Corporal punishment

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World map of the legal status of parental, school and judicial (including prison) corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment (abbreviation: cp or CP) is a form of punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of physical pain or discomfort. Most types of corporal punishment involve the methodical striking of the delinquent. The executor of such punishment can be a person in a position of authority, or one serving an authority. The words "corporal punishment" are derived from the Latin terms corpus ("body") and punire (akin to poena, which means "penalty" or "pain"), so "corporal punishment" can be taken to literally mean "punishment of the body" or "penalty (or pain) inflicted on the body".

Corporal punishment is distinguished from psychological punishment (e.g. humiliation), restrictive punishment (e.g. imprisonment), and economic punishment (e.g. fines).

In some definitions, corporal punishment may include amputation, mutilation and/or capital punishment, but these are not considered here.

Misunderstanding of the term[edit]

Geoffrey Gorer found in his 1955 study Exploring English Character that "the term 'corporal punishment' is quite consistently misunderstood to mean 'cruel or brutal punishments.' Numerous respondents write to the effect 'a naughty boy should be given a good caning but I don't approve of corporal punishment.' This misunderstanding was so consistent that I found it necessary to create a special category for it; at least one parent in six misuses the term."

Areas of corporal punishment[edit]

Corporal punishment is (or has been) used in many different areas of life:

Corporal punishment of children[edit]

Main article: Punishment of children
Main article: Spanking of children

Worldwide, the corporal punishment of children is still common. Perhaps the most common form is spanking: the child’s buttocks are hit repeatedly to inflict pain in a body part that is relatively safe in terms of injury risk. Spanking also gives many children great shame, which adds to the effectiveness of the punishment so that they won't repeat the same mistake. The parent's flat hand can be used (see hand-spanking), but the usage of spanking implements is also widely common.

Children usually receive corporal punishment when they do something wrong and a parent punishes them to teach them better behaviour. However, some receive maintenance spankings (a spanking every day/week without cause) to maintain good behaviour.

Spanking usually happens in pro-spanking homes. Many parents punish girls and boys differently, and the punishment of choice will also depend on the individual case.

Other relatively common forms of corporal punishment for children include boxing the ears, ear pulling, hair pulling, striking the hand and striking the legs.

Children alre also sometimes corporally punished by making them assume a discomfortable pose, such as standing on one leg or wallsitting. In the some homes, parents sometimes punish children by making them write their names with their hips in the air.

Non-beating CP[edit]

Corporal punishment in most cases involves beating/slapping/spanking/whipping the delinquent's body with one's hand or a suitable implement. However there are also other methods to stimulate a person's nociceptors, causing physical pain. Some of these are used by adults to punish children, some are used among children themselves (e.g. pulling hair, pinching, boxing), and others are more common in adult/adult BDSM play.

These include:


See also[edit]