Children and Physical Punishment: A

281). Those regularly spanked children were also six times more likely to “become juvenile delinquents, and later as adults, to use physical violence against their spouses”; it is also asserted in the research that those same children tended towards “sadomasochistic” behaviors and were known to suffer from depression (Chang, p. 281).

The difference between physical punishment and “abuse” is significant, according to Chang. Physical punishment is meant to cause pain in the child, but abuse implies “injury.” Meanwhile, in a survey of Japanese and American college students conducted by Chang and colleagues, “U.S. respondents were more likely to perceive physical punishment as being appropriate discipline than were Japanese respondents” (p. 284). The survey participants included 120 U.S. college students and 107 Japanese college students. As to what kind of punishment they received, 91% of U.S. respondents said they had been “physically punished” and of those, 62% said they had been “hit with an object.” About 86% of the Japanese participants answered that they had been physically punished, and of those only 35% indicate they had been hit with an object (Chang, p. 283).


In some cases, restrained physical punishment can be appropriate for children who are old enough to understand why they are being punished.

Perhaps a slap on the hand or a hard pat on the bottom sends the message effectively. But the studies show that frequent physical punishment on a child can lead to problems for that child later in life. It is also known that parents tend to lash out at children with physical punishment when the parent is frustrated or stressed. The rule of thumb for parents should be: use psychology whenever possible; take away privileges when appropriate rather than striking the child with a belt or a hand; and most certainly do not physically punish a child under two years of age, or even between two and three years of age. The facts are available: unreasonably beating of a child leads to aggression and deportment problems later in life.

Works Cited

Chang, I.J., Pettit, Rebecca W., and Katsurada, Emiko. (2006). Where and When to Spank: A

Comparison Between U.S. And Japanese College Students. Journal of Family Violence, Vol.

21, 281-286.

Lallanilla, Marc..

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