Spanking: Acceptable Discipline or Child Abuse?

Families seem divided almost down the middle on the issue of whether spanking is an acceptable form of discipline. In response to the question: “Is physical punishment on a child unacceptable for you?” 48% of people expressed opinion that corporal punishment is an effective way of upbringing, according to (dating app), which collected the results in a course of a poll, conducted between 9/1/14 and 11/21/14.

The NFL’s recent action of suspending Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson without pay for the rest of the season and not allowing him to be eligible for reinstatement before April 15, gave way to social media frenzy once again about child rearing and child abuse. The league stated it suspended Peterson for violating the personal conduct policy after pleading no contest to a charge of reckless assault. He had been arrested for spanking his 4-year-old son with a switch, inflicting scratches and welts on the child’s arms, legs and genitals.

It was Peterson’s indictment on child abuse charges that first led to a robust debate about whether hitting, spanking or any other form of corporal punishment is justified and effective in dealing with children. It also revealed sharp differences in cultural, regional and generational attitudes toward using any kind of physical force to try to teach kids right from wrong.

The Meetville poll shows that physical punishment still remains quite popular in modern families. Though some experts disagree with this statement, Sandra Graham-Bermann, Ph.D., a psychology professor and principal investigator for the Child Violence and Trauma Laboratory at the University of Michigan, points out to Meetville that: “Physical punishment can work momentarily to stop problematic behavior because children are afraid of being hit, but it doesn’t work in the long term and can make children more aggressive.” She also believes that kids who suffer from corporal punishments tend to resolve conflicts with their peers in a violent way.

Out of 54,196 respondents 64% were from the USA, 3% — from Canada, 11% — from Britain, 7% — from Australia and 15% — from other countries. Meetville, a leading mobile dating service, regularly conducts research among its users. Millions of people from the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia answer hundreds of questions every month.

Alex Cusper, Meetville service analyst, believes that the main idea of upbringing is to teach, show positive example and foster healthy habits. “Physical discipline has proved to be ineffective as it only teaches kids that violence is an acceptable way of solving problems and conflicts.”