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Rationale - I have chosen to study the topic of physical discipline used on young children.

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Introduction

Rationale I have chosen to study the topic of physical discipline used on young children. I will be focusing my study mainly on two generations of males and females, parents and non-parents, to observe the wide range of opinions between the differing groups. I thought this would be an interesting topic due to the large media attention recently concerning physical discipline and whether the government should ban it. It will be interesting to observe the possible differing opinions of both parents and non-parents and also males and females of the different generations. In my opinion the older generation, both male and female, may have more of a positive view on this subject whereas the younger generation may feel more negatively about it due to media attention and government views. It will be interesting to see whether the interference from the government will or has further eroded the ability of some parents to exercise their authority or if parents feel that the government has eroded their rights. The current law regarding physical discipline on children has been in place since 1860, which allows reasonable chastisement of children. Laws to protect children from physical punishment have been passed in 10 other European countries including Scotland. I would like to see whether some parents' views have changed because of these facts, which have been quite widely spread across national papers recently. My hypothesis is that people of a younger generation will think negatively about physical discipline towards children unlike an older generation who may think it is a positive step in order to fulfil high levels of discipline in their children. My aim is to identify whether the views of physical discipline used on young children has changed over generations of parents and non-parents. I want to also discover whether the large media attention surrounding this subject could have had any effect on the opinions of the participants. ...read more.

Middle

Unfortunately only 34% of my respondents were parents of children under 20 but I thought I would still see if I could find any kind of relationship between the kind of discipline they received from their parents and the kind they use on their children. When you were a child, did your parents ever use physical punishment on you in some way? Have you ever used physical punishment on you children? PARENT 1 Yes Yes PARENT 2 Yes Yes PARENT 3 No No PARENT 4 Yes No PARENT 5 Yes Yes As you can see 4 (80%) of the 5 parents received some kind of physical discipline from their parents. Only 2 (40%) of them said that they do not use physical discipline on their own children and one of those two did not receive physical discipline as a child. The remaining 3 (60%) parents do however. My results certainly suggest that parents who were smacked as children are significantly more likely than those who were not to use physical chastisement with their own children. In my opinion the results I have received show a significant change in recent decades in the general relationship between children and adults. Children are now more assertive than in the past and less automatically accepting of adult authority. Within my research I asked my respondents which methods of discipline they found acceptable. AGREE DISAGREE "Grounding" or keeping the child in. 93% 7% Smacking the child over the head 7% 93% Shaking the child 7% 93% Not allowing the child a meal or part of a meal 13% 87% Others (e.g. Sending the child to his or her room, or stopping the child from doing something he or she likes to do) 100% None of the above 100% Within this question I decided to use examples of discipline that were, in my opinion, either quite extreme or not so extreme. ...read more.

Conclusion

Luckily I found that none of my respondents had any complaints referring my questionnaire so I am hoping that everyone was happy with my work. I think that if I were to do the research again I would possibly use a different sample in order to gain access to the right groups. Having looked at the study by Simon Anderson and Lorraine Murray (NFO System Three Social Research), which was conducted in Scotland on a much larger scale, I think it would have been a lot easier if I had looked specifically at just parents of younger and older generations. I think that there is a large possibility that other sociologists could carry out a study similar to this and achieve outstanding results. Due to different aspects such as time, space etc it was not possible for me to achieve exceptional results. Looking back I think that there are some aspects that I left unexplored such as changes in the structure of family life and also the impact of pressures on parenting. It may have also been helpful to explore the changes in the relationship between adults and children and maybe perceptions of other people's use of smacking. There are plenty of subjects which looking back I feel I have missed out. I cannot say whether having included the above would make an immense difference however it would certainly be interesting to find out. It was extremely difficult to find other sociologists and studies relating to this specific topic and I believe that this is the biggest weakness of my study. Even looking at topics such as 'The family' and even 'Abuse' I could still not find anything related to physical discipline used on young children. Looking back at the work that I have completed I am pleased with the result. I have learnt from my mistakes and feel that if I were to go back and do it all again then I would achieve higher results and possibly retrieve some very insightful information helpful statistics. ...read more.

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