Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Corporal punishment is best defined as physical punishment. It is meant to cause physical pain to the child being disciplined and is done on purpose. There is nothing accidental about it. For example, a teacher may have a student that is misbehaving in class and acting out. The teacher or principal then uses a paddle of some sort to spank or hit the child. This is supposed to stop the unwanted behavior. Another example would be a parent that strikes their child as a means of discipline. The items used to strike the child may be hangers, belts, hands, sticks etc. Both examples are considered to be corporal punishment. I believe that corporal punishment is abuse. Whenever someone hitís a child, it is physical abuse. Period.
What shocks me is that there are currently thirteen states, within the United States, that still allow corporal punishment at school, as a form of discipline. Before researching this topic, I personally thought that we had come such a long way in the U.S. and that corporal punishment was just not acceptable anymore. Sadly, I was wrong.
Corporal punishment does not bring about respect; instead, it causes children to be fearful. As I said in an earlier article, hitting a child does not bring about respect for the caregiver. Children deserve to be respected. I am well aware that there are some people that will disagree with me. However, I am a firm believer that spanking and hitting brings about the desired behaviors that the caregiver wants, but only because of fear. Children will not necessarily respect their caregiver when they are hit by them. Neither is it a good way to try to bring about changes in behavior. Corporal punishment breeds fear.
I believe that corporal punishment does not only cause physical pain, but mental and emotional anguish as well, for the child. The pain that is inflicted can create inner turmoil for the child being physically disciplined. I would never allow any school administrator to physically hit either of my children. I believe that there are healthier ways to discipline a child. Itís time to end corporal punishment in the schools, as well as in individual homes across the country.