Corporal punishment is the intentional use of physical force to cause
bodily pain or discomfort as a penalty for unacceptable behavior. Corporal
punishment includes any action that produces discomfort, such as:
- Spanking, hitting, slapping, pinching, ear
pulling, jabbing, shoving, or choking.
- Forcing a child to assume a
position that becomes painful over time.
- Confining a child in an
- Denying bathroom
- Forcing a child to eat a noxious substance, such as
soap or dog food.
- Withholding water and food.
Corporal punishment is not an effective method of managing behavior. It does not teach a child how to act properly. At
best, corporal punishment has only a temporary effect on behavior. And it may
even make it worse. Not only does it reinforce some problem behavior, but also it
teaches a child that physical force is the way to resolve conflict.
Corporal punishment can also have emotional and psychological
effects, both short- and long-term, such as:
- Impairing a child's trust and
- Causing embarrassment, humiliation, a sense of
worthlessness, anger, resentment, and confusion.
- Causing children
to have trouble forming close relationships, especially intimate
relationships, with others later in life.
There are lots of other ways to discipline your child. Effective alternatives to corporal punishment depend on the age of your child and include:
- Using distraction.
- Using time-out.
- Talking about why a certain behavior is wrong and what can be done instead.
- Discussing values.
Creating consequences for actions that violate acceptable behaviors within your family.
Research has shown that positive reinforcement is more effective than corporal punishment. Catch your child doing
something right and praise him or her. Don't wait until your child has done
something wrong to notice his or her behavior.
Anger, Hostility, and Violent Behavior
Child Abuse and Neglect
Effective Parenting: Discipline
Helping Your Child Build Inner Strength