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Sociology Essay: Corporal Punishment on Children


Task: Prepare a sociology essay on the topic “Crime & Deviance: Durkheim proposed that crime and deviance brought people in a society together. Choose an activity or behaviour that might be considered more deviant or less deviant today than it has been in the past (e.g., smoking, drink driving, abortion or same-sex marriage). Discuss the relevancy of Durkheim’s statement by using this behaviour or activity as an example”.


Introduction to the theme of sociology essay
Corporal punishment has been an integral part of child rearing. However, corporal punishment can be considered more deviant in present world. Through understanding “Corporal punishment”, in present world, understanding of parenting quality, crimes of physical abuse and delinquent, criminal as well as antisocial behaviour will be acknowledged through this assignment. It will bring out understanding of corporal punishment as implicated in etiology associated with criminal and different antisocial behaviours by both adults and children. It will focus on understanding deviance of behaviour resulting in crimes due to corporal punishments in children. It will involve understanding of associations and relation between child delinquent and potential corporal punishment resulting from an inability of corporal punishment of potentially facilitating internalisation of different moral as well as values in children. Furthermore, it will relate with Emily Durkheim’s proposal regarding deviance and crime, that is stated as a necessary part of society and it brought people living in any society together. Therefore, present essay will concentrate on Durkheim’s crime along with ‘deviance theory’, focusing on behaviour of corporal punishment on children, which seems to be more deviant at present times.

Thesis Statement
Present essay argues that corporal punishment in child-development phases is associated with social as well as cultural attitudes to corporal punishment. It will find clear relation between child delinquency and potential corporal punishment resulting from an inability of corporal punishment of potentially facilitating internalisation of different moral as well as values in children. Therefore, the behaviour changes and deemed as deviant within the context of corporal punishment.

Critical Discussion
Government views on corporal punishment

Corporal punishment (CP) is a discipline that is associated with utilisation of physical force with intention of causing a child for experiencing adequate pain solely for purpose of correction or monitoring of child’s behaviour. CP comprises of spanking, slapping as well as shoving child roughly while assuring there is no injury given to the child (Traus & Stewart, 1999). CP consists of different perspectives, traditionally that holds an opinion of utilising it for teaching respect related with authority and is essential towards maintaining control over child. However, the deviance in behaviour from CP to child abuse is evident through different governmental records.

Government of “New South Wales” has restricted extensiveness of corporal punishment due to its changing attitudes (Poulsen, 2018). As per governmental records, it is evident that parents can be subjected to lose their temper along with applying great extent of physical pain to the child. Under psychological review of the context, it can be stated that a hot-tempered individual or a parent can lose their temper, which can lead to application of too much physical pain to a child. Therefore, the behaviour of CP can lead to potential physical abuse for the children. It enhances deviance behaviour as root of tantrum is yet to be analysed but potential action has already been taken in place. “The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)”, marks forefront form of international awareness regarding dangers of CP as it can lead to major child assault (Gershoffet al. 2017). It proves that CP comprises of deviance behaviour as stated by Durkheim and control of such behaviour largely can help in understanding the statement that crime as well as deviance, which brings a society together.

According to (Porzig-Drummond, 2015), there have been concrete form of psychological evidence, that domestic form of physical punishment can lead to potential behavioural changes among children. CP can turn into child abuse due to behavioural and aggression issues, that enhances subject of deviance. Sometimes, parents can suffer from any form of psychological condition and while applying CP, they can take out their frustration or anger on their children, which facilitates child abuse and crimes. According to “United Nations Convention on Rights of Child (UNCRC)”, there is a clear requirement for absolute form of protection of children regarding violence in their parental care (Sclafani, 2012). It clearly explains that even in parental care a child that is subjected to CP, required for its developmental phase can result in being abused by its own parents or guardians. Therefore, CP can be recognised as a potential deviant behaviour.

Cultural views and risks of Corporal Punishment
CP is infliction of potential physical form of pain as a proper form of ‘punishment’ in child development phase. In cultural aspects, traditionally it resembles power gap between punisher (parent) and the punished (children). However, in Australian culture, it is considered as a potential form of discipline (Rey-Salmon &Adamsbaum, 2018). Non-abusive form of CP is often confounded with potential harmful as well as abusive form of behaviours. In most developed countries, apparent confound has further arisen due to view of CP as potential abusive strategies as continuum of different physical acts to children.

The deviance of behaviour among CP to child abuse negatively affects the quality associated with child-parent relationship development. It tends towards disrupting parent-child association and can evoke different feelings related with fear, anxiety along with anger among children (Wilkinset al.2019). It is worthy to mention that if this form of feelings are generalised to parent, it can result in interference with optimal form of parent-child association through inciting children for being scared of the parent. If CP tends towards leading children for avoiding their parents and guardians it can further turn into erode trust bonds among the parent-children relationship. Use of potential severe abusive form of physical techniques as well as strategies as a part of CP, can deviant from main motives of CP which is to assure child development and invoking of morale into children. It can lead to child abuse marking relevantly negative consequences of the behavioural development in children. Potential for widely used practice of CP can be deviant and be associated with a potential form of risk or injury to children.

Social Views of corporal punishment as a deviant behaviour
According to Stewart (1999), in that time 94% of the parents were subjected to hit toddlers, causing them injury or severe pain while applying CP to their children. The society views CP in developed and developing countries as a potential strategy to, physically discipline their child. However, utilisation of CP through parents has turned in to a major controversial form of topic among parents, guardians and families. Conversely, there are people in society that do not utilise CP because of different reasons or potential beliefs, some based on personal along with religious preferences. The topic remains directly associated with potential social work and in most of the states in Australia CP is legal in terms of disciplining the children. However, as per opinion of (Rowlandet al. 2017), CP is a behaviour that can change from time to time and result in becoming major risks towards proper and healthy child development. According to “National Child Traumatic Stress Network”, a survey has been conducted in 2006, in which results further reflected that many parents and guardians utilises severe physical punishment for children in order to ‘discipline them’ (Elgaret al. 2018).

According to Lochman, parents continuously resort to CP as a potential way of marking discipline and teaching them behaviour; however, at times there will comprise an unintended form of consequences associated with teaching child different frustrating situations, which are handled through major physical aggression. It is not just a way that a parent disciplines their children as they were disciplined when they were children. Sometimes, the major external factors, that causes disturbances in mental state and depression can potentially contribute to deviation of CP in to child abuse (Heekeset al. 2020). For example, a child that grew up in a very positive environment can also be subjected to depression in workplace or other phase in their lives. It can thereby lead to major aggression issues, turning CP into deviance behaviour while hitting their children out of frustration and causing physical abuse and injuries.

This part of the essay implements “Differential-Association Theory“as a part of Deviance behaviour analysis. This theory coined by “Edwin Sutherland”, states issue of different ways in which people learn deviance (Straus & Donnelly, 2017). According to this potential theory, environment is responsible for deciding different norms people that learns to violate. Applying this theory to CP clearly brings out an understanding of different reference groups such as anger issues, aggression, mental health issues and frustration that can provides norms of potential conformity along with deviance and lead to a changing behaviour, resulting in potential child abuse.

It can be concluded from the above discussion that corporal punishment (CP) during rearing of children can be recognised as a potential deviant form of behaviour in global context. It concentrates on understanding deviance of behaviour resulting in crimes due to corporal punishments in children. The deviance of behaviour among CP to child abuse negatively affects the quality associated with child-parent relationship development. It tends towards disrupting parent-child association and can evoke different feelings related with fear, anxiety along with anger among children. It is still condoned in different cultures and countries but potential examples from societal, cultural and governmental perspectives clearly illustrates that CP contains major risks to turn into child abuse. Furthermore,

Reference List
Elgar, F.J., Donnelly, P.D., Michaelson, V., Gariépy, G., Riehm, K.E., Walsh, S.D. & Pickett, W., 2018. Corporal punishment bans and physical fighting in adolescents: an ecological study of 88 countries. BMJ open, 8(9), p.e021616.

Gershoff, ET, Lee, SJ & Durrant, JE 2017, 'Promising intervention strategies to reduce parents' use of physical punishment', Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 71, No.1, pp.9-23. Heekes, S.L., Kruger, C.B., Lester, S.N. & Ward, C.L., 2020. A systematic review of corporal punishment in schools: Global prevalence and correlates. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, p.1524838020925787.

Porzig-Drummond, R 2015, "Help, not punishment': Moving on from physical punishment of children'. Children Australia, Vol.40, no. 1, pp. 43-57.

Poulsen, A., 2018. The role of corporal punishment of children in the perpetuation of intimate partner violence in Australia. Children Australia, 43(1), pp.32-41.

Rey-Salmon, C. & Adamsbaum, C. eds., 2018. Child Abuse: Diagnostic and Forensic Considerations. Sociology essaySpringer.

Rowland, A, Gerry, F & Stanton, M 2017,‘Physical punishment of children', International Journal of Children's Rights, Vol.25, no.1, pp.165-195.

Sclafani, JD 2012, The Educated Parent 2: Child Rearing in the 21st Century, ABC-CLIO, LLC, Santa Barbara, ProQuest Ebook Central

Straus, M.A. & Donnelly, D.A., 2017. Beating the devil out of them: Corporal punishment in American families and its effects on children. Routledge.

Traus, M. A., & Stewart, J. H. 1999. Corporal punishment by American parents: National data on prevalence, chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family characteristics. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2(2), 55–70.

Wilkins, D., Shemmings, D & Pascoe, C., 2019. Ebook: Child Abuse: An evidence base for confident practice. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


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