(Spanking a Necessary Evil

Children seem to respond much quicker to physical punishments or even the threat of this than they do verbal corrections. Many parents believe that spanking is an acceptable form of punishment and consider the practice as an indispensable component of child-rearing. Others believe hitting anyone is wrong including and maybe especially, a child. Physically abusing another adult is considered a crime and when it involves a child, it is often considered reprehensible as well. It is argued that a civilized society should not permit a child to be abused simply because of a lack of imagination regarding less physical discipline techniques. Is corporal punishment a positive, healthy, and effective way to discipline a child or does this practice teach the child that violence is an acceptable way to handle problems?The ‘spanking culture’ includes the majority of U.S. and U.K. households as evidenced by the fact that a majority of parents not only believe corporal punishment is the correct method for the home, they want it to be reintroduced in schools to tackle what they perceive is an increasing problem of classroom disorder. “Fifty-one percent of parents think the reintroduction of corporal punishment is the answer to the problem. Among working-class parents, 60 percent are in favor, 40 percent among middle-class parents” (Carvel, 2000). The strongest supporters for corporal punishment in the United States are the National Association of Secondary School Principals, a large majority of fundamentalist churches, and the American Federation of Teachers. As of 1985, 47 percent of the general American population was in favor of corporal punishment in the schools and 60 percent of school officials of various rank were also in favor of more physical disciplinary techniques in schools (“Corporal Punishment”, 2003). For most, it is believed that the threat of corporal punishment by teachers and administrators produces children who are “better controlled, learn an appropriate appreciation for authority, develop better social skills, as well as improved moral character and learn to better discipline themselves” (“Corporal Punishment”, 2003). To a large extent, the research supports this contention when corporal punishment is carried out with reason, restraint, and reliability among younger children. (Baumrind, 1989).