Undoubtedly, discipline is critical in molding a person's character. Parents are often debating over whether corporal punishment, which is believed to be an effective and affordable behavior deterrent, should be used as a disciplinary measure. In the United States, 73.6% of parents strongly agree or agree that it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with spanking.
According to the studies published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the university pediatricians, harsh physical punishment was associated with increased odds of depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders.
Spanking might harm children's mental development as the fear and stress associated with being hit affects a child's brain development. The researchers of a U.S. study tested the IQs of children in two age groups and then retested them four years later. It was concluded that in the 2-to-4-year-old group those who were not spanked scored five points higher than those who had been spanked while there was a 28-point IQ gap in the 5-to-9-year-old group.
Threats of physical punishment also impact the parent-child relationship negatively, making it more difficult to use other types of positive parenting strategies when a child grows older. Dr. Bob Sege, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatricians who specializes in the prevention of childhood violence, opined that children who experience violence at home end up using violence later in their lives. For children, their parents are the most important people in the world, and they learn from them what social norms are and how to treat others. Corporal punishment will confuse the boundaries between love and violence for children.
Frequent use of corporal punishment when the child was 3 years of age was also associated with three times increased risk for greater inclination to violence when the child was 5 years old.
Some common alternatives to physical punishment are to:
Parents who believe in corporal punishment should remember that damage done to the psyche of a child often lasts a lifetime, and hardly ever reversible. Always have an open and sincere conversation with their child to encourage understanding and respect.
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