Corporal Punishment in the home is a parent or guardian who spanks or slaps a child in their home with their open hand, belt, paddle, or any such item. Do you remember getting the belt or spankings when you were a child? Many adults have and over the years, many studies have been conducted to see if there are any long-term effects in children whose parents use corporal punishment by spanking their children. There are many parents who believe in corporal punishment just as many parents who don’t believe in corporal punishment and think that corporal punishment starts a cycle of child abuse, or that it may teach the child that it is alright to another person, especially one who is smaller than they are. Some individuals believe that corporal punishment is used too frequently and they resort to corporal punishment first instead of a last resort for minor behavioral issues. Everyone has their own opinions on corporal punishment and even married couples tend to disagree on corporal punishment with their own children.
Corporal punishment in the home is legal in the United States by reasonable physical punishment, except for Minnesota. Each state is a little different with their spanking laws. You can find your out your law in your state by visiting, CBS4 Fast Facts: State-by-State Spanking Laws. Corporal punishment is also legal in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Corporal punishment in the home is illegal in many countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
A new study was published in the 2010 issue of Journal Pediatrics with results showing that children who had parents who used corporal punishment by spanking their young children two times or more in the previous month, gave the children a 50% increased chance of the child being aggressive when they turn five. Researchers from the Tulane School of Public Health conducted a study during the years of 1998 to 2005 of more than 2,400 children who were born in 20 major cities in the United States with ethnic backgrounds of Caucasian, African American, and Mexican. When conducting the study, they took in consideration many important factors, such as physical and psychological maltreatment, neglect, stress, depression, substance use, and more. 46% of the mothers said they did not use corporal punishment on their three year old child, 28% of the mothers said they did use corporal punishment on their three year old child, and 26% of the mothers said they used corporal punishment on their three year old child more than once. After the study, researchers determined that the three year old children who received corporal punished with spankings two or more times in the previous month, gave the children a 50% chance of being aggressive when they turned five years old.
There was another study that was published in the September/October 2009 issue of the journal Child Development of a longitudinal study of more than 2,500 low-income Caucasian, African American, and Mexican families. The study showed that parents who used corporal punishment by spanking their one year old children led to children having behavior problems and acting out aggressively at age two, and having a lower mental development at the age of three. Researchers interviewed and observed these children when they were ages one, two, and three years old.
In 2008, Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, and author of “Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment In American families”, examined the results of four studies on corporal punishment and came to the conclusion that spanking and other corporal punishments by parents increased the chances of several sexual problems as adults.
There have been many studies on corporal punishment in the past, and there will be many more as the debate will continue if corporal punishment by spanking causes problems or problems cause spankings. You can find much more information on corporal punishment on the Corpun website. They have 3,000 pages of factual documentation and resources on corporal punishment around the world that you can read. Studies seem to be leaning towards no corporal punishment and how it leads to behavior problems and adult issues. Eventually, we may find it illegal for the United States to use corporal punishment as these studies are showing long-term effects and adult problems.