Reflection Essay on Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment of children, while acceptable in other countries, has been banned in some others. Some countries where pking is illegal include Austria, Norway, Uruguay, and New Zealand. In the United States, parental pking of children remains legal. In schools, corporal punishment is allowed in 23 states. In some cultures, a minimal amount of corporal punishment is deemed necessary to instill the right values in a growing child. Using corporal punishment with children has its benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, the punishment would teach the child that what he did was wrong.

The pain incurred as a result of the punishment is hoped to discourage further bad behavior. On the negative side, corporal punishment may cause psychological scarring and deep resentment toward the parents. In a report from the American Psychological Association (2002), the group cited a study by Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, Ph. D. , of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University. Gershoff found a strong relation between corporal punishment and antisocial and aggressive behavior in children. The study did not conclude that all children who received corporal punishment became delinquent.

Personally, I believe that the way the corporal punishment is meted out will have a directly proportional effect on the child’s emotional, neurological and physiological development. If the child will receive too much beating for committing a slight offence, that will definitely hurt his emotional state, possibly causing trauma. Punishment should be slight if the misdemeanor is light. Sterner measures are only necessary when the misbehavior is being repeatedly and deliberately done. If I were a parent, I’d use corporal punishment sparingly.

That is, it will only be used as a last resort after talks and other means won’t be effective. When a child commits mistake, it is important to explain to him why the deed was wrong. If the child does it again, then remind him why it was wrong, but in a firmer manner. When the child deliberately does something wrong, even if he was told already why doing it is wrong, then, that’s the time that a pking would be necessary. The pking would help the child internalize the gravity of the misdemeanor. The pking should only be done at the butt using the hand, and should not be too harsh to avoid trauma.

The International Save the Children Alliance conducted a research in different countries to ascertain the harm inflicted to children because of corporal punishment. In some cases, children had to rush to the hospital due to the severity of the punishment. This study supports my view that corporal punishment should never be too harsh. While I was growing up, I had my share of pking. But as those happened only when I kept misbehaving despite being warned against it. Looking back, I could not fault the way my parents disciplined me as I was growing up.

The way they disciplined has greatly influenced my view on corporal punishment. My parents were careful to explain why I was punished and why on occasion do I get a pking. To ban corporal punishment would be detrimental to the society as a whole. Spanking is a tool in molding the child while growing up to become a person who could positively affect the community. If the child won’t be punished for doing a wrong deed over and over again, that sort of behavior could get carried into adulthood, resulting to bigger problems for the family and many other people.


American Psychological Association. (2002, June 26).  Is Corporal Punishment an Effective

Means of Discipline? Retrieved December 12, 2007, from

International Save the Children Alliance. (2003). What is corporal punishment? Retrieved

December 12, 2007, from

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