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Is Child Punishment, Child Abuse?

Updated on February 7, 2012

Disciplining your children

Have you disciplined your children today? have they done something wrong recently that has made you so angry or upset that a punishment was the only way to deal with your child's behaviour?

How you discipline your children when their behaviour warrants it can be a bit of a science in its-self, too soft and your child will think that their deed was worth doing again, too hard and you could cross the fine line between child punishment and child abuse.

Most parents would love it if their children were perfect angels 24/7/365 but this will never be the case in reality, children will never know right from wrong if they are not allowed to make mistakes of judgement in the first instance.

No matter how many times you tell your child not to go near the radiator because it is hot and they could, burn their fingers they will not listen until they have touched that radiator for themselves and learned a nasty lesson.

When you become a parent the words No and Don't become the most used in your vocabulary, No Don't touch that, No Don't do that.

Hold your hands out boy!

I recieved a short sharp shock from the teachers strap on a few occasions.
I recieved a short sharp shock from the teachers strap on a few occasions.

Corporal Punishment (physical)

When I was a child, a very long time ago I was often given a little slap on the leg or the wrist as punishment when I did something that my parents felt crossed the line. to me it was a shock every time but the punishment was quick effective and I would never repeat the deed that I had been punished for.

Today if i gave one of my kids a slap on the leg or wrist I would have the police and social workers at my door in a flash taking my children away and getting charged with child abuse.

When I was at school, again a very long time ago, and I did something to upset a teacher, that teacher would reach into a drawer of his desk pull out a leather strap about a centimeter thick ask me to raise my hands and would hit my hand with the strap again instant punishment and very effective.

Teachers are not allowed to use the strap these days because it is considered a form of child abuse.

Of course before the strap teachers would use a cane and whip your buttocks. If a teacher even thought of trying this or using a strap these days they would be arrested and never allowed to work with children ever again.

Corporal punishment is frowned upon by society these days and can be considered crossing the line, hitting a child because they have done wrong should be avoided at all cost although I have turned out OK and many others of my generation and generations before us have turned out OK too.

Punishing a child by hitting them sends out mixed signals you did something wrong therefor i will hit you teaching your child that it is alright to hit someone else if they have done something wrong.

The writng is on the wall

Non Physical Punishment

Non Physical punishment such as grounding is a more popular and more socially acceptable form of punishment these days.

As a Parent again You are Grounded has become a large part of my vocabulary.

There came a time when my parents realised that the slaps on the leg or hand, to punish me for my wrong doings, were having little or no effect anymore because I was bigger and the shock factor was no longer an issue. the had to come up with a new form of punishment which would make me think before I did anything like that again.

You are Grounded became my worst enemy, actually I became my own worst enemy because i was behaving like a spoiled brat at the time, but when i was grounded I was sent to my room where there was literally nothing to do except look out of the window and watch all of the other children playing or lay on your bed and stare at the ceiling.

Two days of being grounded really did teach me a lesson although I think that is where my inspiration to write came from, the imagination runs wild when you have nothing whatsoever $6 to do.

Other forms of non-physical include taking away TV privilages, taking away their favorite toy, reading the riot act (a good old lecture explaining the rights and wrongs) and in education teacher give detentions or lines, writing out one hundred times (I must not do what I did everĀ  again or I will be made to rewrite this out a thousand times more.)

What's your view on punishment?

which method of punishment is most effective on your children

See results

Denial Punishment

Today when i punish my children i hit them where it hurts.

My daughter loves her android phone and really can't live without it, when she crosses the line I take it away from her for a whole day or even as much as a week depending on the severity of her misdemeanor. it is a very effective punishment which helps her to see the error of her ways.

My son spends more time with his beloved xbox than he spends breathing you can guess just how effective taking it away is when he has crossed the behavioral line.

My second son has a PSP and a Nintendo ds which go everywhere with him removing these keeps him on his best behavior.

My youngest who is just over a year old now has learned the words from the top of this page No and Don't.

Every parent has differing views on how to properly punish their children, whether it takes the form of Corporal punishment or even just lecturing your child about the rights and wrongs of what they have done.

Most Parents find a way to punish their children which does not harm them physicaly or emotionaly but it is effective and although in the words of the children "That is so unfair" we are leading them on the right path for the future and teaching them right from wrong.


Feel free to ad your two cents on child punishment in the comments box below, do you have a unique way to discipline your children that works every time? or do you blame the state of society today on the lack of parents and teachers using corporal punishment?



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    • AOkay12 profile image


      5 years ago from Florida

      I am old school and believe in that biblical verse, "spare the rod, spoil the child". Still, I think that spankings should be rendered sparingly. I feel that if welts and bruises are left on a child through spankings, then that is physical abuse.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i do not think it is child abuse to smack your kid if you tell them over and over and nothing else works they are learnig their lesson not to do it again

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 

      7 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Jimmy, great hub; I always found that every kid is different, so I answered other. I have 3 kids, all grown now. I found I had to use different techniques with all 3--one, a spanking worked, the second you could spank all day long and get no where, but put him in a corner for 5 minutes and his attitude changed drastically. The third was much easier, take a toy away and all was well.

      Again, great hub Jimmy!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      7 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Jimmy - good hub on an important topic subject. I got smacked as a child, I didn't feel abused and it taught me the correct boundaries.

      However, as we have got more and more civilised I think we have perhaps found better ways to educate our kids about what is right and what is wrong. I think you have got it spot on ... the worry is the people who have kids and don't understand what is right or wrong themselves.

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      The mixed message was the deciding factor for me in discipining my children. How can we say 'it's not okay to hit someone' and then hit the child? I used the time-out when they were young. Denial and grounding became the preferred methods of punishment as they got older. It's a tough call and I'm glad my parenting days of young children are over. Great Hub!

    • xXSweetiXx profile image


      7 years ago from The Pacific Northwest

      We have a child with Oppositional Defiance, who defies all reasoning and punishments. We have found best, that physical labor gets his attention, pretty well. Things like stacking wood, jogging for 3 miles or more laborous chores, all have worked marvelous.

    • JherusiaLhean profile image


      7 years ago from Aquilla, TX

      When I was on my earlier days my mom punish in a corporal way, I even take it as not discipline and I really can not understand why it should be taken that way. I guess sometimes the type of disciplines our parents gives to us may reflect their experiences in that past. Could it be possible?

    • dd greely profile image

      dd greely 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm a "punishment must fit the crime" type of parent. The severity of punishment depends on three things 1) the seriousness of the infraction and 2) how many times we've addressed the same issue and 3( age.

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      James Paterson 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      I used to be spanked then as I got a bit older the groundings started, after that my football was confiscated and I was left with nothing to do but stare at the four walls feeling very sorry for myself and I was such a well behaved polite little boy perfect in every way 24/7.


    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I don't have children, but I believe in physical punishment where necessary. I was very pliable when I was younger (completely the opposite now ha ha!) and I think I was only spanked 2 or 3 times. It worked. It works for other kids too.

      A problem only exists when a parent or other adult uses that kind of punishment out of anger - but that can cover many forms of punishment, not just physical.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Denial of what they love usually does the trick as a punishment. I used to nick my daughter's laptop for a day or two but now she's 16 with a Smartphone so it's gotten a bit harder to impose. My hubby just unplugs the router and keeps the wire hidden from her, sorted!

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • Eleanor's Words profile image

      Eleanor's Words 

      7 years ago from Far and Wide

      I usually opt for banning the XBox for my oldest - it is the thing he cares about most and so certainly makes him think twice. It is in his room, so I have to resort to taking away the controllers and hiding them in obscure places around the house.

      I do sometimes resort to simply sending him to his room, usually if he is fighting with his little brother. The main point of it is to give them some space and let everyone calm down. He doesn't have a very good laptop and never goes on it, but to prevent him I would simply turn off the wifi connection downstairs. There are still ways around everything!

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      7 years ago from New York, NY

      When i was a kid. . my parents would say "go to your room" Today you no longer can say that as when they go to their room they have the world at their fingers (if they have a computer" . Ah yes the times are a changing. What once worked no longer is applicable. Scary world we live in. Great Hub on the subject Jimmy. Really gives parents food for thought!


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