Children And Corporal Punishment

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        Often times we see strangers on the news for allegations of abuse. The typical aunt, uncle, cousin, boyfriend or perhaps the parents themselves are the usual suspects when evidence of child abuse arises. When we pack our children up and send them off to school the idea of abuse never even comes to mind.

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We are under the impression they are safe, that no harm should come to them there. What most don’t realize is that in many areas of Tennessee it’s perfectly legal for someone else to paddle a child in school despite the fact it is illegal for parents themselves to do so.        

Realistically, you cannot protect your child from all the hurt in the world, it simply isn’t possible. However, you shouldn’t have to protect them from their school teacher or principal. School is supposed to be a place that nurtures intelligence and fosters learning in a safe environment outside of the home not boot camp or disciplinary center. Striking a child with a weapon purely because they upset you teaches nothing but violence and fosters a need for vengeance. Studies have shown that the psychological consequences outway any possible benefit and rather than correct the behavior it creates new issues like oppositional defiant disorder and as the child gets older the effects of corporal punishment worsen despite the child’s improved pain tolerance.       

Adults who were spanked regularly as children showed less improvement in their studies over time than children who were not spanked. They also are statistically more likely to engage in violence and drug related activities than their peers. They react the same way as veterans returning from war or women escaping domestic violence. Spankings before the 2nd year and after the 10th also have been proven to be more psychologically damaging and have no behavioral benefit. Spankings are more for the person giving them to feel gravitied than to improve the behavior of the child.        

Consequently, this teaches the child that violence in response to negative behavior is normal and justified. Which is the complete opposite goal of our justice system. If an adult is hit with a paddle the person swinging it can charged with aggravated assault and battery. Which is a felony that carries a eighteen month to six year sentence in Tennessee. Children who are regularly spanked are set up for failure and do not thrive as they would if they received a gentle response and caring hand. This also puts them behind their peers academically which will affect them well into old age and potentially hinder their ability to find gainful employment as adults. When you hinder a child’s ability to learn you damage them for the rest of their lives. Which is exactly what striking a child does in addition to damaging their trust in authority figures such as teachers and policemen.       

When children lose the ability to say no it makes them susceptible to other types of abuse and peer pressure because they can no longer judge what situations they should be in control of. This impairment is lifelong and makes them highly suggestable to negative behaviors and easily manipulated especially by those in position of authority such as principals or later in life, their bosses or coworkers with a higher ranking than them.        

Generally, this sets them back in most ways imaginable and for teens and pre toddlers the consequences are even more severe. As infants are not truly capable of understanding why they are being hit it can causing them to disassociate from adults and delay them mentally as they do not bond as well with their caregivers and this boond is paramount in developing early language skills and social skills. (graham, 9)The effects can last a lifetime. It is also bad for their skeletal development as their growth plates are still coming to together and forming in different places such as the skull and the knees. The only age that its considered remotely effective (and less psychologically damaging) is between five and 10 years of age.        

Physical punishment can lead to behavioral problems in teens. Particularly young males because instead of internalizing the emotions they ar feeling they become physically aggressive prone to emotional outbursts and lack self control in addition to lacking self confidence. (Evans,7) While females are less likely to receive physical discipline as teenagers than males many parents still use this as their go to punishment for bad behavior and it causes depression suicidal thoughts and severe anxiety along with many other side effects such as low self worth, self harm and lack of trust in authority figures. (Evans, 6)

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