• Corporal punishment/spanking of children: Legal status
  • Change your child's behavior -- without punishment!

The US State Department reports that the corporal punishment of children is tolerated in Samoan homes.

22 Alternatives to Punishment - The Natural Child Project

Global Initiative - End All Corporal Punishment Of Children

Corporal Punishment Violation of Child Rights in Schools: The child is father of an adult
Debora Jones
Safe Environment Coordinator
Diocese of Fall River, MA

Did you know that discipline and punishment are two different things? Often, the words are used interchangeably, but in the world of child development, they mean different things.

Discipline is an intentional consequence, given by the parent or caretaker, for inappropriate action and designed to be a teaching moment for the child. It is not an emotional or angry reaction.

For example if a two-year-old who insists on throwing food at the table has been warned that continuing to do so will result in the food being taken away, and the child throws the food anyway, taking the food away calmly is both a logical consequence and a disciplinary action. The intent is to teach the child that throwing food is not acceptable and that there are consequences to such behavior. If the child is very young, such as the age given in this example, the parent and child can have a "snack" an hour or so later. This will still teach the child the lesson and also ensure proper nutrition.

On the other hand, if the parent were to scream and hit the child for the same behavior, that is considered punishment. It was administered by a parent who was not in control of his or her emotions and it has very little ability to teach a child about appropriate behavior. It only teaches the child to expect pain if the child throws food.

Countless other actions by a child could be substituted in this scenario, but the important issue here is the attitude and intention of the corrective action. If correction is given while the caretaker is in an emotionally reactive state and lashing out in anger, that is not discipline that teaches the difference between right and wrong. Instead, it can teach a child that yelling and hitting are appropriate behaviors.

Of greater concern is the potential for abuse in such situations. A parent's or caretaker's acting out in anger can easily escalate to hitting with an intensity that causes welts, bruising or worse, and that is reportable child abuse. Most importantly, while the physical pain will eventually heal, the emotional pain is much more difficult to overcome. If such punishment, or abuse, continues, the relationship between the parent and the child can be seriously damaged over time.

There is more than physical care involved. Since parents are the first teachers their children will know, it is parents who are the first ones to demonstrate the love of Christ to their children.

Unlike Jesus, however, parents are not always perfect, but they can commit to always keeping their children safe. Any parent of a baby with colic will likely agree that there are moments of extreme stress and frustration. Parents of toddlers who are testing their independence; parents of school children who want to do what their friends do, no matter how unsafe it is; and parents of defiant teenagers all know this stress too. During those times, parents need to stay in control of their tempers. If you feel like hitting your toddler, which every parent does at some point, you need to walk out of the room. If you feel like shaking a screaming baby, put the baby in the crib where there is safety and walk away until you calm down. The key is to remove yourself or the child before the situation becomes explosive.

Often parents who do abuse think that they are the only ones who get angry with their children, yet ALL parents get angry and want to react in anger. The primary difference between the parents who abuse and those who do not is the ability to remain in control.

Parents need to allow themselves a time out if needed. If there are young children involved, the only caveat is to ensure that the child is safe before walking away, which may mean placing the child in a play pen or some other place of safety while the parent has time to cool off.

There are ways to lessen pressure for any parent feeling stressed by child care. Help can come through utilizing daycare, even if just one or two days a week. Working with other parents whom you trust to form a group and share childcare, taking turns watching the children, is another. Some communities offer crisis nurseries, where parents who are in need of a break to prevent abuse can access free services within certain guidelines. In other areas, parents can identify adults whom they trust who can take the child if the parent feels as if he or she needs a break to prevent possible abuse. Certainly there is no shame in reaching out for help. The problem lies with not asking for help and abusing instead.

Good parenting calls for planning and involves thinking about calm, rational, teaching responses to a child's inappropriate behavior and mentally rehearsing using that strategy the next time the child acts out. It also means asking what you can do the next time you feel yourself getting out of control. If you have a plan in advance, then the next time you need it, you will be much more likely to respond with a plan rather than with anger.

Punishment against Human Trafficking | Child Trafficking

Disciplining Your Child - KidsHealth
Children threaten our identity, security, and reality. We harm them in order to stop our perceived threat that their behavior will harm us. It is a myth that we punish children for their own good. We punish children so that we will be secure. Our children have the power to elicit our tender and loving feelings. They also have the power to frighten, anger, and embarrass us. From being punished, children learn to distrust and fear their parents. Other than that, children and parents learn nothing. By condoning punishment as a disciplinary tool, we perpetuate the acceptability of the use of force and power to control others. At the same time we perpetuate our ignorance and our fear. We use punishment in order to stop behavior rather than having the courage to confront and understand it. By openly dealing with the underlying causes of the child's behavior, both parent and child have the opportunity to get a better and more realistic view of the child's actions, and any potential danger to the child and/or to the parent. We evolved to protect children from harm, not to harm them.


Child Pornography Punishment & Sentencing | WK Law

Physical punishment on children may have adverse effects that may follow them into adulthood
A person hurting another as a result of a temporary loss of emotional control is not punishment. Such behavior is a different form of violence. Punishment is a deliberate, controlled act with a conscious purpose. It is, of course, a terrible, troublesome, and dangerous fact that, in our society, parental loss of control, accompanied by physical and verbal abuse of children, is tolerated. However, such behavior is not the subject of this paper. Our society, although it may not do much to prevent it, does not openly condone child abuse. But it does openly condone and sanction punishing children, physically and otherwise. What bothers me so much about punishing children is that it is a conscious effort to hurt them physically and/or emotionally. I find it hard to understand, even when it is explained as a way of teaching them proper behavior, why someone would intentionally choose to hurt the life they contributed to creating (or chose to care for through adoption.) I also find it incredible that parents, and many authorities in the areas of mental and physical health, child development, and human morality, cannot see that by hurting children, we are teaching them that it is moral and right to hurt other human beings.

Corporal punishment of children -- spanking

Essay (2004) by academic Frank Furedi attacking new legislation in the UK that seeks to restrict parental smacking. He points out that many advocates of a total ban on physical punishment are actually against forms of punishing children. He sees the underlying agenda as an anti-parent crusade, and adds that the much-cited Murray Straus "research" is far less clear-cut than the claims made on its behalf by "anti-smacking zealots" like the egregious Penelope Leach. It's refreshing to have an undoubted member of the intelligentsia saying these things.

Police: Couple admits to 'waterboarding' child as punishment

Article about a Swiss children's film made in 1955. This still from the film (right) is captioned "Grandfather prepares Peter for corporal punishment!". Maybe this tells us something about domestic CP in rural Switzerland in real life 60 years ago. Or maybe not.

When it comes to child punishment - OoCities

Highly recommended, as a means to control children's behavior, even by supposed liberal and progressive child care experts (Spock, Salk), is the punishment known as withdrawal of affection. Why it is necessary for a parent to consciously do this, is puzzling to me because withdrawal of affection seems to occur automatically (at least temporarily), to most people when someone (including one's child) does something we strongly dislike or which hurts us. Momentary loss of affectionate or tender feelings toward another is a natural part of human relationships and serves to communicate to a significant other what we, as an individual, personally like or dislike. Humans are able to enhance this automatic non-verbal communication with language. However, even without language, the message gets across. Babies communicate their likes and dislikes quite effectively, without a fully-developed language, all the time - that is, if they have someone who is attentively listening and watching.