First, we need to break down what corporal punishment is and how it relates to childcare. Corporal punishment is when someone in a position of power and supervision uses physical pain as a means to reprimand. An example of this in the educational system is the well-known uses of rulers in a nun’s hand or the spanking of a child. Other examples include slapping, pinching, pulling, or forcing a child to consume terrible tasting substances like soap or hot sauce. While this practice of physical punishment is mostly out of fashion, they can still happen. They are still reported to happen in schools, homes, and daycares.
According to a study done by Monitoring the Future, in 2017 35% of the parents in the study reported having spanked their children. Hopefully, this percentage has gone down in recent years. To some parents, spanking is not a big deal. This is a misconception. Spanking and any form of physical abuse not only causes children physical harm but can affect their mental health too.
Long Term Effects:
Using corporal punishment may temporarily lead the child into blind obedience and compliance. It fixes a short-term problem while creating long-lasting issues that will lead the child into adulthood. Corporal punishment doesn’t teach children not to do the act they were punished for. It doesn’t teach them why their behavior was bad. Instead, it teaches them the only way of dealing with issues and problems is through violence. It contributes to aggression, social esteem problems, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and antisocial behavior. Children who face corporal punishment are shown to experience academic problems. They understandably are wary of authority figures. If the figure who gave them corporal punishment is a woman, then the child is more likely to exhibit violence toward females when they reach adulthood.
The relationship between a child and a parents, teacher, or daycare worker should be built on trust. Kids rely on the adult watching them for stability, security, and safety. By applying corporal punishment, it breaks this trust and destroys one of their first relationships. This goes onto inform and affect any relationship the child will have going forward.
Other methods of punishment are shown to be more effective and humane than corporal punishment. The most effective method being taking away certain privileges. Nowadays, this is mostly the removal of electronics like phones, iPads, and video game consoles. If the child is young, then the old-fashioned time out works wonders. There’s always the option of manual labor as punishment such as giving them an extra chore to do. It’s also important to talk to the child about what they did and why it was wrong. If they don’t understand what they did, how will they know not to do it again? The point of discipline isn’t about controlling the children. It’s about teaching them proper techniques for them to control themselves. Using these methods of discipline allows the child time to reflect on their behavior. Positive reinforcement can go a long way too.
Corporal Punishment Liability:
Corporal punishment liability offers protection in the event of a daycare employee being accused of hitting a child aka administering corporal punishment. If a parent decides to sue, this liability can cover the lawsuit and settlement.
Currently only 31 states in the US have banned corporal punishment in public schools. However, it is still legal in private schools. It is not allowed in daycares. If found of administering corporal punishment, the daycare could be sued, and they could lose their license. This doesn’t stop new reports of corporal punishment being used in daycares though.
Your daycare may have strict policies and training with employees that negates using physical acts as punishment for children. If you don’t, you definitely should. You might not be able to see any of your employees harming a child, but you never know how people are going to handle anger and frustration. Ideally, your employees will never harm a child. This doesn’t mean your daycare will never be accused of corporal punishment though. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential business-ending lawsuits. A daycare would not survive if there was a lawsuit where an employee hit a child. The rumor alone would destroy a business. Most home daycare insurance policies will have some form of corporal liability insurance. If you aren’t sure, call your provider and ask.