National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment

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When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence.

– By Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking. Originally shared by Vivian Brault, founder of Directions, Inc.

Did You Know

Paddling in schools is still allowed in 19 U.S. states.

Most parents in the U.S. believe spanking is necessary for discipline.

In over 1,500 research studies, most found that physical punishment is related to negative outcomes for children.

More than a dozen problems are linked to physical

punishment such as child behavior and mental health problems, difficulties with parents, violence, and health problems later in life.

A significant risk factor for physical abuse is parental use of physical punishment.

An alternative approach to discipline is called "positive parenting" or "positive discipline".

To date, 62 countries have banned all physical punishment of children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for an end to physical punishment.

With appropriate information and resources, parents can eliminate the use of physical punishment.