Rethinking Corporal Punishment

Rethinking Corporal Punishment

John and Jack were sitting together having something to drink. John stood up and accidentally spilled his drink. The drink splattered on Jack’s shoes. Jack grabbed John by the arm and yelled “HEY! You got my shoes all wet. You idiot.” John got red in the face and before he knew it, Jack hit him.

So, what’s going on here? Was Jack being aggressive, hostile, rude or disrespectful? Is Jack over reacting about the spilled drink? Is it really a big deal to have wet shoes? What if John just offered to clear up the mess? Is Jack justified in hitting John?

Ok, so now, read it again considering this:

John and Jack are both 3 years old.

John is the Dad and Jack is his 5 year old son.

John is 4 years old and Jack is his dad. – Ah, this last scenario, is it OK for Jack, the Dad to be so angry about his wet shoes and hit his child? Is that discipline?

Anytime a child hits a child OR A child hits an adult OR An adult hits an adult We call the actions agressive, disrespectful, hostile, rude, unnaceptable, and even assualt.

An adult hits a child and it is called it discipline…

Does that seem alright?

It’s simply not alright for us to keep on thinking that hitting a child can be called discipline.  Discipline is about teaching and guidance, not about being hurtful, rude and lashing out in anger.  When children do something wrong there isn’t anything we need to do TO our children but there is a whole lot we can do WITH our children. Do children need guidance to learn right from wrong? Absolutely! Should it continue to be acceptable that children are bullied into submission and obedient out of fear?

If there was a best selling toy out in the world and research told us that playing with that toy could RISK mental health disorders later and life, RISK lowering IQ by as much as 5 points and RISK healthy development parents would be rallying to recall that toy from shelves like mad!

It’s been known for years that punitive discipline is not effective in the long term. The switch from punitive based and authoritative based parenting is not easy, but it’s possible. Isn’t it time we start making it a priority?

Peace & Be Well,


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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a Masters in Psychology and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, and one cuddly dog.

One Response to Rethinking Corporal Punishment

  1. ‘Time-ins’, if handled with empathy, listening skills and acceptance, are conducive to learning self-control and building self-respect, vs. the counterproductive impact of humiliation and consternation of ‘time-outs’ that aren’t introduced to help anyone but the persons annoyed by the subject (individual’s) behavior.

    Self-discipline, the only discipline, is inculcated when a trusted role model is present. When the role model of self-discipline behaves in appropriate, positively self-fulfilling ways, the child adopts such discipline naturally.
    Everything else is not discipline, it’s punishment. And punishment does not work.

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