Corporal Punishment – Discipline

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on August 23, 2011 12:55 pm

As a parent, I began my journey of parenthood, and life, thinking back upon my own childhood. What were my likes and my dislikes as a child?  What types of discipline had I received either through an external organization (i.e. faith, school, other), extended family situation, or at home, that had caused me internal strife?  Did I always feel safe when receiving this discipline? If not, why not? Moreover, this internal dialogue that has occurred throughout my life, has effected my personal and professional development. What could I do to ensure that my own children are raised in an environment that is reflective of my desires? Are there measures that I can take to ensure that my children are raised in a positive environment? Importantly, do not try being a better parent than your own parents, rather be the best parent that you can be for your children. 

Discipline is a vital aspect of growth.  Reflectively, praise is equally as important for fostering growth as discipline is in the life of a child.  We, may recall our own parent’s techniques of parenting, discipline, and praise.  We may also recall our schools resources for using discipline and praise.  As a child, I recall having received discipline and praise by both my parents and my school. I recall measures taken by both, that in today’s standards would be considered drastic and possibly reprehensible. 

Discipline should not have features that are overbearing, hypercritical, or containing some forcible correction to the physical body.  The use of swatting, spanking, slapping, pinching, punching, hitting, ear or tongue pulling, biting, soap in the mouth, or any other form of physical control, should have no place in the raising of a child.  If you were to be honest with yourself, a child that is “deserving of a spanking” is often a child that has gained control over the parent.  

If I, as a married man used any of the forms of corporal punishment to correct a perceivable wrong in my relationship, I could be effectively arrested and charged with battery.  Why then, should my children be allowed to endure the hardships of swatting, spanking, slapping, pinching, punching, hitting, ear or tongue pulling, biting, soap in the mouth, or any other form of physically manipulative punishment? 

Is it ethically “right” to use Corporal Punishment? Corporal Punishment is any form of punishment or correction that is intended on inflicting physical pain and mental anguish on the life of another. 

So, is it right to use corporal punishment? The answer must become a resounding no!!! Parents, schools, faith organizations, and others, typically use corporal punishment when they themselves are without answers or solutions to correct or resolve a problem.  As an adult, what would you do if your boss was granted the right. by the courts or some other legal body, to use corporal punishment in your place of employment? Would you resist being spanked, slapped, swatted, or physically scolded? Why, why not? Would it be ethical for an employer to be capable of using physical discipline? Why then, are we agreeable to allow physical battery of a child? 

Corporal punishment is inexcusable, unethical, and morally reprehensible.

If corporal punishment is a good idea; why not use it in our legal systems to resolve traffic violations, misdemeanors, and other minor offenses?  Why not use corporal punishment? Because, each time in our global community that corporal punishment has been made allowable and permissible, people suffered at the hands of individuals who lost control.   Why should corporal punishment be banned altogether? Because, there are alternatives. 

PERSONAL CONTROL

The problem is, few people discipline their children while in control or without prejudice.  In most cases, the parent is fed up, exhausted, and personally inflamed by a childhood act.  When a person is personally and emotionally involved, the situation can prove volatile in the best of circumstances. Good people make mistakes. Why then, are we offering or allowing a recipe for plausible and considerable harm?

PERCEPTION OF CONTROL

For many individuals, they perceive themselves as having or being in control of their emotions, but the reality has been proven wrong time-and-time again. 

While corporal punishment has been used for a variety of purposes, it’s primary roots stems from a religious background. While many claim that spanking is not a form of beating, it’s this fine line that many cross.  A recent case resulted in a young child losing her life.  Parent’s Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz followed the instructions set out in a book called, “To Train Up a Child” by author Michael Pearl.  The Schatz’s were spanking their children, Lydia and Zariah, when Lydia perished from the severe spanking.  The problem is, they spanked to create pain in order to reinforce a discipline.  Obviously, the Schatz’s perception of control was lost during this spanking session.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

Parents and children should both receive timeouts.  The parent should accept a timeout to cool down and refocus ensuring personal control. The child should be given a timeout based on his/her age.  If your child is 5, then your child should receive a 5 minute time-out.  It’s a minute per year of life:  5 years (x) 1 minute = 5 minutes. Again, placing a child into timeout ensures that the parent can retool and prepare to positively reengage. 

Be creative, inventive, resourceful, and proactive.  Discuss the matter of discipline with your child.  Ask your child what he/she feels would be a good consequence for his/her behavior or attitude.   Consider looking online for legitimate sites and resources:  Center for Effective Discipline; Project No Spank; etc.  Gain advice from those you trust and have shown positively effective parenting. You might consider brainstorming with other parents, the school, or friends who have children of a similar age.

Always reaffirm your child’s goodness.  Don’t use negative images or language when you disciple your child, such as:  you’re a bad child, or I’d like to beat you within an inch of your life. Remember as the parent, you should be positively in control.  Refrain from using language that stresses hate, resentment, anger, or intolerance. Children need a familial environment that is safe, caring, nurturing, and unconditionally accepting and loving.   Children should always feel secure and safe in their home and school environments.   Furthermore, it is okay to disclose your disappointment in your child’s behaviors or attitudes, but it is never okay to make a child feel as though they are a bad person.  A child’s wellbeing is ultimately placed into your hands.  If you breach their right to safety and wellbeing, then you are ultimately placing your child’s life in harm’s way.

Are you proving an advocate for your child? Are you instilling good parenting techniques and qualities in the life of your child? Have you chosen to be a positively influential role model? Parenting has no concrete absolutes, but as a person you should seek to grow and positively influence your children.  If you have had moments you have lost control; forgive yourself and move forward.  Good parents make mistakes, but seek to learn from your mistakes while moving your family forward.

References

 Center for Effective Discipline (2011).  Discipline at home. Discipline at school.  Retrieved August 18, 2011 http://www.stophitting.com

CNN (2011) Ungodly discipline. Retrieved August 16, 2011 http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/17/video-ungodly-discipline/

CNN (2011) Ungodly discipline. Retrieved August 17, 2011 http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/08/15/exp.ac.tuchman.punishment.cnn

Couture, L. A. (2008) Instead of medicating and punishing: Healing the causes of our children’s acting-out behavior by parenting and educating the way nature intended. Oregon: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing.

Griffin, M. M., Robinson D.H. & Carpenter, H.M. (2000).  Changing teacher education student attitudes toward using corporal punishment in the classroom. Research in the Schools, 7(1), 27-30 

Osofsky, J. D., (Ed.) (2004) Young children and trauma, Intervention and treatment. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Robinson, D. H., Funk, D. C., Beth, A., & Bush, A. M. (2005).  Changing beliefs about corporal punishment: Increasing knowledge about ineffectiveness to build more consistent moral and informational beliefs.  Journal of Behavioral Education, 14, 117-139




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

32 comments on “Corporal Punishment – Discipline”

  1. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would really benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Regards!|

    1. Dear Daniel Burkly,

      You are more than welcomed to quote this article. Please contact the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association if you have any further questions regarding this article or others.

      Thank you for taking the time to review and offer remarks on my latest article.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  2. tom k. says:

    I was 15 years old and I had a stayover at a friends house. My friend asked to go sneek out to go party. We got caught and his parents were more than angry.
    They sent us to bed threatening to tell my parents. My friend and I had gone to bed. I woke up in a terror. My friend had been woken up by his parents and they were screaming at him. I got up to check it out when I found them standing over him in the living room. They were spanking him. I was asked to stand aside. Following the most terrible experience of my life. They threatened to spank me. They yelled at us for hours, at least it felt that way. I tell you my story to convey the following. I had not been raised with spanking, nor were my parents yellers. I will never forget this most horrible experience of my life. I regret trying to sneek out, I regret staying there, I regret knowing them. I pray never to experience such abuse again.

    1. Dear Tom K.

      What an egregious situation to have endured. I have no doubt that this has left a mark upon you, but don’t forget that a situation similar to what you have experienced does not have to define you. You are greater than such an event, nor do you need to allow this abusive situation to make you a victim forever. Your email does not indicate it, but you speak as an adult. If not, you should discuss this with your parents. If you are an adult, then I would recommend leaving the event behind you. Remember as an adult, you have power over your victimizers. They should no longer have power or control over your life.

      I too “pray (that you) never (have) to experience such abuse again.”

      I recommend reading works by Dave Pelzer; Dr. John Gonsiorek; and others who have an ability of showing you a healthy approach to having been victims.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  3. Hiya! Fantastic blog! I happen to be a daily visitor to your site (somewhat more like addict ) of this website. Just wanted to say I appreciate your blogs and am looking forward for more to come!

    1. Dear Derrick Gyurko,

      I am sincerely appreciative of your very warm remarks. I look forward to your future comments and feedback. May the future articles prove as equally as beneficial.

      Warmest of Thoughts,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  4. Dear Rodney C. Davis,

    I am appreciative of the time you have taken to reply to the article on Corporal Punishment. I wholeheartedly agree that there “…is a lot of catching up for the community…” and I would like to say that this community is a global community, because even in our “first world” countries there remains an ideological perspective that punishment should be done with a “good spanking” as you have described. I realize that this simply article may not change the global perspective, but I also realize that it often starts with one simple spark.

    I also agree that “each child is so different,” therefore we must learn as a society how to work each individual and their individuality. It is a difficult task to figure out the “right” method of punishment, but I can assure you that punishing with a rod is not the right method. It’s an interesting thing, we have a global community that would reject on whole punishment of an adult with a rod, however, we promote punishing a child with a rod. If it is okay for a child, then why hasn’t our global community banned together to spank or use corporal punishment on our adult population. Of course, I recognize that in many smaller countries and less developed countries that such methods remain, but in a majority of this global community, such an act would be reprehensible. Therefore, it is prudent that we consider finding an “alternative” to spanking or using any form of corporal punishment. It is an egregious act that should not occur in any life or in any form.

    Rodney, thank you for your time and willingness to share.

    May you have a blessed weekend.

    Warm Regards,

    Dr. Asa Don Brown

  5. Speaking about alternatives, I always advocate learning as many of them as possible. Each child is so different. So is each circumstance, and time-outs may not be the best tool ALL the time for all children. Other than this, I find the article correct in all its assertions. I might add that spanking has no long-term results that are positive. A close look underneath its real goals do indeed reflect frustration on the part of the adult. If the goal of positive discipline is the growth of the child, then even mild spanking is highly ineffective.

    My last comment has to do with the use of corporal punishment from a historical/cultural perspective. As the world has become an increasingly smaller place, developing countries are now increasingly exposed to the kind of thinking in this article. I’ve pointed out in my own blog, that if you are dealing with a largely uneducated populace in a community, parents who don’t spank their kids may be regarded as terrible parents. This is the case in many places in the Caribbean islands where I live. As the laws changed and corporal punishment became illegal, there is still a lot of catching up for the community to do. So parents still secretly tell teachers, “never mind the regulations, for MY kids, if they step out of line, give them a good spanking. I will always back you up.” In such an environment, alternatives have not even been considered by too many people. I’ve seen parents who, without the possibility of corporal punishment, went to the other extreme and did not provide ANY form of guidance for their children at all. Personally, I would prefer to see a loving parent who still spanks, than for them to go to that other extreme. But all the while I will be trying to show them better, more humane, and more effective methods.

  6. Annoymous says:

    enjoyed your article, thank you for taking a stand

    1. Thank you Anonymous for your feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  7. Greg L. Sharpe says:

    I haven’t met a parent who hasn’t spanked.I think every parent has spanked, hit, slapped, pushed or done something physical to punisht their child. They might have done it willingly or unwillingly, with or without pre-planning or having any intention to do it. I don’t think spankings wrong. You’re right on some of your list. Perhaps, you should’n’t have listed everything into one goody bag. Remarks from a father.

    1. Dear Greg L. Sharpe

      You made some good points about placing everything into “one goody bag.” Perhaps each one of these items listed should have been argued separately. Admittedly, I wouldn’t want to bombard my readers with the same topic time-and-time again. Therefore, the argument presented in this article ties similar types of corporal punishment together.

      I am appreciative of your valuable time and feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  8. Chris Montoya says:

    I always love to come in on the side of the discussion that, on the surface at least seems to be losing. The discussion on corporal punishment is of course quite culturally complex and will not be won based on antidotal evidence either on the pro or con. So what kind of evidence can we use? On the plus of the discussion, more intelligent people than I (Supreme Court of Canada) ruled in 2004 that spanking was an accepted and legal form of parental discipline. As law is reason passion free I feel Ok about considering this type of evidence being that I live in a law abiding country. As for public opinion, a cross cultural comparison found that Canadian’s were in the top 3 in the world for using and favoring corporeal punishment (Curran, et al. 2001; behind only Korea and the USA). In the arena of science and evolution nature selected for all top of the food chain omnivores to use pain as a form of discipline for offspring. Why should humans who evolved for eons in similar environments be any different? On the opposite pole of the rainbow, as Canada’s main religious focus is still “Christian” the Bible clearly states, “He who spares the rod hates his child.” Finally, if we look to the Amish, a population known for their peaceful non-vengeful ways, they reccomend the use of a rod of correction that is of the right thickness for the sin. In all discussions it is important to give the devil his due so… Straus et al. 2009 demonstrated that children who were not spanked gained cognitive ability faster than children who were spanked in a controlled study. Whether their statistically significant finding has any clinical relevance is unclear. No one is for abuse, spanking in Canada is not abuse. Spanking is but one disciplinary technique employed by the vast majority of parents across the globe.
    Hope I helped : )

    1. Dear Dr. Chris Montoya,

      I appreciate your willingness to offer a counter argument. I think it is always productive to have someone constructively argue their case or on behalf of another.

      You are correct, that under the Supreme Court’s decision, Section 43 “provides that a parent, teacher or person acting in the place of a parent is justified in using force to correct a child that is under his or her care provided that the force used is reasonable in all of the circumstances.” (Parliament of Canada, 2011)

      Furthermore, “…section 43 does not justify force against children under two or those with particular disabilities.” (Parliament of Canada, 2011) My argument is, if children who are under two, or with particular disabilities are not considered to be worthy of this sort of physical discipline, then why should any child receive such discipline? What justifies a child without “particular disabilities” worthy of such discipline? What justifies discipline of any child? Why not adult? Why haven’t we issued a mandate that adults who commit particular crimes receive corporal discipline?

      Of equal importance, Section 43 states “…that force may not be administered to teenagers, as it can induce aggressive or antisocial behaviour, may not involve objects such as rulers or belts, and may not be applied to the head.” (Parliament of Canada, 2011) If such aggression can produce “aggressive and antisocial behaviors” amongst teenagers, why not children between the ages of 2 and 13? What is the benefit between the ages of 2 and 13? Why not carry it through the teenage years? What will occur if a parent stops using such discipline after 12?

      “To discipline or punish through physical harm is clearly a violation of the most basic of human rights. Research on corporal punishment has found it to be counterproductive and relatively ineffective, as well as dangerous and harmful to physical, psychological and social well being.” (Canadian Children’s Rights Council, 2011)

      “While many States have developed child protection laws and systems violence still continues to be inflicted upon children.” (Canadian Children’s Rights Council, 2011) Of equal importance, these same CPS departments are facing similar issues in Canada.

      “Corporal punishment has been repeatedly associated with child abuse, moral internalisation, aggression, delinquent and antisocial behaviour, decreased quality of the parent-child relationship, increased behavioural symptoms, later criminal behaviour, worse mental health, and perpetration of spouse and child abuse (Gershoff, 2002; Zolotor et al., 2008)” (Wiley Online Library, 2011)

      Finally, you argue that “… Straus et al. 2009 demonstrated that children who were not spanked gained cognitive ability faster than children who were spanked in a controlled study.” I agree with these findings, and I would emphasize that those who are spanked have a higher probability of having psychological and cognitive difficulties. Therefore, I pose the following: if a child spanked has a greater probability of developing cognitive problems, then why follow statues set out by the Supreme Court?

      Thank you for the very thoughtful argument.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

      References

      Canadian Children’s Rights Council (2011) Corporal punishment of children – Supreme Court of Canada. Received on August 29, 2011, from http://www.canadiancrc.com/Child_Abuse/Supreme_Court_Case_Spanking.aspx

      Parliament of Canada (2011) The “spanking” law: Section 43 of the criminal code Retrieved on August 29, 2011, from http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/LOP/ResearchPublications/prb0510-e.htm

      Wiley Online Library (2011) Corporal punishment and physical abuse: Population-based trends for three-to-11-year-old children in the United States http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/car.1128/full

      Additional References

      American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). 2005. Standard Definitions: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys, 3rd edition. AAPOR: Lenexa, Kansas.

      Bennett DS, Sullivan, MW, Lewis M. 2006. Relations of parental report and observation of parenting to maltreatment history. Child Maltreatment 11: 63–75. DOI: 10.1177/1077559505283589
      CrossRef,PubMed,Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

      Berlin LJ, Ispa JM, Fine MA, Malone P S, Brooks-Gunn J, Brady-Smith C, Ayoub C, Bai Y. 2009. Correlates and consequences of spanking and verbal punishment for low-income white, African American, and Mexican American toddlers. Child Development 80: 1403–1420. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01341.x 
Direct Link:

      AbstractFull Article (HTML)PDF(644K)References

      Caliso JA, Milner JS. 1992. Childhood history of abuse and child abuse screening. Child Abuse & Neglect 16: 647–659. DOI 10.16/0145-2134(92)90103-X
      CrossRef,PubMed,ChemPort,Web of Science® Times Cited: 44

      Center for Effective Discipline. 2009. Discipline and the Law. Available: http://www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=laws-main [15 March 2010].

      Finkelhor D, Jones S. 2008. Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2006. Durham, NH: Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire.

      Gallup News Service Poll. 1995. Child Abuse Study. Princeton, NJ: The Gallup Organization.

      Gershoff ET. 2002. Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: a meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin 128: 539–579. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2009.128.4.602
      CrossRef,PubMed,Web of Science® Times Cited: 255

      Jouriles EN, Norwood WD. 1995. Physical aggression toward boys and girls in families characterized by the battering of women. Journal of Family Psychology 9: 69–78. DOI: 10.1037/0893-3200.9.1.69
      CrossRef,Web of Science® Times Cited: 80

      Kadushin A, Martin JA 1981. Child Abuse: An Interactional Event. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

      Lansford JE, Criss MM, Dodge KA, Shaw DS, Pettit GS, Bates JE. 2009. Trajectories of physical discipline: early childhood antecedents and developmental outcomes. Child Development 80: 1385–1402. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01340.x 
Direct Link:

      AbstractFull Article (HTML)PDF(362K)References

      Mahoney A, Pargament KI, Tarakeshwar N, Swank AB. 2001. Religion in the home in the 1980s and 1990s: a meta-analytic review and conceptual analysis of links between religion, marriage, and parenting. Journal of Family Psychology 15: 559–596. DOI 10.1037/0893-3200.15.4.559
      CrossRef,PubMed,ChemPort,Web of Science® Times Cited: 87

      Rennison BJ. 2003. Intimate Partner Violence, 1993–2001. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.

      Sedlak AJ, Mettenberg J, Basena M, Petta I, McPherson K, Greene A, Li S. 2010. Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4): Report to Congress. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

      StataCorp. 2007. Stata Statistical Software: Release 10. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.

      Straus MA. 1979. Family patterns and child abuse in a nationally representative American sample. Child Abuse & Neglect 3: 213–225. DOI: 10.1016/0145-2134(79)90034-6
      CrossRef,PubMed

      Straus MA, Gelles R J. 1976a. Physical Violence in American Families, 1976 [computer file]. Conducted by Murray A. Straus, University of New Hampshire and Richard A. Gelles, University of Rhode Island. Ann Arbor, MI: Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research.

      Straus MA, Gelles RJ 1976b. Physical Violence in American Families, 1985 [computer file]. Conducted by Murray A. Straus, University of New Hampshire and Richard A. Gelles, University of Rhode Island. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.

      Straus MA, Stewart JH. 1999. Corporal punishment by American parents: national data on prevalence, chronicity, severity, and duration, in relation to child and family characteristics. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2: 55–70.
      CrossRef,PubMed,ChemPort

      Straus MA, Hamby SL, Finkelhor D, Moore DW, Runyan D. 1998. Identification of child maltreatment with the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales: development and psychometric data for a national sample of American parents. Child Abuse & Neglect 22: 249–270. DOI: 10.1016/S0145-2134(97)00174-9
      CrossRef,PubMed,ChemPort,Web of Science® Times Cited: 256

      Theodore AD, Chang JJ, Runyan DK, Hunter WM, Bangdiwala SI, Agans R. 2005. Epidemiologic features of the physical and sexual maltreatment of children in the Carolinas. Pediatrics 115: e331–337. DOI: 10.1249/01MSS.0000139806.53824.2E
      CrossRef,PubMed,Web of Science® Times Cited: 27

      UNICEF. 1989. Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF: Geneva, Switzerland.

      UNICEF. 2006. Convention on the Rights of the Child: General Comment No. 8. UNICEF: Geneva, Switzerland.

      Zolotor AJ, Motsinger BM, Runyan DK, Sanford C. 2005. Building an effective child maltreatment surveillance system in North Carolina. North Carolina Medical Journal 66: 360–363.
      PubMed

      Zolotor AJ, Theodore AD, Chang JJ, Berkoff MC, Runyan DK. 2008. Speak softly—and forget the stick: Corporal punishment and child physical abuse. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35: 364–369. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.06.031
      CrossRef,PubMed,Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

  9. Tracy says:

    Dr Brown, this is a very hot topic toady and I know that there are extreme diversity in opionions on this topic. I agree that any discipline that is meant to cause pain is not appropriate for anyone… infants, children, young adults or adults. You can teach right and wrong without the use of physical pain. Children of all ages, this includes infants, response to conversation, directions and repetition. The most difficult part of discipline for me is being consistant. My daughters need to know that what is not allowed today will not be allowed tomorrow. The mode of discipline can vary from child to child, age to age and behavior to behavior. The flip side of the coin, and as Dr Brown you mention, the postive re-enforcement of praise for good behavior and simply the expression of unconditional love and admiration for our children feeds self confidence and typically good behavior. A child that is self confident and loved has no reason to act out. For my own personal parenting tool belt could you suggest some other forms of discipline to go along with the time out.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful message.

    Tracy

    1. Dear Tracy,

      Thank you for taking the time to reply to this article. I couldn’t agree with you more, ” you can teach right and wrong without the use of physical pain.” A parent “does not have to inflict pain” to positively discipline a child or a correct a child’s behavior. Children who are spanked are brought to correction by submission. We should not make any person submit to our wishes. If our child has acted out, even acting out egregiously, we can gently guide down a more constructive and positive path without forcibly correcting them.

      I love this feedback, “Children of all ages, this includes infants, response to conversation, directions and repetition.” YOU have hit the nail on the head, responsive and positive conversations, directions, and repetition are very beneficial in parenting any child or in correcting any person. We all learn from respectful communication.

      Tracy, I am sincerely appreciative of your feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  10. Sheila Gruenwald says:

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. Spanking is not abuse when done correctly. It is an excellent method to teach children that bad actions garner bad results. If you do not like to be spanked then do not have this behaviour, action, attitude etc. If more children were disciplined properly we would not have the horrible demise in society that we currently have. I spanked all four of my children and they all respect authority, have good jobs and made it through some of the toughest circumstances life could throw at young children.(divorce, death of parent, house fire, death of friends) The rest of what you discuss about slapping etc is abuse… God gave kids a padded place to spank and that is the ONLY spot discipline should be administered to. I’ve taught children and youth for years and had to stop because of the undisciplined horrible to deal with brats coming through my club.. I felt like spanking the parents… bad actions..garner consequences…Parents who do not discipline their children should have them taken away- that is more abusive than a good, well placed spanking to correct unwanted behaviour.

    1. Tara says:

      One could argue that God gave us a padded bottom so as to make sitting in time out more comfortable as well. Spanking cannot be called “an excellent method to teach” as all it is teaching is that the person inflicting the pain cannot find a more intelligent way to deal with with their frustration and displeasure.

      As a mother of a child with autism as well as a neurotypical teenager, I will state loud and proud that spanking a child with emotional/behavioral dissorders is not only abuse, it is TORTURE!

      A child with sensory issues would be sent into mental orbit if they were disrobed from the waist down and struck on their bare skin.

      Now before you say anything defensive such as you were not referring to children with special needs…check your words…You claimed the lack of spanking is at fault for bad behavior in kids today. period.

      The truth is, the real problem comes from lack of alternatives. For many parents today, the only discipline model they ever had was spanking, so they don’t know what else to do. That being said, I believe the real problem today is that parents are overstressed and underinformed. Perhaps if we as a village stood behind one another with support and information instead of anger and judgement, we could dispell the myth of creating cooperative kids through corporal punishment.

      1. Dear Tara,

        Thank you for your reply to Sheila, as well as, your very thought provoking comments. I agree, “the truth is, the real problem comes from lack of alternatives.” It is up to us as parents to develop strategies of positive and effective parenting. It begins with positive role modeling, and a willingness to lay aside what “we know” or have experienced.

        As parents and professionals, we have an obligation to offer alternatives, “if” we deny others the right to use corporal punishment.

        Tara, I am appreciative of your time and constructive remarks.

        Warm Regards,

        Dr. Asa Don Brown

      2. Tanya says:

        No one said anything about pulling pants down. Spanking in my world is a simple swat on the butt (clothing still on). I can tell you I have never EVER spanked my childen when taking their pants down nor was I ever spanked that way. In regards to what you are saying about children with special needs or autism to be more direct, is an example of a child where spankings don’t work. I have a child that has a TBI and ADHD and time outs don’t work and neither does taking anything away, putting to bed early, or denying an extra treat at times. Don’t get me wrong I do try everyone of those things consistantly prior to going into a spank. I think a major issue with this topic is everyone has a different definition of a spanking. If someone says they spank their child others invision them beating their children to a pulp, there is a MAJOR difference.

        1. Dear Tanya

          I appreciative your time and remarks. I agree that all forms of corporal punishment can differ for each individual; especially that of spanking. Nevertheless, this article has been written to help folks see that there are alternatives. Of course, I only listed time-outs, but I want you to know that there are many other “alternatives” that I have not mentioned.

          During the early 1990’s, I worked and have two grown adults live with me that were mentally challenged. There were many great lessons learned, but one of the best came from the fact that “I” as their caregiver could not spank or use any form of corporal punishment. So, how could I discipline without using a form that I was used to? I was forced to search for alternatives that not only worked for the population that I was serving, but was ethically and morally acceptable.

          Please know that I do value your time and response.

          Warm Regards,

          Dr. Asa Don Brown

    2. Tracy says:

      Sheila, I wanted to reply to your comments. I was raised in family of eight children and it was not my parents policy to discipline with spanking. We were all disciplined, but never with spanking. Many times, friends of the family would comment how well behaved and calm all eight of us children were. All eight of us have gone to graduate and attend university. We are all married, have children, and non of us have experienced a divorce. I believe you can raise well behaved and respectful children that will be successful in life without spanking. Tracy

      1. Dear Tracy,

        First of all, thank you for replying to Sheila Gruenwald, it’s always a good thing to hear the opposing opinion or an alternative perspective. You shared in a very graceful manner, thank you.

        I am appreciative of your feedback and the great example of parenting without spanking. Parents are offered many alternatives to spanking. As a parent myself, I do not spank and have not spanked. As a child, I was spanked and received other forms of corporal punishment. For me, it is good to hear that a family of eight (8) children were capable of being raised without spanking, yet proving successful human beings as adults. Again, thank you.

        May you have a truly blessed day.

        Warm Regards,

        Dr. Asa Don Brown

    3. Dear Sheila Gruenwald,

      Let me begin by saying thank you; thank you for being honest and sincere about your thoughts and stance on this most controversial subject matter.

      I am intrigued by why you feel that “parents who do not discipline their children should have them taken away.” As a parent, I do not spank, however, I must admit that I feel that I offer good parenting unto my child. My child, is an individual, and in her individuality, she has received many glowing comments from her teachers and others who have an active role in her young life. I have heard other parents comment how well behaved and a help my eldest has proven. Others, have given me feedback that my daughter is very thoughtful, sincere, and has a good heart. Please understand that I am not sharing this to float my own boat, because the credit is due unto my daughter. For my daughter is an individual. She is a person of her own, and in her individuality, she flourishes with positive modeling, positive feedback, and constructive – positive criticism.

      So, why did I mention the previous dynamics of my child? I mention this information to indicate that good parenting can be done without spanking or any other form of corporal punishment. Good parenting does not have to use the rod to flesh out bad ways. PLEASE note that I am not saying parents who spank are bad parents, rather, I am saying that there are alternatives. Personally and professionally, spanking and other forms of corporal punishments are vices of long ago. I too received various forms of corporal punishment, but in today’s society, with today’s research, we have many alternatives made available to spanking. Let me ask, why not use other methods of discipline? What makes spanking superior to other forms of discipline?

      Sheila Gruenwald, I have no qualms in saying, that I bet you love your children, nor I have any reservation in saying, that you have offered them what you felt was necessary to create well behaved individuals. However, as a professional, in my field, I do have to clarify that a parent is not being “… abusive ” if they resist “… spanking to correct unwanted behaviour.” Abuse, neglect, and maltreatment are serious accusations, and in order for a professional to label an individual with such, they have to show a legitimate reason and rationale behind their findings. Furthermore, I would hesitate saying that a parent who spanks is being abusive, if all they know is spanking. Moreover, spanking has been so ingrained into our society as the only instrument of correction and discipline, that many parents feel there are no other options or alternatives. Therefore, I feel that parents and professionals who are set against spanking – corporal punishment, must work together to develop and share alternatives, if they are resistant to using corporal punishment.

      Finally, I’d be interested in hearing your take on the use and form of spanking, because in your text you mention that “spanking is not abuse when done correctly.” For many, the way they have learned to spank, has been through personal experience as a child. I doubt there are many individuals who have gone out of their way to “learn to spank correctly.” How do you define a correct form of spanking? How do you know, when you are in control, and how much is too much?

      Sheila, I am appreciative of your time and feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

    4. Tanya says:

      Sheila –

      I agree with you completely regarding spanking being okay. There are times in which it is necessary. Not every child needs to recieve spankings to learn lessons or listen/adhere to rules. At the same token for individuals that pound that time outs are the way, this does not work for every child either. Each person learns differently. I received spankings while growing up, my children receive them rarely but they do receive them when it is necessary. It serves two purposes, redirection when nothing else works, and determining who is in control. No, I am not a control freak, I am wrong from time to time and all three of my children would tell you I tell them when I am wrong. I also give them many opportunities to get themselves out of trouble prior to giving a spanking.

      1. Dear Tanya

        I appreciative your time and remarks. Please understand that I believe that good parents spank. The rationale behind this article is to offer positive alternatives. By the way, it is important to recognize that there are number of alternatives and not all of them involve timeouts.

        During the early 1990′s, I worked and have two grown adults live with me that were mentally challenged. There were many great lessons learned, but one of the best came from the fact that “I” as their caregiver could not spank or use any form of corporal punishment. So, how could I discipline without using a form that I was used to? I was forced to search for alternatives that not only worked for the population that I was serving, but was ethically and morally acceptable.

        Please know that I do value your time and response.

        Warm Regards,

        Dr. Asa Don Brown

  11. Teena Rossiter says:

    Dr. Brown, you should give yourself a big pat on the back!! What an amazing article!! My boys are 7 and 5 years old and my husband and I strive to dicipline with love and respect. We would never let our children raise a hand to us, so why should we think it’s okay to raise our hand to them?? Time out is effective and we have found that explaining to them how their behavior makes the other person feel is also very effective. Thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge and opinion with us!!

    1. Dear Teena Rossiter,

      Thank you for the very kind comments. I too feel that time-outs are an effective tool for parents, as well as, children. Yes I said it, for parents. Why, we too need time-outs to reflect, to re-coop, and to refocus. You don’t have to be highly agitated to need a time-out, you can be merely unsure of how to discipline or what direction to discipline. How do I see time-outs? Time-outs can be considered a resource for breathing, meditating, and relaxing the human mind and body. So, the next time you are uncertain about an issue, take a time-out, or a body break.

      May you have a truly blessed day.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  12. Adele McLearn says:

    Excellent article for parents of all ages. Good alternatives and different perspectives that sometimes we have not been shown before or in the heat of the moment have forgotten. It’s always helpful to put ourselves back in the driver’s seat – the one who is supposed to be in control instead of being controlled by the child!

    1. Dear Adele,

      Thank you for taking the time to review and offer comments. Your metaphor of parents being the drivers seat is an intriguing idea. I agree we are in the drivers seat; and it is up to us to make a difference in the lives of our children.

      I am sincerely appreciative of your time and feedback.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

  13. Angela says:

    This article is a profound resemblance many of the tragedies that children face in today’s society. Sad but true. What a remarkable article! As parents, we should make ample efforts to recognize the dynamic and break the cycle of verbal and emotional abuse.

    1. Dear Angela,

      I am appreciative of your thoughtful comments. I agree, “we should make ample efforts to recognize the dynamic (of abuse) and break the cycle of verbal and emotional abuse.”

      I am appreciative of your time and remarks.

      Warm Regards,

      Dr. Asa Don Brown

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.