Punishing a child brings up many controversial methods. What is considered appropriate? What is crossing the lines? Which type of punishment is actually effective? Spanking is a well-known "positive" punishment that is used here in our society, but it is also one of the most controversial.
Young children are the most susceptible to punishment as they are still learning right from wrong. There are many methods that are useful in punishing a child, positive punishment being one of them. Positive punishment means that a person or animal experiences something they wish to avoid that weakens the chances of their behavior of happening again. A few examples of positive punishment would be spanking, yelling, and physical shock. When is enough though? Spanking is thought to be an effective form of punishment in our society, but is it? Research says otherwise.
To set up a situation, lets have Betty be a young child, 3 years of age. Betty really wanted a piece of chocolate, but it was only 9 am, too early for candy. When Todd, her father, says she can't have candy this early, Betty throws a fit and calls her dad "stupid." Todd wants Betty to know that calling people names is not okay, so he gives her a few spankings and leaves her crying in her room until she calms down. Is Betty less likely to call her father names in the future?
Research shows that this type of "positive" punishment is ineffective and can have long-term psychological effects on the child, in this case, Betty. Some of these effects include aggression, antisocial behavior and mental health problems in the future. This type of punishment is also said to conflict with learning how to deal with problems in an acceptable way. Many more effects of this type of punishment are listed in these two articles.
Although "positive" punishment may have immediate results, the long-term affects of positive punishment are not worth the spankings. Todd in this situation needs to find other ways to punish Betty for calling him names. A form of "negative" punishment may be more effective although there may not be immediate results. In this case, taking away Betty's favorite toy would be a more effective and less harmful punishment than spanking. The following video gives other examples of effective punishment techniques that would be considered "negative" punishment; taking away something that the child wishes to experience to weaken the chances of that behavior happening again.