Corporal Punishment In Western Society

             Corporal punishment is a form of discipline that is deeply ingrained in Western society. The bible reads "he that spareth his rod / hateth his son: but he that loveth him his chasteneth his betimes" (Proverbs, 13:24), and this sentiment is clearly reflected in today¡¯s disciplinary styles. Research has also shown just how deeply embedded these ideals actually are; ninety percent of parents in the U.S. use corporal punishment as a disciplinary technique with their toddlers, and fifty percent with their adolescent children (Childhood spanking and increase antisocial behavior, 1998). Despite these outrageous statistics, the worldwide plight for child protection has actually been improving. In the 15th century, beating and abuse for educative purposes were commonplace and even considered essential (Aries, 1962), but today corporal punishment is banned in schools in all countries except Australia, Canada, South Africa and the U.S. (Zigler & Hall, 2000). In addition, Austria, Cypress, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway and Sweden have further committed themselves to child welfare by banning all forms of corporal punishment, both in school and in the home (University of Alabama, 1998). Corporal punishment has not only been shown to be ineffective in reducing undesired behavior, but it can result in severe physical and psychological consequences, that can have detrimental short and long-term effects on the child. Studies illustrating these points are not new, the consequences of physical punishment have been observed and disregarded on many occasions, yet corporal punishment continues. All these studies indicate that corporal punishment is not only an outdated form of discipline, but also a harmful one that deserves serious reconsideration. A policy similar to that introduced in Sweden in the late 1970¡¯s would ban the use of corporal punishment by all authoritative figures (parents and teachers included) and would be instrumental in protecting out children from harm.

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