Punishment of children

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The Aztecs would punish disobedient children by making them inhale smoke, sustaining them on a blaze in which they threw spicy peppers. See also this illustration.

Punishment of children is a hotly debated issue. There is general agreement that praise and reward for desirable, "good" behaviour are the cornerstone of education of children. However, experience with "laissez-faire" education has convinced many people that if the child is willfully disobedient it needs to be punished. Children need to explore their boundaries - if no limits are set, the child will feel abandoned and uncertain. Punishment can be a way of setting limits.


Main article: Spanking of children
F/f spanking illustration by "Jim Black" (Luc Lafnet).

In traditional society, a common and accepted punishment of children is spanking them (a form of corporal punishment delivered to the buttocks — see also spanking of children). The postindustrial society shows strong aversion to intimate physical contact (except for sexual intercourse) including corporal punishment of children. Corporal punishment is therefore considered unacceptable, and replaced by psychological punishment. It is as yet unsupported by empirical evidence if this is better or worse.

See also the articles pro-spanking and anti-spanking.

Spanking art of children often depicts a period (in some cases a more or less imaginary period) when childre were routinely disciplined by parents. Such art refers to a simple world, where there is right and wrong, good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is punished. The child is free in his acts, as it is irresponsible, and with an absolute claim to forgiveness after receiving a just punishment. The child is "taken care of" by a loving, protective parent in a physically intimate way. Not all child spanking art follows this model, however.

Other punishments[edit]

Other typical children's punishments include time-out (e.g. corner time), mouth washing, extra chores, writing lines, murga, finger stocks, kneeling, grounding, etc.

See also[edit]