Effects of Physical Punishment on Children

Today it is a well known facts that the effects of physical punishment on a child are always negative. The effects of physical punishment on children are not just ineffective but harmful. Regardless of the fact that physical punishment is harmful many families practice it. Most of the families practicing physical punishment believe that it is a form of disciplining their child. The first thing every parent need to know is physical punishment  is not a way to discipline a child. 

Several studies have been conducted on the effects of physical punishment on children. Here we will discuss some of the impacts of physical punishment.

Long-term Impacts

The long-term impacts of physical punishment are more important to discuss. Most of the times children do not forget what happened to them even if it happened somewhere in early childhood.

Mental impacts

There are various ways in which physical punishment can impact the mental or cognitive development of a child. A child uses a s much of his cognitive skills as he feels confident, comfortable, well fed and is content at heart. When parents use physical punishment to discipline their children they negatively impact their cognitive development in the following ways.

  1. Children who are physically punished become afraid of exploring their surroundings, they avoid extending their cognitive skills. Most of the strict parents directly or indirectly inhibit their children from exploring and learning.
  2. Such children do not learn to reason and think logically as they have never been allowed to reason and understand.
  3. Poor academic scores are also common in children who have been punished physically  at home or in school.
  4. Physical punishment also impacts a child’s ability to adjust well in the school setting and with his/her peers.
  5. It can also have long lasting brain damage that can impair cognitive development.
  6. Low self-esteem might also result because a child will face mental/emotional blows from family.

Social behavior

In many studies it has been reported that corporal punishment bring aggression, anger, violence, and other social and emotional weaknesses.

  1. Frustration results from physical punishment sometimes when children are extremely frustrated they search for an outlet to bring out their frustration. That outlet can be friends, other school-mates, siblings or someone around them.
  2. When children feel pain in receiving physical punishment, they feel that giving pain to others is socially acceptable. When they would like to correct someone else’s behavior they would use the same method of physical punishment. They would not feel guilty of giving pain to others.
  3. One of the main factor in juvenile delinquency is physical punishment that they received from their parents, teachers, or someone else in the surrounding.
  4. The behavior that parents want to eradicate through physical punishment become strengthened because of their harsh disciplining techniques.


The impacts on a child’s educational achievement is linked with child’s social,emotional, and cognitive development. The impacts of  physical punishment on his education depends on low, mild, medium, or severe abuse that he received. With high abuse the impacts of the physical punishment can be direct and longer lasting. Otherwise children may go through difficulty in school adjustment, peer acceptance, and/or inability to reason and understand. Physical abuse may also result in attention disorder that makes learning difficult.

Parent/child relationship

The quality of relationship between parent and child is adversely effected by the use of physical punishment to discipline. The strong feeling of attachment is fostered by positive parenting while negative ways to discipline can cause distances between parent and child.


  • The State of Research on the Effects of Physical Punishment, Ministry of Social Development, https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj27/the-state-of-research-on-effects-of-physical-punishment-27-pages114-127.html Retrieved on 11/1/2018



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