Physical Punishment Of Children

Physical Punishment Of Children Is Not Good For Children’s Development

Updated on July 5, 2024

Many parents, caregivers and teachers believe that physical punishment is necessary to correct the mistakes and make the children disciplined. Are you one of them? If yes, understand that disciplinary violence does not help the children correct the mistakes, but it impacts a lot in the mental health of the child. Continue reading and watch the video of Esha Sridhar in which she talks about her life experiences.

What is physical punishment of children?

Most children misbehave because that is part of naughty childhood. Every parent faces the challenge and worried about how to discipline his or her child. It can frustrate when a child has significant behaviour problems.

Physical punishment, also called corporal punishment, is anything done to cause pain or discomfort in response to a child’s behaviours.

Examples of physical punishment

  • Spanking
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Pulling
  • Hitting with an object, such as a belt, hairbrush, paddle, whip, or stick
  • In some places, people hit on the head

At this point, something came in my mind that I have never seen animals or birds angry with their little ones. Does it mean they are better than human whom the almighty has created top of everything in the world and given all the powers over everything?

Is physical punishment of children effective for changing behaviour?

What usually parents do after punishing the child? Parents feel sorry for punishing the child out of anger. So parents hug and kiss the child, console and have a peaceful conversation to make the child understand the mistake and advises not to repeat the same. 

So, the punishment or the peaceful conversation teaches the child what was right or wrong?

Parents, caregivers and teachers often associate punishment of children into a lesson. The child may not repeat that behavior again because the child is afraid. But has the child learned why it’s wrong?

When physical violence put upon children by a loved one children go through the confusion of not understanding what is happening. Children start assuming that is the way to express love towards them.

Today, teachers are not allowed to give physical punishment to students.

The most important thing to realise is that physical punishment does not enhance the developmental health of children. It only hurts the children and also makes to think that the person who punished does not love them.

In some children, punishment creates anger and a kind of revenge. As you know children always want love. Their little and soft heart never like your shouting or any kind of punishment, but always want love and affection.

Read Be Cautious About These Child Behaviours

Why do toddlers have meltdowns?

Many parents do not identify toddler tantrums and hence for silly things they punish the little children. Sometimes children do tantrums in school and the authorities punish them. Do you know how to tame toddler tantrums?

What are the negative impacts of physical punishment of children?

What are the negative impacts of  physical punishment of children
Girl child crying

Physical punishment makes a wound physically and also in the mind. It adversely affects children’s cognitive and intellectual development. It also affects the behaviour and attitude like, aggression, disruptive behaviour with friends and in the class, lack of acceptance by peers. 

Physical punishment can result in the following consequences in a child

  • Being aggressive
  • Bullying other children
  • Behavioral problems
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Fearful of parents
  • Thinking that hitting is okay
  • Increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems
  • Personality problems

Read How To Cope With Anxiety And Depression?

Disciplinary violence and its effects on children – Esha Sridhar

Watch the below TEDx talk video of Esha Sridhar who talks about disciplinary violence and its effects on children. She is narrating her own real-life story. In the talk she mentions of physical brutality, pain, conflict, fighting against norms and questioning them.

Who is Esha Sridhar?

  • Founder of the Plane Jar Welfare Foundation – A youth activism and outreach forum that provides socio-psycho-economic aid to survivors and those who need mental health support.
  • A survivor of physical brutality.
  • She strongly advocates for child rights and mental health aid.
  • She also created the Child Abuse Awareness and Survivor’s Assistance program (C.A.A.S.A.)
  • Esha Sridhar believes that mental health care is too important to be left solely to psychologists and psychiatrists.

Summary of Esha Sridhar’s Talk

At the age of two all the way to the age of six, she was a survivor of severe physical brutality. The domestic help in her house who was hired to take care of her was actually her abuser. She treated her in ways that she knew that no one else ever had the right to treat her.

The domestic help glamorized it in Esha’s life to such an extent that she believed that in order to ever achieve something pain is a part of it.

She was living two lives one was like a secret association at home where only she and the helper knew about it. The helper trained her and custom made to just lying over and over again to her family and her friends so no one would ever know.

And the second life was the life she had with her family by keeping everything secret.

She says “what happened to me was really sad and in my conscious mind I knew that what was happening to me was very wrong. But subconsciously I was so ingrained to the thought that this is what people are going to be like and in order to achieve something you had to go through pain.”

By the ninth grade, she started suffering from severe mental health problems. She had a jittery hand, couldn’t stand still. She would sweat, couldn’t see clearly, would get fuzzy. As a public speaker, it was hard for her.

By the time she hit the eleventh and twelfth grade, she was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, OCD complex, PTSD and such mental health problems.

When she got out of the 12th grade she decided to like have a non-profit and work for people who’ve been with stories like her.

She focused on how do tell her body that it’s safe and that she has control over her own body.

For this she started using something that she call a mental health first aid kit.

  • A little box that smells like very strong lavender for smell.
  • For sigh little rustling beads that was super colorful.
  • For hearing she would rustle them.
  • For touch she had slime that she would play within her hands.
  • For taste she had saw candy.

According to her in a difficult moment what helped her was to ground herself to tell her that this is reality and you have control over the situation.

When she would smell the lavender, when she was able to touch clay, when she was able to feel it, she could feel her senses coming back to life. She could feel herself and say that “I am safe”. 

Read 8 Parenting Mistakes You Should Avoid For Better Parenting

Ways to encourage your child to have good behavior

  • Have a positive, supportive and healthy relationship with your child.
  • Praise your child’s good behaviour. This positive reinforcement leads to more of that behaviour.
  • Find the exact reason for the mistake and help the child understand what is wrong and right.
  • Help the child to realise the consequences and advise not to repeat.
  • Make the child realise the true love and parents love never ends.

Read How To Touch The Heart Of Your Children?

Disciplinary Violence On Children – unicef

Close to 300 million children aged 2 to 4 worldwide (3 out of 4) experience violent discipline by their caregivers on a regular basis; 250 million (around 6 in 10) are punished by physical means.

Based on data from 30 countries, 6 in 10 children aged 12 to 23 months are subjected to violent disciplinary methods. Among children this age, almost half experience physical punishment and a similar proportion are exposed to verbal abuse.

Only 60 countries have adopted legislation that fully prohibits the use of corporal punishment against children at home, leaving more than 600 million children under age 5 without full legal protection.

Globally, around 1.1 billion (slightly more than 1 in 4) caregivers say that physical punishment is necessary to properly raise or educate children.

Source: unicef


As a parent, it can be overwhelming to teach your child good behaviour and discipline. If you are using physical punishment of children, you should consider using other better methods to develop good behaviour in your child.

If you find it difficult to control the behavioural problems your child is experiencing, you can consult a doctor or another qualified mental health professional and follow their advice.

I found a topic and published this article. I agree that harmful punishment making wound in the body and mind is not good. But from my life experiences, I think showing a stick or small punishments to make little fear in the mind will help to avoid repeating the mistake. What do you think?

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When you were punished at childhood did you think about why you were wrong and what you had learned?

What is your opinion about physical punishment of children?

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