The Face of Corporal Punishment: Bloggers Speak Out

corporal punishment

Corporal punishment (or physical punishment) in a family is an act deliberately performed by a parent, relative or other guardian causing pain or discomfort to an underage for some kind of unwanted behavior.

Corporal punishment can be defined as slapping or spanking the child with a hand or striking with another subject such as a belt, cane, paddle or any other domestic article and also, often includes pinching, shaking, forced ingestion of substances, or forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions.

“The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care” by Benjamin SpockIn many cultures corporal punishment was considered a parent’s duty for a long time; it wasn’t merely acceptable but also encouraged. However, the situation has changed in 1950-1960 after “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care” by Benjamin Spock was published in 1946. It urged to treat any child as a person, contradicting the prevailing point of view of that time. According to the public opinion of the time, the children had to “behave”. “The pack leads the cubs, not the cubs lead the pack”. The inherited way of teaching the offspring has transformed greatly since then. For example, it wasn’t recommended before to lull crying children to sleep. The changes initiated by him were eventually spread and supported all over the world. From 1979 till 2010 corporal punishment of children was prohibited in 29 countries,  22 European countries were among them. In many countries without such restrictions, this phenomenon causes a great number of heated discussions.

In Africa, the Middle East and several countries in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan included) as well as in such countries as Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the USA the corporal punishment of children is legal (the latter four, however, have definite restrictions to prevent the abuse of power in the family). In Singapore and Hong Kong corporal punishment isn’t illegal, but is condemned by society. People in the mentioned regions have historically considered a certain amount of corporal punishment necessary, so this practice is generally maintained in families.

Viewpoints on corporal punishment

The method of corporal punishment is accepted as correct and the most effective by many parents.

A poll conducted by The Huffington Post and YouGov found that 81 percent of 1,000 adults polled believe spanking with a hand should be legal, and almost half think it’s an effective form of punishment. (source)

However, in case we’re talking about spanking, we should tell spanking from abuse. In case spanking and hitting is the only discipline method applied to the child whether the child misbehaved or the expectations of the adults towards his or her abilities were improperly met, we are talking about the habitual abuse. But in case, when spanking is the last resort – some psychologists suggest that it may be only used in two cases:

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  • Repeated misbehavior connected to the life-threatening activity
  • Abusing the weaker live being by the child or physical cruelty towards the living being

The thing is that it takes time for the child to develop the natural self-defense mechanisms as well as the understanding of the “good” and “bad”. The “good” and the “bad” are the relative concepts not only from culture to culture but also from family to family. Thus, a physical impact may be the only empirical way to learn what pain is. “The fire burns, the needle pricks” works much better together with the sensation of the cold and the sharp. Same for the “what you’ve done – hurts” case.  And in case the child abuses the weaker, an adult may behave as an advocate of the weaker (animal or another child) and “do the right thing”.

These are the only “spank cases”. In case it ever comes to spanking in your family, you should spank your child “right”. Always warn twice before applying the method and clearly explain the reason for the punishment. Make sure the baby understands why the type of the performed behavior is wrong and what may be the consequences. Calm down – do never give spanking in anger and aggression and… In public. Make it private and don’t be hard. Make spanking the less popular discipline method possible in your family.

Children who are spanked occasionally are not thought to be significantly impacted later on, but those who are spanked regularly are more likely to have behavior problems that may escalate into antisocial behavior. They may also be at greater risk for anxiety disorders or depression and ultimately may be more likely to engage in domestic violence and child abuse as adults. (source)

Corporal punishmentFor some parents, spanking is simply the easiest way to manifest anger and as it once comes to the point of the limitless authority – some parents cross the dangerous edge of cruelty. This is where the parenting style transforms into the authoritarian parenting style instead of that authoritative – the best of all parenting styles, but the hardest to achieve. If you decide to raise a self-confident, balanced, happy person – regular spanking is surely not the method.

But in fact, too many adults all over the world regard corporal punishment as a necessary part of educational process. In the USA and Great Britain 61-80% of the population supports the method; in Sweden about 34% of parents consider the means admissible.

Social psychologists assume that such an opinion is a consequence of cognitive dissonance. In such countries as Great Britain and the USA, corporal punishment isn’t illegal, but children’s abuse is not approved by society and it’s shameful. At the same time, those who were punished when they were children often can’t admit that their own parents were cruel to them and don’t feel like victims of the abuse. “My father used to spank me, and I’m alright”

In brief, the regular polls on spanking show that there’s a higher chance of getting spanked in a Christian family of the republicans in the South. (source)

Staying out of shaming people, who use spanking as a behavior correction method, the numerous research cases show, that corporal punishment has a short-term effect and all you may win – is a temporary well-behaving in the presence of the punisher, while it doesn’t guarantee the good behavior in the absence of the “sword of Damocles”.

Do you think corporal punishment is a valid form of discipline and education and what are your "cases for spanking"?

CLICK TO READ THE OPINIONS OF THE POPULAR BLOGGERS AND PARENTS

No, Never!

Ashley Muir

No. My mother would hit me with a wooden paddle, belt and/or her hand when I misbehaved. I don’t think it “shaped” me into the person I am today, nor did I learn my lesson from it. I just learned to run when I saw her grabbing the paddle or a belt. I do not use corporal punishment with my children, therefore I cannot speak for other parents, only myself.

Kymberly Vetrano 

As per me, IN NO WAY CAN CORPORAL PUNISHMENT BE TERMED AS CONSTRUCTIVE. It is the most destructive thing that can ever happen to the self-esteem of the child. It not only stimulates anger within the child but also interfere the learning process. Thus, Corporal Punishment is not at all a form of Education. Corporal punishment is generally given in the heat of the moment. Some common misbehavior that provokes the decision for corporal punishment is probably back talking, indiscipline, not meeting up the expectations or a defiant child.

Shokhi Agarwal

No. While I believe that every kid might need a spanking here and there, I don’t believe that should be the first resort; and most definitely should never be done from someone who is not that child’s parent.

Melissa Hagan 

My answer would be Yes and No. Here is why?! When bringing up a child there are two key categories parents fall into. Love and Authority. If you look at it, it takes some effort from parents to strike the balance between the two. Parents really need to work for it. Too much love(Not exactly but something similar like always saying yes to them, basically not pointing out what is wrong/right)  or too much authority(spanking ,being stubborn and other means) can drive a kid into a path of behavioral issues/Tantrums. Growing up I got spanked by my teachers and my mom(I love her a lot!)!. But my dad was always my cheerleader never even raised his hand to hit me. I never grew up being angry with my mom(might be because of the balance they brought). Yes, I was scared of her. But for a reason. I would only get spanked if my behavior was really bad and I would know that it was my mistake once I got my share of spanking :). But I do condemn my teachers spanking (it did not help me even a bit).

I did spank my kid couple of times(His behavior or act  was truly bad.He was 5 years then). But that was it. I told him that it would never happen again and It did not happen again. Books became my go to tools to teach him why something is not acceptable.

One key thing I have noticed between the spanking by mom and the spanking I  gave my kid was, my mom was never sorry after she did.In my case I was so sorry I would cry with him after that and swear I never do that  again. This is because we are so scared what the kid would do next.

Madhu

I personally don’t believe in corporal punishment. Not only is it ineffective but it renders unnecessary emotional and physical harm toward children. I have never understood the purpose of telling children that hitting, for instance, is not okay by hitting or “spanking” children.

Teresa

I can totally see why parents are occasionally tempted to use corporal punishment. Sometimes parenting is so frustrating it feels like the only thing that will work. But the truth is that hitting a child is not a valid form of education, it just teaches them it’s okay to hit people. Most of the parents I know who use corporal punishment do so when they get so angry they can’t think of anything else. I want my children to learn that no matter how angry they get, there are ways to deal with it other than hitting. I don’t think there is any behavior that warrants hitting a child.

Erin Bohn

It’s beyond me why in regards to spanking parents feel you must always spank or you must never ever spank, as if you may spontaneously combust if you veer from the typical disciplinary styles some likely over-priced parenting book presents. I spank my toddlers, just like my parents did me, but not as a regular form of discipline. Spanking is reserved for misdeeds that could result in injury or death to my children or someone else. Spanking means this is serious, you-don’t-do-that-ever-again business. My kids know if they are getting spanked, what they did was not OK in any way, shape or form, ever.

Amanda

Personally, I don’t think that corporal punishment is a valid form of educatoin. I dont believe that it teaches children anything, other than those older than you can hit you if they don’t like what you are doing. Many parents feel that hitting other children/siblings is a valid reason for corporal punishment – but that whole ‘I’m hitting you to tell you not to hit your sister’ argument really doesn’t make any sense to me!

Polly Davies

Corporal punishment is a tricky subject. Older generations will likely say there’s no denying that it worked! And it did work, for some. Just as today’s methods work for some. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to child development. I’m no expert but I grew up babysitting, my mother was a teacher and early childhood specialist, and I studied child development a lot while getting my social work degree in college. I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum succeed and fail greatly. I rarely believe anyone can or should take a firm stance on the topic because, if you hadn’t noticed, children are all different!

Payton Foeller 

Corporal punishment should be left as a consequence for illegal criminal activities, such as the punishments enforced in prisons.

Stasie Tillman

I think that it is completely dependent upon the child and the parent. In our household, when I threaten to spank my son it means little to him, but when his dad does, he immediately listens. When my son and I are together, time-outs and lost privileges are much more effective means to guide good behavior. I think some children need a tougher approach than others and I don’t think spanking is necessarily always the answer. And if spanking is used, I do not believe in using objects (belts, switches, paddles, etc.) It is much harder to gauge the force you are exerting on a child when using an object. A hand is sufficient. And it need not be repeated over and over. And if spanking is used, I believe there needs to be constructive teaching either before or after about why the child is being spanked and what it means and how to avoid a punishment the next time. I have an incredibly strong-willed son, so what is considered good/bad days for him is probably night and day from what a quiet, mild-mannered child’s parents would consider bad. You also need to gauge your child’s intelligence on the topic at hand. Did he/she know what they were doing was wrong? Was it a conscious choice to make a bad decision? Did they know the consequences? Children should be taught about decision making and what choices lead to certain consequences before automatically reprimanding them in such a way. If they know the consequences and choose to do them anyways, then they are learning a valuable action/consequence behavioral lesson. When my son makes poor choices on purpose, he is reprimanded accordingly.

Kristi Eide

Any physical punishment is open to abuse or misuse, and an angry person who strikes out isn’t in full control of how hard that will be. It’s also very easy for it to become a battle of wills. I remember my young brother laughing as my mother hit him with her slipper repeatedly, the whole scene became ridiculous, and it served no purpose except to prove there had to be a better way.

Jenny

I think that many time corporal punishment is used by parents for an immediate fix or done without thinking about the situation because it’s an easy way to get a desired outcome from parents. But I don’t think it works for all children and I also personally don’t think it’s the right solution for long-term behavior development. Educating our kids and preparing them for the real world is more about expressing our disappointment in actions and using that as a learning experience instead of teaching our kids to be afraid of us. I want to be a safe place for my child to come even when they “mess up” even as teens, so I want to start with my young kids on better ways to teach them consequences. As parents, we all have triggers.  It can be how we were raised, loud noises, too much screen time for ourselves or the trigger can be the exact action from the child that makes us fly off the handle. While it’s not typically something I resort to, I can’t claim that I have never spanked my child. But every time I did it was more the frustration that had built up in myself that caused the decision and not necessarily the single incident of misbehavior in my child.

Kara Carrero

I wouldn’t ever use Corporal Punishment with my children and I would never find it acceptable for anyone else to do so either. In my opinion it’s violence and using that against your own children teaches them that it is a way to deal with issues. Not a lesson I would like my children to learn.

Pippa Ainsworth 

I think that there is a spectrum. This is how I define spanking: open-hand/over-the-clothes pops, just hard enough to leave a temporary red mark but not a bruise on the child’s bottom (probably fewer than 3 pops). I think this type of response should be reserved for fairly severe situations. It’s a response a child should come to expect in response to an act of willful defiance. But nothing short of such an act should evoke a spank from mom or dad. Bold and decisive acts of disobedience… When the words you speak have not been respected. When your child has decided to disobey, and your warnings have been completely ignored. There may be a time to spank…  

Kristie Brazell 

No, I believe corporal punishment instills fear; instead of instructing a child by providing guidance.  I am against the whole idea behind corporal punishment because its goal is to cause physical pain to make the child (in this regard) act according to the parent’s wishes. Children are not criminals or slaves so this type of treatment from a person of authority whom the child loves gives them the wrong message. Love isn’t meant to be painful, so corporal punishment is not a healthy way to teach and instruct our children when we want them to learn from their mistakes. Parents who have children who have tantrums, uncontrollable fits, yelling, biting, spitting etc., maybe tempted to counter act that sort of violent or annoying behavior with drastic measures like corporal punishment. Parents who are at their wits in who may have tried verbal discussions that did not work may then resort to physical punishment because they don’t know what else to turn too. Personally, if a child is acting out in extreme ways, he or she may need someone to talk to like a child psychologist to get to the root of that behavior. On the other hand, a child could be acting out because he or she may not know the proper boundaries or what acceptable behavior is, so it is important to be consistent with parenting or authoritative instructions. Children do not have the mental capacity to reason as adults so drastic measures, like corporal punishment, should be avoided completely.Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, has testified before legislative committees on brain development. He states, “It doesn’t mean adolescents can’t make rational decisions or appreciate the difference between right and wrong. But it does mean that, particularly when confronted with stressful or emotional circumstances, they are more likely to act impulsively, on instinct, without fully understanding or considering the consequences of their actions.”

Elle Cole

For me there is no education in using corporal punishment. There is not a situation where I feel corporal punishment would achieve more over education and positive examples.

Zena Goldman 

I do not see corporal punishment as a form of Education. I rather see it as a form of discipline. And if it’s done, never in anger, or with the aim of inflicting injury. I smack my kids only if they openly and deliberately choose to ignore or disobey laid down instructions or regulations. ‎I never do so to punish but to correct. There’s a huge difference.

Oluseye Ashiru

Smacking is generally never a good idea as it only promotes violence and can send the wrong message to the child. The old fashion way of educating was based on smacking.. mostly and that was too extreme in my opinion. These days is the opposite.
It is a very delicate issue as every parent has different ways of disciplining their children. There are some dangerous situations like if for example the child has crossed the road without watching and without waiting for the parent that a light smack could help him remember not to do that again.

Alida Zamparini 

There is a fine line between punishment and abuse, it is my opinion that this is not for the schools to decide and that corporal punishment should not be used in schools. I am not against spanking, but again, I don’t think it is in the teacher’s right to punish a child this way.

Cassie Phillips

No, corporal punishment is not a valid form of education. We have a significant body of research that consistently shows corporal punishment does not teach children positive behaviour or long-term compliance, but instead increases aggression and can damage the relationship between parent and child. Violence is not an acceptable strategy for solving problems, especially with someone you love. You can’t hit your spouse or your dog, why on earth would you hit your child? As far as I know, there is no misbehaviour that would provoke me to hit my child. I have walked away before when I felt on the verge of losing my temper. I can’t think of any behaviour that justifies corporal punishment.

Olivia Lasting 

I do not. It’s funny. Before I had children, I had no qualms with the idea of spanking and assumed my future children would receive a swat (or 50) over the course of their childhood. Now that I’m a parent, I feel quite differently. Well, as I don’t consider it a viable option personally, I suppose I could see the potential for something corporal in the event of danger (ex: a swat to the hand when a child is reaching for a hot stove, etc), but that wouldn’t be “punishment” necessarily as much as it would be preventing harm.

Stephanie Messa 

Yes, I believe that corporal punishment is a valid form of education. I grew up in a Filipino household where I was definitely corporately punished (if that’s the word) when I was a kid. I mean now my friends and cousins would compare how our parents punished us and it was pretty much the same and now we all just laugh about it. You just have to know the limits on how much punishment to give. There is a very strong line between punishment and abuse. There was a time when my daughter was being a very naughty child. She made a huge mess in the room, wrote on the walls, on my graduation requirements, wrote on the bed, and she just would not stop and enough was enough. No matter how many times I said to not do those things she still did it and so I had to do what I had to do.

Van

What I will say is this: I’m uncomfortable with corporal punishment personally, and haven’t used it with my toddler yet at all. I so far have a commitment to not use corporal punishment unless and until my mind is significantly changed on the subject. My husband is more of the garden-variety “I was spanked and I’m fine” opinion—and if it weren’t for my wish to give him an equal say in our parenting journey I’d just say I’m not using corporal punishment at all.

Emily Fisk

I come from a family where my dad wouldn’t think twice before condemning something I had done or sometimes even belittling my view point. I used to be afraid and I think I still am. So, I have turned into a rather easy parent. My two boys eight and freshly three test my patience in their very peculiar ways. But no, I haven’t resorted to physical punishment yet, and I hope I never will. Though to be honest, I do yell but I keep my yelling limited to “I need you to pick up RIGHT NOW ” and ” I want to be left alone” and ” Do not pester me no more” and ” Darn”  and ” Daddy needs to know this.”  I  also do not hide my emotions. I  will sometimes be overtired and feeling down and I do let my boys see me cry. I give myself that freedom.  Sometimes I NEED to yell but the kids , i hope, know that it is in and for the moment. I never deny them a hug as I so often was after doing “wrong.”  That is one rule I live by – I do not withhold love. I don’t think corporal punishment is a valid form of education. Not even of discipline. Fear can not drive learning. I know that so well. I left physics , though it was my favorite because of continued pressure of performing well. I am not sure what kind of misbehavior may provoke corporal punishment . For me the worst (if ever) misbehavior would be if any of my kids tried to intentionally , physically or otherwise hurt someone, human or animal. I trust them to NOT. I reinforce kindness every day. When they hit each other , I will loudly state ,” We do not take hitting in this house.” I have also allowed ” daft cow” and “pesky penguin” as  acceptable angry words. Sometimes , we all are calling and being ” daft cows” .I think some acceptable angry expressions are very important. Anger is an emotion which if not expressed freely and well is often the number one cause of misbehavior.

Swati Ahuja

May a teacher “teach a lesson”?

Nineteen US states currently allow corporal punishment in private and public schools (all 50 states allow “reasonable” corporal punishment in the home). Around 185,000 students were physically disciplined in American primary and secondary schools in 2009, according to the most recent Federal data. Around 80% of those so punished were boys, according to the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Moreover, 36.67% of black students received corporal punishment, even though blacks represented only 17.13% of the overall student population. (source)

Even though many parents use corporal punishment at home, most of them wouldn’t want their children to get spanked in the classroom. However, the USA practice legally allows teachers punish the kids:

Courts have often granted schools the right to corporal punishment on the grounds of In Loco Parentis (i.e., schools possess the same rights over a child as do the child’s parents).(source)

The changing moods of the public opinion towards corporal punishment in public schools remains the only influencing factor to exclude the practice of spanking from the teaching and discipline practice.

corporal punishment in schoolWhile a 2013 Harris Poll found that the vast majority of parents think that parental spanking is sometimes appropriate, a recent ABCNEWS poll found that only 26% of those polled said that grade-school teachers should be allowed to spank children at school.(source)

 

 

Should corporal punishment be used in schools?
CLICK TO READ THE OPINIONS OF THE POPULAR BLOGGERS AND PARENTS

I do not agree that there is ever a situation where anyone should use CP as a behaviour correction method.  Teachers and educators are in a position of trust and relationship building and should know that understanding why a child is behaving in a certain way and educating them to why the behaviour is unacceptable is going to be far more effective in the long run.

Zena Goldman

I don’t think that corporal punishment is suitable for schools and it can only work by fear.

Erica

Never

Ashley Muir

When it comes to public school, I feel like their are many other ways to teach a child how to behave which don’t include corporal punishment. While I’m sure others will argue that it has it’s place, and that if ALL schools used it our world would be a better place, I feel like that level of correction should not be taken lightly. It should not be placed in the hands of people who could use it for the wrong reasons, or used in a systemic fashion. Each child learns differently, if we place consequences across the board for certain rules then we run the risk of never helping some of our children as the consequence will not be received well.

Absolutely not!!! If a teacher so much as raises their hand to my child I will make sure to get them fired from their job and their teaching license revoked. NO ONE has the right to hit my child!

Kymberly Vetrano 

No, teachers and educators should never be allowed to use corporal punishment.

Melissa Hagan 

No, they shouldn’t. We all realize though how difficult it can be for a teacher to discipline a child these days however we don’t want to go back to the days when children were smacked hard with a stick! That was truly awful!

Alida Zamparini

No. Gone are the days when teachers were treated like gods. So teachers or educators do not have any right to use corporal punishment.

Madhu

I can’t and won’t take a stance one way or the other on corporal punishment in schools because I feel either side will never be implemented correctly. The teachers will take on too much and the parents will get mad because the schools aren’t raising their children. They’ll work against each other and the child will be the one who suffer. While I am not completely opposed to the idea of corporal punishment in schools I think it should be looked at on a case by case basis, something I highly doubt America’s school systems could handle or afford. For this reason parents need to be the decision makers. Parents! Know your kids and then fight for them. If you think a teacher is not doing the best thing for you child, step up and ask for change. Nothing will happen if you don’t even ask.

Payton Foeller

I do not think schools should use corporal punishment. This is because I believe this form or correction should be limited to parents or family members standing as guardians. If a teacher were to be given this freedom, it may be taken as liberty without limits. To guard against a teacher lashing out in anger or taking out frustration on the children, it should not be allowed.

Oluseye Ashiru

Absolutely not. I don’t think anybody should have the right to hit children.

Olivia Lasting

No way! It just seem so wrong if other people would punish my child that way.

Van 

Teachers and educators should never, ever be allowed to use corporal punishment on a child. It is absolutely not their right or responsibility.

Erin Bohn

Corporal Punishment was still used when I very first started school, and it was humiliating for the child more than it was painful. I don’t think humiliation teaches anyone a lesson other than to become bitter and angry, so I feel we have moved on and progressed.

Jenny

No, Never. Under no circumstances should the teachers and educators in public schools use corporal punishment as a behavior correction method because in reality, it is not the behaviour correction method but a method that hampers the child’s capacity to understand the relationship between behavior and its’ consequences.

Shokhi Agarwal

No. I think spanking should be the responsibility of the parent. It is a responsibility. If you choose to spank (as defined above), you must use spanking as a tool to reinforce that you’re in charge and you mean business. It shouldn’t be a fall-back, or something a child comes to expect as a matter of course. You as the parent will be able to guage if spanking has been effective for your child – because if it hasn’t been, you should probably not be doing it. You must yourself be disciplined in regards to how you spank – and that responsibility is for the parent, not a teacher.

Because corporal punishment is a very personal decision, I do not believe it should be something used in the school system. Especially as a former teacher and having seen the differences and variances in both kids and their behavior as well as how parents dealt with those issues, it’s just not an appropriate way to handle a situation as someone who is not the child’s parent. 

Kara Carrero

No. When a child is spanked in school, especially when it is used excessively, it can cause children to hate school or dread going to school, so I think it actually does the opposite of what a school wants to do.

Cassie Phillips  

Corporal punishment in schools is not a valid form of education. Any punishment or discipline that involves striking or physical force can end up teaching an adverse lesson instead of solely that a certain behavior is unacceptable. It should be up to the parents’ to determine the best course of discipline if the offense is severe and goes beyond what schools are accustomed to handling. I do not think public schools should employ corporal punishment as a disciplinary method. There are too many variables to consider that could swing the action from discipline into the realm of abuse. Some of those variables include the enforcers emotions while carrying out the punishment, the circumstances surrounding the issue, and the strength or build of the enforcer.

Stacie Tillman

No, never. I do not condone (nor would I ever let) a teacher lay a hand on my child. However, parents must do their part to punish accordingly at home so that bad behavior in school does not persist (which I realize, can be difficult). But spanking is not something that all parents agree on, and you cannot exert a force on another person’s child that may be completely foreign to them (the child). It is the parent’s place to provide that type of discipline, not a teacher (who may have completely different thresholds and limits than the parent’s have ever set).

Kristi Eide

No, corporal punishment is archaic and should not be used in schools today. Parents send their children to school because they want a trained professional to teach them and give them guidance. If the educator only knows how to paddle to instruct, then the educator needs more lessons on how to discipline children effectively.

Elle Cole

Well, teachers and educators , um, NO. If a teacher has a complaint against my child, well they do sometimes, I buy time, I listen to the child’s side of the story and then decide. Our child goes in the fourth grade to a public school where, corporal punishment is strictly not allowed.

Swati Ahuja

No, Jesus. No.

Stephanie Messa

To spank or not to spank?

“The fear of punishment doesn’t form a healthy sense of guilt,” says Dr. Ross Campbell, psychologist.

However, a punishment should not be excluded completely on the stage of the formation of the social behavior. A team of researchers from the Universities of Ulm and Zurich, published a study in the Neuron journal, clarifying the neurobiological roots of antisocial behavior.

The heads of the research, psychiatrist Manfred Spitzer from the Ulm University and economist Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich suggest that social norms are the central importance for the normal functioning of human society. At the same time, some people are willing to abide those rules only in the case when there is a risk of fine or another penalty.

Thus, the researchers do not suggest completely excluding the punishment as a discipline method.Mother child discipline

Dr. V.I. Levi, a psychotherapist, highly recommends substituting corporal punishment for negative reinforcement, such as oral reprimand, disapproving facial expression and other mild measures. A parent should remember a few rules before applying any kind of punishment:

1 Find out the reasons for the did before punishing for the consequences of the did. For example, the child tried to protect a younger kid or a girl and hit the offender. This should always be noted.

2 Only irregular behavior should become the reason for the punishment: a deliberate offense against family interests, refusal to obey reasonable requests, neglect of duties, causing damage to other people, and rudeness.

3 The punishment should be just and not too frequent, otherwise, the child will get used to it and it will be ineffective.

4 After the punishment, the child should be forgiven, and the wrongdoing – never mentioned again.

5 The child should never be punished if he or she is ill, has just woken up, is eating, is going to bed, is studying or has recently suffered from physical or mental trauma.

6 The child shouldn’t be punished if he or she can’t accomplish a task, but is trying hard.

7 The parents shouldn’t punish children being angry or upset. You must calm down first.

8 The punishment shouldn’t harm child’s health.

9 One wrongdoing – one punishment.

Other methods to deal with misbehavior instead of corporal punishment
CLICK TO READ THE OPINIONS OF THE POPULAR BLOGGERS AND PARENTS

A redirection of attention is often sufficient, and affection and empathy would be my first effort: “I can see how frustrated this is making you.” If the case warranted, I would use a brief time out (after age 2). And, hopefully, positive reinforcement of good behavior on a routine basis minimizes the need for discipline all together.

Ashley Muir

Small misbehaviors can be corrected by using a naughty corner or being sent to see a more senior teacher or losing a break time.  There should be an escalating range of punishments that can be applied including placing a child on report (where they have to get a sheet signed by a teacher every lesson to vouch for attendance and behaviour); detentions; a merits/demerits/house point deduction system; and explusion or exclusion from school either permanently or on a temporary basis.

Erica

I would treat a “severe fault” by grounding my child and taking away privileges and “stuff” such as television, tablet, smart phone, play dates, toys… whatever means the most to the child.

Kymberly Vetrano 

I’d suggest something that would have significant consequences. For a social child, grounding from friends; a kid who loves to game, no screen time etc.

Melissa Hagan 

When my kids do something more severe, I try to make sure the time fits the crime. So for example, if my child did not complete their homework perhaps they would miss out on a play date to complete it. I know a few parents who do use corporal punishment on their children have said that my kids get off easy and won’t learn. But my kids are learning just fine, plus they are learning one of the most important life lessons possible which is that it’s not okay to hurt other people no matter what.

Erin Bohn

The biggest part of dealing with misbehavior in children is being consistent both in addressing it as unacceptable and in discussing appropriate behavior. Our family does “Time-Ins” where we ask out kids to look into our eyes and then we have a heart to heart talk about what the child did wrong and why. I also make sure that my daughters understand that I am disappointed in their decisions and actions, but that I still love them and will stand by them. In the end, I want to create rapport with my kids, build trust in them, but give them a reason to never want to disappoint me. If I am DAILY working on getting my children to really listen to the words I say and if I am working hard on saying “yes” more than I am saying No (even if I am telling them I want them to do something instead of something else) then I am raising them to understand and have better parameters than constantly giving them a blanket no and a spanking or slap on the wrist.

Kara Carrero

I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to this. The causes of the behaviour need to be understood and also the context. There maybe a need to look at the child and the relationships they have within the family and the examples they are being set. This would be a long and complex issue that required ongoing intervention. I think that a long term strategy of educating a child to understand the impact of their actions and the consequences if going to be far more effective than corporal punishment in any situation.

Zena Goldman

Instead of Corporal Punishment, my way of treating a severe fault of my child includes Imposing age –appropriate consequences. I have laid down strict rules and regulations in advance and have always made sure that I encourage and reward positive behavior.

Shokhi Agarwal

My children are all quite small but we use removal of my son’s tablet as a punishment and we always make sure we discuss it with him so he knows why he doesn’t get to use his tablet. Pippa Ainsworth

Taking away what the child likes most is usually quite effective. “You are not having a playdate today” or “No more treats for you” or “I will be taking away your favourite toy”. Being authoritative works very well too. If you say “No more treats” you have to mean that. Never change your mind. Being consistent, loving but firm works best.

Alida Zamparini

Suggest your way of treating a severe fault instead of corporal punishment. There are many alternatives, detention, a letter being sent home to the parents, and depending on the severity, suspension, expulsion, or even in school suspension (they are made to come to school but do not go to class, instead they do things such as sweep and mop or do dishes). I think it is also the responsibility of the parents to take action at home so the child understands that this behavior is not acceptable.

Cassie Phillips

That is also a difficult question to answer because it depends completely on the situation, the child’s age, the parent’s relationship with the child, etc. Teaching children discipline can’t be described in a sentence or two, but I would suggest one strategy is to use logical and/or natural consequences in conjunction with calm discussion (when kids are old enough). Discipline is a process that happens over the long-term, before and after any particular infraction.

Olivia Lasting

In our house, consequences include removal of favorite objects and TV time.  Those consequences along with a simple reward system are sufficiently effective for handling problem behaviors.

Teresa

I have several benefits and privileges I could withdraw ‎from my kids that will set them back on track faster than any corporal punishment could. That method will be remembered for longer than corporal punishment will.

Oluseye Ashiru

As you know (now, if you didn’t already), children are all unique. A frequent scenario I see in my life right now; my child and a child just a few months older (a friends daughter) often get in trouble for throwing food on the floor. My child moves her hands around the table flinging the food while she jabbers something unintelligible. The other child picks up a piece of food, holds it over the edge of the table, looks her mom in the eye and drops it (even though she was asked not to). It’s the intent behind the behavior, not the behavior itself that needs addressed. My child was doing something wrong but it was because she was trying to communicate that she needed a drink (so she removed the food to make room). The other child was displaying intentional disobedience and her mother removed her and she was spanked and sat in time-out. Both had inappropriate behavior but if you analyze the situation you’ll find the intents are different. And the key here: her mom did the analyzing and disciplining. She knows her child better than anyone. Now, I still disciplined my child, as she needs to learn the proper way to communicate and she needs to know what she did was wrong, but the discipline should be more teaching than punishing. I take her hands and say, “no mam, we don’t throw our food, tell me what you need and I will get it.” She then says ‘wawoo’ (water). I then praise her for doing it correctly and we move on until she needs corrected again, which is frequent.

Payton Foeller

When something severe is going on at school, I think parents must be involved. If other resoures are available, pull ’em in! In the home, communication should always be first. Spanking is a communicative tool with its proper time and place, like lecturing and time out.

Kristie Brazell

It would depend on the situation, of course, but I like to think I would dole out the natural consequence of the fault. As adults, if we commit a fault, usually the natural consequence is a loss of some kind: loss of friendships, trust of others, income, even the loss of our rights in the case of imprisonment. We speed; we lose money in the form of a speeding ticket. We lie; we lose the trust and respect of the ones we’ve lied to. My children are young and have yet to commit any serious infractions, but I’d like to think that my husband and I would follow and enforce the natural consequence of the child’s action(s). I imagine most of the time it’ll come in the form of grounding–the loss of personal freedoms–which they might argue is not too unlike imprisonment, but at least the food will be better.

Stephanie Messa 

I’ve only done corporal punishment once and that was it. My daughter understood when I would say no and so she learned when to stop and when what she was doing was not good. Now I just give her the “look” and she knows. Also explaining to her why some things are bad is a great way for her to understand why she shouldn’t do such things.

Van

The physiology of a child is different than that of an adult, so we cannot punish them the same way. Age appropriate consequences make more sense. I believe time-out is a good discipline and alternative to corporal punishment for kids.  For example, with my own twin daughters, there are times when I discipline them by restricting the use of a favorite toy or activity. When a privilege is taken away this helps get the message across that disruptive behavior is not acceptable and has consequences. There are other methods of gentle discipline that helps children correct their behavior.  My goal is to be a loving adult who reprimands them rather than showing them violent behavior. Some of the gentle discipline methods I use include:

  • Changing the scenery after the child has acted out.
  • Giving your child other options to choose from to redirect his or her attention.
  • Giving children 3 warnings and then time-out if the behavior continues. Then time-out lasts for the age of the child converted into minutes. For example, if the child is 4 then time-out lasts for 4 minutes.
  • I also try to give clear rules, remain the same, so my kids know what behavior is or isn’t accepted in our home.
  • Lastly, more often then not, try to reinforce positive behavior by praising the child when he or she is acting appropriately. Pointing out positive actions and rewarding good behavior, children are motivated to act that way more often.

Elle Cole

Of course, I want my kids to follow instructions and listen the first time, it never happens obviously. So, if my eight year old who is highly highly sensitive will not do his homework even after being repeatedly told, or will not stop arguing and will refuse to stop being all huffy and grumpy, he needs to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier and will not be allowed any tech time. For a bigger child who understands consequences, this works and saves me the guilt of hurting his feelings and mine as well. We allow a completely free of school work day per week apart from the holidays. I also do not keep telling him over and over what he did wrong on what day. I let the going to bed early say that for me. There are days when his mood tantrums can really weigh me down, and I simply head to shower or pretend to read . Also, we share our love for art and he is really into it and I believe that doing some craft together brings us a better understanding of each other. I read somewhere that instead of using if -then one should try using when-then, I tried that and it works! With the little one who has no understanding of consequence, I am so far putting up with heavy duty morning tantrums and weird nightly meltdowns.I am drowning in chamomile tea and sometimes being very moody when my husband gets home. After a mind blowing tantrum, the little guy comes for a hug. And I though maybe all flustered will get down and pick him up. While the mood swinging is on, I  will firmly repeat ” No” and (try to) continue with whatever I am doing.

Swati Ahuja

I’ve already experienced how well my toddler responds to me getting down to her level, speaking in a low and measured tone, and even explaining situations. For instance, she’s old enough already at 22 months to understand either/or propositions, and I’m a big believer in natural consequences. Thus, if she’s running ahead of me on a walk and not staying away from potential dangers like the river, I’ll kneel down, hold both her hands together (she’s so used to this she now gives me her hands when I’m getting her attention), and give her an option. “Charlotte, you aren’t obeying me. You can either walk beside me or I will need to strap you in your stroller. Do you understand? Say ‘yes, Mommy.'” She nods her head ‘yes’ most often and responds by walking with me. If she doesn’t, I follow through, reminding her verbally and calmly: “You didn’t obey, so you have to be strapped into your stroller.” The natural consequence of not staying safe is that my daughter can’t have the freedom of walking with us. So far, this has worked very well for us, and I’ll continue to use this and other tactics until my daughter’s behavior signals I need to try a different approach.

Emily Fisk 

You need to know what is important to the child and how also their temperament. Some are incredibly strong willed and stubborn and will turn it into a game and fight back for hours (days, even). My son is incredibly competitive, so for him, any sort of challenge works best (i.e. we challenge him to have “x” good days at school (no reports or notes) and then we get to do something fun on the weekend together, or buy a small toy… do something that is important to him that he gets to choose). We also challenge him to be the best (like I said, competition is where his strongest abilities lie… so we motivate him by challenging him to be the best, and do the best he can). This of course, does not (and will not) work for every child. For some, you take all of their toys, for others, you don’t let them sleep with their favorite stuffed animal, for other’s they lose TV or iPad privileges, or time with friends, or they mis out on getting to go their football/basketball game that weekend. The point is to find what’s important to them, discuss the consequences ahead of time, be consistent with your rewards and punishments, and make the rewards/punishments match the behavior. And also, to remember, that kids are in a constant state of learning. Do not expect them to be good 100% of the time – it just isn’t possible. So leave some room for them to have bad moments, or crummy days, or small lapses in judgement. Also, don’t forget the power of positive reinforcement when they are behaving properly. Even just recognizing it and telling them how proud you are can be enough. Punishment must go hand in hand with reward.

Kristi Eide

The most severe punishment a public school should use is that of isolation, such as detention (but without other students present). And even this, if not limited, could border on abuse (i.e., a student being locked in a small room alone for eight hours). Otherwise, if the misbehaving student causes further infractions he should be suspended or expelled (both of which affect the student’s grades and determine if he/she can graduate). Ultimately, this leaves the future course of action in the hands of the student and his/her parents.

Stasie Tillman

I feel like “Discipline” and “Punishment” are used interchangeably, and that is wrong. I do “Discipline” or teach my children the ways of the world. They are  learning to use their inside voices, not interrupt when others are speaking, and to respect others, and themselves. That being said, I feel like it is a very personal thing. Each child has different needs and needs to be taught differently based on those needs. My youngest will cry if I look at her wrong, the oldest requires a consequence that makes her a bit unhappy to truly “get” that we don’t like that kind of behavior.

Kimberly Cox

Hitting simply brings about more hitting – it is far better to talk to children, and explain why they shouldn’t do something – the punishments that I as a parent use, are to take something away – so perhaps they loose TV time, or their phone {for older children} or they have to miss out on going somewhere they were looking forward to, or they have to do extra chores. I think it’s important to teach them that our actions have consequences, but as an adult – I can’t hit another adult if they’ve done something wrong, so I don’t see why I should be able to hit a child.

Polly Davies

Even though the opinions towards corporal punishment are negative – the statistics show, that the majority of families sometimes use the method as a last resort. Here we should mention that the propaganda against corporal punishment of children aims to limit those who lose control and turn punishment into habitual abuse. Considering that it’s hard to ban corporal punishment selectively in families with a higher risk of child abuse, the ban for the corporal punishment in any family is a key point of the social services engaged in increasing child abuse awareness.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to the bloggers, who had the courage to participate in this controversial issue and contributed their thoughts.

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