Healthwise
To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Corporal Punishment

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Corporal punishment is the intentional use of physical force to cause bodily pain or discomfort as a penalty for unacceptable behavior. Corporal punishment includes any action that produces discomfort, such as:

Corporal punishment is not an effective method of managing behavior. It does not teach a child how to act properly. At best, corporal punishment has only a temporary effect on behavior. And it may even make it worse. Not only does it reinforce some problem behavior, but also it teaches a child that physical force is the way to resolve conflict.

Corporal punishment can also have emotional and psychological effects, both short- and long-term, such as:

There are lots of other ways to discipline your child. Effective alternatives to corporal punishment depend on the age of your child and include:

Research has shown that positive reinforcement is more effective than corporal punishment. Catch your child doing something right and praise him or her. Don't wait until your child has done something wrong to notice his or her behavior.


Credits for Corporal Punishment

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics


Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.