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Is Corporal Punishment an Effective Form of Discipline?

Corporal Punishment — Is it an effective means of discipline For years, corporal punishment has been a way to punish misbehaving children in schools across the country. This subject has been full of controversy within the child development ans psychological communities. In the article, “Is Corporal Punishment an effective means of punishment”, published by the American Pyschological Association (apa. org), June 2002.

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In a large-scale meta-analysis of 88 studies, psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, PhD, of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, looked at both positive and negative behaviors in children that were associated corporal punishment. Gershoff looked for associations between parental use of corporal punishment and child behaviors and experiences. Gershoff cited many reasons for opposing the corporal punishment policy. In commentary published along with the Gershoff study, George W. Holden, PhD. of the University of Texas at Austin, writes that Gershoff’s findings “reflect the growing body of evidence indicating that corporal punishment does no good and may even cause more harm. ” Holden submits that the psychological community should not be advocating spanking as a discipline tool. In the article Gershoff demonstrates her clear disappointment about the issue of corporal punishment. In the article, “To paddle or not to paddle”, published by CNN. com in August 2010, the author of the article, Liane Membis states that Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York says paddling in schools has got to stop.

She recently introduced legislation in to Congress that calls for a national end to paddling, a form of corporal punishment. Representative McCarthy believes that paddling is a form of discipline that causes immediate pain, and in some cases lasting injury and mental trauma. But not everyone feels the same way. Liane Membis cites a 1977 Supreme Court ruling in the Ingraham vs. Wright case that corporal punishment in schools was not cruel or unusual. The fear that paddling will increase the violence by students is what concerns Representative McCarthy the most. Paddling does not send children the proper message,” said Representative McCarthy. Without paddling, students would be less likely to become antisocial or aggressively violent, McCarthy said, and this is especially important for minorities and students with disabilities who may have a harder time fitting into certain social situations. Marjorie Gunnoe, a psychology professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, agrees that physical acts have an effect on children’s development. “A child’s behavior plays a key role to how they will function in other aspects of their life, including education,” she said.

However, before making national decisions on whether or not corporal punishment should be eliminated, Gunnoe said that legislators will need more proof that children who aren’t spanked or paddled are actually better off. Gunnoe recently conducted a study with 180 teenage children on spanking and its risk factors in childhood. She found that children who remembered being spanked on their bottom with an open hand performed better in school academically, did more volunteer work and were more optimistic in terms of their future, compared with children who had never been spanked.

The article written in the American Pysychological Association by Gershoff was very well written. She based her findings on the results of the research she conducted. Gershoff appears to be very well versed on this topic. Both articles preject a clear point of view, and attempt to persuade readers with their versions of the truths. I find that Mrs. Gershoff has a better understanding of the pyschological effects of corporal punishment than Representative McCarthy because of her background in pyschology. Even though both are arguments make good points I find myself disagreeing with both parties.

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