Corporal punishment: break the cycle

I’ll never understand the mentality of adults who believe you can teach a child not to hit, by hitting them or inflicting pain. That is just my personal battle with the concept. Most people know that hurting a child is wrong but some people need a reason for why it’s wrong. For those who are science-driven, and don’t find that hitting children is immoral, let’s talk about it.

Corporal punishment when used on a child as a form of discipline, triggers negative long-term psychological and physiological responses. These responses, later in life, can lead to PTSD, anti-social disorders, and continued and increased abuse cycles. Coupling those responses with decreased cognitive function, you may wonder why any parent would want to inflict this on their own child.

Some of this is repeated behaviors from their own parents or the lack of knowledge otherwise. Most of it is a blatant lack of regard and respect for the child victim. Corporal punishment on a child is almost exclusively a reaction to an elicited emotion rather than an orga- nized and controlled lesson to the child. For every punishment where physical harm is induced, there are dozens of other ways to teach the same lesson.

You may think that because you aren’t a parent this doesn’t apply to you. You couldn’t be any more wrong.

Scenario: A child experiences corporal punishment or abuse at home. This child forms negative social skills and decreased ability to function in a healthy setting. That child grows up. That child becomes your coworker or your boss. That child has their own children that go to school with your nieces or nephews or your friends’ children.

In all of these scenarios, you and the community are now exposed and vulnerable to all the negative traits, and behaviors learned and inflicted on that adult during their childhood. At this point, half of adults decide to break the cycle and the other half continue it.

Be the adult that breaks the cycle. Don’t hit your kids and if you don’t have kids, speak up and be the voice that changes it for the rest of them.

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