Thursday, November 3, 2011

Critical Questions About Physical Discipline

I keep coming back to the subject of physical discipline. Because somehow it is all around me, on Facebook status updates and discussions with mothers, etc. Today I saw a video of a teenager being beaten by her father with the support of his wife. It is all over the news and has sparked new discussions on the physical disciplining of children.
If you don’t know my opinion on the subject, here it is: I think it’s wrong. Always and under every circumstance. Which doesn’t mean that I automatically dislike parents who use physical discipline. I just don’t think that it is justifiable. If you want to read more about my personal opinion, click here.
While thinking about the subject, I always stumble upon the same questions that I cannot find answers to. Please don’t take this as my wanting to hear from parents who spank- I know that people can find answers to every question in existence if given the chance to voice their opinion. I am merely saying that, regardless of the reasons people cite for their methods of child rearing, I cannot make sense of them.
For example, I often ask myself what these people would do if it were suggested to them that spanking their spouse would benefit their marriage. Would they do it? Or would they feel that this was wrong? And if they do feel that this would be wrong, why would they feel like this regarding an adult who has the option to fight back- be it directly or indirectly- but not when it comes to their children, who have nobody to turn to for protection other than their own parents?
If spanking is necessary, then how do child care facilities and schools function without it? If physical discipline is the only effective way to ‘control’ children’s behavior, how do institutions who look after numerous children at the same time cope?
Considering spanking as an effective tool for keeping humans from exhibiting unwanted behavior, why not spank people who break the law? Instead of prisons there could just be facilities in which people were physically punished for bad behavior. That would teach them not to do it again, right?
If someone were to dislike your behavior, would it be acceptable for them to physically discipline you, as long as they were stronger than you or had authority over you in some way?
Just some thoughts I figured I’d throw out there for the discussion that is already going on due to the above mentioned news story. In the video, the father says (yells? It wasn’t very loud, but it was more forceful than just saying it…): “I will beat you into submission!” It has had my stomach turning all day. Hey, if you want a creature to live with you who will be submissive, why don’t you just get a dog? Actually, beating a dog like the man beat his daughter would be considered animal abuse and would be against the law…


  1. I got hit with a belt all.the.time. For a bad report card, bad behavior, you name it! WE got it. I am not saying that it was right or wrong. I LOVE my parents today, but I do not think I would ever hit them with a belt. I just can't see myself doing that. But I guess in India, its a different culture all together. Quite common.

  2. It's not such a different culture in that way, Resh. I got hit with a belt regularly and so did many of my friends. It was messed up and I can't understand how people can hit their children.

  3. Amen and thank you for posting this! <3 As a follower of Jesus, it breaks my heart that so many hit their kids in His name. :(

  4. There are school districts that allow corporal punishment. Even today.

    I was spanked as a child, but I cannot envision ever spanking my own children. I've threatened it mid-deployment, but I don't spank my children. I feel that physical violence is a learned behavior. Someone has to break the cycle. Now if only I could keep from raising my voice. I know I'm far from a perfect parent. I just try to do my best.

  5. Thank you, thats very interesting information. I need to share with my friends.

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