Corporal punishment is fast gaining a reputation of being a barbaric albeit an ineffective way of disciplining children. 29 countries world over have declared corporal punishment to be illegal and have brought it under the ambit of judicial law, making it a punishable offence.
Other countries prohibit the use of corporal punishment in schools. Sociologists and psychologists the world over have contended that the concept is archaic and violates the basic integrity of a smaller defenceless human being by a person of authority.
Physical abuse and spanking can have detrimental effects on a child’s well being in the long term and vastly impact his socio-politico environment.
Aggression Begets Aggression
You reap what you sow. It has been observed that children who were hit as youngsters grow up to be aggressive physical abusers in their adolescence and adult life. Reports of bullying and episodes of violence and gang fighting are common amongst these children. They grow up unconsciously thinking that hitting is an acceptable form of behaviour modification.
This is reinforced by the child’s parents who have succumbed to hitting and severely punishing the child. Children have not been allowed to follow and imbibe values from good role models on behaviour modification.
The Child’s Contention
Often children react to a basic need of love, empathy, support and recognition from their parents or caregivers. Mainstream society has made the average parent to be dismissive and frighteningly callous as they are themselves bogged down by the rigmarole of daily living.
The child’s needs are best put on the backburner. Lower levels of frustration tolerance have made them to believe that corporal punishment is a quick solution to getting the acceptable response from the child.
Being hit mars the child’s ability to chalk out appropriate means of conflict resolution as he is consumed by feelings of remorse, anger, rebelliousness and revenge. An older, angry child can even lash out against the parent figure. Resentment and dislike are common.
The Effect of Punishment
Punishment, whether it is physically or verbally abusive, interferes with the formation of a close and loving bond between two people irrespective of age and gender. Hitting, launching vicious verbal attacks, self righteousness and a total disregard of another being’s boundaries can mar even the most loving relationships.
We have been created to coexist in an environment where love begets love and where there is a healthy respect for each other’s boundaries.Often parents feel that regard, respect and obedience to authority is their entitlement without realizing that nurturing is a two way street. This lop-sided attitude is known to be the cause of friction in most families.
Reinforcing Good Behaviour
It is human nature to highlight the negative points of a person. Some parents are unaware of how to positively relate to their child. Hitting, passive aggression, guilt tripping, manipulation and stone walling have become the norm rather than the exception. The child feels unloved and uncared for. Anger builds up and bubbles over when the child is sufficiently grown up and is able to thwart aggression.
Corporal punishment can lead to a host of psychological problems like low self esteem, juvenile delinquency, truancy, criminal behaviour and abusive personal relationships. Bullying is common and the child may try to browbeat and abuse someone who is timid or smaller.
The adage ‘might is right’ holds good here. Children who have been hit as kids, grow up to be dominating, nasty, supercilious people who are racked by their own insecurities but put on a false show of dominance and might.
Love, respect and mutual trust is the only way to form commendable and long lasting relationships.