Children in today’s society seems to be more “out of control” than prior generations. Is this due to lack of discipline? For generations children were spanked, had their mouths smacked when back talking, or other various forms of discipline that today would be viewed as child abuse. With today’s generation, when spanking, if a mark is left on that child for longer than 24 hours, it is considered child abuse. How did society, who once thought spanking was okay, go to not seeing eye to eye? Through many years of research, psychologist are beginning to see that spanking or being aggressive with children has long term effects on those children.
What exactly is considered child discipline? It is the set of rules, rewards and punishments used to teach self-control. It is used to increase desirable behaviors and decrease undesirable behaviors in children. When discipline is used in excess, the desirable behaviors parents are trying to get from their children, turns into undesirable ones. The child learns to become scared of a parent. This fear turns into anxiety which can eventually lead to depression. “The undesirable side effects would include aggression, anti-social behavior, and masochism.” (Marshall 1).
Dr. Marshall, a clinical psychologist, has a new book which summarizes the research findings about the harmful effects of corporal punishment to help make informed decisions about how to raise their children, rather than default to how their parents raised them. “The harmful psychological effects of spanking are the best kept secret in developmental psychology,” says Marshall. (Marshall 2) “I am convinced parents would abandon the use of corporal punishment to discipline their children if they fully understood these research findings.” (Marshall 3). Dr. Marshall stresses in his book that many times parents who end up spanking their children end up abusing them.
Dr. Thomas Phelan, a registered clinical psychologist has been working in the field for over 40 years. He has written numerous books that help parents learn key ways to discipline their children. His book series “1-2-3 Magic” is very popular and has helped millions of parents reach out and be able to help parents encourage positive behavior in their children without the use of spanking. Dr. Phelan talks about how to break the cycle so many parents use. The cycle he talks about is “Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit.” (Phelan 1) This cycle only teaches the child that it is okay to yell and hit.
All too often we see children with tempers. Many times these tempers seem to stem from their home life. Parents use physical discipline/punishment to get through to their child and all that does is teach them that being aggressive and physical is okay. They end up getting into a scuff with another child at school and begin yelling and then hit the child. Some children have been known to be choked, even in pre-school. These are the cases where the child’s behavior can easily be tied to the environment...