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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" 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."


Good to know others have the same reaction.  When I was a server - I told my boss that I couldn't wait on a particular table.  She asked me why?  (As this is a big no no in the serving industry)   I told her that she should either give the table to someone else - or fire me - Because I wasn't going to explain why. I was about to hyperventilate. The table was being extremely aggressive towards their kids - verbal abuse - and that sort of physical aggression that some parents who are psychopathic control freaks exhibit toward their helpless little innocent children. My boss just looked at me funny - but knew how serious I was - and how bothered I was - so she let it go and transfered the table over.

I have also had to keep my mouth shut during lessons when a specific mother smacks her daughter across the back of the head for humming the piano tune while her little sister is playing it next to me ... what am I supposed to do ... say "excuse me miss, but could you please stop doing that to your child?" ... see how fast I lose her business.

I don't hyperventilate... but I shrink, and my eyes hurt.


Not only with children, but also when I hear or see couples fighting, it jolts me to my inner most core.

Just to note: When I read this I had some mixed emotions. It would be about 100 times better if you have kids, but then again, at the same time you do not have MY kids. I'm not Trying to be ugly, but as a mother of 4 your words have made me feel bad and I do not apperciate it as I am doing the absolute best that I can. I learn more and more every day and I am in college as well and have taken psychology.


Wow, I could write forever and ever on this...... I have 4 kids ages 8 (boy), 7 (girl), 4 (boy), 3 (boy) (last two are almost 5,4). I agree that if you do not have kids you should not tell other parents how to discipline their kids, as a matter of fact, if you do not live with me and my kids you should not tell me how to discipline my kids. Have I said things I'm not proud of? sure, what PARENT hasn't? I have what others would call hellions/heathens. hell I call them that at times. You get all 4 of these kids playing and guess what happens? some one gets hurt, something gets broke, someone gets broke (by the other child on accident), they fight, scream, argue. Is it part of being a child? sure. Does that mean I should not intervene? Hell no. Over the years I have tried every parenting technique damn near none of them work. People say "OH 4 kids I don't know how you do it?"  my answer "I don't, I just go with the flow feed them clothe them and try to keep them from killing each other." But kids can work your nerves as well. And mine work mine every day. EVERY DAY. There are some things I tell my kids like "I'm going to put you out on the line by your toe nails." They know this is not true, it's a warning. Straighten up act right. Let me tell you, I can't take all 4 of mine into walmart at the same time, can you guess why?? Because they act like HELLIONS. No matter the consequences they ALWAYS act the same way.


Again, I could go on and on. I could tell you things that you have probably never heard of kids doing (I promise you). But I'm not. If you were a parent then sure I might, or if you were truly trying to understand what it really is that parents go through then sure I might. But you're not. You're (it feels like to me) trying to tell me how to discipline MY kids.


END NOTE: I do not beat, curse at, or insult my children.


P.S please don't respond by trying to give me advice on any situations I've listed.


Respectfully yours,


We do the best we can!  I often call mine "crack monkeys" when they get good and wild.  :o)  Well, to my husband, not to the kids themselves.  I call them "hoodlums" often otherwise.  As in, "Come on, hoodlums, we're going to the library." 

No hooligans, lots of cousins and tons of kids in the family. Some are grown and so part of what I think is from experience and taking part in raising them. 


Physical abuse and corporal punishment are not one and the same. A spanking to break the mental state can be useful. There is no reason for it to be the norm, but there are times when it's going to be the most effective way. If you want to spend an hour pulling your hair out, annoying everyone within a city block, great. I'd rather address it and not teach them that anything positive will come of their behavior. Sometimes that will be best addressed with a spanking that makes them think about the sting more than the toy, candy or whatever is driving them out of their normal minds. 

I can't fathom when emotional or verbal abuse is needed. Stern verbal instruction is useful in getting attention for say pre-teens when you are teaching them something dangerous. I remember learning to handle a handgun for the first time and the instructions are still clear, "Turn towards us with that gun not pointed at the ground and I'll knock your dick in the dirt." Yes sir. But for day to day average stuff, it's not necessary. 

I have a dog a follow Cesar Milan's dominance methods. If I snap my fingers, the dog looks and stops what he's doing. It's the constant calm reaction that puts me in the lead and he knows that he isn't going to win. At his worst sometimes I have to touch him but pain isn't necessary. I fantasize that with kids I'll have a physical cue devoid of words and not unlike how elephants are handled. A light pinch on the tricep and I won't let go until it stops. So from the time they are unreasonable two year olds, I'll sit through the screaming and yelling without a word, just the uncomfortable touch until they focus on me and then break and discuss/problem solve. I fantasize that after a few years the touch will be a cue to stop it without time outs or other moves that seem ineffective on most kids in my experience. Trying to figure out something in advance. Has anyone come up with a behavioral cue like that that worked with kids?

I love what you have to say here gaytor :) My husband used to just be able to give "the look" but it has since worn off lol. I too wonder if there is something similar you could do for a kids on that level LOL. Sometimes I can totally block out the constant LOUD kid noises, but at times when I'm really trying to concentrate on something important, I must step in. With 4 kids it seems that you have to yell just for them to hear me over themselves. :)

Has anyone come up with a behavioral cue like that that worked with kids?


I work with 4 and 5 year olds. For that age grabbing their upper arm firmly, getting down to their level and making sure they are looking you in the eye while you tell them to stop works extremely well but then
again I have the added bonus of letting them know I'm going to talk to
their parents instead of being the parent. Sometimes just touching them
on the upper arm gets them to stop the undesired



When I give piano lessons - and my kids are acting insane - they like to start ignoring me and start slamming on the keys - it's what kids do ... they forget they are having a lesson - so I let them get it out of their system.  


When I want them to stop - I gently place my hand on top of their head - or place my hand on their back - and they immediately stop and look at me as if I put them in a trance.  


Children are smarter than most adults give them credit for I think.  Treat then with respect and they will respond.  

Maybe a grip on the full arm that prevents them from acting out with that arm would be enough as a physical restraint? If you started out that way from day one and were consistent with it... Mentally elephants are held with ropes due to them being unable to break chains as babies. My dog could run away or bite and break bones, but he wouldn't test me short of rabies (or five staples sans pain killer, poor guy) due to alpha rolls as a pup and consistency. That might be just the right twist over starting with an uncomfortable grab. If that's what goes on in child care these days, that might transition beautifully too. Thanks!
Cesar Millan's attitude applies well to a great many situations in life :)
I LOVE Cesar Millan!  I have found myself doing that "sh!" noise he makes at my youngest.  :o)
I have what I call my "Death Look."  It is extremely effective.  I'm not even sure why, because it's not like it's ever been followed by violence or even usually any sort of discipline at all.  But when I give my kids that look, they know they have gone too far and they tend to stop still and go silent.  It is amazing. 


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