When looking at our past history, it can be seen as quite barbaric in nature when looking into the history of spanking, a form of corporal punishment with the earliest recordings as far back as the 10th century B.C Solomon’s Proverbs. There were many torture devices used in order to gain confessions or obedience such as the thumbscrew, a device used to crush the victims fingers. There was many other torture devices used, all of which were extremely barbaric and painful methods used during the Medieval Ages. As people became more educated and we started moving forward, people started seeing how inhumane these practices were and quit using them over time.
However Parental Discipline has been around for a long, long time if not from the very beginning of Man and is still used today. Spanking on the buttocks with open hand or with an implement such as a paddle or belt is still legal and a preferred way of disciplining a small child. Culture and Society play a huge role today in either making it acceptable to the majority or banning it altogether as Sweden did in the 1970’s as a form of cruelty. In some countries it is not only acceptable to spank the children, but the wives as well. When it is acceptable to spank a wife, it is considered Domestic Discipline, not at all a new concept but still very much alive.
If you look into the hunting-gathering tribes whether of American Indian tribes or African decent, spanking was and is an extremely rare thing. Yet behavior issues are not a problem within these cultural communities. When Flogging in the British Army was popular, it became later seen as severe and cruel punishment eventually becoming banned, yet is it is still okay to whip a child weighing much less than the punisher doing the spanking. In America not only is it legal for a parent to spank a child but it is still legal in 22 states for the schools to use corporal punishment as well.
Spanking is trying to stop aggressive behavior with an act of violence, in the belief it corrects the behavior. Yet research shows that children, who are spanked, are more prone to aggressive behavior and more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs later. While most research regarding spanking is inconsistent, for there are many other variables that go into how children will behave and perform such as parental methods in general, it can still be of valuable information to us.
Many children are indeed what would be considered behavior problems, but whether this is due to if a child has been spanked or not, I doubt is the real issue. Dysfunctional homes, drugs abuse, verbal abuse, poverty, divorce, both parents at work all the time, family values ignored……all this and more would be a more contributing factor to children and teens acting out than whether corporal punishments were used or not. What is being modeled within the home or among their neighbors and peers lies the real issue in most cases.
We have come a long way in what we view as cruelty and abuse but we have a ways to go still. When it comes down to what we have done with slaves, adults, criminals, accused witches and many others in our past as cruelty to the point of banning this type of treatment, why then is it still okay to hit children. Violence does not correct violence and pro-spankers are suggesting you start spanking a child as soon as it can crawl. For a long time, this is all parents knew and it became ingrained in our culture as the way to be a good parent. We have come a long way and it is a time for a change, parents need to get educated on other models of parenting that are more productive and kinder in treatment of children. The younger people are that can be taught new models of parenting, the more chance of a happier more successful future will be with happier children and adults alike when society starts seeing, it is not okay to spank and paddle children.