Discipline & Being Non-Punitive

The term discipline, and how our society as a rule uses it, is about to drive me batty. Discipline, the way it’s used, means punishment. To me, discipline is a quality of inner self, of integrity.

Punishment is something that happens to someone.
It’s a quality. Something that has been fostered and developed. When a person has discipline they have the inner fortitude to make right choices, to do what needs to be done.   – Source –

The other night my daughter (just 4) was playing with pine cones in our family room. She had them flying through the air, one in each hand.
We were working on various projects in the room, and as usual, I was barefoot. So was she.

After playing for a few moments, one of the pine cones came crashing to the floor, spraying splintering pieces of wood in its wake. So, I spoke to my daughter in a command to not throw the pine cones onto the floor. I did not ask, did not explain, did not expound. I was busy and annoyed. She knew it.

…Not one of my better moments.

Three or so minutes later, another pine cone hit the floor and I initially snapped at her. This, however, not only demonstrates a complete lack of respect on my part, but it elicits a similarly disrespectful and rather dismissive response from my daughter. Thankfully, I caught myself mid sentence, stopped my mouth, took a deep breath and walked over to her and took her into my arms. We then had a conversation.

This time, I decided to remember how to be decent to her, remember to see the world through her eyes and mine, and remember that she is equally valued and equally considered in our home. In other words, instead of being controlling and speaking down to her (or what some might consider a proper authoritative tone), I spoke evenly and with respect.

I explained that I was upset that after I’d just asked her to not throw another pine cone on the floor, one hit dead center and left pieces everywhere. Then I corrected myself, and recalled that actually I had not asked anything but “told” her not to “throw pine cones”, when I should have said, “Please do not allow any more pine cones to hit the floor BECAUSE when they do, they split apart and send sharp pieces of wood flying all over the floor that one of us is then going to either step or sit on and end up with a pokey sticking out of our skin.” This she would have comprehended… This she would have heard. This, she would likely have granted. My demand and annoyance instead immediately caused her to shut off her willingness.

When I restated what would have been a better comment to have made to her initially, her defensiveness dropped and she made eye contact. I could see her shoulders raise, her chin relax (from being rather set just a moment before), and the stress reaction to fear of the big person (who was not behaving very well) disappear from her face.

A moment later, I set her down, knelt next to her, and asked (yes, asked) her to clean up the pieces. My words were, “Bugz, so that no one gets hurt with all these pieces on the floor, will you please pick up every single piece you can find and put them in the trash?”

She began, and, handing them to me (instead of the trash), we both cleaned up the floor together.

I could have thrown her into time out. I could have spanked her for what so many would consider deliberate defiance. I could have ridiculed her, demeaned her, squashed her for not doing what I wanted. I could have lorded over her, assumed my role as parent and thereby big person who is so much bigger that I can MAKE her do what I want, one way or another… Instead I chose to remember the value of not resorting to threat or condescension.

I chose to take a breath and pause. I chose to change my attitude and treat her with the same amount and sort of respect I would an adult who had my admiration. I communicated by explanation, honored my need by my own example (I got down on the floor and picked up the pieces with her), and reconnected by helping to renew and strengthen her sense of self, value, and ability.

Three days later, I have seen a pine cone on the floor (where it doesn’t belong), exactly once. I asked her to relocate it to where she’d like, but where it wouldn’t get stepped on and where we wouldn’t have to worry about the sharp pokey ends breaking off and getting left for our feet to find. She decided to grant my request. She picked it up, took it to the tree, placed it where she wished, with no fuss, no hesitation, and instead of dread or annoyance (having to do a chore), she exhibited interest and delight because she was in control of where it should go.

End result desired – achieved by the mama.
Education and empowerment – gained by the kiddo
.

In our house, my daughter does not comply out of fear of punishment. In fact, she doesn’t know what punishment is and compliance is reserved for safety and inescapable social situations. She chooses to grant requests, when she does, out of her own sense of purpose and reason. She knows she can choose to refuse our requests, and she knows we can choose to refuse hers. This works because, in our home (unlike so many I have seen), we do not choose to control her and do not fear being unable to retain control because control is not what makes our home function. In our home, we live together, support each other, and collaborate on life. All of us. We work together, we work independently, we share and cooperate, we value each other equally and we each know that it takes all of us, together. If today one of us is too tired, then we make up for it tomorrow. Is everything always even and fair? No. Does the Mama (or Papa) screw it all up sometimes? Yes. But humility, grace, and compassion fill in the gaps and keep things going.

Grace and compassion – not permissiveness. Our daughter knows when compliance is mandatory. In her 4 years here, she has demonstrated only a few times her reluctance when it’s clear to her that she “must”. At her young age, we have had to step in a few times and physically cause compliance to preserve her health, but as she’s grown, these instances have become fewer and fewer. In fact, at this point, about the only time I try to actually force compliance is when I am being impatient, demanding (as in no longer requesting her cooperation) or unwilling to see through her worldview. To date she has not once refused instant compliance when she hears threat of danger (or fear) in my voice (i.e., stop! – car coming!). It is rare that I must speak this way anyway, as she has been educated well enough and makes wise decisions appropriate for her age most of the time. But every once in while, a situation arises, and it is during these that the most compelling positive evidence for grace and compassion based parenting, instead of punitive and trained/controlled governing of little ones becomes so easily observed.

_________________________________________________________________What about you? What experiences have you had where you either caught yourself mid stream and changed your approach to a more respectful and considerate one, or where from the very beginning your way of existing with your little ones caused a successful outcome of an event that would result in punishment in a typical home? Share your experiences please, we can learn so much from each other.

I Had Always Just Assumed I’d Spank My Children – One Mom’s Journey to Seeing

This is, quite possibly, the most eloquently written composition on this subject (specifically the Biblical aspect of the subject) that I have ever read.

This woman has two subsequent related posts, of which I will address in separate posts here.  But start with this.. just read and sit with it for the time it chooses to leave you its essence.

____________________________________

Grace

January 8, 2011 by discipleshipmothering

My Letter to Focus on the Family

Hi,

I am a long time listener and supporter of Focus on the Family. From the time I was a teenager, I listened to and from school and college, collecting much wisdom for the path ahead of me. A strange thing for a teen to do, I guess. But, I truly love the Lord, and wanted His best for my future. I hold a high respect for Dr. James Dobson and his marriage advice. I’ve been very happily married for almost ten years.

However, when I had my first child, Dr.Dobson’s advice nearly broke my heart. I’d always assumed I’d spank, and followed his advice for my spirited 2 year old. I cannot express to you in words how wrong it felt. The spirit of God was convicting me, and this precious son, whom I’d nursed for 21 months, and had continued a very close, in-synch relationship with, even through the addition o a new baby, when he was 28 mos….become afraid and distrustful of me. Not only that, it wasn’t working to improve his behavior. He fit the bill for “strong-willed”, certainly. But, could he be beyond hope, since the very method tailored to his personality wasn’t working?

With much prayer, my husband and I began to research other discipline methods. I came across gentlechristianmothers.com in my search, and discovered some very eye-opening statements about Biblical discipline.

Out son is now 4 yrs old. We are complimented often, at church, by family and friends, and even by strangers, on how happy and well-behaved our children seem. Life is not perfect, and he’s not a perfect child. But, we are a much more peaceful, loving family since learning to discipline with the Grace of Jesus.

What I see lacking on your website is acknowledgement that these verses in Proverbs may not mean what we think they mean. You can do the research yourself and find that there are many reasons to doubt that these are commands to hit children. More than likely, they are wise principles for being a constant source of authority for our children. The OT has many things to say that are covered under grace. Another good example is the treatment of women caught in adultery. We all know how Jesus chose to react. This should be the ultimate example, among many in the NT, of how to apply grace.

I write this because the advice from Dr. Dobson about strong willed children is at worse, very dangerous advice for new parents. And, at the very least, it is impractical and unecessary. I say dangerous because it’s using God’s Word to convince parents they must hit their children. I believe there are FAR more Biblical principles we can apply to child discipline, besides a few commonly misunderstood proverbs, written by a king who ended his life in such disgrace against God, and was held with such irreverence by his own sons  (Solomon). Let’s instead apply the wisdom of Christ, Himself.  How did He disciple? How did He view children? What principles of love, forgiveness, reproof, and correction can we glean from the NT church?

I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind completely about spanking. It is so ingrained in our culture, most people don’t think twice about NOT doing it, as I once thought. However, I hope my letter will at least open the eyes of Focus on the Family and it’s wide-spread influence, to impact the world with Christ’s love.

My husband and I have experienced a total life change, and it has not been easy in the face of criticism. But, thus far, it has been one of the best decisions of our young life. It is my prayer that one day, Dr. Dobson will realize his mistake and change his heart on this subject.

Many Prayers,
(My Real Name)

I’ll keep you posted if I receive a reply.

 

Why Spank? Well, It Works. Embarrassment is a Powerful Tool

Yesterday I received a comment related to the Bare Bottom Spanking post that has me thinking beyond my initial response to the father that sent the comment.  I have copied in the conversation below, but want to add a few additional thoughts on this subject before letting it snooze for a while.
Concerning the subject of humiliation as it relates to development of the very young through to adulthood, I want to offer you a few morsels to chew on.
Here is an excellent site, and one that I encourage any of you who might struggle with some of the issues on either side of the wall to take a look at.  (Click the title link for source)

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones. In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

My interpretation of spanking a child is to force the will of the person who wields greater physical strength and a faster intellect than the child entrusted to their care.  To spank does not solve a problem, does not teach wisdom or deliver knowledge.  To spank stops an annoyance, teaches fear response, and closes the door on a willing spirit to learn (both of the parent and the child).  It serves to do nothing but give the adult some immediate satisfaction that they’ve done something to correct the issue at hand, but they have not.  Though it may seem as though this has been achieved, it is simply a facade.  When we use violence, physical or emotional, verbal or nonverbal, we instill our children with the need to develop response systems that provide them with some sort of self protection and survivability.  This is the complete opposite from teaching respect, appreciation, wonder, confidence, responsibility, and love.
Today I feel like I am banging my head against a wall because of how obvious it is to me that violence begets violence, regardless of the intensity level.  Yet, so many are completely unable to see this.  I think I might have an inkling of an idea what Magellan must have felt when trying to explain to the populous that the earth is indeed a sphere and no, we won’t fall of the edge if we keep going.
I’ll try to write more later tonight.
Take a look at this article, somewhat inserted here but you’ll need to visit the site.
(Source is Title Link)

Humiliation

No one likes being treated like dirt
You have been insulted, your ego is bruised, your pride is hurt, you have been show powerless and diminished in some way, and now you are hurt and mad as hell! You have just been humiliated, it is unfair, and you don’t like feeling foolish. Humiliation often results in violent retaliation and revenge.
Remember, at the end of the day, the only opinion of yourself that matters is your own.

Definitions:

  1. Feeling disrespected.
  2. A loss of stature or image.
  3. An image change reflecting a decrease in what others believe about your stature.
  4. Induced shame
  5. To reduce the pride or fail to recognize the dignity of another
  6. An event perceived to cause loss of honor and induce shame.
  7. Feeling powerless.
  8. Being unjustly forced into a degrading position.
  9. Ridicule, scorn, contempt or other treatment at the hands of others

Root: from Latin humilislow, lowly, from humusground. Literally, “reducing to dirt”.

Synonyms include losing face, being made to feel like a fool, feeling foolish, hurt, disgraced, indignity, put-down, debased, dejected, denigrated, dishonored, disrespected, dis’ed, defamed, humbled, scorned, slighted, slurred, shamed, mortified, rejected, being laughed at. While humility is considered a strength, humiliation is hurtful; the distinction pivots on autonomy.

Appreciation is the opposite of humiliation.

Humiliation involves an event that demonstrates unequal power in a relationship where you are in the inferior position and unjustly diminished. Often the painful experience is vividly remembered for a long time. Your vindictive passions are aroused and a humiliated fury may result. There are three involved parties: 1) the perpetrator exercising power, 2) the victim who is shown powerless and therefore humiliated, and 3) the witness or observers to the event.

Because of the powerlessness and lack of control that it exposes, humiliation may lead to anxiety.

is recognizing and accepting our own limitations based on an accurate and modest estimate of our importance and significance. The humble person recognizes he is one among the six billion interdependentpeople on this earth, earth is one planet circling the sun, and our sun is one of a billion stars in the presently known universe. Because of this broad and sound perspective on her significance, the truly humble person cannot be humiliated.

Humility reduces our need for self-justification and allows us to admit to and learn from our mistakes. Our ego stands down.

Humiliation and Shame

The essential distinction between humiliation and shame is this: you agree with shame and you disagree with humiliation. Humiliation is suffering an insult. If you judge the insult to be credible, then you feel shame. Others can insult and humiliate you, but you will only feel shame if your self-image is reduced; and that requires your own assessment and decision. A person who is insecure about their genuine stature is more prone to feeling shame as a result of an insult. This is because they give more credibility to what others think of them than to what they think of themselves. This can result in fragile self-esteem.

People believe they deserve their shame, they do not believe they deserve their humiliation. Humiliation is seen as unjust.

Forms of Humiliation

Humans have many ways to slight others and humiliate them. For example:

  • Overlooking someone, taking them for granted, ignoring them, giving them the silent treatment, treating them as invisible, or making them wait unnecessarily for you,
  • Rejecting someone, holding them distant, abandoned, or isolated,
  • Withholding acknowledgement, denying recognition, manipulating recognition,
  • Domination, control, manipulation, abandonment,
  • Threats or abuse including: verbal (e.g. name calling), physical, psychological, or sexual,
  • Assault, attack, or injury
  • Having safety or security reduced by intimidation or threat,
  • Dismissing, discounting, or silencing your story,
  • Losing basic personal freedoms such a mobility, access, or autonomy; being controlled, dominated, intruded on, exploited, or manipulated,
The list goes on.  See the article here -> S O U R C E

(from) Mark
August 5, 2010 7:01 pm

As a child who was spanked and later as a parent who has chosen to spank, I see nothing sexual about spanking. What made spanking effective as a discipline tool for me as a child is its dramatic nature. Grounding may ultimately hurt many children worse. However, telling me I was going to be grounded carried nowhere near the emotional connotation for me as hearing that I was going to get a spanking. When I heard that I would be spanked, my throat would get tight and I would feel genuine fear.

I have tried to resort to other punishments for my own children besides spanking for several reasons. First, any punishment that is used too much becomes ineffective. Second, I would prefer to discipline without using the kind of physical force necessary when you spank. Three, I would prefer to give out a punishment that doesn’t leave my children crying.

Even so, I have found a couple of situations as a parent that I felt really called for a spanking. One involved a situation when my eight year old son insisted on playing with firecrackers and a friend when he had been told not to do so. Another involved a situation with the same son a couple of years later where he took a spray paint can and with the help of two friends sprayed some bad words on the wall of a house that was for sale. His misconduct here involved lying about where he was and taking a spray paint can from an open garage of a neighbor. Other discipline was used as well. However, I felt nothing could have conveyed my message as effectively as an over-the-knee spanking of his butt.

I disagree with bare butt spanking. Its unnecessary. I have taken down their pants though and spanked them in their underwear. It preserves their modesty and still causes enough embarrassment that they think long and hard about what they’ve done.

I applaud this father for his choice to speak, to describe, and to add his insight.  And I want to encourage further conversation on the subject matter from all of you.
Here is my very long winded reply  –

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your remarks and insight. It is encouraging to hear the voice of a father who is actively parenting his children. I want to take the opportunity to reply to your thread because I think it raises a couple of interesting and thought provoking concepts.

First, I’d like to address your concluding remarks on the effectiveness of embarrassment as punishment, and the long and far reaching effects it has on children, and adults. I’m going to site a few articles and tie together a couple thoughts on the subject; I welcome responses.

Please review the following posts/articles:

Corporal Punishment, Psychological Effects

Obtaining Obedience at What Cost

The Long Fingers that Dig Deep

________________________________
“Children should not be the scapegoats of adults’ painful experiences. The claim that mild punishments (slaps or smacks) have no detrimental effects is still widespread because we got this message very early from our parents who had taken it over from their own parents. This conviction helped the child to minimize his suffering and to endure it. Unfortunately, the main damage it causes is precisely our numbness as well as the lack of sensitivity for our children’s pain. The result of the broad dissemination of this damage is that each successive generation is subjected to the tragic effects of seemingly harmless “correction”. Many parents still think: What didn’t hurt me can’t hurt my child. They don’t realize that their conclusion is wrong because they never challenged their assumption.” S O U R C E

__________________________________
Next, I’d like to draw a connection for some of you that perhaps you’ve not yet considered. The act of punishing our children’s deeds by use of spanking, grounding, or time out is something that doesn’t make sense to me because the consequence has nothing to do with the offense. Let me paint a picture for you that addresses this concept from one angle.

Our judicial system is full of people who have done something that the community views as wrong. They’re stuck in a cell, and our taxes basically keep them out of our way because of what they have done. Most of them will never have to confront the victim of their wrong doing, nor will they be expected to make reparation. And if reparation is ordered it is very unlikely it will have any direct correlation to the actual crime they committed, and even less chance that the offender will be expected to make any personal reparation to their victim. This lack of expectation of one to take personal responsibility has a lot to do with a given individual’s propensity to continue to commit crimes throughout his or her life.

There is a movement among some judicial systems to pave a path of justice and reparation, instead of simply trapping the offender. In Colorado, there is a group called Restorative Justice and their goal is to cause offenders to take personal responsibility, make personal reparation, and ultimately reintegrate into the community a whole person who is then capable of not continuing in their ways of difficulty because they wholly understand what harm it does. In the few cases where the individual is unable to rehabilitate and reintegrate satisfactorily, the typical judicial recourses are employed and basically, the system gives up on them.

My contention is that spanking, grounding, and other forms of punishment (this is not discipline, these are punishments) are ineffective in the long run because they are in essence no better than sticking the offender in a box and saying, “You did something bad, now sit here and think about it until the judge thinks you’ve thought long enough.” And how will that judge know? Recommendations from those who control this individual’s every move. They see how the individual responds and chooses to behave in this controlled environment with instant psychological and sometimes physical consequences that sometimes fit their actions. Further, the judge asks the person what he’s been thinking about while stuck in this box and told to think, which if he had done in the first place, he wouldn’t have been stuck in the box in the first place… so if he’d been able to figure things out properly on his own then, or after his incarceration, we wouldn’t have repeat offenders.

This, alas, is not how it works most of the time. In my opinion, we treat offenders much in the same way parents who use certain forms of punishment do. Natural consequences don’t apply, authority derived and determined punishments are instead delivered. And the only connection the offender is allowed to conclude is the authority figure decided I did something wrong, so they’re going to punish me in a way that satisfies them, but doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whatever I did, oh and it will humiliate me, which is the only thing I will remember (unless there is physical pain), but chances are I’ll forget what that humiliation was really for… just that on that day, I lost another piece of me and my self-confidence.

_________________________
That said, I want to just throw out a couple of alternative ideas regarding the two incidents you described where you felt it appropriate to spank your son:

For the offense of playing with fireworks after having been warned against it, AND after (your son) having been informed of the reasons for the warning (i.e., dangers to self, to others, to property – not just because mom/dad said so), I submit the child be taken for a session of volunteering at the Burn Unit at Children’s hospital. Such an event will offer the offending child a very real world and tangible experience to call upon when decided whether to involve himself with the play of fireworks in the future. And if you can get the other child’s parents to agree, have them both go at least twice. (Note: Discussing the situation with the adult coordinators in advance of arriving to volunteer, and in the absence of your child, will allow you to censor appropriately for your child’s age and sensabilities.)

This sort of experience gives the kids the chance to make the very real connection what fire and like items can do to a human child, and they won’t forget what they learn. They will have the opportunity to turn the experience into good for the community as well. Instead of humiliation they will gain wisdom and a sense of pride for their contribution and new found knowledge. This is something useful for your future and theirs, and in ways that may not be immediately obvious.

Responding with this sort of discpline allows you, the parent, to gain the same end result you’re after – the kids stop being careless with really dangerous stuff. They, the children, grow in maturity, wisdom, compassion, and self control, instead of learning how to play the game better and just not get caught the next time.

It is then the continued responsibility of the parent to enforce the experience by discussing any concerns or thoughts the child might have, perhaps facilitating a friendship between your child and one that has suffered a burn (if there is a need for an ongoing reminder of real world consequences).

I realize this sounds like a ton of work and time commitment for the parent, and how much easier would it be to get your way by spanking once, and assuming the humiliation will sit long enough that they’ll not commit the same offense ever again. But you and I both know that the moment your son is old enough to stare that humiliation in the face and turn it back on you in rebellion, and the moment he’s old enough to figure out how to control his time and resources (I wager, about 14 years of age), he will again do exactly what you have insisted he not. He will do it because of his curiosity that has been intensified by it being put off limits, and because he is strong enough to reject the humiliation you put on him. He may also be reluctant every year the country uses fireworks as a celebration, and may not understand why he has these feelings, but you will know that they stem from the humiliation that his mind unconsciously attaches to the objects.

Alternately, he will never challenge you and will follow in blind obedience, and our world will have another drone.

Forgive me for my bluntness, but if you’ve read any of my posts, you’re probably well aware of it already.

Concerning the spray paint incident… My gut reaction is that your son is acting in a pattern and if it were me, I’d be trying very hard to figure out what was behind/beneath his actions (say, perhaps any/all of the wrong doings over the last 5 years) and address the source before I did anything else (literally, before dinner, before tomorrow, whatever). However, as a response to the incident, instead of spanking him and telling him that I, the authority figure, disapproved of his choices, I’d again allow real world consequences to prevail, and real world lessons to be learned.

In the event that my child made the decision to be so disrespectful of another’s property, I would begin by asking him just that, “Why do you think it is you don’t have more respect for these people, and the things they have that matter to them?” Then, I would listen to his response. Very intently. I would continue to ask him questions that encouraged his thoughts and feelings, and at each response I would not respond with my own, but acknowledge his words and remember well what he is communicating (and what isn’t successfully being transmitted, but is there nonetheless).

Then, I would explain to my child that he must make reparation for the damage he chose to cause. Further, I would plainly inform my child, in the presence of the other child, that they have both made decisions that are now going to prevent them from spending unsupervised time together for the forseeable future. Then, I would inform him that his reparation would incude him either cleaning the marks off the house himself, or if that was not possible, he would join the professional and do whatever the professional would have him do to repair the damage. If new siding or something similar were necessary, he would offer whatever money he had to pay for it. He and I would take our time to help the home owner obtain whatever supplies they might need, and do any of the work they’d allow us to do to repair (us, yes us, meaning my offending child and me, the parent ultimately responsible). If my son’s funds were insufficient and mine had to be tapped, my son would be in my debt and he would commence working whatever was necessary to gain the real money necessary to repay me.

My son would be as present as the owners would allow, and if they wouldn’t allow it, he’d be at the next Habitat for Humanity opportunity, or something similar, doing the same physical work related to building/caring for a house. AND it would be his hands that would hurt because of a splinter, having to grip a hammer for a long time, or whatever other discomfort just comes along with that sort of work (hot sun, standing for a long time, carrying heavy stuff back and forth, tending to the needs of the grown ups who can do what he cannot, etc).

Additionally, for the second part of his offense, his room would be left open for strangers to come visit during a garage sale (this would be a surprise to him). If there were many valuable items that would cost me, I would prearrange a visit from some neighbors that he didn’t know, and ask them to take what they wish from a selection of items that will get the point across to him, but not hurt my pocket. And no, I would not then replace the items out of my own pocket.

Finally, I would address what was behind his choice of words. What satisfaction did he gain from the selection of words he chose? Does he perhaps harbor some resentment toward these people?? Has he made some sort of judgement of them and felt the need to passively tell them? Were these words specifically “taboo” according to his parents, and therefore if he managed to not get caught, would the resulting level of satisfaction and passive statement made be worth the risk?

When our children act out, whatever their age, we must take a moment to look inward. Chances are, there is something there we could improve, change, or cease that would make a difference in our children. However, the younger they are when we take this responsibility and awareness upon ourselves, the better chance for success and well developed children in their older years.

– I was three years old when my mother first spanked me, and I lost a considerable amount of respect for her intelligence and compassion that day. I had lied about taking some stickers off the refrigerator, and as a result I was forced to endure the humiliation of being bent over her knee. I complied, I complained, and I learned that next time either lie better or don’t get caught. Did I mention I was three?

The kicker was that I didn’t know ahead of taking the stickers that it would matter, but when my mom confronted me I sensed that she thought what I had done was wrong, so I responded because I didn’t want to feel her disapproval. Even though I hadn’t intentionally disobeyed an order or expectation, I knew I would suffer her disapproval anyway if I fessed up. So, my tiny 3 years of experience prevailed and in my effort to not have her disapprove of something I had done with no malicious or rebellious intent, I figured my best option was to pretend I didn’t know what she was talking about thereby preventing her disapproval of ME specifically. I hoped that she would just be sad that the stickers weren’t there anymore and leave it at that… and maybe give me a chance to return them since it had become apparent it mattered to her.

No such luck. She cornered me, I lied, she countered, I gave in, she spanked me, I was humiliated, she tried to reconcile, I rejected her, she left me alone, I drew my own conclusions and you know what, I don’t give a hoot about stickers anymore – they annoy me. Now, my two year old loves them and sticks them everywhere! My mother uses them as a reward and gift for her grand daughter. I think it’s great because it’s an activity they mutually enjoy and share untarnished between the two of them. But you will never find a single sticker or even a magnet that resembles one on my fridge, as it would serve as a reminder of a dark and brooding feeling inside of me that turned to resentment toward my mother. A small amount of resentment, perhaps, but there just the same.

That was the one and only time my mother ever spanked me. Maybe she was wiser than I thought she was.


Parenting Disciplin (Source of below quote ->)

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists the definition of discipline as:

1. punishment

2. obsolete: instruction

3. a field of study

4. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

Why is punishment listed as the first definition and the Latin root meaningto teach has become obsolete?

I suspect that this description perfectly mirrors our current parenting paradigm in which generation after generation has passed down parenting discipline advice and techniques based on cycles of punishments and rewards, dangling carrots and taking away privileges and love in an attempt to modify behavior. This philosophy of discipline has not taken us very far.

You Get Obedience, What Does Your Kid Get?

Every Smack is a Humiliation – A Manifesto

by Alice Miller

Many researchers have already proved that corporal punishment on children may indeed produce obedience in the short term but will have serious negative consequences on their character and behavior. Only if there was at least one single person who loved and understood the child, the disastrous development toward later crimes and illnesses could be prevented. During their whole childhood, dictators like Hitler, Stalin or Mao never came across such a helping witness. They learned very early to glorify cruelty and hypocrisy and to justify them while committing crimes on millions of people. Millions of others, because also exposed to physical maltreatment in childhood, helped them to do so without the slightest remorse.

Children should not be the scapegoats of adults’ painful experiences. The claim that mild punishments (slaps or smacks) have no detrimental effects is still widespread because we got this message very early from our parents who had taken it over from their own parents. This conviction helped the child to minimize his suffering and to endure it. Unfortunately, the main damage it causes is precisely our numbness as well as the lack of sensitivity for our children’s pain. The result of the broad dissemination of this damage is that each successive generation is subjected to the tragic effects of seemingly harmless “correction”. Many parents still think: What didn’t hurt me can’t hurt my child. They don’t realize that their conclusion is wrong because they never challenged their assumption.

When in Sweden legislation laws prohibiting corporal punishment were launched in 1978, 70% of the citizens asked for their opinion were against it. In 1997, the figure had dropped to 10%. These statistics show that the mentality of the Swedish population has radically changed in the course of a mere 20 years. A destructive tradition of millennia has been done away with thanks to this legislation.

It is imperative to launch legislation prohibiting corporal punishment all over the world. It does not set out to incriminate anyone but is designed to have a protective and informative function for parents. Sanctions could simply take the form of the obligation for parents to internalize information on the consequences of corporal punishment available today. Information on the “well-meant smack” should therefore be broadcasted to all, since unconscious education to violence takes its roots very early and inflicts disastrous imprints. The vital interests of society as a whole are at stake.


(German translation)
(French translation)

See also:
“Punishment Does Not Work”


Copyright © Alice Miller, 1998

The Effect Striking Our Children Has on Their Minds

Spanking Decreases Intelligence?

by Danelle Frisbie ©2009

The topic of spanking is not one I have thought much about – after all, most of my research surrounds birth and babies, and who (heaven forbid!) spanks a baby?! But new research suggests there are parents out there who are in the habit of spanking their 2-year-olds — and it may very well be impacting these little ones in detrimental neurological ways.
It makes sense – we know through ample research that the natural parenting techniques as old as humanity itself – such as babywearingand breastfeeding – dramatically increase neuro development and functioning, resulting in higher IQ, among other beneficial things. So it is not too shocking that the antithesis of peaceful parenting — forthright aggression on babies and children — may have just the opposite impact on their rapidly developing brains.

While completing graduate work in clinical psychology, I regularly administered personality inventories and IQ tests on ‘troubled’ children, and was then required to make recommendations per their treatment. Rarely was I afforded the opportunity to look into their home life — or examine more closely how these children were treated by family members or raised by their parent(s). I was required to ‘treat’ the problem, while never fully getting to the root of the cause.

The latest research from the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of New Hampshire claims a discovery has been made into one (small?) component of mental health and human intelligence. The results are intriguing. Murray Straus, who led the last two studies, says that spanking actually decreases IQ, and to a significant degree. Yes, you read that right: Spanking your child impacts intelligence (at least that which we can measure using intelligence tests and methodological quotients).

Straus led two recent studies – one conducted on a national level in the United States, and one on an international level. Parents of 1,500 young American children participating in an IQ research project were asked how often they spanked their children. Responses were compared with IQ results.

Results showed that children (age 2-4) who were not spanked at all had IQs that were, on average, 5 points higher, (and stayed higher for the next 4 years over the course of the study), than children who were spanked. Children to the age of 10 were included in the study and the same trend was found for older children as well. The impact of spanking on IQ, however, was most pronounced in the younger children. I suspect this may be in part because the brain is most rapidly developing (and most significantly impacted) until the age of about 5 years old when it is 98% complete.

[Side note: This is also likely the reason that natural, child-led weaning occurs around the same time – around the age of 5 – in the majority of the world and throughout human history, when breastfeeding-phobic social pressures do not cut it short. The developing brain is supplied with just the right concoction of building blocks via mother’s milk the entire time it is in rapid formation mode.]

Straus’ results are being published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma. In addition, Straus and colleagues are presenting the findings of their second (international) study on spanking and intelligence at a San Diego based conference on abuse and trauma this week.

In the international study, Straus interviewed university students in an examination of corporal punishment and IQ. After conducting research across 32 countries around the world, results showed a lower national IQ in countries where corporal punishment is common.

In the U.S. study various factors (such as parental education level and economic status) were adjusted for. The negative correlation between spanking and IQ held true (the less spanking, the higher the IQ; the more spanking, the lower the IQ). In the international study, parent’s education level and economic status were more difficult to adjust for.

Straus is a long time supporter of peaceful parenting and using multiple proactive strategies for discipline that do not include aggression or violence against babies and children. He has researched extensively on subjects such as aggression, violence, rape, and abuse within families.

These latest findings echo what we have seen in other studies: Peaceful Parenting (or Attachment Parenting) leads to lower stress hormones (such as cortisol) in babies and children, greater trust (in parents/each other/the world), secure attachment, and more complex neurological development and brain activity, among other things.

In the end, it may just be true that babies and children were born to be loved and tenderly, gently cared for – not physically acted upon in any form.

If you would like a pdf copy of these latest studies, message me and I will be happy to pass them along to you.

A Biblical Perspective, Well Spoken

I came upon this blog today and want to quote a few of her words here, as well as encourage you to visit her entire post, and the continued posting of the same subject.

I believe this Mommy has an exceptional ability to discern and communicate regarding the subject of Bible based arguments for spanking/striking/physically punishing children.  She has a much more eloquent ability to address this side of the issue than I do and I hope you’ll take a moment to review her thoughts.

Is Spanking Biblical? Part 1: Proverbs

Let me begin by saying that each and every one of us parents before the Lord. Read what I say with open ears and a grain of salt, bring it before God, study the Bible for yourself. In this post, I will discuss what my husband and I have learned through our study of the Bible. In later posts, I will discuss other reasons why my husband and I have decided never to use spanking as a tool.

Proverbs 23:1-2 reads: “When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you, And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite.” I would ask you to ask a few questions about these verses:

  1. Is this verse meant to be taken literally? Or are we supposed to gain a tidbit of inferred wisdom from reading it?
  2. Is this how we as Christians are told to deal with sin in our own lives? Are we to hold a knife to our throats, literally or figuratively, when confronted with temptation?  .. . .. .. …

… Let me get a little more technical. The passages in Proverbs that Christians hold to as advocating spanking (Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 23:13,14), are not talking about a young child, but a young man!! The Hebrews used specific words when referring to the different ages of children. I am going to quote from a book by Samuel Martin, who has a BA degree with a special focus on Middle Eastern studies, and who has worked closely with two Hebrew professors in Israel on an excavation trip and a survey trip. That is to say, he has studied Hebrew culture and language extensively.

Here, I would say that hitting a teenager isn’t any better advised than hitting a child, but the point is that if you’ve done your job guiding and building up the child from birth, as a last resort to keeping them from being stoned for their insolence as a teenager or young adult, you could try beating them with a large stick first.  Then, after their bruises heal, if they’re still hell bent on doing whatever it is that the community is against, then it’s the community’s problem. And if they end up stoned to death, I guess that’s that.

So what has been my husband’s and my conclusion? Proverbs was written in the Old Testament. That means that its writer was writing as one under the law, and we need to be careful to read Proverbs with that focus in mind. If you are going to follow the Proverbs explicitly as a believer, you had better hold a knife to your throat, or at least threaten yourself, when you are eating with a ruler! Furthermore, if you are going to follow the book of Proverbs as though it is a book of commands for believers, you had better also follow the other laws in the Old Testament. Let me quote one here for you. Deuteronomy 21:18,19;21a: “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown…Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death…”. When I read this, I wonder if that is perhaps what Solomon meant when he said that if you beat your son with a rod, you will save his soul from Sheol (or death). Perhaps he had in mind a rebellious teenage son (his sons certainly were!), and he was thinking of beating his rebellious sons to keep them from being stoned to death!!      Source

SOURCE
The Shebet is not a small instrument. A shepherd’s staff was a thick, long rod. If you were to literally beat your child with this, on the back (as this is what is literally indicated in the Proverbs), you would likely kill him/her. Recently, a little girl was killed because here parents spanked her with a small switch over and over again. Her internal organs failed, and she died. These were supposed loving, Bible-believing parents! I will post more on this story later. If a small switch can kill a child, imagine what a literal rod could do!!

Exodus 21:20 warns about the use of the rod: “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.This verse is speaking about an adult being smitten with a rod, not a child. And an adult smitten with a literal rod could die!

One more thing I would like to address: Proverbs is a book of Hebrew poetry. This is an important contextual fact to look at when you are interpreting those pesky “rod” verses. If you look at Proverbs as poetry, you will see that the “rod,” or the “shebet,” is a symbol of authority. When the Hebrews read the term “shebet,” they would have had in mind the leader of a tribe, a shepherd’s rod (which, incidentally, was never used to beat the sheep. Sheep are very timid creatures, and will not trust a master who raises his hand against them), a king’s sceptre, or the shaft of a spear. “Shebet” would have meant authority to them.In the New Testament, believing parents are encouraged to nurture, admonish, train, correct their children: clearly, they are to be in authority over them, so this is a New Testament principle as well.

Beyond Spanking, Beyond Training: A Look At Our Littlest Minds

Something that has hit me like a wrecking ball in all this research I’ve conducted in the last few weeks is an awareness of how what I do, EVERYTHING I DO, as far as my child is involved, literally molds and shapes her very existence. Mentally, physically, psychologically, emotionally.. every single aspect of her being is vulnerable to outside experiences, and will be throughout her entire life, but never more so than these early years when her brain is actually physically still developing the foundation it will function from until her final breath.

For example, previously, when my husband would depart for the office and my daughter would be upset and ask for him to come back, I would tell her she was ok, Mama was with her, and that Papa would return shortly.

One day, while saying these very words, I actually focused on her face, and her body’s response to what I was saying.  She was angry.  With me!  She knew Papa would eventually return, but she was NOT ok!  She was upset.  She was sad, and she was experiencing the anxiety and discomfort of having her Papa leave her presence.  She did not need me to point out the obvious, nor did she need me to invalidate her feelings by trying to reverse or counter them.  She needed my empathy and comforting.

Now, when my little one expresses a feeling or emotional response to something, I will ask her for more details and talk to her about it as if I were also a two year old that is not capable of understanding what an adult does.  I will hold her, tell her I miss her Papa (or whatever) too, and ask her what I can do to help how she feels.  Notice here, I do not ask her how I can help her feel better, because it’s likely she doesn’t need to feel better, but needs to feel the impact of the emotion that she is experiencing, and work through it as her mind dictates.

This goes back to experiencing life through the eyes of the child. Now, I have even more reason to do so, not only to prevent my little one from feeling dis-valued or simply “humored”, but now I am aware of what chemicals are released upon stress (especially in forming brains) and how these chemicals affect the mind and its development.  This is a HUGE responsibility, if you ask me.  We’re not only talking about this person’s childhood, nor just her future as a functioning adult, but we’re talking about her in her entirety.  ALL that she is.. I have the responsibility to guarantee that nothing I do to or with, or around her, is going to cause her mind to be affected negatively or to force it to function in a diminished capacity.

Do you feel the impact and weight of that?  I’m still on the floor… it’s been about 10 days.

When I shout because I loose my temper, my daughter’s brain responds and floods certain areas with certain chemicals, and after time, if this keeps happening, these areas of the brain will not develop as they should. (If you want the science behind this, ask me.)

When my husband and I argue – same principle, only even worse, because her logic places her in-between as a peacemaker.

I cannot fathom intentionally subjecting my child to any form of trauma.

Let’s define trauma –  Take a look at the dictionary’s definition, and read this article

–noun,plural
Pathology.
a.  a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.
b.  the condition produced by this; traumatism.
Psychiatry.
a.an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
b. the psychological injury so caused.
c. An event or situation that causes great distress and disruption.

______________________________________

Below is an excerpt from an article that discusses, in relatively simple English, what happens when children are experienced to situations they perceive as threatening.

Many of the articles and stories presented on the NGJ website (examples to follow, but just glance at the topics on the right and you’ll find plenty) are very descriptive and explain how their method causes the child to experience fear, survival responses, and dread.  They also discuss what to do when your child attempts to evade you coming after him to spank him – track him down and do it harder – they will learn to not try to escape.  If logic were being used instead of terror and power tactics, though the child might not like the natural consequences to their actions, they’re not going to have the same responses as they might to the knowledge that they’re about to be struck, and humiliated, and that they have no choice but to submit because if they don’t, they know their “punishment” will just become that much worse.

The Neurobiological Responses to Threat

When a child is threatened, various neurophysiological and neuroendocrine responses are initiated. If they persist, there will be ‘use-dependent’ alterations in the key neural systems involved in the stress response. These include the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In animal models, chronic activation of the HPA system in response to stress has negative consequences. Chronic activation may “wear out” parts of the body including the hippocampus, a key area involved in memory, cognition and arousal. This may be occurring in traumatized children as well. Dr. Martin Teicher and colleagues have demonstrated hippocampal/limbic abnormalities in a sample of abused children.

Another set of neural systems that become sensitized by repetitive stressful experiences are the catecholamine systems including the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems. These key neurochemical systems become altered following traumatic stress. The result is a cascade of associated changes in attention, impulse control, sleep, fine motor control and other functions mediated by the catecholamines. As these catecholamines and their target regions (e.g., amygdaloid nuclei) also mediate a variety of other emotional, cognitive and motor functions, sensitization of these systems by repetitive re-experiencing of the trauma leads to dysregulation in many functions. A traumatized child may, therefore, exhibit motor hyperactivity, anxiety, behavioral impulsivity, sleep problems, tachycardia and hypertension. In preliminary studies by our group, we have seen altered cardiovascular regulation (e.g., increased resting heartrate) suggesting altered autonomic regulation at the level of the brainstem. In other studies, clonidine, an alpha2 adrenergic receptor partial agonist has been demonstrated to be an effective pharmacotherapeutic agent, presumably by altering the sensitivity of the noradrenergic systems. Studies by Dr. Michael DeBellis and colleagues have demonstrated other catecholamine and neuroendocrine alterations in a sample of sexually abused girls. These indirect studies all support the hypotheses of a use-dependent alteration in the brainstem catecholamine systems following childhood trauma.

Implications of Trauma-related Alterations in Brain Development

All experiences change the brain – yet not all experiences have equal ‘impact’ on the brain. Because the brain is organizing at such an explosive rate in the first years of life, experiences during this period have more potential to influence the brain – in positive and negative ways. Traumatic experiences and therapeutic experiences impact the same brain and are limited by the same principles of neurophysiology. Traumatic events impact the multiple areas of the brain that respond to the threat. Use-dependent changes in these areas create altered neural systems that influence future functioning. In order to heal (i.e., alter or modify trauma), therapeutic interventions must activate those portions of the brain that have been altered by the trauma. Understanding the persistence of fear-related emotional, behavioral, cognitive and physiological patterns can lead to focused therapeutic experiences that modify those parts of the brain impacted by trauma.

Our evolving understanding of neurodevelopment suggests directions for assessment, intervention and policy. Primary among these is a clear rationale for early identification and aggressive, pro-active interventions that will improve our ability to help traumatized and neglected children. The earlier we intervene, the more likely we will be to preserve and express a child’s potential.


Spank – injure by striking

…that should leave the child in a “wounded, submissive whimper” and “without breath to complain.”

This to teach the child who’s in control and not to be questioned. The Pearls recommend keeping a plumbing line in every room and even one around the neck to remind the child of that message.

Please take a moment to review the dictionary and thesaurus as they define and discuss the word spank (verb).  Note the antonyms as well.  (The complete listing is found at the end of this post.)

Main Entry: punish
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: penalize for wrongdoing
Synonyms: abuse, attend to, batter, beat, beat up, blacklist, castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, crack down on, cuff, debar, defrock, discipline, dismiss, do in, execute, exile, expel, fine, flog, give a going over, give the works, harm, hurt, immure, incarcerate, injure, knock about, lash, lecture, maltreat, misuse, oppress, paddle, rap knuckles, reprove, rough up, scourge, sentence, slap wrist, spank, switch, teach a lesson, throw the book at, train, whip
Antonyms: award, exonerate, let go, praise, protect, reward

Mike’s Response (to the Schatz case)

We do not teach “corporal punishment” nor “hitting” children. We teach parents how to train their children, which sometimes requires the limited and controlled application of a spanking instrument to hold the child’s attention on admonition. Over 1,000,000 parents have applied these Biblical principles with joyful results.

The courts have never charged NGJ Ministries with teaching abuse; quite the contrary. In a former case where a woman owned one copy of To Train Up A Child, the prosecuting attorney used that very book as testimony against her out of control methods. Likewise Ramsey, the prosecutor in the Schatz case, is quick to point out that No Greater Joy does not advocate spanking to the point of serious injury.

If indeed these parents were abusive, and that has not yet been proven by the courts, it is regretful that our teachings were not able to turn them from their predisposition to abusive habits. Those of us who deal with substance abuse, psychological impairment, and family issues, try to make positive changes in every person, but sometimes our best efforts are too little or too late. But for the sake of our precious children, we must double our efforts and move forward.

Michael Pearl, CEO
No Greater Joy Ministries, Inc

Mr. Pearl, you are incorrigible. And you are digging your own grave, and those that follow you.

Jonestown, anyone?

Main Entry: incorrigible
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: bad, hopeless
Synonyms: abandoned, beastly, hardened, incurable, intractable, inveterate, irredeemable, irreparable, loser, recidivous, uncorrectable, unreformed, useless, wicked
Antonyms: good, manageable, nice, obedient, reformable

Main Entry: abandoned
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: free from moral restraint; uninhibited
Synonyms: corrupt, depraved, dissolute, immoral, incontinent, incorrigible, licentious, profligate, shameless, sinful, uncontrolled, unprincipled, unrestrained, wanton, wicked, wild
Antonyms: chaste, innocent, moral, pure, restrained, virtuous

Main Entry: fanatical
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: overenthusiastic
Synonyms: biased, bigoted, bugged, burning*, contumacious, credulous, devoted, dogmatic, domineering, enthusiastic, erratic, extreme, fervent, feverish, fiery, frenzied, headstrong, high on, immoderate, impassioned, impulsive, incorrigible, infatuated, mad, monomaniacal, narrow-minded, nuts for, obsessed, obsessive, obstinate, opinionated, partial, partisan, passionate, possessed, prejudiced, rabid, radical, raving, single-minded, stubborn, turned on, unruly, violent, visionary, wild, willful, zealous
Antonyms: disinterested, dispassionate, impartial, unenthusiastic

spank

–verb (used with object)

1.

to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper, etc., esp. on the buttocks, as in punishment.
–noun

2.

a blow given in spanking; a smart or resounding slap.

Origin:
1720–30; imit.

spank

–verb (used without object)

to move rapidly, smartly, or briskly.

Origin:
1800–10; back formation from spanking
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
Cite This Source

Link To spank

Word Origin & History

spank

1727, possibly imitative of the sound of spanking. The noun is from 1785.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

// // spank

spank pronunciation (spāngk)  
v.   spanked, spank·ing, spanks

v.   tr.
To slap on the buttocks with a flat object or with the open hand, as for punishment.
v.   intr.
To move briskly or spiritedly.
n.  A slap on the buttocks.

spank

– 10 of 19 thesaurus results

Main Entry: spank
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: slap, usually on bottom
Synonyms: belt, blip, box, buffet, cane, chastise, clobber, clout, cuff, flax, flog, hide, larrup, lash, lather, leather, lick, paddle, punch, punish, put over one’s knee, smack, sock, tan one’s hide, tan*, thrash, trim, wallop, welt, whip, whup

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: beat
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: injure by striking
Synonyms: bang, bash, bat, batter, belt, box, break, bruise, buffet, cane, castigate, clout, club, collide, crush, cudgel, drub, flagellate, flail, flog, hammer, hit, knock, lambaste*, lash, lick*, maltreat, mash, maul, pelt, pound, pummel, punch, punish, ram, rap, slap, slug, smack, spank, strike, swat, thrash, thresh, thump, thwack, trounce, wallop, whale, whip
Antonyms: aid, assist, guard, help, protect

* = informal/non-formal usage

// //

Main Entry: buffet
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: hit repeatedly
Synonyms: bang, batter, beat, blow, box, bump, clobber, cuff, flail, jolt, knock, pound, pummel, push, rap, shove, slap, smack, spank, strike, thrash, thump, wallop

Main Entry: chastise
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: scold, discipline
Synonyms: baste, beat, berate, castigate, censure, chasten, chew out, climb all over, correct, ferule, flog, lash, lay into, lean on, pummel, punish, ream, scourge, skelp, slap down, spank, thrash, upbraid, whip
Notes: chasten means to correct by punishment, to take to task – to restrain or subdue; chastise means to punish, as by beating or to criticize severely
Antonyms: cheer, comfort, compliment, encourage, forgive, inspirit, promote

// //

Main Entry: cuff
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: beat with hands
Synonyms: bat, belt, biff, box, buffet, clap, clobber, clout, hit, knock, pummel, punch, slap, smack, spank, thump, whack

Main Entry: drub
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: thrash
Synonyms: beat, cane, clobber, defeat, flog, hit, lash, pound, spank, strike, tan, trounce, wallop, whip

// //

Main Entry: flagellate
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: whip, lash
Synonyms: beat, beat the living daylights out of, belt, flay, flog, hit, lash, spank, tan someone’s hide, tan*, thrash

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: flog
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: whip, lash
Synonyms: beat, belt, cane, castigate, chastise, ferule, flagellate, flax, flay, give the cat o’nine tails, hide, hit, larrup, lather, leather, paddle, scourge, spank, strike, stripe, tan one’s hide, thrash, trounce, wax, whack, whale, whomp, whop

Main Entry: hit
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: strike, bump
Synonyms: bang, bat, bell-ringer, belt, blow, bonk, box*, buffet, butt, chop, clash, clip, clout, collision, cuff, fisticuff, glance, impact, knock, lick*, one-two punch, paste, pat, plunk, punch, rap, roundhouse, shock, shot, slap, slog, smack, smash, sock, spank, stroke, swat, swing, swipe, tap, uppercut, wallop, whammy, whop, zap, zinger

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: hurt
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: cause physical pain; experience pain
Synonyms: abuse, ache, afflict, ail, be sore, be tender, belt, bite, blemish, bruise, burn, cramp, cut, cut up, damage, disable, do violence, flail, flog, harm, impair, injure, kick, lacerate, lash, maltreat, mar, maul, mess up, nip, pierce, pinch, pommel, prick, pummel, punch, puncture, punish, rough up, shake up, slap, slug, smart, spank, spoil, squeeze, stab, sting, tear, throb, torment, torture, total, trouble, wax, whack, whip, wing, wound, wrack up, wring
Antonyms: aid, assist, assuage, cure, heal, help, relieve, remedy, soothe

Main Entry: lick
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: defeat, sometimes by hitting
Synonyms: beat, best, clobber, conquer, down, excel, flog, hit, hurdle, lambaste, master, outdo, outstrip, overcome, overwhelm, rout, slap, smear, smother, spank, strike, surmount, surpass, thrash, throw, top, trim, trounce, vanquish, wallop, whip
Antonyms: lose

Main Entry: punish
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: penalize for wrongdoing
Synonyms: abuse, attend to, batter, beat, beat up, blacklist, castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, crack down on, cuff, debar, defrock, discipline, dismiss, do in, execute, exile, expel, fine, flog, give a going over, give the works, harm, hurt, immure, incarcerate, injure, knock about, lash, lecture, maltreat, misuse, oppress, paddle, rap knuckles, reprove, rough up, scourge, sentence, slap wrist, spank, switch, teach a lesson, throw the book at, train, whip
Antonyms: award, exonerate, let go, praise, protect, reward

// <![CDATA[// // <![CDATA[//

Main Entry: slap
Part of Speech: noun, verb
Definition: hard hit, often with hand
Synonyms: bang, bash, blip, blow, box, buffet, bust, chop, clap, clout, crack, cuff, pat, percuss, poke, potch, punch, slam, smack, sock, spank, strike, swat, wallop, whack, wham

Main Entry: smack
Part of Speech: noun, verb
Definition: strike, often with hand
Synonyms: bang, blip, blow, box, buffet, chop, clap, clout, crack, cuff, hit, pat, punch, slap, snap, sock, spank, tap

Main Entry: tan
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: flog, whip
Synonyms: baste, beat, belt, cane, dust someone’s britches, flay, hide, hit, lambaste, lash, leather, paddle, paddlewhack, punish, spank, strap, strike, switch, tan one’s hide, thrash, warm someone’s seat, wax, whack, whale, whomp

Main Entry: thrash
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: flail about; beat
Synonyms: batter, beat up, belabor, belt, birch, buffet, bury, cane, chasten, chastise, clobber, crush, defeat, flagellate, flog, jerk, kill, lambaste*, lick, maul, murder, overwhelm, paste, pelt, pitch, pound, pummel, punish, rout, rush, scourge, seesaw, slaughter, spank, stir, strike, surge, tan, tan one’s hide, thresh, toss, toss and turn, trash, trim, trounce, wallop, wax, whip, work over, writhe
Antonyms: be still

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: whip
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: hit repeatedly
Synonyms: bash, beat, birch, bludgeon, cane, castigate, chastise, cudgel, drub, ferule, flagellate, flog, hide, larrup, lash, lather, punish, scourge, spank, strap, strike, switch, tan, thrash, trash, wallop, whale, whomp

Main Entry: thresh
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: beat
Synonyms: assail, assault, bang*, bash*, baste, bat, batter, belabor, belt, box*, break*, bruise, buffet, cane, castigate, clout*, club*, collide, crush, cudgel, drub, flagellate, flail, flog, hammer, hit*, knock*, lambaste*, lash, lick*, maltreat, mash, maul, pelt, pound, pummel, punch*, punish, rain blows on, ram, rap, slap, slug, smack*, smash, spank, strike, swat, thrash, thump, thwack, trounce, wallop, whale, whip

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: thresh
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: thrash
Synonyms: batter, beat up, belabor, belt, birch, buffet, bury, cane, chasten, chastise, clobber, crush, defeat, flagellate, flail, flog, jerk*, kill*, lambaste*, lick*, maul, murder, overwhelm, paste, pelt, pitch, pound, pummel, punish, rout, rush, scourge, seesaw, slaughter, spank, stir*, strike, surge, tan, tan one’s hide, toss, toss and turn, trash*, trim, trounce, wallop, wax, whip, work over, writhe