Corporal punishment, synonymous with physical punishment, is the intentional infliction of pain on the body for punishment or to control behavior. Although extensive research shows that spanking is ineffective and inflicts harm on children, many parents today still support spanking as a form of discipline.
Parents who support spanking often believe it is an effective way to manage a child's behavior. Often times, if the parents themselves were spanked as children, they may feel that if they don't spank their own children, then they will grow up spoiled. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is the infamous quote that guides the philosophy, however spanking is not only an ineffective form of discipline; it can also be counterproductive and dangerous.
Spanking is an ineffective way to manage behavior because it does not involve verbal communication or reasoning with the child. After being spanked, the child may temporarily stop the behavior, but chances are they will repeat it. In the short run, hitting might make the child behave better, but in the long run, it creates more problems for both parent and child. Some experts believe spanking actually serves as more of a tension release for parents rather than as a method of controlling the child (Lighter 5). Children are also very impressionable; they are constantly observing the behaviors and actions of those around them. When parents choose to hit their children as a form of punishment, they are sending the message that hitting is acceptable. The next time the child becomes angry or frustrated, they will most likely repeat what they have learned.
Physical punishment also interferes with the bond between parents and child because it is not natural to feel unconditional love toward someone who hurts them. A child may not learn to trust, connect, or ever respect a parent who chooses spanking as a method of discipline. The child may instead learn to fear the parent resulting in more tension between the two, possibly depriving the child of the skills needed to develop future meaningful relationships.