend a hand yourself? probably not — you'll miss an opportunity
to teach a key life lesson. if homework is incomplete, your child will go to school the next day
without it and suffer the resulting bad grade.

it's natural for parents to want to rescue kids from mistakes, but in the long run they do kids a favor
by letting them fail sometimes. kids see what behaving improperly can mean, and will probably not
make those mistakes again. however, if your child does not seem to be learning from natural
consequences, you should set up your own consequences to help modify the behavior more
effectively.

ages 13 and up
by now you've laid the groundwork. your child knows what's expected and that you mean what you
say about the consequences of bad behavior. don't let down your guard now — discipline is just as
important for teens as it is for younger children. just like the 4-year-old who needs you to set a
bedtime and stick to it, your teen needs to know boundaries, too.

set up rules regarding homework, visits by friends, curfews, and dating and discuss them beforehand
with your teenager so there will be no misunderstandings. your teen will probably complain from
time to time, but also will realize that you're in control. believe it or not, teens still want and need
you to set limits and enforce order in their lives, even as you grant them greater freedom and
responsibility.

when your teen does break a rule, taking away privileges may seem the best plan of action. while it's
fine to take away the car for a week, for example, be sure to also discuss why coming home an hour
past curfew is unacceptable and worrisome.

remember to give a teenager some control over things. not only will this limit the number of power
struggles you have, it will help your teen respect the decisions that you do need to make for him or
her. you could allow a younger teen to make decisions concerning school clothes, hair styles, or
even the condition of his or her room. as your teen gets older, that realm of control might be
extended to include an occasional relaxed curfew.

it's also important to focus on the positives. for example, have your teen earn a later curfew by
demonstrating positive behavior instead of setting an earlier curfew as punishment for irresponsible
behavior.

a word about spanking


perhaps no form of discipline is more controversial than spanking. here are some reasons why the
american academy of pediatrics (aap) discourages spanking:

• spanking teaches kids that it's ok to hit when they're angry.


• spanking can physically harm children.
• rather than teaching kids how to change their behavior, spanking makes them fearful of their
parents and merely teaches them to avoid getting caught.
• for kids seeking attention by acting out, spanking may inadvertently "reward" them —
negative attention is better than no attention at all.

ten things we know about corporal punishment


1. poor children, minorities, children with disabilities and boys are hit more
frequently in schools, sometimes at 2-5 times the rate of other children.

2. corporal punishment has been abolished in more than 100 nations of the world.

3. corporal punishment teaches children that violence is a way to solve problems.


research shows that this message is taught to those who inflict pain, those who
receive it, and those who witness it.

4. corporal punishment of children is related to decreased internalization of moral


rules, increased aggression, more antisocial behavior, increased criminality,
decreased mental health outcomes, increased adult abusive behaviors, and
increased risk of being victimized by abusive relationships in adulthood.

5. school violence has not increased since paddling use has declined. violent crime
in schools has declined dramatically since 1994. the annual rate of serious violent
crime in 2003 (6 per 1,000 students) was less than half of the rate in 1994.

6. academic achievement is a risk factor in the use of corporal punishment of


children.

7. corporal punishment reinforces physical aggression as an acceptable and effective


means of eliminating unwanted behavior in our society.

8. significantly more school shooting deaths were found in states allowing school
corporal punishment than those who do not.

9. there is overwhelming evidence that harsh interventions are damaging to children,


both emotionally and physically. the effects of such trauma may be compounded
when a child has preexisting learning difficulties. when schools respond to these
challenges using harsh methods, children can be further traumatized.

10. school corporal punishment is more widely used in states in the south and
southwest and in rural districts rather than urban and suburban districts.