Effects of Punishment in Children

In the past, it was the accepted practice to punish children physically, and parents were even told to "not spare the rod," when it comes to instilling discipline in children. It was only in the recent years that the effects of punishment in children have been discussed and studied by researchers in the field of behavioural science. This is probably due to the increase in cases of depression, adult misbehaviour and other psychological deviances among adult individuals. Psychologists found that most cases have something to do with a violent past, including severe punishments received by the individual during childhood. This led some to question the effectiveness of punishment, particularly, corporal punishment. Thereafter, studies have been conducted to know if there is a correlation between incidents of corporal punishment and problematic psychological situations such as depression, aggressiveness, alcohol abuse, and interpersonal problems.
In a study by Straus (2000), it was found that corporal punishment of children is positively correlated with adult depression and suicidal tendencies …
In a study that involved a large sampling of individuals across the United States, it was found that the psychological damage is not solely related to abusive physical punishment, but also to ordinary and legal corporal punishment (Straus, 2000, p. 72). In studies such as this one, there are other factors that could have contributed to the detrimental effects seen in adulthood. Such factors may include marital violence or heavy drinking problem. However, Straus determined that the net result indicates that the more corporal punishment received, the greater are the chances for increased aggressiveness, delinquency and problems with interpersonal relationships. This is because of the mental stress that children experienced as a result of corporal punishment. (Straus, 2000, p. 73-74).
There are similar studies to support the conclusions made by Straus. One such study is that of Turner and Muller (2004), who stated that "level of corporal punishment is positively related to depressive symptoms, independent of any history of abuse and the frequency of other forms of punishment" (p. 761). Special emphasis is made on anger that accompanies the punishment. They found that this is the biggest contributing factor to the negative impact of punishment on children as they reach adulthood (Turner &amp. Muller, 2004, p. 777).
Despite the findings, such as those presented by Straus, not everyone is convinced that corporal punishment is altogether unacceptable. Greven (as cited in Straus, 2000, p. 60) believed that the lack of attention towards the issue of the negative effects of corporal punishment is due to the fact that almost 100% of Americans have been subjected to it, thus it became an&nbsp.acceptable way of life for them.&nbsp.&nbsp.

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