Hostile and Instrumental Aggression

Chapter 10 defines aggression as: “Physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone.”  It also differentiates hostile aggression from instrumental aggression.

The topic of this discussion concerns spanking and paddling children.  Can one or both of these be considered aggression?  If so, where is the line between hostile and instrumental aggression?  Or is all physical punishment of children abusive?

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Click here to see the list of countries and territories that have outlawed the spanking of children by parents. (Links to an external site.) While no state has done that in the United States, the idea has its advocates. There was a bill in the California legislature, but it did not pass. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have, however, outlawed corporal punishment in public schools, but not Texas. Texas leaves that up to the local school board. (Links to an external site.)  [All but two states, New Jersey and Iowa, permit corporal punishment in private schools, however.]

Here are a number of issues to address. Pick the one(s) you are interested in. You may discuss corporal punishment at home and/or in school.

Where is the line between corporal punishment (instrumental aggression) and child abuse (hostile aggression), or is all corporal punishment abusive?
Is there an age when corporal punishment ceases to work? If so, what is it?
When do the side-effects of corporal punishment outweigh any benefits?
What effect does corporal punishment have on the amount of violence and aggression in our society?
Should public schools in Texas allow disobedient students to be “paddled” by administrators? If so, what grade levels could be “paddled?”
In addition to relating your own experiences, you should also comment based on information in Chapter 10.

Local ISDs that allow corporal punishment: Alvin, Brazosport, Channelview, Cleveland, Crosby, Dayton, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Huffman, Klein, Liberty, New Caney, Pasadena, and Waller.

Local ISDs that prohibit corporal punishment: Aldine, Alief, Clear Creek, Conroe, Cy-Fair, Dickenson, Fort Bend, Friendswood, Galveston, Houston, Humble, Katy, La Porte, Pearland, Santa Fe, Sheldon, Spring, Spring Branch, and Tomball.

States that permit corporal punishment in public schools:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

Optional reading:  Racial disparities in the use of corporal punishment in schools. (Links to an external site.)

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