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:

Hire me to speak with your group. Contact me here.

Fear & Punishment Vs. Love & Learning

Today’s topic: The old and new styles of discipline.

Many of us were raised in the old style of discipline. It was largely based in fear and punishment. Here are some characteristics:

1. The adults have authority based in fear because the kids are afraid of getting in trouble.
2. When the kids get in trouble, it’s unpredictable, and the punishment often takes away something that is precious to the kids.
3. Even if rewards are involved, the discipline is based in fear because the kids are afraid they might not get the reward.
4. Kids and adults struggle for power.  If/then is often used in the struggle: “If you do this, then you’ll get in trouble. If you do this, then you’ll get a reward.”

Here’s an example: The kids fight. A vase is broken. The adult yells and tells the children to go to their rooms and that they can’t go to their friend’s birthday party. The adult is furious about the vase and never forgives the children. The kids are furious and never forgive the adult for missing the birthday party. The empty shelf where the vase once was reminds them all of the hurt.

Here’s the new kind of discipline. It’s based in love and learning (this is what I teach):

1. Self-regulation (calming techniques) are taught and used so the family feels safe.
2. Feelings are talked about so the family feels loved.
3. Values (revealed by the feelings) are regularly discussed and guide decision-making.
4. Kids and adults work together to support each other in problem-solving and reconciliation when needed. Instead of a struggle for power, the family works together so everyone “wins.”

Here’s an example: The kids fight. A vase is broken. A calm adult helps the children talk about their feelings. The adult may also talk about their feelings (without blaming the kids). Values are discussed, like this:

“In our family, we value self-regulation and problem-solving.”
“We value our hearts — our feelings teach us our values — that’s our conscience.”
“We value our bodies — our bodies are made to love and be loved.”
“We value our house and the things in it, so we try to take good care of our things.”
“We have individual values — what are yours?”

So then, based on their values, the adult works with the kids to reconcile their relationship with each other. They talk about how they would like to handle the situation differently next time (to use the steps above during conflict). They work together to clean up the broken vase, and they pick a plate from a cabinet to go on the shelf in its place. They celebrate and admire the placement of the plate. The plate reminds them of how they work together as a family. Everyone feels safe, loved, and respected.

What do you think? How were you raised? Does any of this sound familiar?

The new kind of discipline does not come naturally. It takes a mentor. I mentor you, and you mentor your kids.

To schedule a free 30-minute call with me, use the Contact page on the website so I can text you.

Share this with someone who’s ready, who’s looking for a different way to raise their kids.