Disciplining of Children

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Corporal Punishment

Discipline is a practice of training, which accustoms people to obey the rules and guidelines, with expectation of punishment for disobedience; it is essential in every facet of life. Corporal punishment on the other hand, is any punishment aimed at causing discomfort or pain, but not wound, to the recipient in order to enforce discipline. It serves as deterrent to others; it involves use of physical force by a person in authority, to achieve the purpose. It is the application of hitting, spanking, slapping or paddling with hand, wood, paddle, stick, etc by an adult to the children. The use of corporal punishment practice as a means of training children has been a point of contention all over the world, but which has continue to reduce over the years. Disciplining of children is an important part of parenting; it is an intervention process of teaching them about expectations and norms. Corporal punishment has been in use as children's disciplinary technique for a very long time, unlike other methods of discipline, it is swift, and poses threat to stop and prevent reoccurrence of a misconduct, as well as deterrent to others.

In the United States, corporal punishment has been a conventional method of disciplining children and youth since the colonial times. Only during the past 20 years has there emerged a growing outcry condemning such practices with school children (Andero, et al. 2002). But study shows that about half of American families still spank their children, as long as it is non abusive. According to reports, Texas is ranked second in the application of corporal punishment in schools, but with a legislation giving parents the right, to exempt their children with a signed waiver. Also in Africa, about three decades ago, in order to curb high rate of indiscipline, uniform security officers were introduced into high schools to administer discipline, particularly corporal punishment.

One school of thought, opposing to corporal punishment, belief it is a form of violent act that can cause psychological harm to the children, but another school of thought believed there in is no substantial evidence that occasional, non abusive corporal punishment can cause any damage.

 A 75-year-old caller from Sand Springs told me he still remembers getting swats in school and the impression that it made on him to clean up his act. "I'm all for it," he said. "If you want to get their attention, sometimes talking won't do it." (Almeida, Colleen 2012.)

In centuries past, the belief was for teachers to not only educate, but to provide moral guidance as well. Physical discipline was accepted and common (Jason, Jorge 2009).

When I was growing up as child, my parent never held back the rod when need be and sometimes would go further to report me to my teacher for further discipline, and there was never any incidence of crisis as a result. However, I belief it is unnecessary for Government to discourage parents from performing their natural duty of raising children, by applying non abusive corporal punishment when the need arise. Abusive violence against children, whether in the home or elsewhere, is criminal and detrimental, so also is an unnecessary legislation that would not allow parents to do their best in raising their children.

Nevertheless, many parents and teachers support the old notion of spare the rod and spoil the child, as a result; they advocate paddling as a method of disciplining children in schools.

In the landmark Supreme Court decision Ingraham v. Wright, the court held that corporal punishment of students does not violate the Eighth Amendment or the due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court said that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment applies to criminals only and is not applicable to the disciplining of students in public schools (Andero et al. 2002). The common law since before the American Revolution has provided that, although teachers may use reasonable force to discipline children, any excessive or unreasonable force will subject the educator to either criminal liability or a civil claim for personal injuries. It is believed that at least 30 states continue to authorize corporal punishment in their schools (Alexander & Alexander, 1997).

All over the country, some groups are campaigning against corporal punishment for children, these groups maintained that, corporal punishment is cruel, and they pointed out that a child can best develop into a mature, creative adult in a happy, non-repressive environment and claimed that form of punishment suppresses spontaneity. At the same time, some experts pointed to studies showing that even nonphysical alternatives like verbal scolding don't lead to positive changes in behavior among children, hence, there is a need for early training in forming the child's lifelong character.  Therefore, parents, guardians and teachers should not shy away from standing firm in applying the necessary disciplinary tactics they deem fit in ensuring the children are well trained and disciplined.

The most important finding of Larzelere's research on corporal punishment indicated that there are not enough quality studies that document detrimental outcomes of non-abusive physical punishment to support advice or policies against this age-old parental practice. He concluded that how parents use discipline tactics matters. Effects of physical punishment, as well as non-physical punishment, probably depend on when and how parents implement it, and the overall parent-child relationship (Larzelere, 1996).

I belief whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.  As a beneficiary of corporal punishment in my adolescent age, I support corporal punishment technique of discipline of children, as long as is done in moderation, devoid of prejudice, racial disparities, discrimination, and it is not a deliberate act to inflict pains on them. 

In this argument we have a combination of supportive, wavering and hostile audiences, I really have to interplay the three elements of argument persuasions to arrive at convincing my audience. Relying on pathos, lack of adequate and effective discipline, and control in American homes and schools is one of the major factors responsible for high moral decadence among the youth, leading to public assaults, mass shooting etc.  How can we teach constructive attitudes to a generation of young people which is no longer listening to our advice? Dobson said (1970). Not only must we reinstate effective methods of discipline at home, of which spanking is one of them, but the authority of the schools must also be reconstructed and supported by the parents. Parent should let the teachers and administrators know that they favor reasonable control in the classroom, even if it requires an occasional application of corporal punishment (Dobson, 1970

Also to the wavering audience, I will concentrate on ethos and logos, to convince my audience. In this case I will rely on soundness of evidence and credibility by citing the Supreme Court judgment which held that corporal punishment does not violate the right of the students, that teachers may impose reasonable but not excessive force to discipline a child.

Pertaining to my hostile audience, the most important finding of Larzelere's research indicated that there are not enough quality studies that document detrimental outcomes of non-abusive physical punishment, that it depends on how parents use discipline tactics. The general rule is good parent raises good children. Also lack of effective discipline and control in America's homes and schools is one of the major factors accounting for the country being having the highest incarcerated rate and largest population of prisoners in the world. Charity they say begins at home, In order to have a society where peace and progress prevail, the doctrine of Christian derives from the bible supports corporal punishment for the children and youth. According to some verses from the bible that states as follows: Proverbs 13:24.He who spares the rod hates his child but he who loves his child chastises him, Proverbs 22:15. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him and Proverbs 22:14. You shall beat him with rod, and shall save his soul from hell, among several other verses.

Work Cited


  1. Bakersfield Californian, The (CA). 03/07/2009.
  2. Journal of Instructional Psychology. Jun2002, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p90. 7p.
  3. Time. 10/15/2012, Vol. 180 Issue 16, p17-17. 1p.
  4. Toronto Star (Canada). 07/06/2004
  5. Tulsa World (OK). 10/01/2012
  6. USA Today. 01/25/2007
  7. Almeida Smith, Colleen. "To Spank, or Not to Spank." Tulsa World (OK), 01 Oct. 2012.
  8. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W63718008666&site=ehost-live.
  9. and Jason Kotowski, Jorge Barrientos. "Who Should Spank a Child: Recent Arrests Raise
  10. Questions." Bakersfield Californian, the (CA), 07 Mar. 2009. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W62W6931209924&site=ehost-live.
  11. Andero, Abraham A. and Allen Stewart. "Issue of Corporal Punishment: Re-Examined." Journal of Instructional Psychology, vol. 29, no. 2, June 2002, p. 90. EBSCOhost,
  12. ASSOCIATED, PRESS. "Spank If You Must but Go Lightly: U.K. Peers." Toronto Star (Canada), n.d  EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=6FP1615480235&site=ehost-live
  13. Melinda D. Anderson Dec. 15 2015 :theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/12/corporal-
  14. punishment/420420
  15. Park, Alice. "Spanking in the Schools." Time, vol. 180, no. 16, 15 Oct. 2012, p. 17. EBSCOhost search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=82400919&site=ehost-live
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Disciplining Of Children. (2019, Dec 11). Retrieved December 1, 2023 , from

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