Corporal punishment is the intentional use of physical force to cause
bodily pain or discomfort as a penalty for unacceptable behavior. Corporal
punishment includes any action that produces discomfort, such as:
Spanking, hitting, slapping, pinching, ear
pulling, jabbing, shoving, or choking.
Forcing a child to assume a
position that becomes painful over time.
Confining a child in an
Forcing a child to eat a noxious substance, such as
soap or dog food.
Withholding water and food.
Corporal punishment is not an effective method of managing behavior. It does not teach a child how to act properly. At
best, corporal punishment has only a temporary effect on behavior. And it may
even make it worse. Not only does it reinforce some bad behavior, but also it
teaches a child that physical force is the way to resolve conflict.
Corporal punishment can also have emotional and psychological
effects, both short- and long-term, such as:
Impairing a child's trust and
Causing embarrassment, humiliation, a sense of
worthlessness, anger, resentment, and confusion.
to have trouble forming close relationships, especially intimate
relationships, with others later in life.
Effective alternatives to corporal punishment include distraction,
time-outs, alternate activities, discussion of values, verbal reprimands, and
natural and logical consequences.
Research has shown that positive reinforcement is more effective than corporal punishment. Catch your child doing
something right and praise him or her. Don't wait until your child has done
something wrong to notice his or her behavior.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.