What causes parents to physically punish their children and what effects can it have on the child's development?

Essay by Lapachka July 2006

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The topic of family life has been an interesting topic for many researchers. They have been trying to figure out the details of family life and the effects it may have. The question is how corporal and physical punishments link to the internal and external influences that a child may be exposed to. Corporal and physical punishment can be defined as the striking of somebody's body as a form of punishment or discipline. Internal influences may be defined as the thoughts, feelings and emotions that lie within the individual; including the way a person acts and reacts. On the other hand, external influences are the exact opposite of internal. Any environments outside the household and interacting with others can be defined as external influences. The outcomes of this research can influence the opinions of others and whether or not physical punishment is beneficial to them and their children. This paper will discuss the factors that may influence parents to use harsh punishments on their children, how physical punishment may affect the child and the effects of physical punishment on the parent-child relationship.

There are two main factors that could cause a parent to turn to physical punishment: a parent's abusive childhood and the parent's psychological characteristics. First of, the upbringing of an individual may influence the upbringing of their child. Some social learning theories have made connections whereby parents reflect aggression that once has been placed on them by their parents. Parents who were neglected and punished during their own childhood are more likely to reflect their parents' attitude on their own children. In other words, if the parent was physically punished in his/her childhood, there is a high risk of them choosing to physically punish their own children.

The second factor that may influence parents to use physical punishment...