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Should corporal punishment be allowed?
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Corporal punishment is at odds with societal roles

Authority figures, including the government, teachers, and parents, are supposed to offer protection from physical harm. A child expects a certain level of trust and understanding from a relationship with these figures, which is why corporal punishment is at odds with the societal roles these people purport to inhabit.
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The Argument

Children always hold a certain level of trust in authority figures in their lives, whether they be parents, teachers, or caregivers. That trust is incredibly strained when any form of corporal punishment is introduced into that relationship, especially between children and their parents. In addition to a strong correlation between anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and aggression, and corporal punishment, hitting and physical violence automatically break any form of understanding in the relationship. According to, "Trust, stability, safety, and security are the keys to helping children develop the skills they need to manage their behavior. Corporal punishment erodes that relationship and makes behavior management more difficult."[1] Corporal punishment not only permanently mentally scars the children involved, but it has the opposite effect on the children that parents so fervently wish to manage.

Counter arguments

The definition of "corporal punishment" is ambiguous here, and the distinction between severely "hitting" and "spanking" as well as the frequency at which that punishment occurs is unclear. The studies on this supposed correlation are famously flimsy - not that they are not true, but the level of evidence produced from these studies is still inconclusive. The relationship between child and authority is different based off of each individual person too, which adds to the overall sweeping narrative that even light "spanking" for incredibly serious offenses should not be necessarily seen as "abusive" or "punishment." The definitions of these terms must be more clearly laid out before a definitive answer to this question can be presented.


[P1] Corporal punishment is usually conducted to incite fear in children to obey those above them like parents, teachers, and caregivers. [P2] Corporal punishment strains the relationship between the authority figure and a child, dissolving all trust and understanding. Studies have shown a strong correlation between later anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and aggression in children whose parents used corporal punishment on them. [P3] Corporal punishment should not be used.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The "correlation" must still be studied at length and the definition of corporal punishment must be examined first before laying any wide-sweeping claims about its effectiveness or lack thereof. [Rejecting P3] We should not necessarily ban "corporal punishment" completely.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 2 Jul 2020 at 04:58 UTC

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