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Should Corporal Punishment, Such As Spanking, Be Allowed In The Home And In Our Schools?

Updated on August 10, 2013
This wooden paddle has hung on our wall for years, but it was never used on the children.
This wooden paddle has hung on our wall for years, but it was never used on the children. | Source

Spanking is one of the most controversial discipline methods of corporal punishment. Some parents believe it is all right to spank their children. Some parents believe a child should never be spanked, but rather some other method be used, like “time out”, or maybe a privilege should be taken away from the child.

I grew up in the South where it was perfectly acceptable to discipline a child by spanking. People didn’t call it “spanking” back them. Some parents threatened their children by saying, “You are going to get a whupping”, or “You are due for a good switching”. I grew up in a loving home, but my parents believed in “spare the rod, and spoil the child”. I got spanked whenever my Mother thought I needed it. I got “switched” with a hickory stick. I was sent out into the yard to cut the switch and bring it to her. I would always choose a very small one in diameter. For those who don’t know what a hickory switch is: it is a small branch from a bush or shrub. If the stick I chose wasn’t large enough, Mother would make me try again for a more suitable one. She would switch my little skinny legs five or six times. She would always say, “This hurts me more than it hurts you!” This practice would probably be considered child abuse now.

I recently read an article in Time Magazine about a fifteen year old female student who was spanked by a male vice principal at a high school in Texas. He used a wooden paddle to swat her bottom. The spanking left blisters so badly on her bottom she had to sleep on her side that night. The article does not say how many times the vice principal hit her on the bottom. Surely, her bottom was not bare, so my guess is he had to have struck her several times with force through her clothes. I don’t know how you feel about that, but if that had been my child, this man would have been looking for a new job! The article does not mention what terrible crime this girl committed.

If you would like to read this article that was published in Time magazine I have supplied a link at the end of this article.

I haven’t thought of spanking in public schools for a long time. I have only one 11th. grader left in public school, but this article made me think of how discipline has changed over the years. As recently as the ‘70’s public schools where I live used corporal punishment. I never liked it, because I felt it was MY job to discipline my own children!

When I was in elementary school, the teacher would punish us for “talking out loud” or any other kind of bad behavior by smacking us on the open palm of the hand using a wooden ruler. If we had to have such punishment in school, we would “get it” again when we got home. Another method our teachers would use was to have us sit in a corner for a period of time. The amount of time depended on the “crime” the child had committed. I used that method for my own children instead of spanking them. I found that method very effective.

Sometimes we can get so angry with our children, we just want to snatch them up and give them a really good spanking. I don’t think parents should ever discipline a child when they are angry. That’s how babies are killed by the “shaking baby syndrome”. Sometimes parents will lose their self-control and literally kill a child.

While many people argue that hitting a child is always wrong, spanking children continues to be used as an acceptable form of discipline by many parents and educators because they don’t feel "time-out" works to correct a child’s bad behavior. This is a very personal decision parents and educators have to agree on; whether or not to spank a child.

Appropriate punishment for a child depends on the age of the child. If your 4-year-old uses crayons to decorate the living room wall, discuss why that's not allowed. Explain that crayons are only used on paper, and then let the child help you clean the wall. One of my children “decorated” her bedroom wall with a lipstick she had found in my purse when she was six years old. She still remembers scrubbing that wall! As children get older, timeouts and consequences seems to be effective.

I believe children should be allowed to discover for themselves the consequences of their own actions. I used to stress myself out over my children's homework. I later developed the attitude of letting the child find out for themselves what the consequences would be if they didn’t turn in their homework. They would have to pay for that with a bad grade. If your child doesn’t mind getting bad grades, this won’t work. You have to think of something else! It is natural for us to want to keep our children from making mistakes, especially mistakes that could cause them harm. Parents should do them a favor by having them learn what behaving improperly can mean to them. Maybe the next time, they will make better decisions. This is a very difficult thing for parents to do.

Teens Need Boundaries

Teens need boundaries. We have a duty to guide our teens. They must not be allowed to disregard the rules we have set up for them. If they disregard those rules some form of discipline is imperative. There has to be penalties for bad behavior. If your teen breaks their curfew by coming home later than they should, I think they should be grounded. If the teen is already driving, that’s an easy one: take away their privilege of driving for a time.

One of my friends had the right idea, I think. When her 12 year old son who failed to take out the trash and do other chores around the house he was supposed to do, she refused to take him to his baseball practice. One Saturday morning, he got dressed in his baseball uniform, and when it was time to go, she firmly told him she would not drive him. She calmly told him when he learned to accept his responsibilities; she would accept her responsibilities as a Mother. From then on, her son did his chores.

States In The United States Where Corporal Punishment Is Still Allowed


Corporal Punishment Is Still Allowed In 19 States In The United States

Over 20 states have banned corporal punishment in schools, but it is still allowed in 19 states. In some countries it is illegal to use corporal punishment on children. I read that in China, before one can adopt a child they must sign an agreement they will never strike the child. Isn’t this the country where human rights are not enforced?

I think every parent wants their children to grow up to be responsible, law-abiding citizens of the world. So, the question is: how do we do that? Do we do that by punishing the child by spanking them when they break our rules? Do we try to reason with them to make them understand why we expect good behavior from them? Are there alternate methods that could be used?

Countries Where Corporal Punishment Has Been Abolished


Do You Believe Parents Have The Right To Use Corporal Punishment On Their Children?

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Do You Believe Corporal Punishment Should Be Allowed In Public Schools?

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As a loving and doting Grandmother and Great Grandmother, I would never think of striking any one of these beautiful eight children. They are just too precious. I will always find another way to have them behave.

I also think it is very important that we reward our children when they do behave. It's good for them to realize that we do notice good behavior!


I do believe we are living in a very permissible society, and that bothers me a lot. I see children every day when I go out shopping or eating in a restaurant who are behaving badly. I always bragged about the fact I could take my children anywhere and they would not cause me any embarrassment by bad behavior. I would give them “the look”, and they would immediately stop what they were doing. I raised four children to be good upstanding members of our society. They always had respect for their parents, their teachers, and the law.

I maintain it is possible to raise good, respectful children without using corporal punishment. I know there are parents who will not agree. As I said before, this is a very personal decision. Both parents must agree on how they will handle punishment with their children.

So, the debate will go on: Should parents and schools be allowed to use corporal punishment on children?

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