What Ending Corporal Punishment Means for Society

50 million US children experience corporal punishment. The use of corporal punishment has effects not only on the individual but to the entire society. In For Your Own Good: Hidden cruelty in child-rearing and the roots of violence (1984), Alice Miller states:  “People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be--both in their youth and in adulthood--intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive.  They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves.  They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others.  They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned from their own experience, and because it is knowledge (and not the experience of cruelty) that has been stored up inside them from the beginning.  It will be inconceivable to such people that earlier generations had to build up a gigantic war industry in order to feel comfortable and safe in this world.  Since it will not be their unconscious drive in life to ward off intimidation experienced at a very early age, they will be able to deal with attempts at intimidation in their adult life more rationally and more creatively.”     

Spanking children has been shown to lower the IQ’s of children. Worldwide corporal punishment has been decreasing and studies have seen an increase in IQ tests. Who knows how many future scientists who could have cured cancer were lost to childhood spankings. By spanking children we are damaging the future of mankind without even knowing it. If we end corporal punishment, Straus predicts that we will likely see a reduction in juvenile violence, wife-beating, masochistic sex, and increase in the probability of completing higher education.  Straus also predicts that there will be huge monetary savings in public and private cost for dealing with mental health problems, school problems, marital and family problems, and crime.