Physical force, or sometimes referred to as corporal punishment, is a form of discipline that some parents use on their children.
It aims to stop the child from performing bad and unwanted behavior through any means necessary. Corporal punishment includes spanking, kicking, shaking, biting and forcing a child to stay in uncomfortable positions.
But is it really the best way to discipline your child?
In this article, we’ll show you five ways physical force hurt more than the violent act.
And we’ll also cite five alternatives and possibly more effective ways to discipline your child.
Makes The “Bad” Behavior Worse
A research study, conducted by Elizabeth Gershoff, states that “physical punishment leads to various negative outcomes for children including child aggression, lower levels of moral internalization and poorer mental health.” The child may stop the unwanted behavior at that moment but physical force worsens problematic behavior over time.
Leads To Child’s Slower Mental Development
The repeated use of physical force on a child also causes lingering emotional and mental pain.
According to a 2012 study published on Pediatrics, “harsh physical punishment was associated with increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders.”
Leads To Reduced Cognitive Ability
Whether the kid had a slower rate of cognitive ability or not at that time it happened, physical force “slows the rate of further cognitive development, with the result that 4 years down the road, the children who were hit by their parents may fall behind the average even more.” According to a 2009 study done by Murray A. Strauss and Mallie J. Paschal, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between physical punishment and cognitive ability development,
the fear and stress associated with being hit takes a toll on a child’s brain development and lowers their IQ in the process.
Leads To Trust Issues
Physical force also leads to a deterioration in the relationship between the parent and the child. Trust is lost and, according to a study done by Ronald Rohner as cited by the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment, it can make children feel rejected by their parents, plus teach them to fear and avoid their parents.
Leads To An Ongoing Cycle Of Abuse
And it doesn’t stop when the child becomes an adult. The violent behavior of children who have experienced corporal punishment [or physical force] persists into adulthood, according to Gershoff. Because the violent act has been ingrained in the child’s mind, they now “consider [physical force as] a normal and inevitable experience of childhood.”
But, in today’s world, you don’t need to resort to violence to teach your child a lesson.
There are better alternatives that focus on child development.
Have An Open Communication
Learn the reason your child chooses to perform the unwanted behavior. In return, explain to them, in calm manner, what makes the behavior unwanted. Increasing the child’s capacity to put words to feelings and actions results in increased tension regulation, self-awareness, and thoughtful decision-making.
This method allows them to be in a better position to overcome challenges and build stronger relationships as teenagers and eventually as adults.
Take Away Privileges
Take away their privileges. These are privileges that they feel like they can’t live without. For young children, it could be playtime, TV time, or maybe an upcoming date to his favorite place. Be sure to give them a time frame, 24 hours usually works. And remind them that their privilege could be returned to them if they do what is being asked of them.
A lot of people don’t recommend always praising and rewarding children for their good behavior. That’s understandable if all praises are given but unwanted behavior is ignored. On the other hand, if only the unwanted behavior is recognized, that leads to an imbalance. Always praise and reward a child for their good behavior.
Rewards and praises help children to focus on what they need to do to earn privileges.
Set A Good Example
Set a good example for your children. It’s true that children imitates what they see adults doing. So if the parent performs that unwanted behavior, the child will believe it’s okay to do it. The child wants to be like the parents so they will follow what you do. So always be mindful of the behavior you show in front of them.
Teach Them New Skills
One of the best ways to really help children to learn good behavior is to continuously teach them new skills.
Studies also show that “higher parental warmth was shown to reduce the risk of conduct problems, peer problems and low prosocial behaviour in children.”
So, spend quality time with your children. Learn new skills together or do activities together that will teach them problem management, how to manage their emotions, and learn to compromise.
Do you agree with using physical force or corporal punishment on children?
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