Corporal Punishment Essay

1279 words - 6 pages

Because the values, beliefs, education, customs and cultures of people vary so widely, along with the age and temperament of the child, methods of child discipline vary widely.
What some call discipline others call it punishment.
What are those two words really mean ?
What are the effects of them on children , parentst ,and sociaty in general?

The word discipline is defined as imparting knowledge and skill, in other words to teach. Discipline is used by parents to teach their children about expectations, guidelines and principles. Children need to be given regular discipline to be taught right from wrong and to be maintained safe. Child discipline can involve rewards and punishments ...view middle of the document...

In the past corporal punishment was by not only applied to children. It was used on adults as well. In England from the Middle Ages whipping was a common punishment for minor crimes. In the 18th century whipping or flogging was a common punishment in the British army and navy. This type of punishment was abolished in England in 1881. (Lambert P.2) From the Middle Ages to the late 20th century children were disciplined with rods or rulers in schools, work and at home. (Lambert P.2 ) After the Bible a lot of our modern philosophy on child rearing can be traced back to the writings of John Locke who wrote the treatise Some Thoughts Concerning Education which was published in 1693. Locke started writing his thoughts about childrearing at the request of his cousin who was asking for advice about the upbringing of her son. (Cleverly et al P.15) As John Cleverly and D.C. Phillips point out in Visions of Childhood: Influential Models From Locke to Spock, Locke began by discounting the notion that any "innate principles" arrived inborn with the infant. Instead, he proposed that a child entered the world as a tabula rasa or blank tablet upon which would be written the contents of the mind. Locke wrote “…'tis fit we now come to consider the parts of the discipline to be us'd…... I have spoken so much of carrying a strict hand over children, that perhaps I shall be suspected of not considering enough, what is due to their tender age and constitutions….. that great severity of punishment does but very little good, nay, great harm in education; and I believe it will be found that, …. those children who have been most chastis'd, seldom make the best men.

For a full understanding of the attitudes towards corporal punishment, like any other aspect of our society, we must go back to the earliest records. Fear of the rod was the educational legacy handed down from the earliest societies to modern Europe. Social and religious attitudes supported it, with only a handful of men speaking against it on the grounds of its debasing effects, or lack of success.

Primitive Tribal Societies

Probably the only generalization that can be made about the use of physical punishment among primitive tribes is that there was no common procedure. Among some tribes of Australian aborigines, for instance, physical pain was deliberately inflicted on the boy as a training for, and test of manhood (Elkin, 1964, chap. VII). Among certain tribes of North American Indians, however, the concept of deliberately inflicting pain on children was absent, but among others, beating was a common punishment. Pettit concludes that among primitive societies corporal punishment is rare, not because of the innate kindliness of these people but because it is contrary...

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