PSY 605 Week 2 Discussion 1

19 May No Comments

I chose to talk about corporal punishment because it is an issue that tends to be a bit controversial in today’s society. Everyone has different views on how it should be dealt with. I am choosing to talk about the effect of physical punishment for children up to age 3. For this particular age Children love to experiment at this age and they are just learning to do things which can cause them to make many mistakes that either just make messes or where the child can actually be physically harmed by what they are doing. An example of this would be touching a hot stove, trying to pour their own drinks, etc. When a child does something that is against the rules, parents are going to discipline their children and one of these methods would be physical punishment. In some countries, corporal punishment is not allowed, but in the US it is still very prevalent.

The effects of corporal punishment on children of this age can be short term and long term. “Corporal punishment affects the physical development of children in that they may suffer injuries from the punishment” (Gershoff & Bitensky, 2007). Some parents get carried away when spanking their child because some parents tend to spank in the moment or spank out of anger which can cause them to be more violent or rough with the child than they normally would if they were in a calm state of mind. This can in turn cause physical harm to the child It has actually been shown that a child’s cognitive and intellectual development can be negatively impacted by corporal punishment. The reason for this is that it has been shown that a child’s grey matter in their brain can actually be lowered by the effects of physical punishment.

A research study that was carried out by Michael Mackenzie, Erick Nicklas, Jane Waldfogel and Jeanne Brooks- Gunn showed that physcial punishment in children below 3 years slows their cognitive development and lowers their cognitive ability. Corporal punishment can sometimes cause a child to rebel and become angry and resentful. This is not always a good idea in a school setting, a place where a child is supposed to be able to trust the adults.

This leads me to address how a child’s general attitude can be affected by spanking. The more a child is hit, the more angry and aggressive they become. As you can imagine, a child that is constantly physically punished can become very hostile which in turn effects their social development because they tend to be meaner to other children as well. They will stop doing the action that caused them to be punished in the first place, but the effects of the punishment are still there and that resentfulness is still there. They start to believe that it is just normal and okay to hit others and they tend to do the same with other children. One of my favorite things to compare to this is if you watch a little girl with her baby dolls. She tends to treat the baby dolls the same way that she is treated.

Many forms of physical punishment can be considered child abuse in today’s society, because people tend to go too far. This kind of abuse can lead to things like low self esteem, attention disorders and substance abuse. Most people that have mental or substance abuse issues have a history of physical abuse or corporal punishment. Per Ma and Grogan (2017)



Gershoff, Elizabeth T. & Bitensky, H Susan. (2007). THE CASE AGAINST CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN. Converging Evidence from Social Science Research and International Human Rights Law and Implications for U.S. Public Policy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Vol. 13, No. 4, 231–272. Retrieved from


Ma, J., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2017). Longitudinal associations of neighborhood collective efficacy and maternal corporal punishment with behavior problems in early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 53(6), 1027-1041.

MacKenzie, M. J., Nicklas, E., Waldfogel, J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2012). Corporal punishment and child behavioral and cognitive outcomes through 5 years-of-age: Evidence from a contemporary urban birth cohort study. Infant and Child Development, 21(1), 3–33.


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