The Increasing Incidences of Physical Discipline in Children

Parents often say that they are not hurting their kids, but a study shows that parents often say that they are not getting physical with their kids when in fact they do.

The study involved observing the interaction of the parents with their kids in 106 public settings. The results show that employing physical discipline in these kids is in fact more frequent than previously noted in parent interviews. The study was able to observe disciplinary methods in children age three to five years and up to 23% of the children received some sort of negative discipline from their parents. Learn more about the study at

The Effects of Physical Discipline

Negative touch may be in the form of arm pulling, pinching, slapping or spanking. Over a quarter of parents do these to their children and the problem is people don’t know that parents are doing this. Care givers always manifest being good and soft to their children when they are in the eyes of observers, but once familiar people are out of sight, they begin to employ physical means of disciplining their children.

According to another study, physical discipline is detrimental for the growth and development of children, but it is not the wounds and the bruises that hurt more for these children, but the emotional repercussions of being hurt in public.

Physical as well as emotional effects of negative touch to children include:

     1. Inability to establish trust

Trust is learned by children during the infancy period, but older children who experience negative touch may lose this sense of trust. Children usually look up to their parents as someone who guide and provide their needs. Once physical discipline is employed, children usually fear their parents and the pain inflicted will just make them lose their trust and leads them to difficulty developing trust with other people as well.

     2. Loss of self-esteem

Children who are negatively touched in front of other people usually feel loss of self-esteem. In this line, parents who employ wrong ways to discipline their children may have kids that do not develop self-confidence.

     3. Loss of self-identity

Children who also experience physical hurt from their parents may lose their sense of identity as they grow up because they would want to please their parents in every way that they can, which usually leads them to doing things that they may not like in the first place.

Dads are Gentler than Moms

In regard to dealing with their children, the study further observed that fathers tend to touch their kids more in a positive manner than mothers. Fathers often employ tickling, hugging and patting than mothers, which may be opposite to popular belief.

We always think of dads as disciplinarians and would often use physical means to discipline their children. Moms, on the other hand, are seen as nurturers. However, the study showed that in fact, fathers tend to employ positive touch more than their wives in regard to their kids.

This result shows the good shift of the role of fathers in child upbringing, but mothers should make sure that they maintain this kind of characteristic in dealing with their children.

Differences between Girls and Boys When it comes to Negative Touch

Aside from the common and universal effects of physical discipline in children discussed earlier, there are more repercussions of the act when it comes to difference between boys and girls. The study showed that girls who were inflicted with pain tend to have worse demeanour than boys.

Overall, positive touch is more advantageous than negative touch. Children who receive disciplinary measures in a positive way tend to obey faster with less fussing. In this line, parents should make sure that they employ positive touch more when trying to teach their children.

Posted by Pitt Goumas

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