The topic of using violence to discipline children has attracted heated debate from those who support and oppose this act. Reflectively, using violence to discipline children involves applying physical or psychological pain on a child as a disciplinary action to correct or deter a minor from engaging in unwanted acts.
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In order to understand the topic, it is necessary to review the physical and psychological effects of using violence to discipline children, irrespective of the intensity of the physical pain. Specifically, understanding the psychological and physical effects of using violence to discipline children is necessary to create alternative disciplinary measures that are effective and does not negatively affect the minors. Thus, this reflectively paper will dwell on discussing the physical and psychological effects of using violence to discipline children.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Using Violence to Discipline Children
Using violence to discipline, children should be eliminated since it is an infringement of basic human rights. The abolitionists argue that using violence to discipline children inflicts physical and psychological pain that might affect their wellbeing and socialization skills in adulthood. For instance, Wilson (2010) is categorical that using violence to discipline a child “may turn out to be harmful, especially when the parent or teacher is overcome by emotions in the process” (Wilson par. 9).
Reflectively, a violent disciplinarian parent or guardian, is likely to put children at a glaring risk of total behavioral, emotional, mental, and social development of child physical and psychological aspects of growth. Children exposed to violent disciplinary actions by parents, guardians, or teachers are vulnerable to depression, eating disorders, and even unending anxiety.
Some of the characteristics of a child exposed to continuous violent disciplinary acts include poor physical and psychological health, traumatized, fearful, irresponsible, and rudeness behavior among peers.
Also, a child exposed to violent disciplinary actions may exhibit indifference and anxiety in the social aspect of interaction, and has a lot of hatred and isolation in intellectual discourse due to fear of having a divergent opinion from peers (Talbot 33). Since using violence to discipline a child lowers his or her confidence, the victim is likely to be very secretive and have constant low moods due to fear of rejection in self-expression (Wilson 11).
Using violence to discipline children in society violates the right to protection from physical abuse. Human being has the dignity to exist with self-respect, which should be a key priority for any parent, teacher, or guardian in disciplining children. There has been a big concern how using violence to discipline children would tread on their dignity and right. Using violence to discipline children never gives a victim the possibility to be regretful of his or her actions since it instills trauma in the minds of the young children.
Besides, there is no tangible proof that using violence to discipline children in American society has been capable of preventing latent victims from performing offensive acts in the future. Thus, mitigating violence to discipline children as a way to prevent future offensive acts is likely to be an obvious one-dimension justification that might not be right. This should not be the case. Every instance of using violence to discipline a child eventually affects the whole family.
In order to offer a comprehensive understanding of why some parents use violence in disciplining their children, it is important to establish the state and the history of the family, so as to validate the possible effects of the violent act such as social stigma, parental neglect, and general misunderstandings, which push the victim to become less social.
In most cases, mothers or guardians who use violence as a punishment tool on their children are likely to create an environment of anxiety and low self-esteem among their children and expose them to long term psychological pain.
Besides, a long history of excess in alcoholism, crime, and aggressiveness in parents is likely to motivate low tolerance and frustrations among children. Actually, parents, teachers, and guardians who use violence to discipline children should look for objective justifications that support the illegal act, rather than their personal prejudices (Talbot 33).
Excessive use of violence in disciplining children affects their psychological development, especially in their early childhood learning and coping with the social environment. According to Nieman et al. (2004), early childhood development derives direction from several factors. Genetic factors such as nature, gender, and health conditions, which arise from within the children, play an essential role in children’s growth, development, and relationship with others.
Therefore, a child exposed to continuous violent disciplinary acts is likely to experience slow or negatively skewed development. When a child is exposed to excessive violent discipline, he or she may be stigmatized. In the ideal, “an effective discipline does not instill shame, negative guilt, and a sense of abandonment or a loss of trust.
Instead, it instills a sense of greater trust between the child and the parent” (Nieman et al. 38). At pre-school learning experiences at home, children get encouragement to express themselves without fear of inflicting physical and psychological pain in case mistakes are made. Such experiences create a sense of creativity and innovation among kids.
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Developing creativity and innovation provides a basis for creativity and innovativeness in decision-making, thus positively influencing the future of the kids. Early engagement of children in such activities presents a major condition for future success. However, it is almost impossible to create such an environment where violence is used to discipline children since it interferes with their self-esteem (Shaffer 24).
According to Saunders (2014), “the most common form of violence that children suffer is the often taken-for-granted “disciplinary” violence – physical force and verbal intimidation – used by parents and teachers as punishment and or to control or change children’s annoying or unacceptable behaviors” (Saunders par. 2). This means that poor conflict management tools may lead to the use of violence on minors in the name of exercising disciplinary authority.
Despite the fact that most of the parents have the best intent for the child, conflict arises when they do not attend the necessary training on how to handle children (Telep par. 7). For instance, a conflict situation involving one of the parents on the need to attend obligatory training on foster parenting may spill over to the disciplinary acts. Disagreements within the parent-child interaction environment are unavoidable.
If managed sensibly, such disagreements can act as a medium for change and may have a positive effect on the parties involved. On the contrary, if conflicts are not managed well, they may have a negative impact on the child, especially when a violent disciplinary act is adopted by the parent. When disagreement is ignored, it gives an idea that unacceptable response and unfortunate conducts are tolerable.
This model involves proactive problem identification and examination of the impact of mediation on the child’s personal integrity. When the interests of the child are put into consideration, it becomes easier to make the best decision in disciplinary actions that will be highly welcomed by the child and effective in correcting the unwanted behavior. Therefore, “parents should refrain from hurting the child’s self-esteem by instilling shame, guilt, loss of trust, or a sense of abandonment” (Nieman et al. 40).
The role of parenting involves proactive reasoning and being in control of children’s lives in order to create a global citizen. The process has no specific role but a cluster of adult responsibilities, such as providing basic needs, love, and moral support in all spheres of life. According to Saunders (2014), there are alternatives to using violence to discipline children with the same or better results. The first step is defining basic family and society morals that oppose violence; however, mild it is.
A responsible parent should make sure these aspects are internalized in their thought patterns when planning or executing disciplinary acts on children. For instance, a parent might offer corrective punishment for any unbecoming behavior by using dialogue as a correction tool with very effective results without having any physical or psychological pain on a child. Basically, childcare is essential for introducing a child to the external environment and improving his or her interaction skills.
Besides, the child learns basic skills at a childcare center without losing his or her self-esteem (Wilson par. 13). Unfortunately, using violence to discipline children may reverse the efforts of creating an ideal environment for raising the minors. If nothing is done, the “young victims of violence may start withdrawing and behaving differently as a coping strategy” (Samakow par. 11).
Since using violence to discipline children does not allow the young minds to engage the free spirit that promotes creativity, “the learning process at home or in school may be compromised since applying force as a corrective measure may be counterproductive” (Samakow par. 14).
When nothing is done to help such a victim, the child may grow into a violent adult with very poor socialization skills. According to Talbot, “parents, guardians, and teachers using violence to discipline children should look for objective justifications that support the illegal act since there is no empirical evidence supporting its effectiveness” (Talbot 27).
Another potential effect of using violence to discipline children is its psychological effects on the minors exposed to violent disciplinary actions. Apparently, using violence to discipline children never gives a victim the possibility to be regretful of his or her actions since it instills trauma in the minds of the young children. This means that children exposed to violence are not given time to learn other alternatives of solving problems.
In the end, a child exposed to violent disciplinary actions might turn equally violent in the future when interacting with peers or solving different conflicts. Actually, “parents typically lack knowledge of more respectful and effective disciplinary responses or they lash out at children in frustration, without forethought, and simply because they can” (Saunders par. 5). This means that violence in disciplining children may expose the minors to unnecessary psychological torture from the very person who is supposed to provide protection.
Therefore, there is a need to involve the protection agencies to make such adjustments into policies. The protection organizations will be addressing the root cause of the need for child protection as opposed to the symptoms such as child abuse, emotional imbalance, and violence. Therefore, changing some of the regulations will improve the current needs of children across the US, in terms of possibility and sustainability of the protection initiatives (Joan 13).
Actually, there is a need to study the scope of the current child welfare protection to include the dynamics in the current families, social environment, and community organization. The need for changes in the Child Welfare Protection should expand to assessing and designing models for addressing problems in the families that expose children to abuse. Through this, the protection organizations will be addressing the root cause of the need for child protection as opposed to the symptoms.
Since using violence to discipline, children do not allow the young minds to engage the free spirit that promotes creativity, the learning process at home or in school may be compromised since applying force, as a corrective measure may be counterproductive. Therefore, “conflict can be used as a tool for proactive child correction through looking beyond the conventional violent disciplinary strategy” (Telep par. 11). One of such programs proposed by the author is the RDRESS program.
RDRESS is an abbreviation for Resolving Disputes and Reaching an Equitable Solution Swiftly. This model involves “proactive problem identification and examination of the impact of mediation on the child’s personal integrity” (Telep par. 14). Despite the existence of several regulations on child welfare protection in the US, there are several challenges that negatively affect their range and application.
Therefore, there is a need to make the regulations more proactive and community-oriented to ensure that the interests of the children are associated with the institutions in the community that protect them. Using violence to discipline children is not necessary since it “inflicts unnecessary psychological and physical pain on the young ones, and the results are counterproductive” (Pickhardt and Iannelli 23).
Building self-efficacy of at-risk victims of using violent disciplinary actions helps connect to their success, which involves continuous monitoring, high-quality curriculum, building knowledge, support systems, and opportunities for emotional and social growth (Pickhardt and Iannelli 27). The disciplinary focal point is for all children should be to receive the highest levels of effective discipline actions that do not inflict physical or psychological injury.
According to Shaffer (2008), parents have to participate in paying close attention to socially, economically disadvantages of subjecting children to violent disciplinary actions. Through exposure to several alternative disciplinary strategies, while closely being monitored, the child will desire the notion of social, mental growth.
Incorporating non violent disciplinary interventions with the purpose and goal of correcting an offender can result in the social growth of the child without any counterproductive effect. In addition, Shaffer (2008) argues that educating parents through support sessions for successful strategies in the form of active discipline modeling, emotional support, and verbal support is extremely important in avoiding the harmful effects of using violence to discipline children.
Addressing the Opposite Side
Despite the clear indication that using violence affects children physically and psychologically, there are some views which suggest that the act may be instrumental in deterring minors from being double offenders. For instance, the proponents of using violence to discipline children argue that it acts as a deterrence to would-be offenders and minimize chances of repeat offense since it instills fear in the minds of the young ones.
Actually, before committing negative acts, children who are afraid of violent disciplinary actions have to perceive possible impacts of their actions because they are aware of what might follow. Societies from traditional to contemporary have used violence to discipline children to discourage those who would-be offenders from committing the same act.
The argument is that when a child is subjected to violent disciplinary action, would-be offenders among his or her peers will have to think over and over before committing the act for fear of being subjected to the same punishment (Talbot 28). As opined by the supporters of using violence to discipline a child, the act is cost-valuable since it is a retribution action in which a victim is subjected to a disciplinary action that instills fear of being a repeat offender.
There are alternatives to using violence to discipline children with the same or better results. A responsible parent should make sure these aspects are internalized in their thought patterns when planning or executing disciplinary acts on children. For instance, a parent might “offer corrective punishment for any unbecoming behavior through using dialogue as a correction tool with very effective results without inflicting any physical or psychological pain on a child” (Wilson par. 11).
Therefore, children should be subjected to reasonable disciplinary actions that are aimed at correcting the wrongdoings without using unjustifiable punishment. It is necessary for parents to be careful not to apply violent disciplinary acts on children since it may be counterproductive and may subject the victim to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the classroom and other social places (Nieman et al. 41).
The best strategy that a parent can use to avoid being in a situation of applying physical harm to a child is proactive child engagement during the disciplinary process. For instance, when a parent anticipates potential violence on a minor, he or she should take a break from the disciplinary process before losing control. This anticipatory strategy in disciplining a child ensures that violent punishment is not practiced since it is always counterproductive.
In the ideal community and social structure influence child development. Integration of children’s interactions within community services such as support for parenting, housing qualities, community safety and security, unemployment, social crimes, and general feeling of trust among the residents influence children’s growth and development.
These, coupled with different cultures, parenting styles, beliefs, values, and different perspectives of children, influence development, and early childhood development. Understanding these facets puts early childhood development into perspective, thus improving the chances of successful development. It is, therefore, necessary to create an ideal community and social structures to protect children from potential abuses as a result of using violence to discipline them (Rashid 349).
As a strategy for managing this conflict, the stakeholders in child protection from aggression should engage the parents in foster care training to ensure that there is no conflict with the child when it comes to discipline and parenting (Telep par. 7). For instance, conflict situations can be used as a tool of administration to push for the agenda of proper foster parenting training to avoid a simple conflict developing into physical abuse of a minor as a disciplinary strategy.
In order to provide an alternative to using violence to discipline a child, parents should be authoritative, but use dialogue when interacting with his or her children. An effective parent should be successful in promoting psychological adjustment variables such as control of depression, self-esteem, and life satisfaction among the children.
The parent should also be willing to dialogue with the children on disciplinary issues while having a strong stand on the scope of the interaction. Reflectively, visual, and verbal thinking is equal but separate. The need for changes in child welfare protection should expand to assessing and designing models for addressing problems in the families that expose children to abuse (Rashid 349).
This is achievable through highlighting family dynamics that are critical in understanding the origin and persistence of child abuse and the necessary protection strategies that are comprehensive, relevant, and community-oriented. Thus, highlighting these dynamics will facilitate the creation of a proper prescription of the right child welfare protection strategy.
In addition, the current child welfare regulations, such as “criminalized use of violence on children, are fundamental in guaranteeing the protection of the rights of children from abusive parents, guardians, teachers, and other stakeholders in child development” (Australian Law Reform Commission par. 8).
There is also a need to make the regulation more proactive and community-oriented to ensure that the interests of the children are supported by the institutions in the community that protect them from abusing parents and teachers. Changing some of the regulations will balance the current needs of children protected by the current child welfare regulations that criminalize using violence to discipline children.
These regulations are significant towards proactive and sustainable child welfare management since they revolve around basic fundamental rights of children, provision of a safe environment, and serving other interests of the under-aged. Besides, the government’s participation is “significant in promoting inclusive child welfare protection societies (Joan 16).
This means that government organizations should foster attitude change among parents, partners, and other stakeholders to integrate the various protection regulations into a comprehensive stage for providing child welfare protection. For instance, this can be achieved through applications of the “adoption and Safe Families Act in the early child protection environment as an ideal system, which is inclusive of the child’s social and psychological needs” (Joan 17).
From the findings, it is apparent the using violence to discipline children has a series of negative effects on their physical and psychological wellbeing. Apparently, using violence to discipline children exposes the minors to physical injuries that might sometimes turn fatal, especially when the person giving discipline is emotional. Besides the physical scars that are characterized by violent disciplinary actions, there are psychological scars in the form of lowered self-esteem and poor socialization skills.
Since using physical force to discipline a child exposes him or her to violence, the minor might turn out to violence as the only conflict resolution strategies among the peers. Therefore, using violence to discipline children is not ideal since there are better alternatives, such as dialogue. Although some scholars believe that using violence might have some advantages in disciplining children, the effect of this course of action has more demerits than merits.
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