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Punishment is a reasoned and rational sanction for misbehavior, meant to instruct the guilty party in the error of their ways and to discourage further misbehavior. Punishment is most often dealt out by parents to their children or by the state to criminals.

Gandhi asked,

Do you fight to change things, or do you fight to punish?[1]

Punishment of Children

Parents and teachers have the responsibility to discipline children by punishing them when they misbehave. The Bible makes clear that parents should use spanking as a punishment. Proverbs 13:24 states that "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them" while Proverbs 22:25 says that "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away" and Proverbs 23:13 says "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die."

The pediatrician and evangelical leader Dr James Dobson PhD advises parents to use a paddle or a switch to spank children on the bottom. The punishment should be given calmly and with love, never in anger, but should be firm enough to send the child a clear message about their behaviour. While parents should not spank too harshly, a spanking should hurt enough to cause some genuine tears.[2]

Although liberals have sometimes tried to stop parents spanking their children, surveys consistently show that a majority of American adults agree that "it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard spanking."[3] Furthermore, despite claims to the contrary, the scientific evidence shows that spanking "is not associated with any more adverse outcomes in children than is any other type of corrective discipline" and that "spanking is one of the most effective disciplinary tactics" for children aged 2-6.[4]


  1. Dialog from the movie "Gandhi (1982)"
  2. https://www.dobsonlibrary.com/resource/article/9e6c1b33-b341-4617-aa11-70c9744fdf11 The Dobson Digital Library - Questions and Answers about Corporal Punishment and The Strong Willed Child
  3. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-opinions-on-spanking-vary-by-party-race-region-and-religion/ Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight.com, Americans’ Opinions On Spanking Vary By Party, Race, Region And Religion
  4. [1]Larzelere and Kuhn (2007) Comparing Child Outcomes of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A Meta-Analysis