Corporal punishment of children — spanking

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Conflicting quotations about spanking children:

  • “Regardless of governmental laws, God’s law
    states that spanking is necessary for the proper development of a child.”
    La Vista Church of Christ, Omaha NE. 1

  • “Join other activists in a demonstration
    at the U.S. Capitol Building for the immediate banning of assault and battery
    with a dangerous weapon, also known as ‘corporal punishment,’ in U.S. Public
    Schools.” An invitation, years ago, by “Parents and Teachers Against Violence in
    .” 2

  • During early 2015, at one of Pope Francis’ general audiences, a father admitted smaking his child, “… but never in the face so as to not humiliate them.” The Pope described the man’s comment as “beautiful,” adding: “He knows the sense of dignity! He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on.”

    Verena Herb, a spokesperson at Germany’s Families Ministry, reacted, saying: “there can be no dignified hitting. … there must be no misunderstanding here, because any form of violence against children is completely unacceptable.” 3

  • “Regardless of governmental laws, God’s law
    states that spanking is necessary for the proper development of a child.”
    La Vista Church of Christ, Omaha NE. 1

  • “Nobody is saying that if you’re spanked, you’re going to be violent. But what it does mean is that the more often you’re spanked the fewer opportunities you have to learn a way of dealing with conflict that doesn’t involve aggression. The more times a child is hit, the stronger that relationship becomes.” Professor Joan Durrant. 4

The stakes over spanking children are extremely high:

The trend in the United States for the past two decades has been to
corporal punishment (spanking) in favor of increased use of alternate discipline methods — e.g.
logical consequences, natural consequences, time-outs, or withdraw of privileges.

If this trend continues, and:

Unfortunately, neither side in the conflict trusts each other’s studies and
data. Also, there appears to be little or no dialogue happening between the two sides. So we are probably going to have to sit back and simply observe the
long-term effects of the reduction in corporal punishment.

This brings to mind the famous Chinese wish: “May you live in interesting

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. “Is spanking a thirteen year old child illegal?,” La Vista Church of Christ, at:
  2. “Announcement,” 21 to Go!, at: [No longer online]
  3. “Pope’s claim that it’s OK to spank children for discipline called ‘unacceptable’,” Toronto Star, 2015-FEB-06, at:
  4. Laura Fraser, “Spanking law protects parents, teachers but not kids, profs say ,” CBC News, 2015-DEC-24, at:

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Other references:

bullet “Religious extremism: a parenting style,” Chapter 14 of Robin
Grille, “Parenting for a peaceful world,” Longueville Media, (2005).
bullet M.A. Straus, K.G. Kaufman, “Corporal punishment of adolescents by parents: a risk factor in the epidemiology of
depression, suicide, alcohol abuse, child abuse, and wife beating.” Adolescence 1994;29:543-61.
bullet Z. Strassberg, et al., “Spanking in the home and children’s subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers,
Dev Psychopathol 1994;6:445-61.
bullet J. McCord, “Questioning the value of punishment,Soc Probl 1991;38:167-79.
bullet D. Baumrind, “A blanket injunction against disciplinary use of spanking is not warranted by the data,”
Pediatrics 1996;98(4 pt 2):828-31.
bullet Colin Farrell maintains a World Corporal Punishment Research
Website” about corporal punishment in
schools, prisons, etc. See:
bullet P.L. Poelstra, “Corporal Punishment,” at:
. This site contains links to various studies that are critical of anti-spanking
bullet Irvin Wolkoff, “Spanked child can become self-loathing adult,” The Toronto Star, 1999-NOV-26, Page F4.
bullet Lawrence M. Bezeau, “Bibliography of reported corporal punishment
cases in Canada,” at:
bullet Robert M. Wilson, “A study of attitudes towards corporal punishment
as an education procedure from the earliest times to the present.” at:
bullet J.K. Ni, “Spanking denounced as ineffective, harmful — Expert at ‘Families Alive’ [conference] urges positive
discipline,” Deseret News, 1998-MAY-9, at:

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Copyright © 1995 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2015-DEC-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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