The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Parents should have the right to discipline their children(s) physically.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/6/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,515 times Debate No: 60097
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Hi debaters. This is my first time about to debate. I'm a future Lawyer, so I wanted to test my debating strength. I'm a university freshman by the way, starting the 25th of this month.

As I do with all my debating, I like to give backgrounds in order for my opponents to have an understanding.

Background: Anyways, I was on the public bus today on my way home from a long day at my university working out issues, and sadly, a woman was beating her child on the bus. He was a little boy, probably 9, and his mom was big. He had walked on the bus mad and sad down. Than his mom, with his brother(probably the same age) behind her, got on the bus and in a moment, she and her son were fighting. She bend his head down, and constantly hit him with her big hands. And he was fighting back and crying. What seem like a inhumane act, everyone looked on, without saying anything, except for one woman, who had been shut by the mom. I was one of those that looked on. One, I didn't want to get knocked out by this lady in my suit and lose my folder with documents in them, and two, the child was rude (he had said cuss words earlier and said other things and was fighting with her). As much as I don't like it, people who were on the bus actually liked and laughed at the fact she was beating him and talked to each other about how they use to get discipline by their parents. This is a society problem. I don't deem its necessary and I don't stand behind it.

So to my opponent... the question is: should parents have the right to discipline their child physically?

To the readers, you are the judges. You present the final ruling

Also, if you don't mind, please leave comments about where in my debates I was strong, where I lack, and where I can improve.



I accept Con. I wish you luck and look forward to debating.
The situation concerning the mother and her child seems like her physical actions originated from anger instead of trying to the teach the child a lesson. Now neither you or I know the circumstances of their fight, but if a mother is fighting with her nine year old son and he is physically fighting back, then to me it seems that the problem in this situation is the lack of parenting and communication not the fact that she is using physical force as a way of disciplining.

To answer your question though, parents are already allowed to discipline their children using physical force. There is a line between discipline and abuse where when crossed it becomes illegal. But yes, parents do have the right to discipline their children physically and it should stay that way. Discipline is imperative to a child's development.

I grew up getting spanked with a wooden spoon, a belt and the traditional hand spanking. I come from a middle class family with two loving parents and two younger sisters. Not that my sisters and I were terrible children growing up but my parents' physical discipline was necessary. Going to the corner for "time out" was in no way effective. Some physical force to a child's butt is going to teach them right from wrong, unlike having a child sit in a corner.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Pro for accepting this debate. This debate is crucial. I will be using the American Humane Association and my personal opinion to defend my points. And will be providing sources as a reference to the results of physical discipline.

Since you want to point out an example of how your parents discipline you, I will like to give a personal example. My little brother(14-incident happen when he was 13) has done something wrong, he has stolen headphones. When I let both our parents (mom & dad) know of his act, they both took a different approach. The mom, thinking physically discipline is a means to discipline her son, took that approach. Our father, having heard about this, had a little walk with my little brother and talked to him. Result: For weeks, the son and his mom never talked, they never looked each other in the face, and when one is coming, the other goes away. He was telling me how he's mad, and how he can't wait to get out of the house. He also told me how even though he knew he was wrong, our father was better in the way he took it, and from there he learned his lesson. Still today, he wants to leave the house. Why? Because this is not the first time he had been hit by her. And our father has constantly said he does not believe in hitting children, and that our mother shouldn't be doing it. After seeing this result, and seeing what turns out, who's right.

This is not abuse. This is just a normal discipline. This act has created remorse against the mother. Your's has to do with spoon, belt, and hand spanking. His was just slaps. Since this psychically discipline, my brother has shown all these act listed by the American Humane Association:

Increases anxiety and fear
Hinders the development of empathy and compassion for others(slaps his little brother when he gets him mad, gotten into fights)
Makes children angry in response (He been angry and came talking to me)
Heightens aggression toward others (towards teachers and friends and his enemies)
Decreases compliance and increases resistance
Harms relationship with parent or caregiver (he wants to leave the house.)
Decreases self-esteem
Teaches that violence is an acceptable way to handle conflict (he has been involve in alot of fights at school)

Now you state that: Discipline is imperative to a child's development. By using Discipline alone, you simply undermine the purpose of this debate. Discipline itself, and physical discipline are very different.

Discipline is: The act of teaching the wrong from the right, not through physical force, but through communications.
Physical Discipline is: The act of disciplining a child with force, in hope of teaching them not to do something again.

You can view these two as a short term and long term: Discipline is the long term, physical discipline is the short term. Discipline is a slow process and physical discipline is a faster process. Even though the discipline process may be slow, it will have a long term beneficial to that child.

By using physical discipline you're trying to achieve something quick, you're trying to instill a quicker learning in the child, which he/she may forget, and if it fails, than it'll be another physical discipline that could lead to abuse.

By using Discipline you're communicating, or otherwise teaching a child right from wrong. It's a way for them to learn better and to see their mistakes and how they can improve on it.

Back to the point I was trying to make: For the purpose of this debate, we're talking about physical discipline, so if you mistakenly met physical discipline is imperative to a child's development, that is not right. According to the American Humane Association: "Children in the 1997 study whose parents used corporal punishment to reduce anti-social behavior actually experienced the opposite from their children in the long run an increased probability of aggression and other antisocial behavior. Disciplining children by spanking does not facilitate learning. Instead, it may halt the unwanted behavior only while the child is in the adult"s presence, or it may scare a child into submission. While it may teach a child what not to do, it fails to teach a child what is expected of him or her and what is an alternate behavior."

I'm glad you pointed this out and I want to talk about it: "The situation concerning the mother and her child seems like her physical actions originated from anger instead of trying to the teach the child a lesson. " So if every parent trying to use physical discipline as a means to discipline their child, are they teaching them anything, as you yourself as pointed out "instead of trying to teach the child a lesson. What lesson does that child learns than? What I'm trying to take from your point is the fact you said "actions originated from anger." And you're exactly right. And what happens when anger take hold of the leads to harming the child. And even though they may not mean it, it could lead to unwanted injury as according to the American Humane Association: Spanking in these circumstances may lead to an unintentional injury or more serious abuse. So no, I do not support that concept that " parents do have the right to discipline their children physically and it should stay that way." It shouldn't stay that way. It harms family relationship, hinder the growth and development of the child, and leads to other behavior such as retaliation and running away from home.

I look forward to my opponent reply.


One has to understand that physical discipline is to be used differently depending on the child's age, abilities and needs. You pointed out that your brother at 13 years old was hit because he stole headphones. Just because he reacted negatively to the physical punishment, doesn't mean that physical discipline in general isn't effective. It was not the correct discipline method for the situation.

Given that physical punishment is a discipline method, it too is imperative in a child's development. The first five years of a child's life are the most important because during this time the child's foundation for their health, growth, happiness and brain is being built. Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of Psychology at Calvin College in the U.S. state of Michigan found that children who are smacked before the age of six perform better at school when they are teenagers. Physical discipline proves to be effective in long run. It was also found in several studies that kids whose parents used a balance of love and limits (including spanking) were found to be doing much better 10 years later during adolescence than kids whose parents were overly punitive and did not show love in various ways to the child.

It is up to the parents and their trial and error of discipline methods to know when physical discipline works and when they should stop. If physical discipline is proving to be effective in situations why shouldn't it be a right? If it can't be applied to one case but can to another it should not be eliminated completely.

Debate Round No. 2


"You" does not imply you, unless I quote a statement you made. "Him" is generally speaking for "child"

I see so much how it ties to a poll on here that says "As a leader would it be better to be feared or respected?" Same thing with parent and their children. The parents are the leaders, and the citizens are the children. Now would you rather get beat, turn out good just because your parent want you to, and fear your parents; or would you like to have communication, turn out good because of what you learn, and respect your parent? Communication is key. Violence is not. Sure what you're preaching that in the long run a child will be good, but it was through fear that was accomplished, which of course will not sustain as he himself will do it. If I knew two friends: one that gets physical punishment and one that gets no physical punishment but some other form of punishment, and they both turns out good, without seeing their respective families, I would respect the kid whose parent didn't use physical punishment. I'm pretty sure you'll agree with this statement as well.

"One has to understand that physical discipline is to be used differently depending on the child's age, abilities and needs. "

We're not asking or trying to come to conclusion on weather or not "one has to understand that physical discipline is to be used differently depending on the child's age." It's contrary to your standing on that they should have the right to discipline their child. But now you want to tell them to what limits? Once you say "parents should have the right to discipline their children(s) physically", you ultimately give them the power to discipline them however they want. But if we say that parents are not allow to discipline their children physically, they will not be able to discipline their children to many limits, which is much better than saying they are allow to. It's funny, so are you saying that the child should tell the mother, "hey I'm 9, you have to discipline me differently because of this age." "Or that I'm 16, so you cannot hit me like that!" Let me point this out, disciplining a child or children (anyone under 18) has no limits, and once you say parents should have the right to discipline their child, its whatever they feel like doing. And because parents are allow, some don't think twice or anger takes hold of them in disciplining their children, which leads to harms. Child by definition is anyone under 18, and because parents are allow to discipline their children and feels as if they can discipline them anyway they want, than they go somewhere wrong, which you would call abuse and will arrest the parent. But it wouldn't have happened in the first place if we hadn't allowed it.

Knowing that some parents do not use "physical discipline differently depending on the child's age, abilities, and needs", would you agree that we should not allow it? Plus in your previous argument you stated "I grew up getting spanked with a wooden spoon, a belt and the traditional hand spanking," now I do not know how old you were, but did your parents consider their physical discipline based on your age? Because we do not know how parents are going to discipline their children, and because children are developing so they'll make mistakes, and knowing that parents should be wise enough to know that their kids do not think as critically as them, while also acknowledging that parents can go wrong in physically disciplining their children, they should not be allow to discipline them, weather its for good or bad, small or big.

According to, "Physical discipline doesn't work over the long run, it has bad side effects, and mild punishment often becomes more severe over time. Opponents of corporal punishment also advance moral and legal arguments. If you hit another adult you can be arrested and sued, after all, so shouldn't our smallest, weakest citizens have a right to equal or even more-than-equal protection under the law?"

Before I move on to my other points, I'm not saying we should let kids go crazy. But "you reap what you sow." There's much better way to show love to a child, there is so much way you can work in curbing their bad attitudes; but if you want to preach violence and if you want to use violence as a means to discipline a child, you only teaches him there's no alternative. You're his best teacher, what he sees you do in the home, is probably what he's going to carry outside. According to "The Natural Child Project" " It is nature's plan that children learn attitudes and behaviors through observation and imitation of their parents' actions, for good or ill." Also, do unto those as you will want to do unto you. How about instead of hitting, you "listen and communicate" for once, because that child has so much to say. But because you're the adult, you'll think you have the final say, and what you say is what's done. How about you cherish "cooperation and understanding", instead of you always playing the big boss. The child has a voice too. When a child is misbehaving "the child is simply responding in the only way he can, given his age and experience, to neglect of basic needs. Among these needs are: proper sleep and nutrition, treatment of hidden allergy, fresh air, exercise, and sufficient freedom to explore the world around him. But his greatest need is for his parents' undivided attention." Knowing all this, parents should not discipline their children, and by not getting physically discipline, children too than have a voice and protection from harm, as everyone deserves.

According to "The Natural Child Project" "Ten reason not to hit a child" (which I'm not going to list all), through extensive research and the ban of corporal punishment by 37 countries,

Punishment distracts the child from learning how to resolve conflict in an effective and humane way.

What are we trying to teach a child when we only teaches him that beating him is the only way to resolve the conflict. It is not effective, it's taking the easy way out. For the most part of that child life, they'll only know that they were brought up by physical punishment as a means to change their bad ways. Because you have brought up a child punishing him physically, and you thinking that it was a good form of punishment, your child will go on physically punishing his children, thinking that it works because of what his parents did to him. According to CNN, one of the reason United States and parents in the United States still thinks physical punishment is okay and think it's a means to curb a child bad behavior, is because it has been passed on for generations. And what you taught your child, is what he's going to carry on, and his child is going to carry on. When are we ever going to break this cycle. But you support " But yes, parents do have the right to discipline their children physically and it should stay that way." It's advocates like you whom will hinder a new way in thinking. It's time to put the old guard to rest. Is it not about that we bring about change? We need change and we need it now!

" Physical punishment gives the dangerous and unfair message that "might makes right", that it is permissible to hurt someone else, provided they are smaller and less powerful than you are"

If we want to teach love, let's teach it through communication, cooperation, and understanding, not through violence. If we want to raise a child right from wrong, lets do so without beating them. After all, they are still kids, they are still growing up. They might not know what they are doing, and might be influence by others, as I myself once was, but just because they did wrong, does not mean it should be corrected through beating.


agennarelli forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I will allow for my opponent to respond, before further arguing my points.


agennarelli forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


My opponent has chosen to forfeit twice. I really wanted this debate to go on. While I will not argue, I can counter some things I found while looking at my opponent sources.

Her first source itself states everything I been trying to say.

Some things to consider from the research

- "While an occasional mild smack may not cause harm, the danger is the possibility of accidental injury or loss of control by the parent (a smack may lead to more smacking next time or a serious belting as the parent senses that the first smack did not work).."

- "An immediate hit may stop your child's behaviour for the moment, but she probably will repeat it (she doesn't learn what to do instead, only what not to do)."

- "Children learn not to do the action in an adult's persence, rather than learn not to do it at all."

- "Children's feelings of anger and hurt are often so strong after being hit that they can have difficulty remembering the reasons for the punishment."

- "If punishment is frightening, your child can learn ways to deceive (lying, cheating or blaming others) to avoid being hit."

"Some children can become fearful, anxious, rebellious or withdrawn."

"Children tend to copy what you do and may bully others."

- "Physical punishment teaches children that violence is acceptable and that it's okay to use violence when you're angry, to solve problems or to get what you want."

- "Most people would agree that settling conflict between adults with physical force is wrong. It is against the law to hit
(assault) other people, eg. adults, partners, servants, apprentices."

- "There are more effective ways of disciplining children than using physical punishment."

Thank you for providing a source that clearly points out everything I been trying to tell you! It adds volume to my argument, and shows why we do not need physical punishment.

Her second source itself points out something I been trying to say.

"Children learn how to behave (socially and emotionally) by imitating the behaviour of those closest to them."
Again you're your child's best teacher. What he sees you do, is what he's probably going to replicate.

My opponent third source is contrary to what she been trying to argue:

The source itself says: "A recent poll found 71 per cent of parents would support a ban on smacking."

"'No good can come from hitting a child,' she said. 'I do not buy this idea that children will learn positive behaviour from being smacked."

"'The law says adults hitting adults is wrong and children should be protected in the same way. Children are people too.'"

Thanks for providing a source that clearly paints a picture.


I would like to apologize to my opponent for having to forfeit this debate. I recently ended an internship in New York and began classes on Tuesday in Charleston, in addition to rehearsals. I have had limited free time. I wish you luck and hope we can revisit this topic sometime in the future.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by YoungLawyer 3 years ago
Hell Yeah. If you had seen it for yourself, you would have went crazy too. She lucky I ain't a lawyer yet. Or I woulda sue her.
Posted by KhalifV 3 years ago
My mom's a social worker, she would have went crazy.
Posted by YoungLawyer 3 years ago
Right. In my honest opinion, physical discipline only create remorse towards that parents. Once she opened her mouth and I saw grillz on her teeth, I knew this is not someone to mess with. Lol. And she had her nice cap on. But again, its her lack of careful parenting that led to the child behavior.

*This is not a racist statement. She's black. I'm black.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
I agree that you should've said something, but at the same time, I know I wouldn't have been able to. And if that kid is swearing and cussing, the person to blame primarily (saving special circumstances of course) is the mom. Physical discipline only increases deviant behavior.
Posted by YoungLawyer 3 years ago
I know KhalifV. I should have. But, the other lady had told her, "hey don't do that" and she said "uh honey don't worry about this" "I got this" "don't worry about this" and she seemed very angry. She's a huge lady. The bus driver too just kept riding, and grown folks kept talking and laughing among themselves. I don't know what she was going to do or say to me. So I prefer it was best not to say anything. When they were getting off the bus, she pulled his ear and pulled him off the bus and was still beating him. I had little tears, but there's not much I could have done.
Posted by KhalifV 3 years ago
You should have said something!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded this debate. I'd give conduct for the concession, except he forfeited several rounds before officially conceding it. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.