What is Corporal Punishment?

Since my twins were born, I’ve tried to be the best mom I could be.

I took my babies every year for their checkups at the pediatrician’s office.

Every year, they gave me paperwork about parenting. I read those pages like the Bible. They taught me about nutrition, screen time, and helmets for bike riding.

But they never talked about corporal punishment, the intentional harm of a child, for the sake of discipline.

I was spanked and slapped as a kid, and I know others who were paddled or whipped with belts and sticks. I thought it was normal, and the way to teach a child respect, so I did as was done to me. When my kids were young, I yelled at them and spanked them.

But it didn’t feel right to me, so I stopped, and got help.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

> Spanking is hitting.

> Research shows that people who experience corporal punishment as a child are likely to have adverse effects in their lives, like greater amounts of stress (that was me!).

> There are some states in the US that ban corporal punishment in schools. There are some countries in the world where the corporal punishment of children is illegal in all settings, at home and at school.

> There’s an organization called End Violence Against Children working to educate our governments about this issue.

> Some Christians believe that Proverbs 13:24 gives parents direction to hit their children. I have my Master’s in Divinity and I researched this. It’s just not right. Ask yourself: What Would Jesus Do? (Look at the stories of the Prodigal Son and the times when Jesus blesses the children.) An expert in Biblical research, Samuel Martin, has written three books on the subject. If you’d like to see his work, click here.

But back to my story…

I’m upset my pediatrician didn’t teach me about corporal punishment. So, I made the PDF I wish my pediatrician had given me at my babies’ first year checkup. Click here to download and print. Feel free to share it, or take it to your doctor’s office.

I don’t consider this an urgent issue (just  about 100 years ago, Wyatt Earp was taming the Wild West with his six-shooter), but it’s time. We know better, and we can do better.

What’s your experience with corporal punishment?

Here’s that PDF:

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