Growth Mindset Considering Spanking Issue

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Since their childhood, the majority of people have faced the appraisal of their abilities and talents. It goes without saying that this kind of support is essential, however, at the same time, it may limit individuals’ ability to fulfil their potential and lead to the acceptance of mediocracy (“The Growth Mindset…”). In turn, people who are regarded as highly talented by others were not always born like this – instead, they are constantly contributing to their self-development by having a growth mindset. Professor Dr. Carol S. Dweck identifies a fixed and a growth mindset (“The Growth Mindset…”). People with a fixed mindset are aware of their talents and abilities: they know in what spheres of life they are professional. At the same time, they are afraid of challenges in which they may be incompetent. In turn, a growth mindset refers to a belief that abilities, skills, and talents may be developed (“The Growth Mindset…”). Thus, having a growth mindset, people do not avoid learning and changes in their values and beliefs through education, training, and experience.

In the present day, I frequently hear about my excellent communication skills in relation to children. In other ways, I may find a common language with almost any child, even a small and unfamiliar one, to entertain, educate, and explain how to do things in a correct way in the case of misbehavior. At the same time, the majority of people sincerely believe that understanding children and their needs is my genuine and even inherited talent. However, the reality is that my ability to communicate with children efficiently is developed in response to my particular belief that has changed during my lifetime. I believe now that communication with children is more efficient that spanking, a common form of corporal punishment, and my views on it have shifted from acceptable to prohibited due to its impact on children’s mental health and emotional development.

When I was a child, the spanking of children was an absolutely common practice in my community. Sometimes, even more serious punishment was presupposed for severe misconduct, especially for boys. Thus, in children’s books, physical abuse was depicted as positive – in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, Mr. Bunny “took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and whipped him with the little switch,” and it was regarded as a just punishment in response to his misconduct (Potter 53). Even in the present day, a considerable number of people claim that it is necessary to spank children from time to time in response to their disruptive behavior. In support of this belief, they state that being spanked by their parent help them grow responsible, respectful, and rule-abiding. They supported their beliefs by multiple research according to which, such qualities as discipline, perseverance, and accountability are highly beneficial for a successful career (Expert Panel). All in all, spanking was regarded as a positive practice that forms a respectful society member.

For almost all my life, I thought in the same way. I thought that spanking is a normal, non-harmful, and efficient form of punishment from well-intentioned parents in a disciplinary and non-abusive environment. I believed that as all children are completely different, for some of them, spanking is the only form of sending a lasting message and explanation that behavior is inappropriate. In addition, I advocated parents who spanked their children – for me, they were nevertheless loving and caring individuals who formed their children’s character to avoid serious challenges in the future. In addition, I was sure that spanking could be out of adults’ control caused by strong emotions. For instance, I remember that my mother yelled at me like never before when I ran to the roadway when I was six years old. I did not repeat this action again, and later, I realized that my mother was extremely scared by its potential consequences as she loved me.

The first episode that challenged my belief was connected with direct observation. When I visited my friends who spanked their small daughter and saw how the child’s face reflected a genuine fear after her parents promised to punish her for an accidentally broken cup, I started to think about children’s feelings for the first time in my life. Subsequently, I decided to examine the connection between spanking and a child’s wellbeing from the position of science. The results were shocking – the majority of experts have established a strong correlation between spanking and children’s lower socioemotional development and mental health issues. According to Pace et al., “spanking was consistently associated with negative outcomes for children, including more internalizing and externalizing child behavior problems, antisocial behavior, and child aggression” (85). This statement was supported by Afifi et al., who discovered that spanking is a form of both physical and emotional abuse that has a highly negative impact on a child’s health (24). Thus, after my literature review dedicated to the issue of spanking, my attitude to it has started to change.

First of all, I understood that I did not perceive children’s spanking in a proper way. According to its definition given by Afifi et al., spanking is the “use of physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience pain, but not injury, for the purpose of correcting or controlling the child’s behavior” (25). I realized that a parent’s intention to cause pain, especially knowing that a child is weaker and cannot respond, is violent and unhealthy. Moreover, it demonstrates an adult’s weakness, poor self-assessment, and non-developed communication skills. In other words, a parent who abuses his or her child physically and emotionally do not want to undertake efforts trying to understand an infant. In turn, the same model of behavior will be transmitted to children. They will respect only force realizing its power to control others. At the same time, they will think that it is normal to abuse and humiliate others if they are physically, socially, or financially weaker.

Thus, on the basis of learning, I have changed my belief related to the spanking of children that had been previously regarded as a common and even beneficial practice. I understood that spanking is a form of child abuse, however, the majority of people who practice spanking do not realize this. From their personal perspectives, children abuse is physical punishment that leads to serious injuries and even death. However, spanking deteriorates the mental health of children all over the world.

As my opinion has changed, I decided to focus on children’s psychology in order to support my new beliefs. I learned that the expression of emotions is typical for children due to the age-related immaturity of their psychics. In addition, their cognitive development presupposed the exploration of the environment. That is why when a child cries for a seemingly insignificant reason or destroys things, these activities are unintentional, and they do not deserve physical punishment. Moreover, for older children, it is possible to explain the consequences of their misconduct verbally for its prevention in the future.

To conclude, I want to claim that my changed belief refers to the unacceptance of spanking due to its harm to children’s mental health. This change has positively affected me – first of all, it has triggered my self-development in relation to psychology. In other words, I have learned to understand children better and assessed my own reactions to irritating events for their correction. That is why I believe that I will be a more responsible parent in the future. In addition, I believe that my new belief can change the whole community – if more people thought in the same way and stopped spanking their children, it would lead to a more healthy society. In other words, more people should realize that their children are individuals with their unique characteristics, and their mental health should be protected in the same way as their basic physiological needs are fulfilled. Parents should learn to understand their children instead of make them comfortable for society. That is why I may say that a growth mindset helps people develop their skills, knowledge, and talents and improve social wellbeing as well.

Works Cited

Afifi, Tracie O., et al. “Spanking and Adult Mental Health Impairment: The Case for the Designation of Spanking as an Adverse Childhood Experience.” Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 71, 2017, pp. 24-31.

Expert Panel. “15 Traits of Successful People That All Business Leaders Should Cultivate.” Forbes, 2020, Web.

Pace, Garrett T., et al. “Spanking and Young Children’s Socioemotional Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.” Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 88, 2019, pp. 84-95.

Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny. Frederick Warne & Co., 1904.

“The Growth Mindset | Carol Dweck | Talks at Google.” YouTube, uploaded by Talks at Google, Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Growth Mindset Considering Spanking Issue." January 8, 2023.