From the Washington Post
, an article about extreme cases of corporal punishment in African schools. Click here
to read the article.
It is also important to talk about corporal punishment in the United States as many countries have instituted laws against corporal punishment, yet 94% of Americans spank their children by the age of 3 or 4.
A recent study by Elizabeth Girshoff
find many disturbing consequences of coporal punishment and spanking. The article, "Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review" can be found in the Psychological Bulletin
, American Psychological Association Inc, Vol. 128, No. 4, 539-579. Girshoff's research
finds that parents are more likely to use corporal punishment between 5 p.m. and bedtime, a period in which parents are most likely becoming as tired as their children. Parents are also more likely to emotionally angry, and the practice is more likely to occur with parents who have conflictual relationships. In addition, if children display an escalated level of disobedience after they have already been punished, parents are more likely to use corporal punishment. Girshoff’s findings are startling as she writes that, “94% of the individual effect sizes represented undesirable behaviors or experiences” (Girshoff, 2002a, 549). The results of her study lend evidence to the fact that corporal punishment leads to undesirable qualities as Girshoff writes, "Ten of the 11 meta-analyses indicate parental corporal punishment is associated with the following undesirable behaviors and experiences: decreased moral internalization, increased child aggression, increased child delinquent and antisocial behavior, decreased quality of relationship between parent and child, decreased child mental health, increased risk of being a victim of physical abuse, increased adult aggression, increased adult criminal and antisocial behavior, decreased adult mental health, and increased risk of abusing own child or spouse. Corporal punishment was associated with only one desirable behavior, namely, increased immediate compliance".
I think that Girshoff best sums up her argument when responding to critics when she writes, "I would like to call attention to the reflection of this argument, namely that unless and until researchers, clinicians, and parents can definitively demonstrate the presence of positive effects of corporal punishment (including effectiveness in halting future misbehavior), not just the absence of negative effects, we as psychologists cannot responsibly recommend its use".