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The 8 reasons for not using physical punishment towards children

The 8 reasons for not using physical punishment towards children

May 15, 2024

The physical punishment it has been, for many years, a standardized type of punishment. Until relatively recently, whipping was common practice in most families with young children; Even today, it is easy to hear affirmations such as "a slap in time never hurts".

Fortunately, in recent years some psychological currents have gained strength, such as the emotional psychology and positive psychology, which affirm that physical punishment is not the best option to correct behaviors, because of the emotional impact they have on the person who receives them. And this is based on a large number of reasons, among which we find the following eight that we have proposed to explain today.


Let us begin.

1. It provides a negative modeling

Our behavior directly influences the behavior of our children. This means that, if we use violence with them and / or in front of them, we will be favoring the normalization of this type of behavior , so sooner or later they will internalize and repeat.

Physical punishment, as violent behavior that is, will be reproduced by our children as a viable way to get what you want. Being violent we educate our children to be violent.

2. We teach erroneous problem-solving strategies

If we usually use violence to solve conflicts, We are teaching that violence is a good strategy to solve problems s . Our son will use it in any problem that comes up if he does not know other strategies with which to solve day-to-day problems.


3. We impose fear

As physical punishment occurs again and again, we are causing our child to end up being afraid of these reactions. This, in a short period of time, will lead to feelings of rejection towards their own parents .

Given this, it is possible that the child begins to hide important information for fear of this type of punishment. This is another reason why intrafamily violence does a disservice to the psychological stability of children.

4. We make our son lose confidence in us

Faced with fear of violent responses from parents, the child may begin to feel that he has no support from his parents, but rather punishment and suffering.

This can make it difficult for the child to feel sufficiently trained to communicate his problems and concerns with the parents for fear of bad reactions and to feel even more misunderstood.


5. Loss of self-esteem

If physical punishment is given again and again (especially if it is not accompanied by positive reinforcement before desired behavior), the child can begin to internalize a feeling of disability increasingly powerful, which will gradually lower their levels of self-esteem; the little one will end up thinking that he is worthy of physical punishment and that he will never be able to satisfy his parents.

It is what is known as learned helplessness.

6. Physical punishment says what is wrong, but not what is good

For this reason, physical punishment is not a constructive method . Note that the triggering behavior has not been good, but does not offer correct alternatives to that behavior.

The child, therefore, will know that he has carried out an unwanted behavior for his parents, but he will not be able to learn what behavior he should perform the next time the same situation occurs. Therefore, physical punishment does not show how it can be improved, which increases the confusion of the child.

7. We teach that violence is useful in all situations, and that the strongest is the one who wins

We do not teach to reason, nor to solve problems in a friendly way. We teach that the strongest always wins and the weakest always loses .

With violence, the child does not learn to respect authority figures, and this can cause serious problems, such as transgression of norms. This can not only be a big problem when it comes to relating to others, but it can also trigger bad relationships with justice and society.

8. Deteriorates family relationships

In discussions where physical punishment is given there is a unilateral non-verbal communication . This communication is not favorable for any member of the family. Family members do not learn to dialogue and seek solutions that benefit everyone.

Some conclusions

These eight reasons show that physical punishment is not a recommended method to modify behaviors, as its undesirable side effects are notorious .

Currently, psychology recommends other types of conduct modifiers much healthier and without negative repercussions, such as withdrawal of attention to unwanted behavior and positive reinforcement of good behaviors.


10 Ways to Discipline Your Children (May 2024).


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