The 8 Reasons For Not Using Physical Punishment Towards Children

The classic “slap” is not a good method to educate.

The physical punishment has been for many years a standard type of punishment. Until relatively recently, spanking was common practice in most families with young children; even today it is easy to hear statements like “a slap on time never hurts.”

Fortunately, in recent years some psychological currents have gained strength, such as emotional psychology and  positive psychology, which affirm that physical punishment is not the best option to correct behaviors, due to the emotional impact they have on the person who receives them. And this is based on a large number of reasons, among which we find the following eight that we have set out to explain today.

Let us begin.

1. Provides negative modeling

Our behavior directly influences the behavior of our children. This means that, if we use violence with them and / or in front of them, we will be favoring the normalization of this type of behavior, so that sooner or later they will internalize it and repeat it. 

Physical punishment, as violent behavior that it is, will be reproduced by our children as a viable way to achieve what is desired. By being violent we educate our children to be violent.

2. We teach wrong problem solving strategies

If we often use violence to solve conflicts are teaching that violence is a good strategy to solve problem s. Our son will use it in any problem that comes his way if he does not know other strategies with which to solve day-to-day problems.

3. We impose fear

As physical punishment is given over and over again, we are causing our child to end up being afraid of these reactions. This, in a short period of time, will lead to feelings of rejection towards their own parents.  

Given this, it is possible that the child begins to hide important information for fear of this type of punishment. This is another reason why  domestic violence does a disservice to the psychological stability of children.

4. We make our child lose confidence in us

Faced with the fear of leading to violent responses from the parents, the child may begin to feel that they do not have support from their parents, but rather punishment and suffering. 

This can make it difficult for the child to feel capable enough to communicate his problems and concerns with the parents for fear of bad reactions and feeling even more misunderstood.

5. Loss of self-esteem

If physical punishment is given over and over again (especially if it is not accompanied by positive reinforcement for desired behaviors), the child may begin to internalize an increasingly powerful feeling of disability, which will gradually  lower their self-esteem levels. ; the little one will end up thinking that he is deserving of physical punishment and that he will never be able to please his parents.

It is what is known by the name of  learned helplessness.

6. Physical punishment says what is wrong, but not what is right

For this reason, physical punishment is not a constructive method. It notes that the triggering behavior was not good, but it does not offer correct alternatives to that behavior. 

The child, therefore, will know that he has carried out a behavior unwanted by his parents, but he will not be able to learn what behavior he should carry out the next time the same situation arises. Therefore, physical punishment does not show how it can be improved, which increases the child’s confusion.

7. We teach that violence is useful in all situations, and that the strongest is the one who wins

We do not teach reasoning or problem solving in a friendly manner. We teach that the strongest always wins and the weakest always loses.  

With violence, the child does not learn to respect authority figures, and this can cause serious problems, such as breaking rules. This can not only be a big problem when it comes to relating to others, but it can also trigger bad relationships with the law and with society.

8. Deteriorates family relationships

In discussions involving physical punishment, there is one-sided non-verbal communication. This communication is not favorable for any member of the family. Family members do not learn to dialogue and seek solutions that benefit everyone.

Some conclusions

These eight reasons show that physical punishment is not a recommended method to modify behavior, as its unwanted side effects are notorious.  

Currently, psychology recommends other types of behavior modifiers much healthier and without negative repercussions, such as the withdrawal of attention to unwanted behaviors and the positive reinforcement of good behaviors. 

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