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Religious Tolerance logo


Corporal punishment of children:

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 Education." 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 abandon 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:

bullet If corporal punishment advocates are correct, then the abandonment of spanking will significantly increase violence and criminal activity among the next generation of adults. Society will become more violent. More people will be victimized. We will have to build additional jails to hold all of the criminals.
bullet If corporal punishment opponents are correct, then the abandonment of spanking will greatly decrease youth rage and criminal activity among both teens and adults. Over the longer term, levels of clinical depression, clinical anxiety, alcohol and other drug addiction among adults will also decrease.

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 times."

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Topics discussed in this section:

bulletIntroduction to spanking: (We recommend reading these essays first)
bulletHistory of corporal punishment

bulletLegal aspects of spanking

bulletTypes of discipline that parents use on children. Future trends

bullet Other topics related to spanking children

bulletQuotations on spanking
bullet"Hot saucing" a traditional way to discipline children through pain
bulletPro-spanking advocates
bulletSpanking, as mentioned in the Bible

bullet What, exactly, is the "rod" mentioned in the Bible? Part 1   Part 2

bullet Is the Bible ambiguous about spanking?

bulletRecommendations by pro-spanking advocates

bulletRecommendations by Michael and Debi Pearl
bulletAnti-spanking advocates
bulletThe case against spanking; Anti-spanking references; UN convention

bulletOpen letter to President Clinton from agencies concerned with children

bulletUnited Methodist Church's resolutions on spanking

bulletAmerican Academy of Pediatrics' position on spanking

bulletHow parents can weaning themselves off of spanking their kids

bulletCorrelation between corporal punishment and both crime & rage

bullet"Spare the Rod:" an essay by Riane Eisler

bullet"Plain talk about spanking," an essay by Jordan Riak

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bullet Studies of the effects of spanking:

Note: It is important to realize that although the following studies appear to demonstrate a strong correlation between spanking in childhood and problems in adulthood, no cause-and-effect relationship has been conclusively proven.  
bullet Summaries
bullet Results of studies reported upon during:
bullet 1985 & 1986

bullet 1987 to 1995, including one remarkable comparison and a longitudinal study of major importance

bullet 1996 & 1997, including another study of major importance

bullet Correlations between childhood spanking & adult sexual behavior


bullet Print a form to ask that your child be exempted from corporal punishment at school
bullet Spanking/child abuse in Canada:
bullet Background

bullet Events: 1980 to 1999

bullet Events: 2000 to 2006

bullet Decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, 2004
bullet Events: 2007 to 2012

Events: 2013 to now

  • 2015: A proposal by the Canadian government to criminalize spanking/paddling children: Part 1  Part 2
bullet Recent developments (1998 to the present time).

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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).
bulletM.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.
bulletZ. Strassberg, et al., "Spanking in the home and children's subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers, " Dev Psychopathol 1994;6:445-61.
bulletJ. McCord, "Questioning the value of punishment," Soc Probl 1991;38:167-79.
bulletD. Baumrind, "A blanket injunction against disciplinary use of spanking is not warranted by the data," Pediatrics 1996;98(4 pt 2):828-31.
bulletColin Farrell maintains a "World Corporal Punishment Research Website" about corporal punishment in schools, prisons, etc. See:
bulletP.L. Poelstra, "Corporal Punishment," at: This site contains links to various studies that are critical of anti-spanking studies.
bulletIrvin Wolkoff, "Spanked child can become self-loathing adult," The Toronto Star, 1999-NOV-26, Page F4.
bulletLawrence M. Bezeau, "Bibliography of reported corporal punishment cases in Canada," at:
bulletRobert M. Wilson, "A study of attitudes towards corporal punishment as an education procedure from the earliest times to the present." at:
bulletJ.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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