Corporal Punishment And Its Psychological Effects on a Child

Filed in Child Abuse, Health, Psychology by on November 6, 2018 0 Comments

This exposition is concerned with the negative psychological effects of corporal punishment on a child and the need to avoid them.

Before we proceed, it is pertinent to explain each of the key words that incorporate the topic. Below are explications of the words:

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Corporal Punishment And Its Psychological Effects on a Child

Corporal Punishment on a Child – Photo Source: https://www.deccanchronicle.com

Our definitions are from Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Psychological: that which is directed toward the will or toward the mind specifically in its conative function.

Effects: something that inevitably follows an antecedent (such as a cause or agent).

Corporal: of, relating to, or affecting the body.

Punishment: the act of punishing or a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure.

Child: This is a young person being below the age of puberty or below legal age of majority.

The above explanations are simply to guide you to understand everything about this article.

Corporal Punishment which is the main concern of this opus has to do with physical punishment, such as caning or flogging.

Physical or Corporal punishment is intended to inflict pains on the person. It is mostly practiced on children especially in schools and home settings. The method includes paddling, flagellation, shoving, smacking, canning and spanking.

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Historically, Corporal punishment has been used on adults who were slaves and prisoners by inflicting pains and injuries on them through the method of branding, flogging, hitting, and even mutilation as retribution for their crimes.

Worthy of note is the fact that Corporal Punishment is not same as discipline because of its rather negative effects. Discipline is distinctly different from punish as its results are all positive.

Corporal Punishment reduces the child’s understanding of the rules and values being taught. The child learns to fear punishment, rather than understand why he should follow rules, and so, he grows up with less ability to stop himself from misbehaving.

Discipline is the practice of training people to obey set rules or code of behaviour. It can also be said to be training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculty and moral character.

However, with humanitarian ideals and enlightenment, corporal punishment is seen as inhumane. It has since the 20th century been eliminated from the legal system of many developed countries.

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Psychological Effects of Corporal Punishment

It has been discovered by research that corporal punishment of whatever sort can lead to:

  1. Depression
  2. Substance abuse
  3. Aggression
  4. Anxiety
  5. Antisocial behaviour
  6. Mental health problems
  7. Bulimia
  8. Personality Disorder
  9. Poor self-esteem/ low self-confidence
  10. Intellectual Disability
  11. Injury on children
  12. Contemplation of suicide,

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The above outlined effects can lead to a lifetime psychological problems even though majority of those problems do not show physical injury. Study has shown that 2 to 7 per cent of mental disorders examples which are number above are linked to childhood physical or corporal punishment.

This is because the message sent to children through corporal punishment is that of aggression. These punishments suggest to the child that he/she is worthless, unloved, useless, unwanted, and so he/she deserves to be maltreated.

If Physical or corporal punishment persists overtime, the child internalizes the message of hatred and violence sent to him, grows up with that and eventually becomes an aggressive and violent adult with many other personality disorders.

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Giving consideration to the adverse effects of Physical or Corporal Punishment on the child, it is very important for parents and guidance to desist from it and embrace discipline; a nonviolent approach of correction instead of verbal abuse or physical punishment.

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