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Rhetoric and Fallacies Used with Respect to the Claim
- It is stated that spanking is a necessary means to enforce discipline on a child, to make them obey parents and punish them for their misbehavior, for it is better to spank than to leave bad behavior go unpunished (Preston par. 3).
- It is also claimed that “to be feared (in the sense of reverence) is to be respected,” and that spanking teaches children to obey the authorities regardless of what they think (Williams par. 1).
- Some proponents of spanking say that it establishes responsibility and shows parents’ love for children (Ingram par. 1, 5, 18-21).
- Claiming that spanking is necessary, which means there is not a single other option available;
- Being convinced that fear is identical with respect, and that fear is good;
- Believing that blind obedience is the best way for a person to behave;
- Asserting that punishment is a proof of love.
Scientific Research on the Claim
- There is ample research on the issue of spanking children.
- The research is concerned with: the statistics of spanking children (Lee, Altschul and Gershoff 158); its effects on child’s behavior, development, and long-term outcomes such as increased child aggression (Lee, Altschul and Gershoff 161-164); and relationship between spanking and child abuse (Straus, Douglas, and Medeiros 5-8).
- The results of the research can be found both in scientific articles (Lee, Altschul, and Gershoff) and books (Straus, Douglas, and Medeiros; Marshall).
Scientific Findings of the Claim
- Scientific sources state that spanking is often utilized by parents, especially by mothers, and that its application in many cases begins when the child is still young (Lee, Altschul and Gershoff 158, 161).
- According to Straus, Douglas, and Medeiros, more than 90% of the research on the topic shows that children who are spanked have much more difficulties throughout their whole life (xxiv).
- It is found out that spanking is likely to result in children’s aggression and anti-social attitudes and is not very effective for children to become accustomed and resistant to it (Lee, Altschul and Gershoff 158).
- Marshall claims that, even though spanking might appear to work in the short term, it actually leads to many complications in the long term, causes severe psychological problems hurting both the victim and the witness (2-4).
The Best Ways to Assess the Probabilities of the Claim
- It is difficult and utterly unethical to carry out an experiment to test the claim, for we can’t make unwilling parents physically punish their children, it is hard to control the process, and the experiment may lead to serious negative consequences for the children.
- Due to the fact that it is important to find out not only immediate changes in behavior but also the long-term effects, any research on the topic should be longitudinal in order to gather credible results.
- Therefore, the best way to test our claim is to gather statistical data concerned with spanking children and to compare the behaviors, psychological, and social health of those who have been spanked with the respective characteristics of those who have not been spanked.
- Background research on psychology might prove useful to supply possible explanations for the statistics.
Conclusions about the Claim
- The deemed positive outcomes of spanking, such as the respect of children for their parents and utter obedience, are not certain to occur, and they’re positive itself is doubtful.
- Spanking is probable to fail to prevent misbehavior, and possibly even increase their level of aggression.
- Spanking is likely to result in severe psychological problems both in the victim and in witnessing children.
- Therefore, spanking is not the best alternative for punishing children.
Ingram, Chip. The Biblical Approach to Spanking. n.d. Web.
Lee, Shawna J., Inna Altschul and Elizabeth T. Gershoff. “Spanking, Corporal Punishment and Negative Long-Term Outcomes: A Meta-Analytic Review of Longitudinal Studies”. Children and Youth Services Review. 52 (2015): 158-166. Print.
Marshall, Michael J. Why Spanking Doesn’t Work: Stopping This Bad Habit and Getting the Upper Hand on Effective Discipline. Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2002. Print.
Preston, Paul J. In Defense of Spanking: Why Spanking is Needed. n.d. Web.
Straus, Murray A., Emily M. Douglas, and Rose Anne Medeiros. The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Williams, L. Nicole. 8 Reasons to Spank Your Kids. 2011. Web.