There is a substantial body of research showing that all forms physical punishment increase the risk of broad and enduring negative developmental outcomes. Corporal punishment from parents and teachers does not teach children respect; it teaches fear, engenders anger and resentment, and produces ongoing cycles of violence. Negative behavioral outcomes linked to corporal punishment include increased aggression, violence, and antisocial behavior – both in the short and long term – as well as a decreased quality of relationship between parent and child.
No study has found that physical punishment enhances developmental health, or that it is an effective method of discipline. Based on this evidence, a professional consensus is emerging that parents should be supported in learning nonviolent, effective approaches to discipline. While punishment instills fear and humiliates a child, positive discipline promotes self-control, uses modeling as a motivator for good behavior, and builds on children’s strengths rather than weaknesses.
At MenCare, we work with fathers, father-figures, and caregivers to promote positive and nonviolent discipline. We also work with institutions and policymakers to enact laws that ban corporal punishment as ways to discipline children and adolescents. By teaching both fathers and mothers nonviolent child rearing skills like educating through dialogue and setting limits without using violence, and by raising awareness about the negative impacts of corporal punishment through advocacy and campaigns more broadly, we can break the cycle of violence in the home.
For more information, explore these MenCare fact sheets debunking common myths about corporal punishment.