Corporal Punishment - Parenting? or Child Abuse? Opinions Please

Today American children have more protection against physical abuse than ever before. Parents are not allowed to beat their children or leave serious injuries during punishment. And teachers are no longer allowed to use paddles, swiches, or ruler to discipline children.

However.. I fall into a camp of people demanding that the current laws are NOT enough. There is a form of abuse that can do even more long-lasting damage than physical.... psychological abuse. PS... I will not judge you if you disagree with my statements... but lets NOT turn this forum into a flame war. Please be professional everyone.

Psychological abuse includes emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and physical abuse that serves to humiliate rather than leave real physical damage.


Emotional abuse includes manipulation, guilt trips, implying or telling the child that they are evil or bad [not just that what they did was bad, but that they are a bad-natured child], telling a child they should be more like "so-and-so's" kids, humiliating a child to gain control, threatening a child with severe physical or emotional abuse that you don't plan to carry out to scare them and "keep them in line." An example of this was experienced by a friend of mine. "If you don't get your room cleaned up, you will sleep in the basement with the spiders." This was a direct malicious attack because the parent KNEW that my friend was aracniphobic and the basement was unfinished and not lacking in spiders.


Verbal abuse includes calling your child swear words or words meant to demean and lower self esteem:

girls - bitch, whore, slut, witch, hag, porker [male or female], fatass [male or female], etc.

Boys - sissy, candyass, son of a bitch [insulting to the mother as well], fag/ faggot, dick, etc.


Physical EMOTIONAL abuse includes:

Slapping, Spanking, Paddling, Using a Belt on Buttocks, slaping buttocks, hitting with newspaper, throwing objects at child, etc.


I have not had a child myself but I have wittnessed the struggles my parents went through to raise children, so I know that raising children is hard... but I think that that does NOT justify behavior like the outlined above. I personally want these behaviors to be outlawed... starting with corporal punishment [physical emotional abuse].


What do you guys think?

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That's a major problem with the ning forums, only friends can send private messages.

I feel you. I hated my childhood, both the physical and the mental abuse. I have many reasons to not want children, and absolute fear of being a parent such as mine told me not to do it. Other main reason is planetary overpopulation but that's another topic.


Every youth doctor visit I ever had I asked about sterilisation but I was always refused (Canada... need age 35 and 2 kids here).


I was on the pill from the age of 14, but only had intercourse 3 years later. Was on contraceptives till late 20s, when I got pregnant 3 times in 24 months. Three abortions, which I blame squarely on patriarchal medical institution which assumes modern women's role in life is first to procreate.


1.5 years later, in new city, I asked my new doctor AGAIN for sterilisation, I said "isn't three fucking abortions enough to prove I don't want kids?!?!"


The "specialist" said ok, will next week do? I was 32.


I'm nearing a dozen male friends who've been vasectomied... respect and curtsy.


Parents today who were raised in small families DO NOT know how to parent. Throughout Homo sapiens evolution, parenting was a community/group/tribe task. Nuclear families have been the death of parenting. Without experience there can be no knowledge.

You have some good points. My wife and I never used abusive words on our children. These can leave long lasting emotional scars. As for physical abuse you state that you "personally want these behaviors to be outlawed". I believe in most states they already are under the general category of battery. My issue is more specific about what constitutes abuse. The following illustrates my point.

I saw a behavior nazi (sorry, but that term really seems to apply) call the police on a woman that smacked her kid on the butt for throwing a fit in the grocery store. I couldn't believe that the women was hauled away and charged with child abuse. This little demon (err, child) had just thrown several packages of merchandise on the floor because he couldn't have a toy or something. There was a nice mess. The "child abuse" consisted of a swat on the butt and a harsh verbal 'Stop That' which had actually worked to snap the kid out his raging fit.

After the women is hauled away, the kid starts screaming again but this time for his mom. He is taken away by child services. He definitely did not have any physical damage from the smack on the ass, but I think there might be some emotional trauma from this event...but not caused by the mom. Meanwhile, the behavior nazi has a smug satisfied look on her face. I never got the chance to use some verbal abuse of my own to wipe that look off her face.

I have two kids that are now grown (28 & 26). I spanked my son once for stealing and then lying about it (not the first time). He was 9 at the time. To this day he still remembers that episode vividly and he never stole again. He describes it as a "wake up" for him. Recently he asked me how I had felt about it and I let him know that it had made me nearly physically ill.
1) What does this have to do with atheism?

2) As a parent I can't stand it when people without children wax poetic about how to raise/discipline children.

3) Sounds like you want to legislate the act of parenting down to specific examples and levels of what you can or can't do or say to discipline your children. When my two boys, who share a room, won't go to sleep I threaten to separate them and put one in the guest room. Neither of them like sleeping in that room by themselves because it's kinda cold and there's no nightlight, so that usually does the trick, but sometimes when they're really wound up I do put one of them in there. That's a little less severe than threatening to make them sleep in the basement, but would you make that illegal? (By the way, the main argument I'd have with the basement/spider example is the parent (hopefully) has no intention of following through on that threat, and I personally can't stand hollow threats. If you're going to put a consequence on the table, make it something you're willing to follow through on.)

I have spanked each of my kids 2-3 times in their 5 and 6 years. I have also dragged them out of restaurants and stores by their elbows on occasion. I've yelled at them too. And I'll do it all again if the situation demands it. I'd ask that you please stay out of my business and don't bother sharing your thoughts on raising children until you've done it.
Thanks for the request and I politely deny that request. Living in the US I have the freedom to express my opinions about anything I want to. There was no reason to get personally offended. I am speaking as a psychology major on the effects that have been observed through longitudinal and case studies on children from physical and/ or emotionally abusive families. As I said in the beginning of the post, parenthood is supposed to be very difficult. But I know that if I were a parent I would want to protect my child from the possible reprocussions of emotional abuse. As part of a school project I was required to write a review of a peer reviewed journal article. My article was an experiment that explored the possible connection between childhood psychological abuse and adult psychological pathologies [mental illnesses]. What was found is astonishing.
Children subject to physical abuse of the tradional type experienced some problems but the largest percentage of adults with anxiety disorders [out of about 4,000 studied] was among those who had been subject to psychological abuse as children.

They found many of these individuals either showed symptoms of or were diagnosed with:
1. Panic disorder - a psychopathology characterized by regularly reoccuring and intense panic attacks.
2. Agoraphobia - a condition that sometimes follows Panic Disorder and is characterized by fear of entering public places that one could not get away in the event of a panic attack. The most severe of these individuals will not leave their house for months, years, or decades at a time. There was a case of a 45 year old woman with agoraphobia who had not left her house for 15 years.
3. Tricotillomania - compulsive pulling out of hair.
4. Obsessive - Compulsive Disorder - Repetive Behavior, Rigid Bizarre Rituals, Obsessions with cleanliness [sometimes including obsessive handwashing to the point of severely dry, cracked, and bleeding hands], checking to makes sure that tasks are accomplished an unnecessary number of times [10 - 20, or more], anxiety about change or disruption of personal organization and schedule [ex. going ballistic if one shoe in a color coded system is out of order], among other problems.

Whether the type of discipline you use is worth the mental health risks, you can decide for yourself.
By no means did I intend to judge you personally.
I do respect your right to express your opinions about whatever you want to -- I was just questioning why you'd share your opinion about raising children on a site called "Think Atheist" without connecting that opinion even superficially with the subject matter of the site. Just doesn't seem like the right forum for the discussion.

As far as the opinion itself, there are few things you need to go through yourself to understand like raising a child. It's the most rewarding and frustrating thing you can do, and you won't know how well you've done until 20 years down the line. So opine away, but don't expect people who've raised children to give your opinions much credence until you've joined the ranks.

For the record, I agree with you that it's not right to physically or emotionally "abuse" children, and I have no doubt that "abuse" has a detrimental lifelong effect. There's a difference between a pattern of abuse and an occasional spanking, though, and I feel like you've naively lumped together legitimate parenting techniques with inappropriate behaviors. Basically (and unfortunately) I don't think you can legislate bad parenting out of existence.
The act of breeding is not an argument.

It is not necessary to experience raising children to have a valid opinion on what is wrong.  If I see a parent throw his child out the window.  I know it's wrong.  If I see a child get dragged to church I see it as child abuse.

I've never had my own child, not for the lack of trying.

But I do believe in corporal punishment.  Sometimes children just need a quick ass whoopin.  LOL...  I was raised that way and it worked mostly.  I see some parents walking around that never physically punish their children and guess what.....

Yeah, their children act like the worst little shit bags on Earth.  I don't think it's completely necessary to be a parent to know a little bit about raising kids.  As a person without a child, I can't stand the arrogance of parents who "wax poetic" about their special experience as parents, as though it may take actually being a parent to fully understand parenting, it's not required to understand all of it. 

Don't insult the guy because you don't like the fact that he has just as much right to say what is right and wrong ways to treat children as you do (and he most certainly does Greg).  Being a parent didn't grant you this right, being a person did. 

But to the blogger of this post, corporal punishment is not completely unnecessary.  There's a difference between child abuse and a proper spanking.  That's just a fact.  I know lots of people who don't spank their kids and I gotta tell ya.....  Only they are to blame for the frustration their children cause, but I also respect their decision if they're willing to sleep in the bed for which they've chosen to make themselves. 


I don't have to be a parent to have the right to speak my mind about what's right and wrong ways to raise kids.  Some parent's are just fucking criminal about it.   We're all entitled to our opinions and any one can "Wax poetic" all they like.  If you don't like it......move along and stop being so bloody arrogant.  It doesn't take being a parent to know a good bit about parenting. 


Obviously, if he had the same opinions as you and stated them instead of what he actually wrote, you wouldn't have replied so rudely.  You've done nothing but show that you are a pretentious dick Greg, and hopefully you're a better parent than you are a blog commenter, for your childrens' sake.

It is not necessary to experience raising children to have a valid opinion on what is wrong.  If I see a parent throw his child out the window.


Thanks, I'd been wanting to say that since several posts! If children were objects that remained within the confines of parents for ever then ya, maybe it's only relevant to those parents... But children grow up and enter society and the shit parents put them through carries through to the larger social environment, and society as a whole ends up having to pay for parents' lack of upbringing skills.


So yes, to all those of you who think it's your own business only... you are NOT living in a bubble. Those kids are to be members of society and it's incredibly self centered to see them as your own personal little toys to experiment with.


I am reminded of a couple and their daughter they were raising and 'home schooling'. Oh yes, she was intelligent... she was also a monster, with zero social skills. Poor kid.

I miss the good old days, when parents could beat the snot out of their brats and not have to deal with bleeding hearts getting in the way of good parenting (sarcasm).

But seriously, the best parents don't have kids. If you want to get picky about child abuse - life is child abuse. At 19, all I can say is that it's been a rip-off so far. Could it get better? Sure, but I'll be damned if it wasn't a rough ride to say the least.

I agree with everything except the spanking.

I would personally never spank a child. I would never viciously call them a bad word.  My father used to do this all the time.  I would say I would rather have been hit instead of being called a 'little fucker' or a 'fucking moron' for I don't know ... Doing dishes the 'wrong' way?  

Kids will be kids. They need to make mistakes and do stupid stuff in order to learn and grow. But I think a parent should be able to spank a kid without anyone really caring. It's really isn't that traumatizing. If it's sort of a more 'shock' factor than a 'hurt' factor. You know how kids sometimes start screaming bloody murder if they fall off a chair - even though they are not hurt one bit - then start giggling a second later when you do something funny? Spankings are fine if they don't hurt too much.

As for the guy who got all defensive about you speaking your mind, I think that was a bit much as you obviously have the right to say whatever you want - and it's irrational to think anyone without children know nothing about what it takes to raise them. If you can't be civilized towards your children you should not have them in the first place.  Also , this forum is called 'Think Atheist' ... there is no rule that states you can't post something that isn't connected to Atheism.  (Duh!) 


I was abused as a child - I was beaten - drug across floors by my hair - not fed for an entire day - Forced inside rooms without lights on (I had an extreme fear of the dark and would have convulsions if my night light went out.)

With all that I have been through - If I see a parent slap a child across the face in public - I do have to hold myself back ... I want to rip their fucking heads off. Put a stake through their throat. My blood literally starts boiling. A child should never be slapped or struck across the face.  Children are just far too innocent to be defiled in such a way.  

But anytime a child get's a spanking - IMO they usually deserve it. Cause they are being little devils.

Religion should be illegal as well for their mind torture with putting fear into little kids.

I must agree with Dustin Sanders I was abused as a child as well I won't get into details.  I will just get all worked up talking about it.  I am a PARENT, I do not hit, there is no need to in my opinion.

Also my abuse was so traumatic that if I even hear a child crying and cannot see them my heart starts to race and I have to hold myself together and not think the absolute worst is happening to the child.  If someone is hits a child in anyway I have to hold myself back from hitting them.  It not even something I think about it's an automatic response I start sweating my heart begins to race and I honestly begin to break down.


Also I thought that I believe it was Texas still allows the paddle in their state and I don't believe they are the only one.  


I do not in anyway believe that we have gone far enough to protect children - spanking should be illegal.


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