The Effects of Physical Punishment The debate whether the use of physical punishment (e.g. spanking, slapping) should be used as a form of discipline is a controversial one. Some parents believe that there is nothing wrong with physical punishment, while some parents believe that physical punishment should only be used in certain instances (e.g. spanking or slapping a child for touching or playing with something dangerous), and then there are parents who believe that a child should never be physically punished. While most people agree that getting physical (hitting) with someone is wrong, physically punishing a child continues to be uses as an acceptable form of discipline. Most parents use physical punishment as a means to stop a
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In a review of physical abuse cases from the 2003 Canadian Incident Study of Child Maltreatment it was found that seventy five percent of the cases the parent intentions were only too physical punish their child (Gershoff, 2010). Another study done in Mexico revealed that those parent(s) who use physical punishment as a means to discipline were more likely to use more sever methods such as kicking, biting, and burning; this suggests that the more frequent and severe use of physical punishment will lead to physical abuse(Gershoff, 2010).
Child Well Being Most parents do not think that the use of physical punishment will have negative effects and a child’s mental well being. However, this is not the case, the use of physical punishment increases stress levels in a child in the short term. If the physical punishment is repeated over and over the stress will accumulate over time which will lead into the development of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression (Gershoff, 2010). In an interview study done in New Zealand, the children interviewed talked about how painful the physical punishment was, which is not surprising, however it was the extent to which the children spoke about the emotional distress the felt when physically punished by their parents. Their experiences with physical punishment included emotions such as sadness, anger, stress, anxiety and fear (for example, “smacking makes you feel sad and grumpy” or “…it stings you and makes you