Public and Private Corporal Punishment

When you say something about spanking a child, you get mixed reactions from people. I am amazed that so many people in Appalachia still openly threaten to spank their children in public. It makes no difference whether you support it or not, people can get into trouble with the authorities for it.

Recently, there was news coverage of a 2nd grade boy, who was pepper sprayed by the police. This really pushed my buttons. I have never understood why I was not allowed to spank my children, (if I had been so inclined), but teachers and principals in my state of Ohio were allowed to. See News Report Here: Pepper Spray

They are not only allowed to spank, but they are allowed to use modified two by fours, which they call paddles. If you strike an adult with a board, you will be charged with assault at the very least. But, it’s o.k. to do that to a defenseless child. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

When my kids were in school, I told them to never submit willingly to a paddling. They were told to run as fast and as far as they could; to tell the school employees that, they had better contact me before they considered it.

People think they have no recourse, if their child is physically disciplined. My son was not very big when he was in Middle School. At an after school program, a great big high school coach, picked him up and threw him up against some lockers. Guess what I did?

I called the police and filed an assault charge. I live in a very corrupt county, so it didn’t do me much good. CPS came to my house and questioned me to see if I had hit him and tried to blame it on the coach. They also intimidated the witnesses into thinking they would be punished if they told the truth. But the point is, if more people fight back, then maybe some reform can be made.


American Medical Association, (1985): “Infliction of pain or discomfort, however minor, is not a desirable method of communicating with children.”

Dr. Ralph Welsh, who has given psychological exams to over 2,000 delinquents has said: 

“…it is now apparent that the recidivist male delinquent who was never struck with a belt, board, extension cord, fist, or an equivalent is virtually nonexistent. Even after 10 years, the full impact of this discovery is still difficult to comprehend.”
“As the severity of corporal punishment in the delinquent’s developmental history increases, so does the probability that he will engage in a violent act.” 3
“I have yet to see a repeat male delinquent that wasn’t raised on a belt, board, cord, or fist.” 

Anon: “Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak.” 

Dr. Benjamin Spock: If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.

Comments by Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE) from their website at

“Spanking does for a child’s development what wife-beating does for a marriage.” 


“At this time in the United States, the only people who can smack someone on the buttocks as part of their paid professional duties are schoolteachers, prostitutes and performers in the pornography filming industry.”
Quintilian (circa 35 – 95 CE) from his “Institutes of Oratory.” This was written about the same time as the Gospel of Mark.

“I disapprove of flogging, although it is the regular custom… because in the first place it is a disgraceful form of punishment and fit only for slaves, and is in any case an insult, as you will realize if you imagine its infliction at a later age. Secondly if a boy is so insensible to instruction that reproof is useless, he will, like the worst type of slave, merely become hardened to blows… And though you may compel a child with blows, what are you to do with him when he is a young man no longer amenable to such threats and confronted with tasks of far greater difficulty? Moreover when children are beaten, pain or fear frequently have results of which it is not pleasant to speak and which are likely subsequently to be a source of shame, a shame which unnerves and depresses the mind and leads the child to shun and loathe the light….I will not linger on this subject; it is more than enough if I have made my meaning clear. I will content myself with saying that children are helpless and easily victimized, and that therefore no one should be given unlimited power over them.”

Discipline isn’t just punishing, forcing compliance or stamping out bad behavior. Rather, discipline has to do with teaching proper deportment, caring about others, controlling oneself and putting someone else’s wishes before one’s own when the occasion calls for it.

Lawrence Balter (20th century), U.S. psychologist and author. Who’s In Control? Ch. 1 (1989).

While criticism or fear of punishment may restrain us from doing wrong, it does not make us wish to do right. Disregarding this simple fact is the great error into which parents and educators fall when they rely on these negative means of correction. The only effective discipline is self-discipline, motivated by the inner desire to act meritoriously in order to do well in one’s own eyes, according to one’s own values, so that one may feel good about oneself may “have a good conscience.”

Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.


The Bible is often used as a means to justify corporal punishment of children. There are major flaws with this logic. First of all, the Old Testament is no longer binding on Christians, because Christ established a New Covenant to do away with the old. I have no idea what the Torah and the Quran say about corporal punishment of children, and have no desire to look it up tonight. I may at some other point.

The scripture that says “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”, could easily be interpreted as meaning that you should, not as a warning not to. Look it up and read it in context and see if you can see a different spin on it.

Religion is not supposed to be present in our public schools and institutions, so there does not seem to be any religious justification for physical punishment by teachers or police.

Bruno Bettelheim (20th century), Austrian-born child psychologist. A Good Enough Parent, ch. 10 (1987).


Personal Insight

The other day, I suddenly realized just how far back, I had been unable to express anger until it was overwhelming.  My husband and my kids probably have no idea why I am that way.  When you are writing your memoirs, consider writing down what makes you the way you are. Your kids may not love you for it, but they may understand you.
My Mom is a very volatile person. She hits the roof over nothing and everything. She is one of those people who has to be “handled”.  Out in public, she can embarrass me in no time flat.  She knows what is inappropriate, but doesn’t care.

My Dad, on the other hand is a very dignified, mannerly person.  You would never know by his tone of voice or facial expression that anything ruffled him.

I remember my Mom not allowing us to get angry, because when we did, it escalated and prolonged hers.  It was as if she was the only one in our home allowed any drama.

If I got sent to my room for something, usually being a smart ass, if I stomped of closed the door too hard, my Dad would make me go back and return to my room and re-close the door repeatedly until he felt I had walked quietly enough and until my door made no sound whatsoever when I closed it.  He was basically forcing me to show no emotion at all and he was whether purposefully or not, telling me that I had no right to have any feelings concerning how others treated me or what they decided for me.

If I had not been a VERY strong person, imagine what a weak pushover I would be as an adult. I however determined that I WOULD control my destiny and if emotion was a sign of weakness, then I would learn not to show it.  You can stand in my face and tell me to go to hell and I will smile at you and ask you what you will be packing to take on our trip together.

My brother came out with my Mom’s attitude. If he wants to scream, yell, curse and throw things, he will.  He feels entitled to his anger.  The thing is, he’s right.

I have a very interesting family dynamic here, don’t I?

I long to be able to scream and holler and then go on with things. I just can’t shake the need to keep anyone from knowing they made me sweat.



“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.”
— Lin Yutang

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” — Honore’ de Balzac (1799-1850)

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”
— Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

“Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall;
A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

“Mother’s arms are made of tenderness,
and sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein.”
— Victor Hugo

“To understand a mother’s love, bear your own children.”
— Chinese Proverb

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

” Mother is the name for God on the lips
and in the hearts of little children.”
— William Makepeace Thackeray

” What is home without a mother?”
— Alice Hawthorne

” Who is it that loves me and will love me forever with an affection which no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away? — It is you, my mother.”
— Thomas Carlyle

“When God thought of mother, He must have laughed with satisfaction, and framed it quickly—so rich, so deep, so divine, so full of soul, power, and beauty, was the conception.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

“I think my life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.”
— George Eliot

“Mothers reflect God’s loving presence on earth.”
— William R. Webb

“There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” –Washington Irving


“It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.”


I Like this quote I dislike this quote“The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best.”

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Now for my blog entry.

When I was growing up during the 70’s, womens lib was more or less a done deal. We were told that as females, we could do anything a man could do, and so were obligated to do so. I received a good education and was an honor role student all the way through school. My parents however, sent mixed signals. Our religion was very fundamental and while the educated part of my Father told me I could do anything I put my mind to and he expected me to go to college, He also as a Minister told me that he did not believe a mother should work outside the home. My own Mother had done so and I thought she did it at his request. I guess he regretted it.

When I was a young mother, one of my husbands friends married my friend. They both worked and it appeared to be necessary for them to make ends meet.
Jerrys friend tole me that I should be ashamed of myself for being lazy and sitting around on my backside and living off of Jerry. I don’t remember what my response was, but I never was very friendly with that couple after that. When we decided to have a child, I told Jerry that I did not believe in working and raising children at the same time unless it was necessary to pay the bills. I told him to think about it and then tell me what he had decided before I quit working. He agreed with my terms.Due to this, I did not believe I was living off of him. If I worked, he would have to pay someone else for childcare. Since I was the mother of our child, what other person would be better to be supported by his money? I also, did the brunt of the cooking, cleaning, book keeping, and a myriad of other jobs required to run a household. Bachelors usually have to pay someone else to do those things or puppy dog face their mother into doing it.I really do not believe that the average hoiuse wife and SAHM is payed even minimum wage and there have been studied that back that up.

I believe that being a mother is the most important job you can have and it should be your priority. My Mother had to work, or at least thought she had to, when I was small and and my brother and I were abused by our caregivers. I did not want to repeat that. I have taught my children empathy,and a love for learning. I know how to do many things that I taught myself to do, because I had the time to do it, and I can still learn many more things.In that sense, I have a luxury many working mothers do not have. I have also given my children a belief in God and a strong character. I gave them the ability to take care of themselves and the self confidence to do it. They know that I thought that they were more important than the newest clothing and shoe styles, the newest cars on the dealers lots and any amount of money. I taught them that those are not what is important in life.

I will not denegrate any mother who works outside the home. They have their reasons for doing so. I once had a man say that it was a sin for a woman to work outside the home. I asked him what she was supposed to do if her husband was sick or disabled. Hesaid that other church people were supposed to help her and her children. I was in just such a situation at that time and was receiving no help. I asked him if it ever occured to him that pioneer women who went to the fields with their husbands were working outside the home? And when their husbands went on hunting trips and they had the whole farm to run and to protect from Native Americans, they were doing mens work? He got really flustered. As I said working mothers have their reasons and I have mine. I may not make the kind of money other parents do, but I feel that I have lived a very fulfilled life thus far. As long as the kids are the priority, then whichever path you choose will be the right one. It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that womens liberation or equality is the right to choose what you want to do either way.

If you would like some more Mother quotes here is a good link quote garden


When I read this quote, it so very beutifully echoed what my intent as a parent has always been. Ask them, and they will tell you different. But I know in my heart what I wanted for them.

To believe in a child is to believe in the future. Through their
aspirations they will save the world. With their combined knowledge
the turbulent seas of hate and injustice will be calmed. They will
champion the causes of life’s underdogs, forging a society without
class discrimination. They will supply humanity with music and beauty
as it has never known. They will endure. Towards these ends I pledge
my life’s work. I will supply the children with tools and knowledge
to overcome the obstacles. I will pass on the wisdom of my years
and temper it with patience. I shall impact in each child the desire
to fulfill his or her dream. I shall teach.
– – – Henry James

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Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home.

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-rearing, they are unemployed.

I’m going to stop punishing my children by saying, “Never mind! I’ll do it myself.”

It goes without saying that you should never have more children than you have car windows.
– All from Erma Louise Bombeck, 1927 – 1996