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Corporal Punishment Essay

2086 words - 9 pages

By definition, punishment is a process whereby a consequence is added to a particular behaviour in an effort to weaken that behaviour (Huitt & Hummel, 1997). Corporal punishment in turn refers to actual physical punishment to correct behaviour. There are two main institutions within which children are disciplined, namely, the home and the school. Sociologists describe the home as the primary socializing agent as such the home expectedly has the most far reaching impact. The school, as a secondary socialization agent will either reinforce or de-emphasize those values taught within the home. One common feature between the home and the school is that in some cultures, corporal punishment is ...view middle of the document...

Persons are placed in wider society from this ‘power house’ and they impact the world with the values that they hold true. Like the home, society operates on principles of rewards and punishment and it may even be argued that consequences typically experienced in a stable home environment may well be less harsh when compared to those meted out in wider society.
Numerous social scientists have examined the effects of corporal punishment on children and the way corporal punishment is used as a technique to discipline children. It has been noted that the difference between abuse and discipline is unclear for many caregivers within the household, it is clear is that the desired outcome be known by the caregiver n order for corporal punishment to be effective. For some, it is difficult to draw conclusions about spanking when compared to abuse. Holden stated that in research on corporal punishment he has reviewed, parents may not be honest in their responses (Holden, 2002). Another interesting issue that may be emphasized is that at home ‘spanking’ is used in conjunction with other forms of discipline, indeed on may argue that this is often a last resort. Holden sees corporal punishment as reinforcement for other parenting techniques, he specifically described this as ‘back up’ intervention (Holden, 2002). Baurmrind highlighted the fact that corporal punishment often acts as a short-term parenting technique that sets out to alter noncompliance, this is done with the hope that non-corporal techniques can be used in the long-term (Baurmrind, 2002).
Within the school, corporal punishment serves a similar purpose as within the home, to correct misbehavior. It typically involves striking the student in a prescribed manner, normally across the buttocks or on the hands with a cane, paddle or strap (Student/Parent Information Guide and Code of Conduct 2008-2009). Proponents or corporal punishment in schools may articulate that it provides immediate response to discipline, this method is more advantageous as when compared to suspension since students are not taken out of the class setting for any extended period of time. In the past, corporal punishment was widely practiced in schools in many parts of the world, but in recent decades it has been outlawed in most of Europe and in Canada, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand. Corporal punishment remains popular in African and, Middle Eastern schools and s such necessitate discipline in children.
"Numerous human rights bodies…have made it clear that corporal punishment of children breaches children's fundamental human rights to respect for their dignity and physical integrity. This reality provides an immediate imperative for ending the practice…” This sentiment was expressed by Mieke Schuurman, Secretary General of the European Children's Network, speaking at the launch of the Council of Europe's initiative against corporal punishment of children - Zagreb, June 2008. Throughout history physical discipline has...

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