The Science Daily (2008) confirms that spanking has been on the decrease for the past thirty years. Nonetheless, spanking is the most prevalent way of punishing children in our society. A study by Chang, Pettit and Katsurada (n.d.) states that scholarly information on physical punishment is limited. Nonetheless, there are major differences between child rearing patterns in Japan and the United States.
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For that reason, physical punishments in these two countries differ in a number of ways. For instance, the circumstance under which spanking is applied in Japan is different from that in the US. Moreover, the part of the body spanked also differs. In addition, spanking is a divisive topic. Some people argue that it is an effective way of instilling discipline in children. However, others feel that it is the most ineffective method of disciplining a child.
In addition, there is proof that spanking affects a child psychologically. Therefore, parents should try other behavioral modification methods to correct children behaviors before reverting to spanking. This paper examines the differences in spanking between the US and Japan. In addition, it also tries to find out if spanking actually works and whether it has any potential psychological impacts on its recipients
Attitudes towards Spanking in the United States and Japan
Most studies have shown that there are major differences between spanking practiced in the US and that practiced in Japan. These differences are a reflection of the cultural backgrounds of the two countries. For that reason, the attitude towards spanking differs depending on the culture.
Therefore, country of origin greatly determines whether a parent spanks a child or not. Japanese parents emphasize on conformity to group values while parents from the US encourage independence and individualism. Cultures that prefer conformity in child rearing are more likely to use corporal punishments than those preferring independence. For that reason, it can be concluded that spanking is more prevalent in Japan than in the Unites States.
A national survey in Japan indicated that more than half of Japanese parents agree that spanking is necessary in rearing a child. In addition, about half of the parents interviewed admitted that they sometimes spank their children. These parents argued that children feel loved by their parents when spanked.
However, most Japanese believe that use of physical punishment depends on the situation. For that reason, not all mistakes, made by children, are punishable by spanking in Japan. On the other hand, spanking in the United States depends on certain factors. Examples of these factors include race, religion, education, gender and age. Many studies show that mothers are more likely to physically punish children than fathers.
Additionally, religious people practice spanking more than non-religious people. For instance, the Baptist Church is known to be a strong defender of spanking. Therefore, spanking is a common occurrence in conservative religious families in the US. Interestingly, in the US, girls are less likely to be spanked than boys.
What a given culture refers to as a being abusive to a child may be condoned in another culture. Therefore, the context and type of spanking differs between Japan and the US. For instance, in the US, parents administer spanking on the bottoms and hands. On the other hand, in Japan, parts of the body that are frequently used in spanking are the head and face.
Effectiveness of Spanking as a Way of Correcting a Child’s Behaviour
The effectiveness of spanking has always elicited a heated debate. A more recent debate, on this topic, was conducted by CNN. In this debate, Zeidler (2012) sought to find out whether spanking really works. The debate, however, proved that spanking is a divisive topic. For that reason, it had its supporters and critics. Some parents believed that spanking, when applied in a non-abusive way, is an effective tool in the upbringing of a child.
These parents believe that children have to be taught discipline in order to function well in the society. Therefore, spanking is occasionally required to teach them a few lessons in life. However, some parents maintain that any form of physical punishment is abusive to a child. To them, physical punishment fills a child with shame. A child feels embarrassed after being spanked. Moreover, this feeling is translated into low esteem or aggressiveness. In addition, shame results into depression and anxiety.
However, effectiveness of spanking depends on the age of a child. For instance, a two-year old child may believe that a spank means that he should discontinue the behaviour that led to the spank. However, older children are used to these spanks. For that reason, spanking is meaningless to them. The CNN discussion concludes that it has never been proven that any style of discipline produces results in all children.
Therefore, spanking and other forms of disciplines sometimes work or amount to nothing in other circumstances. However, Rochman (2012) claims that a decade long research found out that spanking does not produce long-term results. In the short-term, it may transform the behaviour of a child, but affects a child negatively in the long-run.
Psychological Consequences Spanking
Spanking has serious psychological impacts on children. Zeidler (2012) states that spanking leads to psychological problems such as drug abuse, mood and anxiety disorders and personal disorders. In addition, Castelloe (2012) states that spanking reduces developmental growth and the intelligent quotient (IQ) of a child. Therefore, spanking results into cognitive impairments and developmental difficulties in children.
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For that reason, debate on spanking should now revolve around medicine. People have dwelled too much on the ethical dimensions of spanking. There is proof that the gray matter in the brain is diminished by spanking. Grey matter determines the intelligence and the learning capabilities of a child. Moreover, it affects parts of the brain that control emotions. This explains why spanked children are high-tempered or physically aggressive. Children prone to spanking are also vulnerable to depression.
Furthermore, spanked children also conduct themselves in an anti-social way. Spanked children are also six times more likely to be physically aggressive than those who are not spanked. Additionally, they have high probabilities of being juvenile delinquents, drug addicts and abusive to their spouses in adulthood. Spanking also makes children believe that learning takes place through punishments. Therefore, spanking teaches a child that conflicts are resolved using violence.
My Personal Opinion on Spanking
There is a proverb that states that “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Therefore, if children are not aware that a given society has rules and there are punishments for bad behaviors, they will grow up as unproductive members of that society. For that reason, they adopt a culture that condones lazinenes and disrespect to other people. Accordingly, spanking should be used to deter behaviors that are extremely bad.
However, spanking should not be done in anger. Moreover, a child must be asked to explain why he is being spanked. If he fails to do so, then, a parent or a guardian must explain to the child why he is being spanked. This helps the child maintain a relationship with the person spanking him. Moreover, this enables a child understand that the spanking is justified. However, some parents abuse spanking by overdoing it. In this regard, they leave permanent injuries or scars on a child.
Nonetheless, I do not believe that spanking should be an immediate option in punishing a child. Expression of anger towards a child is detrimental to his growth and development. Physical punishments such as spanking are ways in which a parent expresses anger on a child.
Some parents express their anger and frustration on their children through spanking, but pretend that they are disciplining them. The Science Daily (2008) links spanking to physical abuse. For that reason, spanking increases the likelihood of child abuse. For instance, parents who spank their children also use other harsher punishments on their children. However, I only relate spanking to child abuse when a parent uses an object to spank a child.
Parents cannot teach their children not to hit others when they occasionally spank them. For that reason, a child grows knowing that hitting others represents authority. Furthermore, when a parent hits a child, he instills fear in him. This affects his future dealings with the child.
Subsequently, a child sees his parent as a mere source of power rather than a source of love, care and inspiration. In addition, spanking brings about inferiority complex in children. Moreover, spanking hardens a child. For that reason, a child becomes used to the spanking and develops a hardcore behaviour. This child is, therefore, likely to become a juvenile delinquent.
To me, spanking should be used only when parents have exhausted other methods of punishing a child. There are other effective punishments that are less injurious to a child. Examples of these punishments include reduced pocket money and grounding. Children are also more likely to learn when calm. Therefore, instead of frightening them with spanks, a parent should try to talk them out of trouble using more peaceful means. In this way, their brains will be more alert than when stressed.
Moreover, instances of psychological disorders will be minimized. Additionally, children should be provided with alternatives to their bad behaviors. Grounding or spanking them without giving them alternatives does not help them in any way. In fact, there is a high probability that they will repeat the mistake. Therefore, involving a child in modifying his behaviour instills discipline in him and leaves his self esteem intact.
Spanking practiced in the US differs from that practiced in Japan. Additionally, spanking has serious psychological effects on a child. Spanking leads to low self esteem, reduces trust between a child and his parents and breaks communication. Furthermore, in the long-run, spanking leads to criminal or other undesirable behaviors.
Therefore, spanking results to behaviors that parent strive to avoid in their children. Although spanking stops certain behaviors in children, it is less effective than other methods of correcting a child’s behaviour. Therefore, parents must use it as the last option in parenting.
Chang, I. J., Petit, R. W. & Katsurada, E. Where and when to spank: A comparison between US and Japanese college students. Web.
Castelloe, M. S. (2012). How spanking harms the brain. Web.
Rochman, B. (2012). Why spanking doesn’t work. Web.
Science. (2008). Study shows link between spanking and physical abuse. Web.
Zeidler, S. (2012,). To spank or not to spank, where do you draw the line? CNN. Web.